Tech Flash Vol. 5 No. 4
FDA recalls continue on salmonella
Stimulus for food producers
The US Department of Agriculture reports that more than 29 million people use SNAP at an estimated cost of more than $50 billion annually. USDA also reports that 12% of food stamps are used to purchase diary products, which equates to $6 billion annually. With the increased budget for SNAP in the stimulus bill, an additional $815 million would go to retail dairy purchases, according to these purchasing trends, said Ruth Saunders, IDFA senior director of policy and legislative affairs.“With excess milk supply pushing down prices and demand for dairy products softening in some areas, it’s notable that the stimulus bill could indirectly support the dairy sector with additional funding for programs that support food purchases,” said Saunders.
Carbohydrates: Up to interpretation
The study involved more than 9,400 respondents from a consumer Internet panel who saw one product/label condition. Some participants saw only a front panel, and others saw both a front panel and a nutrition facts label. Analysis of the data revealed:
· Those who saw only the front panel with a claim that implied “low in carbohydrate,” such as “Low Carb,” “CarbConscious” or “1 g Net Carb,” perceived the product to be lower in carbohydrate than those who saw the same product without a “low in carbohydrate” claim.
· Respondents who saw only the front panel often perceived different claims that implied “low in carbohydrate” as having a shared meaning. Participants rated products similarly whether they have “Low Carb,” “CarbConscious” or “Net Carb” on the front.
· Participants who saw only the front panel perceived products with a “Good Source of Carb” claim differently depending on the product on which it appeared.
· Adding a disclosure statement, such as “see nutrition information for fat content,” didn’t consistently affect product perceptions when respondents saw only the front panel.
· Participants who saw both the front panel and the nutrition facts label rated products with the same nutrition facts label similarly and rated products with a more healthful nutrition facts label more favorably than those with a less healthful nutrition facts label.For more on the study, visit www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/crnutri8.html.
Smithfield restructures pork group
DOJ pleased with abandonment of JBS/National Beef liaison
Hoffa cites NAFTA for US job losses
Tighter security in automation
“The great value of this standard is that it draws together the best thinking on industrial cyber security management from experts at leading companies across the globe,” said Jim Gilsinn of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. Gilsinn served as the lead editor of the standard.The new standard follows last year’s publication of the first standard in the series, ANSI/ISA-99.00.01, which serves as the basis of all standards in the ISA99 series by presenting key concepts, terminology and models. Additional ISA99 standards under development will cover how to operate a security program after it is designed and implemented, and technical security requirements for industrial automation and control systems.
Real-time process optimization market on the rise
The RPO market grew significantly over the past couple of years because of the robust global economy and the need for safer, more efficient operations. According to the study’s author, Research Analyst Tom Fiske, Ph.D, “The economic slowdown will adversely affect growth over the next year or two, but the market will provide some opportunities as many of the issues facing manufacturers, like reducing costs, are addressed well with RPO solutions.”
According to Fiske, "Currently, the food and beverage industry represents a small portion of the RPO market (well under ten percent)." The food and beverage industry is looking for ways to cut costs and fine-tune their processes. "Leading companies have embraced some RPO tools, but the industry still lags way behind other industry sectors in terms of adoption," adds Fiske.
The financial crisis and credit crunch, however, are forcing companies to reevaluate their bottom line. Manufacturers looking to reduce costs and improve profitability are focusing greater attention on efficiency improvements and their customers’ needs. APC and optimization solutions play an important role in achieving endeavors that result in higher return on assets, says the study.
Energy reduction goals set
Food Safety News
FDA still under fire for peanut butter crisis
“I am nothing short of outraged at the increasing number of outbreaks of food-borne illness in this country,” Harkin said. “Everything from spinach and lettuce to beef products and, now, peanut products has been implicated. Within the last year, we had the biggest recall ever under USDA jurisdiction. And just in the last month, with the recall of peanut products from the Peanut Corporation of America, we had one of the largest recalls ever under FDA jurisdiction.”
The pressure on FDA over the tainted peanut butter extends to the White House as well. In a nationally broadcast interview earlier this month, President Obama criticized the agency for not reacting quickly enough to the outbreak.
“At a bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter,” the President said.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a food industry lobbyist, issued a statement saying it has encouraged a thorough FDA review for some time.
“For the past 18 months, GMA has advocated strengthening America’s food safety system to put the teeth back in the FDA, America’s food safety watchdog,” the group said. “Those reforms will also help prevent problems before they arise, modernize our food safety net and significantly increase the odds of identifying bad actors, like PCA.”
GMA has called for increasing FDA funding to $900 million per year, so the agency can hire more scientific experts, increase the number of inspectors and modernize its laboratory and information technology systems.The group also urged adoption of a food safety inspection approach so that resources are spent on the foods and facilities that pose the greatest threat.
Bisphenol A OK in packaging materials
The meeting covered the two regulatory bodies’ current activities and planned research to further assess the exposure to BPA. It also provided a dialog on how to reduce BPA migration into food. Those in attendance spoke of using alternative materials, especially in the manufacture of baby bottles.
Based on all available evidence, the consensus of regulatory agencies in the US, Canada, Europe and Japan is that the current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not seem to pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and young children.Health Canada’s Health Products and Food Branch concluded that current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants. However, using a precautionary approach, the Government of Canada has taken steps to reduce exposure to BPA for infants and young children.