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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.

McDonald's Tries out McVegan

Independent | Posted on October 9, 2017

Catchily named the McVegan, it consists of a soy-based patty topped with tomato, salad, pickles and vegan McFeast sauce, sandwiched between a bun. McDonald’s have decided to trial the burger in Tampere, Finland, from 4 October to 21 November.  However, if it’s popular, the McVegan might be rolled out globally.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Drops Mic On Comments Criticizing Hulu For Showing Food Evolution Documentary

Forbes | Posted on October 5, 2017

In his trademark measured fashion, the film’s narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is known for his science “mic drops,” showed up to intervene.Fascinated by the intensity of this brief comment thread. Allow me to offer four observations:1) Just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t make it wrong.2) One of you wants to end your subscription to HULU over a documentary you have yet to see. Just let that sink in.3) The documentary is not specifically pro-GMO, it’s pro science. That fact is clear and present from the opening minutes onward.4) And just for reference – 2016 Revenues: Exxon $205 billion; General Motors $165 billion; Archer Daniels Midland $62 billion; FedEx $50 billion; Whole Foods Market $16 billion; Monsanto $15.7 billion.Respectfully Sumbitted Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City 

Tom Brady blasts big food companies, GMOs in new self-help book

Fox Business | Posted on October 5, 2017

The Patriots quarterback uses fruits and vegetables as an example saying that apples, bananas, and tomatoes are ripened by ethylene gas to make them available all year round. “But are those real?” Brady adds. “Moreover, a lot of studies show that the mineral content of our soil has declined steadily since the 1950’s, along with the nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables that grow in that soil.” Brady goes on to criticize the industry’s use of genetically modified organisms or GMOs, which currently make up around 75% of processed foods on grocery store shelves in the U.S. today, according to the Grocery Manufacturer Association. A GMO is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. Almost 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically-modified, according to the Non-GMO Project.

Tom Brady: Visit my farm and lean food facts

Global Farmer Network | Posted on October 5, 2017

Then again, who is Tom Brady to tell me how to farm? In “The TB12 Method,” the bestselling book he released last week, Brady offers a lot of opinions about farming and food production. He’d do well to learn a few facts, which I’d be glad to teach him. Tom, I want to personally invite you to visit my family farm so we can talk about your food and farming concerns.I happen to be a fan of Brady and his team. I was born in Massachusetts and grew up watching the Patriots.  I was a Patriots fan before Brady was ever on the team. Brady gets sacked for a loss, however, when he takes up the subject of GMOs: “Then of course there’s genetic engineering,” he writes. “Does that sound like something you’d want to eat? It sounds like a chemistry experiment to me.”The quarterback may think this is a clever quip, but in fact it exposes his ignorance. Genetics have nothing to do with chemistry: They’re a feature of biology. They’re also essential to agriculture.On our farm, we grow two kinds of soybeans. One is a non-GMO variety that becomes tofu sold to Asian food processing companies. The other is a GMO crop—in other words, the kind that Brady condemns as a “chemistry experiment,” even though it’s a safe and proven technology for farmers and consumers.Here’s the irony: Our GMO soybeans are high in oleic oil, which allows our customers to extract from them an oil that is free of trans fat.Brady ought to cheer us on: “Basically, trans fats are the worst kind of fat out there,” he writes in his book. He advises his readers to avoid them.