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50,000 line up outside Tropical Park seeking post-hurricane food assistance

Miami Herald | Posted on October 19, 2017

Tens of thousands of wilting South Floridians stood hours in the sweltering, soggy heat Sunday at Tropical Park, waiting to apply for special food stamps available only to victims Hurricane Irma, stunning state officials who were expecting just a fraction of that response. “We’ve been dealing with about 10,000 people a day,” said Ofelia Martinez, the Miami site manager for the state Department of Children and Families (DCF). “But when we opened the doors this morning, the police told us there were already 50,000 people waiting outside.”


Crowdsourcing website identifies foodborne illness outbreak

Food Safety News | Posted on October 19, 2017

For at least the third time this year, the crowd-sourced website iwaspoisoned.com has identified a foodborne illness outbreak, this time among students who ate at a Georgia Tech dining hall. The “North Avenue Dining Hall” at the university in Atlanta started showing up in reports on the foodborne illness website in the past couple of days. When such clusters of reports at one foodservice location pop up, Patrick Quade keeps a close eye on the website he launched in 2009. The iwaspoisoned.com founder alerted local health officials in Fulton County, GA, as well as officials at the Georgia Institute of Technology, when he noticed the flurry of reports from students who ate at that specific dining hall. They were reporting the same symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Seventeen reports hit Quade’s website in less than 24 hours. Statistically speaking, that’s more than a little significant.Tuesday afternoon, university officials notified Georgia Tech students about a possible foodborne illness outbreak and cautioned them to avoid contact with others if they become sick. The school leaders also reminded the student body about proper hand washing.


This Steak-Sharing Startup Targets Foodies Looking for High-End Beef

Bloomberg | Posted on October 18, 2017

Crowd Cow delivers premium beef from small, independent farms to foodies nationwide. “People are looking for more clarity about what they’re eating,” says co-founder Ethan Lowry. The company sells one cow at a time, offering shares to customers who’ve signed up for email alerts.


Nestlé USA specifies how suppliers raise, slaughter chickens

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on October 18, 2017

Nestlé’s USA announced that by 2024 the company will strive to source all of the broiler chickens used as ingredients for its U.S. food portfolio from suppliers that raise chickens in certain ways, including slower growth rates. The company is also dictating some slaughter procedures. In a news release, the company said it is committed to working with its U.S. suppliers to:Transition to breeds of chicken recognized as having improved welfare outcomes, including slower growth rates and better leg health, as approved by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 pounds per square foot.Improve the environment in which broiler chickens are kept in line with the new GAP standard, including access to natural light, improved litter, and enriched surroundings to help allow expression of natural behavior.Ensure broiler chickens are processed in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling, and instead use multi-step controlled atmospheric system that produces an irreversible stun.Show compliance with these standards through third-party audits and to report on progress.


NMPF Pokes FDA for Taking Action Against Granola Made with “Love,” But Not “Milks” Made from Plants

National Milk Producers Federation | Posted on October 18, 2017

 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent enforcement action against a Massachusetts granola maker for listing “love” as an ingredient in its product is a clear indication that the agency has time and resources to enforce regulations against the use of the term “milk” on the labels of plant-derived dairy imitators, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said today. In a letter to FDA, NMPF pointed out that many of the same criticisms leveled by the agency against Nashoba Brook Bakery's granola and bread products apply to the manufacturers of plant beverages that are in violation of FDA standards of identity defining milk as the product of a dairy animal.“While we have no doubt that the folks at Nashoba do indeed put love into the manufacture of their product, we hate to see misleading food labels that don’t comply with legal standards that other companies follow,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.“We hope that the agency’s enforcement action against a small New England baker for misusing food labeling standards, innocuous though this violation might be, is a prelude to FDA taking action against the myriad companies that manufacture hundreds of dairy imitators that also misappropriate federally-defined terms such as ‘milk’ and ‘yogurt,’” NMPF said in its letter to FDA.In a warning letter sent recently to Nashoba Brook Bakery, FDA cited the company for listing “love” as an ingredient in its granola: “’Love’ is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient,” the letter said.The FDA letter also warned the Concord, Mass., bakery that its whole wheat bread “fails to conform” to the standard of identity for products made from whole wheat flour: “This product contains wheat flour and corn meal. Therefore, it does not meet the standard of identity for whole wheat bread.”


Retailers Are Bottling Their Own Milk, Raising Pressure on Dairy Companies

Wall Street Journal | Posted on October 18, 2017

Kroger, Wal-Mart and Albertsons spend millions of dollars on dairy processing plants in effort to expand their foothold in the industry. Food retailers are becoming big players in the milk processing and bottling business, a development that threatens to squeeze a longstanding network of dairy processors and farmer-owned plants.


Free online food safety course now available for artisan, farmstead cheesemakers

Dairy Foods | Posted on October 12, 2017

The course, offered by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in partnership with North Carolina State University, focuses on food safety.  The Innovation Center’s latest resource, an online course offered in partnership with North Carolina State University, is geared toward artisan and farmstead cheesemakers, who represent a growing segment of cheese production. More than a thousand U.S. processors are helping meet consumer demand for these cheeses. To reach and support this cheesemaking community more effectively, the Innovation Center said it partnered with the American Cheese Society, along with academics, retailers and small dairy manufacturers, to establish the Artisan Food Safety Advisory Team.


‘CRISPR’ Bacon: Pigs could soon save millions more lives

Pork Business | Posted on October 12, 2017

It’s already known that in pig production, “everything but the squeal” can be used by humans – the meat is a wonderful source of niacin and other vitamins and minerals, pigs’ heart valves have long been used as replacements for human valves, and the list goes on.  But now, pigs may have even higher value. Researchers in Cambridge, Mass., may be a big step closer to developing pigs whose entire organs and other tissues can be transplanted into humans. The research team, led by a biotechnology company called eGenesis, “has successfully used a powerful gene-editing technique known as CRISPR to modify the DNA in pig cells and remove a number of viruses that make pig organs unsuitable for human transplant.”


‘Farm to Flask’ Distillers Lifting Local Spirits

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on October 11, 2017

Dan Beardsley’s great-grandfather made moonshine on the family farm to make ends meet during Prohibition. Now he can boost farm profits with a legal distillery, thanks to a new Connecticut law that took effect Oct. 1. The law, based on a similar “farm to flask” law enacted in New York almost a decade ago, allows farmers to distill and sell spirits using their own produce without high-priced licenses or distribution requirements. They can sell their own product at a farm store, and hold tastings, without using a wholesaler if they use local ingredients.Such farm distillery laws are helping rural areas get in on the craft distillery movement.So far this year, a dozen states have enacted laws designed to help craft distilleries, and most benefit farm distillers either directly or indirectly, said Heather Morton, who tracks such laws for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). For instance, Indiana shortened the waiting period to start a small distillery from three years to 18 months, and Georgia allowed distillers to sell bottles at retail.New York this year gave another boost to farm distillers by allowing them to serve cocktails.Among the states that now offer farm distilleries lower fees or more freedom to sell their products are Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, according to NCSL.Some states require craft distilleries to use local produce, which helps farm distillers. The law in Connecticut requires one-quarter local farm-grown ingredients, and New York’s requires three-quarters.


Washington suspends license of raw milk dairy linked to salmonella

Capital Press | Posted on October 10, 2017

A strain of salmonella detected in raw milk from a Washington dairy was the same one that sickened two of the dairy’s customers in January. The Washington Department of Agriculture Friday suspended the processing license of a raw milk dairy, which had declined to voluntarily suspend production after the department detected salmonella last month in the dairy’s milk.


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