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The extraordinary science of addictive junk food
The New York Times
The public and the food companies have known for decades now — or at the very least since a secret, unprecedented meeting in 1999 between the men who controlled America's largest food companies — that sugary, salty, fatty foods are not good for us in the quantities that we consume them. So why are the diabetes and obesity and hypertension numbers still spiraling out of control?
An interview with FSIS head Elisabeth Hagen
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service has a lot on its plate for 2013, from straightening out the COOLing relationships with Canadian and Mexican trading partners to a pending proposal to modernize the system of poultry inspection to cracking the Salmonella riddle. FSIS Under Secretary Dr. Elisabeth Hagen touched on many of these issues at the North American Meat Association's MeatXpo conference in Las Vegas.
AFFI Launches Food Safety Self-Assessment Program
The American Frozen Food Institute has introduced the "FSMA Readiness Self-Assessment Program," an online service to help frozen food facilities comply with the new Food Safety Modernization Act preventive controls proposed rule issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Sequester just over a week away, but blame game has already begun
The Washington Post
The fight between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans over the automatic spending cuts that start next week is shifting from one about stopping them to one about assigning blame if they happen.
Democrats want Congress to come back and stop sequester (The Washington Post)
Why Congress won't win a sequester showdown with Obama (The Washington Post)
Obama calls GOP senators on immigration
The Wall Street Journal
President Barack Obama placed a round of calls to Republican senators working on legislation to revamp the nation's immigration system just days after some of the lawmakers panned the president's own immigration overhaul.
RNC raised $6.9 million in January
The Washington Post
The Republican National Committee raised $6.9 million in January and ended the month with $7.1 million in cash and no debt, the committee will announce shortly. The RNC is in significantly better financial shape than its Democratic counterpart after not going into any debt at the end of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Related: DSCC rakes in $4.2 million in January (POLITICO)
Michelle Obama to hit the road for 'Let's Move!'
First lady Michelle Obama is going to go on tour to mark the third anniversary of her "Let's Move!" initiative and to highlight communities that have made progress in combating childhood obesity. She announced the tour during an appearance on the "Rachael Ray Show" Wednesday. Obama said it will begin in "a couple of weeks."
Opinion: Is a national GMO law the best for consumers?
Even opponents to GMO labeling have realized this ongoing state-by-state (or, even worse, city-by-city) fight is going to be long, messy and expensive. Federal legislation now has been introduced, and there's no reason to think the bill won't pass. What could possible be detrimental to the passage of a national GMO labeling law?
Bipartisan group of senators push for action on Russia meat ban
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pressing trade officials to quickly resolve Russia's recent ban on U.S. meat. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and panel ranking member Thad Cochran, R-Miss., were joined by 31 other senators Tuesday in a letter urging the U.S. Trade Representative to deal with Russia's import ban on U.S. beef, poultry and turkey, which they argue would cost the industry $600 million a year.
Related: Russia approves vet certificate for US poultry products (World Poultry)
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EPA to hold public hearing on 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards
Office of the Federal Register
The EPA will hold a public hearing on its proposed rule for 2013 Renewable Fuel Standards. The hearing is planned March 8 in Ann Arbor, Mich. Additionally, the comment period for the proposed rule has been extended until April 7.
Join the conversation about smart snacks in schools
USDA recently announced its "Smart Snacks in School" proposal that will help to ensure all foods and beverages sold in schools contribute to a healthy diet. A fact sheet and frequently asked questions offer information about the proposed rule. The comment period for the proposal is open for 60 days, and USDA is encouraging people to provide feedback and comments.
Hazards of the FDA's new food safety rules
The Nature Conservancy via CSRwire
New draft federal produce safety rules were released recently — a groundbreaking moment given that oversight of food safety hasn't been updated since 1938. Yet, they still leave much room for individual companies to develop their own policies around food safety that may be at odds with sound management of the land on which food is grown.
