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Simple Test Provides Fast Way To Detect Salmonella Contamination

U.S. researchers have come up with a quick, more accurate way to detect dangerous Salmonella bacteria in food samples. Using artificially contaminated food, the researchers used Salmonella-specific antibodies coupled with a signal amplification technique (tyramide signal amplification) after only 15 hours, instead of the two to three days it takes using a Petri dish culture. The test provides a simple monitoring system for foodborne pathogens, especially in beef and poultry. Contamination of food with pathogens causes 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

"Magnetic Bead-Based Immunoassay Coupled with Tyramide Signal Amplification for Detection of Salmonellain Foods", Journal of Food Safety, September 22, 2016

Americans Avoid Wonky Fruits And Veggies, Unless They're Cheaper

A large majority of the 2,025 Americans surveyed by the Harris Poll recently said that they prefer produce that is not “wonky” – i.e., ugly, misshapen, blemished, etc. Of the 81 percent who felt that way, 43 percent said good looking fruits and vegetables are very or extremely important. The only criteria more important are price and seasonality. Not so important are the source (local or shipped), the grocer's food waste practices, or organic. Sixty-two percent said they would be at least somewhat comfortable eating ugly produce, but many of these said it should be cheaper. Nevertheless, only 30 percent admitted to buying wonky fruit or veggies in the past year.

"Eight in Ten Americans Say Appearance is At Least Somewhat Important When Shopping for Fresh Produce", News release, the Harris Poll, September 22, 2016

Sodexo’s Deli Eateries Serve Up Exotic Bread Varieties

Foodservice facilities manager Sodexo’s deli unit has introduced a line of freshly baked breads with nontraditional compositions and flavors. More than 100 SubConnection eateries are located at schools and universities, corporate offices and healthcare facilities in the U.S. The new bread flavors include maple bacon and jalapeno cheddar Old Bay cheddar, roasted garlic and parmesan, salt and pepper, sriracha and orange peel, thai, buffalo, parmesan herb, pretzel, white wheat, Southwest white wheat, and rolled oat white wheat. Customers at the delis can pair their bread selections with quality meats, fresh vegetables, toppings and sauces.

"Sodexo's SubConnection Rolls Out New Bread Flavors for the Adventurous", News release, Sodexo, September 22, 2016

Selling Surplus Food Is Easier With New Online Auction Marketplace

Selling surplus food – caused by overruns, irregular sizing, package changes, discontinued items, overstock, etc., – is a real hassle because the process is “chaotic, difficult, frustrating and extremely time consuming.” The key problem is the lack of a true marketplace where surplus product is exposed and sold. That problem may be solved, however, with the emergence of My FoodBids, a sort of eBay for food. The auction-style online marketplace is a quick, easy and safe way for food manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to sell surplus inventory anonymously. The service is free to buyers; sellers pay a standard 10 commission on a sale.  It is designed to encourage higher bid prices, and faster sales, through open bidding... More

"My FoodBids: The First Online Food Auction Marketplace for Surplus Foods. Think Ebay for foods", News release, My FoodBids, September 21, 2016

British Lawmakers Tiptoe Toward Food Waste Legislation

A U.K. Parliament panel is receiving advice and comments about how to deal legislatively with Great Britain’s food waste problem. Food industry sectors, including farmers and consumer groups, have submitted comments to the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee. France, Italy, and Denmark all have laws targeting food waste on the books. The Labor Party last year scrapped plans to include a ban on food waste in its manifesto after Conservatives claimed that such a ban would cost £477 million ($621 million). Eight million tons of food are wasted post-manufacture in the U.K. annually. Experts suggest sixty percent of the waste could be avoided, equivalent to £16 billion ($21 billion) in food a year.

"U.K. Parliament Considers Legislation to Ban Food Waste in Britain", Independent, September 20, 2016

Food Waste Supermarket Flourishes In Denmark

A Danish charity (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp) that earlier this year opened a supermarket in Copenhagen dedicated to selling surplus food says the project has been successful enough to open two more stores. Food and other items sold in the stores would normally be thrown away because they are past their sell by date or have other imperfections. The WeFood store collects items from a variety of suppliers and sells them at a 30 – 50 percent discount. The store is part of a Danish government initiative to reduce food waste – 700,000 tons a year – in the country.

"Denmark Plans Two More Food Waste Supermarkets Selling Surplus Produce", Independent, September 20, 2016

Feed The 5000 Anti-Food Waste Events Coming To The U.S.

A British nonprofit environmental organization is taking its food waste awareness festivals to the U.S. this fall with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. As part of its mission to end food waste at every level of the food system, Feedback will be sponsoring Feeding the 5000 events – begun in the U.K. but now conducted in more than 40 cities worldwide – in Portland, Me., Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Denver, Colo., in October. At the events, free meals crafted entirely with surplus food are served to the public. In addition to demonstrating that surplus food is delicious, the events are meant to raise awareness among supermarkets and big businesses of the need to end practices that lead to food waste.

"Feeding the 5000 Events Spread Across America as Heat Rises in Fight Against Food Waste", News release, Feedback, September 19, 2016

Real Junk Food Project Repurposes Surplus Food In A Network Of Affiliated Cafes

While Britain’s lawmakers ponder possible legislation on curbing food waste, private organizations and entrepreneurs have taken matters into their own hands with some eye-popping success. The Real Junk Food project, founded only three years ago, maintains a 6,000-square-foot warehouse in the city of Leeds that collects between two and 10 tons of food daily from a variety of sources, including supermarket chain Morrisons. Food collected is then distributed to one of 30 Real Junk Food cafes around the city. There are 125 such cafes throughout the U.K., and in Israel and Australia, and is growing exponentially worldwide. The surplus food is sold to anyone for any amount they can afford, including donated labor and services.

