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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.

Newer news

Israeli list of fraudulent olive oils

December 18, 2016: The Israeli Chief Rabbinate has published a list of products claiming to be olive oil that have fraudulent heckshers.

Jerusalem Kosher News has the following translation of what is in the notice:
"Following is a list furnished by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel National Kashrut Division exhibiting photos of olive oils that found to present bogus hechsherim or using a legitimate hechsher without authorization. It is pointed out that such products often present many problems including; orla, shmitah produce, unauthorized ingredients, kashrus for Pesach and contain non-kosher ingredients (additives used in addition to the oils, which are often not olive exclusively).
These bogus olive oils are often detected by their price, selling for NIS 10- NIS 20 a liter, way too inexpensive. " The following link will take you to a Israel Ministry of Health page, showing oils labeled “olive oil” that are not pure olive oil.
"In the case of the above oils, the hechsher is usually not legitimate either since a mashgiach watching a run will make sure of the ingredients entering the bottles, which in this case is something other than indicated on the label."
"Rabbonim who advise me explain if one can, best to buy from large stores like supermarkets, as they usually make purchases through authorized buyers and it is considerably more difficult to get these prohibited oils into such stores as opposed to small grocery stores and vendors at the shuk."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W511

The Top 10 most important foodborne outbreaks of 2016

December 19, 2016: From FoodSafetyNews:

"The Top 10 most important outbreaks of 2016, according to the editors of Food Safety News, are presented here. Outbreaks were chosen for the list on a subjective basis, ranked by the number of fatalities and then the number of illnesses for outbreaks involving more than a single state."
"The 2016 Top 10 outbreaks include a total of 10 deaths. Four of the outbreaks involved salmonella, three listeria, two Hepatitis A, and one E. coli. Interestingly, salmonella resistant to antibiotics came into play in one of the Top 10 and the single E. coli outbreak did not involve beef, but flour."

  1. Live poultry and backyard flocks: "There were actually eight multi-state outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry and backyard flocks. They received barely a moment’s notice when the casualties were announced on Oct. 2, 2016. The report said three people died among the 895 confirmed cases of Salmonella, of which 209 required hospitalization."
  2. Frozen vegetables linked to outbreak of Listeria: "More than 350 consumer products sold under 42 brand names and at lesst 100 other products prepared with ingredients from CRF Frozen Foods were recalled, but not before nine people in four states were put in hospitals with Listeria. Three died."
  3. Hepatitis A from raw scallops
  4. Listeria linked to Dole packaged salads: "One death was confirmed among 19 Listeria cases in nine states that were linked to packaged salads produced at the Dole processing plant in Springfield, OH. First reported on Jan. 22, 2016, all 19 Listeria victims required hospitalization."
  5. Listeria outbreak linked to raw milk from Miller’s Organic Farm: "CDC stuck to its science that the two cases, including a death in Florida, were linked to unpasteurized raw milk from Miller’s."
  6. Hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries: "134 illnesses in nine states. Of those, 129 people reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café. And 52 people with Hepatitis A symptoms, including yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, pale stools and dark urine, required hospitalization. On Oct. 30, 2016, The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) recalled strawberries imported from Egypt going back to Jan. 1, 2016. 134 illnesses in nine states. Of those, 129 people reported eating a smoothie containing strawberries from a Tropical Smoothie Café. And 52 people with Hepatitis A symptoms, including yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, pale stools and dark urine, required hospitalization. On Oct. 30, 2016, The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) recalled strawberries imported from Egypt going back to Jan. 1, 2016."
  7. E. coli infections linked to flour: "When it was declared “over,” the flour outbreak had seen 63 confirmed illnesses in 24 states. No deaths were reported, but 17 victims required hospitalization. One victim developed the sometimes fatal hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. The epidemiologic, laboratory and traceback evidence all pointed at the General Mills facility in Kansas City, MO, as the source of the outbreak. "
  8. Salmonella Virchow linked to Garden of Life organic product: "Six of the 33 Salmonella Virchow cases linked to Garden of Life Raw Meal Organic Shake & Meal Products from 23 states required hospitalization."
  9. Salmonella linked to sprouts from contaminated seed lot: "One seed lot was found responsible for alfalfa sprouts that were contaminated with Salmonella Muenchen and Salmonella Kentucky. The final CDC report on the outbreak came out on May 13, 2016, and said there were 26 confirmed cases across 12 states. There were no deaths, but eight people required hospitalization."
  10. Multi-drug resistant Salmonella Heidelberg infections linked to bull calves: "The CDC announced 21 confirmed cases of Salmonella Heidelberg in eight states that were notable for being resistant to multiple drugs and involving contact with bull calves."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W512

