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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.

Spanish Food Startup Raises €12M to Grow Healthier Animal Fats

January 31, 2019 from LabioTech.eu
"Based in Barcelona, Qubiq Foods is developing a healthier and sustainable alternative to fat additives for the food industry that is grown from cells, without the animal."
"The technology developed by Qubiq Foods could help reduce the use of trans fat and palm oil, and could provide a source of essential fats such as omega 3, which is known to protect from cardiovascular disease. The company is working with fat sourced from poultry, cattle and pork for applications in baking cookies and cakes, and in making snacks, pizzas, processed foods such as hamburgers and nuggets, and meat substitutes."
"A common problem with animal fats is that their properties can vary from one season to another depending on the weather and what the animals are feeding on. This is a problem for industrial processing, which requires the fat to have, for example, a certain melting temperature. In contrast, vegetable fats are stable, but contain trans fats and can come with environmental issues, as in the case of deforestation to produce palm oil. They also lack the flavor of animal fats. "
"The plan for Qubiq is to launch the fat additives at an undisclosed but competitive price that reflects the health and nutrition benefits of the cell-based fat. The impact on the final pricing of the products is not expected to be that big as the fat will only make up 5-15% of the final product."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W811

Seafood mislabeling persists throughout Canadian supply chain

February 13, 2019 from IFT
"Not only does Canada continue to have a problem with fish mislabeling, but that problem persists throughout the supply chain, according to a study by University of Guelph (U of G) researchers. In a new study, U of G researchers found 32% of fish were mislabeled and the number of incorrectly identified samples became compounded as the samples moved through the food system."
"The findings reveal that mislabeling happens before fish are imported into Canada, as well as throughout the supply chain, Hanner added. “It seems it’s not isolated to foreign markets, but it’s also happening at home."
"Published recently in the journal Food Research International, the study was conducted in collaboration with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). U of G researchers examined 203 samples from 12 key targeted species collected from various importers, processing plants and retailers in Ontario. Of the samples, 141 (69.5%) were from retailers, 51 (25%) from importers and 11 (5.5%) from processing plants."
"Researchers identified the samples using DNA barcoding. Developed at U of G, DNA barcoding allows scientists to determine species of organisms using a short, standardized region of genetic material."
"The findings revealed 32% of the samples overall were mislabeled. The mislabeling rate was 17.6% at the import stage, 27.3% at processing plants and 38.1% at retailers." It means "either economically motivated, meaning cheaper fish are being purposely mislabeled as more expensive fish. Or it’s inconsistent labelling regulations between countries and the use of broader common names being used to label fish instead of scientific species names that are leading to mislabeling."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W810

Somerville College, Oxford insists it will not ban kosher meat despite student vote

February 13, 2019 from TheJCUK
"Undergraduate body voted to ban kosher and Halal food because the animals are not stunned before they are killed."
"An Oxford college has said it will not ban kosher food, despite students voting to ban meat from animals that are not stunned."
"Somerville College's Junior Common Room, which represents undergraduates, voted to only provide kosher and Halal food 'upon the condition that any meat purchased is pre-stunned'."
"However this cannot be applied to kosher meat, as Jewish law forbids all forms of mechanical stunning."
"Somerville College said it would not ban kosher meat and ensured Jewish students that they would be able to have kosher meat."
"The JCR’s vote was not binding and serves as an advisory indicator of what students want, officials said."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W809

A Beloved Israeli Snack Prepares to Take Bigger Bite Out of American Market

February 7, 2019 from CTech
"Bamba manufacturer Osem Group is negotiating with Swiss multinational Nestlé S.A. for a U.S. distribution agreement that will see Bamba become a staple in the diet of U.S. kids. Osem itself is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé. If the agreement is finalized, Bamba will be added to Nestle’s baby food division, which distributes such popular brands as Gerber and NAN."
"With the new distribution agreement, Osem can hope to see a rise in the popularity of the snack. Osem’s frozen soy-based meat substitutes brand Tivall enjoyed such a spike in demand in Europe since it was added to Nestlé's prepared food selection. "
"Osem is preparing to launch its new Bamba manufacturing plant, built in southern Israeli town Kiryat Gat with a NIS 200 million (approximately $55.2 million) investment. The new plant is set to have more than double the manufacturing capacity of Osem’s existing Bamba plant in central Israel."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W808

Suspect Polish meat sold in Prague restaurants as prime Argentinian beef

February 6, 2019 from Expats.cz
"Beef from sick cows at a shuttered Polish abattoir may have been passed off as at prime Argentinian cuts at upscale Prague restaurants."
The Czech Republic "estimated that 300 kilograms of suspect Polish beef had made its way across the border."
Czech officials found "the meat was in upscale Prague restaurants, disguised as prime Argentinian steaks."


Closed Polish abattoir sent meat to 13 EU countries

February 2, 2019 from Food Safety News

"Meat from a Polish slaughterhouse suspected of selling products from sick animals has been sent to at least 13 European countries."
"The abattoir in Kalinowo near the town of Ostrów Mazowiecka was secretly filmed slaughtering sick cows by Polish broadcaster TVN. It showed slaughter was carried out at night to avoid official veterinary supervision."
"The meat was labeled as inspected by a veterinarian before being sold to meat processing plants and companies in different countries. Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden are currently affected."
"The French Ministry of Agriculture reported almost 800 kilograms of meat from Poland had been found in nine companies with 500 kilograms already recovered."
"Lithuanian authorities issued a warning concerning more than 80 kilograms of potentially unsafe Polish beef."
"About 250 kilograms of meat from the Polish slaughterhouse was sold to four smaller companies in different parts of Sweden."


