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Study: FDA Testing Finds Small Incidence of Antibiotic Residues in Dairy Milk

By Richard Thompson

 

An encouraging report by the FDA showed little evidence of antibiotic residuals in milk, with a system of dairy regulation that continues to provide safe and healthy milk to the market. Following up on concerns of elevated levels of antibiotics in dairy products, the study was done in part with farms that had a previous violation with antibiotic residue.

The report concluded that while the small number of positive drug residuals was encouraging, the FDA will continue to collaborate closely with state regulatory partners and the dairy industry to strengthen the residue testing program for Grade “A” milk. The FDA will also continue to educate dairy producers on best practices to avoid drug residue in both tissues and milk, keeping consumers safe and distributors compliant.

These results are a continuation of an ongoing trend for the past 20 years in reducing antibiotic residue in dairy products, noted Dr. Robert Collier, Professor of the School of Animal and Comparative Sciences at the University of Arizona, “The dairy industry is continually improving. Milk is tested at least five times before it gets to the store.” Collier, who was not part of the study, continued, “The dairy industry has a tried and true method to keep quality product that is safe and good for you.”

Targeting specific dairy farms with previous drug residue violations, the FDA wanted to study whether those farms with previous violations continued to have antibiotic residuals in their product. The FDA looked for evidence of drug residuals from 31 different antibiotics, and what they found was that over 99 percent from almost 2000 samples taken were free of any antibiotic residuals – it’s that tiny percentage remaining that raises concerns.

Using antibiotics in cattle is not unusual for the animal’s health and preventative care, but those medications are supposed to be metabolized before the animal can be considered a “lactating cow” that produces milk for sale. Recent studies have linked growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics with the infiltration of antibiotics into the human food chain.

Some consumers have responded to their concerns about what’s in their food by choosing organic alternatives. Don Grace, Dairy Buyer for Bashas’ family of stores, has seen the health and safety trend gaining momentum for some time, “Organic milk in dairy seems to have an increased interest with the customer. Sales are on an increase. Unfortunately suppliers can’t meet demand, and many times the product is on allocation,” he said. While fluid milk is the biggest seller in the category, especially due to its price, changing tastes are finding solutions in the growing selection of natural products. “Today’s customers know the benefits of milk, but are constantly being shown healthy alternates of organics like nut milk and soy milk,” Grace continued, “Milk is not the standard product anymore. People are finding they are lactose intolerant and allergic to certain items contained in fresh milk.”

But as Collier explained, just switching to organic might not be enough. “Even organic foods are not immune to pathogen questions. It’s a question of how it is handled and the safety preparations that are taken,” he said.

Milk is one of the most easily tested and regulated products, with safety tests conducted at every step of the distribution process from the bulk tanks at the dairy farms all the way to where it’s bottled, with random samples being tested before shipment. If any antibiotic residuals are found, the process allows for identification for possible residues along with the farms that they came from. Said Collier, “The bottom line is there are no antibiotic residuals in milk marketed.”

Despite the small number of dairy farms that may attempt to subvert the system in place, the vast majority of dairy cooperatives and distribution centers still adhere to the Grade “A” system of regulated production, following the federal, state and individual cooperative standards that are implemented from farms where the milk begins to the store or company where it will be bought or used.

The United Dairymen of Arizona, for instance, represent 85 percent of the dairy farms in Arizona, distributing 13 million pounds of milk a day, adhering to dairy standards that may exceed regulatory standards depending on the cooperative’s safety preferences. “Arizona has very progressive dairymen with animal wellness interests, following the new standard of FARM: ‘Farmers Assuring Responsible Management,’” said Mike Billotte, Vice President of Government Relations, United Dairymen of Arizona, “We follow the basic tenet of inspections of dairy, routine testing, residue testing and sediment testing. These routine testing agencies are enforced in every state.”

