15 AUG

No, eggs aren’t bad for you

‘What The Health’, a new documentary currently streaming on Netflix, has caused quite a stir lately among health professionals and viewers alike with its claims that eating one egg a day is as bad as smoking five cigarettes. For the record, it isn’t — but the claim isn’t necessarily a new one. In 2012 a study published in Atherosclerosis claimed to have found a relationship between egg yolk consumption and the development of atherosclerosis — a disease in which plaque accumulates along the walls of arteries, increasing heart attack and stroke risk.  Read more

14 AUG

Nutritional transparency regulations suspended for meat, poultry

President Trump’s first Unified Agenda lists the proposed revision of the nutrition label requirements for meat and poultry products as inactive, thus tabling the changes for at least six months if not longer.

The proposal was released Jan. 19 by the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS), one day before the current administration took office.

Though specific for meat and poultry, the changes ran concurrent with the general new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods, which was announced in May of 2016.

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07 AUG

Farm bill requests abound at California listening session

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program received a lot of support at a farm bill listening session held in Modesto, Calif., Saturday, as hunger advocates and academics from the state’s Central Valley urged House lawmakers to protect and even expand the program to benefit families, food banks, farmers markets and California fruit and vegetable growers.

Five House lawmakers, including House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, heard from dozens of witnesses representing the diverse agricultural economy of California. “I don’t know if there’s anything you don’t grow out here.” Conaway said at the start of the session.
California Republicans Jeff Denham, David Valadao, Doug LaMalfa also attended the session, along with Democrat Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania. All but Valadao are also members of the Ag Committee. Another listening session is scheduled for the end of the month in Illinois, and on Thursday of this week Democratic Rep. Jimmy Panetta will host a session in Salinas with Democrats Collin Peterson of Minnesota, the committee’s ranking member, and Representative Jim Costa, also of California.
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07 AUG

Secretary Perdue appoints new leadership for Food Safety

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today made two key appointments to help fulfill the vital mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure the safety of the nation’s food supply. Perdue announced that Carmen Rottenberg was selected as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety and Paul Kiecker was named Acting Administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The two will serve in those capacities until presidential nominees are confirmed by the Senate for those roles. In making the announcements, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is our most important responsibility, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness.  Both Carmen and Paul have dedicated their careers to the mission of food safety and I am pleased to have appointed them to these important roles within the USDA,” said Secretary Perdue. “I commend the work of the entire USDA’s food safety team for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families every single day.”
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07 AUG

US broiler industry steadily reducing incidence of foodborne pathogens

The US broiler industry has been steadily reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter on chicken parts since the USDA’s new performance standards took effect last year. In fact, the industry is exceeding USDA expectations, said Ashley Peterson, PhD, vice president of science and technology, National Chicken Council, in the first of a three-part conversation about food safety with Poultry Health Today.  Read more

07 AUG

NAFTA ‘benefits both sides,’ says MacAulay

Farmers and producers in the western states see the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as providing benefits to both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, says Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food.  Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay was in Portland and Oregon recently to promote the importance of the bilateral trade relationship between the Canadian and the U.S. agriculture sectors.
During an interview with The Guardian, MacAulay said he saw support for NAFTA from both sides of the border.  “‘Be careful with how you fix something that’s not broken.’ That’s a fair thing to say, and I’ve heard it a number of times,” said MacAulay. “They understand quite well how it’s benefited the agricultural sectors.”
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02 AUG

In California’s poultry plants, refugees fill the vacuum left after President Bush’s immigration raid

Taiseer Al Souki spends most days on his feet at a Foster Farms poultry plant, hefting table-sized plastic brown boxes and feeding them into a machine that cleans them.

He plugs his ears to soften the deafening clang of heavy machinery as he cycles through the same motion for hours on end. At night, after slumping to sleep in exhaustion, the 44-year-old Syrian refugee dreams that he’s at the plant, still hoisting box after box filled with chicken destined for dinner tables across America.

Al Souki does not complain. He fled war-torn Syria and worked backbreaking 12-hour shifts in his home country and Jordan before making his way to the United States. He is grateful for the $10.50 an hour he collects at the poultry plant.

“I like work. I need work,” he said in the smattering of English he has picked up. “Without work, not a man.”  Read more