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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.

EU allows house crickets in food products

January 19, 2023 - from Olive Oil Times:

"The European Union recently allowed Acheta Domesticus, better known as the house cricket, to show up on European Union consumers’ tables. The newly approved regulation will allow food producers to introduce the partially defatted powder of Acheta Domesticus to the E.U. food market.

"The E.U. Commission passed the application presented in 2019 by the Cricket One Company. Now, food producers can use the powder in the production of several foods, including pizza and pasta-based products, nuts and oilseeds, snacks and sauces, meat preparations and soups, multigrain bread and rolls, crackers and breadsticks, cereal bars, dry pre-mixes for baked products, biscuits, processed potato products, legume- and vegetable-based dishes, whey powder, maize flour-based snacks, beer-like beverages and chocolate confectionery.

"The go-ahead came on the heels of the scientific opinion expressed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which verified and approved the safety of the new powder.

"EFSA also approved the powder production process, which includes a 24-hours fasting period for the insects before they are frozen, washed, thermally processed, have their oil extracted and, finally, transformed into dried-up powder.

"The march of house crickets into European kitchens will not be completed alone. On January 6th, the E.U. Commission also approved the introduction of the frozen, paste, dried and powdered forms of Alphitobius diaperinus larvae, also known as the lesser mealworm, to the consumer food market.

"Lesser mealworm larvae have also been found safe by the EFSA and, in the approved forms, are now allowed as ingredients in several food products destined for the general population. The powder of the mealworm larvae will also be used as a food supplement.

"Food containing the insect products will require appropriate labels. Some researchers believe that these food items could cause reactions in consumers allergic to crustaceans, mollusks and dust mites.

"The two insect preparations will join the list of E.U.-approved insect foods, including dried Tenebrio Molitor mealworm and the dried powder of the migratory locust.

"esides such approvals, eight other applications for insect foods have been presented to the European Union and are currently under evaluation.

"The new Acheta and Aplhitobius regulations will take effect at the end of the month."

Ed. note a link to the regulation is here

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1357

Canada: ZLINE 30-inch, 36-inch, and 48-inch RG gas ranges recalled due to risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

January 26, 2023 from the Healthy Canadians:

This recall involves the oven compartment of ZLINE gas ranges with model numbers RG30, RG36, and RG48. The ranges were sold in various door colours including black matte, blue gloss, blue matte, DuraSnow, red gloss, red matte and white matte and multiple finishes including stainless steel, black stainless steel and DuraSnow, a cloudy steel finish. The recalled ranges were sold in three sizes, 30 inches, 36 inches, and 48 inches.

The ZLINE logo is printed on the bottom of the door. The model number is printed on a label on the back of the range. For ranges purchased after 2020, the model number is also printed on a label underneath the right side of the range top, visible when the oven door is open. Only ZLINE gas ranges with these model numbers are included in this recall.

The oven of the gas ranges can emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) while in use, posing a serious risk of injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Consumers should immediately stop using the oven compartment of the recalled ranges until the oven compartment has been repaired. Consumers may continue to use the range tops which are unaffected by the issue.

To schedule your free repair, consumers can contact ZLINE by telephone at 1-888-359-4482, by email at ZLINEKitchen@realtimeresults.net or visit the company website.


ZLINE Expands Recall of Gas Ranges to Include 48-inch Gas Ranges Due to Serious Risk of Injury or Death from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

January 26, 2023 from the CPSC:

ZLINE 30-inch and 36-inch RG gas ranges have been recalled because the oven of the gas ranges can emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) while in use, posing a serious risk of injury or death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Consumer Contact: ZLINE toll-free at 888-359-4482 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email ZLINEKitchen@realtimeresults.net or online at www.zlinekitchen.com/recalls or www.zlinekitchen.com and click on Recalls for more information.

