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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: Hundreds of Kilos of Illegal, Treif Meat Seized

April 15, 2019 - from the Hamodia:

"As Israelis prepared for Pesach, thieves and robbers did as well – by preparing to foist treif meat on Israeli consumers and presenting it as kosher. Officials on Monday confiscated hundreds of kilos of treif meat and chicken, which smugglers had brought into Israel with the intention of passing it off as kosher.

"In a joint operation, officials of the Health Ministry and Defense Ministry working at the Te’enim checkpoint in northern Shomron seized some the illegal meat and chicken that was slaughtered improperly. The source of the meat was not identified, and no paperwork accompanied it. It was stored in a warehouse from where it was to be shipped to retailers."

"Officials said that the meat – unsupervised, and likely a health risk – would likely have ended up on the plates of Israelis, possible on Seder night, as Israelis buy large amounts to prepare for the festival. Officials said that the best way to avoid these dangers was for consumers to ensure that the proper certifications, both from a kosher and health perspective, were displayed prominently in stores where they shop."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W854

Israel: Fish Cheaper This Year, Thanks to Imports

April 15, 2019 - from the Hamodia:

"Iraelis will eat 700 tons of carp, 550 tons of tilapia, 300 tons of tuna, and 150 tons of bass this Pesach season, the Israel Fish Growers Association said. No shortages are expected this year, even though Israeli carp production was down about 500 tons for the year.

"That’s because imports have more than made up for the lack of Israeli production. Carp import limits were raised over the past year, and the duty on imported carp was slashed. As a result, there is more carp on the market, and the price is below what it was last year. The same phenomenon applies to other fish, but on a smaller scale. As a result, there has been a 300-percent increase in carp sales so far in the pre-Pesach season this year compared to last year. Tilapia sales are up 25 percent over last year, as are mullet (60 percent) and bass (30 percent)."

"The reduction in duty on imported fish has helped bring down the price of fish that Israeli growers can get for their fish substantially, but much of those savings have not been passed on to the consumer. As happen often, the extra profit has remained in the pockets of importers and heads of the large markets."

Because they earn less, Israeli fish farmers are producing less. Over the past year, production of Israeli-grown carp fell from 4,000 tons to 3,500 tons."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W853

Israeli Scientist Reveals First Temple Period Eggs Differ Little Than Today’s Fare On the Passover Plates of Jerusalem Residents

April 14, 2019 - from the Jewish Press:

"Remains of chicken eggs found in excavations in the City of David are shedding light on the diet of the local population at the end of the biblical period. The findings of a new study show significant use of domesticated chickens for consumption among the upper class in Jerusalem."

"The findings of the recently completed study, headed by Prof. Zohar Amar, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, will be revealed during the Department’s annual conference next month, which will deal with agriculture and nature in ancient Israel."

"For the study, traces of eggs found in refuse and ash in Area G of the City of David from the end of the First Temple were examined. The eggshells were found during excavations carried out by Dr. Eilat Mazar about a decade ago. "

"Out of several hundred fragments of eggshells examined by Prof. Amar, a number of relatively large fragments were found that could be used to reconstruct the size and quantity of the eggs. "

"These were examined using a unique algorithm, developed by Dr. Avshalom Karasik of the Israel Antiquities Authority, for the reconstruction of pottery vessels, and was first tested on the fragments of eggshells from the City of David. "

"The results of the reconstruction showed that the height of the egg was about 50 mm, its maximum diameter was 40 mm, and the total volume with the shell was 61 cc."

"Prof. Amar notes the extraordinary nature of the discovery. Egg shells in archaeological finds are rare; they are usually not preserved due to their fragility. Moreover, chicken eggs from the City of David are, as of now, the earliest archaeological find from the Near East."

