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Food News


Arsenic Limits in Apple Juice Finalized by FDA 10 Years Later

June 1, 2023 - from Bloomberg Law

"Inorganic arsenic in apple juices shouldn’t exceed 10 parts per billion under guidance finalized by the FDA Thursday—nearly a decade after the agency first proposed the limit.

"The final guidance contains nonbinding recommendations for juice manufacturers. It is another step in the Food and Drug Administration’s “Closer to Zero” action plan, which includes planned goals to help lower early childhood exposure to toxic heavy metals as much as possible.

"he agency has prioritized apple juice, baby foods, and other products commonly consumed by young children, due to studies that have linked early heavy metal consumption to slowed development and other serious health issues.

"Food safety analysts have identified inorganic arsenic, a particular form of arsenic, as one of the greatest concerns in baby foods, and a 2019 review of 14 studies on inorganic arsenic published in Chemical Research in Toxicology found consistent evidence demonstrating a link between early exposure to the heavy metal and an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1416

New York legislature mirrors California’s efforts to ban 5 food ingredients

May 25, 2023 - from Food and Beverage Insider

"Bills introduced to the New York State Assembly and the Senate (A06424 and S06055-A) intend to prohibit five commonly used food additives. The move by the New York legislature follows a proposed ban of ingredients in California. Lawmakers in both states have arbitrarily decided that brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, propyl paraben, red dye No. 3 and titanium dioxide are unsafe.

"If the bill passes in either state, enforcement will begin on January 1, 2025. The impact on food manufacturers will be felt nationally as reformulation and relabeling will be needed if any product could potentially enter a state where this law is in effect.

"NY A06424 makes the argument, “The science behind the health effects of increased consumption of such additives is shedding new light on just how dangerous some of them can be. This legislation protects New Yorkers from five of the most pervasive and harmful food additives … The recognition by the federal Food and Drug Administration of any of these substances as safe may not be alleged as a defense.”

"Industry maintains that scientific oversight has ensured the safety of these ingredients. In a letter written in opposition to California Assembly Bill 418 (AB 418) on March 13, 2023, a coalition of industry members voiced strong opposition to the bill. 'The United States Federal Government has a comprehensive food safety process that reviews food additives,” they wrote. “All five of these additives have been thoroughly reviewed by the federal and state systems and many international scientific bodies and continue to be deemed safe.'

Both bills in New York have been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

"California bill, AB 418, is advancing through the state Senate where it has been referred to the Assembly Health Committee."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1415

Texas requires 'clear labeling' of plant-based foods starting Sept. 1

May 30, 2023 - from New Hope Network

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill requiring clear labeling of analogs of meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, as well as cultivated meat.

"The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, requires plant-based or fermented analogs of meat, poultry, seafood and eggs to have a prominent label with type at least the same size as the text around it labeling products as “analogue,” “meatless,” “plant-based,” “made from plants” or with similar clarifying language. A similar requirement in the state law for cultivated meat requires that any food product made from harvesting animal cells replicated to produce tissue have a similar label. The bill suggests the label say “cell-cultured,” “lab-grown” or similar language.

"What happens when Texas’s law takes effect on Sept. 1 is an open question. It seems many companies are already complying with the new law. Meat, dairy and egg analog companies already include labeling that specifically says their products are made from plants or another substance. These companies have said they want consumers to know their products are not meat, an attribute that is a selling point for some shoppers.

"As some of these laws started to take effect, advocacy groups including the Good Food Institute, legal organizations such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund and plant-based meat companies including Tofurky, have fought back in the courtroom. So far, litigation in Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas has yielded favorable decisions for meat alternative companies, while cases in Missouri and Oklahoma are pending.

"In the cases that have ended in decisions, courts have ruled the laws do not apply to any current company making meat analogs. The products on the market today have clear labeling, rulings have found. In Arkansas, the court found the law infringes on plant-based meat companies’ First Amendment rights “to convey meaningful, helpful information to consumers about the products they are purchasing.”

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1414

Kansas farmers abandon wheat fields after extreme drought

May 22, 2023 - from Reuters

"Farmers in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of wheat used to make bread, are abandoning their crops after a severe drought and damaging cold ravaged farms.

