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Oregon Worker Dies After Falling Into Meat Grinder

An Oregon man contracted to clean a meat processing plant died last week when he fell into a machine at the facility.

Hugo Avalos-Chanon, age 41, of Southeast Portland died late Friday night after becoming entangled in a blender at the Interstate Meat Disrtibutors, Inc. plant in Clackamas, OR, reported the Oregonian.

Interstate Meat Distributors was cited in October of 2012 for multiple violations of worker safety standards, among them that a table saw did not have a hood to protect against arm injuries, nor was a rotating blade “guarded to prevent inadvertent contact.”

However, these violations were corrected at the time of inspection, noted the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA) of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, which conducted the investigation.

And a spokesperson for Oregon OSHA told the Oregonian that it’s “way too early to say” whether the cause of Avalos-Chanon’s death was linked to the violations cited in that report.

Avalos-Chanon worked for a cleaning company that had been contracted to clean the Clackamas facility. At around 11:45 pm Friday, emergency workers responded to a call from the plant, and arrived on the scene to find him entangled in a blender used to regulate fat content in ground beef, according to the Oregonian. 

His body was extricated from the machine the following morning and the plant continued normal operation that day.

According to deputy medical examiner for the state, Dr. Cliff Young, Avalos-Chanon died of “blunt force injuries and chopping wounds,” reported the Oregonian.

Mesaros said OSHA’s investigation into the incident could take up to six months.

This incident is not the first negative one to be linked to Interstate Meat. In 2007, ground beef from the company was named as the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 8 people in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The company recalled approximately 41,000 pounds of ground beef for potential E. coli contamination that year.

 

Food Safety News

FSIS Requires Labeling of Salt Solutions Added to Meat, Poultry

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final rule requiring that processors of raw meat and poultry disclose the products’ added solutions on their labels.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requiring that the descriptive designation include the percentage of added solution and the individual ingredients or multi-ingredient components in the solution listed in descending order of predominance by weight.

The agency proposed changes to the labeling of these products on July 27, 2011, in response to petitions wanting to prevent consumers from being misled by the marketing of added-solution poultry products.

In 2010, the Truthful Labeling Coalition, which included three meat and poultry processors, wrote to then-Under Secretary for Food Safety Elisabeth Hagen and complained that Pilgrim’s Pride labelled their chicken “100% Natural” and “Reduced Sodium” despite containing 180 mg of sodium per serving — “four times the amount of sodium in truly natural single-ingredient chicken that has not been pumped full of saltwater.”

Michael Jacobson, executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, praised the rule, stating that about 60 percent of all raw meat and poultry products are injected with, or soaked in, a salty solution.

“That sodium increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” he said. The finalized rule “will make it clear to shoppers that many meat and poultry products are adulterated, not enhanced, with high percentages of salty solutions.”

FSIS stated that the new rule will improve public awareness, will allow consumers to better determine whether certain products are suitable for their dietary needs, and may help lead to “an increase in consumer welfare.”

The rule will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Food Safety News

Jump Your Bones Brand Kangaroo Meat Pet Treats Recalled for Salmonella Risk

Jump Your Bones, Inc. of Boca Raton, FL is recalling Jump Your Bones brand name “Roo Bites (Cubes)” due to potential Salmonella contamination. The pet treat product is made from dehydrated kangaroo meat.

Salmonella can sicken animals that eat contaminated products. Humans are at risk of contracting illness from handling contaminated pet products, especially those who do not thoroughly wash their hands after touching the products or any surfaces that touch the products.

The affected lots of Jump Your Bones Pet Treats were distributed to retail pet food stores nationwide and through pet food retailers and distributors, as well as online stores.

The recalls affects all products bearing the following UPC:

  • 63633010041 for 80g. / 2.82oz. including samples of .32 oz.
No illnesses have been associated with the recalled product. However, due to the time required to trace an illness back to a specific food product, it is impossible to say whether or not any illnesses have occurred.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection in humans include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Consumers who have purchased the recalled pet treats are urged to stop feeding them to pets and either dispose of the product return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Food Safety News

Merger of Two Meat Industry Associations Takes Effect Jan. 1

The new North American Meat Institute (NAMI) will be born right on schedule come New Year’s Day.

