Misinformation poses ‘severe test’ in Asia Pacific

So called fake news about food safety and COVID-19 has had a negative impact on consumption patterns and created anxiety among consumers in Asia Pacific.

Ahead of World Food Safety Day on June 7, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), organized a webinar called: Food safety in the new normal.

The event dealt with the negative impact of what was described as fake news and rumors, which have particularly impacted the meat and dairy sectors due to an incorrect association with COVID-19. In some countries, dumping of imported fruits and vegetables has been observed. This was led by misinformation and caused unnecessary food waste.

Junshi Chen, chief scientific advisor to the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment, told listeners misinformation was posing a severe test … Read more

Tesco and Asda improve Campylobacter in chicken results

The percentage of chickens at Tesco and Asda testing positive for Campylobacter at the top level of contamination in the second quarter of 2020 has fallen below the FSA target.

The two supermarkets had recorded levels above the Food Standards Agency (FSA) threshold of 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter in the first quarter of this year.

Tesco reported 9 percent of 132 samples in 1Q 2020 had the highest level of Campylobacter contamination while Asda recorded 9.2 percent.

The figures for 2Q from April to June show Tesco had 3 percent and Asda had 3.6 percent above the top level of contamination.

Results from other retailers
Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the United Kingdom and the infectious dose can be as low as a few hundred cells.

FSA used to compile figures from … Read more

Plant-based food producers sue state in federal court to block disclaimer requirement

Burgers, hotdogs, meatballs, jerky, sausage, chorizo, bacon and corned beef are among the products that will be defined as meat in Oklahoma on Nov. 1 when the Sooner State’s “Meat  Consumer Protection Act” becomes law.

The Act prohibits sellers of plant-based foods from using “meat terms” to describe their foods without disclaimers in the “same size and prominence” as their product name that their product is plant-based.

Illinois-based Upton’s Naturals Co. and the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) Wednesday sued the state of Oklahoma in federal court, seeking an injunction to prevent the labeling law from taking effect. Making Upton Naturals the top Plaintiff is a strategy as the company markets to vegans and its smart packaging labels say everything “100% Vegan.”

But come Nov. 1, it will be illegal to sell “vegan” bacon or other products that will be defined as meat without what is called the “Compelled Disclaimer” that … Read more

FTC’s move could help make ‘Made in the USA’ label meaningful again

A 60-day comment period for the Federal Trade Commission’s “Made in the USA” label ended Monday with 838 submissions that favor a crack-down on unqualified U.S-origins claims on product labels.

And the No. 1 maker of those unqualified claims was named in many of the comments — Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

“My name is Wade Fox I am a (South Dakota) cattle producer,” his comment said.   “The conflict is this: While the FTC wants to ensure that only products actually made in the USA bear a “Made in the USA” label, the Secretary of Agriculture has a policy that says a foreign beef product that enters the USA and is subject to only minor processing, such as being taken out of a big box and packaged in smaller boxes, can bear a “Product of USA” label.”

“This is the very kind of conflict the FTC needs to hear about,” … Read more

Blowback from industry and union on OSHA for Smithfield/JBS fines

Those OSHA fines for not protecting employees from the coronavirus are getting blow-back from both the industry and the union.

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) issued a statement after Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls, SD, and JBS USA in Greeley, CO, were hit with fines totaling about $29,000. Both Smithfield and JBS are appealing those fines, which local chapters of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) believe are low enough that they might lead to bad behavior by the companies. JBS USA is known as Swift.

Mark Lauritsen, UFCW’s vice president, claims the OSHA fines for Smithfield and JBS are merely about politics, enough to cover themselves politically. He says until now, OSHA had turned a blind eye to the issue. UFCW’s local unions have also spoken out.

Kim Cordova who heads the local at the Greeley beef plant says “tiny fines” are  “an incentive to make these … Read more