This recall expansion involves the oven compartment of ZLINE gas ranges to include those with model numbers RG48, RGS-48, and RGB-48. ZLINE previously recalled gas ranges with model numbers RG30, RGS-30, RGB-30, RG36, RGS-36 and RGB-36. The ranges were sold in various door colors including black matte, blue gloss, blue matte, DuraSnow, red gloss, red matte and white matte and multiple finishes including stainless steel, black stainless steel and DuraSnow, a cloudy steel finish. The recalled ranges were sold in three sizes, 30 inches, 36 inches and 48 inches. The ZLINE logo is printed on the bottom of the door. The model number is printed on a label on the back of the range. For ranges purchased after 2020, the model number is also printed on a label underneath the right side of the range top, visible when the oven door is open. Only ZLINE gas ranges with these model numbers are included in this recall.

Consumers should immediately stop using the oven compartment of the recalled ranges until a free repair is available. Consumers may continue to use the range tops which are unaffected by the issue. Contact ZLINE, who is working to develop repairs for all affected units.

Consumers should review Consumers should immediately stop using the oven compartment of the recalled ranges until a free repair is available. Consumers may continue to use the range tops which are unaffected by the issue. Contact ZLINE, who is working to develop repairs for all affected units.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1341

FDA Announces Action Levels for Lead in Categories of Processed Baby Foods '

January 24, 2023 - from FDA:

"U.S. Food and Drug Administration is announcing draft guidance for industry on action levels for lead in processed foods that are intended for babies and children under two years of age, to help reduce potential health effects in this vulnerable population from dietary exposure to lead. The proposed action levels would result in significant reductions in exposures to lead from food while ensuring availability of nutritious foods. Today’s action is part of Closer to Zero, which sets forth the FDA’s science-based approach to continually reducing exposure to lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury to the lowest levels possible in foods eaten by babies and young children.

Foods covered by the draft guidance, Action Levels for Lead in Food Intended for Babies and Young Children, are those processed foods, such as food packaged in jars, pouches, tubs and boxes and intended for babies and young children less than two years old. The draft guidance contains the following action levels:

The FDA considers these action levels to be achievable when measures are taken to minimize the presence of lead and expects that industry will strive for continual reduction of this contaminant. The baby foods have differing action levels, to account for variances in consumption levels of different food products and due to some foods taking up higher amounts of lead from the environment.

Just as fruits, vegetables and grain crops readily absorb vital nutrients from the environment, these foods also take up contaminants, like lead, that can be harmful to health. The presence of a contaminant, however, does not mean the food is unsafe to eat. The FDA evaluates the level of the contaminant in the food and exposure based on consumption to determine if the food is a potential health risk. Although it is not possible to remove these elements entirely from the food supply, we expect that the recommended action levels will cause manufacturers to implement agricultural and processing measures to lower lead levels in their food products below the proposed action levels, thus reducing the potential harmful effects associated with dietary lead exposures. Although not binding, the FDA would consider these action levels, in addition to other factors, when considering whether to bring enforcement action in a particular case.

Moving forward, the agency will continue to gather data and collaborate with federal partners to establish the scientific basis for establishing Interim Reference Levels for arsenic, cadmium and mercury

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1355

Israel: UTJ Submits Bill To Prevent Chametz In Hospitals On Pesach, Opposition Slams 'Religious Coercion’'

January 24, 2023 - from VinNews:

"In another indication of the new government’s intent to roll back policies of its predecessor, the UTJ party submitted a bill to ban Chometz from hospitals during Pesach.

"In 2020 the High Court declared such bans in hospitals to be illegal, and last year the court issued a similar ruling regarding army bases. When Former health minister Nitzan Horowitz instructed hospitals to abide by the court’s ruling ahead of Pesach 2022, coalition whip Idit Silman described it as an attempt by the more liberal parties in the government to weaken the state’s “Jewish character” and used it as a pretext to leave the government, starting the process of the coalition’s downfall.

"The new bill submitted Monday would legalize and require Chometz bans in hospitals, as was customary before the 2020 court decision.