NAMI is the product of the merger of the 108-year-old American Meat Institute (AMI) and the North American Meat Association (NAMA), with origins dating back to 1942. The merger combines into one the two large meat industry organizations that have been that sector’s impact players on all issues, including food safety.

AMI, for example, initially sued in federal court to prevent E. coli O157:H7 from being listed as an adulterant in meat when the issue first arose 20 years ago. More recently, NAMA has gained attention for its annual hands-on training sessions in methods that have successfully controlled the deadly pathogen.

The two organizations announced the merger earlier this year after negotiations in 2013 were able to prepare both boards of directors for unanimous merger votes in 2014.

The new North American Meat Institute has also began to make staffing announcements. NAMA’s Barry Carpenter, a former top USDA official, will be the new group’s president and chief executive officer. He’s held the same job at NAMA.

That Carpenter will head up the new organization comes as no surprise. Merger talks with NAMA were one of the last duties of AMI’s J. Patrick Boyle, who retired a year ago after serving the organization for 24 years as president and CEO.

In one of his first major personnel decisions for NAMI, Carpenter named Pete Thomson as vice president of legislative affairs. Thomson will join the new staff on Jan. 5, ending 31 years of Congressional experience. He will depart as the senior advisor for livestock issues to the House Agriculture Committee.

While on the committee staff, he counseled five chairmen and interacted with the entire spectrum of producers, packers, processors, retailers and consumers. Thomson came to Congress in 1983 with Rep. Bob Smith, but soon left the Oregon Republican’s staff for the House committee.

Thompson has worked on six different farm bills and has been actively engaged in a wide array of key issues, including industry marketing and structure, country-of-origin labeling (COOL), regulatory issues associated with GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration), foreign market access and animal identification.

“Pete Thomson’s experience on the Hill and his deep understanding of agriculture and livestock issues in particular will be invaluable to NAMI members,” Carpenter said. “We are fortunate to have his leadership on our team at this important time in our Institute’s history.”

Since announcing that their respective boards had voted for the merger, the two organizations have been careful to be on the same page. They reacted to the recent World Trade Organization (WTO) decision against U.S. policy on COOL with a joint statement in which they said the decision was no surprise.

“USDA’s mandatory COOL rule is not only onerous and burdensome on livestock producers and meat packers and processors, it does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations,” the two organizations stated. “By being out of compliance, the U.S. is subject to retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.”

The U.S. is now in the early stages of an appeal of that ruling, but the chances aren’t good that it will prevail after three previous WTO losses on the issue. Losing again would mean Canada and Mexico could get the green light for imposing tariffs on American exports on all sorts of things to make up for the losses in the meat trade.

That could give the new NAMI an opening to reduce or repeal the COOL law. In their earlier joint statement, the two groups said it was time to restore relationships with two of America’s largest and most important trading partners.

Meat packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers have joined AMI to protect their interests. AMI’s members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S.

NAMA’s 600 members throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are involved in meat and poultry packing and processing. Both groups, now merging into one, provide a raft of legislative, regulatory, technical, scientific and education services.

AMI was founded in Chicago in 1906 just after the Federal Meat Inspection Act was passed by Congress. Its original name was the American Meat Packers Association and its first task was to help its 300 members comply with the new federal law.

AMI is probably the main reason taxpayers — rather than the industry and its consumers — pay the $ 1 billion the federal government spends annually on meat inspection today.

In 1919, the name was changed to the Institute of American Meat Packers and finally AMI in 1940. AMI moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., in 1979. It merged with the National Independent Meat Packers Association (NIMPA) in 1982 and began managing the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association in 1990. In 1991, AMI changed its bylaws to allow poultry processors to become full members, and, in 1992, the AMI Foundation was established to focus on research, education and information of interest to the meat and poultry industry.

In 1999, the AMI Foundation launched a multi-million-dollar, multi-year food safety initiative with the goal of reducing and ultimately eliminated Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli 0157:H7 from meat and poultry products.