 

Bloomy Rinds and Sophisticated Aging Feature in Bohemian Creamery

By Micah Cheek

Bohemian Creamery, based in Sebasopol, California, is turning heads with unique goat, sheep, and cow cheeses crafted by the proud hands of Lisa Gottreich. Gottreich began selling her cheeses commercially six years ago, but she was honing her skills in cheesemaking for years before that in her home kitchen. The transition was natural for Gottreich, who said, “Really, the principles are very much the same, but the equipment is different.” The cheeses she produces are held in high regard, even served in Alice Waters’ restaurant, Chez Panisse. When asked how she managed to sell to such a prestigious pantry, Gottreich simply said “I marketed to them.” That confidence is well earned. Her depth of knowledge at every stage of the cheesemaking process commands respect and assures the buyer of a carefully crafted and unique eating experience.BohemianCreameryCheese_26c

Cheese lovers will notice some unusual offerings in Bohemian’s selection. One cheese, called Cowabunga, hides cajeta, or goat’s milk caramel, in its center. Surf and Turf has a fine vein of local seaweed running through the middle. In cold and wet months, the conditions are perfect to make The Bomb, a goat and sheep milk cheese conditioned to render the gooeyness and funk vaguely reminiscent of an Epoisse.

For a newcomer to artisan cheeses, Gottreich suggests one of her soft goat cheeses, called BoDacious. “It’s got a candidum rind, it’s very mild. People are used to the chevre style, and know that as goat cheese,” she said. For a different goat cheese experience, try the more firmly textured and nutty Capriago, which is brined and aged for up to 10 weeks. Her current favorite is the Romeo, aged a year and a half for complexity and crystallization.

While some cheesemakers gloss over the microbes required for cheese production, Gottreich makes sure the cultures she uses get their time in the spotlight. “Cheeses are defined by their rinds, of which there are basically three: bloom, washed and natural or traditional. But you couldn’t really talk about them without talking about mold.” Her water buffalo milk Agua Bufazola, for instance, is made with a milder strain than is normally used for blue cheeses. The Italian gorgonzola blue mold eases the punch of the six-week-old cheese without compromising flavor. With the milking season’s first offerings, Gottreich has made a batch of Boho Belle, a creamy semi soft cheese that requires six to eight weeks of aging. The end result will show off a delicate bloomy rind of geotrichum candidum.

Bohemian Creamery stresses the importance of not only picking the right cheese, but the right time to eat it. Her quality cheeses can, with proper care, give you a variety of flavor experiences over time. “People say, ‘This isn’t the same cheese I had before.’ Well maybe that cheese was a month old, and this one is a month and a half old,” she says. “Just like I’m not the same person I was when I was 10, many of my qualities have changed. Cheese is living and dying, just like we are. You can pick which qualities you like at a certain age.”

Unified Grocers Announces Agreement to Sell Insurance Operations to AmTrust

 

Unified Grocers, Inc. has reached a definitive agreement with New York-based AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. to sell Springfield Insurance Company, Unified Grocers Insurance Services (UGIS) and their related insurance operations.

Under the terms of the agreement, AmTrust will purchase Unified’s Covina, California building where Springfield Insurance Company and UGIS are housed and hire all the employees who work in the facility.

“We’re excited about the transaction. It marks a new chapter for Unified and our members,” said Bob Ling, President and Chief Executive Officer of Unified Grocers. “We believe this transaction to be in the best interests of clients of both Springfield Insurance Company and UGIS as the businesses have been sold to a forward-looking, successful company that can apply a dedicated focus to their clients. The sale to AmTrust also represents an excellent way for the staff at Springfield Insurance Company and UGIS to continue to grow in the years ahead. The transaction will be seamless to policyholders. They will benefit from the strength of a $4 billion, A.M. Best ‘A’ rated insurance provider and its wide portfolio of insurance products and can expect even greater offerings from AmTrust in the future.”

“We’re proud of our accomplishments in our insurance operations and the fact we were able to provide our retailers with insurance programs tailored to the unique demands of the grocery business,” he added. “At the same time, the transaction allows Unified to streamline its business structure and direct greater focus to its core grocery wholesale operations.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

 

 

Earth Day Update From Almond Growers

 

In celebration of Earth Day, the Almond Board of California has made a blog post highlighting their efforts and research related to water efficiency. The post comes on the heels of California’s state-wide water restrictions, and focuses on the Almond Board’s progress in conservation of water and the growing use of microirrigation over the last 20 years.almond-storage_2

The almond industry has come under fire in recent years due to the high levels of water required to grow the trees. Estimates run as high as one gallon of water needed to produce a single almond nut. The update on conservation methods may ease the criticism from citizens who are upset that California farms have so far been exempted from state water use restrictions.

