The Rabbis Are Here to Inspect the (Legal) Weed
May 6, 2016: From New York Times:
"Vireo, a subsidiary of Vireo Health, is one of at least two companies aiming to sell kosher medical marijuana products like tinctures or cannabis oil. The Orthodox Union, one of the United States’ most prominent Jewish groups, gave its first medical marijuana certification to Vireo in January. Another company, Cresco Labs in Illinois, is in the final stages of getting certified from" the Chicago Rabbinical Council.
"Every ingredient in a marijuana brownie, for example, needs to be kosher. The leaves, if eaten, would need to come from a bug-free plant. Marijuana gelcaps cannot be made out of pig gelatin. There are also rules for the equipment that processes kosher food. Vireo’s products that have been certified by the Orthodox Union can have the recognizable “OU” stamp on their packaging, and must submit to periodic inspections from the group’s rabbis."
"Representatives of the Orthodox Union and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, which inspected Cresco, said that the idea of kosher medical marijuana had stirred much internal debate, and that they would certify only medical marijuana and not products intended for the recreational market."
C & S Wholesale Grocers to Acquire Davidson Specialty Foods
May 4, 2016: From Businesswsire.com and Specialty Food News:
"C&S Wholesale Grocers has acquired Davidson Specialty Foods. Davidson distributes specialty, kosher and ethnic products to retailers in New England and the New York metropolitan area. It will continue to operate under owners Bob and Jim Rowe as a separate organization."
"Davidson provides direct store delivery (DSD) services for over 6,000 specialty, kosher, and ethnic products to independent and chain retailers across New England and the New York metropolitan area."
Ed. note: This may present chometz after Passover issues for 2017.
Walmart Recalls Rival Electric Water Kettles Due to Burn and Shock Hazards
March 3, 2016: The CPSC is announcing a recall of Rival brand electric water kettles because the heating element can fail and rupture, posing burn and shock hazards to the user.
This recall involves Rival brand electric water kettles with model numbers WK8283CU and WK8283CUY. The model numbers are printed on a product label on the underside of the water kettle. The white plastic water kettles were sold with a warming base and a pitcher. A window on the side pitcher has markings that measure the water levels. “Rival” is printed beneath the window.
Walmart has received 80 reports of incidents, including seven reports of burns. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled kettle and return it to any Walmart store for a full refund.
Sold exclusively at Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from March 2011 through October 2015 for about $14.
onsumer Contact: Walmart at 800-925-6278 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. CT Saturday, or noon and 6 p.m. Sunday; or visit the company’s website at www.Walmart.com and click "Product Recalls." Consumers can also visit http://walmartstores.com/contactus/feedback.aspx.
FDA releases final rule to ensure food safety during transport
April 5, 2016 - FDA:
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today finalized a new food safety rule under the landmark FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that will help to prevent food contamination during transportation. The rule will require those involved in transporting human and animal food by motor or rail vehicle to follow recognized best practices for sanitary transportation, such as properly refrigerating food, adequately cleaning vehicles between loads and properly protecting food during transportation." "Shippers, loaders, carriers and receivers engaged in transportation operations of food imported by motor or rail vehicle and consumed or distributed in the United States are also subject to the final rule."
Spoiled meat was smuggled into Israel and sold to some of Israel's most renowned restaurants and meat stores.
April 5, 2016 - Globes.co.il:
"The Ministry of Agriculture enforcement and investigation unit today found 700 kilograms of meat in the Tel Aviv Tikva market smuggled into Israel from Judea and Samaria. The unit also intercepted enormous quantities of smuggled meat at the Dragot checkpoint near the Dead Sea."
Today's report follows one from yesterday, according to which enforcement and investigation unit inspectors exposed a ring smuggling meat into Israel from the Palestinian Authority (PA). The smuggled meat, which was sold to leading restaurants and various meat shops, bore forged expiration dates, slaughter dates, and kashrut certificates."
