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Food News

How Connecticut plans to reduce food waste, both on the farm and at home

Daily Campus | Posted on September 15, 2016

Allowing homely fruits and vegetables to compost in the field has some benefits, but many of Connecticut’s 6,000 farms are choosing to process sub-standard produce into wine, jellies and pickeled goods, in addition to donating leftovers to food banks. “We’ll take ugly fruit, there’s nothing wrong with it,” James Arena-DeRosa, president and CEO of Foodshare, told students. Foodshare moves over six million pounds of donated shelf stable and perishable food into Connecticut communities every year, Arena-DeRosa said.   Christine Rice, clinical fellow at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, said the program has been looking into the legal barriers to food recovery for over five years now. She said liability concerns often prevent grocery stores, restaurants and manufacturers from donating. Inconsistent labeling between states also leads to many consumers trashing perfectly good food, Rice said. According to the clinic’s research, up to 84 percent of people have thrown away food past it’s supposed expiration date regardless of whether or not it was still edible.

Pew: U.S. must adopt on-farm pathogen monitoring

Pew Trusts | Posted on September 13, 2016

The United States must embrace on-farm pathogen monitoring by regulators as part of its strategy to prevent foodborne illnesses, Pew Charitable Trusts argues. Scores of sickness-causing microbes - including new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria - could arise undetected unless regulators have greater access to farms and feedlots, enabling scientists to better understand how pathogens evolve, Pew says in its report. The report, which examines health safety threats in meat production, calls for several other specific changes, too, including an expansion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's antimicrobial resistance monitoring system to test farm animals and meat on store shelves. It also calls for collecting more data on antibiotics use in livestock. "Regulatory reform in particular is warranted to enable food safety agencies to monitor and address risks to the food supply beyond those occurring during slaughter or processing, in particular those originating on farms or feedlots," the report says.  Most of Pew's suggestions would greatly expand the reach of government into private agriculture businesses - a proposition that is sure to vex many livestock growers already facing the crush of low prices and a needy consumer base. But the authors of the report say that such preventative efforts could save lives down the road.

Researchers debunk 'five-second rule'

Feedstuffs | Posted on September 13, 2016

It turns out that bacteria may transfer to food that has fallen on the floor no matter how fast you pick it up. Rutgers University researchers disproved the widely accepted notion that it's okay to scoop up food and eat it within a "safe" five-second window. Donald Schaffner, Rutgers professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, the type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. The researchers tested four surfaces — stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet — and four different foods: watermelon, bread, bread and butter and gummy candy. They also looked at four different contact times: less than one second, five seconds, 30 seconds and 300 seconds. They used two media — tryptic soy broth or peptone buffer — to grow Enterobacter aerogenes, a non-pathogenic "cousin" of salmonella that occurs naturally in the human digestive system.

Sanderson Farms clarifying chicken

Meat + Poultry | Posted on September 13, 2016

Chicken processor Sanderson Farms is launching a marketing program to educate consumers about the use of antibiotics in poultry production, and attempting to bring clarity to a complicated subject that is sometimes characterized in simplistic and apocalyptic terms by critics. This effort merits close attention. The Sanderson Farms campaign features print, radio and television marketing materials that will run in the 24 US media markets where the company’s products are sold. The budget supporting the initial launch is between $5 million and $6 million. When asked by a financial analyst on Aug. 25 how long the program will run, Joe Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, simply said, “… it is permanent. We feel like we have to do it to support our retailers and, based on the response we have gotten, we’re going to continue it for the foreseeable future.”

Percent of Income Spent on Food Falls as Income Rises

USDA - Amber Waves | Posted on September 12, 2016

Over the past two and a half decades, U.S. households in the lowest income quintile spent between 29 and 43 percent of their annual before-tax income on food, compared with 7 to 9 percent spent by households in the highest income quintile.

Setting sights on bison

Meat + Poultry | Posted on September 8, 2016

Dan O’Brien, owner of Wild Idea Buffalo Co., has used his experiences in cattle ranching, nature conservancy and academia to create a unique livestock production business model that not only addresses animal welfare, but also land conservation and bolstering the historic American bison herd back to its once thriving state. Mobile slaughter coupled with a marksman carrying a 30-06 rifle with a special cartridge, work in conjunction to produce and process 100 percent grass-fed and stress-free bison, but that’s just a piece of O’Brien’s overall vision.

3D printing could be key to creating authentic-tasting cow's milk, without the cows | Posted on September 8, 2016

3D printing has a whole host of use cases, but one that you might not previously have thought of is the use of additive manufacturing to create cow’s milk — minus the cows.  That’s the mission statement of a startup called Perfect Day Foods, founded by two twenty-something biomedical scientists. The firm has so far raised $4 million from investors. Perfect Day’s plan? To create a lactose-free milk substitute that’s a whole lot closer to the real thing than existing milk substitutes.

PETA thinks beer is healthier than milk

PETA | Posted on September 8, 2016

Following news that the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been ranked the nation’s top party school, PETA is negotiating with outdoor advertisers to display an ad on bus stops near the campus noting that a side-by-side comparison shows that beer, not milk, protects bone and heart health. The ad reads, “Got Beer? It’s Official: Beer Is Better for You Than Milk”—and cites scientific studies that make the case.

Poultry experts say eggs laid by vegan chickens are still eggs

Herald News | Posted on September 8, 2016

A vegan hen will not lay a green, leafy egg. In Canada, that simple truth may have been successfully blurred by fast food giant A&W, which two years ago began advertising that the eggs it serves at breakfast are laid by hens fed a diet of vegetables, grains and vitamins, as part of its campaign to promote “higher standard” ingredients. “What better way to rise and shine in the morning?” the Canadian chain asks on its website. The message is echoed on signs at its 25 restaurants in Nova Scotia, next to the food counters and the drive-thru speakers.  Those signs touched off a recent conversation on social media among egg producers here.  And Nova Scotia poultry experts say no matter how many vegetables a hen eats, an egg is still an egg.  Dr. Bruce Rathgeber is a poultry researcher at Dalhousie University. He confirmed that a vegetarian diet does not change the nutritional content of an egg.

Activist investor buys Chipotle stake, seeks more value

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on September 8, 2016

The hedge fund run by activist investor Bill Ackman has taken a 9.9-percent stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill, saying the fast-casual restaurant chain is undervalued. Pershing Square Capital Management said in a regulatory filing it intends to have discussions with Chipotle’s management and board that may relate to the Denver-based company’s governance, board composition, operations, cost structure, assets, financial condition and strategic plans.