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AFFI responds to FSMA with online assessment tool
Food Chemical News (subscription required)
Food trade associations are working overtime to help members navigate the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act's preventive controls rule, and one group has created a new online checklist that will show frozen food companies instantly whether they're prepared for the new law.
Related: Citizens push FDA to prevent food poisoning outbreaks (Oregon Public Broadcasting via Daily Astorian)
Americans unsure how best to reduce sodium intake
While almost 6 in 10 Americans (58 percent) say they watch their sodium intake, new research from Mintel on consumers' attitude toward sodium reveals there may be some confusion on where their sodium is actually coming from.
Pinnacle Foods CEO looks to add brands
Pinnacle Foods Inc., the U.S. food company that went public Thursday, is looking to add more brands to a portfolio that already includes Birds Eye vegetables, Vlasic pickles and Duncan Hines cake mixes, its chief executive said.
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DNC amps up fundraising
Jordan Kaplan, who has helped raise money for President Barack Obama going back to his Senate campaign, is the new finance director of the Democratic National Committee, which is ramping up its post-election fundraising with events featuring Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Democrat Warner will run for Senate again in 2014
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is running for a second term next year, despite his frustration with the partisan gridlock that grips Congress.
Can governors save the GOP?
The Washington Post
The Republican National Committee task force report painted a stark portrait of a party divided between its struggling federal wing and its thriving gubernatorial wing. The GOP's path to rehabilitation may indeed run through the states, but some of the report's assertions about the governors' successes are questionable at best.
Ag Secretary promoting healthier food choices
The Associated Press via San Francisco
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says it's a misconception that fruits and vegetables are more expensive than processed food. Vilsack, speaking during a news conference Thursday at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Sioux Falls, S.D., says price comparisons that perpetuate the myth are based on calories.
Obama to release his budget proposal April 10
President Barack Obama will release his proposed budget April 10 — the same day he is scheduled to have dinner with up to a dozen Republican senators, officials said Thursday.
Obama makes $21 billion infrastructure funding appeal
President Barack Obama is dusting off a $21 billion set of proposals meant to improve the nation's crumbling roads, rails, bridges and ports. During a trip to Florida Friday, Obama will also call for a new set of tax incentives to attract capital for infrastructure projects, a senior administration official said.
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EPA rule would cut smog-causing sulfur in gas
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules today that will require lower-sulfur fuels to help reduce smog-causing emissions from cars and trucks beginning in 2017. The long-awaited rule would increase the price of gas by a penny a gallon or up to 9 cents, depending on whether analyses cited by EPA and environmental groups or the oil industry are to be believed.
Industry attorneys: Why disclose OMB's changes to FSMA rules?
Food Chemical News (subscription required)
Could the FDA's move to publish the original draft of its FDA Food Safety Modernization Act regulations, and the Office of Management and Budget changes, help the agency in a legal challenge down the road? At least one attorney says that might be one of the motives in the latest transparency push.
Vilsack announces food program grants, pilot program results
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday discussed USDA efforts to improve access to healthy foods and outlined the need for a renewed commitment to improve childhood nutrition, which includes empowering parents to provide healthy meals for their families.
Bill would feed kids on days without school lunch
The Associated Press via Las Vegas Sun
A Nevada congresswoman wants to ensure low-income children get nutritious meals even on days they're not eating in their school cafeterias. Las Vegas Democratic Rep. Dina Titus announced Thursday that she has introduced the Weekend Without Hunger Act in Congress.
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Livestock-to-human MRSA transmission confirmed
Food Safety News
Those advocating for limiting antibiotics in agriculture say a new study pointing to livestock as the source of MRSA infections in humans is another sign that antibiotic-resistance is a growing health problem and the widespread use of antibiotics in food animal production is a major contributing factor.
Related: Opinion: Antibiotics and the meat we eat (The New York Times)
Agency tightens procedures for Listeria inspections
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has amended its policies for enforcement, investigations and analysis officers who are conducting routine Listeria sampling. New directives target establishments that temporarily alter routine practices during sampling. A separate directive offers detailed instructions for officers who are conducting intensified verification testing.
Public comment period extended for renewable fuel standard
The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to extend the public comment period on its proposed Renewable Fuels Standard Program for another 30 days.
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Food safety group demands deadlines for FSMA
The Center for Food Safety on Wednesday urged a California federal judge to impose and enforce deadlines for the FDA to implement regulations aimed at making the national food supply safer, arguing there is no dispute that the FDA missed deadlines imposed by Congress.
