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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.

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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

The following news is from the EureAlerton May 15, 2015.

Investigators at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found traces of gluten in 12 of the 22 top-selling probiotics that they tested. Dr. Samantha Nazareth had previously reported that celiac patients who use dietary supplements have more symptoms than non-users, so she decided to test the probiotics for gluten contamination. "More than half of the 22 probiotics were labeled gluten-free, but this had no bearing on whether or not traces of gluten were present. Two probiotics that did not meet FDA standards carried the label."

The IPA at http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com countered this that only one products listed as gluten-free was found that the gluten could be from growth media or excipients.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W307

The following news is from the JPost.comon May 15, 2015.

The Jerusalem Post reported that the Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Aryeh Stern is now doing spot checks on restaurants to ensure that the mashgichim are doing their jobs. The kosher supervisors are paid by the restaurants that they supervise. "Stern intends to implement a pilot program whereby an independent body will be set up to employ and pay kashrut supervisors who are then assigned to restaurants and other food-based businesses, thereby disconnecting the direct relationship between the supervisor from the business."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W308

The following product safety alert is from the CPSC on May 21, 2015.

OXO is recalling Nest Booster Seats beause The stitching on the restraint straps can loosen which allows the straps to separate from the seat, posing a fall hazard to children. This recall involves the Nest Booster Seat sold in green (model 6367200), pink (model 6367300), taupe (model 6367500) and orange (model 6367400) with a white base. A sticker affixed to the underside of the seat reads “Nest Booster Seat” with the model number and manufacture date. The manufacture date code represents the month and year in MMYY format and recalled units have the code: 0714, 0814, 0914, 1014, 1114 or 1214. The formed plastic seats are about 13 inches wide by 14 inches tall by 12 inches deep and have a grey three-point child restraint strap system. The OXO logo is embossed on the restraint system’s buckle.
The firm has received five reports of the stitching coming undone releasing the straps following a child pulling on the strap or an adult tightening the straps. No injuries have been reported.
Consumers should immediately stop using the Nest booster seats and contact OXO for a free repair kit with redesigned safety straps and installation instructions. Consumer can contact OXO at (800) 545-4411 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at info@oxo.com or online at www.oxo.com and click on Customer Service under the Contact Us tab at the bottom of the page for more information.
Sold at buybuy Baby, Toys“R”Us/Babies“R”Us and independent specialty stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com from September 2014 through April 2015 for about $55.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W306
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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
P.O. Box 50
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