The North American Meat Association was created by the 2012 merger of the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMPA) and the National Meat Association (NMA). Here’s the way the groups explained their lineage in the run-up to that merger:

 ”In 1942, shortly after the American entrance into WWII, the government imposed price controls and rationing of meat products without recognizing the special value-added service purveyors give to their customers. In response, Chicago, Illinois-based institutional meat purveyors banded together as the National Association of Hotel and Restaurant Meat Purveyors.

“As a result of this organization’s efforts, the regulation was amended and all sellers of meat products to hotels and restaurants were permitted to sell their products at a fair price. The association changed its name to the National Association of Meat Purveyors and began serving the needs of its members. In March 1996, the association changed its name to North American Meat Processors Association to reflect that it had begun to serve members in Canada, Mexico, and other countries. NAMP was unique among meat industry trade associations in having a North American focus in its programs and services.”

The National Meat Association had a similarly transformative history. Its first predecessor organization, Western States Meat Packers Association, was formed in 1946. Two years later, its second, Pacific Coast Meat Association, was chartered. These two would join together in 1982 to become the Western States Meat Association. Finally, in 1995, out of a merger of WSMA with the Mountain/Plains Meat Association, the National Meat Association was formed.

Food Safety News

Crab Meat Recalled For Possible Listeria Contamination

Rome Packing Co. of East Providence, RI, has issued a voluntary recall of Ocean’s Catch brand All Natural Jonah Crab Leg Meat after routine product sampling by the company determined some of the finished products may have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.

The list of fresh recalled products are packaged in round plastic containers (tub with snap-on lid), sold as refrigerated, includes:

  • 5 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Fresh Jonah Crab Leg Meat: lot number 0104804 with a sell by date before 10/15/14;
  • 6 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Jonah Crab Combo Meat: lot number 0104791 with a sell by date before 10/13/14; lot number 0104666 with a sell by date before 10/15/14;
  • 8 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Fresh Jonah Crab Leg Meat: lot number 0104665 with a sell by date before 10/13/14; lot number 0104665 with a sell by date before 10/14/14; lot number 0104804 with a sell by date before 10/14/14; lot number 0104842 with a sell by date before 10/16/14;
  • 8 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Jonah Crab Combo Meat: lot number 0104787 with a sell by date before 10/14/14;
  • 16 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Fresh Jonah Crab Leg Meat: lot number 0104659 with a sell by date before 10/13/14; lot number 0104665 with a sell by date before 10/14/14; lot number 0104842 with a sell by date before 10/16/14;
  • 16 ounce Ocean’s Catch All Natural Jonah Crab Combo Meat: lot number 0104806 with a sell by date before 10/14/14; lot number 0104845 with a sell by date before 10/16/14;

The list of frozen recalled products are packaged in plastic bags, sold frozen, includes:

  • 5 pound bags of Ocean’s Catch All Natural Frozen Jonah Crab Leg Meat: lot number 0104842 with a sell by date before 4/16/16;

The products are distributed in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois and California to retail stores including but not limited to: Shaw’s Supermarkets, Legal Sea Foods, and Harbor Fish Market. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them and return them to the place of purchase for a refund or discard them.

Listeria monocytogenes, is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Any consumers who believe they may have become ill after eating the products should contact their health care provider.

Food Safety News

WTO Rules Against Country-of-Origin Labeling on Meat in U.S.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in an ongoing dispute with the United States over country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on meat.

The latest U.S. labeling rules, put into effect in 2013, require meat sold in grocery stores to indicate the country, or countries, where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

According to a WTO report released on Monday, the labeling rules unfairly discriminate against meat imports and give the advantage to domestic meat products. But the WTO compliance panel also found that the labels do provide U.S. consumers with information on the origin of their food, countering Canada and Mexico’s assertion that the labels do not serve their intended purpose.

Back in November 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the WTO should have the final say on COOL, suggesting that the U.S. might give in to whatever the WTO compliance panel determined.

This is the second time the WTO has ruled against the U.S. in this dispute. After passing mandatory COOL rules in 2008, the U.S. amended COOL in 2012 following an earlier WTO ruling against them.

The Canadian cattle and hog industries say that COOL has cost them combined losses of more than $ 900 million USD. If the COOL rules persist, the Canadian government has threatened to place tariffs on U.S. meat imports, along with products such as wine, potatoes and orange juice.

