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Americans' eating habits take a healthier turn, study finds
The Wall Street Journal
Years of warnings by health officials and grim news on the bathroom scale appear to finally be having an impact on the nation's eating habits. While there is no sign the high level of obesity has fallen, Americans say they are consuming fewer calories and cutting back on fast food, cholesterol and fat.
Mark your calendars and join AFFI in 2014
American Frozen Food Institute
As we race into the New Year, AFFI is excited to build upon our shared success over the past year by delivering programs and services of value that are specifically tailored for all sectors of the frozen food community. Mark your calendars and plan to join us at all of AFFI's conferences and events in 2014.
Sysco's US Foods deal faces federal antitrust review
Sysco Corp.'s agreement to buy US Foods for $3.5 billion is drawing antitrust scrutiny from U.S. regulators and some states that are joining the federal review over concerns the acquisition may undermine competition.
House eyes farm bill vote after recess
The stalled farm bill is picking up momentum again, as negotiators try to resolve all remaining differences this week. House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said Thursday that farm bill negotiators are aiming to unveil the legislation next week and have it voted on during the last week of January, half of which is taken up by the Republican annual retreat.
Obama to Democrats: Boehner will pass immigration reform in 2014
President Barack Obama has told Senate Democrats he expects Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to pass immigration reform this year, defying predictions the issue is dead for 2014.
Top 10 open seat House races of 2014
The Washington Post
House retirements are popping up with increasing frequency lately. But what does it mean in the battle for the majority?
Related: Oklahoma's Coburn to retire at end of 2014 (The Hill)
Trade leak feeds Democratic insurgency
Democrats in Congress are fuming over the leaked environmental provisions of a massive Pacific trade deal that would dwarf the North America Free Trade Agreement, casting further doubt on President Barack Obama's trade agenda just as his administration kicks it into high gear.
Related: Opinion: Free trade deals such as TPP help the U.S. (The Washington Post)
Is food getting safer?
With all the headlines about foodborne illness in recent years, it might seem that the problem of food contamination is at epic levels. But is it a matter of growing awareness rather than growing illnesses?
USDA's new generic labeling rule demystified
Food Chemical News (subscription required)
If a company submits a label to USDA's Labeling and Program Delivery Department that can be generically approved, the submitter can expect the phone to ring.
White potato may be back in the WIC program
Food Chemical News (subscription required)
The potato lobby appears to have won a key victory as the catch-all spending bill for FY 2014 directs USDA not to exclude the vegetable as part of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.
CPSC floats changes to product information disclosure
Law360 (subscription required)
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission this week released proposed changes to rules restricting its ability to publish product information without first notifying manufacturers, including new exemptions for information found online and in media reports.
Chicken from China: Why you should be worried
The Huffington Post
The impending inclusion of cooked chicken products — and eventually raw chicken — from China in the American food supply should raise red flags among food safety experts, consumers and lawmakers, says Bettina Elias Siegel.
Poultry plant inspection rules might change
If the Obama administration gives the green light, soon fewer federal inspectors will be present in poultry processing plants, and the lines will be allowed to speed up, a change that critics say could be risky for both food and worker safety.
NMPF preparing for dairy title compromise in farm bill
The head of the National Milk Producers Federation appears resigned to the fact a compromise is the only way to get dairy policy reform in a new federal Farm Bill. In a statement released late Thursday, Jim Mulhern, NMPF president and CEO, said his organization would withhold support until it is assured details effectively meet the needs of the organization's dairy producer members.
Cut safety limit for BPA in packaging by 90 percent, says EFSA
The EU's food watchdog has proposed to cut the safety limit for bisphenol A, a chemical found in some plastic packaging. The European Food Safety Authority is calling for a 90 percent cut on a temporary basis over concerns BPA could harm human health.
Highlights from FoodNavigator-USA's CEO debate: From GMOs to gluten-free
What keeps the CEOs of some of the most innovative U.S. food and beverage firms awake at night? Speaking at FoodNavigator-USA's first business leaders round table debate, six CEOs said finding and keeping the right people is their biggest challenge, ahead of financing, regulations, cash flow and all the other things involved in business.
