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Food News

USDA extends comment period for ‘Product of U.S.A.’ labeling policy

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on August 22, 2018

Citing "significant interest from stakeholders," the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) approved a request from the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) to extend the public comment period for the groups' petition to stop imported meat from being mislabeled "Product of U.S.A." The new deadline for comments is Sept. 17, 2018. The OCM and AGA joint petition, filed on June 12, 2018, would restore the original FSIS handbook definition of "Product of U.S.A.," which was based on the origin of the ingredients being labeled. Sometime between April 1985 and August 2005 the ingredient-based standard was repealed by FSIS and replaced with an undefined processing standard. Following the repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling in 2015, global meatpacking corporations began abusing the label by misbranding meat and meat products from foreign countries as "Product of U.S.A." after moving them through USDA-inspected processing plants.

The American story, told through food

Washington Examiner | Posted on August 22, 2018

Sometimes the best books are not on the bestseller’s list. Often a great read is one that you stumble upon much later than its original release date. Pat Willard’s America Eats! On the Road with the WPA — the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chittlin' Feasts That Define Real American Food is one of those unique books. Willard, whose culinary writing has been nominated for awards, discovered long-forgotten manuscripts written during the Great Depression hidden in the archives of the Library of Congress. These stories collecting dust were from a project called America Eats! commissioned by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers Project; the articles collected were never published after the government abandoned funding for the WPA efforts.

Long Island farmers and fishermen outline problems for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Washington Examiner | Posted on August 22, 2018

Their list includes cleansing polluted bays by reconnecting them to the sea, obtaining an emergency permit to use a banned pesticide, policing counterfeit seafood, and securing seasonal workers during an immigration crackdown.

Consuming milk at breakfast lowers blood glucose throughout day

Feedstuffs | Posted on August 22, 2018

A change in one's breakfast routine may provide benefits for the management of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Dr. H. Douglas Goff and the team of scientists from the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit at the University of Guelph, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, examined the effects of consuming high-protein milk at breakfast on blood glucose levels and satiety after breakfast and after a second meal.

Petition aims to change labeling laws for U.S. beef

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on August 16, 2018

When consumers shop the meat case, they have a variety of labels to choose from such as natural, organic, antibiotic-free, grassfed, Certified Angus Beef and Certified Hereford Beef, just to name a few. While beef and pork muscle cuts are no longer under the list of commodities covered by the country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) regulation (as of February 2016), many products, such as grassfed beef, are still labeled as a "Product of U.S.A."However, many in the beef industry are citing a gross error in this labeling claim — it's not just domestic beef that's being packaged with "Product of U.S.A" stickers.

Massachusetts governor wants public health oversight for raw milk

Food Safety News | Posted on August 16, 2018

Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker has vetoed permissive raw milk language in a bill to help coastal areas pay for recent storm damage and instead proposed lawmakers consider stronger regulation of milk that does not undergo pasteurization. “Consumption of unpasteurized milk can result in foodborne illness and possible death due to bacterial infections, especially among infants, children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed patients, and the elderly,” Baker said in his veto of Section 22 of House Bill 4835.“The risk of foodborne illness due to consumption of raw milk increases with the number of people handling the raw milk prior to consumption, and the length of time between production and consumption. As such, it is important that any expansion of the sale of raw milk in the Commonwealth be done in such a way that it protects those who choose to consume it.”Section 22 would have expanded the distribution of raw milk in the Commonwealth by allowing the delivery of unpasteurized milk, by allowing dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk at non-contiguous farm stands, and by allowing distribution of unpasteurized milk through community-supported agriculture systems (CSAs).

FDA and FTC need to end anti-GMO deception in organic food advertising

The Hill | Posted on August 16, 2018

For a long time, American consumers had it pretty good. They could read a food label or product advertisement and trust that the information it contained was reasonably truthful. That’s because ever since their formation over 100 years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were there actively to enforce laws against false and misleading marketing schemes.Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. While the laws against phony food claims and misleading statements are still enforced in some areas, the FDA and FTC now treat one segment of the food and agriculture industry as if the laws do not apply. That’s the $47 billion and growing organic food industry, where misleading health claims about conventional agriculture are almost universal – especially claims against GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, mostly grains.Take, for example, the seemingly ubiquitous Non-GMO Project butterfly label appearing today on more than 50 thousand products. The Project – much of whose board is drawn from the organic industry – states on its website that its purpose is to help consumers avoid “high risk” products containing GMO “contamination.” To that end the Project provides, for a hefty price, testing and certification – none of which is government verified -- and the right to stick their butterfly on your package.The law is clear that food claims made on websites come under FDA’s labeling guidelines. It is also clear that the assertions the Project makes on its website should be captured under FTC’s equally strict laws against misleading advertising.

Ben & Jerry's 'Milk With Dignity' Pact With Farmworkers Seems To Be Paying Off

NPR | Posted on August 16, 2018

Some Vermont dairy workers say their wages and living conditions have improved, thanks to an agreement reached last year between the workers and Ben & Jerry's, a division of global consumer products company Unilever. Times are tough on dairy farms around the country, with milk prices declining for the fourth year in a row. But 72 farms that supply Ben & Jerry's earn a little more by agreeing to follow labor and housing standards.

‘Local’ is trendy, but is it safe?

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 16, 2018

Most any foodstuff sells faster these days, often at a premium, when it’s tagged as being “locally grown.” Christy Bratcher, associate professor of Animal Sciences at Auburn University, wondered what that designation really meant to consumers, and how that understanding differed from what they were getting. In her ongoing research, “A Systems Approach to Improving the Production and Distribution of Local and Regional Foods for a More Secure Food System,” Bratcher and her team researched meat production facilities of all sizes, federally and state-inspected, across the Southeast. She is looking to catalog the processes being used and their effect on food safety, as well as compare them to consumers’ perceptions. 

Kroger sets timeline for gestation stall-free pork

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 16, 2018

he Kroger Co. has announced plans to source pork only from producers who do not use sow gestation stalls. The nation’s largest supermarket chain specified in its recent sustainability report that it aims to buy 100 percent of its pork from producers using group housing or free-range methods by 2025.