The U.S. beef industry has strongly opposed COOL, while organizations representing consumers say that grocery shoppers deserve to know where their meat originates.

“COOL is a failed program that will soon cost not only the beef industry, but the entire U.S. economy, with no corresponding benefit to consumers or producers,” said Bob McCan, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in a statement. “… We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”

In a joint statement, the North American Meat Association and the American Meat Institute also lauded the WTO’s decision.

“USDA’s mandatory COOL rule is not only onerous and burdensome on livestock producers and meat packers and processors, it does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations,” the joint statement read. “By being out of compliance, the U.S. is subject to retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.”

The consumer group Food & Water Watch called the ruling a threat to consumers’ right to know.

“The WTO’s continued assault against commonsense food labels is just another example of how corporate-controlled trade policy undermines the basic protections that U.S. consumers deserve,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter in a statement. “The United States should appeal the ruling and continue to fight for sensible consumer safeguards at the supermarket.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) also spoke out against the ruling and urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives to appeal the ruling.

“Accurate information is essential in a competitive, free market and COOL provides consumers with essential information about the origin of their food,” DeLauro said in a statement. “If this ruling stands, U.S. ranchers will not be able to differentiate their products with a U.S. label and consumers will not have the information they need at the point of purchase.”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives said that all options were being considered, including the possibility of appealing the ruling.

“A negotiated solution, not further litigation at the WTO, is the most realistic path to getting this issue resolved in the near term,” said a spokesperson for the office. “Allowing this case to wait for resolution in Geneva will only prolong the market uncertainty we’ve seen on all sides of this issue.”

Food Safety News

What U.S. Can Learn From Other Countries About Meat, Poultry Inspection

As the new Modernization of Poultry Inspection rule went into effect Monday, the Pew Charitable Trusts and Center for Science in the Public Interest released their review of global meat and poultry inspection systems. They recommended that U.S. policymakers begin a broader, data-driven effort to update the Department of Agriculture’s inspection system.

Traditional slaughter inspection methods for beef, pork and poultry are based on the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 and the Poultry Products Inspection Act of 1957.

“These techniques focus largely on ensuring that food comes only from healthy animals,” states the report entitled, “Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0.” “They are much less effective in protecting consumers from the modern-day hazards that commonly contaminate meat and poultry products.”

Sandra Eskin, director of food safety at Pew, compares the U.S. inspection system to a house built in 1906 and frequently redecorated since then. Maybe what we should do instead is knock the house down and build a new one, she suggested.

The report surveyed ante- and post-mortem inspection requirements in Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden, plus efforts by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to modernize meat inspection. The review was intended to identify innovations in information management and integrated surveillance that could offer improved protections for U.S. consumers.

One of the key findings in the report is that robust data collection, analysis and sharing are fundamental components of international efforts to transform existing inspection practices into a modern, risk- and science-based inspection system.

The EFSA expert panel convened in 2010 to study approaches to inspections concluded that microbial hazards should be addressed from farm to fork with good manufacturing practices, good hygiene practices, and HACCP systems.

With food chain information, for example, inspectors can identify high-risk animals, herds and flocks before they enter facilities so that slaughter practices, control measures and monitoring can be targeted appropriately.

“Meat and poultry inspection at slaughter is essential for ensuring human health and the health and welfare of food animals, but it needs to be modernized to take into account changes in the most relevant public health hazards,” reads the report by Pew and CSPI.

Their review also revealed that none of the countries sends meat inspectors to every meat and poultry slaughter and processing plant every day, as is done in the U.S. Some countries use private or quasi-governmental inspectors in their meat and poultry inspection systems, while others have completely turned over certain aspects to industry.

Based on their findings, Pew and CSPI recommend that the U.S. commission comprehensive scientific assessments to evaluate its existing meat inspection approaches and alternatives for modernization, that a more significant effort to improve data collection related to meat and poultry production and testing be undertaken, and that the U.S. think about incorporating food chain information into its meat and poultry inspection system.

“While CSPI supports modernizing meat and poultry inspection, USDA has adopted an incomplete solution without the scientific backing necessary to assure consumers that poultry will carry fewer hazards, like Salmonella and Campylobacter,” said CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal.