"They are intentionally spraying wheat fields with crop-killing chemicals and claiming insurance payouts more than normal, betting the grain is not worth harvesting, Reuters found on a three-day tour of the state. Other growers are turning over dismal-looking fields to cattle for grazing.

"Abandoning fields will lead to a smaller U.S. wheat supply in the world's No. 5 wheat exporter, with stocks seen falling to a 16-year low. High rates of abandonment deal an economic blow to farm towns and force wheat buyers to adjust procurement plans by buying the staple grain elsewhere.

"Nationally, winter-wheat farmers plan to abandon 33% of the acres they planted, the highest percentage since World War I, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a May 12 report.

"Kansas farmers are expected to abandon about 19% of the acres planted last autumn, up from 10% last year and 4% in 2021, according to the report. But farmers, grain traders and representatives of major food companies who traversed the state on an annual crop tour last week warn of an even greater percentage of unharvested acres.

"Crop conditions point toward an outcome similar to 1989, when farmers did not harvest 28% of the wheat they planted, said Justin Gilpin, chief executive of the Kansas Wheat Commission and a tour leader.

"Soaring prices for hay also pressure wheat farmers not to harvest their fields for grain so they can be fed to cattle,

"Kansas farmers are expected to produce just 191.4 million bushels of wheat this year, the smallest since 1963, according to the latest monthly government forecast. Participants on the Wheat Quality Council tour projected an even smaller harvest of 178 million bushels.

"Farmers who pull the trigger on terminating their crops do so after watching fields struggle throughout the months-long growing season.

"Parts of Oklahoma are suffering too. In six northern counties, an estimated 65% to 70% of the crop will not be harvested, said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1413

Kosherfest Discontinuing its Trade show that had been running since 1989

May 31, 2023 - from Kosherfest.com

From Diversified Communications who have been running Kosherfest: "We have made the difficult decision to discontinue Kosherfest. Due to today’s changing supermarket category manager buying responsibilities and the elimination of the kosher buyer in many major supermarket chains, exhibitors feel Kosherfest has run its course and there is no longer significant ROI to justify exhibiting at the show."
"All exhibit space deposits received, will be refunded within the next 2 - 3 weeks."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1412

Highland Park New Jersey Meat Restaurant Closing After 16 Years

May 21, 2023 - from the Jewish Press:

"Park Place Kosher has announced it will close its doors on Sunday night, June 4, after serving chicken, burgers, shwarma and more to customers for the past 16 years.

"No explanation for the decision was given.

"'We are not in a position to say anything at this time, but hopefully a new kosher meat restaurant will be taking over our space in the near future,' the restaurant owners wrote in a Facebook post".

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1411

Empower Brands Recalls PowerXL Stuffed Wafflizer Waffle Makers Due to Burn Hazard

May 18, 2023 from the CPSC in conjunction with Heathy Canadians:

PowerXL Stuffed Wafflizer waffle makers have been recalled because hot pieces of the waffle or stuffing can be expelled from the waffle maker during use or upon opening the product, posing a burn risk to consumers.

Consumer Contact: Empower Brands toll-free at 866-276-0063 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, email at wafflizerrecall@brandprotectplus.com or online at www.prodprotect.com/recall/wafflizer or https://powerxlproducts.com and click on “Safety Recalls” at the top of the page for more information.

This recall involves PowerXL Model ESWM02 (five inch) and Model ESWM03 (seven inch) Stuffed Wafflizer waffle makers. The waffle makers were sold in 11 colors including black, white, red, cinnamon, gray, lavender, lemon, ocean, slate, seafoam and sage. The PowerXL logo is located on top of the waffle maker. The product measures approximately 5 inches in diameter (Model ESWM02), or 7 inches in diameter (Model ESWM03). The model numbers and date codes are printed on a tag attached to the power cord, with all date codes included in this recall.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled PowerXL Model ESWM02 (five inch) and Model ESWM03 (seven inch) Stuffed Wafflizer waffle makers and contact Empower Brands to receive a free latch adaptor part and written instructions to complete the repair.

Sold At: Walmart, Kohls, Big Lots, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Best Buy, The Home Depot, Target, Sam’s Club and other home goods stores nationwide and online at www.QVC.com, www.walmart.com, www.kohls.com and other websites from July 2021 through October 2022 for between $30 and $60.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1410

Kell Electronic Recalls Personal Chiller Mini Gamer Refrigerators Due to Burn Hazard

May 18, 2023 from the CPSC :

Personal Chiller Mini Fridge Gamer Beverage Refrigerators with LED Lights have been recalled because the refrigerator’s power cord can overheat, posing a burn hazard.

