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Hardees rejects 'antibiotic free' chicken label for 'no antibiotics" label

Watt Ag Net | Posted on April 3, 2017

I’ve grown accustomed to paying close attention to the exact phrasing in press releases whenever a restaurant company announces a change regarding things such as antibiotic use, cages in egg production and slower-growing broiler chickens. In most cases, it signals a lack of understanding about production techniques in animal agriculture and a likely concession to animal rights and other special interest groups.But a recent press release from CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of fast food restaurant chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., made me realize that some restaurant company executives do understand, or at least, are making an effort to understand.The company on March 28 announced that the charbroiled chicken filet sandwich would come from birds raised with “no antibiotics ever.”It’s so refreshing to see a company use that phrase, rather than “antibiotic free,” which of course means nothing, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict guidelines that animals be taken off of antibiotics for a period of time before they enter the food supply.


For starters, undocumented immigrants cannot take part in the food stamp program

The Huffington Post | Posted on March 29, 2017

Food banks across the country have been noticing a trend since President Donald Trump was inaugurated in January. In recent weeks, outlets have reported that outreach workers and enrollment assistants who help eligible immigrants enroll in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, say immigrants are canceling their benefits because they fear their participation could flag them for deportation.Such fears appear to stem primarily from a leaked draft of an executive order saying immigrants living in the United States could be deported if it is determined they rely on some form of public assistance — like food stamps.It is important to note, however, that no law has changed — and the official guidance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the agency that oversees SNAP, remains that there are no immigration consequences linked with participation in the program.Still, that hasn’t stopped some conservatives from applauding the news. One conservative news outlet called the news “excellent!” Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center, said her organization has been fielding calls from organizations across the country on the issue of SNAP benefits and deportation fears in light of recent reports.Vimo described celebratory reactions to these reports as xenophobic and reflective of the misinformation that persists regarding who legally qualifies for SNAP benefits and who doesn’t.“The idea that people would be celebrating children going hungry because they feel like an outsider in their country is baffling to me,” Vimo said Tuesday. “These [immigrant] families are a part of our American communities, and an attack on them is an attack on communities as a whole.” According to the strict requirements for the program laid out in detail by the USDA, undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive SNAP benefits.Even immigrants living in the United States as lawful permanent residents (aka green card holders) must live in the country for five years before they qualify for the program, though some states — like California and Minnesota — run their own state-funded food assistance programs that have slightly different eligibility requirements.Children of non-citizens are SNAP-eligible, however, as are certain groups of refugees and asylees — such as victims of trafficking. Altogether, according to the most recent data from the USDA, only about 4 percent of SNAP recipients are either refugees or other types of non-citizens.


Elmhurst dairy swaps cows milk for nuts

Clearlyveg | Posted on March 29, 2017

92-year-old company Elmhurst Dairy has not only closed down its dairy operation, but has opted for a full rebranding in order to focus on plant-based milks. According to Rise of the Vegan, the decision is based on a lack of customer demand, with CEO Henry Schwartz stating that "there isn't much room for our kind of business." As a result, Elmhurst Dairy has now become just Elmhurst and debuted its new line called "Milked" during the Natural Foods Expo West in Anaheim last weekend. The plant-based milks are described on the website as "minimally processed nutmilks" that are "just as nutritious and pure" as the company's "famous conventional milk," free of any "emulsifiers, thickeners, whiteners or frankenfood proteins."


Daily Access to Local Foods for School Meals

USDA | Posted on March 29, 2017

To examine progress in the use of locally produced foods in school meals and to help identify school districts for technical assistance, this report uses data from the 2013 Farm to School Census to measure the prevalence of school districts that serve local food daily and the characteristics of those districts.


