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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.

Israel- Kashrut alert - Machane Yehuda and Eida Chareidis fruit/vegetable stalls

February 12, 2020 from Jerusalem Kosher News:

"'The Shuk', a.k.a. 'Machane Yehuda' in Jerusalem, is rapidly becoming Jerusalem's Soho neighborhood offering a variety of eateries and entertainment venues. It is not my place to lecture readers as to the suitability of The Shuk during nighttime hours, but I do feel responsible to point out that not every restaurant, pub or food stand has a hashgacha and one must be alert and look for a valid teudat hechsher."

"A valid hechsher must display the name and address of the store and it must match the sign displayed at that store. It must also display a valid date. All too often some unscrupulous individuals will conveniently cover the expiration date on the certificate with a sign, commonly the ones announcing Shabbos candle lighting time or a photo of a dead Torah giant. Baba Sali ZT"L and the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L are favorites, commonly displayed by shuk vendors."

"In addition, one may see a business selling an item but the teudat kashrus displays an address from another branch of the business. This is not valid as another teudat kashrus is issued with a correct address if the certificate is authentic for that location. A photocopy is a non-starter."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W997

Las Vegas kosher restaurant to be replaced with oyster bar

February 7, 2020 from Las Vegas Review-Journal:

"The one-time kosher restaurant Sababa Grille, on Durango Drive at Desert Inn Road, has closed its doors and will be replaced with an oyster bar." Sababa once was a go-to spot for quick-casual kosher cuisine in the Desert Breeze Park neighborhood. The restaurant’s website is no longer active, redirecting to its Facebook page, where the most recent post is from December 2017."
"A visit this week to the former Sababa location found renovations underway on the interior and a sign on the door advertising that a new concept, The Legends Oyster Bar & Grill, is coming soon."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W996

More than a 'Nosh' - United Airlines Expands Kosher Culinary Choices for Customers Traveling Between the U.S. and Tel Aviv

February 11, 2020 from United Airlines:

United Airlines is "introducing a variety of new options for customers traveling between the U.S. and Tel Aviv, from the airline's Newark / New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. / Dulles based hubs. "

"Partnering with New Jersey-based fresh food provider Fresko, meals on the Newark to Tel Aviv flight will feature an entirely new menu. Options will include dishes such as fresh bagels, a cheese omelet, blintzes, chicken marsala, a kale quinoa burger and traditional bakery items like rugelach and black and white cookies. "

"As part of the introduction of these new dining options, United is also testing a menu offering for its youngest customers – a Kosher child's meal in all cabins between Tel Aviv, Newark and San Francisco. If the testing is successful, the airline will roll out the meal selection on additional Tel Aviv routes."

"For those customers traveling in Polaris and United Premium Plus, additional dining enhancements can be found in the all Kosher snack choices for mid-flight enjoyment. The new offerings include Deep River Potato Chips, Cheez-It® crackers, Drizzilicious Cinnamon Swirl crisps, Madi K's Almonds and M&M'S®."

"New beverage options will include Kosher wine provided by Royal Wine, another New Jersey-based company, which includes Herzog Lineage Cabernet Sauvignon and Herzog Lineage Sauvignon Blanc throughout the Polaris cabin. Additionally, building on the airline's partnership with Illy coffee, United is upgrading its Kosher coffee to provide both regular and decaf Illy coffee within all cabins over the next several months."

"Part of the Kosher expansion includes the airport experience where United is testing the addition of a hot Kosher à la carte meal option in the Newark Polaris Lounge to complement the already featured Kosher wines. Additionally, at both the Polaris lounge and United Clubs in Newark and LaGuardia Airports the offerings will include Kosher packaged snacks upon request. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W995

Vegan Cheese Company Barred From Using Cow Photos By State Regulators

February 10, 2020 from SF Eater:

California "state regulators say that Miyoko’s Creamery can’t use dairy-related words or photos for its plant-based butter and cheese." Miyoko's Kitchen is "squaring off against California’s Department of Food and Agriculture, saying that the agency is attempting to stifle their freedom of speech."

"At issue are words like “butter,” which Miyoko’s uses to describe their non-dairy goods. In a letter sent by the Food and Agriculture Department and reported on by the East Bay Times, the agency said of Miyoko’s spread that “the product is not butter,” as butter “is made exclusively from milk or cream and must contain at least 80 percent milk fat.” Also a problem for the agency are words like “lactose free,” the Chron reports, and photos of cows that Miyoko’s uses in its marketing, as “dairy-related imagery can’t be used to promote non-dairy goods that resemble dairy products,” the EBT reports."