Related: Where are we on food safety? (Consumer Affairs)
China seeks extra testing of US pork for feed additive
China wants a third party to verify, beginning March 1, that U.S. pork shipped to the country is free of ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes lean muscle growth, a spokesman for the U.S. Meat Export Federation spokesman has said.
Unified Registration System nearing publication
The Unified Registration System, which will reform the way the federal government keeps track of motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders, is in the final stage of the rulemaking process. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sent the final rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget Tuesday for review. OMB typically takes three months or so to vet agency rules, although the process could be extended if changes are required.
Missed our previous issues? See which articles your colleagues read most.
US wholesale prices rise on more expensive food
The Associated Press via The Boston Globe
U.S. wholesale prices rose only slightly in January after three straight declines, the latest sign that inflation is posing no threat. It means the Federal Reserve has room to keep interest rates at record lows without worrying about igniting inflation. The Labor Department said Wednesday that its producer price index rose 0.2 percent last month, the first increase since September. Gasoline and other energy prices fell, while food prices jumped 0.7 percent after dropping sharply in December.
How Kraft got its innovation groove back
Kraft Foods Group has spent the past three years getting its innovation groove back, company leaders said Tuesday at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton, Fla.
Related: Kraft placing fewer, bigger bets on new products (The Wall Street Journal)
Supreme Court seems on Monsanto's side over seed patent
Monsanto's patent for genetically modified soybeans appears safe in the Supreme Court's hands. The patent case pits the future of biotechnology innovation against high farm prices. For now, it looks like innovation is winning.
Europe horse meat scandal spreads to Asia
Agence France-Presse via Global Post
Europe's horse meat scandal spread Wednesday to Asia, where an imported lasagna brand was pulled from the shelves in Hong Kong as Czech officials ordered similar action on frozen meals mislabeled as beef.
Related: Frozen burger sales drop 40 percent amid horse meat scandal (Marketing Week)
General Mills test-marketing breakfast on the go
Food Business News (free registration required)
General Mills, Inc. is looking to extend its portfolio of breakfast products with the test marketing of Bfast, a shelf-stable liquid breakfast drink for consumers on the go. The company discussed the new product during the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference taking place this week.
Bee shortage may increase some food prices
Food prices could skyrocket, particularly fruits and nuts, due to a shortage of honey bees. Many of California's crops rely heavily on bees for pollination and officials say Kern County is seeing a drop in the number of bees to do the job.
Food recalls hit two-year high in fourth quarter
Food recalls in the U.S. hit a two-year high in the fourth quarter, according to a report released by Stericycle ExpertRECALL. That comes to an average of six recalls a day, affecting about 18.4 million products — not out of line with historical averages.
Bimbo issues widespread recall after faulty equipment found
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
BBU Inc., the parent of the Bimbo Bakeries companies, has issued a widespread recall after discovering a faulty screen at a supplier's flour mill may have caused some flexible wire bits to be included in 13 of its bread lines.
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.
Canadian authorities recall frozen burgers on E. coli worries
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Canada Safeway Limited are warning the public not to consume certain frozen beef burgers from The Gourmet Meat Shoppe and The Butcher's Cut brands because these products may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.
UN offers banquet of blemished food to highlight waste
The United Nations treated government ministers and officials to a meal of blemished African fruit and vegetables on Tuesday to highlight how perfectly edible food is being rejected by European supermarkets. "No economic, environmental or ethical argument can be made to justify the extent of food waste and loss currently happening in the world," said Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program, which hosted the dinner.
Series highlights the best of food safety
Food Safety News
This week, Food Safety News is acknowledging leaders who help keep the food supply safe. The series is recognizing leaders at government agencies, educators, non-government organizations, the food industry, consumer groups and the news media.
Datamonitor: Marketers are avoiding the word 'diet' like the plague
While obesity in America has reached epidemic proportions, manufacturers seeking to help us battle the bulge are avoiding the word "diet" like the plague, cutting sugar, fat and salt by stealth and instead promoting more positive messages about food quality, protein and health and wellness, says Datamonitor.
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