Small reminders may go a long way in encouraging healthier purchases

December 13, 2016: from The Newhope and Nutrition Education and Behavior

"For the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the researchers placed large green arrows, with instructions like “Follow green arrow for health” or “Follow green arrow for a healthy heart," in different grocery stores. The first two stores, owned by the same chain, were relatively close to each other and served a similar demographic of customer—with poverty levels between 33 and 44 percent. To confirm the initial results, two other stores were chosen in different neighborhoods, serving areas with lower poverty rates."
Customers shopping at stores with green arrows pointing to product "ended up spending a greater portion of their total purchase on produce, but their total spending did not change significantly. In other words, in stores that promoted the benefits of fruits and vegetables, customers spent the same amount at checkout but chose to use more of that bill to pay for produce."
"The takeaway? It may not be all about cost after all, and small health reminders—or for some customers, maybe it’s primary education more than reminders—may go a long way in encouraging people to buy healthier foods."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W510

An (Edible) Solution to Extend Produce’s Shelf Life

December 13, 2016: from The New York Times

Apeel Sciences is using leaves, stems, banana peels and other fresh plant materials left behind after fruits and vegetables are picked or processed to extend the life of produce like green beans and berries by as much as five times. Apeel can even deliver a day-of-the-week bunch of bananas, each ripening on a different day.
"Apeel’s products, sold under the brand names Edipeel and Invisipeel, take plant materials and extract all liquids from them to produce tiny pellets. The company then uses molecules from those pellets to control the rate of water and gases that go in and out of produce, thus slowing down the rate of decay."
"Invisipeel can be applied while crops are still in the field. Edipeel can be applied after a harvest; crops can be coated while on a conveyor belt or dipped in the solution."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W509

Cuisinart Food Processors Recalled by Conair Due to Laceration Hazard

December 13, 2016: The CPSC

Cuisinart® food processors have been recalled because the food processor’s riveted blade can crack over time and small, metal pieces of the blade can break off into the processed food. This poses a laceration hazard to consumers.
This recall involves the riveted blades in Cuisinart food processors with model numbers that begin with the following: CFP-9, CFP-11, DFP-7, DFP-11, DFP-14, DLC-5, DLC-7, DLC-8, DLC-10, DLC-XP, DLC-2007, DLC-2009, DLC-2011, DLC-2014, DLC-3011, DLC-3014, EV-7, EV-10, EV-11, EV-14, KFP-7 and MP-14. The model number is located on the bottom of the food processor. The blades have four rivets and are silver-colored stainless steel and have a beige plastic center hub. Only food processors with four rivets in the blades are included in this recall. Cuisinart is printed on the front and on the bottom of the food processors.
Conair has received 69 reports of consumers finding broken pieces of the blade in processed food, including 30 reports of mouth lacerations or tooth injuries.
Sold At: Department, gourmet and specialty stores nationwide and on various websites from July 1996 through December 2015 for between $100 and $350.
Consumers should immediately stop using the food processor’s riveted blade and contact Cuisinart for a free replacement blade.
Consumer Contact: Cuisinart toll-free at 877-339-2534 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday or online at www.cuisinart.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information on the voluntary recall.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W508

Israeli Health Minister Rabbi Litzman: Drop That Jelly Doughnut

December 12, 2016: The Hamodia and Matzav.com

" After taking on fast food, junk food and chocolate milk, Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman is targeting another tasty, if high-calorie and unhealthy, snack – the classic sufganiyah, the Chanukah-season doughnut most usually filled with jelly. Now, in the weeks before Chanukah, the doughnuts are everywhere, including schools, offices and stores." Sufganiot are "Fried in cheap oils, the average doughnut contains between 400 and 500 calories. Those are empty carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels, guaranteeing the eater will hit a sugar high and then sink down – and that s/he will be hungry again within a short period of time."
"According to statistics supplied by the Central Bureau of Statistics and analyzed by the Ministry, 44 percent of Israelis – nearly one out of two – are overweight or obese, and the same is true of 21 percent of first-graders. By seventh grade, 30 percent of kids are overweight. Rabbi Litzman – along with many health professionals – believes that junk food is largely responsible for this situation, and he is considering numerous legislative initiatives to curb consumption of junk food. Among those initiatives are labeling – cigarette pack-style – the packages of snack food to emphasize their calorie and fat level, along with a “health score,” to be determined by professionals, which will rank food products on a scale between 1 and 10 (or 1 and 100) on its desirability. The healthier a food – taking into account its nutrient level, calorie, fat, sugar, salt and other factors – the higher a score it will get."
"In the past, Rabbi Litzman said that among the biggest “victims” of junk food was the chareidi public. Children are often “treated” to snacks at Talmud Torahs or shuls after they participate in learning sessions, and that practice needed to stop, or at least to b"e adjusted in order to prompt children to eat more healthily.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W507