"Miyoko’s is suing the agency, claiming that it is attempting to restrict the plant-based company’s First Amendment right to free speech. “Products like peanut butter and apple butter, and all sorts of other fruit and nut butters have used the term ‘butter’ for well over a hundred years without any hint of consumers confusing them for butter from cow’s milk."

"According to Miyoko’s, to remove all the dairy-style verbiage from their packaging could cost them about a million dollars. But founder and CEO Miyoko Schinner already has a plan should her company lose their suit against the state regulators, telling the Chron that Miyoko’s will then rebrand their plant-based spread as 'They Say We Can’t Call it Butter.'"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W994

New Report: Major disruption in food and agriculture in next decade

posted February 6, 2020 from RethinkX:

"RethinkX projects collapse of dairy & cattle industries by 2030 as animal meat is replaced by cheaper, higher quality food made from precision fermentation protein."

"The fastest, deepest, most consequential disruption of food and agriculture in history, driven by technology and new business models, is underway. By 2030, modern food products will be higher quality and cost less than half the price of the animal- derived foods they replace, the dairy and cattle industries will have collapsed, and the rest of the livestock industry will follow. That’s according to a new report, “Rethinking Food and Agriculture 2020-2030 -- The Second Domestication of Plants and Animals, the Disruption of the Cow, and the Collapse of Industrial Livestock Farming,” released by RethinkX, an independent think tank that analyzes and forecasts the scope, speed and scale of technology-driven disruption and its implications across society. "

"Precision fermentation (PF) is a process that enables the programming of micro-organisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule. Its costs are dropping exponentially because of rapid improvements in underlying biological and information technologies. The cost to produce a single molecule using PF has fallen from $1 million per kilogram in 2000, to about $100 today. Assuming existing technologies and using well-established cost curves, the report projects that these costs will fall below $10 per kilogram by 2025, and that these proteins will be five times cheaper than traditional animal proteins by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035.

"By 2030, modern food products will cost less than half as much to produce as the animal-derived products they replace. At the same time, this new production system has the potential to spur competition and fast iteration of products that are ever cheaper and ever better: more nutritious, healthier, better tasting, more convenient, and more varied, as long as open markets and nutritional standards are protected."

"The report details the way different parts of the cow (collagen, milk, meat and leather) and the markets they serve will be disrupted separately and concurrently by different technologies and business-model innovations that overlap, reinforce and accelerate each other. "

"The report analyzes the way technology and new models of production flip the current food production system on its head. Instead of growing a whole cow to break it down into products, PF designs and customizes individual molecules to build products. Development is done in a manner similar to the software industry: companies and individuals will build components within layers of the equivalent of a software stack that can be used according to individual needs. The food developer is like an app developer, using the stack that is most appropriate according to market needs. "

"Highlights of the report findings include:

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W993

Bankrupt Bumble Bee sold for $928M

January 31, 2020 from Food Dive:

"FCF closed on its acquisition of Bumble Bee's North American assets for $928 million."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W929

FDA to Purell: Stop claiming your hand sanitizers eliminate Ebola and the flu

January 27, 2020 from CNNF:

"The US Food and Drug Administration is giving the maker of Purell products a stern warning: Stop making unproven claims that over-the-counter hand sanitizers help eliminate Ebola, MRSA or the flu."

"The products at issue include Purell advanced hand sanitizer gentle & free foam, Purell advanced hand sanitizer gel and Purell advanced hand sanitizer gentle & free foam ES6 starter kit. These products, the FDA noted, are commonly sold for use in places like athletic facilities, schools, and offices."

"Among the claims: Purell 'Kills more than 99.99% of most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA & VRE"; and "Purell Advanced Gel, Foam, and Ultra-Nourishing Foam Hand Sanitizer products demonstrated effectiveness against a drug resistant clinical strain of Candida auris in lab testing.'"

"Within the "Frequently Asked Questions" section on gojo.com, the agency noted the company says that 'Purell Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizers, which are formulated with ethyl alcohol, may be effective against viruses such as the Ebola virus, norovirus, and influenza.'"

"That, too, is an unproven claim, the FDA says. The agency said it was not aware of any hand sanitizers that have been tested against Ebola viruses, including Purell's products."