Consumer Contact: Kell Electronic USA Inc. toll-free at 888-860-9989 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, email at recall@kellelectronic.com or online at https://www.personalchiller.com/recall or https://www.personalchiller.com/ and click on “Recall” located at the top of the page.

This recall involves Personal Chiller Mini Fridge Gamer Beverage Refrigerators with LED Lights. They have a matte black finish exterior, lighted LED door and a remote control that has mood lighting effects. The LED lights were sold in red and blue colors. Model number K1000BK is on the back of the refrigerator. The refrigerators are 15.7 inches tall, 11.7 inches deep and 8.5 inches wide.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled refrigerator and contact Kell Electronic to receive a full refund or a replacement cord. Once unplugged, the firm is asking consumers to use scissors to cut the cord, take a photo of the cut cord then throw the cord away. Consumers will need to submit the photo to the firm to receive the full refund or replacement cord.

Sold At: Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com as well as secondhand stores and websites from September 2022 through January 2023 for about $60.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1409

Supreme Court ruling upholding California’s animal welfare law could lead more states to act

May 17, 2023 from The Food Dive:

"Producers of meat, eggs and other animal items are being advised more restrictive state laws may be coming after last week’s 5-4 decision affirming the ban on pork from farms using gestation crates.

"A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court last week to uphold a California law banning the sale of pork from farms that confine pregnant pigs in gestation crates could have a widespread impact on the way states regulate the production of meat and eggs, according to legal experts.

"The verdict provided a legal win for animal welfare advocates across the country who are eager to pursue statewide bans on livestock being grown in small enclosures.

"The court accepted animal welfare as a “legitimate state interest,” other states follow suit with their own laws."

Ed note: Could this affect shechta?

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1408

ADM joins with Air Protein to make meat analogs out of thin air

May 18, 2023 from The Food Dive:

"Archer Daniels Midland is partnering with Air Protein to help the food tech startup make healthy food out of thin air."

The two companies have entered a strategic development agreement in which ADM will lend its researchers, ingredients insight, technologies and strategy to help Air Protein develop products for commercialization. The partnership also includes mutually exclusive rights for ADM and Air Protein to collaborate to build and operate a commercial-scale Air Protein plant. ADM has previously invested in Air Protein with its venture arm co-leading the company’s $32 million Series A funding round in 2021.

"Air Protein is built on 1960s-era NASA research to use hydrogenotrophs — common microbes, some of which actually live in the human gut — to turn carbon dioxide into a physical protein. The research, done during the early days of space travel, had been shelved for decades. Dyson rediscovered the research, proved and perfected it. She and co-founder John Reed started Air Protein to eventually turn this protein into consumer products.

"Air Protein is leaning into what makes it truly unique, Dyson said: The fact that it’s completely disconnected from farms or any other traditional supply chain.

"Air Protein is working on several product lines. The company has long been planning to launch meat analogs — including Air Chicken and Air Seafood — made from the protein they produce.

"But they’re also looking to become an ingredient provider. Dyson said they plan to sell protein ingredients to food companies as dependable supplier of protein that can add nutrition to products and boost sustainability. Dyson said Air Protein’s ingredients can help companies meet their Scope 3 emissions goals, which require sustainable suppliers.

"Air Protein is still working on building up its scale and getting approval for its products, so it’s unclear when any products — meat analogs or ingredients — may launch.

"The company has done its scientific research and affirmed itself that the protein it makes keeps with the FDA’s generally recognized as safe standards, Dyson said. The company has submitted the research to the FDA and is awaiting a GRAS ruling from the government.

"Earlier this year, Air Protein opened its first manufacturing facility in San Leandro, California. Dyson calls it an Air Farm because it is capable of producing large amounts of food without needing any farmland

"However, as Air Protein’s technology and scale increase, the small facility won’t have the capacity to make a large quantity of ingredients. The agreement with ADM also involves building a commercial-scale facility. Dyson said the companies are currently aligning their timelines and technological know-how, as well as discussing what is best for both ADM and Air Protein to start the preliminary phase of planning."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1407
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