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California can't require warning labels for glyphosate, judge affirms

Agri-Pulse | Posted on June 13, 2018

alifornia cannot require companies to place warning labels on glyphosate products, a federal judge affirmed in a ruling issued Tuesday that questions the benefits of Proposition 65, which is meant to inform the state’s residents about cancer-causing chemicals. “Given the evidence in the record, the court questions whether California has shown that requiring a Proposition 65 warning for glyphosate directly advances the law’s stated interest in informing Californians about exposures to chemicals that cause cancer,” U.S. District Judge William Shubb in Sacramento said in his order upholding a preliminary injunction he issued in February.

A stampede of meatless products overrun grocery store meat cases

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on June 12, 2018

The “Beyond Meat” patties that offended Mr. Kendig were made with pea protein, canola oil, coconut oil, potato starch and “natural flavor.” They’re part of a posse of look-alikes invading meat country—from plant-based burgers that ooze “blood” at first bite to chicken strips grown in a tank from poultry cells. High-tech startups are building burgers from plant proteins and compounds that grill and taste more like the real thing than old-fashioned veggie burgers.Other firms are using cell-culture technology to grow animal muscle tissue—otherwise known as meat—in stainless steel bioreactor tanks, similar to the fermentors used to brew beer.Even dairy cows are feeling the squeeze, with consumer milk sales threatened by an ocean of substitute “milk” made from nuts, peas and oats. The National Milk Producers Federation has protested beverages made from potato, pistachio, duckweed, canary grass seed and other greenery bearing the “milk” moniker.Cattlemen and dairy farmers are saddling up, and lawyering up, in response. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association has petitioned the Agriculture Department to bar plant-based products from bearing labels that say “beef” or “meat,” with similar restrictions on meat grown from animal cells.


Mars Is Betting Greener Chocolate Bars Will Be Great for Profit

Bloomberg | Posted on June 11, 2018

Mars Inc., the maker of its namesake chocolate bar and Wrigley’s chewing gum, is spending $1 billion on sustainability with a strategy to make greener practices increase profits. Mars is working to reduce its exposure to environmental, social and governance risks, known as ESG, because it’s next to impossible to track exactly where the huge amounts of raw materials that it uses are from, according to Parkin. The company buys 0.2 percent of the world’s palm oil, sourcing it from thousands of mills.

Good messaging can shift consumer purchase intentions

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 11, 2018

A recent survey of U.S. consumers about their purchase intentions and willingness to pay premiums for cage-free eggs and breast meat from slow-growing broilers showed that willingness to pay a premium could be affected by information provided to consumers as part of the survey. Information from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and from the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply study each impacted willingness to pay a premium for cage-free eggs, but in opposite directions. The results of these consumer studies, which were conducted on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute, Animal Agriculture Alliance and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, are summarized in the article, "Cage-free eggs, slow-growth broilers: Will consumers pay?," in the June 2018 issue of Egg Industry. These studies once again show how little consumers know about current U.S. poultry husbandry practices. They also demonstrate that messaging crafted to educate consumers on how these birds are raised and housed can influence self-reported willingness to pay a premium for either cage-free eggs or breast meat from slow-growing broilers.

Pork Secure Supply Plan detailed

Pork Business | Posted on June 8, 2018

The National Pork Board and USDA are working to create a Secure Pork Supply plan to help lower the disruption to producers and the marketplace if a foreign animal disease (FAD) event occurs. The plan is intended to help pig farmers prepare and quickly respond if an FAD occurs, and is similar to plans in development for other livestock and poultry producers. The plan enhances communication and coordination of all pork chain segments to help producers keep their farms operating and all related business activities functioning. Currently that plan is being made into producer workbooks that will be available early 2018.

Mexico sets pace for record pork exports in April

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 8, 2018

Mexico was the pacesetter for pork exports in April, with volume up 34 percent from a year ago to 79,019 metric tons, according to data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Accurate labels act introduced in Congress

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 8, 2018

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and U.S. Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) on Thursday introduced the Accurate Labels Act, bipartisan legislation to provide consumers with clear nutrition information and prevent the issuance of inaccurate, misleading labels. The act would ensure that consumers have access to accurate and easy-to-understand product information by: Establishing science-based criteria for all additional state and local labeling requirements; Allowing state-mandated product information to be provided through smartphone-enabled “smart labels” and on websites, where consumers can find up-to-date, relevant ingredients and warnings; and Ensuring that covered product information is risk-based.

Ag-Blockchain Nexus Growing

DTN | Posted on May 31, 2018

Investigators at the Food and Drug Administration spent the past two months trying to track the source of romaine lettuce linked to 172 confirmed illnesses, 75 hospitalizations and at least one death. The FDA found at least one Arizona farm involved but agency investigators can't confirm if all of the illnesses came from one grower, harvester, processor or distributor. They are still looking. Several consumer groups wrote the FDA last week pressing the agency to propose rules for "comprehensive and rapid traceability of produce, including leafy greens." The groups noted FDA has struggled in the past to find the source of outbreaks."This failure to fully solve this outbreak comes on the heels of another unsolved E. coli outbreak linked to leafy greens last fall," the groups wrote.Among the solutions, the consumer groups wrote to FDA, is blockchain technology. While FDA is taking months to find the source of a food outbreak, retailers and others have traced products from the store back to the farm in as little as 2.2 seconds.

How chicken feet became a crucial item in the U.S.-China trade talks

Observer | Posted on May 30, 2018

Every year, Americans eat over nine billion chickens. That means about 18 billion chicken feet, as well as tons of heads and chicken giblets, end up in trash bins every year. For years, that waste has been partly offset by a huge demand for chicken parts in China, where chicken feet are a popular ingredient in various dishes and snacks.To get a sense of the significance of the matter, chicken feet are now playing a critical role in the difficult trade talks between the two countries. When U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Ted McKinney visits Beijing this week, his top priority will be pushing China to drop a ban on U.S. poultry imports, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.China consumes the largest amount of chicken feet in the world, eating more than what the country can produce itself. Every year, China imports about $1 billion of poultry; chicken feet alone account for 60 percent, or 300,000 tons.

Americans are trashing perfectly good food – will better labeling minimize the waste?

KUTV | Posted on May 30, 2018

If the food in your fridge is expired, you'd likely throw it out. But a Get Gephardt investigation finds that, in doing so, you are likely trashing perfectly good food. At the center of the problem is confusion over what the “expiration dates” printed on food actually mean, experts say.The confusion is understandable. The labels don't seem to have any consistency.Taking a day for 'investigative shopping' around several local grocery stores, on packaged food, Get Gephardt found a date was almost always printed. But that date was preceded by a gambit of words and phrases.Shoppers will see “Sell by,” “Use by,” “Eat by, “Expires on,” “Enjoy by, “Best before, “Guaranteed fresh,” as well as other phrases – or sometimes just the date printed all by it’s lonesome.