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Food News

The Science of Better-Tasting Milk

The Wall Street Journal | Posted on December 20, 2016

There’s no use crying over spilled milk, but you might well shed a tear or two over the taste of milk in the era of plastic cartons. Scientists at Virginia Tech report that, in blind tastings, the flavor of milk stored in a standard supermarket-style dairy cooler is significantly degraded by fluorescent light passing through translucent plastic containers. When LED bulbs were used instead, tasters rated the milk about the same as when it was packaged in a lightproof container—which is to say, a lot better. The widespread adoption of translucent plastic containers almost certainly changed the flavor of milk for the worse. By now, she says, consumers mistakenly believe that this is how milk is supposed to taste. “Changes occurred in milk that affected flavor and quality after as little as four hours of light exposure, which were noticeable to untrained consumer panelists,” the scientists write. How does fluorescent lighting affect milk? Scientists say that its higher ultraviolet energy, among other characteristics, triggers a process of oxidation that damages essential nutrients, especially riboflavin, resulting in inferior flavor as well as a less healthful beverage. Over longer time periods, LEDs can degrade milk flavor as well, though not as much. Notably, neither kind of light makes milk go sour any sooner.

Don't call it soy milk, Vermont congressman says

12 News | Posted on December 20, 2016

Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., is asking the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the definition of "milk" — as in, a beverage that comes from cows — and require non-dairy drinks that currently market themselves as "milk" to find another name. Welch argues that plant-based products using the name "milk" are freeloading off milk ads paid for by dairy farmers, such as the "Got Milk?" campaign.“You have these other products that are basically free-riding on the advertising about milk and its specific, positive qualities," Welch said in a telephone interview.The non-dairy milk products are misleading to consumers, Welch says, at a time when dairy farmers are struggling to make ends meet.

Consumer views of food may have broader fallout

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on December 15, 2016

The way Americans view how food is created, prepared and consumed has the potential to affect the nation’s social, economic and political future, according to a new Pew Research Center report.  With public tastes shifting and polarizing in the last 20 years, the research center noted that how consumers view organic and genetically modified (GM) foods are demonstrated in key behaviors and attitudes on food in general.The Pew survey found that 55 percent of Americans believe that organically grown product is healthier than conventionally grown produce, with 41 percent saying that there is no difference. The survey also found that 40 percent of American consumers say that most (6 percent) or some (34 percent) of the food they eat is organic.

As GMO awareness grows, so does consumer concern

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on December 15, 2016

Consumers have become more informed about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in recent years, but that knowledge also has increased concerns about their safety in food products, new research from NPD Group finds. About a third of U.S. consumers now say they have little to no familiarity with GMOs, down from roughly half in 2013, according to the NPD report.Consumers increasingly recognize that GMOs have benefits in producing more resilient crops, NPD said. However, GMOs are also the fastest-growing food additive concern, the research shows.The consumers who are aware of and concerned about GMOs said their worries center around food safety and an interest in eating authentic, “real” foods. These consumers tend to make healthy choices when grocery shopping and shop at specialty grocers, produce stores and other retail channels in addition to traditional grocery stores.Only 11 percent of consumers said they were aware that a federal GMO labeling law was passed in 2016.The law, which goes into effect in 2018, gives m

ConAgra to pay $11.2M to settle tainted peanut butter case

The Washington Post | Posted on December 14, 2016

A ConAgra subsidiary pleaded guilty Tuesday and agreed to pay $11.2 million — including the largest criminal fine ever imposed for a foodborne illness in the United States — to resolve a decade-long criminal investigation into a nationwide salmonella outbreak blamed on tainted peanut butter. ConAgra admitted to a single misdemeanor count of shipping adulterated food. No individuals at the leading food conglomerate faced any charges in the 2006 outbreak, which sickened at least 625 people in 47 states.Disease detectives traced the salmonella to a plant in rural Sylvester, Georgia, that produced peanut butter for ConAgra under the Peter Pan label and the Great Value brand sold at Wal-Mart. In 2007 the company recalled all the peanut butter it had sold since 2004.

US antibiotic resistance levels in meat declining

World Poultry | Posted on December 11, 2016

Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence in US retail chicken continues to decline according to the 2014 Integrated National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) report released by the US Food and Drug Administration. Salmonella and Campylobacter prevalence in retail chicken meat samples continue to decline, and both are at their lowest levels since NARMS testing began (9.1% and 33% respectively).Most (82%) of human Salmonella isolates tested were not resistant to any of the tested antibiotics.Ceftriaxone, an extended-spectrum cephalosporin critical to treating severe Salmonella infections, continues to be effective, and resistance to the antibiotic has decreased in non-typhoidal Salmonella and E. coli.Human Salmonella isolates resistant to at least ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines (ACSSuT) are at the lowest level (3.1%) since NARMS testing began.Bacterial strains that are resistant to all, or all but 1, of the 9 antimicrobial classes tested in NARMS are defined as “extremely drug resistant” by the FDA. In 2014, no retail chicken isolates of either Salmonella or E. coli were found to be extremely drug resistant.

Wendy’s joins sustainable beef effort

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on December 9, 2016

Wendy’s International Inc. has announced a partnership with the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) to help advance sustainability efforts throughout the U.S. beef value chain. Joining the USRSB is expected to offer Wendy’s an active role in discussions about the beef industry’s environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Radical Changes Are Coming to Grocery Business

Forbes | Posted on December 9, 2016

Amazon is opening its first food store without checkouts! Walmart opens its first grocery pick-up and gas station concept!Lidl and Aldi are trading up and will each open 2,000 grocery stores!My previous predictions are quickly coming true—the food retail industry is rapidly changing due to new technology and new entries into the marketplace.  With big plans to operate smaller stores featuring a convenience food assortment at very low prices in many parts of the U.S., the roll out of these small stores by these retail behemoths will profoundly impact the traditional grocery chains.

Tyson eager to meet antibiotic-free chicken demand

Watt Ag Net | Posted on December 9, 2016

President of Tyson Foods says company can offer customers ‘exactly what they want,’ and they want chicken raised without antibiotics.Hayes, who was named Tyson’s president in June and will take over as its CEO at the conclusion of 2016, discussed Tyson’s venture into NAE chicken while participating in the Bernstein Consumer Summit on December 7.“The consumer’s looking for certainly more antibiotic-free (chicken) and we have a line that is no antibiotics ever. That line has been growing from a very small base, but it’s been growing aggressively,” Hayes said.“We feel like we are in a position where we can offer customers exactly what they want and when they want it. Customers have been moving toward more NAE and so we’re happy to do that. Our margin profile is strong on our NAE products, and so the growth that we see in that NAE space matches the supply chain.”Hayes acknowledged that Tyson Foods would be open to the idea of new acquisitions to help it better meet the NAE chicken demand.

Canada's food prices to rise in 2017

Meat + Poultry | Posted on December 8, 2016

Food prices are expected to increase above the acceptable inflation rate, Dalhousie Univ. said in its 7th edition of Canada’s Food Price Report. The report forecasts food prices to rise between 3 percent and 5 percent. This translates to a potential increase of C$420 in Canadian family food expenses in 2017.“The biggest factor will be the falling Canadian dollar,” explained Sylvain Charlebois, Ph.D., lead author of the report and Dean of the Faculty of Management at Dalhousie Univ. “Given how many food products we import from abroad our food economy is vulnerable to currency fluctuations.