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Food News

Philadelphia’s Soda Sellers Say Tax Has Reduced Sales by as Much as 50%

Bloomberg | Posted on February 22, 2017

Philadelphia’s six-week-old tax on sweetened beverages is already taking a toll on drink distributors and grocers, with some reporting sales drops of as much as 50 percent. “In 30 years of business, there’s never been a circumstance in which we’ve ever had a sales decline of any significant amount,” said Jeff Brown, chief executive officer of Brown’s Super Stores. “I would describe the impact as nothing less than devastating.”

Tyson to convert all Tyson brand chicken products to No Antibiotics Ever

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 22, 2017

Tyson Foods executives announced that all Tyson consumer brand products would feature chicken with No Antibiotics Ever (NAE). The company also unveiled a new logo.

Perceptions of genetically modified food are informed by more than just science

The Conversation | Posted on February 20, 2017

When people don’t seem to use science to make decisions, it is tempting to assume that it’s because they don’t understand the underlying science. In response, scientists and science communicators often just try harder to explain the science in the hope that eventually the facts will persuade people to change their behaviours or beliefs. This is known as “the deficit model” of science communication.  While there have been many attempts in science communication to move away from the deficit model, it continues to persist, partly because we still don’t really understand the different ways in which people interact with science in their everyday lives.Even the idea that there is a single body of knowledge known as “science” is problematic: various sciences have different ways of weighing up evidence or looking at things such as risk.Another issue is that people have multiple roles that affect the ways they make decisions: citizen, consumer, scientist, and carer, to name a few. And finally, the role of science in our “post-truth” world is more contentious than ever.

Arctic Apple to Test Consumer Preferences

Seed World | Posted on February 16, 2017

The Artic Apple, an apple that has been genetically modified to prevent browning, saw its first commercial harvest this past fall and is now being market tested in 10 Midwestern U.S. stores.  Rabobank analysts recognize that the Artic Apple could truly test consumers’ willingness to purchase a fresh, GM produce item which delivers a consumer-centric characteristic. The World Health Organization has repeatedly stressed the safety of GM foods, but opponents continue to put the pressure on leading U.S. food brands.  “Organic, ‘clean label’ and natural foods — regardless of what those terms actually mean — are thriving, while GM foods are under fire,” according to Cindy van Rijswick, Rabobank fruit and vegetable analyst. “Consumers are skeptical when it comes to GM food, despite the fact that it already constitutes part of their daily diets in the form of GM food ingredients and animal feed.”

Kind snack bar founder to donate $25 million for public health

The Washington Post | Posted on February 16, 2017

A $25 million pledge to fight the food industry’s influence on public health is coming from a surprising source — the CEO of a snack bar maker.  Kind founder Daniel Lubetzky says he’s pledging his own money to create a group called “Feed the Truth” dedicated to revealing corporate influence in the nutrition field, with activities like education campaigns and investigative journalism.  The move underscores the division between older “Big Food” companies and newer businesses that market themselves as wholesome alternatives aligned with health advocates. Kind, known for its fruit and nut bars, touts its use of “real” ingredients and has proven deft at mixing marketing with nutrition issues.

Cheap Eats, Cheap Labor: The Hidden Human Costs Of Those Lists

WUNC | Posted on February 14, 2017

Everyone loves a cheap eats list. A treasure map to $1 tacos! $4 banh mi! $6 pad Thai! More often than not, the Xs that mark the cheap spots are in the city's immigrant enclaves. Indeed, food media is never so diverse as when it runs these lists, its pages fill with names of restaurateurs and chefs of color.  These lists infuriate me. Restaurant workers are already among the lowest paid workers in America. Many full-time workers rely on public assistance to make ends meet. Often enough, restaurant workers could not afford to eat at the restaurants where they work. And at the bottom of this system are the employees of the restaurants on these cheap eats list. American enterprise has long been a gateway to the American dream for many immigrants. But much of it was also built on exploited labor. Enslaved African-Americans built Southern plantations. Chinese immigrant workers built the railroads. Latino migrant farm workers are the backbone that turned California into America's agricultural powerhouse.

Dannon ‘Natural’ Yogurt Label Tricks Consumers, Suit Says

Bloomberg | Posted on February 14, 2017

Danone SA’s Dannon unit deceptively labels a dozen yogurt products “all natural” because they contain genetically modified ingredients, a Minnesota woman alleges in a suit on behalf of consumers nationwide (Podpeskar v. Dannon Co. , S.D.N.Y., No. 16-08478, complaint filed 2/2/17 ).  The yogurt isn’t natural because it comes from milk produced by cows that eat feed containing GMOs, Polly Podpeskar says in a Feb. 2 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth declined to comment Feb. 6 on pending litigation.

Disposal of 200 million pounds of cull onions challenge growers

Capital Press | Posted on February 14, 2017

The Idaho-Oregon onion industry, which was hit hard by the collapse of dozens of storage and packing buildings in the Treasure Valley area this winter, faces another large challenge. Upward of 200 million pounds of onions that were ruined when the buildings collapsed under the weight of snow and ice have to be disposed of in the next two months. But both states have special requirements for the disposal of cull onions to prevent an outbreak of onion maggot, which can devastate onion and other vegetable crops. Because of the level of devastation caused by the building collapses, both states have moved the deadline for disposal of cull onions from March 15 to April 15. But getting rid of that many onions will be no easy task, said Jack Yarbrough of Idaho Waste Systems, which operates a landfill in Mountain Home, Idaho. “This is a major problem and people need to get moving on it,” he said. “Something needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly.”

Red Delicious prices dropping with two-thirds still unsold | Posted on February 14, 2017

As sales of the 2016 Washington apple crop approach the midway point, the price of Red Delicious is dropping significantly. The average asking price of extra fancy (standard) grade, medium size (80 to 88 apples per 40-pound box) in Wenatchee and Yakima dropped $3 on the low end and $2 on the high end in one month, according to USDA tracking. The prices were $13 to $16.90 on Feb. 8, down from $16 to $18.90 on Jan. 9. All of those prices are below grower costs, said Desmond O’Rourke, world apple market analyst and retired Washington State University ag economist in Pullman. The price of Reds likely will go lower, he said.

Natural/organic poultry maker under SEC scrutiny

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 14, 2017

The Hain Celestial Group said Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the company’s accounting practices after it failed to report quarterly earnings on time. The company’s shares fell by more than 13 percent on Monday on the news.Hain Celestial, the parent of Freebird and Empire Kosher poultry brands, said in an SEC filing that it is in the process of responding to the SEC and is cooperating fully with the probe.