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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.

Microbe with Taste for Stale Bread Finds Its Calling

May 26, 2020 from Foodt Dive:

"An Agricultural Research Service (ARS) team in Peoria, Illinois, has devised a procedure for using bacteria to convert glucose from bread waste into value-added products such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is used in everything from food and beverages to pharmaceutical and personal-care products, a U.S market valued at over $1 billion in 2018."

"By one estimate, 12.5 million tons of bread, rolls, croissants and other baked goods go uneaten worldwide each year. Some of this food waste is fed to livestock as a source of carbohydrates and protein; however, the remainder can pose a disposal problem."

A team at ARS "devised fermentation procedures that encourage the species to gobble up glucose in bread waste and convert it into 2-keto-D-gluconic acid (2KGA)." "2KGA is a so-called "platform chemical" that helps synthesize bulk quantities of erythorbic acid, ascorbic acid, ascorbic acid salts, and other substances with wide-ranging food and industrial applications. 2KGA itself can also be used as a detergent builder, cement plasticizer and precursor chemical for herbicide compounds."

"Initially, the microbe was considered an unwelcome contaminant in fermentation procedures. Now, that same fondness for fermentation conditions could prove key to making substance that not only improve the quality and shelf-life of food, but also keep it out of the trash bin."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1035

FDA allows ingredient swaps without label changes

May 26, 2020 from Foodt Dive:

"A plain reading of the guidance basically shows that the regulations only allow manufacturers to make swaps that many consumers might not care about or even notice — like unbleached flour for bleached flour, or leaving green peppers out of a quiche that contains four other vegetables. The FDA notes this is necessary because the pandemic has strained supply chains everywhere, and specific ingredients may see shortages as time goes on. This guidance doesn't allow a manufacturer to make big changes, like leaving raisins out of cinnamon raisin bread, or swapping alternative flours for whole wheat in a muffin recipe."

"However, these new regulations don't require any public disclosure of these changes." "Instead of just making a swap in the factory, manufacturers could publicize the changes on social media, their brand website, by information displayed at the point of sale or through stickers on packaging alerting consumers of a potential change."

"Consumers are more likely to be understanding about changes as long as they are informed. And highly sensitive consumers, including those with food allergies, will continue to place trust in the brands that take care to let them know that manufacturing practices during the pandemic will keep them safe — or that temporary changes may result in new risks."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1034

United Arab Emirates: Largest Meat Shipment In History To Jewish Community

May 26, 20120 - from Yeshiva World:

"A large shipment of kosher meat was sent recently from the United States to the Jewish community in the United Arab Emirates."

"Members of the Jewish community in the UAE told Kan News that the state of Israel has no connection with the delivery from the US, adding that this is the first time that such a large amount of meat was delivered to the community."

"The meat delivery may be a result of the growth of the Jewish community in the UAE. In the capital city of Abu Dhabi, there is a small community and a few months ago, a mohel from Beitar traveled to the city to perform a bris on the son of one of the community’s members, the first bris ever performed in Abu Dhabi."

"According to a Ynet report, there is also a small Jewish community in the city of Dubai which established a small shul and officially inaugurated it about nine months ago."

"The community is estimated to number about 150 families or up to 2,000 – 3000 people, with most residents originally stemming from the US, Europe and South Africa. There are also many Jews who visit the city for business reasons."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1033

Despite closed borders, Argentina to fly in rabbis to certify kosher meat

May 21, 2020 - from Reuters:

"Argentina, which has enforced one of the world’s toughest travel bans against the coronavirus, plans to help charter a private flight to bring in rabbis from Israel to certify meat at the country’s packing plants for kosher markets around the world."

"The trip is key to Argentina being able to maintain beef exports to key buyer Israel, which has become increasingly important with exports stalled to the European Union and sharply down to major buyer China."

"The global lockdown meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus has snarled this year’s plans with borders closed and air travel paralyzed worldwide. "

"Argentina is the world’s fifth largest beef exporter and Israel is the No. 3 buyer of its famed cuts, snapping up over $100 million each year."

"The rabbis normally make the trip twice a year and stay for a few months, as many as 15 rabbis in plants at a time. They ensure the cattle are slaughtered and the meat processed in accordance with Jewish law."

