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Food News

Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation

Science Daily | Posted on May 10, 2018

New research shows there might be health benefits to eating certain types of dark chocolate. Findings from two studies being presented today at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.

F.D.A. orders first-ever mandatory recall

Food Business News | Posted on May 10, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for the first time, has ordered a mandatory recall of food products under the authority conferred on the agency by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010. The F.D.A. on April 3 issued a mandatory recall order for all regulated products containing powered kratom manufactured, processed, packed or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals L.L.C., Las Vegas, after several were found to contain Salmonella. The ingredient primarily is used in dietary supplements. The F.D.A. said it took the action after the company failed to cooperate with the agency’s request to conduct a voluntary recall.

E. coli illnesses linked to lettuce expand to 29 states

Washington Examiner | Posted on May 10, 2018

Four more states have reported E. coli contaminations in romaine lettuce, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Twenty-eight more people have become ill, bringing the total to 149 people in 29 states. Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas were added to the rolls. Data collection can take time to reach the CDC, meaning that there may be several other instances of people getting sick that haven't been reported. The total count comes from data as of April 25.

Consumer challenges Tyson ‘all-natural’ claim

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 10, 2018

An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods over an “all-natural” claim on one of the company’s products, according to a local media report. Caitlyn Barnes’ complaint contends that the 100% All Natural Batter Dipped Chicken Tenders she bought for $4.97 at a Wal-Mart in O’Fallon, Ill., are not all natural as advertised because they contain xantham gum, a synthetic substance.She is seeking an order certifying the case as a class action and an award for compensatory damages.

FDA to take ‘fresh look’ at dairy mislabeling

Feedstuffs | Posted on May 8, 2018

U.S. Food & Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said his agency is taking a “fresh look” at how to address the mislabeling of imitation dairy products, with misbranded plant products using terms such as “milk,” “yogurt,” “cheese” and “ice cream.” Gottlieb recently said FDA announced a request seeking additional information on the agency’s overall approach. In response to questions from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday, Gottlieb confirmed that FDA statutes state that “milk is defined as coming from a lactating animal.” He added that he could agree with Baldwin that the term is being used on products "derived from things that are not from a lactating animal.” However, because FDA has not stepped in to prevent the mislabeling, there is now a lot of commercial activity occurring. Baldwin argued that this could be addressed right away if FDA issued guidance to the industry and declared its intent to enforce existing regulations.Gottlieb said the agency has decided that it would be more prudent to develop a careful administrative record since FDA has exercised enforcement discretion up to this point. “For us to reverse our current posture might take more than just issuing guidance,” Gottlieb said, adding that the intent of the recent request for additional insight from stakeholders is to inform a substantial administrative record that could sustain a review.

Researchers weigh the tradeoffs of antimicrobial policies in dairy production

Cornell | Posted on May 8, 2018

Dairy farmers use antibiotics to keep their herds healthy and production high. At the same time, these treatments threaten to harm public health through the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. While the quantitative impact of such antibiotics on humans is not completely understood, a new Cornell study has pinpointed the financial toll that eliminating antibiotic use would have on dairy farms, a finding that could help guide regulatory policy. “The Farm Cost of Decreasing Antimicrobial Use in Dairy Production,” published in PLOS One in March, shows the cost of forgoing antibiotics on dairy farms would average out to $61 per cow annually. “If consumers or policymakers wanted to implement antibiotic-free dairy production, it wouldn’t be a high cost for farmers, but it is feasible the farmers would ask to be compensated,” said Guillaume Lhermie, lead author and postdoctoral associate in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “We wanted to see what we would win and what we would lose with this kind of regulation.”   Gröhn stressed that, in addition to such financial impacts, the team was also taking animal welfare into consideration.“You simply cannot decide not to treat animals for disease,” he said. “That is unethical.”

Arizona Farm Blamed for Part of Large, Nationwide E. Coli Outbreak

The New York Times | Posted on May 4, 2018

Federal health officials said that they had identified one of the sources of tainted romaine lettuce that has so far left 98 people sick, in what is the largest multistate food-borne E. coli outbreak since 2006. The whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened eight people at a correctional facility in Nome, Alaska, came from Harrison Farms of Yuma, Ariz., the Food and Drug Administration said. The remaining illnesses were caused by bagged, chopped romaine lettuce, though health officials continue to urge consumers to avoid all types of romaine from the Yuma area.The outbreak now spans 22 states and involves a particularly aggressive strain of the bacteria

Genetic sleuthing helps investigate food poisoning outbreaks

CBS | Posted on May 4, 2018

Disease hunters are using genetic sequencing in their investigation of the ongoing food poisoning outbreak linked to romaine lettuce, a technique that is revolutionizing the detection of germs in food. The genetic analysis is being used to bolster investigations and -- in some cases -- connect the dots between what were once seemingly unrelated illnesses. It also is uncovering previously unfathomed sources of food poisoning, including one outbreak from apples dipped in caramel.So far, most of the work has largely focused on one germ, listeria. But it is expanding. By the end of this year, labs in all 50 states are expected to also be using genetic sequencing for much more common causes of food poisoning outbreaks, including salmonella and the E. coli bacteria linked to recent lettuce outbreak.That means the number of identifiable outbreaks are likely to explode even if the number of illnesses don't."There are a lot of outbreaks where they don't connect the dots. Now they're going to be connected," said Michael Doyle, a retired University of Georgia professor who is an expert on foodborne illness.

Bill Gates and CowTech: Fix or replace our friends in the pasture?

Biofuels Digest | Posted on May 4, 2018

Cow-lovers can take heart in this report from about the Bill Gates Super Cow, which begins:BBC reported Friday that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will invest millions of dollars to promote “the health and productivity of livestock” through research by Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines. “For over a billion people living in the world’s poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty,” Gates said Friday. “You can sell the output, and that’s money for school fees. You can keep the output, and that’s diet diversification.” But here’s the flip side: a whole bunch of investments in cow replacement. Earlier this year Memphis Meats announced an investment from the venture capital arm of food industry leader Tyson Foods. Memphis Meats is a leader in the growing ‘clean meat’ or ‘cultured meat’ field, which focuses on producing real meat directly from animal cells, without the need to raise or process animals. The terms of the investment were not disclosed. Tyson Foods joins a diverse group of investors in Memphis Meats, which includes Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Cargill to continue developing delicious products, to accelerate its work in scaling up clean meat production, and to reduce production costs to levels comparable to – and ultimately below – conventional meat costs.The point of Memphis Meats is to, uh, replace the cow.

Clostridium can survice processing, infect humans

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 4, 2018

Clostridium perfringens, a cause of necrotic enteritis, can survive processing and pose a threat of foodborne illness in people, according to research conducted by the University of Montreal. C. perfringens can be more prevalent in birds raised without antibiotics, and over the past few years, especially in Canada, there appear to be more reports of human illness attributed to C. perfringens, said Marie-Lou Gaucher, a professor at the University of Montreal.