One criticism of the new Modernization of Poultry Inspection rule, which establishes the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS), is that while it does require enhanced sampling for all poultry plants, it doesn’t specify which pathogens the plants should be testing for.

Eskin told Food Safety News that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is dedicated to improving public health, but that the agency’s proposals, including the poultry inspection rule and Salmonella Action Plan, are “baby steps and they need bigger leaps.”

“We welcome and appreciate the report from Pew and CSPI, which supports many of our efforts to modernize and strengthen America’s food safety system,” a FSIS spokesperson told Food Safety News. “As the Government Accountability Office acknowledged today, FSIS ‘has moved to an increasingly science-based, data-driven, risk-based approach’ to protecting public health. This will help us prevent thousands of illnesses every year.”

GAO published a 67-page report entitled, “USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach to Protecting Human Health from Pathogens in Poultry Products,” on Monday. It recommends that FSIS take action to reduce pathogen contamination on chicken and turkey products, make sure that agency food-safety standards are being met, and better assess whether on-farm practices are effective in reducing pathogens in live poultry.

Food Safety News

Meat groups applaud WTO ruling on COOL

The World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico in the countries’ challenge to updated country-of-origin labeling regulations in the U.S.

WTO found that the COOL rule discriminates against Canadian and Mexican livestock and causes more of a negative impact on imported livestock than the original COOL measure. In addition, WTO said the additional labeling and recordkeeping burdens could not be explained by the need to give consumers more information.

The American Meat Institute and North American Meat Association released a joint statement praising the decision:

“The WTO decision upholding Canada’s and Mexico’s challenge to the U.S. COOL rule comes as no surprise. USDA’s mandatory COOL rule is not only onerous and burdensome on livestock producers and meat packers and processors, it does not bring the U.S. into compliance with its WTO obligations. By being out of compliance, the U.S. is subject to retaliation from Canada and Mexico that could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

“While the U.S. has the option to appeal the ruling, we encourage USTR and USDA to instead work together with the industry and Congress to amend the COOL statute so that it complies with our international obligations and brings stability to the market. Such a change would help restore strong relationships with some of our largest and most important trading partners.”

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Supermarket News

Whole Foods Sale of Rabbit Meat Sparks Weekend Protest Plan

Animal advocacy groups are planning to protest this weekend at Whole Foods Markets nationwide to oppose the retail sale of rabbit meat and to “politely” remind customers via handouts that rabbits are friendly animals often kept as pets.

“Rabbits are the 3rd most popular furry companion in the US and have unique personalities, just like dogs and cats,” a leaflet from House Rabbit Society states. “They enjoy running, jumping, snuggling with other rabbits, and form deep bonds with their humans.”

The advocacy groups will be asking customers to fill out comment cards opposing the sale of rabbit meat at Whole Foods and to let store managers know how they feel about the issue. In addition, a Change.org petition is posted claiming more than 10,000 signatures of people who are against the company’s retail sale of rabbit meat.

A Whole Foods spokesman said the company recently began a pilot program of selling rabbit meat at certain stores in northern California, the mid-Atlantic states, the Midwest, the Northeast, the South and the Pacific Northwest because of ongoing customer demand.

Stressing what it calls “a resurgence” of including rabbit meat in the American diet, Whole Foods notes that it’s a more sustainable and leaner protein option since six pounds of rabbit meat can be produced using the same amount of food and water it would take to produce one pound of beef.

The company has also made efforts to ensure that its suppliers provide improved conditions for rabbits raised for meat destined for retail sale in its stores.

“To meet our customers’ requests for rabbit, we needed our own set of animal welfare standards. These animal welfare standards are a direct result of a rigorous four-year process to address the welfare issues in rabbit production,” Mike Silverman told Huffington Post.

Concerns about how rabbits are raised for food led to a company statement released in May setting out how newly devised animal-welfare standards were being met, noting that the company’s supplier had “set up several innovative family farms that are meeting those standards” and adding that the program was being tested in a limited number of stores in northern California and the Washington, D.C., metro area.

“It was important to us to provide rabbits that were raised in better conditions than what the industry offered,” the statement reads, calling most current rabbit production conditions “grim.”

