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FSIS reveals cuts to foreign meat safety audits — 3 years later
Food Safety News
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it has stopped annual food safety audits for foreign countries shipping meat to the U.S. and will now do these audits just once every three years. The policy change was made nearly three years ago, but USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service did not make the change public until Friday.

Related articles:
  • DeLauro demands answers on equivalency changes in 2009 (Food Chemical News)
  • US: Reduced checks on poultry, egg imports criticized (World Poultry)
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    Mergers a key theme of food manufacturing bosses' forum
    Food Manufacture
    Mergers and acquisitions in the food and drink manufacturing sector emerged as a key theme of the Business Leaders' Forum staged earlier this month in central London. More
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    Food poisoning linked to ground beef
    The Associated Press via USA Today
    Federal health officials say at least 16 people in five states have been sickened by salmonella food poisoning linked to ground beef. No one has died, but half were hospitalized. Most of the illnesses have been in Michigan, but a few cases were scattered in Arizona, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

    Related article:
  • Listeria-related illnesses prompt recall of ground beef (USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service)
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    Surprise! The economy did fine despite the fiscal cliff talks
    The Washington Post
    Two pieces of news Monday morning show a corporate sector that was in an expansionary mode at the end of 2012. Companies seemed to have ramped up their spending on big, heavy, long-term investments as the year came to a close. And that, coupled with some other recent numbers, point to one of the more promising trends for the economy in 2013. More
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    Big breaks for Republicans, but road to Senate still steep
    POLITICO
    Tom Harkin's Saturday retirement announcement is the latest early break for Republicans in their long-shot bid to seize control of the Senate in 2014. The move puts Iowa in play and comes on the heels of Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller's retirement in West Virginia, which gave Republicans a likely pickup.

    Related article:
  • Democrats, tea party unite vs. Mitch McConnell (POLITICO)
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    What Hillary Clinton's saying about 2016
    POLITICO
    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has repeatedly been asked about a second run at the White House, and her answers have changed over time — from flatly denying she intended to run to evading the question — culminating in Sunday night's joint "60 Minutes" interview with President Barack Obama. More
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    School lunch: Japan's healthy take on feeding students
    The Washington Post
    Japan takes seriously both its food and its health and, as a result, its school lunches are a point of national pride — not a source of dismay. As other countries, including the United States, struggle to design school meals that are healthy, tasty and affordable, Japan has all but solved the puzzle, using a system that officials describe as utterly common sense.

    Related articles:
  • Tacoma, Wash., schools adapt to new food regulations (The Bellingham Herald)
  • Food for thought; thought for food (The Intelligencer)
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    Senators offer bipartisan blueprint for immigration
    The New York Times
    A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a set of principles for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, including a pathway to American citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants that would hinge on progress in securing the borders and ensuring that foreigners leave the country when their visas expire.