 

The research includes analysis of almond waste products’ use as livestock feed, calculating water demands to specific areas, and the potential use of irrigation with water that is too salty or otherwise unsafe for human consumption.

Global almond consumption is on the rise, and California produces 80 percent of the world’s supply. California’s almonds produce 1.2 percent of the state gross domestic product, according to economist Christopher Thornberg.

The full post can be read at

http://www.almonds.com/blog/water/water-research-pipeline

Salmon Brands Takes Top Honors at 2015 Seafood Prix d’Elite

Salmon Brands of Oslo, Norway was awarded the top prize in the 15th annual Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition at Seafood Expo Global. The winner was selected from a field of 37 finalists and was announced this evening at a special Seafood Prix d’Elite reception.

The top award for best new retail product was given to Salmon Brands for its entry, Salmaraw. This ready-to-eat sashimi kit provides 90 grams of fresh salmon sashimi with sachets of ponzu sauce and sesame seeds, and a specially designed eating utensil. The product is presented in a unique airtight and leak-proof pack that beautifully displays and preserves the high quality of the salmon. The judges particularly noted that this product was very well conceived and executed from start to finish.

In addition to the grand prize, the judges also gave five special awards:

Salmaraw from Salmon Brands was also presented the Seafood Prix d’Elite special award for Originality. The presentation of the salmon sashimi kit in a long tray is unique and elegant, yet still allows the consumer to eat the product directly from the package. This combination makes it well positioned for consumers who are looking for healthy take-away meals.

The Seafood Prix d’Elite special prize for Health & Nutrition was awarded to Marine Harvest of Brugge, Belgium for its product, Duo Norvégien au Four. The naturally healthy combination of cod wrapped in a thin slice of salmon is packed in an oven-ready aluminum tray and gives the consumer an easy way to serve an elegant seafood preparation at home.

The Big Prawn Company of Melton Constable, England in the United Kingdom was awarded the Seafood Prix d’Elite special award for Convenience for its product Seafood Rarebit. A seafood take on a classic Welsh dish, this frozen retail product offers two pastry cases filled with king prawns and topped with a sauce flavored with English cheddar cheese, mustard and spices. The topping melts down over the prawns and into the pastry during cooking. Perfect for a light lunch or part of a main meal, the product offers consumers a new, easy way to enjoy seafood.

The Big Prawn Company was also presented the Seafood Prix d’Elite special award for Retail Packaging for its product, 2 Crayfish Thermidor Bakes. Designed for special holiday occasions, this product features twin ramekins filled with crayfish tails in a creamy thermidor sauce flavored with white wine, shallots and mustard, then topped with a ciabatta Grand Padano cheese breadcrumb. The package is elegantly designed with full-color photos of the prepared dish and a clear window to see the ramekins, which are covered with clear plastic domes. The package provides complete information for the consumer on nutrition, ingredients, product origin, preparation, and package disposal.

Rockabill Shellfish Limited of Balbriggan, Ireland was presented with the Seafood Prix d’Elite special award for Seafood Product Line for its “Something Fishy” line of seafood infused butters. Offered in Sweet Onion, Dulse and Asian Infusion flavors, the products combine Irish butter with freeze-dried and milled seafood protein, dried seaweed and seasonings. The result is a culinary butter that provides the savory deliciousness of umami to both enhance and complete the flavors of prepared dishes. The products can be used to flavor sauces, finish risottos, pastas and rice dishes, or to spread over seafood before or after cooking.

At the discretion of the judges an award was not given this year for best new foodservice product. Although the judges noted some positive aspects of the products entered in the category, they felt that in many cases the information provided by entrants was incomplete, and therefore it was not possible to choose an overall winner in the category.

The winners of the 2015 Seafood Prix d’Elite were chosen from a field of 37 finalists representing 11 countries. The winners and finalists are on display at Hall 11, Stand 2501 at Seafood Expo Global and Seafood Processing Global, which runs now through April 23.

