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Food News

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.

FSIS proposes scrapping redundant hog carcass cleaning rule

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 30, 2018

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is proposing amending the federal meat inspection regulationsto remove a redundant requirement for slaughter establishments to clean hog carcasses before incising. Facilities are now required to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system that identifies potential biological, chemical or physical hazards, and the controls to prevent those hazards at specific points in the process. Since 1997, establishments have been required to address hazards in their HACCP plans, Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (Sanitation SOPs) or prerequisite programs and these advancements have made the outdated regulation redundant, FSIS said.

Most popular vitamin and mineral supplements provide no health benefit, study finds

Science Daily | Posted on May 30, 2018

The most commonly consumed vitamin and mineral supplements provide no consistent health benefit or harm, suggests a new study led by researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto.

KY House members ignore party lines, defeat raw milk measure

Food Safety News | Posted on May 24, 2018

A representative from Kentucky said it was about consumers’ food choices. A coalition of food safety groups said it was a threat to public health — particularly children. The U.S. House just said no. With a vote of 331-79, legislators from both sides of the aisle joined to crush an amendment to the farm bill that would have allowed the interstate sale of unpasteurized raw milk. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY, said his proposed legislation would protect farmers from “federal interference” while respecting state laws. The federal interference referenced by Massie and the amendment’s co-sponsors Reps. Jared Polis, D-CO, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-CA, is a 1987 ban on the interstate sale of unpasteurized milk. As it did when it enacted the ban, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to cite the dangers of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that can thrive in raw milk. The pathogens include E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria and are particularly dangerous to children whose immune systems are not yet developed, according to state and federal public health officials. The FDA is joined by scientists at virtually all state health departments and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in warning the public against drinking unpasteurized, raw milk.The Kentucky republican has contended for years that people should be allowed to take that risk for themselves and their children.

The line between food and medicine is blurrier than ever — and the FDA needs to step up its game

The Verge | Posted on May 17, 2018

Is tea medicine? What about special Collagen Beautèa that promises to support your bones? The Wall Street Journal reported on the growing popularity of foods and beverages enhanced with collagen, an ingredient used in wrinkle cream that hasn’t really been proven to be helpful when you eat it. The line between “food” and “medicine” has always been blurry, and, traditionally, the US Food and Drug Administration only regulates the latter. But as people start chasing foods with more fanciful health promises, it’s time that the FDA takes a closer look before we waste our dollars and endanger our health. Though collagen is a protein found in bones, it is most commonly known for being an ingredient in skin cream, often to prevent wrinkles. But why stop at skin? Last year, 281 new food and supplement products featuring collagen were introduced in the US, the WSJ reported, citing Innova Market Insights. And while there’s little evidence that eating collagen will harm you, there is also no solid research suggesting that eating collagen will help either.

Organic food fans unlikely to be swayed by negative news

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 16, 2018

A recent report raising questions about the quality and safety of organic foods is unlikely to change the buying habits of consumers of such products, according to research from NPD Group. The market information company found that organic food lovers strongly believe in their nutritional knowledge and healthy lifestyle and are therefore unlikely to switch to all-natural or commercially grown foods even when concerns about pesticide levels, for example, are raised in the media. NPD cited a recently released report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that found pesticide levels in organically grown foods are equal to those of conventionally grown foods.

Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation

Science Daily | Posted on May 10, 2018

New research shows there might be health benefits to eating certain types of dark chocolate. Findings from two studies being presented today at the Experimental Biology 2018 annual meeting in San Diego show that consuming dark chocolate that has a high concentration of cacao (minimally 70% cacao, 30% organic cane sugar) has positive effects on stress levels, inflammation, mood, memory and immunity. While it is well known that cacao is a major source of flavonoids, this is the first time the effect has been studied in human subjects to determine how it can support cognitive, endocrine and cardiovascular health.

F.D.A. orders first-ever mandatory recall

Food Business News | Posted on May 10, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, for the first time, has ordered a mandatory recall of food products under the authority conferred on the agency by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010. The F.D.A. on April 3 issued a mandatory recall order for all regulated products containing powered kratom manufactured, processed, packed or held by Triangle Pharmanaturals L.L.C., Las Vegas, after several were found to contain Salmonella. The ingredient primarily is used in dietary supplements. The F.D.A. said it took the action after the company failed to cooperate with the agency’s request to conduct a voluntary recall.