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Food News

Raw milk dairy’s defiance prompts WSDA’s health alert

Capital Press | Posted on October 4, 2017

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has issued a rare health alert, advising consumers to not drink raw milk from a dairy that refused to halt production pending an investigation into why its milk tested positive for salmonella. Pride & Joy Dairy of Toppenish maintains that its milk is safe, though the owner said Tuesday that most retailers have stopped selling it.“The impact is horrible,” said Cheryl Voortman, who owns the dairy with her husband, Allen. “It’s killing us, inch by inch.”WSDA reported detecting salmonella Sept. 27 during a routine monthly sampling of raw milk from Pride & Joy. The next day, the dairy declined WSDA’s request to suspend production. The dairy stated in a Facebook post that it was being “targeted again.”

FDA Inspector General Report on Progress of FSMA Inspections

OFW Law | Posted on October 4, 2017

On September 28, 2017, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its internal report on the agency’s domestic food facility inspections: Challenges Remain in FDA’s Inspections of Domestic Food Facilities (the Report).  The Report concluded that FDA is on track to meet the initial domestic food facility inspection timeframes mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  But the Report’s key takeaway was: “FDA should do more to ensure that the food supply is safe by taking swift and effective action to ensure the prompt correction of problems identified at domestic food facilities.”

FDA Not Doing Enough To Fix Serious Food Safety Violations, Report Finds

NPR | Posted on October 2, 2017

For instance, FDA often relies on facilities to voluntarily correct violations, which can be ineffective.the report concludes that the FDA "consistently failed to conduct timely followup inspections to ensure that facilities corrected significant inspection violations." And in 17 percent of cases, the FDA did not conduct a follow-up inspection at all. Also, in some instances where inspectors found significant violations, the FDA took no enforcement action.The Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2011, aims to ensure a prevention-oriented approach to food safety. The law gave FDA new enforcement authority so the agency could better respond to problems. But the new report concludes that the FDA has rarely taken advantage of these new tools."We think FDA really needs to do more to take swift and effective action" to ensure that safety problems at food facilities are fixed promptly, Seife says.

The post-antibiotic era is here, now what?

WIRED | Posted on September 28, 2017


Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is both natural and inevitable. By the luck of the draw, a few bacteria will have genes that protect them from drugs, and they’ll pass those genes around—not just to their progeny, but sometimes to their neighbors too. Now, computational epidemiologists are finally getting the data and processing to model that phenomenon. But no one’s using these tools to predict the end of the antibiotic era—because it’s already here. Instead, they’re focusing their efforts on understanding how soon resistant bacteria could be in the majority, and what, if anything, doctors can do to stop them.

How 'corpsumers' are changing the way people shop

Consumer Affairs | Posted on September 28, 2017

Since the early 2000’s, retailers like TOMS have popularized the concept of a company whose brand identity centers on philanthropy and responsible use of resources. Now, public relations firm MWWPR says they’ve inspired a new type of buyer that’s dominating the U.S. consumer landscape: the “corpsumer”. The firm’s study describes this group as shoppers who care as much about company reputation or ethical stance as product quality or value, and they account for a whopping one-third of the U.S. population; approximately 100 million people.This consumer segment is “bigger than so many of the segments that brands target -- bigger than millennials, bigger than moms,” said MWWPR chief strategy officer Careen Winters.A key characteristic of this group is strongly-held values. Corpsumers are fiercely loyal to companies with values and priorities similar to their own. More than half (51 percent) will stick with a product that has disappointed them because they believe in what the company stands for.

“Clean meat”: What’s in a name?

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 28, 2017

Lab-grown food products intended to replace conventionally-raised meat and poultry have been generating buzz lately due to increasing efforts by activist groups such as ‘The Good Food Institute’ – one of the new kids on the block. These products aren’t really a concern in and of themselves. They offer choices to consumers in the marketplace, which is always a good thing. Given the forecasts that food production will need to double by 2050, lab grown meat can also be an additional way to help meet that demand. The fact that meat industry players like Cargill and Tyson have invested in meat alternative startups should reflect that the meat industry isn’t exactly running scared.As always, the devil is in the marketing with activist groups pushing the moniker of “clean meat” in place of “lab grown” or “cultured.” This term is clearly an attempt to first imply that conventionally produced meat is “dirty” by comparison and second to distance the product from the technology used to produce it (since we know from the GMO debate that consumer reactions to technology in food production are mixed at best).

China postpones food import controls after global outcry

ABC news | Posted on September 28, 2017

China has delayed enforcing sweeping new controls on food imports following complaints by the United States, Europe and other trading partners that they would disrupt billions of dollars in trade. Rules requiring each food shipment to have an inspection certificate from a foreign government were due to take effect Sunday. But Beijing has decided to grant a transitional period of two years following comments by other governments, according to a document submitted to the World Trade Organization. It gave no details, but the delay might help avert concerns that shipments of meat, fruit, dairy and other products could be disrupted, hurting thousands of farmers and food processors who look to China as a key growth market.The dispute added to trade tensions with the United States and Europe, which complain that low-priced exports of Chinese steel and aluminum are hurting foreign competitors and threatening jobs.

Cereal maker to acquire Bob Evans Farms

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 28, 2017

Cereal maker Post Holdings announced it will acquire Bob Evans Farms Inc. in a $1.5 billion deal to gain a presence in the breakfast sausage category and strengthen its position overall in the higher-growth packaged foods market.

Pregnant women warned against cows’ milk alternatives such as soya or almond milk

I News | Posted on September 27, 2017

Popular alternatives to cow’s milk such as soya or almond milk may leave consumers at risk of iodine deficiency, a study has found. UK researchers examined the iodine contents of 47 milk-alternative drinks including soya, almond, coconut, oat, rice, hazelnut and hemp, but excluding those marketed specifically at infants and children, and compared them with that of cows’ milk.Popular alternatives to cow’s milk such as soya or almond milk may leave consumers at risk of iodine deficiency, a study has found. 


Taking aim at food waste, companies plan to simplify expiration labels

Reuters | Posted on September 21, 2017

Some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies including Kellogg Co and Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday they will simplify food expiration labels in an effort to eliminate confusion that contributes to food waste. Standardized labeling will use a single expiration date on perishable items and a single quality indicator for non-perishable items, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) announced.Confusion over expiration labels costs families up to $29 billion annually in the United States alone, according to CGF, which represents some 400 of the world’s largest retailers and manufacturers from 70 countries.