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LEADING THE NEWS


Another food fight? Congress weighs changes to school meals standards as law set to expire
U.S. News & World Report
Congress is deciding whether it wants another pitched battle with first lady Michelle Obama and the administration over school lunches that put more whole grains in kids' meals and cut salty foods.

Related: Stabenow: Differences remain on school lunch (Politico via American Frozen Food institute)

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Nestlé and Unilever put pressure on EU to ban trans fats
Food Navigator
Food giants Unilever and Nestlé have said they support a ban on trans fats in Europe following a Twitter campaign by consumer rights group BEUC.
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Egg industry lowers sword in cage-free fight
Politico
In an unprecedented move by a major animal protein group, the U.S. egg industry is waving a white flag in the battle over going cage-free. United Egg Producers will not raise money to battle a Massachusetts ballot initiative being planned for 2016 that would bar the in-state sale of meat or eggs from caged animals raised anywhere in the nation, UEP President Chad Gregory told Pro Ag’s Chase Purdy in a recent interview.

Related: Companies step up for cage-free eggs (The Hill)

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POLITICS


Congress inching ever closer toward government shutdown
The Washington Post
President Obama has been ramping up his attacks on fractious congressional Republicans in recent days, accusing them of pushing the country toward a government shutdown that would damage the U.S. economy.

Related articles:
  • House, Senate leaders still lack plan to avoid shutdown (Politico)
  • House GOP leaders to members: We’ll be blamed for shutdown (The Hill)

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    McCarthy, Ryan call for end to Boehner drama
    Politico
    The only two viable potential replacements for John Boehner as speaker of the House say they back the Ohio Republican and will oppose any effort to remove him from power. But other high-ranking Republicans are testing the waters should the embattled speaker be forced out.

    Related: Would Nancy Pelosi rescue John Boehner? (Politico)

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    Can Fiorina seize the moment?
    The Hill
    Carly Fiorina stole the show at the Republican debate on Wednesday evening — but that doesn’t guarantee she will be catapulted toward the top of the polls, political insiders say.

    Related: Carly Fiorina's victory lap (Politico)

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    POLICY


    Commerce Department affirms Mexican sugar subsidies distort trade
    Agri-Pulse
    The Department of Commerce today affirmed its earlier ruling that Mexico has been unfairly subsidizing its sugar producers and dumping surplus sweetener into the U.S. market at less than fair value.
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    House moves one step closer to lifting ban on crude oil exports
    The Hill
    The House Energy and Commerce Committee took a major step Thursday toward allowing crude oil exports from the United States. Three Democrats joined all of the Republicans on Thursday in voting for a bill that would lift the decades-old ban on exports. The tally was 31-19.
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    FDA officials tell Senate committee FSMA funding shortfall will lead to 'difficult decisions'
    Food Chemical News
    FDA will not be able to redirect existing funds to fully launch FSMA and will have to make “incredibly difficult decisions” if Congress does not match the President’s $109 million increase, said top FDA officials at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing Wednesday (Sept. 16).
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    The nutrition label illusion
    The Hill
    In its effort to improve the nutrition label, the Food and Drug Administration recently updated the proposed label design. The agency added the new requirement for the Daily Value declaration and new footnote text. Despite the FDA's efforts, the proposed label still falls woefully short of its goal to improve the American diet. That's because the label still focuses on the amount of information it conveys rather than the information's usefulness, salience or ease of use.
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    House Ag Committee plans Oct. 7 hearing on dietary guidelines
    Food Chemical News
    The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on Oct. 7 to discuss the process for developing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, with testimony from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell.
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    INDUSTRY NEWS


    Organic farm sales surge 72 percent from 2008, USDA reports
    Agri-Pulse
    The 2014 Organic Survey, released by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows that 14,093 certified and exempt organic farms in the United States sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72 percent since 2008. An exempt farm is one grossing less than $5,000 in annual organic sales.
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    McDonald's investors are demanding a change to the company's food
    Business Insider
    McDonald's investors want the burger chain to remove antibiotics from all of its meat. The Congregation of Benedictine Sisters in Boerne, Texas, has filed a shareholder proposal demanding that the company prohibit suppliers from using antibiotics on animals, CNN Money reports.
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    Burger King unites brands for Peace Day Burger
    Nation's Restaurant News
    McDonald’s is leaving out its special sauce, but five other restaurant chains will link brands Monday, Sept. 21, in a one-day effort to promote peace. Joining flavors with Burger King’s Whopper in the Peace Day Burger, to be offered on Monday, will include parts of sandwiches from Denny’s Bacon Slamburger; Wayback Burgers' Wayback Classic; Krystal’s Cheese Krystal; and the Brutus burger from Giraffas Brazilian Grill.
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    Consumer spending at restaurants up 3 consecutive months
    Fast Casual
    After three months of steady growth, Applied Predictive Technologies once again found consumer spending at restaurants increased for the month of August when compared to last year. The surge in performance (spending was up 1.6 percent for the month of August) was driven by an industry-wide increase in check size, which APT attributed to restaurants increasing pricing to cover more expensive labor and commodity costs, according to a press release.
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    Using technology to get 'smarter' about accessing food information
    The Hill
    The relationship between people and their food has changed dramatically over the past few decades. More and more we want to know more about our food, like where it came from and what went into making it.
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    Aspen Foods frozen, raw chicken products linked to July salmonella outbreak
    Food Safety News
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is alerting consumers that frozen, raw, stuffed and breaded chicken products produced by Aspen Foods have been confirmed as having the same Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak strain, which was part of a July 1, recall.

    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.

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    Colby Horton, Executive Vice President of Publishing, (469) 420-2601
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