This week’s top five food and ag stories:
- The FDA started to review the definition of ‘healthy.’ The Food and Drug Administration has asked the public to define ‘healthy,’ explaining its reasoning in a blog post on its website. “As our understanding about nutrition has evolved, we need to make sure the definition for the “healthy” labeling claim stays up to date. For instance, the most recent public health recommendations now focus on type of fat, rather than amount of fat. They focus on added sugars, which consumers will see on the new Nutrition Facts label. And they focus on nutrients that consumers aren’t getting enough of, like vitamin D and potassium. By updating the definition, we hope more companies will use the “healthy” claim as the basis for new product innovation and reformulation, providing consumers with a greater variety of “healthy” choices in the marketplace.”
- Tyson Foods recalls frozen chicken nuggets. Tysons Foods has recalled 132,500 pounds of chicken nuggets found in Costco stores, reports Reuters. “Tyson said it got complaints from consumers saying they had found small pieces of hard, white plastic in the nuggets, prompting the recall. The plastic may have originated from a rod used to connect a plastic transfer belt, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said, and classified it as a Class I recall.”
- Craft beer sales are slowing down. After six years of double-digit growth, craft beer sales are falling, reports the Wall Street Journal. The problem isn’t lack of hops production. Farmland devoted to the crop has increased 65 percent during the past five years to about 51,000 acres from 31,000 acres. About 70 percent of that land is planted with high-demand varieties such as citra, which also is a key ingredient in popular brews like MadTree’s PSA (Proper Session Ale). The problem is the rapid proliferation of tiny beer brands from a fiercely competitive and rapidly expanding craft beer industry. Beer drinkers now have an estimated 30,000 different choices from 4,000-plus brewers to pick from, compared with about 20,000 beers from 2,000 brewers five years ago, according to the Brewers Association.
- Anti-agroterrorism bill passes House. The House passed a bill aimed at preventing agroterrorism, according to POLITICO. “The House on Monday passed a bill (H.R. 5346) that would direct the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant secretary for health affairs to integrate all of DHS’ efforts to protect the U.S. food supply and agriculture industry against terrorism and other threats. Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) introduced the legislation after last year’s bird flu outbreak swept through the Midwest, a disaster Young said revealed ‘problematic breaks in the federal government’s ability to communicate with stakeholders and react quickly to large-scale animal disease outbreaks,’ according to a statement. The bill is designed to elevate the United States’ preparedness, he added.”
- India cuts wheat tariff. India has cut taxes on wheat and palm oil, Reuters reports. “New Delhi lowered the wheat import tax to 10 percent from 25 percent and cut the import duty on both crude palm oil and refined edible oils by five percentage points to 7.5 and 15 percent respectively.”