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Senator looks to get to the military before Meatless Monday does

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.

$16.8 Million In Grants Awarded To Encourage Healthy Food Purchases For SNAP Participants

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.

FDA warns Whole Foods over ‘serious violations’ in prepared foods

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.

New Labels Warn That A Tender Steak Could Be A Little Dangerous

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.

Keeping Chickens and Consumers Happy

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.

Cage-free egg pledges continue in May

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.

Investigating Retail Price Premiums for Organic Foods

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.

U.S. cheese among world's best

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.

Chicken Council seeks mandatory labeling on frozen chicken products

In an effort to ensure safe eating experiences and address potential consumer confusion, the National Chicken Council (NCC) petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) for mandatory labeling of raw, stuffed chicken products that may appear cooked and ready to eat (RTE). These raw chicken products, typically sold frozen, include items such as breaded, pre-browned chicken cordon bleu, chicken Kiev and chicken stuffed with broccoli and cheese

“Voluntary” FDA Sodium Targets May Bind Food Companies

FDA yesterday released so-called “voluntary” targets for sodium reduction for 150 categories of foods.  A spreadsheet issued by the agency details baseline sodium content for each of the categories and lists short-term and long-term targets. The agency says it "recognizes the important role of sodium in food for microbial safety, stability, and other functions . . .


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