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Food News

Italy demands origin labels for pasta and rice

Reuters | Posted on July 26, 2017

All packets of pasta and rice sold in Italy will have to include labels of origin showing where the produce was grown, the government ruled on Thursday, in a move it said was aimed at protecting local farmers. The agriculture and industry ministers signed a decree ordering the new labeling policy, saying it would run in an experimental fashion for two years, and criticizing the European Union for not introducing the measure across the 28-nation bloc.

‘Meatless Mondays’ get cut from high school menus

Camarillo Acorn | Posted on July 26, 2017

They called it “Meatless Mondays.” But the all-vegetarian lunch menu offered once a week at Oxnard Union High School District campuses since 2015 was never a big hit with students, officials said.“Vegetarian Day was the lowest participation day” among students eating in OUSHD cafeterias, Stephanie Gillenberg, nutrition services director, told school board members at a recent meeting.Now, “Meatless Mondays,” which this past school year was offered on Fridays, is out.School board members decided June 26 to eliminate the no-meat menu for the next school year as part of cost-saving measures aimed at reining in OUHSD’s more than $4-million annual nutrition services budget.The changes are designed to increase the number of students who buy lunch at school and close a $2-million deficit in the nutrition budget.“We have room for more kids to start eating in our cafeterias,” said Jeff Baarstad, an operations consultant for the district.

Movie ‘What The Health’ claims get debunked

Animal Ag Alliance | Posted on July 26, 2017

Some determined activists will say almost anything to convince people to go vegan. One example of this is “What The Health,” a film you might have seen while scrolling through Netflix. If you’ve watched the movie, it may have left you feeling confused about the nutritional value of meat, milk, poultry and eggs. Several scientists, dietitians and agriculture advocates have started speaking out against the film and helping viewers find factual information to make decisions about their diets. Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise analyzed each health claim made in the film and concluded that 96 percent were bogus and not based on sound science. Dr. Harriet Hall, a retired family physician says the film “cherry-picks scientific studies, exaggerates, makes claims that are untrue, relies on testimonials and interviews with questionable “experts,” and fails to put the evidence into perspective.”

Millennials spend more on necessities than older generations

USA Today | Posted on July 25, 2017

There's plenty of speculation out there about why Millennials aren’t buying homes, investing in the stock market or even buying diamonds. But a new report found that Millennials spend significantly more on necessities like groceries and gas than older generations.On average, people between the ages of 18 and 36 spend $2,300 more per year on groceries, gas, restaurants, and cellphone bills than those who are 37 and older, according to a study from the other hand, Millennials spend $1,130 less on travel and television than their elders.

An open letter to animal welfare activists

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 20, 2017

If you are truly concerned about the welfare of animals and the quality of their lives, you should start thinking globally. If you’re sincere about your love for animals, you should make every attempt to go to the animals that are in the most deplorable situations and work hard to improve their conditions. The United States, in comparison to almost any other country, already has such high animal welfare standards that your efforts here can only make an infinitesimally tiny impact toward your stated animal welfare goals. Temple Grandin and others like her have already done most of the lifting in this country, so there’s generally not much more you can do to improve animal welfare here.But you can find plenty of other countries where you could make a more significant impact.Exciting news: it’s time for you to travel…

What happens when milk needs to be dumped?

Superior Telegram | Posted on July 20, 2017

Last year, a little more than 2 million gallons of milk from the region including Wisconsin and Minnesota were dumped, according to data from the Federal Milk Marketing Order. That’s enough to fill three Olympic-size swimming pools. But, the amount of milk dumped each year is small compared to total production. Last year, Wisconsin cows produced more than 3 billion gallons of milk, second only to California. So what actually happens to the milk that's dumped? It’s not just poured down the drain, explained Brian Holmes, professor emeritus of biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, because milk can actually cause farmers’ wastewater systems to fail."The fats would float to the surface and that creates that cake," he said. "A drain field relies on infiltrating the water into the soil, and all those milk proteins and sugars and some of that fats will seal up the soil so that the liquid can't drain into the soil." Often the best thing to do is to load the milk onto a manure spreader and spread it over a farm field. Holmes said it’s still important to be careful not to apply too much too quickly."You might have a runoff situation," he said. "And if it runs off and gets into a stream, then you'd be in trouble with contaminating a stream."