A meat scandal in Brazil damages two of its biggest firms

The Economist | Posted on March 28, 2017

Even amid Brazil’s pungent stew of recent big corporate scandals, the latest is particularly stomach-turning. On Friday March 17th, in time for a traditional weekend churrasco, or barbecue, the federal police accused some of the country’s biggest meat producers of bribing health inspectors to turn a blind eye to grubby practices. These include repackaging beef past its sell-by date, making turkey ham out of soyabeans rather than actual birds and overuse of potentially harmful additives. The police operation, dubbed Weak Flesh, could reduce Brazil’s meat exports, worth $13bn a year, and damage its two big global meat producers, JBS and BRF.  Two days later the president, Michel Temer, treated 27 diplomats from the country’s main export markets to prime Brazilian cuts at a steakhouse (pictured) in the capital, Brasília. Nevertheless, straight after that China, the European Union (EU), Chile and South Korea, which together consume a third of Brazilian meat sold abroad, said they would ban some or all imports from Brazil until it can allay misgivings about its inspection regime. The reactions from China and Chile provoked particular anguish. Unlike the EU, which has restricted products only from the 21 plants that are under investigation, they have barred all Brazilian meat from crossing their borders until further notice.


Hawaii food hubs could feed farming success

The Garden Island | Posted on March 28, 2017

As agriculture enters a new era, farmers on Kauai’s North Shore want to weave technology and food hubs into their daily routines. And Kilauea Ag Park has applied for a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to try and make it happen. “Why food hubs? Because the only thing that will drive the success of farming is demand,” said Yoshito L’Hote, director of Kauai’s non-profit ‘Aina Ho’okupu O Kilauea. USDA food hubs are a business model where various ag producers team up for things like distribution and marketing, and work together to access larger-volume markets.


If migrant labor for U.S. agriculture is cut off, we’ll all be importing food instead

Idaho Statesman | Posted on March 23, 2017

Eno came by the other day to visit. He leaned against his pickup in the driveway as he talked. He and his family had worked on our farm, starting in the 1990s and up until a few years ago. Both Eno and his wife studied and memorized all kinds of facts related to U.S. history, presidents and the Constitution in order to become citizens. Even Eno’s old papa, Philemon, after two tries, managed to make it to citizenship.Today, Eno is no longer our farm foreman and he’s nearing retirement, but his daughter and son-in-law own a trucking firm, his other daughter is in law school at University of Idaho, and his son Carlos, is just beginning college. Anyway you cut it, they are a success story of immigrants come to America.Our current leadership in Washington would like us to believe that immigrants and immigration are a problem to be solved. But from our farming perspective, they are instead a solution. We’re thankful for all that Eno and his family did for our farm, moving irrigation pipes, driving trucks, hoeing fields, picking tare off potato diggers. They worked long, hard hours. Most Idaho farmers and dairymen rely on immigrant labor and frankly, the only real problem we see is how to acquire the workers we need in an efficient and legal manner.

 

 

 


Blue Apron buys Niman’s BN Ranch

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on March 23, 2017

Meal kit maker Blue Apron has bought Bill Niman’s BN Ranch, a provider of sustainable, responsibly raised beef, lamb, and poultry in the United States, the company said in a news release. Niman will join the Blue April executive team as president and founder of BN Ranch.


Deep South freeze means fewer blueberries and peaches

ABC News | Posted on March 22, 2017

Last week's deep freeze in the Southeast appears to have nearly wiped out Georgia's blueberries and South Carolina's peaches and seriously damaged a number of other crops like strawberries and apples. In South Carolina, 85 percent of the state's peach crop is gone while the small pink blooms remain on the trees, according to the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.Up to 80 percent of south Georgia's blueberry crop is gone, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said after touring the state late last week.Between the two states, crop losses from the freeze could approach $1 billion, officials said.


How can you get a millennial to change their mind?

Watt Ag Net | Posted on March 22, 2017

You have likely heard a statement like, “Millennials care where their food comes from.” I have always been skeptical of broad statements like this. I actually think it is more accurate to say, “Millennials think they are supposed to care where there food comes from.” I think this is an important distinction, because the first statement implies a firmly held value and the latter implies just following the herd. I asked Richard Kottmeyer, vice president of agriculture and food at Luxoft, who is an expert in analyzing big data to predict trends, about millennials and their interest in how food is raised and prepared. He said it is possible to come up with general statements that typify what the typical millennial consumer might have regarding food. But, he said something else that I found a lot more interesting. Kottmeyer said that from studying how the typical millennial consumer gets their information from various sources -- which for this generation is primarily online -- he has figured out how millennials change their mind on a topic. He even offered to demonstrate the process for getting a millennial to change their mind: He said that all we have to do is give him the topic about which we want to change the millennials’ mind.


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