"This finding is an important contribution not only to the reconstruction of the ancient food basket, but also to the world of Jewish law (halakhah). "

"he reconstruction of the egg from the City of David, as well as a comparison with later finds from the Roman period, indicate that the size of the chicken eggs and their volume were similar to the average size of an egg nowadays. "

"The measure known as “ka’beytza” [the size of an egg] has halakhic implications in various areas in measurements used by the Torah. According to many poskim, the size known as “ka’zayit” [the size of an olive] is also derived from the size of the egg.|

"The finding of the eggs from the City of David thus gives the halakhic discussion a realistic dimension."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W852

Bag leakage: The effect of disposable carryout bag regulations on unregulated bags

April 9, 2019 - from Science Direct and NPR:

Many places are having plastic bag bans. "These bag bans did what they were supposed to: People in the cities with the bans used fewer plastic bags, which led to about 40 million fewer pounds of plastic trash per year. But people who used to reuse their shopping bags for other purposes, like picking up dog poop or lining trash bins, still needed bags. "What I found was that sales of garbage bags actually skyrocketed after plastic grocery bags were banned," she says. This was particularly the case for small, 4-gallon bags, which saw a 120 percent increase in sales after bans went into effect."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W851

Poor diets may result in more deaths than smoking

April 7, 2019 - from the IFT and The Lancet:

"A study published in The Lancet journal suggests that poor diets are shortening lives worldwide and killing more people globally than either smoking or high blood pressure. The study, of nearly 200 countries, linked poor diet quality to nearly 11 million deaths globally in 2017. That translated to 22% of deaths among all adults that year. Previous research has linked tobacco use to 8 million deaths per year worldwide, and high blood pressure to just over 10 million deaths."

"For the study, the researchers used published nutrition surveys to look at typical dietary intakes across 195 countries, plus published research on the relationship between various diet factors and disease risks. For example, to estimate the impact of salty diets, the researchers looked at the evidence on urinary sodium levels and changes in blood pressure—and then estimated the relationship between those blood pressure changes and disease outcomes."

"The researchers found that people in the United States and Canada tended to eat the most processed meats and trans fats from packaged foods. Consumption of sugary drinks and sodium was too high in nearly all world regions. Meanwhile, healthy foods were shortchanged almost universally, with a few exceptions. People in Central Asia tended to eat enough vegetables, while those in parts of Latin America, Africa, and South Asia typically got plenty of legumes."

"Overall, though, unbalanced diets were a health threat everywhere. Oceania and East Asia had the highest proportion of “diet-related” deaths from heart disease, for example. Diet-related deaths from type 2 diabetes complications were highest in the United States and Canada."

"The analysis pointed to some eating habits with particularly strong links to higher death rates: diets high in sodium, and those low in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds. The researchers concluded that 'poor dietary habits are associated with a range of chronic diseases and can potentially be a major contributor to NCD [noncommunicable diseases] mortality in all countries worldwide. This finding highlights the urgent need for coordinated global efforts to improve the quality of human diet.'"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W850

Study finds gluten in more than 50% of gluten-free pasta, pizza dishes

April 7, 2019 - from the IFT and Publishahead:

"According to a study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, more than half of gluten-free pizza and pasta dishes in restaurants tested positive for the presence of gluten, and about one-third of supposedly gluten-free foods had detectable gluten."

"The researchers used data uploaded by users of the portable device Nima Gluten Sensor which restaurant patrons use to test foods. The manufacturer supplied 5,624 food tests by 804 users over 18 months. The research showed 32% of tests revealed detectable gluten in dishes that were supposed to be gluten-free. Gluten-free pasta samples were positive in 51% of tests; gluten-free pizza contained gluten for 53%. Gluten was detected in 27% of breakfasts, 29% of lunches, and 34% of dinners."

"There are limitations to the data, noted the researchers. Users may have uploaded results that surprised them the most. Additionally, the device is very sensitive. To be labeled gluten-free in the United States, a product must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm). “The device can detect levels as low as 5–10 ppm." The researchers suspect "that gluten-free foods are inadvertently contaminated."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W849

Airbnb ends Jewish settlement homes boycott

April 10, 2019 from Globes.co.il:

"Five months after announcing that it was delisting homes in the "disputed" West Bank Jewish settlements, international vacation rentals giant Airbnb has reversed its decision."
"Airbnb found itself beset by lawsuits by the owners of properties in the Jewish settlements and potential customers wanting to rent accommodation there. Among the suits, Jewish residents of the West Bank claimed they were being discriminated against because properties belonging to West Bank Christians and Muslims would continue to be listed by Airbnb."
"Airbnb said, 'Airbnb is announcing that we have settled all lawsuits that were brought by hosts and potential hosts and guests who objected to a policy the company recently announced concerning listings in disputed areas.'"
"'Under the settlement terms, Airbnb will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform. We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank, but Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region. Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world. Airbnb will also implement the same approach for listings in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two other disputed areas where the company has previously announced that we would take action.'"
"' Airbnb ends Jewish settlement homes boycott airbnb Photo: Shutterstock 10 Apr, 2019 8:51 Michal Raz-Chaimovich You May Like You're Probably Overpaying at Amazon – This Genius Trick Will F…Honey Ryanair CEO: Israel can become major tourist destination news If You're Over 40 And Own A Computer, This Game Is A Must-Have!Vikings: Free Online Game Ramat Gan approves Israel's tallest building front by Taboola Promoted Links The vacation rentals giant has backed down on its policy of banning the listing of homes in Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria and distanced itself from BDS. Five months after announcing that it was delisting homes in the "disputed" West Bank Jewish settlements, international vacation rentals giant Airbnb has reversed its decision. RELATED ARTICLES Airbnb Photo: Shutterstock Airbnb to remove West Bank listings West Bank Israeli files for class action against Airbnb Amid confusion, Airbnb still lists Jewish settlement homes Airbnb found itself beset by lawsuits by the owners of properties in the Jewish settlements and potential customers wanting to rent accommodation there. Among the suits, Jewish residents of the West Bank claimed they were being discriminated against because properties belonging to West Bank Christians and Muslims would continue to be listed by Airbnb. Airbnb said, "Airbnb is announcing that we have settled all lawsuits that were brought by hosts and potential hosts and guests who objected to a policy the company recently announced concerning listings in disputed areas." "Under the settlement terms, Airbnb will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform. We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank, but Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region. Any profits generated for Airbnb by any Airbnb host activity in the entire West Bank will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world. Airbnb will also implement the same approach for listings in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two other disputed areas where the company has previously announced that we would take action."
"'Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement. Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.'"


Airbnb blacklists Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria

The study emphasized the addition of nuts, seafood, seeds, fiber, fruits and vegetables to the diet, and said diet-related illnesses often resulted from the over-consumption of red meat, sugar and salt.November 21, 2018 from the 'worldIsraelNews and 'worldIsraelNews:

"On Monday, Airbnb announced it is removing lodging listings placed by Israelis who live in communities in Judea and Samaria."
"The leading peer-to-peer app allows users to rent out rooms in their dwellings to guests, using their homes as hotels or short-term rentals."
"According to the statement released by Airbinb, the company concluded “it should remove listings” in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, which it referred to as 'the occupied West Bank.'"
"The San Francisco-based company admitted its decision, which affects some 200 listings, was for political reasons. In a statement on its website, the company made it clear that it had accepted the Palestinian narrative of the conflict."
"Michael Oren, current deputy minister in the prime minister’s Office and Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S., tweeted Monday that Airbnb should be boycotted:"
"Airbnb blacklists Jewish apartments in Judea and Samaria – not Palestinian apartments, not apartments in Turkish occupied Cyprus, in Moroccan occupied Sahara, not in Tibet or the Crimea. Airbnb’s policy is the very definition of anti-Semitism. No one should use its services."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W770

Study: Israel suffers least diet-related deaths in the world

April 7, 2019 - from the JNS:

"According to a new study by The Lancet medical journal, analyzing dietary health around the world, Israel has the lowest rate of diet-related deaths of any country in the world."

Data collected as part of the Global Burden of Disease study published on Wednesday showed that just 89 out of every 100,000 Israelis die each year as a result of poor-quality diet."

