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Food News


THIS SECTION IS FOR NEWS AND INTERESTING STORIES RELATED TO FOOD, NUTRITION AND FOOD PROCESSING. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO KOSHER BUT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE KOSHER CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER OR MASHGIACH.

The following news is from the Vosizneias.com and Huffington Postposted on July 2, 2015.

New York City’s ban on plastic foam is now in effect. The ban, effects restaurants, city school cafeterias, and street carts. The ban goes into effect on July 1, with a six-month grace period during which businesses won't be fined for using the containers. Businesses and nonprofits with an annual revenue of $500,000 or less can be exempted from the ban, but will have to prove that the use of materials besides plastic foam would cause them financial hardship.
The ban applies to single-use food packing products, including takeout containers and coffee cups. It also applies to so-called 'packing peanuts.'

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W319

The following news is from the Nutraingredients-usa-com on June 17, 2015.

The FDA published a document that manufacturers do not need to label major food allergens if they can prove to the FDA prior to distribution that the production process eliminates the allergenic products from the product or the allergen is present in such a low amount that it is not a risk.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W318

The following news is from the Jewish Press on June 17, 2015.

"Six Kashrut inspectors, overseeing the Kashrut in Israeli-owned greenhouses located in Jordan were attacked on Tuesday by Jordanian workers, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat." "The greenhouses are owned by an Israeli Jew, who established them in Jordan to import Shmittah-free vegetables into Israel."
"Initially, the workers decided to hold a strike, and when the Kashrut inspectors saw that no work would be done for them to oversee, they decided to leave. That’s when they were attacked by the Jordanians."
"Two of the inspectors work for the Badatz Kashrut organization, and four work the Rav Efrati Kashrut group." The kashrus inspectors were unharmed.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W316

The following news is from the FDA posted posted on June 17, 2015.

FDA released its final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).
FDA has set a compliance period of three years. This will allow food companies to either reformulate products without PHOs and/or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of PHOs.
It’s important to note that trans fat will not be completely gone from foods because it occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, and is present at very low levels in other edible oils.
The FDA encourages consumers seeking to reduce trans fat intake to check a food’s ingredient list to determine whether or not it contains partially hydrogenated oil.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W315

The following news is from the Koshertoday on June 13, 2015.

With Nearly 225,000 Items, Kashrut.com Reaches Milestone of 5000th Kosher Alerts

"Sharon, MA – It has become commonplace for certifying rabbis and agencies to urge consumers to “see something, say something” when it comes to kashrus. Arlene Mathes-Scharf has now done that 5000 times as her Kashrut.com recently reached that milestone since it was founded in May, 1996. Her alerts warn consumers about kosher products that are mislabeled, food safety and allergy recalls and changes in the kosher status of food products. Kashrus experts say that despite the remarkable work of the kashrus agencies to get the word out about kashrus problems, including widely distributed publications and timely postings on their websites, Kashrut.com is an important service to kosher consumers."

"Arlene Mathes-Scharf is a food scientist with a specialty in kashrus. She tells the story of how she came to launch kashrut.com: “One of my friends told me that Stop and Shop Pepperoni Pizza had an OU on it. I faxed the label to the OU. The OU placed an ad in the local Jewish newspaper. I thought about the fact that if one did not subscribe to that paper, one would not know the product is mislabeled. As the Internet developed, I thought it would be a good way to inform people in real time. I designed Kashrut.com as a resource for the kosher consumer and manufacturer.”

"As she looks back at the 5000 alerts, some truly stand out. They include several that revolved around Passover. There was the brand of tomato paste with an unauthorized Passover designation, Empire Chicken Breast Nuggets and Breaded Chicken Tenders containing bread crumbs with Passover certification in 2008, and Streit’s Milk Chocolate Cashew Clusters that were labeled as pareve in 2001. Year-round, there were such unauthorized certifications as Kasia’s Potato & Bacon Pierogi with a cRc in 2015, Salmonella in Sabra Hummus in 2015, Regal Spice Ham Soup Base and Regal Beef Spice with an OU -2015, French’s Real Onion Crisps – Parmesan- missing the D 2015, Aaron’s Best Gluten Free Beef Franks Hot & Spicy Chipotle with undeclared peanut 2015, Listeria in Acme Smoked Salmon in 2104, story on Philadelphia Cream Cheese losing its certification due to Philadelphia Bacon Cream Cheese and company changing its processing so the other products can continue to be kosher. Tabatchnick Cream of Chicken Soup- not kosher with a kosher symbol – 2014, Dairy Orange Juice – 2013, and so it went."