"Lisandro Sabanés, an Argentine foreign ministry spokesman, confirmed the government was helping to make arrangements for the rabbis. "

"Argentina has banned commercial flights until September, allowing only citizens and residents to enter on special flights and has imposed a strict national quarantine. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1032

Prices Spike at the Grocery Store

May 20, 20120 - from Food Processing:

"Grocery prices have experienced their highest month-to-month jump since 1974 due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics."

"Grocery increases averaged out to 2.6% more for April than for March. The steepest increases were for meat, poultry, fish and eggs, which collectively saw a 4.3% increase in April over March. Individually, eggs had the biggest jump, at 16.1%, although prices have gone back down again, due in large part to relaxation of federal regulations that allowed eggs to shift more easily from foodservice to retail distribution."

"Other items facing high increases were apples, 4.9%; bread, 3.7%; and cookies, 5.1%."

"On the other hand, the overall Consumer Price Index was down 0.8%, thanks to sharp drops in energy, transportation and other costs."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1031

Heatwave In Israel Causes NIS Millions In Damage To Crops, Fruit & Veggie Prices To Shoot Up

May 20, 20120 - from Yeshiva World:

"The agricultural damage caused by the current heavy heatwave in Israel is expected to amount to tens of millions of shekels, a spokesperson for the KANAT Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture said."

"The agricultural damage caused by the current heavy heatwave in Israel is expected to amount to tens of millions of shekels, a spokesperson for the KANAT Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture said."

"Most of the damage is due to heat damage affecting fruits and vegetables, which will lead to a significant decrease in the volume of future crop yield, including tomatoes, peppers, citrus fruits, avocadoes and watermelons."

"The damage will lead to an increase in prices at the supermarket, with fruit and vegetables expected to increase by 30%, specifically cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers and possibly watermelons."

"The report also said that the heat has already caused a shortage of nectarines and the price of apricots and loquats has risen. On the other hand, peaches and cherries are now cheaper because the heat caused them to ripen faster."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1030

Perfect Day’s animal-free dairy protein earns Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status

May 13, 2020 - from Ingredients Network:

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “no objections” letter for the animal-free dairy company Perfect Day’s β-lactoglobulin protein. The letter certifies that the protein has attained Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. "

"This whey protein is a flora-based replication of the bovine-based β-lactoglobulin protein. It is made from the fermentation of the genetically modified trichoderma reesei yeast strain. After the yeast ferments, the protein is extracted via the aid of a centrifuge and then combined with water and fat to create a milk-like product for use in dairy products."

"Though GRAS is a voluntary designation for companies to pursue, this status is a milestone for companies with novel ingredients or lab-based formulations that companies want to assure consumers through government backing that there is a reasonable certainty that it won’t cause harm."

"According to Perfect Day, 'β-lactoglobulin produced by fermentation is identical to commercially available bovine-produced β-lactoglobulin.' By issuing the notification with “no questions,” the FDA is signaling that it agrees with the company’s assessment."

"The company will likely look toward expanding its animal-free dairy products." "The company will only be able to expand so far. In the FDA approval letter, the governmental regulatory agency specifically prohibits some uses for the protein. The letter said lab-fermented β-lactoglobulin is 'not intended for use in infant formula or in products subject to regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture.'"

"With infant formula off the table, the company will likely focus on more mainstream dairy products like cheese, milk, yogurt and ice cream. Last summer, the company’s first commercial product - animal-free ice cream - appeared on its website. The ice cream came in three flavors: Milky Chocolate, Vanilla Salted Fudge and Vanilla Blackberry Toffee. Despite a $20 per pint price tag, the lab-grown ice cream sold out in 24 hours. "


Dairy Proteins are being created by microbial fermentation

July 15, 2019 - from Specialty Food News and Crain's Chicago Business:

"Lab-made dairy is beginning to catch the eye of investors." "he key to making it is synthetic whey, which can be incorporated into a range of foods from yogurt to ice cream. Companies like Perfect Day, founded by Ryan Pandya, are creating dairy proteins like whey and casein without having to use any animal-made products" using microbial fermentation.

"With the help of investors like Archer Daniels Midland, Perfect Day has grown into a 60-employee operation with $60 million in funding."

"Perfect Day contends its proteins require 98% less water and 65% less energy than that required to produce whey from cows. The company said it hopes to one day license its ingredients so they can be used by food manufacturers in a range of products—but those involved concede that scaling the effort won’t be easy.

