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USDA, Virginia Tech explore a world without food animals

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 29, 2017

What would happen if U.S. farmers stopped producing animals for food and Americans went vegan? Noting some have called for a move toward veganism to address concerns about U.S. health, eating habits and climate change, researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech set out to explore the nutritional and greenhouse gas impacts of removing animals from U.S. agriculture.They found that a complete shift away from food animal production would present major challenges to meeting America's nutritional needs. With no meat, milk, eggs, fish or cheese in the American diet, the U.S. population would not receive enough of several different essential dietary nutrients from the foods they eat, according to the study results. Eliminating food animals would increase deficiencies in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and some important fatty acids. Fatty acids help to reduce cardiovascular disease and improve cognitive function and vision in infants. Animal food products are the only available, non-supplemental sources of some fatty acids and vitamin B12.A plant-only diet also would require individuals to eat more food and more daily calories to meet their nutritional needs because the available foods from plants are not as nutrient dense as foods from animals, the researchers said.

Raw milk firm linked to Brucella illness in New Jersey

edairynews | Posted on November 21, 2017

Udder Milk’s product has been linked to one illness. A North Jersey woman tested positive for Brucella RB51 infection but has recovered. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department’s Public Health and Food Protection Program, with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, are investigating to determine the suppliers.

Are there antibiotics in my meat? Let’s clear the confusion

Huffington Post | Posted on November 16, 2017

I was stunned to hear a mother express guilt about being “unable to afford meat that doesn’t have antibiotics in it.”I wondered how many parents who are trying to provide the best for their children have the misconception that their kids are consuming large doses of antibiotics because they can’t afford meat labeled “antibiotic free.”One look at common questions being asked on Internet search engines tells us this misconception is distressingly common: “Are there antibiotics in my meat?” “Why is it bad to eat meat with antibiotics?”There is one undeniable fact that should bring comfort to parents trying to provide safe, healthy meals for their families on a budget: multiple safeguards are in place to ensure the meat we buy in the grocery store – regardless of the label – is safe.Before an antibiotic is ever approved for use in animals, it must go through a rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. The process begins with testing to determine how long an antibiotic remains in an animal’s body, which is called the withdrawal period. Withdrawal periods are required by law. Animals cannot be processed until the drug, in this case the antibiotic, has cleared from their bodies.Additional studies are conducted to assess the potential for the development of resistant bacteria and to examine whether public health could be affected by using the antibiotic in animals.On top of that, food companies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) routinely test meat during processing to confirm there are no unsafe antibiotic residues. This is true for all meat. With or without an “antibiotic free” label.So, parents take heart. Whether the meat you buy is labeled “antibiotic free” or not, its safety is confirmed by extensive studies, mandatory withdrawal periods, and routine testing to ensure there are no unsafe antibiotic residues.

Be especially thankful for organic turkey

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 16, 2017

Butterball, the largest turkey producer in the United States, has quietly entered the organic turkey market in time for the Thanksgiving holiday next week. It did so with so little fanfare that unless you are a reader of USA Today, you probably didn’t know the company even got involved with organic turkey production.Why didn’t Butterball shout it out loud and proud to all of the consumers who are preparing to put a turkey on the table on November 23? The reason is simple: “We want to (avoid) a situation where we’re overselling what we produce,” Butterball Chief Operating Officer Jay Jandrain told USA Today.The company had previously released products from turkeys raised without antibiotics through its Farm-to-Family line. But this will be the first year that organic Butterball products will be available for people who value that organic label.For me, it really won’t matter what is on the table or how that food was raised. I’ll simply be thankful that we all have something to eat. That’s something that’s a struggle for so many people.However, in the United States there is enough wealth that there are people who have the luxury of consuming niche’ products like antibiotic-free or organic turkey meat and the ability pay a premium price for them. That’s certainly something for which to be thankful.