The judges for the 2015 Seafood Prix d’Elite new products competition were Debby Verheyen, Seafood Product Expert for Delhaize Supermarkets in Belgium; Thibault Faucon, Supply Chain Manager for Sodexo in Luxemburg; Filip Keersmaekers, Seafood Category Manager for Makro & Metro Cash & carry in Belgium; Ian Nottage, Chef Director with Reynold’s Catering Supply in the UK; and Dominique Fenech, National Director of Seafood Purchasing for Monoprix in France. Ms. Verheyen served as chairperson of the jury.

The Seafood Prix d’Elite finalists were judged on taste and overall eating experience, packaging, marketability, convenience, nutritional value and originality. The judges’ scores were verified by the accounting firm of Ernst & Young.

 

White Coffee’s BioCup Reduces Plastic Waste

 

White Coffee Corporation has an innovative new product to be featured at this summer’s Fancy Food Show.  White Coffee’s latest development, BioCup™, is a single serving coffee pod that is biodegradable. Coffee pods from single serve coffee present a growing recycling problem facing many households. BioCup is both compostable and biodegradable with 90% degradation after six months.

With single cup packaging on the rise, buyers are starting to consider the ecological consequences of single use waste in their coffee consumption.  “Our goal is to be the leader in the coffee industry in minimizing its environmental footprint,” says Jonathan White, Executive Vice President of White Coffee Corporation.biocup

BioCup bio-degradable and compostable organic single serve coffee is available in 11 flavors: Colombian, Breakfast Blend, French Roast, Full City Roast, Mexican High Grown, Peruvian, Rainforest Blend, Hazelnut, French Vanilla, Sea Salt Caramel and Chocolate Morsel. Single origin, non-organic BioCup is available in Colombian Decaffeinated, Colombian Supremo, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Honduras Marcala, Kenya AA Ruiri and Sumatra Mandheling varieties.

The Fancy Food show, a hub for manufacturers and buyers alike, celebrates innovation in the industry. The largest specialty food trade event in North America is held at the Javits Center in New York City from June 28-30th.

White Coffee’s “BioCup™” is available in retail outlets nationwide and will be offered in 10-count and 80-count boxes. The 10-count box has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $7.99. The cups produced will be 2.0 compatible, for use with the Keurig® system and similar coffeemakers.

That’s it. Fruit Bar Launches New Flavor

 

That’s it.®, makers of two ingredient snack bars, has just launched a new flavor in its all natural fruit bar line. The company also announced its recent expansion into national retailers 7-Eleven and Kroger, branching out from the health food store market in which it retains a strong presence.

Thats_It_Fruit_Bars_Sample_Pack__59025.1429311088.1280.1280That’s it. uses only real fruits in their bars and limits its ingredient list two ingredients per flavor. With the company’s expansion into thousands of new retail outlets, it will gain broader access to a consumer base that is increasingly interested in healthy alternatives to traditional on-the-go snacks.

“We are thrilled to introduce our latest flavor, Apple + Coconut, to the marketplace, particularly given the rise in consumer awareness about the health benefits of coconut,” said That’s it. founder Dr. Lior Lewensztain. “As we continue to expand our product offerings as well as our national distribution, we remain whole heartedly dedicated to our founding principles of simplicity, integrity, purity and transparency in our products.”

That’s it. fruit bars come in nine varieties: Apple + Apricot, Apple + Banana, Apple + Blueberry, Apple + Cherry, Apple + Mango, Apple + Pear, Apple + Pineapple, Apple + Strawberry, and Apple + Coconut. They are made without any additives, preservatives, concentrates, purees, juices, added sugars, corn syrup, artificial coloring, or flavoring, and have an 18-month lab-verified shelf life. That’s it. fruit bars are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan, kosher, raw, and diabetic friendly.

 

 

Feeding America Urges Passage of Legislation to Expand Food Donation Tax Deduction

Feeding America leads the nation in recovering food from farmers, the food industry and retailers. Last year the hunger-relief organization rescued 2.2 billion pounds of food that would have otherwise gone into landfills or been plowed under, despite being perfectly edible.

“As we recognize Earth Day this year on April 22, we are pleased to acknowledge the important role Feeding America plays in food rescue and celebrate the fact this food goes where it is needed most—to low-income Americans who are living at risk of hunger. We distribute nearly 4 billion pounds of food and groceries free-of-charge to 46 million people each year through 60,000 food and meal programs served by Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks,” said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America.