Whole Foods Market’s stated animal-welfare standards for rabbits are designed to:

  • Take into account the fact that rabbits socialize in groups. While most rabbits raised for meat are kept in cages, we require group pens on solid floors with plenty of dry bedding, additional places to hide and climb, and room to forage, groom, hop, socialize and play.
  • Require that our rabbits have continuous access to drinking water, feed, roughage, gnawing blocks, tunnels and places for seclusion.
  • Ensure injured animals are treated.
  • Allow the mother rabbit time to nurse and recover before being re-bred, as rabbits are famous for their prolific breeding.

Whole Foods Market is reportedly under investor pressure to step up its game in the increasingly crowded organic food sector. The company has reduced its revenue forecast four times in the past nine months and now faces competition from retail giants Walmart and Kroger, which have recently launched into organics and offer cheaper prices and many more outlets than Whole Foods.

Food Safety News

FSIS Approves Non-GMO Label for Meat

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved for the first time a third-party certification label that claims a meat product is free of genetically modified organisms.


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The Non-GMO Project, a third-party certifying organization, had asked FSIS in October 2012 for permission to issue a label for food companies stating that the animals used were fed an entirely non-GMO diet. The agency worked with the organization, the food companies in question, the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to verify the accuracy of the label.

However, this approval does not equate to an official sanction of the non-GMO claims, merely that the product meets the Non-GMO Project’s standards for what constitutes GMO-free.

Read more: Center Store Survey’s GMO Label Findings

“The agency has not developed any new policy regarding non-GE or non-GMO products and is not certifying that the labeled products are free of genetic engineering or genetic modifications,” said FSIS spokesperson Cathy Cochran.

FSIS permits food companies to use third-party certification labels provided the claims are “truthful, accurate and not misleading” and that information is available for consumers to scrutinize the claims.

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Supermarket News

Eating less meat: Solution to reduce water use?

Eating less meat would protect water resources in dry areas around the world, researchers at Aalto University have found.

Reducing the use of animal products can have a considerable impact on areas suffering scarce water resources, as meat production requires more water than other agricultural products.

“Diet change together with other actions, such as reduction of food losses and waste, may tackle the future challenges of food security,” states researcher Mika Jalava from Aalto University.

Growing population and climate change are likely to increase the pressure on already limited water resources and diet change has been suggested as one of the measures contributing to adequate food security for growing population.

The researchers assessed the impact of diet change on global water resources over four scenarios, where the meat consumption was gradually reduced while diet recommendations in terms of energy supply, proteins and fat were followed. The study published in Environmental Research Letters is the first global-scale analysis with a focus on changes in national diets and their impact on the blue and green water use of food consumption.

Food supply for growing population

Global population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, adding over 2 billion mouths to be fed to the current population, according to the UN. By reducing the animal product contribution in the diet, global green water (rainwater) consumption decreases up to 21 % while for blue water (irrigation water) the reductions would be up to 14 %. In other words, by shifting to vegetarian diet we could secure adequate food supply for an additional 1.8 billion people without increasing the use of water resources. The potential savings are, however, distributed unevenly, and even more important, their potential alleviation on water scarcity varies widely from country to country.

Regional differences

The researchers at Aalto University found substantial regional differences in diet change potential to reduce water use. In Latin America, Europe, Central and Eastern Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, diet change reduces mainly green water use. In Finland, for example, turning into a meat free diet would decrease the daily green water use of a Finn over 530 litres but at the same time resulting nearly 50 litres increase in blue water use. In the Middle East region, North America, Australia and Oceania, also blue water use would decrease considerably. In South and Southeast Asia, on the other hand, diet change does not result in savings in water use, as in these regions the diet is already largely based on a minimal amount of products.

The research is just published in Environmental Research Letters.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aalto University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Meat Industry Loses Appeal on Country-of Origin-Labeling

The meat industry may still be waiting on the World Trade Organization to make a call on country-of-origin labeling (COOL), but in the meantime they’ve lost another round in their fight against the rule in the D.C. Circuit courts.