McCartney’s Meatless Monday movie

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 16, 2017

Sir Paul McCartney is a gifted musical artist.  In his former Beatles life as well as in his solo career, he has always been at the top of the popular musical scene even now at the tender age of 75.  After meeting his future wife Linda, a vegan, he joined her in that gastronomic choice.  Now, however, he is proselyting for others to join him in this vegan lifestyle by promoting a new movie that extolls the virtues of a non-meat eating day per week. Ok, my concern isn’t the movie.  After having viewed it a few times, I can say that it is professionally produced, but factually disingenuous.  However, it is provocative because of its hyperbolic, in fact, incendiary statements.  Sir Paul, his daughters, plus Woody and Emma ask you throughout the movie to simply avoid eating meat for only one day a week. On its surface, such an appeal seems quite innocent and plausible.  I mean we can do anything for only one day a week can’t we?No, my concern is the movie’s underlying premise that meat is not only bad for you but animal agriculture is the progenitor of the earth’s atmospheric destruction.  Holy cow!  Cow burps and farts are the principal cause of the hole in the ozone?  Give me a break.  But there’s more.

Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner: traceable turkeys

Abilene Reporter News | Posted on November 16, 2017

Turkey buyers in select Texas markets will be able to either text or enter on the Honeysuckle White website the code found on the tag on the packaged bird to find out where it was raised and get information about the farm's location, view farm photos and read the farmer's message. "What traceability does is just allow us to connect with the consumer," Glaser said. "And I think over time there has been a disconnect. People have kind of lost where their food comes from and this is a way to re-establish that line of communication."

Our Meatless Future: How The $90B Global Meat Market Gets Disrupted

CB Insights | Posted on November 16, 2017

Will a meatless food industry featuring lab-grown meat, seafood substitutes, and insect protein be the future of food? Food giants from Tyson to Cargill are working to navigate a future where protein isn't dominated by traditional animal sources. At the moment, meat is still king.By some estimates, 30% of the calories consumed globally by humans come from meat products, including beef, chicken, and pork.That translates to staggering numbers of animals grown for food: there are over 30 million head of beef cows in the US, and 21 million pigs in Iowa alone.Together, the 7 largest meat companies combine for over $71B in market capitalization, with the largest, Tyson, boasting a $26B valuation.Meanwhile, startups using technology to engineer meat in labs or manufacture it from plant-based products are rising in popularity. Meatless food products from beef-free burgers to pea-based shrimp threaten the future of the meat giants.In addition to offering new products, these startups have the potential to upend all parts of the meat production process.Going forward, the meat value chain could be simplified dramatically, as the “clean meat” lab or factory could take the place of farms, feed lots, and slaughterhouses.

New Jersey orders Udder Milk to stop illegally selling raw milk

Food Safety News | Posted on November 15, 2017

Public health officials have ordered a New Jersey company to cease and desist its illegal sales of unpasteurized, raw milk following confirmation that a woman who drank it was infected with antibiotic-resistant brucellosis. The New Jersey Department of Health issued cease-and-desist orders to Udder Milk on Friday, but did not post the news on is website until Monday. Neither the state health department nor the Udder Milk website indicated where the delivery business is located. No business entities named Udder Milk are listed with the New Jersey or New York secretaries of state offices.

Dairy Farmers of America breaks ground on new plant in Kansas

Dairy Farmers of America | Posted on November 15, 2017

Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) officially announced plans to build a dairy ingredients plant in Garden City, Kansas. In a ceremony at its 156-acre site in Garden City, representatives from the Cooperative were joined by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, city and state officials and the area’s dairy farmers to break ground on the facility. The state-of-the-art plant will produce whole, skim and nonfat dry milk powder, as well as cream, and is a partnership between DFA and 12 of its member farms in Southwest Kansas.

Minnesota farm capitalizes on growing demand for local, free-range poultry products

The Country Today | Posted on November 14, 2017

There doesn’t seem to be much of a slow season at Ferndale Market, but there’s most certainly a busy season. As Thanksgiving approaches, the feathers really fly. “It’s our time to make things happen,” said John Peterson, 37, who represents the third generation to raise turkeys his the family’s farm near Cannon Falls, Minn. John estimates they will sell about 30,000 fresh and frozen Thanksgiving turkeys this season, both straight off the farm and through retailers and restaurants across the Upper Midwest.The Peterson family has carved out a distinct niche for themselves among consumers seeking an alternative poultry product, raised on grass and without antibiotics and growth promotants.“They’re grateful that we’re doing it different,” John said. “Most consumers don’t really know where the frozen turkey in the grocery store came from and how it was raised.”People — hundreds of them a day in the weeks just before Thanksgiving — flock to the Petersons’ on-farm retail store, along U.S. Highway 52 between the Twin Cities and Rochester, Minn. They enjoy seeing exactly where their turkey was raised.