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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.

Titanium dioxide ban comes into force, companies have six months to adjust

January 10, 2022 from Nutrition Insight:

"The ban on titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive has come into force across the EU this month, after it was deemed as “not safe” by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

"rance banned the use of the additive in 2020, leading companies such as Lonza to launch Vcaps Plus White Opal, its first commercially-available titanium dioxide-free semi-opaque capsule for food supplements. The move followed several lobby groups urging the European Commission to prohibit TiO2.

"The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety last year called for a uniform approach to screening nanomaterials like TiO2. The methodology proposed specific adaptations related to regulatory definitions, particle size measurements, dissolution properties and hazard identification.

"Also known as E171, TiO2 is used as a color in the nutrition industry, including as an opacifier in capsules. It is used in soups, sauces, sandwich spreads and processed nut products, among others, EUFIC notes. It is also used in candy, chewing gum, cake icing and white sauces. In cosmetic and skincare products, titanium dioxide is also used as a pigment, thickener and as a sunscreen ingredient.

"The ban came as a result of an EFSA review of the item. The body is responsible for the periodic re-evaluation of food additives that have been approved for use in the past.

"The review body noted it also did not have sufficient data to calculate a safe daily intake level of TiO2 and moved to its ban."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1236

Israeli food tech startup Remilk raises $120m investment for cow-free milk

January 4, 2022 from The TimesOfIsrael:

"Prof. Amnon Lahad calls prospect of virus crossing species ‘very concerning,’ as Health Ministry advises Israelis to avoid sick birds and not to buy unregulated chicken, eggs.

"Israeli food tech startup Remilk, a developer of animal-free milk and dairy, raised $120 million in a funding round led by Hanaco Ventures, a New York- and Tel Aviv-based venture capital fund.

"The Remilk investment revealed Tuesday was the single largest in a cow-free dairy company to date, and values the startup at an astonishing $500 million, according to sources familiar with the deal. Financial daily The Marker reported a valuation of $325 million.

"Remilk, founded in 2019, produces milk proteins via a fermentation process that renders them “chemically identical” to those present in cow-produced milk and dairy products.

"The two entrepreneurs mapped out the chemical composition of milk, assessed the fat, lactose and sugar in the liquid, and determined that the key ingredient to making milk is the proteins.

"Remilk recreates the milk proteins by taking the genes that encode them and inserting them into a single-cell microbe, which they manipulated genetically to express the protein'“in an efficient and scalable way,' said Wolf. The product is then dried into a powder.

"The dried powder can be sold to dairy companies, and food manufacturers can add water and fat to create a range of cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams. Remilk can also offer ready-made products like hard cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese.

"Another Israeli cow-free dairy startup, Imagindairy, raised $13 million in seed funding in November. Imagindairy says its technology recreates nature-identical, animal-free versions of whey and casein proteins that can be used to produce dairy duplicates.

"Meanwhile, Israeli cultured dairy company BioMilk went public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange last April. BioMilk isolates the milk-producing cells from cows’ udders and transfers them to a bioreactor, where they are exposed to materials patented by the firm to produce milk, but without needing a cow in the final milk-producing process."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1235

Change in Certification of GE Sabbath Mode Appliances

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1234

Today: Israeli Kashrut reform takes effect

January 2, 2022 - from Arutz Sheva

"The first part of the kashrut reform initiated by the Minister of Religious Affairs, Matan Kahana, will take effect Sunday morning.

"Israel Hayom reported that as part of the first stage of the reform, any religious council will be able to provide kashrut supervision services anywhere in Israel, as stipulated in the coalition agreement.

"In exactly one year, the reform will be fully completed, with the opening of a full-fledged kashrut market to private corporations, which will provide supervision services in place of the religious councils.

"'The first phase of the kashrut program, which will regulate the kashrut system of the State of Israel, has now entered into force,' said Minister of Religious Affairs Matan Kahana. He noted that this program 'will march the system forward towards a more elegant, supervised and regulated kashrut. From today, restaurants and factories will be able to choose from which religious council they will be able to get their kashrut certificate. Bringing competition into the supervision system will halt the freeze that prevailed in the realm of kashrut over the past decades.'

"A few months ago, the Chief Rabbinical Council announced a boycott of the plan, and a ban on granting kashrut status in another city, and they hope this will cause religious councils not to exercise their ability to grant kashrut status outside their original area of ​​authority. Those leading opposition to the reform also say there is a shortage of paid available positions for kashrut inspectors, so even those who want to expand outside their cities will find it difficult to do so.

"The Ministry of Religious Affairs hopes that, similar to the case of extending possible marriage registration areas a few years ago such that service to consumers dramatically improved, in this case, too, extending possible kashrut supervision areas will improve service, and prevent unnecessary abuse as has been the case in various cases in the past."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1233

Osem raises prices by up to 7%

December 28, 2021 from The Globes.com:

"The Israeli food manufacturer and distributor says it can no longer absorb the rise in commodity and shipping costs.

