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Food News

The Epic Battle Between Breast Milk and Infant-Formula Companies

The Atlantic | Posted on July 12, 2018

When Trump administration officials opposed a WHO breast-feeding resolution, they followed a long history of policymakers listening to baby-formula manufacturers. American officials at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this spring wanted to modify a breastfeeding resolution, and they went to the mat to do it, threatening other countries unless they promised to drop it. The American delegates wanted to ditch language in the nonbinding resolution that called on governments to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of unhealthy food products. When that didn’t work, they threatened Ecuador, the country that intended to introduce the breastfeeding measure, with punitive trade and aid measures. Ultimately, it was Russia that agreed to introduce the breastfeeding resolution, and the U.S.’s efforts were “largely unsuccessful,”

Livestock feed accurately predicts toxic chemicals in food

Science Daily | Posted on July 12, 2018

Scientists have tracked the presence of a class of synthetic flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which were once a popular additive to increase fire resistance in consumer products such as electronics, textiles, and plastics.

Impossible Burger sets off debate in NZ

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 12, 2018

Air New Zealand announced this week that it would be the first airline to serve the Impossible Burger, as part of its Business Premier menu on selected flights from Los Angeles to Auckland — and immediately drew fire from that country’s Prime Minister and others.

Superheroes battle “veganism” in the U.K.

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 5, 2018

British meat processor ABP Food Group has rolled out a line of burgers and sausages based on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, intended to appeal to kids and steer them away from embracing vegan diets.

Nestle, Hershey at odds with farmers over U.S. GMO labeling

Reuters | Posted on July 5, 2018

The world’s top food companies and farmers of crops such as beet sugar are pitted against each other as they lobby the U.S. government over plans to label genetically engineered ingredients. At the heart of the issue is transparency over ingredients used in food. Packaged foods makers are facing flagging consumer trust and stagnating demand for some core products as consumers opt for foods with simpler ingredient lists. Many food companies want the government to require manufacturers to include on labels all ingredients that have been genetically modified, known as GMO. But farmers want the labels to exclude ingredients that have been so refined and processed that they no longer contain any trace of the transformed genes when they are used for food. “The law has been very clear that the required disclosure is going to be for those crops or ingredients that contain the genetic material,” said Luther Markwart, head of the American Sugar Beets Association in Washington. The entire U.S. sugar-beet crops is genetically engineered. “For things like sugar and other refined products that don’t contain the genetic material, the law does not apply to us,” Markwart said. But Nestle, which makes Stouffer’s frozen prepared foods and Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, and Hershey, whose confections include Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, disagree. “Consumers want to know what is in their food and beverages and we believe that they deserve transparency. It’s at the core of our business,” Nestle spokeswoman Kate Shaw said in an emailed statement, noting the company believes those highly refined ingredients should fall under the requirements.  Hershey’s global head of scientific and regulatory affairs, Martin Slayne, said labeling these ingredients is both important for consistency as well as for “meeting consumer expectations on transparency.”

Nut milk continues to be big business

Fast Company | Posted on July 5, 2018

Two years ago it was almond milk. More recently it became oat milk. Who knows what the milk alternative of the future will be? Whatever it is, these various milk alternatives continue to bring in the dollars, so it’s not terribly shocking that the companies behind these products are wooing investors.Today, for example, Califia Farms, which makes a series of plant-based food alternatives–namely nut milks–announced a new round of funding of over $5o million. The six-year-old company says it plans to expand its manufacturing and further build out its product lines.Dairy alternative growth is only expected to grow. One estimate says that sales of these products will hit $16.3 billion by the end of this year. And another forecast says the dairy alternative market will exceed $34 billion by 2024. Which is to say that investments like this latest one for Califia Farms are likely the result of investors trying to follow the trends.

CDC: Canal Water Started the Yuma-linked E. coli Outbreak

Growing Produce | Posted on July 5, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that it and partner agencies had made breakthroughs in its investigation of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak, linked to romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma-AZ area. The contamination stems from canal water, presumably used by multiple farms, since FDA also announced the tainted romaine was grown in several farms in the region.CDC, FDA, local and state agencies are still investigating how the canals came to be contaminated.

Meat alternatives take criticism — from environmentalists

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 5, 2018

A new report from Friends of the Earth calls into question the environmental benefits attributed to meat analogs and lab-grown animal products, and emphasizes the need for more research. “Second-generation, lab-created animal protein replacement products are not yet proven to be safe or sustainable by regulators or via transparent, independent third-party assessments. Rather, there are increasing concerns and questions that remain unanswered, and existing analyses show that these products may be problems masquerading as solutions,” the report said.

Impossible Burger and the Road to Consumer Distrust

EcoWatch | Posted on July 5, 2018

For anyone who wonders why consumers aren't inspired to trust the GMO industry, consider this bizarre statement from Impossible Foods Chief Communications Officer Rachel Konrad in defense of the Impossible Burger, a veggie burger made more meat-like via genetically engineered yeast.Konrad was upset by a June 27 Bloomberg article Is it too early for fake meat? that raised concerns about insufficient research, regulation and labeling in the realm of new food technologies.Konrad took to Medium, blasting critics of the Impossible Burger as "anti-science fundamentalists" and "setting the record straight" with information she sourced from chemical industry front groups and other unreliable anti-consumer messengers who regularly communicate inaccurate information about science. Konrad's article also links to a column by Ted Nordhaus, who sits on the board of the parent organization of Genetic Literacy Project, a chemical industry propaganda group that attacks cancer scientists as part of its role as an "industry partner" in Monsanto's public relations strategy to protect Roundup weed killer from cancer concerns.

The U.S. has too much milk on its hands — so its cheese stockpile just hit an all-time high

Regina Leader Post | Posted on July 5, 2018

The United States has amassed its largest stockpile of cheese in the 100 years since regulators began keeping tabs, the result of booming domestic production of milk and consumers’ waning interest in the dairy beverage.The 1.39 billion-pound stockpile, tallied by the Agriculture Department last week, represents a 6 percent increase over this time last year and a 16 percent increase since an earlier surplus prompted a federal cheese buy-up in 2016.Analysts say warehouse stocks have swelled because processors have too much milk on their hands, and milk is more easily stored as cheese. Demand has also fallen as school cafeterias close for the summer and restaurants wind down the cheesy specials they offer in the winter and early spring.