"The Ministry of Agriculture bans the import of animal products from the PA to Israel because of improper storage conditions, and in order to prevent the entry of spoiled meat into the country. The smuggled goods reached a warehouse in the Atarot industrial zone, where they were repackaged and kashrut certificates, expiration dates, and veterinary authorization documents were forged. The meat, which was unfit for human consumption, was distributed to restaurants and various meat shops. Concealment of transactions and income in Israel is also suspected."
Food fraud: If ‘price is too good to be true, it probably is
March 30, 2016 - From Barfblog.com:
Chris Elliott, the founder of the Institute for Global Food Security, a laboratory in Northern Ireland is quoted saying "Many, many forms of food fraud manifest themselves in different parts of the world virtually every day of the week. It’s absolutely cheating. But it goes beyond cheating — this is criminal activity, very well organized criminal activity, with people making a huge amount of money out of fraud in food systems."
"The world trade in groceries is about $11 trillion. And the level of fraud is somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of that."
"My advice to people is always buy your food from bonafide sources. If you buy your stuff from the back of vans and so forth, you can expect what you’ll get. And the second thing is if you buy something that’s too good to be true price-wise, it probably is."
Swiss study finds E. coli bacteria in ice cubes
March 30, 2016 - From Barfblog.com:
A Swiss study found that "more than a quarter of ice cubes used in Swiss bars and restaurants contain fecal bacteria such as E. coli." "The presence of bacteria including pseudomonas, E. coli and enterococci is “a clear sign of unsanitary production of ice cubes'. "The primary cause is a lack of hygiene in bars and restaurants, where ice machines may be badly cleaned and maintained."
Largest-ever seizures of fake food and drink in INTERPOL-Europol operation
March 30, 2016 - From Interpol.int:
"More than 10,000 tonnes and one million litres of hazardous fake food and drink have been seized in operations across 57 countries in an INTERPOL-Europol coordinated initiative to protect public health and safety."
"Operation Opson V resulted in seizures ranging from nearly nine tonnes of counterfeit sugar contaminated with fertilizer in Khartoum, Sudan to Italian officers recovering more than 85 tonnes of olives which had been ‘painted’ with copper sulphate solutions to enhance their colour."
Police found coouterfeit alcohol in Greece and the UK>
30 tons of illegal beef and buffalo meat unfit for human consumption and bound for supermarkets was found in Thailand
"In Australia, testing of 450 kg of honey revealed it had been blended or adulterated, and a consignment of peanuts had been repackaged and relabelled as pine nuts."
"In Indonesia, officials seized 70 kg of chicken intestines which had been preserved in formalin, which is prohibited as a food additive. "
"First launched in 2011, the Opson operations have grown from involving just 10 countries across Europe, to involving nearly 60 countries in every region of the world and resulting in the seizure of tens of thousands of tonnes of fake and substandard food and drink."
Indian Milk Adulteration
March 21, 2016 - From India Times:
"Nearly 70% of the milk in India is adulterated." "The adulteration of milk can be grouped into two broad categories: contamination arising from poor hygiene, handling and packaging; and deliberate addition of water to increase the quantity and, along with the water, other substances that mask the dilution, such as urea, detergents, shampoo, caustic soda, hydrogen peroxide and oil, which apparently enhance viscosity, never mind if the milk is transformed into a poisonous cocktail. This is an egregious violation and must attract stiff penalties: jail terms and heavy fines, besides closure of offending units. Identifying the point of adulteration is crucial. Therefore, testing must be made mandatory across the supply chain, from the primary collection point to the processing and packaging plant. No producer or aggregator will be able to sell without a test. Each unit should be required by law to submit its daily test results, and these should be publicly available. This will make it possible to identify the source of adulteration. Adulteration must be made a cognisable offence."
New Kosher Chicken Plant coming to Ontario Canada
March 19, 2016 - COR
Chicken Farmers of Ontario(CFO), the regulatory body that oversees the growing and marketing of chicken in Ontario, has approved the application of Premier Kosher Inc., to process kosher certified chicken. The processing plant will be located in the town of Abingdon in the Niagara region of Ontario. The plant will be certified by the COR.