Secret filming shows sick cows slaughtered for meat in Poland

January 27, 2019 from the The Guardian:

"Undercover footage that appears to show extremely sick cows being smuggled into a Polish slaughterhouse and sold on with little or no veterinary inspection has raised alarm about standards in one of the EU’s largest meat exporters."
"The slaughter of sick cows appears to take place at night with no veterinary officials on site, another contravention of basic standards. Workers at the slaughterhouse appear to remove evidence from the carcasses such as pressure sores and tumours that indicate that the cows have been sick and lying on their side for days on end."
"The slaughterhouse’s designated veterinarian would appear the following morning. Hw would " mark the carcasses as safe as part of his duties, and sign off on the certifications without inspecting the meat" himself.
An undercover reporter from "Superwizjer, a Polish investigative television programme" worked at the slaughterhouse for three weeks and recorded footage as to what was going on.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W801

Illegal trade in shark products dismissed by UK fish and chip industry

February 7, 2019 - from SeafoodSource

"University of Exeter researchers, studying the DNA of shark products sold in fishmongers, fish and chip shops, and Asian wholesalers in England, believe they have uncovered serious cases of mislabeling and a potential trade in critically endangered species."
"The scientists found that 90 percent of products sold at fish and chip shops under umbrella terms such as huss, rock salmon, and rock eel, were actually spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). "
"Other species identified include blue sharks, Pacific spiny dogfish, nursehounds, and starry smoothounds, most of which are not in threatened categories, but they only made up a small minority of the samples."
"The Exeter study looked at 117 tissue samples from shark meat products from 90 different retailers. Seventy-eight of these were battered and fried and originated from fish and chip shops and 39 were either fresh or frozen and bought from fishmongers."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W807

Kosher Foie Gras Ban Clarification

February 7, 2019 - This is to clarify information that appeared elsewhere regarding kosher foie gras produced in the United States under the OU with information from the OU and Heritage Kosher.

Heritage Kosher is the only company in the United States that is producing kosher fois gras. Heritage Kosher has stopped production temporarily since adequate product is available. They said they will resume production under the OU as needed. Heritage Kosher is not bankrupt. The OU has told me that they will continue to certify any future production runs.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W806

New York City Council Considering A Foie Gras Ban

Feb 04, 2019 from the gothamist.com:

"The city council is considering a bill banning the sale of foie gras on the grounds that it's cruel to physically pump fowl full of feed before leading them to slaughter. "
"Rivera's bill would make selling foie gras a misdemeanor crime, imposing fines up to $1,000, even a year of jail time, on violators. The council has taken up this issue before, Tony Avella calling on Albany in 2008 to ban the force-feeding of ducks and geese. More than 10 years later, Rivera believes the "timing is right" for an NYC foie gras ban, because the United States Supreme Court just rejected a challenge to California's foie gras moratorium."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W805

Seasons, the supermarket chain that declared bankruptcy, relaunching under new ownership

February 1, 2019 from the JTA and Voisizneias:

"Seasons, the kosher supermarket chain that declared bankruptcy last year, has new owners and is reopening one of its closed locations."
"Seasons is under the ownership of the family of businessman Joseph Bistritzky, CEO of the Maramont Corp., a food services company."
"The Scarsdale location will be one of six stores to open, but the chain wants to make sure it can succeed in and around New York City, so national ambitions are on hold. The Upper West Side Seasons also will remain closed. In addition to Scarsdale and Queens, Seasons will continue operating stores in two New Jersey locations, Clifton and Lakewood, and two others in Lawrence in the heavily Jewish Five Towns area of suburban Long Island, New York."


Saddled With $42M In Debt, Seasons Kosher Supermarket Files For Bankruptcy

September 18, 2018 from the Matzav.com:

"A chain of kosher grocery stores, Seasons, with locations on the Upper West Side and Queens, has filed for bankruptcy with $42 million in debt, Commercial Observer reports."
"The company only has $5 million in assets but owes millions to vendors, landlords and banks, according to the Chapter 11 filing obtained via Nationwide Research Company."
"The chain was started in 2010 with a location in Flushing, Queens and eventually grew to include supermarkets in Lakewood, N.J., Clifton, N.J. Scarsdale, N.Y., and two in Lawrence, N.Y."
"After years of delays, Seasons opened its Baltimore, M.D., outpost last year and was still working on a Cleveland store."
"It’s unclear if Seasons will close any stores or is looking for a buyer."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W750

Canadian inspections helping deter olive oil fraud

Feb 01, 2019 from the Hamilton Spectator:

"Olive production in Italy was hard hit last year due to an early frost. The country's olive production dropped by 57 per cent."
Both Greece and Portugal suffered a similar fate, along with pest issues, and saw their production drop by 35 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. "
"In recent years, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has actually tested some products if it suspects them to be fraudulent. In 2013, 39 per cent of random tests found adulterated olive oil. A total of 28 samples were collected across the country. That ratio went down to 10 per cent in 2018, with the random testing of 20 samples. Obviously, these results do not mean cases of food fraud are actually down in Canada — far from it — but reports are encouraging, nonetheless. This may suggest that the industry is now fully aware that our federal regulator is checking and will find fraudulent products."
"In the mean time, for olive oil enthusiasts, vigilance is a virtue. Typically, 500 millilitres of good quality olive oil should cost 15 to 16 dollars to produce. Price points at retail for good olive oil should be higher than this. So, if you are looking at a bottle retailed at 10 dollars or less, just walk away. "

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W804
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