Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sasha's peanut butter other top headlines

The widening peanut butter recall continues to grab headlines, and the scope of it has caught the attention of President Obama. Look for more news today about what one consumer group wants retailers to do in the context of the recall.....

Obama: FDA too slow in tracking tainted food
From AP

Concerned about a salmonella outbreak involving peanut products that has sickened 550 people and is blamed for at least eight deaths, Obama says he wants to review how the Food and Drug Administration operates."I think that the FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to," Obama said in an interview aired Monday on NBC's "Today" show.The president said Americans should be able to rely on the government to keep children safe when they eat peanut butter and that includes his 7-year-old daughter Sasha."That's what Sasha eats for lunch probably three times a week. And you know, I don't want to have to worry about whether she's going to get sick as a consequence to having her lunch," Obama said.

Firm tied to salmonella ran unlicensed Texas plant From AP
Once inspectors learned about the Texas plant, they found no sign of salmonella there. But new details about that plant — including how it could have operated unlicensed for nearly four years — raise questions about the adequacy of government efforts to keep the nation's food supply safe. Texas is among states where the FDA relies on state inspectors to oversee food safety.

EU consumers and traffic light labeling on food
USDA FAS report
A Pan-European consumer study reveals that color-coded nutrition labeling schemes (also known as traffic light schemes) have the tendency to be misleading. Particularly red signals are often misunderstood as "Avoid eating the product". The German food processing industry strongly opposes color coded labeling schemes.

Rise of generation O From Australiaand The Canberra Times

The Federal Government's Obesity Working Group, which is due to report its recommendations to the National Preventative Health Taskforce in June, admits no country has yet been successful in reversing the trend of rising levels of overweight and obese people.

Buying local isn't always better for the environment
From Science Daily

Shopping locally may not be as good for the environment as having food delivered, according to new research by the University of Exeter.Published in the journal Food Policy, the study shows that, on average, lower carbon emissions result from delivering a vegetable box than making a trip to a local farm shop.

Organic growers call for more fertilizer oversight From Mercury News
William H. Bent, a USDA compliance officer, wrote in a July 2007 letter to CDFA organic program manager Ray Green that the USDA had received complaints that Green's program had long-standing knowledge that California Liquid's product contained ingredients that couldn't be used on organic farms "but failed to act appropriately to enforce the organic rules and penalize the cheaters."

House bill would boost FDA power From Pork

As introduced, the legislation would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stronger investigative powers. The bill, H.R. 758, is called the FDA Globalization Act and was introduced to the House last week. It would require that foreign factories producing drugs and medical devices be inspected at least every two years, which is the standard for companies producing such goods in the United States.

New fees on imports would help pay for the enhanced inspection requirements. The bill also would allow FDA officials to impose larger fines on companies for faulty imported and domestic products.

Judge cancels Whole Foods hearing
Denver Post

Whole Foods Market Inc. and the Federal Trade Commission were granted a joint request to cancel hearings set for this month on possible antitrust remedies to the grocer's $565 million acquisition of Wild Oats Markets Inc., which was based in Boulder.

U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington, D.C., vacated the hearings set for Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 at the request of both parties. No reason or other details were provided.

Growers on notice in NJ From Press of Atlantic City:relating to pesticide fines

Immigration effect?: gangs responsible for up to 80% of crimes USA Today

Davidson County, Tenn., Sheriff Daron Hall, whose jurisdiction includes Nashville, says MS-13 started growing there about five years ago, corresponding with an influx of immigrant labor.

Last April, county officials began checking the immigration status of all arrestees. "We know we have removed about 100 gang members, including MS-13," to U.S. authorities for deportation, Hall says.

China announces principles for halting unrest Washington Post

There are now nearly 20 million unemployed migrant workers, or 15.3 percent of the total 130 million migrant worker population, Chen said. They are competing with the 6 million who enter the migrant worker job market each year, according to figures from a Ministry of Agriculture survey of 150 villages in 15 provinces conducted before the Lunar New Year last week, when most migrant workers return home from cities for the holiday.

Dole: Results for 2008

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