"New Culture wants to make the end product: cheese from its own lab-grown casein, another protein derived from dairy. In the lab, New Culture has crafted a super stretchy, believable version of mozzarella—the most consumed cheese in the U.S. A third startup, Motif Ingredients—a spinoff of Gingko Bioworks—is using $90 million in funding to focus on lab-grown dairy proteins as flavor and texture ingredients."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W916

Overseas Companies Renew Israel Shipping After Virus Orders Eased

May 10, 2020 - from Hamodia:

"The e-commerce giant Amazon announced that it has relaunched its shipping services to Israel after deliveries had been halted following the coronavirus outbreak."

"Israeli consumers, however, might be left disappointed since the free shipping option – normally offered by Amazon on purchases over $49 – has not been renewed and it appears the company only offers express shipping at a much higher price."

"The company stopped shipping to Israel on March 22, saying it would focus on deliveries of essential goods within the U.S. and few other selected countries."

"Amazon in the past offered a cheaper shipping option with a longer waiting period, along with express shipping via companies such as DHL and UPS – which now is the only shipping option for Israeli customers, mostly due to the limited traffic of commercial flights during the pandemic."

"Amazon was not the only online retailer to resume shipments to Israel: British retailer Next also started to take orders from Israel after their website was closed for a few weeks. The clothing giant said that to ensure the safety of warehouse staff, it will only take a limited number of orders each day, then slowly start rolling out full service."

"According to Globes, the local retail industry estimates that Next makes hundreds of millions of shekels worth of sales in Israel every year, helped in part by its policy of free delivery on orders of over NIS 100 (approximately $28)."

"The resumption of deliveries to Israel by Amazon and Next comes as Israel has begun easing restrictions to contain the coronavirus after six weeks of closures."


COVID-19 Suspends Postal Service from US to Israel

May 14, 2020 USPS International service disruptions: Service to Israel no longer suspended.
From a reader: Israel was taken off the list on May 7, and they are accepting packages and mail for Israel.

COVID-19 Suspends Postal Service from US to Israel

April 27, 2020 - from Jewish Press:

"The USPS is suspending the international mail for certain destinations (not just Israel, by the way) due to service impacts related to the pandemic — including Israel — under the category of "Suspension Due to Unavailability of Transportation."

A service alert at the USPS International site page reads:

"Israel Postal Service: Can’t Promise 'Standards' On the Israel side of the ocean, the following applies:

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1020

Horsemeat seized in Europe as experts predict rise in food fraud caused by coronavirus

May 7, 2020 - from The Grocer UK:

"Two fraudulent horsemeat shipments were seized in Europe last week, marking the start of an expected surge in food fraud."

"The seizures have reinforced concerns among food safety experts that criminals will target food supply chains disrupted by the pandemic."

"The horsemeat samples were held in the Netherlands and Denmark."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1029

Fully Popped Recalls Poppin’ Cobs 10 Pack Microwave Popcorn Due to Fire and Burn Hazards; Sold Exclusively at Uncommon Good Stores

May 7, 2020 - from CPSC :

Poppin’ Cobs 10 Pack Microwave Popcorn have been recalled bucause the popcorn’s paper bag can catch fire in the microwave, posing fire and burn hazards.

This recall involves Poppin’ Cobs 10 pack of microwave popcorn on the cob. The popcorn is packaged in a brown box with a black top with 10 Poppin' Cobs individually wrapped and 10 brown bags for popping. “Poppin’ Cobs” is printed on the front of the box. Only boxes with date codes 042121 on the back of the box are included in the recall.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Poppin’ Cobs 10 Pack Microwave Popcorn and contact the firm to receive free replacement bags. Consumers can order the replacement bags online at Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Poppin’ Cobs 10 Pack Microwave Popcorn and contact the firm to receive free replacement bags. Consumers can order the replacement bags online at https://www.poppincobs.com/products/replacement-bags .

Poppin’ Cobs has received five reports of the popcorn brown paper bags catching on fire in the microwave. No injuries or property damage have been reported.

Consumer Contact: Contact Fully Popped toll-free at 866-767-2627 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email orders@poppincobs.com or online at www.poppincobs.com and click on “Recall” at the bottom of the page or at https://www.poppincobs.com/products/replacement-bagsConsumers should immediately stop using the recalled Poppin’ Cobs 10 Pack Microwave Popcorn and contact the firm to receive free replacement bags. Consumers can order the replacement bags online at www.poppincobs.com/products/replacement-bags for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1028
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