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Food News

Murphy: Rejecting the Vegan Message

Pork Business | Posted on January 25, 2018

In politics, the rule of thumb has long been that negative campaigning generates traction. Conventional wisdom suggests that the more a candidate smears his or her opponent, the greater the impact on the voters. But in marketing consumer products, ad agencies have traditionally gone in the other direction: Sell the benefits of your product, create “good feelings” about the brand and avoid spending precious share of mind on trying to trash the competition. That’s changed in recent years, perhaps in tandem with the coarsening of political speech. With many of the “alternative” categories competing with conventional food products, the approach is not to promote the benefits of organic or vegetarian, but rather spend time and money attacking mainstream producers, processors and marketers.When the upstarts aren’t collecting serious windfalls by selling out to the very companies they profess to loathe, that is. A great example of those dynamics is taking place overseas, specifically in Ireland. As a report in The Irish Times detailed, a vegan activist group was recently refused permission to run attack ads aimed at that country’s dairy industry.The ads in question were developed by a group called Go Vegan World and were to appear as posters on Dublin Bus vehicles and in stations operated by Irish Rail. However, Exterion Media, the contractor responsible for selling ad space on buses and in train stations, deemed the ads to be “emotive and provocative” and likely to draw complaints.

National School Lunch Program Aces Safety Test

University of Connecticut | Posted on January 25, 2018

The National School Lunch Program’s strict safety standards work, which is good news for millions of children who participate in the program daily, according to a new University of Connecticut study. The study, led by researchers from UConn and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), found that the food safety standards for ground beef supplied to the program are highly effective in keeping harmful bacteria out of school lunches nationwide. Researchers examined the National School Lunch Program because of its critical nature. “This program is very important for child nutrition policy and as an anti-poverty measure because it provides many children with healthy, safe food, on a regular basis,” says Bovay.Bovay and colleagues used a unique data set comprised of test results from mandatory food safety inspections for ground beef destined for the National School Lunch Program, and data from separate, random USDA inspections.

Food leads the manufacturing pack in Southern Nevada

Las Vegas Review Journal | Posted on January 25, 2018

Nevada’s manufacturing industry is heating up. But it’s not the type of manufacturing you might think. “It’s a multi-step process. Corn is cooked, washed and ground, then pressed out into tortilla chip shapes,” said Allan Perkins, director of manufacturing at Las Vegas tortilla chip manufacturer R.W. Garcia. “They are first baked at about 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Then they are lightly fried in corn or sunflower oil at about 330 degrees Fahrenheit.”Perkins said R.W. Garcia added 35 employees between its two 65,000-square-foot facilities last year, contributing to Nevada’s roughly 23,498 employees in manufacturing in 2017. That’s up 16 percent, or 3,218 jobs, from 2011, according to data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.A December report on Southern Nevada by Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis said, “Employment in the manufacturing and logistics industry has outperformed the national average in each of the past six years. And, since 2011, industry employment has grown at two and a half times the national rate.”

Feds tell Maine: You can’t ban food stamp recipients from buying sugary drinks, candy

Portland Press Herald | Posted on January 25, 2018

For the second time in less than two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has denied a request by Gov. Paul LePage to ban food stamp recipientsfrom using their benefits to buy sugary drinks and candy. His spokeswoman, Julie Rabinowitz, said Friday that the administration would “revise our waiver request and resubmit it,” but she did not offer a timeline or specifics about what those revisions might be.In a Jan. 16 letter to Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Ricker Hamilton, the USDA outlined concerns that a ban would increase administrative costs; impose burdens on small businesses and retailers; choose winners and losers in the food industry; create difficult decisions about the nutritional values of allowable or excluded foods; and “restrict what individuals could eat in their own homes without demonstrating clear evidence of meaningful health outcomes.”

Maine’s supreme court says state cannot deny food stamps to eligible asylum seekers

Portland Press Herald | Posted on January 25, 2018

Maine’s top court has ruled that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services was wrong to deny food stamp benefits to asylum seekers who had been cleared to work but had yet to find a job. In a 13-page decision issued Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of Euphrem Manirakiza, a Burundian immigrant who sued the state after he applied for benefits in 2015 and was then denied.

Sanderson urges shareholder “No” vote on antibiotic free proposal

Meat + Poultry | Posted on January 23, 2018

 Shareholders in Sanderson Farms Inc. will vote on a several proposals during the company’s annual meeting Feb. 15, including a request for the company to transition to antibiotic-free (ABF) chicken production. The Sanderson Farms board is recommending a “no” on the ABF proposal. The company remains the only large poultry processor that has not committed to transitioning to antibiotic-free chicken production. In a securities filing, Sanderson said an oversupply of ABF poultry was among the reasons the board advised against adopting the proposal. Citing industry data as the basis for its claims of oversupply, the company said consumers of antibiotic-free chicken primarily seek boneless breast meat and chicken tenders, while wings and dark meat of ABF chickens are sold into conventional markets.

Panera asks FDA to define an 'egg' in a swipe at competitors' breakfast sandwiches

CNBC | Posted on January 20, 2018

Panera Bread has petitioned the FDA to define what an "egg" is.The soup and sandwich restaurant said a number of its competitors — such as Burger King, Taco Bell and Dunkin — sell egg patties that contain more than five ingredients.

'Entire aisles are empty': Whole Foods employees reveal why stores are facing a crisis of food shortages

Business Insider | Posted on January 20, 2018

Whole Foods employees say stores are suffering from food shortages because of a newly implemented inventory-management system called order-to-shelf, or OTS. Whole Foods says the system reduces unnecessary inventory, lowers costs, and frees up employees to focus on customer service.Employees acknowledge that less food is spoiling in storage rooms, but they describe OTS as a "militaristic" system that crushes morale and leads to many items being out of stock."Last week, we ran out of onions and potatoes twice," an employee of a Brooklyn Whole Foods store said. "Entire aisles are empty at times.""It has for weeks had empty shelves, and I shop there twice a week," one customer told Business Insider. "The prepared-food section is not refreshed, and food looks stale."

Owner of Virginia seafood company charged with conspiracy

WBJ7 | Posted on January 17, 2018

The owner of a Virginia seafood company has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the federal government by mixing foreign crab meat with Atlantic blue crab, then labeling the blended seafood and selling it to customers as a U.S. product. James Casey, owner, and president of Casey's Seafood was charged Friday in a criminal information with violating the Lacey Act, a law that prohibits trafficking in illegal wildlife.Casey is accused of conspiring to replace Atlantic blue crab with crab meat from Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam and Central and South America.Court documents filed Friday allege that Casey and unnamed co-conspirators are accused of falsely labeling nearly 400,000 pounds of crab meat worth millions of dollars as a "product of the United States."

World Food Prize protesters get $50,000 payout after being shunted out of sight

Des Moines Register | Posted on January 17, 2018

Iowa taxpayers will pay a $50,000 settlement to end a lawsuit filed by anti-GMO activists who claim state officials violated their First Amendment rights. The lawsuit was filed against the World Food Prize and state officials last year in light of limits Iowa placed upon demonstrators at an annual awards ceremony held at the Capitol.Frank Cordaro, a peace activist and founder of the Catholic Worker in Des Moines, and other protesters have for years been confined to a sidewalk area that is about 110 yards from the Capitol's west entrance at the foot of a steep hill — a location that makes them largely invisible to World Food Prize participants.