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The American Meat Institute (AMI) has challenged the laws in U.S. courts on behalf of meat producers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Writing the majority opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams said that the interest of providing consumers with information overcame claims of free speech raised by AMI.

Tuesday’s decision by a split court of 11 judges reinforced an earlier decision made by a panel of three.

“The court’s decision today is disappointing,” said AMI Interim President and CEO James H. Hodges in a statement. “We have maintained all along that the country of origin rule harms livestock producers and the industry and affords little benefit to consumers. This decision will perpetuate those harms. We will evaluate our options moving forward.”

Consumer groups, on the other hand, celebrated the decision.

“We applaud the D.C. Circuit decision, which is an important victory for the U.S. public’s right to know how their food is produced,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “The Court confirmed that manufacturers do not have the right to avoid basic factual disclosures about their food products.”

The COOL law was adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2013, but enforcement of the rule is still developing.

Canada and Mexico have both filed complaints to the World Trade Organization on COOL. A decision from the organization is still pending.

Food Safety News

Meat Industry Loses Appeal on Country-of Origin-Labeling

The meat industry may still be waiting on the World Trade Organization to make a call on country-of-origin labeling (COOL), but in the meantime they’ve lost another round in their fight against the rule in the D.C. Circuit courts.

COOL laws mandate that meat products be labeled to tell where the food animals were born, raised and slaughtered. The American Meat Institute (AMI) has challenged the laws in U.S. courts on behalf of meat producers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Writing the majority opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Stephen Williams said that the interest of providing consumers with information overcame claims of free speech raised by AMI.

Tuesday’s decision by a split court of 11 judges reinforced an earlier decision made by a panel of three.

“The court’s decision today is disappointing,” said AMI Interim President and CEO James H. Hodges in a statement. “We have maintained all along that the country of origin rule harms livestock producers and the industry and affords little benefit to consumers. This decision will perpetuate those harms. We will evaluate our options moving forward.”

Consumer groups, on the other hand, celebrated the decision.

“We applaud the D.C. Circuit decision, which is an important victory for the U.S. public’s right to know how their food is produced,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “The Court confirmed that manufacturers do not have the right to avoid basic factual disclosures about their food products.”

The COOL law was adopted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May 2013, but enforcement of the rule is still developing.

Canada and Mexico have both filed complaints to the World Trade Organization on COOL. A decision from the organization is still pending.

Food Safety News

Sales of Expired Meat in China May Have Started Some Time Ago

Expired meat was probably being sold to McDonald’s and KFC restaurants in China for at least a year before the practice was caught for a report aired by Dragon TV.

A former quality-control officer for Shanghai Husi Food Co. Ltd., an affiliate of the Aurora, IL-based OSI Group, sued the company last year for allegedly requiring him to falsify production dates on meat packages. Wang Donglai, who worked at Shanghai Husi from 2007 through 2013, wanted to have his contract terminated because he said he was being required to engage in “unethical” practices and was risking his health through exposure to chlorine used to clean the meat. A demand for $ 6,100 was also included in his claims.

This “whistleblower” not only went unheeded by Shanghai Husi, but the district court dismissed all of his allegations after the company presented records showing Donglai’s health was OK.

Only when Dragon TV reported that Shanghai Husi was selling expired chicken and beef did the government shut down the company’s operations.

As in other food safety scandals involving local suppliers to Western companies, Chinese consumers have responded by blaming McDonald’s and the Yum! Brands-owed KFC’s for not paying close enough attention to where they were purchasing products. Many also suspect that the expired meat was purposely sold to restaurants.

Chinese food safety authorities, however, have responded with the arrests of five Shanghai Husi employees, including the quality manager.

The $ 6-billion OSI Group Inc. announced over this past weekend that all products made by Shanghai Husi are now being recalled. Although no illnesses have yet been attributed to eating the expired meat, OSI took the action to avoid seeing its fast-food business completely melt down in China, Hong Kong and Japan.

“To help rebuild the trust of customers and consumers, as well as to cooperate with the official investigatory process, we are compelled to withdraw all products manufactured by Shanghai Husi from the marketplace,” said OSI in a statement released Saturday on the company’s website in China. OSI also promised to undertake a “thorough internal investigation.”

