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Data shows most American farms are still family farms

USDA 2016 Family Farm report

After all these years, agriculture in America remains overwhelmingly dominated by family farms. A new report by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) shows not only just how dependent America is on family farms, but also how many are independent of government. “Seventy-two percent of all farms received no farm-related government payments in 2015,” according to… Continue Reading

Board nixes use of carrageenan in organic food production

Sends 'bioponics' controversy back to subcommittee

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The National Organic Standards Board has voted 10-3, with one abstention, to remove carrageenan from the list of substances approved for use in food items labeled “USDA Organic.” The vote came Thursday afternoon during the board’s three-day fall meeting in St. Louis. NOSB members were tentatively scheduled to make a decision Friday on whether to approve the continued… Continue Reading

Alberta health officials shut down rogue food-sharing operation

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Alberta Health Services has issued a cease and desist order to a food-sharing company in Edmonton that was flouting Canadian food safety regulations by matching home cooks with customers through an online system. The co-founder of Scarf said that letting customers check in online with 30 vetted home cooks, order, and pre-pay for a meal… Continue Reading

Controversies loom for National Organic Standards Board

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When the National Organic Standards Board meets this week in St. Louis, its 15 members will confront some particularly controversial agenda items involving whether certain substances and production methods are acceptable for use in food items certified as organic. The NOSB is an citizen advisory group responsible for considering and making recommendations to USDA on a… Continue Reading

SKorea’s new 7-language food safety site boosts food cluster

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South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is now hosting a new website in multiple languages, a move that certainly supports the government’s new National Food Cluster. The National Food Cluster – more than 150 food and food research and development units – is coming out of the ground near Iskan in southwestern Korea…. Continue Reading

CDC study attempts to assess outbreak risk from organic food

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A newly published study of outbreaks linked to organic food concludes that while more data are needed to assess whether the risk is greater than for conventionally grown food, consumers should practice safe food handling in any case to avoid being sickened. The study, from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published online… Continue Reading

Federal courts are slowly reviewing state ‘ag-gag’ laws

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At this point, you would need a large barn yard just to hold all the attorneys who are involved and waiting for a decision by a federal judge on Utah’s ag-gag law. U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby for the District of Utah has had the issue on his docket since July 22, 2013…. Continue Reading

Egyptian firm recalls some frozen strawberries for Hepatitis A

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The International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing (ICAPP), based in Ramadan City, Egypt, is voluntarily recalling frozen strawberries in response to the ongoing investigation into a multistate outbreak of Hepatitis A in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration’s recall announcement, dated Sunday, stated that the company’s action was taken in consultation with FDA because… Continue Reading

Social media might be holding down Chipotle as hits continue

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In reporting its latest quarterly financial results, Chipotle Mexican Grill ended up again showing how its economic recovery is coming slower than many expected. And one financial expert says social media is to blame for the hurt the fast casual restaurant is still experiencing after making about 500 people sick in 11 states last year…. Continue Reading

EU food safety commissioner says science must prevail

Opinion

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Editor’s note: These are the prepared remarks delivered by Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety 2014-2019, this past week. Many of the challenges and actions he describes mirror situations in the U.S. with the Food Safety Modernization Act and other initiatives regarding food additives and labeling. Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a… Continue Reading