A new study reveals the full extent of globalization in the world's food supply. The researchers put together a series of interactives that visualize the results. The idea that crop plants have centers of origin, where they were originally domesticated, goes back to the 1920s and the great Russian plant explorer Nikolai Vavilov. He reasoned that the region where a crop had been domesticated would be marked by the greatest diversity of that crop, because farmers there would have been selecting different types for the longest time. Diversity, along with the presence of that crop's wild relatives, marked the center of origin.
Tyson Foods has named Tom Hayes president, a move reflecting the company’s increased emphasis on branded, packaged foods. Chief Executive Donnie Smith previously held the president title. Mr. Smith said in a statement that Mr. Hayes, who was chief commercial officer, has “played a key role in creating a united company and in our continued development of our branded products.” Mr. Hayes was chief supply chain officer at Hillshire Brands at the time of Tyson’s $7.7 billion purchase of Hillshire in 2014. Tyson picked up such brands as Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs in that deal, enhancing its position in higher-margin prepared foods.
While Meatless Monday supporters are busy trying spread the concept through schools, restaurants and other institutional food systems, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is busy trying to keep out of military cafeterias. Ernst is offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in an effort to head off future attempts to expand Meatless Mondays within the military. The amendment would eliminate the current Meatless Monday program at the Coast Guard Academy and ensure that all military personnel have access to animal protein on a daily basis.
USDA awarded $16.8 million in competitive grants to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Whole Foods Market Inc. has until the end of June to remedy “serious violations” discovered by federal regulators during a February inspection of a Massachusetts plant that supplies ready-to-eat products across the Northeast. On a long list of problems, FDA inspectors said they found foods like pesto pasta and mushroom quesadillas being prepared or stored in places where condensation was dripping from ceilings, a doorway and a fan. It said the company kept dirty dishes near food, didn’t supply hot water at some hand-washing sinks and allowed high-pressure hoses used for cleaning to spray into areas where foods like couscous and salad dressing were being prepared.
A new label on some of the steaks in your grocery store highlights a production process you may never have heard of: mechanical tenderizing. This means the beef has been punctured with blades or needles to break down the muscle fibers and make it easier to chew. But it also means the meat has a greater chance of being contaminated and making you sick. The labels are a requirement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that went into effect this week.
When I die, I want to come back as an organic chicken. Okay, not really, since I do not believe in reincarnation, but you have to admit the life of an organic chicken, as proposed by the USDA, is a darn site better than the living conditions of many people today. According to the rules laid out in the proposed USDA organic livestock rule, the lifestyle of an organic chicken will be comfortable, enjoyable, intellectually stimulating, and stress free. This lifestyle comes at a price, however, but a price that will be paid by the producer and the consumer. Working hand-in-hand with organic producers and animal rights activists, the micromanaging bureaucrats at the USDA crafted a new set of standards for certified organic livestock operations. The opinion of USDA and of many in the organic industry is that the current rules are too general and that more specific and restrictive guidelines are needed. This is because, when you put organic chicken in the meat case or organic eggs in the cooler alongside conventionally produced products that are half the price of the organic items, you can’t tell them apart by looks, taste, or almost any other means. The USDA admits in its proposed rule that the standards are a marketing ploy.According to the proposed rule, organic poultry will live a short but idyllic life,It even call for farmers to provide incentives to get the birds to take advantage of the outdoor life.
The number of grocery stores, restaurant chains, foodservice companies, food processors and travel companies to commit to a 100-percent cage-free egg supply has continued to grow. Since an infographic listing the companies that in 2016 committed to commit to use, serve and sell only cage-free eggs was published on WATTAgNet in April 27, 30 more companies have announced similar commitments. The infographic has been updated to include all companies to make cage-free pledges so far in 2016.
ERS research in 2005-06 found that organic premiums ranged from about 15 percent for onions and carrots to about 109 percent for skim milk. A recent ERS study set out to determine what price premiums consumers are paying for organic foods and whether those premiums are declining over time. In estimating the retail price difference between 17 organic products and their nonorganic counterparts from 2004 to 2010, the researchers found that all organic products were more costly than their nonorganic counterparts and that the premium was above 20 percent for all but spinach. Most premiums did not steadily increase or decrease during the 7 years studied, but fluctuated. Of the 17 products examined, only 4—spinach, canned beans, granola, and coffee—saw premiums generally decline. Only strained baby food’s and yogurt’s price premiums generally increased. Product-specific supply and demand factors help explain some of the differences among the estimated organic price premiums for the 17 products.
Earlier this spring, the U.S. won a large majority of the medals awarded at the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest, proving that it can compete with the world’s best cheeses. Expert judges from 16 different countries critiqued 2,959 cheeses from 23 countries. Only 330 cheeses, or 11%, won medals, and three out of four medal winners were from the U.S. For the first time since 1988, the top award in the contest went to a U.S. cheese — a smear-ripened hard cheese from Emmi Roth USA, located in south-central Wisconsin. The World Championship Cheese Contest is held on an every-other-year basis. Based on medals, the U.S. cheese is good and getting even better. In 2012, the U.S. took home 65.9% of the medals; in 2014, 69.3%, and in 2016, 74.8%.