"Kashrus agencies say that many of the mislabeled products are unintentional but that does not change the need for the kosher consumer to know, however short-lived the problem may be. In a way, it is remarkable that with 225,000 kosher certified items on US grocery shelves, that there were only 5,000 alerts, but kashrus officials say that they are still way too many."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W314

The following news is from the FDA and FoodManufacturing.com posted on June 10, 2015.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is establishing a voluntary, fee-based program for the expedited review and importation of foods into the United States from importers with a proven food safety track record." "The Voluntary Qualified Importer Program, which was mandated under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011, allows food importers to request that selected products receive expedited reviews from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration."
"If approved, those foods would be examined or sampled by the FDA only when associated with a public health risk. When necessary, the samples would be taken at the importers’ preferred locations and the examination would be expedited during the laboratory or auditing process."
"Importers would pay a fee to cover the FDA's costs of administering the program."

"There will be a public comment period of 75 days on the draft guidance and the guidelines related to the burden of fees on small businesses. After comments are considered and the guidance finalized, the program is expected to be open for applications in January 2018 to allow enough time for a facility to be certified under FDA’s Accredited Third Party Certification program."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W313

The following news is from the StarTribune posted on May 30, 2015 with additional information from FoodManufacturing.com on June 9, 2015.

"The H5N2 bird flu has claimed more than 36 million layer hens, almost all of them in the Upper Midwest. The loss equals about 12 percent of the nation’s egg-laying capacity. " This is starting to cause egg prices to rise and egg shortages.

Because of the egg shortage, the US will be importing eggs from the Netherlandson of theseven countries have been approved to import shell eggs to be cracked and used by bakeries and food processor. These countries are Chile, Argentina, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W310

The following news is from the JTA and posted on June 9, 2015.

In Holland the Party for Animals is refiling a bill to restrict the slaughter of animals without stunning which would restrict kosher slaughter.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W312

The following news is from the JTA on May 28, 2015.

"Poland’s ombudsman has reiterated her request to the country’s Constitutional Tribunal to make kosher slaughter legal only for local consumption."
"Ritual slaughter without stunning was banned in Poland starting Jan. 1, 2013, after the country’s constitutional court scrapped a government regulation that exempted Jews and Muslims from a law requiring the stunning of animals prior to slaughter. Jewish ritual slaughter, or shechita, as well as Muslim ritual slaughter, requires that animals be conscious before their necks are cut."
"In December, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the ban was unconstitutional and legalized kosher slaughter for both the local Jewish community and also for export. In July 2013, a draft bill aimed at legalizing ritual slaughter failed to pass in the parliament."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W311

The following news is from the FDA posted on May 21, 2015.

The FDA tested 94 dark chocolate bars for the presence of milk. Six of the bars listed milk as an ingredient. The FDA found that 51 of the remaining 88 bars contained milk. The FDA found milk in 61% of the bars that they tested. The FDA found 3 out of 4 dark chocolate products with a warning notice contained milk. The also FDA found that 25% of dark chocolate products labeled only “vegan” were found to contain milk.
"Most dark chocolate is produced on equipment that is also used to produce milk chocolate. In these cases, it is possible that traces of milk may inadvertently wind up in the dark chocolate." In addition (the FDA did not mention this) powdered milk from the air can get into chocolate.

Ed. note: People with severe dairy allergies need to know that chocolates labeled as Pareve are halchically pareve but may contain tiny amounts of milk.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W309
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The information posted is from secondary sources. We cannot take responsibility for the accuracy of the information.
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Arlene J. Mathes-Scharf  
Food Scientist - Kosher Food Specialist
 
Scharf Associates
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