Panera Bread Takes A Page From Food Babe's Playbook

American Council on Science and Health | Posted on July 20, 2017

ani Hari, the infamous "Food Babe" who says that we shouldn't eat anything that we can't pronounce, has a new emulator: Panera Bread. It pains me to write this article because I love Panera Bread. They know me by my name at the restaurant at which I typically eat. However, their management and marketing team have decided that mocking science is the best way to sell food, and this loyal customer is going to fight back.A few years ago, Panera launched a "clean food" campaign. That sounds innocent, but the implication is clear: Our food is clean, and their food is dirty. Scaring people about the safety of our food supply is a dishonest tactic shamelessly deployed by organic activists and companies such as Whole Foods and Chipotle. In both cases, that strategy backfired. The very companies that Whole Foods accused of selling dirty food are now beating Whole Foods at its own game. And things went even worse for Chipotle. After it bragged about going GMO-free, Chipotle poisoned its customers with E. coliSalmonella, and Norovirus. So, from a purely strategic viewpoint, Panera is making a huge, unnecessary gamble. If and when a food poisoning outbreak happens at one of their restaurants, it's going to make their "clean food" campaign a target of derision. Now, Panera Bread has decided to up their anti-science tactics. On Twitter, they are mocking big, scary-sounding words from chemistry -- a page straight out of the Food Babe's playbook.They are taking aim at butylated hydroxyanisole, more commonly known as BHA, a widespread artificial preservative. Is there anything wrong with BHA? No. The FDA says it's safe.But it doesn't matter what the FDA or scientific data says. Panera Bread is declaring war on "artificial" ingredients because it knows that there is money to be made hyping the widespread, unscientific fallacy that "natural is better." And if it has to throw science under the bus to make a few extra bucks, well... that's just business. It's nothing personal.*

Bananas with boosted vitamin A developed in Queensland to save African lives | Posted on July 20, 2017

Bananas genetically modified by Queensland researchers to be vitamin A-enriched are being grown in Uganda, in a breakthrough hoped to save the lives of thousands of east African children.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the Funding Awards to States for FDA FSMA Implementation

FDA | Posted on July 20, 2017

Our partnerships with states are especially critical when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, which are covered under FSMA’s produce safety rule. States have a long history of successfully working with their farming communities. That’s why we leverage relationships with state-based partners to achieve many of our goals. Today we’re announcing an additional step in these efforts. The FDA is awarding $30.9 million in funding to support 43 states in their continued efforts to help implement the produce safety rule. This is the largest allocation of funds to date, made available by the FDA to help state agencies support FSMA produce safety rule implementation and develop state-based produce safety programs. The availability of funding to states to support the produce safety rule was first announced in March 2016. Bids were open to all states and U.S. territories. In September 2016, we announced the awarding of $21.8 million to support 42 states with implementation of the produce safety rule. The $30.9 million we’re announcing today represents the second year of funding from the FDA to the states. Additional information on state awardees can be found here.

How do we market meat to Middle America?

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 19, 2017

It seems the cattle-beef business has changed little in the past 200 years, or has it?  I mean every other business seems to have changed.  Look at the communications business.  It has evolved beyond Alexander Graham Bell’s wildest imagination.  The iPhone didn’t arrive until 10 years ago, and now over 2 billion people world-wide have one.  Moreover, it’s a computer in their hand that is more powerful than the one that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. In fact, you can compare the beef industry’s maturation to Henry Ford’s Model T marketing when he told his customers that they could have their Model T painted in any color they wanted as long as it was black. If I am going to “lament” the lack of beef industry innovation, I must surely offer some of my thoughts on what I think can best serve our future.First, we must rid ourselves of the defensive, knee-jerk reactions to all things animal rights.  It’s tough, I know.  But, we must get proactive to point out the obvious lies of the animal rightists, and just as importantly if not more so, point to the positive aspects of cattle-beef production.  We are good at pointing the accusing finger of blame, but tepid in offering cogent alternatives.Second, we must begin a more vigorous program of beef’s nutritional value supported by scientific evidence.  Holy cow, the American Medical Association is now recommending hospitals take processed meat off menus.  Where is our response?