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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.

Newer news

Pesticide report shows no residue on 50% of U.S. food tested

November 7, 2017: The FoodSafetyNews:

"The annual analysis of pesticide residues in domestic and imported foods, with the results for fiscal year 2015 showing 98 percent of tested foods produced in the United States do not violate federal limits."
"Of the 835 domestic food samples tested from 39 states, almost half, 49.8 percent, were completely free of pesticides for the period from Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015, according to the annual report released Monday by the Food and Drug Administration."
"Fifteen of the U.S. food samples had pesticide residues in excess of the legal limits, representing less than 2 percent of the domestic samples tested. The remainder of the samples of U.S. foods had residues within allowable levels. Fruits and vegetables accounted for 58.7 percent of domestic samples."
"The FDA analyzed 4,737 from 111 foreign countries during FY 2015. Of those samples, 444, or 9.3 percent, had pesticide residues in excess of allowable limits. Overall, 90 percent of the foreign foods tested were within allowable U.S. limits."
"However, the imported foods did better than U.S. foods tested in terms of being completely free of pesticide residues, with 56.8 percent of them in that category."
"'“Historically, the violation rate of import samples is 3 to 5 times higher than the rate for domestic samples. For example, from FY 2011 to 2014 the violation rate for domestic samples ranged from 1.4 percent to 2.8 percent, whereas the rate for import samples ranged from 7.1 percent to 12.6 percent.'”


Nearly half of British foods contain pesticide residue

November 3, 2017 - New Food Magazine:

"A report analysing 3,448 samples of British produce has found traces of pesticides on 48 per cent of them." Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) "tested 3,450 samples of 41 different food types, finding residues in 47.86 per cent of them – with 3.22 per cent registering above the maximum recommended level (MRL)."
"Food from outside the UK proved to be more likely to contain traces of pesticides with 53.46 per cent of the 1,719 samples testing positive. Of the 1,729 food products from inside the UK, that figure stood at 42.26 per cent."

By percentage of products containing pesticides Bread, breakfast cereal and grapes were the worst offenders.
"By percentage of samples tested, cumin was the most likely to have a residue level above the MRL. Twelve of the 24 samples analysed showed signs of pesticide traces. Other notable products that frequently exceeded the MRL included: buffalo, ewe and goat cheese (11 per cent); rye four (21 per cent); beans with pods (24 per cent); and okra (26 per cent)."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W648

Is 'Natural Flavor' Healthier Than 'Artificial Flavor'?

November 3, 2017: NPR:

Most processed foods have either natural or artificial flavors. "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines "natural flavor" as oils, resins or other extracts derived from natural sources like plants, meat or seafood. Processes like heating or fermentation are used to extract the flavor. The function of these products is flavoring, not to add any nutritional content."
"The food industry does this on a massive scale — scientists find the chemical responsible for a specific flavor in nature, extract it, and then add it to candy, beverages and throngs of other processed products."
"When consumers see "natural flavor" on a beverage label, they shouldn't assume that someone is zesting oranges into their bottle, says Mattel. Even though natural flavor must come from natural sources, it need not all come from the plant or meat whose flavor is being mimicked. For example, orange flavor might contain not only orange extract, but also extracts from bark and grass." This is done for availablity, cost, flexibility and to produce a particular desired flavor.
"Ultimately, natural and artificial flavors are not that different. While chemists make natural flavors by extracting chemicals from natural ingredients, artificial flavors are made by creating the same chemicals synthetically." "The reason companies bother to use natural flavors rather than artificial flavors is simple: marketing."
"In some cases, natural flavors may have more detrimental environmental consequences than artificial flavors. Mattel explains that because natural flavors must come from resources in nature, they may involve more forest clear-cutting and carbon emissions from transport than flavors created from scratch in the lab."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W647

Kidde Recalls Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles Due to Failure to Discharge and Nozzle Detachment: One Death Reported

November 2, 2017: The CPSC in conjunction with Healthy Canadians:

Kidde fire extinguishers with plastic handles have been recalled because the fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.
This recall involves two styles of Kidde fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.

List of recalled models is here.