Draft compliance guide for online import inspection applications
The Food Safety and Inspection Service is announcing the availability of and requesting comments on a draft compliance guide for U.S. importers and brokers on the electronic filing of import inspection applications for certain meat, poultry and egg products through the Automated Commercial Environment.
More data needed on self-reporting tool for food safety equivalence
Food Chemical News (subscription required)
The meat industry and consumer advocacy groups might have different responses to the new approach to equivalence verification of foreign countries' meat and poultry safety systems, but they agree that FSIS needs to provide more information on the Self-Reporting Tool that will play a key role in the new process.
Coca-Cola seeks to patent new sugar-free fiber drink
Atlanta Business Chronicle
The Coca-Cola Co. is seeking to patent what it says is a novel sugar-free beverage with fiber. In a U.S. patent application made public Thursday, Coca-Cola says there's a need for healthier frozen carbonated and non-carbonated beverages.
US consumer spending makes biggest gain in five months
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Consumer spending rose 0.7 percent in February from January, the Commerce Department said Friday. It was the biggest gain in five months and followed a revised 0.4 percent rise in January, which was double the initial estimate.
Bob Evans sells Ohio headquarters, two food production plants
The Columbus Dispatch
Bob Evans Farms Inc. said it has sold its Columbus headquarters building and two Ohio food production plants to a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. The firm owning 565 Bob Evans restaurants said New Mill Capital LLC bought the facilities as the company works toward moving its headquarters to New Albany, Ohio.
Ongoing E. coli outbreak forces recall of frozen appetizers
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service
An ongoing investigation into an E. coli illness outbreak that has sickened 24 people in 15 states has led to the recall of a range of frozen appetizers and mini-meals under the Farm Rich label, produced by Buffalo, N.Y.-based Rich Products Corp. The FDA and FSIS are working in tandem to investigate the cases and recall products from the market.
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Wild blueberries: Go wild with the superstars of frozen fruit
Lake Michigan Shore
Stock up on a superfood that's a no-brainer: Wild blueberries have superior antioxidant capacity compared with other fruits and veggies. Best of all, these little blue powerhouses from Maine and Canada are also incredibly convenient, thanks to their year-round availability in the frozen fruit section.
Turkey meatballs hit frozen food section
Butterball is launching its new Every Day Recipe Starters Frozen Turkey Meatballs. The meatballs are available in original and Italian-style varieties. The larger 1-ounce meatballs are sized for dinner entrées, while the smaller half-ounce meatballs are sized for appetizers.
Food processing company expanding Georgia plant
The Associated Press via WXIA-TV
A food processing and distribution company is planning a $49 million expansion of its plant in western Georgia and looks to create 750 new jobs. Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday that Illinois-based Koch Foods is planning to expand its plant in Hamilton.
Fresh Del Monte wins injunction against company it spun off
Reuters via Chicago Tribune
A federal judge on Thursday awarded Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. a permanent injunction in its long-running licensing dispute with Del Monte Foods Co., the canned produce and pet food company that spun it off in 1989.
Trucks moving more freight between US and NAFTA neighbors
A new report shows the value of U.S. trade with neighboring Canada and Mexico increased in January 3.5 percent from the same time a year ago, with truck movements dominating freight transportation. The U.S. Transportation Department says trucks carried 59.3 percent of the $90.5 billion in trade.
Bloggers harness national attention with Kraft campaign
The Charlotte Observer
After starting a campaign to get food giant Kraft Foods to remove artificial colors from the famous macaroni and cheese in the blue box, Charlotte bloggers Lisa Leake and Vani Hari are on their way to becoming full-blown media sensations.
EFSA: High-pressure production increases risk of contamination
Food Production Daily
High-pressure production of mechanically separated meat from pigs and poultry increases the risk of it becoming contaminated with germs, according to the European Food Safety Authority.
UK: Frozen food market shows resilience
The Publican's Morning Advertiser
The frozen food market is showing "strength and resilience," and pub chefs are being urged to take advantage. British Frozen Food Federation director-general Brian Young is encouraging operators to make use of frozen food following the Horizons Review of the Year 2012.
EU food production flat in Q4
Food and drink production in the EU remained flat in the fourth quarter of last year as some raw materials became costlier, according to data from FoodDrinkEurope. The trade body's economic bulletin found production fell by 0.36 percent year-over-year.
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