Pesticide data report starts new debate cycle on fresh produce

December 9, 2016: The FoodSafetyNews and USDA

The USDA's Pesticide Data Program’s (PDP) has been collecting data on pesticide residues in food for 25 years. "The PDP provides reliable data to help assure consumers that the food they feed themselves and their families is safe. Over 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the EPA tolerances. Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide is not safe for human consumption, it is removed from the market.
The report "shows American-grown fruits and vegetables are safe because pesticide levels are kept below levels permitted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has the most stringent restrictions in the world."
"It’s a simple consumer message: Fruits and vegetables are good for you and you don’t have to pay higher prices for “organics” to get the benefits."
"In 2015, over 99 percent of the samples tested had residues well below the tolerances established by EPA with 15 percent having no detectable pesticide residue."
Residues exceeding EPA levels were found in 54 samples, which is less than 1 percent of all samples tested. One third of the the 54 samples with excessive residues, 18 samples, were from imports, meaning two-thirds of the samples with residues exceeding EPA levels were from the U.S.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W506

Certification overload

December 9, 2016: The Pure Branding and FoodIngredientsFirst

These are two articles on certification (non-kosher) overload. There are now so many certifications that people are ignoring them and are not understanding what each means.

Ed. note: I have found companies that I talk to so overwhelmed by the certifications that they feel they need to get that they do not understand the usefulneess to obtain kosher certificition. So if you see a product that you want certified as kosher, tell them.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W505

Bumble Bee exec pleads guilty to fixing prices of canned tuna

December 6, 2016: The SeafoodSource

"Bumble Bee Senior Vice President of Sales Walter Scott Cameron has agreed to plead guilty to a charge that he helped fix the prices of canned tuna sold throughout the United States." "The one-count felony charge was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, and Cameron’s guilty plea acknowledges that he and unidentified co-conspirators agreed to fix the prices of packaged seafood from as early as 2011 until about 2013."
"A number of American retailers, including Walmart, have recently sued Bumble Bee Foods, StarKist and Tri-Union Seafoods, the owner of Chicken of the Sea – dubbed the “big three” tuna companies because they own a combined 70 to 80 percent of the multibillion-dollar packaged tuna industry in the United States – for fixing prices. But their suits have been held up due to a motion filed by the DOJ in January to stay discovery in the civil cases brought by retailers, and another suit brought by U.S. consumers, in order to aid an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into the matter."
"The Walmart suit alleges that the “big three” carried out their scheme through in-person meetings, as well as through emails and telephone calls. The scheme was aided by close relationships between both the executives at the companies and by intermingled business relationships, such as the co-packaging deal that had Chicken of the Sea packing Bumble Bee’s product in its Lyons, Georgia plant and Bumble Bee packing Chicken of the Sea’s products in its Santa Fe Springs, California plant, the retailers allege."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W504

Target Reannounces Recall of Menorahs Due to Fire Hazard

December 6, 2016: The CPSC

Target Menorahs have been recalled because the menorahs can melt when the candles are burning, posing a fire hazard.
This recall involves clear acrylic Hanukkah menorahs in a pyramid design that are 10.5 inches long, 1.2 inches wide and 2.3 inches high. Model number 240-14-0169 and bar code can be found on a round white label on the side of the menorah.
Sold Exclusively At: Target stores nationwide from October 2015 through December 2015 for about $20.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received eight reports of the product melting, including three reports of fire. No property damage or injuries have been reported.
Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled menorahs and return them to Target for a full refund.
Consumer Contact: Target at 800-440-0680 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT daily, online at www.target.com and click on “School/Stationery/Seasonal” on the product recalls page or the “Product Recalls” tab on Target’s Facebook page for more information.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W503
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