Plastic handle fire extinguishers: The recall involves 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers manufactured between January 1, 1973 and August 15, 2017, including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom. Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717. For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.
Note: This recall includes fire extinguisher models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. Kidde branded fire extinguishers included in these previously announced recalls should also be replaced. All affected model numbers are listed in the charts above. Recall information for fire extinguishers used in RVs and motor vehicles can be found on NHTSA’s website.
Sold At: Menards, Montgomery Ward, Sears, The Home Depot, Walmart and other department, home and hardware stores nationwide, and online at Amazon.com, ShopKidde.com and other online retailers for between $12 and $50 and for about $200 for model XL 5MR. These fire extinguishers were also sold with commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft and boats.
Consumers should immediately contact Kidde to request a free replacement fire extinguisher and for instructions on returning the recalled unit, as it may not work properly in a fire emergency.
Consumer Contact: Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online at www.kidde.com and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W646

Surprise! Shoppers Are Confused About Food And GMOs

October 30, 2017 from Forbes.com:

"Two new surveys come to the same conclusion: The average American shopper is clueless when it comes to having an understanding of what is a genetically modified organism (GMO)"
"A new nationally representative Food Literacy and Engagement Poll ― which is part of Food@MSU, a new initiative based in Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources ― finds more than one-third of Americans do not know that foods with no genetically modified ingredients contain genes. Forty-six percent of poll respondents either don’t know whether they consume GMOs or believe they rarely or never do. The other major surprise in the survey is that most of the people who stated this incorrect answer were young and affluent, and described themselves as having a higher-than-average understanding of the global food system."
A study was conducted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Purdue University. The "national survey of 1,132 respondents, found that respondents would pay 35 cents more for apples that were labeled "Non-GMO Project" and 40 cents more for those labeled "USDA Organic," there was a frightening finding: When it came to granola bars, the same respondents were willing to pay 35 cents more for a box of 12 bars that were labeled "Non-GMO Project" and 9 cents more for a box marked "USDA Organic."
"Genetically modified material is not allowed in food labeled 'USDA Organic,' while 'Non-GMO Project' means the food has no more than 0.9% GM characteristics."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W645

Fake Alchohol in the US- 2 stories

Counterfeiter Pleads Guilty to Selling Fake Van Winkle Bourbon

October 12, 2017 from Safeproof.com:

"In Franklin County New York, the esteemed bourbon brand, Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, in conjunction with their partner, Buffalo Trace Distillery were instrumental in a successful prosecution of a liquor counterfeiter. When faced with charges that could result in a jail term, the counterfeiter pled guilty to the charges and awaits sentencing in January 2018"
"The Van Winkle Bourbons have been appearing on secondary market web sites where alcohol sales are permitted. This first successful prosecution spearheaded by Buffalo Trace Distillery was trigged by advertisements on a web site that offered the Van Winkle Bourbon. In a concerted effort to protect its brands, including Van Winkle Bourbons, Buffalo Trace Distillery has budgeted $500,000 towards fake booze sales."
"In Europe and Africa, where the problem of fake alcohol has become rampant, local and national agencies are constantly pursuing the counterfeit alcohol producers. In The USA, the companies themselves are taking the lead in investigating and pursuing the counterfeit liquor industry. It is hard to comprehend the extent of the fake booze problem in the USA without the intense pursuit and publication of investigations."


Fake Alcohol Brands Exported from USA

October 30, 2017 from Safeproof.com:

"Customs Officials in the Port City of Walvis Bay, Namibia halted a shipment of Fake Alcohol Brands Exported from USA via Dubai. The destination of the liquor shipment was Zimbabwe. As reported by The Namibian, the shipment was stopped as part of a larger International Customs Operation by The World Customs Organization. "
"The Namibian Customs Officials hit the jackpot at one Custom Brokers warehouse when they uncovered fake alcohol valued at $1.50 Million USD. "
"The inventory seized at a customs broker’s warehouse included exact replica of brands owned by Diageo, the world’s largest International Alcoholic Beverage Distributor. The fake alcohol brands included, Johnnie Walker Red and Johnnie Walker Black Label Whiskey and Smirnoff Vodka, which are among the world’s most coveted brands."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W644

