Frozen Express
Jan. 10, 2012

USDA plans to shut 259 offices
The Washington Post
The U.S. Agriculture Department announced Monday it will close nearly 260 offices nationwide, including five Food Safety and Inspection Service locations. The measure won praise for cutting costs but raised concerns about the possible effect on food safety.

Related article:

  • USDA Fact Sheet: Blueprint for Stronger Service (USDA)
  • Vilsack tells American Farm Bureau Federation about tough calls, tough choices (Agri-Pulse)More

    Report: Private labels continue to thrive
    Food Product Design
    During the past 20 years, private label food products have grown steadily in sales and often directly compete for market share with national brands, which results in lower prices and increased product choices for consumers, according to a new report released by USDA's Economic Research Service.More

    Groceries hire companies to score foods' nutritional value
    USA Today
    Walk into one of 143 King Soopers supermarkets in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, and you'll find nutritional rating numbers on the shelves, right next to the prices. Since October, the grocery store chain, a division of Kroger, has included nutrition ratings by NuVal, one of the nation's largest rating companies.More

    New Hampshire voters make their choice after long campaign
    The Washington Post
    New Hampshire voters are notoriously independent, engaged and awfully flirty, kicking the tires of candidate after candidate before finally making a decision. They reserve their right to change their minds until the very last minute; some 25 percent remained undecided headed into primary day, a fact that rankled morning radio hosts. More

    Obama fundraising picks up steam as 2012 campaign looms
    The Washington Post
    White House aides continue to insist President Barack Obama isn't campaigning yet. But this week, he is attending at least five fundraisers. More

    Obamney's indie blues
    POLITICO
    Barack Obama is supposed to be the guy who can't win independent voters in 2012. But a funny thing happened on the way to Mitt Romney's hoped-for coronation as king of the indies, the man who can lure the all-important swing voters from Obama. More

    Huntsman looks for the independent vote
    USA Today
    Jon Huntsman says he may not win the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, but he hopes to prove how he can win in November. The key: independent voters who are eligible to vote in today's Republican contest.More

    FDA hails 'significant progress' under year-old food safety law
    Food Navigator-USA
    The Food and Drug Administration claims it has made significant progress with regulatory developments related to the Food Safety Modernization Act since the bill was signed into law a year ago, according to its one-year progress report.

    Editor's note: The American Frozen Food Institute is organizing a series of instructional food safety webinars with leading experts to examine topics and issues related to implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The next webinar takes place Feb. 8. To register, or for more information, please click here. More

    NLRB swears in 3 new members
    The Wall Street Journal
    The National Labor Relations Board swore in three new members Monday amid continued wrangling over the legality of their appointments and the direction of the agency's agenda.More

    Obama panel to watch Beijing
    The Wall Street Journal
    President Barack Obama plans to create a U.S. government task force designed to monitor China for possible trade and other commercial violations as part of a larger White House effort to get more assertive with Beijing during this election year, people familiar with the matter said.More

    China import growth slide deepens global growth risk
    Bloomberg via The Washington Post
    China's import growth fell to a two-year low in December, underscoring a slowdown in the fastest-growing major economy that deepens risks for the global outlook.More

    Department of Transportation marks $1.6 billion for repairs
    Truckinginfo
    U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood announced Monday that almost $1.6 billion in funding will go toward the repair of U.S. roads and bridges that were damaged by natural disasters.More

    Raw chicken study to get underway
    USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
    The Food Safety and Inspection Service soon will begin collecting samples from poultry slaughter facilities as part of a study of raw chicken processing. FSIS expects to establish pathogen reduction performance standards for chicken parts based on the results of this survey.More

    Farm bill roundtable highlights budget woes
    Agweek
    Agricultural leaders are worried the safety net for farm income will be trampled by federal budget warriors in what one official described a "sprint that has turned into a marathon" in the political effort to replace the 2008 farm bill.More

    Court rules for genetically modified seed
    UPI
    A federal judge has dismissed the Center for Food Safety's claims the U.S. government broke the law by completely deregulating a company's genetically engineered alfalfa seeds. More

    FDA steps up testing for fungicide in orange juice
    The Associated Press via USA Today
    The Food and Drug Administration says it will step up testing for a fungicide that has been found in low levels in orange juice.More

    New York City offers supersized warnings about food, diet
    The New York Times
    The latest ads from New York City's health department warning against the dangers of sodas and fast food may not be as arresting as its previous public service admonitions, but they are not too subtle.More

    India loosens rules on some foreign retailers
    The Associated Press via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    The Indian government formally agreed Tuesday to allow foreign companies to own 100 percent of stores dedicated to selling products under a single brand name.More

    Canadians want food laws to combat obesity
    Ottawa Citizen
    Canadians believe obesity is by far the most important health issue facing children and youth. And they want the federal government to do much more to help them deal with it, says a survey done for the Public Health Agency of Canada.More

    Orange juice futures surge
    The Wall Street Journal
    Futures of frozen orange juice concentrate in New York surged on concerns that the presence of the fungicide could crimp supplies. More

    Kraft names leadership teams for snacks, grocery businesses
    Chicago Tribune
    Irene Rosenfeld will stay on as chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods' global snacks company, and Tony Vernon will serve as CEO of the North American grocery business when Kraft Foods splits later this year, the company announced Monday in a regulatory filing.More

    Children prefer more choices, colors on their plates
    Chronicle Online
    Children are most attracted to food plates with seven different items and six different colors. Adults, on the other hand, tend to prefer only three items and three colors, reports a new Cornell study.More

    US report: Russian food processing recovery offers 'ample' foreign investment opportunities
    Food Production Daily
    Increasing disposable income and growing food expenditure are helping to creating an opening for foreign investment in the Russian food processing sector, according to a U.S. government report. More

    AiroCide story: NASA contributes to food safety
    Fresh Plaza
    NASA has developed a unique air sanitation technology that will support becoming more compliant with food safety preventive controls.More

    Listeria-busting discovery could adapt for processing plants
    Food Production Daily
    Scientists from Cornell University have discovered a compound that stops Listeria from transforming itself from a harmless microbe into a potentially lethal human pathogen. The breakthrough could lead to innovations in food processing plants.More

    McDonald's, International Olympic Committee to renew contract
    Bettor.com
    The marketing chief of the International Olympic Committee recently said the fast food chain McDonald's will be signing a deal with the IOC to extend its sponsorship agreement.More

    Scientist: Probiotics pill could prevent foodborne illness
    Purdue University News Service
    Modified probiotics, the beneficial bacteria touted for their role in digestive health, one day could decrease the risk of Listeria infection in people with susceptible immune systems, according to Purdue University research.More

    Meat pie company to double staff, boost output by factor of 50
    Buffalo News
    The English Pork Pie Co., which had been on the verge of moving to Ohio, is staying in New York's Buffalo-Niagara region as it expands, looking to double its workforce within two years while new equipment is expected to lead to 50 times more production.More

    Global warming boosts China's corn production
    CO2 Science
    An analysis of crop yields and climatological data in northeast China — which produces almost 30 percent of the nation's corn — shows rising temperatures likely will lead to longer growing seasons and higher production.More

    Study: Refined grain consumption poses no health risk
    Food Navigator
    Consuming up to 50 percent of all grain foods as refined grains will not lead to any increased disease risk, according to a study reviewing all relevant literature from the Noughties. More

    Australia: Beefing up new markets
    ABC Rural
    Demand for Australian beef in emerging markets has made up for a slump in sales to the country's two biggest markets, Japan and the U.S.More