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Meatball from long-extinct mammoth created by food firm

March 28, 2023 from the The Guardian:

"A mammoth meatball has been created by a cultivated meat company, resurrecting the flesh of the long-extinct animals.

"The project aims to demonstrate the potential of meat grown from cells, without the slaughter of animals, and to highlight the link between large-scale livestock production and the destruction of wildlife and the climate crisis.

The mammoth meatball was produced by Vow, an Australian company, which is taking a different approach to cultured meat.

"There are scores of companies working on replacements for conventional meat, such as chicken, pork and beef. But Vow is aiming to mix and match cells from unconventional species to create new kinds of meat.

"The company has already investigated the potential of more than 50 species, including alpaca, buffalo, crocodile, kangaroo, peacocks and different types of fish.

"The first cultivated meat to be sold to diners will be Japanese quail, which the company expects will be in restaurants in Singapore this year.

"In 2018, another company used DNA from an extinct animal to create gummy bears made from gelatine from a mastodon, another elephant-like animal.

"Vow worked with Prof Ernst Wolvetang, at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering at the University of Queensland, to create the mammoth muscle protein. His team took the DNA sequence for mammoth myoglobin, a key muscle protein in giving meat its flavour, and filled in the few gaps using elephant DNA.

"This sequence was placed in myoblast stem cells from a sheep, which replicated to grow to the 20bn cells subsequently used by the company to grow the mammoth meat.

"No one has yet tasted the mammoth meatball. 'We haven’t seen this protein for thousands of years,' said Wolvetang. 'So we have no idea how our immune system would react when we eat it. But if we did it again, we could certainly do it in a way that would make it more palatable to regulatory bodies'"”

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1397

FDA Releases Draft Guidance on Labeling of Plant-Based Milk Alternatives

April 20, 2023 from the FDA:

"Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued, for comment, draft guidance to help ensure appropriate labeling of plant-based products that are marketed and sold as alternatives to milk (plant-based milk alternatives, or PBMA). This draft guidance will provide industry with recommendations that will result in clear labeling to empower consumers with information to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. It also clarifies that the common or usual names of some PBMA have been established by common usage, and these names include “soy milk” and “almond milk.”

"The FDA recommends that PBMA products that are labeled with the term “milk” in their names, such as “soy milk” or “almond milk,” and that have a nutrient composition that is different than milk, include a voluntary nutrient statement that conveys how the product compares with milk based on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) fluid milk substitutes nutrient criteria. These statements will help consumers make informed dietary choices when it comes to understanding certain nutritional differences between plant-based products that are labeled with “milk” in their names and milk. If a PBMA is not labeled with “milk” as part of its name, but instead is labeled with another term like “beverage” or “drink” and does not make a claim comparing the product to milk, then the voluntary nutrient statement recommendations in the draft guidance do not apply.

"In 2018 the FDA issued notice soliciting comments from the public to gain insight into how consumers use PBMA products and how they understand the term “milk” when included in the names of products made, for example, from soy, peas and nuts. The agency received more than 13,000 comments. After reviewing these comments and conducting focus group studies with consumers, the FDA determined that consumers generally understand that PBMA do not contain milk and choose PBMA because they are not milk. However, many consumers may not be aware of the nutritional differences between milk and PBMA products. For example, almond or oat-based PBMA products may contain some calcium and be consumed as a source of calcium, but their overall nutritional content is not similar to milk and fortified soy beverages and thus they are not included as part of the dairy group in the Dietary Guidelines, 2020-2025. Both the public comments and focus groups helped inform the agency on its recommendations in this draft guidance.


The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1396

Fifth Circuit lifts block on Louisiana food labeling law

April 12, 2023 from the Courthouse News:

"Louisiana can enforce a state law aimed at keeping companies from deceiving consumers by using meat-like descriptions on packaging for plant-based food products, a three-judge panel at the Fifth Circuit held Wednesday.