"Israeli food manufacturer and distributor Osem Investments Ltd. has announced that it is raising the prices of its products by an average of 4.6%. In a letter sent to retailers, Nestle unit Osem reported that it is hiking the prices of its products by between 3% and 7%. Materna baby formula products will not rise in price. "This rise partially covers the major price rises of inputs and shipping," the company said.

"Dozens of products in many categories will rise including salty snacks like Bamba, Bisli, Apropos, Dubonim and breakfast cereals including Cheerios, Fitness and Crunch. Other price rises include on coffee products like Nescafe and Starbucks coffee capsules as well as Tzabar Humus and Tivol vegetarian products. Also on the list are Perfecto pastas, ketchup, soup and soup powders, breadcrumbs, sauces, flour, pastry products, crackers, cookies, Gerber baby products and more."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1232

Avian flu killing birds in Israel could jump to humans, warns epidemiologist

December 29, 2021 from The TimesOfIsrael:

"Prof. Amnon Lahad calls prospect of virus crossing species ‘very concerning,’ as Health Ministry advises Israelis to avoid sick birds and not to buy unregulated chicken, eggs.

"Most bird flu strains don’t infect humans. However, four strains have caused concern: H5N1 since 1997, H7N9 since 2013, H5N6 since 2014 and H5N8 since 2016. Lahad said that since little is known about the current infections, the possibility of a jump to humans must be taken seriously.

"He said that a jump to humans could occur after a mutation, but that it’s also entirely possible the flu could cross species without a mutation.

"Also Wednesday, the Health Ministry warned Israelis to take precautions amid the avian flu outbreak, urging the public to avoid coming in contact with sick or injured birds, and to not hunt such animals.

"In addition, people should only purchase chicken and eggs from regulated places that have inspection stamps. According to the ministry, “care should be taken to thoroughly cook eggs and chicken, maintain hygiene and wash hands after contact with the meat or eggs.”

"Preventing possible transmission to humans is one of the guiding principles of the Agriculture Ministry’s decision to cull huge numbers of birds — some 700,000 have been killed over the past few weeks.

"However, bird experts stressed that culling by no means ensures the end of infection.

"The danger of Israel’s bird flu outbreak jumping to humans is real and “very concerning,” according to a top epidemiologist.

"Prof. Amnon Lahad, chairman of Israel’s National Council for Community Health, told The Times of Israel that he is tracking the avian outbreak, which has killed thousands of wild birds.

“The widespread nature of the avian flu is very concerning, especially given that it is infecting chickens and not just wild birds. It’s made the move from wildlife to stock animals, and I’m hoping it won’t make the next step to humans,” he said Wednesday.

"Most bird flu strains don’t infect humans. However, four strains have caused concern: H5N1 since 1997, H7N9 since 2013, H5N6 since 2014 and H5N8 since 2016. Lahad said that since little is known about the current infections, the possibility of a jump to humans must be taken seriously.

"Also Wednesday, the Health Ministry warned Israelis to take precautions amid the avian flu outbreak, urging the public to avoid coming in contact with sick or injured birds, and to not hunt such animals.

"In addition, people should only purchase chicken and eggs from regulated places that have inspection stamps. According to the ministry, “care should be taken to thoroughly cook eggs and chicken, maintain hygiene and wash hands after contact with the meat or eggs.”

"Preventing possible transmission to humans is one of the guiding principles of the Agriculture Ministry’s decision to cull huge numbers of birds — some 700,000 have been killed over the past few weeks.

"Culling has been shown effective in the past. For example, after the first known transmission to humans in Hong Kong in 1997, with 18 cases causing six deaths, no more cases were recorded after culling.

"However, bird experts stressed that culling by no means ensures the end of infection.

"'This culling is the most that people can do, but nothing gives guarantees,' Tel Aviv University ornithologist Prof. Yossi Leshem told The Times of Israel. “The flu can carry on spreading among birds, and could spread to humans.”

"Israel is on a major migration route and birds could disseminate the flu far beyond the country, experts believe. The disease has reached Israeli farms.

"Lahad, chairman of Hebrew University’s family medicine department and head of the Jerusalem district for Clalit Health Services, said Israelis should avoid contact with birds, and spurn visits to farms with chickens and other birds. If they have cats that bring dead birds home, he urged, they should take care to dispose of them using gloves and handling them at arm’s length.

"While Lahad said it was impossible to predict the likelihood of bird flu passing to humans, or the likely virulence of the disease if it does, he noted that in the past it is has caused serious illness. As this year’s flu vaccines did not include specific protection against avian flu, they are likely to provide only minimal coverage."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1231

Boston, MA: kosher food at TD Garden

December 29, 2021 from KVH Kosher:

The TD Garden Kosher concession is open for all Bruins & Celtics games except for Shabbos, Yom Tov and the eve of Shabbos and Yom Tov.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1230

Dutch Government: Religious slaughter covenant works good for animal welfare

December 26, 2021 from The CNE:

"The new rules for religious slaughter in the Netherlands are good for animal welfare. The agreement between the Dutch government and the Jewish and Muslim community about slaughter without stunning, is functioning well.