"In their explanatory notes to the bill, MKs Moshe Gafni, Yaakov Asher, and Yitzchak Pindrus explained that their bill would not be overly onerous for non-Jewish patients in hospitals as 'in light of developments in food technology there are kosher-for-Passover replacements for all sorts of foods — rolls, cakes, cookies and candy bars.'

"Opposition MK and former Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana blasted the bill, stating it would lead to intentional attempts to bring in Chametz.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1354

UK lawmaker brands restrictions on plant-based products as “ludicrous”

January 16, 2023 - from the ProVeg:

"Proposals by the UK to ban dairy descriptor names for plant-based products have been branded “ludicrous” by an MP speaking in the House of Commons this month.

"MP Kerry McCarthy (Labour, Bristol East) was referring to draft guidance that the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) is currently considering that would effectively ban the use of words such as “alternative to X” or play on words such as “mylk” and “not milk”.

"The MP rightly points out that the EU has already rejected a proposal, known as Amendment 171, to ban terms that evoked reference to dairy products. The UK guidance, should Defra approve it, would be more strict than the rules currently in place on the continent.

"The UK guidance, which was not subject to public consultation, was drafted by a group called the Food Standards and Information Focus Group (FSIFG) and will direct Trading Standards officers’ enforcement activity. The plant based sector was not consulted despite the existence of the Plant-based Food Alliance UK."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1353

New York City Council Approves ‘Skip the Stuff’ Bill

January 23, 2023 - from the Jewish Press:

"New Yorkers can no longer expect a plastic spoon or fork with which to consume their takeout meals: now, one must specifically ask for those utensils in order to receive them, thanks to the latest regulation passed by the city council.

"Last week the city council approved a bill banning restaurants from including plastic utensils, condiment packets, napkins or extra food containers unless specifically requested by the customer.

"Known as the “Skip the Stuff” bill, Intro559-A was sponsored by Bronx Democratic council member Marjorie Velázquez.

"It is the latest attempt by New York to regulate the use of disposable plastic in hopes of reducing damage to the environment.'

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1352

Aleph Farms' cultivated meat is kosher and pareve, says Chief Rabbi of Israel

January 19, 2023 - from the CTech:

"In a new halachic ruling published on Wednesday, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, announced that the cultivated meat produced by Aleph Farms is kosher pareve, as in doesn't include substances that contain dairy or meat ingredients. This, to the extent that the product - produced from stem cells - will be marked differently from animal meat produced by slaughter, to avoid an appearance that will create confusion among the public.

"Lau made the decision after examining the production methods in the company's laboratory and speaking with experts in the field.

"Aleph Farms is a veteran company in the development of cultivated meat. To date, the company has raised $120 million, and has developed steak slices cultivated from animal stem cells, which have not undergone genetic engineering. Last year, Aleph Farms announced the launch of a pilot production facility in Rehovot at an investment of $12 million.

"The company's first product (Minute Steak) is currently being examined by the Israeli Ministry of Health and the American regulator. When the company receives marketing approval, it will be able to enter the market with its products for the first time. The company hopes to launch its products in Israel this year. After that, it plans to enter the Singapore and U.S. markets by the second half of next year.

"Aleph Farms is the first company in Israel to receive such a ruling from a senior halachic authority, so that in the future it can offer its products to the public as pareve products. According to the halachic examination carried out by Rabbi Lau, as long as the cultivated meat is defined and marketed as "the closest vegetable product to meat", it can be labelled as kosher pareve. Rabbi Lau noted that if the product will be marketed as meat or meat products, and "in particular, if it will be similar to meat in taste and smell" it will still be defined as kosher but should not be mixed or consumed with dairy products in any way.

"The reason Aleph Farms' products were approved as pareve is due to the company's production method. Aleph Farms produces stem cells from a fertilized egg in a laboratory, without requiring animals or slaughter. The current method extracts the stem cells from a fertilized egg even before it is attached to the animal's body, therefore Rabbi Lau believes that the fertilized egg in itself is not forbidden to eat. Therefore, the product is not considered meat, and there is no need to wait before consuming milk."