Related: GMO labels a must, claim industry and lawmakers — but are there consequences? (Medical Daily)
Wal-Mart joins program to lift Florida tomato farmworker pay
Wal-Mart Stores Inc joined a program on Thursday promoted by workers' rights groups that aims to improve pay and working conditions for Florida farmworkers who pick tomatoes sold to grocery store and restaurant chains.
Taco Bell to roll out major beverage expansion
Now that Taco Bell has rammed its food menu into creative gear, it's looking at upgrading its beverage offerings. The Mexican fast food giant was expected to announce the largest-ever expansion of its beverage menu — with six new drinks rolling out at once, including three carbonated and three new non-carbonated beverages.
Organic food maker Amy's Kitchen plans $95 million project in New York
Organic and natural food manufacturer Amy's Kitchen Inc., plans to build a 350,000- to 500,000-square-foot plant in Goshen, N.Y. The company appeared before the Orange County Industrial Development Agency Wednesday seeking abatements from property and other taxes. The company estimates the plant will employ 681 people earning between $20,000 and $150,000 a year.
Jensens seek probation as PrimusLabs denies liability
Cantaloupe growers Eric and Ryan Jensen are seeking probation after pleading guilty to criminal charges in relation to the 2011 listeria outbreak traced to their fruit, detailing how they relied on a food safety auditor's "superior" rating and didn't know their operation was flawed.
CDC's Salmonella Heidelberg update: 430 people in 23 states, Puerto Rico
Food Safety News
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday afternoon that, as of Jan. 15, a total of 430 persons infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico.
California company expands recall because of missed inspections
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
A recall that initially covered 420 pounds of meat products has been expanded to include 41,683 pounds of various products that Rancho Feeding Corp. in Petaluma, Calif., produced without benefit of federal inspection.
Editor's note: Members of the American Frozen Food Institute have access to AFFI's unique Product Recall Insurance Program. Ensure you're protected during a food safety crisis using AFFI's one-of-a-kind program. For more information, please click here.
PepsiCo discontinues 'natural' Gatorade
The Associated Press via Daily Reporter
PepsiCo has discontinued a line of Gatorade it marketed as "natural," even as people increasingly look for foods and drinks that are positioned as such.
Mondelez touts 100 percent RSPO-certified palm oil — 2 years early
Mondelez International reached its 2015 goal of sourcing 100 percent RSPO-certified palm oil for all its purchases last year — two years ahead of schedule, the company has said.
Collaboration, creativity help companies increase sustainability in food sector
The Strategic Sourceror
Businesses in the consumer product market are finding themselves under an increasing amount of pressure to meet public demand for sustainability — and the food industry, in particular, has been a center of much of this attention.
Food industry focuses on better packaging to cut spoilage
Innovative packages are the key in the fight against food loss and wastage. More effective barrier layers, germicidal films and freshness indicators are intended to help products to keep for longer and stop consumers' throwaway mentality.
Flow wrapper tackles 200 packages per minute
Food Production Daily
Paxiom has released a horizontal flow wrapper suitable for a range of confectionery products, snack items, bakery goods and other food items. The device is specially suited for easy setup and quick changeover, with output at 200 packages per minute.
Extreme weather wreaking havoc on food as farmers suffer
Too much rain in northern China damaged crops in May, three years after too little rain turned the world's second-biggest corn producer into a net importer of the grain. Dry weather in the U.S. will cut beef output from the world's biggest producer to the lowest level since 1994. U.K. farmers couldn't plant in muddy fields after the second-wettest year on record in 2012 dented the nation's wheat production.
Scientists: No, wheat does not make people fat and sick
The idea that wheat causes obesity or sickness has been called rubbish by scientists conducting a review and publishing their findings in the Journal of Cereal Science.
Missed our previous issues? See which articles your colleagues read most.
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