    Related article:
  • House GOP cautious on Senate's bipartisan immigration blueprint (The Hill)
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    UK: FSA plans fewer hygiene inspections for compliant businesses
    Food Navigator
    Food manufacturers with a good hygiene record will be subject to fewer inspections by local authority environmental health officers in the U.K., following rule changes by the Food Standards Agency. More
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    US importers warn of "tomato cliff" if trade talks with Mexico fail
    Food Chemical News (subscription required)
    Supermarket prices for fresh tomatoes could double from a national average of $2.50 per pound to $5 per pound or more, if the Department of Commerce terminates its 16-year-old tomato trade agreement with Mexico, according to an economic impact analysis commissioned by the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas. More
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    GMO Free Connecticut holds organizational meeting
    The Examiner
    The new organization GMO Free CT held an organizational meeting last week, and about 60 people attended. There was no real discussion of whether GMO foods were dangerous or not. Rather, this was a group of committed opponents to GMO foods who plan to organize to lobby the Connecticut legislature to pass laws requiring the labeling of GMO foods. More
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    Court says EPA estimates on biofuels too high
    The Associated Press via The Washington Post
    A federal appeals court has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency is overestimating the amount of fuel that can be produced from grasses, wood and other nonfood plants in an effort to promote a fledgling biofuels industry. More
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    Common element for 2013 ag-gag bills: quick reporting
    Food Safety News
    The long and short of state bills being introduced this year regarding farm animal abuse is the quick reporting of any incident. Whether it's the one page in New Hampshire, five pages in Wyoming or 11 pages in Nebraska, these bills all share requirements for quick reporting. More
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    Food safety advocates say officials have spent too much time reviewing a new rule
    The Associated Press via KSPR-TV
    A new beef labeling rule that has the support of food safety advocates has been under review for months by the White House Office of Management and Budget. More
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    ATA asks for delay in hours-of-service rule
    Transport Topics
    American Trucking Associations has asked the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for a delay in the effective date of FMCSA's new hours-of-service rule of three months following a court's decision about the rule. More
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    Latin America may rally behind single WTO candidate
    Reuters via Chicago Tribune
    Latin American candidates bidding to head the World Trade Organization could step down from the race and rally behind the regional figure with the best chance of being appointed, Mexico's candidate to lead the trade body said. More
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    Gatorade to remove controversial ingredient
    The Associated Press via USA Today
    PepsiCo Inc. is removing a controversial ingredient, brominated vegetable oil, from its Gatorade sports drink in response to customer complaints. More
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    Hostess may file Drakes brand deal
    Bloomberg
    Hostess Brands Inc., the bankrupt maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread, hopes to file a "stalking-horse" agreement for the Drakes brand this week, a lawyer for the bakery company said. The statement came at a court hearing Friday at which Hostess is seeking permission to sell the majority of its bread brand assets and Beefsteak brand at a Feb. 28 auction.

    Related article:
  • McKee Foods, maker of Little Debbie Cakes, to bid on Hostess's Drake's (The Wall Street Journal)
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    Group fights food labeling confusion
    Farm Futures
    CommonGround, a United Soybean Association and National Corn Growers Association-sponsored movement to increase communication among women in cities and on farms, Thursday released a quick reference list of labels consumers should make an effort to understand. More
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    Energy drink makers turn to lobbyists for help
    The Washington Post
    As the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the safety of energy drinks, two of the biggest makers of energy beverages are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to pay Washington lobbyists. More
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    Research: Healthy brands taste better in consumers' minds
    Food Navigator
    Foods sold under a healthy brand and marketing message are perceived to be tastier and more satisfying to consumers, according to new research findings. The study, led by Dr. Catherine Forestell, tested the taste preference and food consumption rates of 66 female consumers. More
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    Unilever to close Atlanta plant
    Food Business News
    Unilever announced it will close its spreads factory in Atlanta on June 30 to address spare capacity among the company's other U.S.-based spreads plants. More
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    Farm bill cuts $22 million from organic food funding
    PolicyMic
    When Congress passed the newest farm bill extension at the beginning of this month, they cut from the legislation $22 million in funds for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program, along with several other subsidies to organic farmers. More
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    Fried chicken recalled after consumers find metal bits
    USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
    Advance Pierre Foods, an Enid, Okla. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,200 pounds of chicken fried chicken breasts that may contain small pieces of metal. The problem was discovered after the company received two consumer complaints.

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    Whole Foods Market recalls salmon on Listeria fears
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration
    Whole Foods Market is recalling one lot code of whole catch wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, sold in stores in 12 states, because it may contain Listeria monocytogenes. More
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    Australia, New Zealand exporters preparing for US FSMA
    Fresh Plaza
    The Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industries have been watching with interest the debate around the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's much-anticipated proposed rules on produce safety and preventive controls under the Food Safety Modernization Act, to see what — if any — impact this will have on exporters to the U.S. More
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    Frozen Express
    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, (469) 420-2601
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