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LEADING THE NEWS
California grows almost all of our produce — Will the drought change that?
On April 1, California Gov. Jerry Brown stood in a field in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, beige grass stretching out across an area that should have been covered with five feet of snow. The Sierra's snowpack — the frozen well that feeds California's reservoirs and supplies a third of its water — was just eight percent of its yearly average.
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Yoplait cuts 25 percent of sugar out of yogurt without artificial sweeteners or flavors
In one of General Mills' latest efforts, the company announced Yoplait's Original line of yogurts will now be made with 25 percent less sugar. The company first removed high fructose corn syrup and discontinued use of dairy with rBGH/rBST growth hormone in 2009.
A tale of 2 recalls: Blue Bell and Jeni's Ice Cream
Food Safety News
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... " So begins "A Tale of Two Cities," the famous novel by Charles Dickens about events leading up to the French Revolution. While two ice cream companies' recent recalls pale in relative significance to world history, they loom large in the world of food safety for how each was handled and what might happen next.
Reid: Democrats will block trade bill
Democrats will block "fast track" trade legislation until the Senate first passes bills addressing infrastructure and surveillance programs, according to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
Reid told The Huffington Post that he will not "lay over and play dead" on controversial trade legislation, and instead will push for the Senate to pass his preferred bills on the two matters.
Bipartisan irritation with Reid's plan to block trade deals (Politico)
Trade pact foes: Deal could cause flood of immigrants (Politico)
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Democrats bet 2016 on $12 minimum wage
Democrats are doubling down on their push for a national minimum wage hike ahead of the 2016 presidential election, as they look to make a campaign issue of an effort that met a stinging legislative defeat last year.
Party leaders are rallying behind new legislation that would raise the wage to $12 an hour, well beyond the $10.10 effort that failed to pass when Democrats controlled the Senate.
Clinton takes hit in new poll
Hillary Clinton's unfavorable ratings are rising as her campaign faces questions over donations to the Clinton Foundation, but she still leads in general election matchups against top possible Republican presidential candidates. Her positive and negative ratings are split at 42 percent in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, with her unfavorables up from 36 percent last month.
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5 senators back bill to relax whole grain, sodium mandates
Politico via AFFI
Sens. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, and Angus King, I-Maine, have introduced a
bill that would dial back school meal requirements, applying whole grainrich
standards to apply to half of all grains served instead of all grains
served and preventing the Department of Agriculture from implementing
more stringent sodium limits. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. John
Boozman, R-Arkansas, Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, and Jim Risch, R-Idaho,
according to Hoeven's office.
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Court update: Vermont's genetically engineered labeling requirements
Food Safety Magazine
On April 27, the federal court in that lawsuit made a very significant ruling. First, the court refused to delay implementation of the genetically engineered disclosure requirements of Act 120, which is mandated to go into effect July 1, 2016. In this regard, the court held that this requirement simply pertains to the disclosure of a "fact" and that deference was owed to the Vermont General Assembly's finding that genetically engineered foods "potentially pose risks to health, safety, agriculture, and the environment."
Global Food Safety Curricula Initiative update
Food Safety Magazine
The Global Food Safety Curricula Initiative is reaching around the world to harness the power of education in response to continuing concerns about food safety, one of today's most pressing public health priorities. Since its inception in 2012, significant progress has been made towards identifying gaps in food safety curricula and building capacity, and establishing and harmonizing core competencies at the university and graduate levels for global application to ensure long-term food safety benefits from the farm to the table.
Study: Laws on junk food in schools fail to help poor fight obesity
Los Angeles Times
Since state laws made it harder for California elementary school kids to get their hands on sugary drinks and junk food snacks on campus, researchers found, students' risk of becoming overweight or obese fell slightly — but mostly if they came from higher-income neighborhoods. Examining body mass index measurements of 2,700,880 fifth-graders in the state over 10 years, researchers found that students in those neighborhoods saw their odds of exceeding a healthy weight fall by about 1 percent a year.
Huge bird flu outbreak could take a bite out of the Thanksgiving turkey supply
Reuters via Business Insider
The largest-ever U.S. outbreak of avian influenza, which has devastated Midwestern poultry and egg producers in recent weeks, could be felt at Thanksgiving tables across the nation come November, farmers and some trade groups say.
The virulent H5N2 strain has already spread to 14 states and led to the deaths or scheduled euthanizations of more than 21 million birds, including 3.3 million turkeys in Minnesota, the nation's top turkey producer.
We're in a gluten-free bubble that is about to burst
Sales of products with a gluten-free label have doubled in the past four years, but for most people, gluten-free foods aren't healthier. A leading economist explains why this bubble is ready to pop.
Tyson: Bird flu's primary effect is lost export sales
Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. chicken processor, said the primary effect of the current avian influenza outbreak has been lost export sales and that the company can cope with the resulting change in poultry supplies.
CEO Donnie Smith said that bans imposed by some importing nations following the U.S. outbreak have meant extra domestic supplies of chicken-leg quarters.
Meat labeling: What does it all really mean?
The Cattle Site
Overwhelmed, confused and unsure are just a few words to describe how many consumers feel when purchasing foods, particularly meat products.
Today, the average meat case at a large retail store has more than 135 different items in it, said Travis O'Quinn, assistant professor of meat science at Kansas State University. Those items differ in meat item type, packaging type and the marketing claims they bear.
Food service, retail distribution offer different strengths for growing a startup
Rather than choose between food service and retail distribution, startup Spread the Love The Love Jams & Jellies embraced both, and as a result, it has quickly outgrown its production facility and is ready to level up within one year of launching.
USDA grants to fund nanotechnology research
Food Production Daily
Funding of more than $3.8 million to support nanotechnology research has been made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Urban farms now produce 1/5 of the world's food
Midway through spring, the nearly bare planting beds of Carolyn Leadley's Rising Pheasant Farms, in the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit, barely foreshadow the cornucopian abundance to come.
It will be many months before Leadley is selling produce from this one-fifth-acre plot. But the affable young farmer has hardly been idle, even during the snowiest days of winter.
Fructose amplifies cravings for high-fat foods
Fructose and glucose are both sugars, they're both prevalent in our diets and they both contain the same amount of calories. But one sugar makes you crave junk food more than the other.
Hispanic millennials' food and beverage preferences driven by familial heritage, whether they believe it or not
The second largest Hispanic cohort living in the U.S. are Hispanic millennials, which is why it's important to understand their motivations when it comes to purchasing and food, beverage and alcohol consumption. According to a new study, Latinos are independent shoppers, and they spend more money on groceries than other groups.
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