"The 3-0 ruling reverses a federal judge's decision to halt enforcement of the law last year in a case brought by Tofurky, the brand name behind the vegan turkey substitute known as tofurkey.

"Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Brown Clement wrote for the panel that the state’s Truth in Labeling of Food Products Act does not mean that Tofurky’s labels using meat terms such as “chik’n” and “burger” in addition to “plant-based” are in danger of facing a penalty under the law because Tofurky is not out to make consumers think its products contain meat.

"The ruling noted that Tofurky’s interpretation of the act used a broader reading to protect itself ahead of a court ruling, even while the state insisted on a narrower interpretation of the law aimed at stopping unscrupulous companies from confusing consumers into believing meatless items contain meat.

"Clement, a George W. Bush appointee, agreed with the state’s narrower interpretation, reversing last year’s ruling from U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson, a Barack Obama appointee who placed a hold on the state’s ability to enforce the law.

"Jaime Athos, president and CEO of Tofurky and the dairy-free company, Moocho, replied to a request for comment Wednesday evening by saying Torfurky is happy with the ruling.

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has long required that food producers truthfully label the nature and contents of their products using common or usual terms. Tofurky says terms like “veggie burger” accurately inform consumers how plant-based products can be served and what they taste like.

"The Louisiana law is similar to food labeling statutes passed in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and other states. A number of those laws are also being challenged by Tofurky, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Good Food Institute. A judge in Arkansas halted enforcement of that state's law in December 2019, finding it was likely an unconstitutional restriction on Tofurky’s right to free speech.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1395

New York Bill Would Require Reusable Takeout Boxes

April 19, 2023 from the SFA:

"The recently introduced Choose 2 Reuse bill in New York seeks to improve sustainability in the restaurant industry by requiring certain businesses to provide reusable containers for dine-in, takeout, and delivery, reports The Wall Street Journal. The bill is with the City Council.

"Under the ruling, customers would be asked to return their reusable containers and chopsticks after their meal, either through delivery or in person. The bill does not extend to containers for beverages.

"Proponents believe that customers are willing to sacrifice the convenience that single-use plastic affords for more sustainable alternatives. If consumers don’t want to use reusable packaging, they will still have the option to opt for single-use containers.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1394

In first, Israeli startup to get permit to produce cow-free milk

April 19, 2023 from the Times of Israel:

"PM says company to get go-ahead in coming days; permit said set to be granted to Remilk, a developer of cultured milk

"Tech12 reported Israel’s Remilk, a developer of cultured milk and dairy, as the permit receiver. The startup will still require approvals from regulatory bodies in Israel.

"Earlier this year, Remilk won regulatory approval to sell its cow-free milk in Singapore and a letter from the US Food and Drug Administration that its animal-free whey protein can be safely used in food products. That’s after the company started sales of its protein in the US last year.

"Founded in 2019, Remilk produces milk proteins via a yeast-based fermentation process that renders them “chemically identical” to those present in cow-produced milk and dairy products. The startup claims that the result is 100 percent similar to “real” milk, but free of lactose, cholesterol, growth hormones and antibiotics."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1393

California May Ban Five Food Additives

April 11, 2023 - from SFA:

"California may become the first state to ban the sale, manufacture, and distribution of foods that contain chemicals linked to increased cancer risk, reproductive harm, and behavior issues, reports CBS News.

"The five chemicals are as follows: red dye number 3, titanium dioxide, potassium bromate, bromated vegetable oil, and propylparaben. Titanium dioxide is used in many candies, including Skittles, and potassium bromate is used in some breads.

"These chemicals have already been banned in Europe, and potassium bromate has also been banned in China and India. Red dye number 3 has been banned in the U.S. for use in cosmetics." .

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1392

THE KASHRUS SCANDAL THAT WASN’T: OU, Hisachdus, and Birdsboro Release Statements On Meat Rumors

March 27, 2023 - from Matzav.com:

"The Orthodox Union and the CRC (Hisachdus Harabbonim) have released a joint statement regarding the kashrus of Birdsboro beef.