A copy of Rabbi Lau's psack in Hebrew is here.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1351

Animal activist group asks FSIS for more regulation of 'Custom Exempt' slaughter

January 22, 2023 - from the Food Safety News:

"A multi-million dollar Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, the Animal Welfare Institute, has filed the second petition this year seeking a policy change with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

"The Animal Welfare Institute petition has been assigned to the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development for review and assigned petition number 23-02.

"The petition asks FSIS to amend the oversight of review processes for the Custom Exempt slaughter establishments.

"Custom slaughtering and preparation activities are exempt from Federal inspection under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Custom Exempt slaughtering or preparation is for an owner’s animal exclusively “for use in the household of such owner, by him and members of his household and his nonpaying guests and employees” and is exempt from (continual) federal inspection.

"Petition 23-02 seeks changes in the Custom Exempt directive to require that periodic or annual inspections be carried out on dates and time when the slaughter is occurring. Further changes called for include: that voluntary animal welfare practices be made mandatory; that inspectors follow instructions; that the Custom-Exempt “loophole” be eliminated; and that neglect and abuse be reported under state animal cruelty laws.

"The animal activists also want Custom Exempt Slaughter establishments to lose their grants of inspections over humane violations.

"The first petition submitted to FSIS in 2023 for a policy change seeks to lift the ban on livestock lungs as human food.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1350

Lifetime Brands Recalls Hot Chocolate Pots Due to Fire Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Williams-Sonoma

January 19, 2023 from the CPSC in conjunction with Heathy Canadians:

Hot Chocolate Pots have been recalled because the hot chocolate pots are mislabeled as microwave safe. If microwaved, the metallic paint on the pots can spark, posing a fire hazard.

Description: This recall involves hot chocolate pots with SKU/UGS number 9292417. The SKU/UGS number is located on the bottom of the box. The Hot Chocolate Pot is white with a red lid. The ceramic pot features a reindeer on the front side. The Hot Chocolate Pot includes a battery-operated frothing wand. The date code 5/22 is displayed on the bottom of the pot.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled pots and contact Williams-Sonoma for instructions on how to return the product for a full refund plus a $20 gift card.

Sold At: Williams-Sonoma stores nationwide, online at www.williams-sonoma.com and through Williams-Sonoma catalogs from September 2022 through November 2022 for about $100.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1349

Shalom, Slurpee: Israel gets its first 7-Eleven in convenience store chain’s planned wave

January 12, 2023 - from JTA

"7-Eleven is the largest convenience store chain in the United States, with nearly 10,000 locations. But it is in some of its overseas markets where the chain really stands out — especially in Japan, where the more than 20,000 7-Elevens serve up everything from banking services to clothing essentials to high-end fresh and prepared foods. There, they can function as a person’s primary shopping destination.

"With the store opening this week, Israel became the 19th country to welcome the megachain, and the first in the Middle East, after Electra Consumer Products inked a franchise deal in 2021. Thirty more stores are slated to open by the beginning of 2024; the company says several hundred will follow.

"The new stores will join more than 10,000 convenience stores already operating in Israel. In some big cities, including Tel Aviv, convenience stores that resemble New York’s bodegas can be found on every street corner, many of them open around the clock offering anything from cigarettes to diapers.

"But the standard convenience stores known as makolets don’t serve coffee and hot food and are intended, like their American counterparts, for buying items in between larger shops at regular supermarkets. The a.m./p.m. chain of small-scale grocery stores gives off a 7-Eleven aesthetic but also does not serve fresh coffee or food. The closest things currently to a 7-Eleven in Israel are gas station stores that offer coffee and a range of sandwiches, salads and pastries, in addition to basic groceries.

"At the new 7-Eleven, customers serve themselves Slurpees, Big Gulps and soft-serve ice cream (called American ice cream in Israel) as well as coffee from touchscreen machines that offer oat and soy milk alternatives at the same price. At 9 NIS ($2.60), the price is competitive locally but is still more than other 7-Elevens around the world, including the United States — reflecting Israel’s notoriously high cost of living.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1348
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