Israel: Taxes Waved On Over 13 Million Eggs To Combat National Shortage

October 27, 2017 from YeshivaWorld:

"The Ministry of Agriculture has stepped in and eliminated import tax on 13.2 million eggs towards alleviating the nationwide shortage that exists in Israel."
"Experts report that due to the change of season, there are far fewer eggs laid and at current, there is a shortage of about 150 million eggs."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W643

Imported candy often contaminated with lead

October 27, 2017 from FoodSafetyNews:

"Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and the California Department of Public Health recently published a study showing an increase in the amount of lead found in candy. The researchers found that almost all of the candy flagged for lead was imported."
"During the 14-year study period, state public health officials issued 164 health alerts for food contamination. Of these, 60 were lead-related and 55 of those were for imported food, mostly candy from Mexico at 34 percent, China at 24 percent), and India at 20 percent."
"Because the study is not comprehensive, the lead contamination in candy and other products on the market could actually be much higher than many realize."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W642

Frost, Drought Hit Wine Production Hard In Europe

October 10, 2017 from FoodManufacturing.com:

"Hail, frost and droughts have hit Europe's grape harvest hard, making it the smallest in 36 years. The quality of the wines, though, is expected to be excellent."
"The European Union's Copa-Cogeca farm union said Tuesday that the extreme weather means the harvest is expected to be down 14 percent, with some areas seeing a drop of as much as one third. That will cut wine production to a level not seen since 1981 at 145 million hectoliters."
"In France, production will be down 18 percent, and in Italy, the biggest wine producer in Europe, it will have sunk by 26 percent compared with last year. Sicily was hit by a decline of 35 percent."
"The European wine grape harvest has an automatic impact on the global wine market since EU production accounts for some 60 percent of worldwide output."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W641

‘Fish Fraud’ Is Rampant. Here’s How to Fix It

October 24, 2017 from Wall Street Journal:

Fish "Fraud is rampant: A 2016 study by the ocean conservation advocacy group Oceana revealed that as much as a third of seafood sold in the U.S. is mislabeled. Put another way, your “local” red snapper could be farmed Asian catfish or some other bottom-feeding species that was caught using illegal methods or even slave labor."
"Dock to Dish 2.0, uses recent advances in vessel traceability to offer live, public tracking of fishing boats and delivery vehicles, along with information about who caught the fish and how and—perhaps most important—when it was caught."
"Around 90% of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported—compared with less than 25% of fresh vegetables and 14% of beef. Fish can pass through a dozen hands and travel thousands of miles before reaching the plate. And there are no legal requirements to document its journey."
"till, it’s unclear how far Dock to Dish’s technology will spread without government regulations requiring it. Paul Greenberg, who has written extensively about American fisheries, doubts consumers know enough about seafood fraud to place a value on live tracking, and he believes price will be an obstacle. Tracking is designed to promote local, sustainable catch, which is often more expensive than its imported competition, and many people, according to Greenberg, will be unwilling or unable to pay. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W640

Tnuva Fined 25 Million Shekels For Price Fixing

October 22, 2017 from YeshivaWorld:

"Israel’s Antitrust Authority has been investigating Tnuva and concluded the dairy conglomerate is guilty of price fixing, slapping a 25 million shekel fine on the company, which is now partially owned by China. In addition, two senior company executives were fines personally, 75,000 each."
"Tnuva, which dominates the Israeli dairy market, prohibited supermarkets from selling other dairy good for less than their comparable Tnuva product or face a Tnuva boycott. The Antitrust Authority gathered sufficient evidence to announce the clandestine investigation and fine those responsible."
"In a recent and related story, there has been somewhat of a product war with some products from the Tara Dairy as the latter is slowly moving over to the hashgacha of Badatz Eida Chareidis, making those products more desirable in chareidi areas. Tara has begun significantly undercutting Tnuva prices to gain a market share among chareidim, selling in most stores for less than their Tnuva-comparable item."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: http://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W639
Older news

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