To make significant progress in reducing food waste, Feeding America urges Congress to pass HR 644, the “America Gives More Act,” which will expand the food-donation tax deduction and help increase the amount of nutritious food donated to food banks.

Working with industry partners, we do everything within our means to rescue as much food as possible. We would have even more food to offer if the ‘America Gives More Act’ was in place. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the current food-donation tax deduction, some potential donors destroy or dump food, or use it as animal feed, instead of giving it to their local food bank,” said Aiken. “This is a waste of the nutrient value of the food, as well as the environmental resources invested in its production.”

Keeping food out of landfills is a sustainable way to reduce waste, while providing additional meals to people in need. Enactment of this legislation could give Feeding America the opportunity to distribute an additional 100 million meals annually.

“Feeding America is grateful for the significant amount of food we now receive from our donors and the federal government, but improving the food donation deduction is a common-sense policy that helps feed people and protects the environment.

“As our network works on additional ways to locate nutritious food, we are working on pilot programs to identify new donation opportunities. Unfortunately many cannot be implemented until current tax law is changed. Earth Day is the perfect day to ask the Senate to keep food out of landfills and to get it to people in need by voting for the ‘America Gives More Act,’” Aiken said.

Ted Allen of Chopped to Host sofi Awards at Summer Fancy Food Show

Ted Allen, Emmy Award winner and host of three shows on Food Network, including the long-running hit series Chopped, will host the 43rd sofi Awards at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

Ted_Allen_Headshot_HiRez

Allen is a contributing writer for Esquire magazine and author of two cookbooks, including “In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks (Clarkson-Potter, 2012). He was also a series regular on Food Network’s, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” a judge on the first four seasons of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He was the food and wine specialist on Bravo’s “Queer Eye,” which was nominated twice for an Emmy and won the award in 2004.

The sofi Awards are the top honor in the $109 billion specialty food industry. They recognize creativity, innovation and excellence in 32 categories, including chocolate, cheese and vegan or gluten free products.

Allen will serve as keynote speaker and present the awards at a red-carpet ceremony on June 29, 2015.

The awards are the must-attend event at the Summer Fancy Food Show, the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America. Owned and produced by the Specialty Food Association, the show will take place June 28 – June 30, 2015, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

“Ted brings with him a passion for food,” says Association President Ann Daw. “Throughout his career he has influenced millions of people, showing them the importance of the craft, care and joy that food can bring. He is a true inspiration to the industry.”

A strong supporter of anti-hunger initiatives, Allen will donate his speaking fee for the event to City Harvest, the Fancy Food Show’s anti-hunger charity for 26 years. Allen is a member of City Harvest’s Food Council and a frequent participant in the organization’s fundraising events.

“We have rescued close to 2 million pounds of high quality food from the Fancy Food Show and delivered it to hungry New Yorkers, and we are grateful for the support of Ted Allen who is generously donating his speaking fee to support our work,” says Jilly Stephens, Executive Director of City Harvest. “City Harvest appreciates its 26-year relationship with the Specialty Food Association and we are proud to partner again on this exciting event, which is one of our largest annual food rescues.”

Community Coffee Company Introduces New Vanilla Creme Brulee Flavor to Coffee Line-Up This Spring

Community Coffee Company has just released a new flavored coffee that is perfect for spring entertaining and an everyday sweet treat: Community® coffee Vanilla Creme Brulee. Now there’s no reason not to indulge in dessert all day.

Vanilla Creme Brulee, like all Community® coffee products, is made from only the top 10 percent of the world’s coffee beans and has been expertly blended to ensure the very best flavor and aroma. As a result, this sweet and creamy blend has all the flavor and satisfaction of a traditional crème brulee— a light, crisp taste of sugar layered on top of delicious vanilla bean custard.

“With dessert-flavored beverages on the rise, we wanted to give our customers another coffee option for morning, afternoon or night,” says Scott Eckert, Vice President of Marketing, Community Coffee Company. “We developed Vanilla Creme Brulee for those of us who crave a high-quality touch of sweetness in our day.”

Vanilla Crème Brulee can be purchased for a limited time in 12-ounce ground bags and 12-count single-serve cups on the Community Coffee Company website and at grocery stores throughout the Southeast region of the United States. For more information, please visit CommunityCoffee.com.

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