Yum! Brands, owner of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants, said it would no longer buy meat from OSI in China, Australia, or the U.S. McDonald’s, which has a relationship with OSI going back to founder Ray Kroc, said it would cut its orders from China for Japan.

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat Processor Closed For Repeated Safety Violations

A  food processing plant cited for repeated violations of the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Act has had its license revoked.

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, Ill., was ordered to close following a July 16 administrative hearing at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield.

The administrative law judge presiding in the case issued the revocation order after listening to testimony that department meat and poultry inspectors found 136 violations in the facility from March 24 to June 17 of this year and management was either unwilling or unable to correct the problems.

The violations largely were for unsanitary conditions that endanger public safety.  They included instances where inspectors documented water dripping onto meat rails, rust on meat hooks, peeling paint on walls and ceilings in places where meat was stored or processed and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The judge’s ruling takes effect immediately and orders Parks Locker Service to cease “any and all processing and sale of meat or poultry products.”  The plant has the right to appeal the decision.

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat Processor Closed For Repeated Safety Violations

A  food processing plant cited for repeated violations of the Illinois Meat and Poultry Inspection Act has had its license revoked.

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, Ill., was ordered to close following a July 16 administrative hearing at the Illinois Department of Agriculture building in Springfield.

The administrative law judge presiding in the case issued the revocation order after listening to testimony that department meat and poultry inspectors found 136 violations in the facility from March 24 to June 17 of this year and management was either unwilling or unable to correct the problems.

The violations largely were for unsanitary conditions that endanger public safety.  They included instances where inspectors documented water dripping onto meat rails, rust on meat hooks, peeling paint on walls and ceilings in places where meat was stored or processed and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The judge’s ruling takes effect immediately and orders Parks Locker Service to cease “any and all processing and sale of meat or poultry products.”  The plant has the right to appeal the decision.

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat and Poultry Processor Loses License for Repeated Violations

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, IL, has had its license revoked by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for repeated violations of the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Act.

The closure followed a July 16 hearing in Springfield during which an administrative law judge heard testimony that department inspectors had identified 136 violations at the company’s Greene County facility between March 25 and June 17 which managers were either unwilling or unable to fix.

Most of the violations involved unsanitary conditions such as rust on meat hooks, water dripping onto meat rails, peeling paint on walls and ceilings near where meat was stored or processed, and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The license revocation is effective immediately, but the company can appeal the decision.

 

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat and Poultry Processor Loses License for Repeated Violations

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, IL, has had its license revoked by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for repeated violations of the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Act.

The closure followed a July 16 hearing in Springfield during which an administrative law judge heard testimony that department inspectors had identified 136 violations at the company’s Greene County facility between March 25 and June 17 which managers were either unwilling or unable to fix.

Most of the violations involved unsanitary conditions such as rust on meat hooks, water dripping onto meat rails, peeling paint on walls and ceilings near where meat was stored or processed, and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The license revocation is effective immediately, but the company can appeal the decision.

 

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat and Poultry Processor Loses License for Repeated Violations

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, IL, has had its license revoked by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for repeated violations of the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Act.

The closure followed a July 16 hearing in Springfield during which an administrative law judge heard testimony that department inspectors had identified 136 violations at the company’s Greene County facility between March 25 and June 17 which managers were either unwilling or unable to fix.

Most of the violations involved unsanitary conditions such as rust on meat hooks, water dripping onto meat rails, peeling paint on walls and ceilings near where meat was stored or processed, and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The license revocation is effective immediately, but the company can appeal the decision.

 

Food Safety News

Illinois Meat and Poultry Processor Loses License for Repeated Violations

Parks Locker Service of Greenfield, IL, has had its license revoked by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for repeated violations of the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection Act.

The closure followed a July 16 hearing in Springfield during which an administrative law judge heard testimony that department inspectors had identified 136 violations at the company’s Greene County facility between March 25 and June 17 which managers were either unwilling or unable to fix.

Most of the violations involved unsanitary conditions such as rust on meat hooks, water dripping onto meat rails, peeling paint on walls and ceilings near where meat was stored or processed, and holes in floors, walls and doors.

The license revocation is effective immediately, but the company can appeal the decision.

 

Food Safety News