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LEADING THE NEWS


Why is there a fight over fresh fruit & veggie snacks in schools?
Politico via American Frozen Food Institute
An obscure school fruit and vegetable snack program has sparked a holy war in Washington, as dueling food lobbies jostle for a spot in that little snack cup, eager for kids to be building eating habits around their foods, reports Pro Agriculture's Helena Bottemiller Evich in Politico's latest edition of The Agenda.

Editor’s note: The American Frozen Food Institute is quoted in this story stressing the importance of including all forms of fruits in vegetables in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

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Rooting for a Jolly Green comeback
The Wall Street Journal
News recently hit that General Mills, which acquired Green Giants from a merger with Pillsbury in 2001, had sold it for $765 million to B&G Foods. Despite long holding No. 2 behind Birds Eye in canned and frozen vegetables, Green Giant has shrunk in recent years, as consumers turned against preserved produce in favor of fresh or organic fare at Whole Foods, Costco and Wal-Mart. Sales of Green Giant’s frozen vegetables dropped 11 percent in the past year, forcing General Mills to take a charge of $260 million.
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What the peanut poisoning case means for the food industry
TIME
Parnell, the former CEO of the peanut processing company Peanut Corporation of America , was sentenced alongside his brother Michael Parnell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Mary Wilkerson, a former manager of quality control at PCA, was sentenced to five years. The sentencing was historic, marking the first sentence of significant jail time for causing foodborne illness.
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POLITICS


Spending Bill is on track, but shutdown threat persists
The Wall Street Journal (subscriber story)
The Senate took the first steps Tuesday toward keeping the government running beyond Sept. 30, but divisions among House Republicans continued to cast doubt over whether Congress would act to avoid a shutdown next Thursday.

Related articles:
  • Senate GOP takes lead to prevent government shutdown (The Hill)
  • GOP freshmen urge party to avoid shutdown (Politico)

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    Deficits and debt are no longer at the top of the GOP agenda
    The Washington Post
    A drive to cut federal spending and reduce the national debt has for years topped the Republican Party’s national agenda. But this year, on the campaign trail and on Capitol Hill, curbing the nation’s spending and borrowing no longer appears to be the GOP’s top priority.
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    Boehner coup talk puts House GOP on edge
    The Hill
    Growing chatter about a possible coup against Speaker John Boehner has set Capitol Hill on edge. Talk that conservatives might use a government-funding showdown to overthrow the powerful Ohio Republican has triggered a flurry of behind-the-scenes jockeying among lawmakers eager to move up the leadership ladder.
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    POLICY


    Government shutdown could cut off food stamps
    The Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report
    A government shutdown Oct. 1 could immediately suspend or delay food stamp payments to some of the 46 million Americans who receive the food aid. The Agriculture Department said Tuesday that it will stop providing benefits at the beginning of October if Congress does not pass legislation to keep government agencies open.
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    Feds move to accelerate permitting for transportation projects
    The Hill
    The Obama administration is moving to accelerate the pace of permitting for federal transportation projects as Congress faces a deadline for extending the nation's infrastructure spending.
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    NSF's new GMO certification leverages companies' existing systems, exec says
    Food Navigator-USA
    Demand for GMO certification services has been growing faster than supply, and NSF has responded to that demand with its new True North certification program, said the scheme’s director.
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    FDA food safety needs more funding
    Forbes
    A fundamental premise of regulating food safety should be a combination of helping the food industry understand what they need to do to meet regulatory requirements and then ensuring they meet those requirements using appropriately trained inspectors.

    Related: NASDA tells Congress to fully fund FSMA this year (Food Chemical News)

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    INDUSTRY NEWS


    General Mills Q1 earnings climb behind cost-savings benefits
    Food Business News
    After 27 years in the packaged food business, the founders of Amy’s Kitchen expanded into food service with the opening of Amy’s Drive Thru this past June.
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    Organic food sales soar, up 72 percent from 2008
    EcoWatch
    Americans are increasingly hungry for naturally-grown and healthier foods and, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, sales from organic farms in the U.S. skyrocketed in 2014 with consumer spending up 72 percent since 2008.
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    Alcohol may be game changer at Taco Bell, and McDonald's could use a boost
    USA Today
    Taco Bell Cantina will be the first Taco Bell-branded concept to serve alcohol. Guests can pair up their dirt cheap chicken chalupas and ground beef gorditas with beer, wine, or sangria. Adding alcohol is no longer taboo. If it's good enough for the market darlings in fast casual and premium coffeehouse concepts to add alcohol to the menu, why not Taco Bell? If it's good enough for Taco Bell, why not McDonald's?
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    Consumers are embracing full-fat foods
    The New York Times
    Public health authorities have long urged Americans to cut back on foods high in saturated fat like butter, meat and whole milk. But a new report on dietary-fat consumption suggests that the public is increasingly eating more, not less, of these foods.
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    Potatoes and tomatoes account for more than half of U.S. vegetable consumption, report says
    New York Daily News
    Americans are gobbling down a whole lot of potatoes and tomatoes — but often in the form of French fries and potato chips, and likewise, tomato sauce or ketchup, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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    Formula to get rid of black spots in papaya developed
    Phys.org
    Researcher of UPM's Department of Plant Protection of the Faculty of Agriculture, Associate Prof. Dr. Kamaruzaman Sijam and a former Ph.D. student, Dr. Farah Farhanah Haron, succeeded to find a formula to make fruit skins, stronger and durable against fungus attacks. According to Dr. Kamaruzaman, through the innovation, the fruits could last for as long as 10 days (room temperature) and 30 days (cold storage), thus enabling the fruits to be marketed and exported easily.
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    Can the mayo wars kickstart change in the food system?
    Fast Company
    Two years ago, the Big Egg industry began trying to take out a startup vegan mayo brand called Just Mayo, which uses pea protein instead of eggs. As shown in a series of hundreds of emails that became public on Sept. 2, the American Egg Board wrote that the product was a "crisis" and a "major threat" and asked a consultant to try to get it taken off the shelves at Whole Foods.
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    McDonald's cage-free egg pledge squeezes supply
    Reuters
    This month's pledge by McDonald's Corp to phase out eggs laid by caged hens in its North American restaurants will increase competition for limited supplies of cage-free eggs. The ban, which follows similar moves by Burger King Corp and food services company Sodexo SA, carries higher costs that may, at least initially, sting farmers.
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    ConAgra Foods swings to loss on charges related to private-label business
    The Wall Street Journal
    ConAgra Foods Inc., on Tuesday reported a quarterly loss, as the food maker seeks a buyer for its struggling private-label business and invests more in reviving older brands such as Hunt’s tomato sauce and Reddi-wip dessert topping.
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    This pest has shut down south Florida's $700 million fruit industry
    NPR
    In Florida, federal and state officials have quarantined 85 square miles of farmland to combat a destructive pest: the Oriental fruit fly, which attacks hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables.
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    Cold brew coffee industry catching on in U.S.
    Food Dive
    Once deemed a summer trend, cold brew coffee grew in the U.S. at a rate of 115 percent this past year, reaching $7.9 million in sales, according to Mintel. Since 2010, growth has increased by 339 percent through estimated 2015.
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    Colby Horton, Executive Vice President of Publishing, (469) 420-2601
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