"The study emphasized the addition of nuts, seafood, seeds, fiber, fruits and vegetables to the diet, and said diet-related illnesses often resulted from the over-consumption of red meat, sugar and salt."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W848

New York - 73 Percent of Most Serious NY Restaurant Health Violations Go Unchecked

April 5, 2019 - from the AuburnPub:

"A state audit shows that New York’s Department of Health food safety inspectors haven’t followed through on hundreds of serious health violations found in restaurants across the state. Between 2014 and 2017, nearly 1,000 significant violations were noted in New York restaurants, yet 73 percent of the violations didn’t result in any enforcement at all. Those violations should have resulted in fines or even closure, according to the audit published by comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, which also found that data was reported incorrectly. State health officials have since agreed to review their policies. The report excludes New York City restaurants, which are inspected by the NYC Health Department."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W847

Israel: Butter Shortage May Soon Be Solved – But Not in Time for Pesach

April 5, 2019 - from Hamodia:

"After months of shortages, the Agriculture Ministry has opened two tenders for the import of butter. Competing for the opportunity to bring in some of the allocated 3,000 tons of butter will be the large supermarkets, including Rami Levi and Supersol, dairy concerns Tnuva, Strauss and Tara, and food companies Willi Food and Osem. Under the terms of the tender, importers will be able to bring in the butter without duty."

"With that, industry experts expected the imported butter to sell for more than the NIS 3.80 per 100 grams that Israeli-produced butter is supposed to sell for, under state price regulations. Under the terms of the tender, importers will have to bring in most of the butter by July 31, in order to ensure that there is enough butter on the market to alleviated shortages during the Yamim Nora’im."

"But even authorization for increased butter imports may not do the trick. There are spot shortages of butter in Europe as well, so it is not even clear that importers would be able to find enough product to cover the shortfall – so even before winning the tender, companies have been rushing to find suppliers and sign contracts with them."

"While the imports will not come in time to alleviate butter shortages for Pesach, they will be here in time for summer – and without them, industry experts told Yediot Achronot, the situation in the market would be “dire,” because butter production is much lower during the summer months, due to the higher temperatures."

"For months, supplies of butter have been spotty, with butter disappearing off the shelves from many stores. Already in 2017 there were limited supplies, and as 2018 progressed, supplies of locally-made butter all but disappeared; Tnuva’s salted and unsalted butter are nowhere to be found, consumer groups told Globes."

"It’s not clear why Israeli companies cannot supply the necessary butter. According to the groups, it is Tnuva that is at fault, as it is using its supply of milkfat for products that have a higher markup, instead of for price-controlled butter. Tnuva, in a statement, said that demand for butter has risen sharply in recent years, as more Israelis prefer to eschew margarine and eat more healthily."


Israel: Where Did All the Butter Go? Ministry Foresees Pesach Shortages

March 24, 2019 - from Hamodia:

  • "With Purim now past, Israeli eyes are turning to Pesach – and this year, preparing cakes and cookies for Yom Tov could be a challenge for many people. For months, supplies of butter have been spotty, and as Pesach approaches, the Agriculture Ministry has warned that there is likely to be an even more severe shortage of the product. Also likely to be in short supply will be eggs, the Ministry said."

    "The Ministry hopes that increased imports of eggs will help alleviate the problem. In recent days, the Ministry authorized an increase in the number of eggs that can be imported duty-free, and that number now stands at 75 million. The Finance Ministry has signed off on that increase – but has not signed off on an increase in the amount of butter."

    "But even authorization for increased butter imports may not do the trick. There are spot shortages of butter in Europe as well, so it is not even clear that importers would be able to find enough of the product to cover the shortfall. Israeli importers say that increasing the amount of butter that can be imported without duty will not solve the problem; what’s needed is a complete opening of the butter market, to allow the import of as much butter as needed tax-free."

    "It’s not clear why Israeli companies cannot supply the necessary butter. Already in 2017 there were limited supplies, and as 2018 progressed, supplies of locally made butter all but disappeared; Tnuva’s salted and unsalted butter are nowhere to be found, consumer groups told Globes. According to the groups, it is Tnuva that is at fault, as it is using its supply of milkfat for products that have a higher markup, instead of price-controlled butter. Tnuva, in a statement, said that demand for butter has risen sharply in recent years, as more Israelis prefer to eschew margarine and eat more healthfully."

    "While the butter shortage has impacted consumers for months, the shortage on Pesach will be very difficult for many families of Ashkenazic custom, who do not use margarine products on Pesach because they are kitniyos-based."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W833
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