"he FDA doesn't allow hand sanitizer brands to make claims about efficacy against contracting viruses, such as any stating that Purell hand sanitizers are effective against the flu. However, the agency noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using alcohol-based hand sanitizer for flu prevention. Purell is made of ethyl alcohol."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W992

Kansas becomes 4th state with unconstitutional “ag-gag” law

January 27, 2020 from Food Safety News:

"Federal judges did not much like the newer laws to protect animal agriculture from prying eyes. So-called “ag-gag” laws adopted during the last decade in Utah, Idaho, and Iowa were struck mainly down as unconstitutional when challenged by animal rights activists."

"Kansas, North Dakota, and Montana, however, adopted ag-gag laws 30 years ago. Those statutes survived without much controversy or notice. But now a federal judge has ruled that Kansas cannot bar the public from taking pictures or recording videos of animal agriculture even if the intent is to 'damage an enterprise.'"

"o do so, according to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil, unconstitutionally criminalizes free speech. She said the Kansas ag-gag law only limits those with negative views of animal agriculture."

"The Kansas ag-gag law makes it a crime to enter facilities under pretenses or take pictures or record videos of animal agriculture without the owner’s permission."

"Farm states, however, are usually open to measures to protect agriculture because their economies depend on the sector. Iowa had one ag-gag law struck down by a federal district court, and the Legislature passed another."

"Officially, Iowa’s new statute is the Agriculture Production Facility Trespass Law. It makes it illegal for someone to gain access to private facilities with the intent to cause physical-economic hard to the operations, property or persons. Misdemeanor and aggravated misdemeanor charges may be brought with fines and prison time as punishments."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W991

Plant-based burger craze will plateau, but no expiration date in sight

January 27, 2020 from Restaurant Dive:

"Droves of major QSRs have snapped up deals with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods to capitalize on the lucrative plant-based trend. But does faux meat have real financial staying power for restaurants?"

"Recently, it seems the trend's halo has lost some of its shine. "

"Just last week, Burger King lowered the price of its Impossible Whopper due to sliding sales. Franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group said at the ICR conference earlier this month that its stores now sell around 28 Impossible Whoppers per day, compared to its previous average of 32. The burger is now offered on the restaurant’s two-for-$6 menu "— significantly cheaper than its initial price of $5.59.

"A Burger King franchisee from Little Rock, Arkansas told Bloomberg that his stores are selling fewer than 20 Impossible Whoppers per day compared to 30 per day when it first launched, and that he may be selling the product at a loss. "

" Restaurants that view plant-based burgers as a key to unlocking powerful new revenue streams should be wary. Only around 280 million veggie burgers are sold in the U.S. each year, compared to nearly 8 billion beef burgers."

"Plant-based meat does meet growing consumer demand for vegetarian fare, however, which they view as healthier than meat, Portalatin said. "


Nearly a quarter of Americans are eating less meat

January 28, 2020 from Restaurant Dive:

"According to a September 2019 Gallup poll, 23% of Americans reported that they ate less meat in the past year than they had previously. However, 72% said they are eating the same amount of meat."

"When asked how often they eat meat, 67% of consumers said “frequently,” 23% said “occasionally,” and 7% said “rarely.” Only 3% said they “never” eat meat. The results of the poll showed that women are about twice as likely as men to have cut down on meat consumption. Those from the Midwest are less likely to be reducing their meat consumption compared with adults from other parts of the country."

"For those Americans who reported cutting back on meat or not eating it at all, nine in 10 said that health concerns were a major (70%) or minor (20%) reason. After health, environmental concerns are the next most prominent factor leading to reduced meat consumption. In fact, 49% said concerns about the environment were a major reason for reducing their meat consumption, and 21% said they were a minor reason. Some other top concerns for wanting to reduce their meat consumption were food safety (43% major, 22% minor reason) and animal welfare (41% major, 24% minor reason)."

"Most Americans (77%) who are cutting back their consumption of meat are doing so by eating smaller portions. Men (71%) are substituting vegetables or other ingredients for some of the meat in recipes, and 69% are eliminating meat from some meals. And 36% of Americans are eating meat replacements such as plant-based burgers or sausages."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W990

Chicago Considers a Ban on Foam Takeout Boxes for Restaurants

January 16, 2020 - from The Spoon:

"Wegmans Food Markets plans to pull single-use plastic bags from all of its 47 New York stores on Jan. 27."