"The statement follows the spreading of rumors and claims regarding the kosher status of said meat, which is sold, in the Bingo supermarkets in New York and New Jersey.

"The two supervising agencies assure kosher consumers that Birdsboro beef is glatt kosher l’mehadrin and there are no concerns to be had."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1390

Israel: New law allows Israeli hospitals to ban chametz during Passover

March 28, 2023 - from VinNews:

" The Knesset plenum on Tuesday passed into law a bill to allow hospitals to ban chametz, or leavened foods, during the weeklong Passover holiday.

"Forty-eight Knesset members voted in favor and 43 voted against the proposal that is intended to reverse a Supreme Court ruling from April 2020 according to which hospitals could not enforce a similar law.

"The Charedi United Torah Judaism Party sponsored the bill that grants hospital administrators the flexibility to determine “the special arrangements” needed to ensure that patients can keep kosher for Passover.

"According to the law, chametz instructions as determined by hospital managers will be published on the hospital website and signs will be posted in the facility. Employees will also be informed of the religious instructions.

"A related law was in place for more than three decades until it was struck down by the Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, in 2022 when it ruled on a petition by a secular group that hospitals could not require security guards to search visitor’s bags for chametz during the holiday.

Israel: Knesset To Pass Law Prohibiting Chametz In Hospitals

March 23, 2023 - from VinNews:

"The Knesset is due to pass at the second and third readings a law prohibiting bringing Chametz into hospitals.

"The law was presented by MK Moshe Gafni (UTJ) and a number of other MKs after the High Court declared that hospital directors cannot prevent Chametz from being brought into hospitals without legal backing.

"The current law has been toned down from the original bill which would have allowed security guards to check the contents of people’s bags. The law now states that “Hospital directors can establish regulations regarding a prohibition or restriction on bringing Chametz into the hospitals, in order to facilitate maintenance of kashrus and Pesach for those who are hospitalized in their hospitals.

"Gafni originally described the law as a 'superfluous law, since for 70 years hospitals operated on Pesach calmly and serenely until the court jumped in. The court said that the hospital director has no authority on the matter. Why did the court get involved? Why did it require legislations? This kind of insolent interference only happens on religious issues.'

"The Bennett government fell last year after Idit Silman left the government in protest over the government’s demand from hospitals to allow Chametz into their environs."

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

Nearly half of honey in European markets is fake, according to EU investigation

March 27, 2023 - from eunews.culture:

"Nearly half of the honey imported into the European Union is suspected of being fake, according to an EU probe.

"The research, spearheaded by the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC), revealed the massive fraud and that many may be buying counterfeit honey labelled as authentic.

"According to European Commission investigations, 320 samples were tested and 147 (46%) of collected samples of honey imports are suspected of being adulterated with syrups and therefore in non-compliance with the requirements of the EU Honey Directive. The honey is suspected to have been cut with sugar syrups made from rice, wheat or sugar beet.

"Most fake honey is brought from Turkey (93%) and China (74%).

"All the 10 honeys entered via the United Kingdom failed the tests and were marked “non-compliant

"The report indicates that honey imported from the UK had a suspicion rate of 100%, with the JRC suggesting that the honey may have been produced in other countries before being processed in the UK and re-exported to the EU.

"The main buyers of honey produced in the world are the United States and Europe."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1389

Israel: Meat Shortages In Israel: Pesach is Around The Corner, But The Meat Isn't

March 21, 2023 - from the Jerusalem Post:

"Getting ready for Passover in Israel this holiday season might be a little harder this year due to some meat shortages across the country.

"With Ramadan around the corner and Passover falling not so far afterward, many people, Jews and Muslims, are stocking up their homes with food and people should expect to see shortages of both chicken and beef as well as higher prices."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1387
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