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US farm trade frets over sequestration; meat sector worries most
U.S. farmers and agribusiness companies are worried that across-the-board federal budget cuts will snarl the supply channels for everything from milk and broiler chickens to grain shipments, but many are hopeful that the Obama administration and Republican opponents will find a compromise before major disruptions hit the food system.
USDA says inspector furloughs several months away (Bloomberg)
Email tells feds to make sequester as painful as promised (The Washington Times)
Congress may add flexibility to sequester cuts (USA Today)
Opinion: #SequesterThis (The Wall Street Journal)
Food forecasters: Consumers want to feel good about food choices
Meat & Poultry (free registration required)
Researchers at Woodland Foods, a specialty ingredient importer, can predict what will pop up on consumers' plates. Lately, consumer preferences largely are driven by health, according to the company.
Americans want government to promote good health — sometimes
Los Angeles Times
Does the government have a role to play in preventing childhood obesity, helping smokers quit and heading off chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease? Yes, according to survey results published Monday by the journal Health Affairs.
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Political partisanship mirrors public
Americans who blame Washington politicians for the polarization and gridlock of the nation's politics might want to look in the mirror: Like the elected officials they decry, voters tend to retreat automatically into partisan camps even when they disagree with the party line on policy.
Jeb Bush is back in the spotlight — and thinking about 2016
The Washington Post
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has remained on the sidelines since his older brother left the White House with dismal ratings four years ago, has jumped back into the political fray this week with a new book, wall-to-wall television interviews and a round of public speaking engagements.
Obama to meet House, Senate Republicans on their own turf
Senate Republicans will host President Barack Obama at their weekly conference lunch next week amid an intensifying effort by the White House to reach out to rank-and-file Republicans on a possible budget deal.
McCain: Visa overhaul key hurdle in immigration talks
The Wall Street Journal
Arizona Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that working with labor to revamp visa programs has emerged as one of the toughest issues in the bipartisan Senate group overhauling immigration laws.
Citizenship for immigrants divides Republicans (The Wall Street Journal)
Immigration talks gain momentum (POLITICO)
Immigration reform: Senate stuck on lower-skilled workers (POLITICO)
EU trade chief: No change to GM food policy in US trade talks
The European Union's regulation on genetically modified food will not change even if Brussels and Washington reach a free-trade agreement, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht told an Austrian newspaper.
Related: British ambassador: Trade pact a major opportunity (USA Today)
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Vermont GMO labeling bill passes first hurdle — but challenges await
A GMO labeling bill has passed its first regulatory hurdle in Vermont after the state's House Agriculture Committee passed it by an 8-3 vote Friday. It now goes to the House Judiciary Committee for review, then to the floor for a vote.
Hearing on GE food labeling draws crowd in New Jersey (Convenience Store Decisions)
Food labeling class action survives (Courthouse News Service)
GMO voter education tour kicks off in Arizona (WWGFN via Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
State, federal lawmakers focus on produce trade
The Texas Tribune
This week, Texas state Rep. Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, is expected to file a bill that would help address the shortage of agricultural specialists who inspect produce coming across the Texas-Mexico border.
US meat, trade officials detail cost of 'non-science-based' ractopamine bans
U.S. meat and trade officials are pressing Russia, China and Taiwan to change their stances against the use of beta agonists such as ractopamine in beef and pork while detailing the costs of their respective restrictions.
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CPG industry trends, predictions for 2013
As the effects of economic uncertainty continue to reverberate throughout the consumer packaged goods industry, consumers are still attempting to ease budgetary strains and embrace a wide variety of money-saving strategies. The latest research from SymphonyIRI Group's Times & Trends, "2012 CPG Year in Review: Finding the New Normal," provides insights into today's capricious consumers and the impact their behaviors are having on CPG growth trends.
The calendar of fast food
The Wall Street Journal (subscriber story)
Fast food chains and other restaurants create new seasons as reasons to indulge by offering limited-time products.
Wal-Mart's smaller stores making inroads
The Wall Street Journal (subscriber story)
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said its smaller-format stores are making inroads against competitors like dollar stores, supermarkets and pharmacies, and the locations will play an integral role in the company's future.
IFC lends $40 million to Smithfield venture to boost pork in Mexico
The World Bank's private-sector lender said Monday it will lend $40 million to Norson, a joint venture in Mexico of local investors and the world's largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, to expand production and cut greenhouse gas emissions at its plants.
Attorney files objection to Hostess-Flowers sale
Bakery & Snacks
A U.S. attorney has filed an objection to the Hostess bread business sale because the contract would release Flowers Foods from environmental liabilities.
Expert: Smaller portions will sell only if price is right or options gone
While food manufacturers can introduce smaller sodas, burgers and salads to menus, consumers are not going to buy them unless they charge a proportionately lower price, or in turn get rid of their super-size options and make the smaller option the only option, says one expert.
Nebraska turkey processor in bankruptcy
The Associated Press via The Wall Street Journal
A turkey processing plant is in Chapter 7 involuntary bankruptcy and has ceased operation in the south-central Nebraska city of Gibbon. Court documents say Midwest Meat Packing Facility hadn't paid Shinn's Turkey Track, of Dunning, $1.45 million for turkeys and had a total debt of more than $4.4 million.
What's happening in seafood
Retail Dietitians Business Alliance
The New England Journal of Medicine published a landmark study last week on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, reinforcing the health-protective qualities of this seafood-rich eating pattern. This comes at an interesting time, as seafood consumption in the U.S. has been on the decline.
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