"Chicago introduced an ordinance this week that would ban restaurants from using polystyrene (aka foam) to-go containers and also limit the amount of disposable plastics they use."

"The 'Plastic-Free Water” ordinance' calls for a total ban of polystyrene packaging that would go into effect on January 1, 2021. Restaurants would have to substitute with reusable dishes for dine-in orders and recyclable or compostable ones for takeout and delivery orders.

"The ordinance also calls for a limit — though not a total ban — on single-use plastics like to-go cutlery. Restaurants would give these items out if requested or have them available at self-service stations, rather than packaging them with each order by default. Additionally, customers would be able to bring their own reusable cups."

"Restaurants that do not have the space to wash dishes and can’t contract out that work (think food trucks or mall kiosks) would be able to request a full or partial waiver."

"Providing restaurants with a list of available alternatives to polystyrene is an important step in the industry, as one of the issues businesses face when making the switch to sustainable to-go packaging is even knowing what else is out there. Whether these alternatives will actually be realistically affordable, especially for smaller, independent restaurants, remains in question. "


Plastic To-Go Containers Are Bad, but Are the Alternatives Any Better?

January 14, 2020 - from Civil Eats:

"On January 1, Berkeley, California rang in the New Year by putting a new rule in place requiring all cafés and restaurants to start charging 25 cents for disposable cups. The cups, in addition to lids, utensils, straws, and clamshells, must also now be certified compostable. This summer, eateries that offer on-site dining will also be required to serve customers using reusable plates, cups, and cutlery."

"Berkeley’s ordinance—one of the strongest in the country—seeks to do away with single-use plastics. And it’s one of a slew of new laws that aim to do so. Towns, states, even entire countries, have been moving to ban everything from plastic checkout bags and plastic straws, to plastic food containers and take-away serviceware."

"Many municipalities are also requiring restaurants and coffee shops to switch to plant-based compostables for takeout meals. They’re joining several other cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, which pioneered such requirements years ago. Even in areas where they aren’t the law, so-called bio-plastics are a booming business, and some food and beverage companies and restaurants have voluntarily made the switch as part of their sustainability plans."

"While many have pinned their hopes on these alternatives, some researchers and recyclers caution that an over-reliance on compostable tableware and packaging may not be the solution it’s cracked up to be. In life cycle assessments, it turns out, compostables don’t necessarily outshine plastics when it comes to environmental benefits. And an increase in compostables in the waste stream could, in fact, bungle up the composting process, create more trash, and continue consumers’ addiction to single-use items, detracting from the most environmentally beneficial practices: reducing and reusing."

"The recycling quandary has led to an even more urgent search for solutions; thus the turn to bio-plastics. Compostable food serviceware—made from plants such as corn, sugarcane, and bamboo—is also sometimes called “biodegradable,” but that’s a misnomer. It doesn’t decompose in backyard compost bins and needs to be processed at industrial facilities. Currently, only a few hundred of the roughly 4,000 composting facilities in the U.S. have the ability to accept food scraps and a much smaller subset can accept bio-plastics." "a 2018 analysis by the Oregon DEQ showed that “compostability is a poor indicator for determining the environmental benefits and burdens of packaging and food serviceware items” and that compostables introduces a set of trade-offs. Instead of just looking at the final result—does it generate waste?—the study used a complete life-cycle analysis, which evaluates the raw materials used, the manufacturing process, the transportation system, and what happens to the waste."

"In the case of compostables, the Oregon DEQ reviewed 18 years of life-cycle assessments, including over 1,200 comparisons involving compostable packaging and over 360 comparisons for food serviceware. In most of these comparisons, the production and use of compostable materials (and composting them) was found to result in higher environmental impacts than that of either non-compostable materials, or compostable materials treated via recycling, landfilling, or incineration."

"While many people focus on the impacts of disposal, the environmental impacts of producing materials generally can be 10, 50, or 100 times higher than the impacts of disposal, depending on the source materials, packaging, and production process, Allaway said. He added that some compostable items are low-impact while others high impact, but the industry does not provide detailed information on the particulars so consumers can make a choice."

"And while food waste produces rich compost that restores soil fertility and helps store soil carbon, some compostable packaging doesn’t produce much compost at all. When it degrades in a composting facility, corn-based PLA—polyactic acid—just turns into carbon dioxide and water."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W989
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