"The Real Junk Food Project: Revolutionising How We Tackle Food Waste", The Guardian, September 18, 2016

Composting Service Helps Consumers, Farmers, And The Environment

A Massachusetts start-up is offering a composting service that benefits consumers, businesses, farmers, and the environment. Bootstrap Compost provides its customers with composting buckets with compostable liners and lids. The buckets are filled with fruit and vegetable scraps, then picked up by the company either weekly or biweekly. Once finished, the compost is taken to farms, but some is reserved for customers to use in their own gardens. Using a composting bucket saves the water that would be used to run food scrapes down a kitchen disposal, and makes household waste lighter, less smelly and easier to manage.

"Local Company Brings Easy Composting to Needham", Needham Wicked Local, September 16, 2016

USDA Unveils Nutrition Database On Branded Foods

The USDA has launched a free online resource that contains nutrition details on more than 80,000 name brand prepared and packaged foods available at restaurants and grocery stores. The Branded Food Products Database was created for families, the food industry and researchers by the USDA with the help of the International Life Sciences Institute North America (ILSI North America), GS1 U.S., 1WorldSync, and Label Insight. The database has a user-friendly interface to make it easier for private food companies to add and update data. Common consumer health and nutrition apps may use the data to inform consumers on a phone or watch in real time while shopping or dining out.

"USDA Announces New Open Data Partnership for Public Health", News release, USDA, September 16, 2016

Barry Callebaut Buys Mondelēz Belgian Chocolate Factory

Swiss chocolate and cocoa products maker Barry Callebaut said it will buy the Mondelēz International chocolate factory in Halle, Belgium. Mondelēz will then supply Barry Callebaut with 30,000 tons of liquid chocolate. Barry Callebaut will in turn manufacture certain consumer products for Mondelēz that are already produced at the Belgian chocolate plant. The deal is expected to close by December; no financial details were disclosed.

"Barry Callebaut to Extend Strategic Supply Partnership with Mondelēz International in Belgium", News release, Barry Callebaut, September 15, 2016

Nissin Moves To Make Its Salty, Fatty Cup Noodles More Healthful

Acknowledging healthful eating trends and consumer concerns about processed food ingredients, Nissin has reduced the sodium content of its Cup Noodles – to 45 percent of a person’s recommended daily salt intake from 60 percent – and eliminated artificial flavors and colors. The move follows on the heels of last year’s decision to enlarge the styrofoam cups and make them microwaveable. Nevertheless, the soup still contains more than a third of the saturated fat an adult should eat in a day.

"Cup Noodles Dials Down the Salt", The Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2016

British County Joins Big Food Companies In Fight Against Food Waste

A British county is working with the local waste partnership to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable. They have signed the voluntary 2025 Courtauld Commitment whose goal is to reduce the environmental impact of food and beverages from farm to table. The Hampshire County (U.K.) Council is working with the Integra waste organization to accomplish three key goals: a 20 percent reduction of food and drink waste; a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of food and drink consumed; and a reduction in the impact of water use in the supply chain. Food and drink companies in the U.K. and abroad – including grocery retailer Waitrose, food manufacturer Nestlė, and restaurant chain Pizza Hut – have all... More

"Hampshire's War on Waste", News release, HantsWeb, September 15, 2016

Target Not Becoming Full-Service Grocery Store, CEO Says

Target Corp. does not want to become a full-service grocery store, according to company CEO Brian Cornell. Since 2014, when Cornell became the retailer's chief executive, the company has focused on several important categories, such as style, baby, children, and wellness, to help drive sales growth. Grocery is one of Target's important categories, accounting for 20 percent percent of its $74 billion annual revenue.

"Target CEO Says Retailer Won’t Become Full-Service Grocer", The Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2016

Whole Foods Market Opens Third 365 By Whole Foods Store

Whole Foods Market opened its third 365 by Whole Foods Market store in Bellevue, Washington. Smaller than the retailer's regular stores, the 30,000 sq ft store has lower operating costs and offers products at lower prices than its bigger counterparts. Through the retailer's Friends of 365 program, the store works with external suppliers to offer more foodservice options.

"Third 365 by Whole Foods Market Opens", Retail Analysis, September 14, 2016

Community Fridge Provides Collection Point For Surplus Food In Quebec

A community development organization in Quebec says a refrigerator it set up in the city of Sherbrooke collected four tons of surplus food from restaurants, farms, business and local citizens in just three months. Dubbed Frigo Free Go, the refrigerator is such a success that the Corporation de development économique communitaire (CDEC) expects to install others in the city. The collected food that was redistributed rather than wasted means a reduction of 9.4 tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent four cars traveling 20,000 km a year.

"Frigo Free Go showing positive results", Sherbrooke Record (Quebec, Canada), September 14, 2016

FDA Releases Funds To States To Help Farmers Comply With Food Safety Rules

A year ago, the FDA issued final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. The rules established enforceable safety standards for produce farms and made importers accountable for verifying that imported food meets U.S. safety standards. It took a while but the agency is now making available to states financial aid to help them assist farmers in complying with the FSMA rules. FDA announced $21.8 million will be allotted to 42 states to help them plan, establish and enhance produce safety programs.

"States Get $21.8 Million from FDA to Help Farms Comply with Produce Rule", Food Safety News, September 13, 2016

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