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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.

Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

Science Daily | Posted on February 14, 2017

People who eat a gluten-free diet may be at risk for increased exposure to arsenic and mercury -- toxic metals that can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological effects, according to a report in the journal Epidemiology.

Health benefits of organic food, farming outlined in new report

Harvard | Posted on February 12, 2017

Why did the European Parliament commission this report and what was its most important takeaway? The European Parliament is concerned about food safety and human health. They asked a group of experts from several countries to review the possible health advantages of organic food and organic farming. Our report reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health, including in vitro and animal studies, epidemiological studies, and food crop analyses.

Sanderson shareholder proposal on reducing antibiotic use fails

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 11, 2017

A shareholder proposal calling for Sanderson Farms Inc. to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention in its poultry operations failed at the company's annual meeting. The proposal had been filed by As You Sow, an Oakland, Calif.-based environmental and social advocacy organization. Sanderson management had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal. Sanderson's continued use of antibiotics for disease prevention — not growth promotion — is part of the company's consumer marketing program. Its message is that the advantages of antibiotic-free poultry are overblown, and that such programs serve mostly to give poultry processors a reason to hike prices.

Plant-based ‘milk’ labeling is misleading, but it’s not what’s killing the dairy milk market

Food Navigator | Posted on February 9, 2017

he dairy lobby is justifiably frustrated about the widespread use of dairy-terms (milk, cheese, yogurt) to describe plant-based products, but it also needs to focus on its own game to understand why sales of fluid dairy milk are declining.

Beef, pork propel Tyson to record Q1 net income

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 9, 2017

Strong gains in its beef and pork segments fueled record-setting results for Tyson Foods in the first quarter of 2017, the processor announced this morning.  Tyson said earnings per share hit a record $1.59, a 38-percent improvement on year-ago results. Operating income rose 27 percent to a record $982 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, while net income in the period reached $594 million, up 29 percent from profits in the same period one year ago. Sales in the first quarter increased by less than one-tenth of one percent compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2016 to $9.18 billion.

New Mexico Bill Would Ban "Milk" On Non-Dairy Products

KRWG | Posted on February 9, 2017

State Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to end the misrepresentationf plant based "milk" products.  His SB 161 calls for the end of the mislabeling of beverages as “milk” when they don’t have cow or goat milk in them. Senator Pirtle said the cartons in the dairy section of products called soy milk, almond milk and silk milk  are confusing to the public because they think they are milk and they are not.  He is asking that in New Mexico there be more truth in advertising and these beverages be labeled something as such “imitation milk.”

Bipartisan vote crushes Virginia bill to legalize raw milk sales

Food Safety News | Posted on February 9, 2017

Republicans and Democrats joined forces in a committee of the Virginia House of Delegates to defeat an attempt to legalize the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk by a vote of more than two to one.  The 6-15 vote against House Bill 2030 saw all six votes in favor cast by Republican members of the Committee for Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. One committee member, Republican James Morefield, did not vote on the bill.  Republicans Nicholas Freitas, Robert Marshall sponsored the bill, which would have allowed direct-to-consumer sales of raw milk and other uninspected, uncertified and unregulated foods at farmers markets, on farms or at producers’ homes.  Of those voting against the bill, eight were Republicans and seven were Democrats. Those 15 delegates came down on the same side of the issue as their state’s public health and agriculture departments.