"This is the conclusion of Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), based on Deloitte Consulting and Wageningen University research.

"The minister is satisfied with the implementation and supervision of ritual slaughter. There are also no signs that more animals are being slaughtered without anaesthesia than is necessary for the Dutch market, she writes in a letter sent to the House of Representatives on Monday.

"The study is the first evaluation of agreements from 2017 between the Dutch government, slaughterhouses, the Dutch-Israelite Church Association (NIK) and the Contact Body ‘Muslims and Government’. In addition to an earlier agreement from 2012, it was then stipulated, among other things, that an animal that is still not unconscious 40 seconds after the neck cut has been made must still be sedated. Furthermore, no animals are ritually slaughtered to export the meat.

"The standards for ritual slaughter without stunning have been laid down by law with effect from January 1st, 2018. In addition, the agreements are evaluated every three years.

"Deloitte concludes in its report that the covenant functions well and recommends continuing the agreements made. Compared to a baseline measurement from 2014, there is an improvement in animal welfare.

"Ritual slaughter may only take place under the supervision of a veterinarian of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). Schouten’s letter suggests that some veterinarians object to performing this task. The NVWA overcomes this problem by scheduling the refusers and replacing them with colleagues who have no problem attending slaughter without stunning.

"The University of Wageningen has researched the kosher and halal meat trade. Most meat appears to go to kosher and Islamic butchers in the Netherlands. Parts of slaughtered animals that Dutch consumers do not eat may be exported. But the researchers do not indicate that animals are explicitly slaughtered for export.

"Ritual slaughter entails more costs, including mandatory supervision. As a result, the meat is more expensive than ‘regular’ meat. Schouten, therefore, thinks that selling kosher and halal meat on the meat market is not commercially attractive. All in all, she concludes that no more animals are ritually slaughtered than what the Dutch Jewish and Muslim communities need.

"The report of the Wageningen researchers shows that in 2020 64,400 cattle, sheep and goats were slaughtered without stunning in the Netherlands. That is 2.2 per cent of the nearly 3 million cows, sheep and goats slaughtered in that year. In most cases, it concerns sheep: 55,300 head."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1229

Israel: Hundreds of thousands of chickens to be culled as bird flu spreads; egg shortage due

December 26, 2021 from The IsraelHayom:

"Agriculture Ministry says it will kill 320,000 laying hens, in addition to the 244,000 that have already been culled in northern Israel in past week.

"The Agriculture Ministry announced Saturday that hundreds of thousands of additional chickens in northern Israel would be culled, amid a spread of the fatal H5N1 bird flu virus in chicken coops in Moshav Margaliot on the Lebanese border.

"According to the ministry, 320,000 laying hens near Margaliot are to be culled in the coming days, in addition to the 244,000 that have been killed in the town over the past week.

"The move is expected to cause a shortage of some 14 million eggs, out of the 200 million eggs Israelis consume each month.

"The ministry also stated that it was concerned about the possibility of people being infected with the virus via the coops that are adjacent to homes in the moshav.

"According to the ministry, the farmers there failed to report in real-time the rising numbers of poultry deaths, leading to the virus spreading rapidly.

"Many of the chickens were dead by the time ministry inspectors arrived. In one coop, only 70 chickens were found alive out of 2,000.

"On Thursday, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority said one in five of the wild cranes living in or migrating through Israel have been infected with the bird flu, with authorities expecting to have to remove 25 to 30 tons of carcasses.

"Around 100,000 cranes visit the Hula Valley in northern Israel annually, with some 40,000 staying in Israel until early March, when they join those returning from Africa to fly north to Europe and Asia to nest.

"Agriculture Minister Oded Forer has described crowded chicken coops as “a ticking time bomb” that need to be moved from communities to isolated breeding complexes with strict biological safety levels."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1228

SLP Lunds & Byerlys Ending In-Store Kosher Bakery, Minneapolis, MN

December 21, 2021 from The tcjewfolk.com:

"After abruptly ending the kosher sushi production at the St. Louis Park Lunds & Byerlys last month, the store announced that it would no longer be producing Kosher baked goods in-house, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

"Although the sign next to the baked goods said it was due to declining demand, store general manager Ross Huseby said that – much like the ending of the sushi production – the bakery stopping production of kosher has to do with the retirement of a long-time employee.

"The kosher bakery at the St. Louis Park store also distributes to 24 other Lunds & Byerlys stores. The retirement of baker Draye Olson, Huseby said, is part of a larger challenge in the grocery industry. The Lunds & Byerly’s Mitchell Road store bakery, which distributes products to other stores, has similar problems when it comes to retirements.

"The store stopped producing kosher sushi on Nov. 29, after the retirement of long-time employee and mashgiach Yale Siegal due to an illness. Goldberg said that he passed away last week.

"The kosher supervision had been done originally by Minnesota Kosher, which was then acquired by the Chicago Rabbinical Council."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1227
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