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Dallas Gourmet Gold Specialty Food Awards Call for Entries

Dallas Market Center is calling for entries for the nineth annual Dallas Gourmet Gold Specialty Food Awards to be held at Dallas Market Center during the Total Housewares and Gourmet Market, June 20-26. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of Dallas Market Center’s Gourmet Market, in addition to milestone anniversaries of many of its exhibitors.

The Gourmet Gold Specialty Food Awards celebrates exceptional manufacturers in the gourmet products industry exhibiting at Dallas Market Center. With more than 1,000 product lines of gourmet food and accessories featured in the Gourmet Market in the World Trade Center, gourmet maintains a strong presence at Dallas Market Center as resources in the category continue to expand.

June 2018 Gourmet Gold Specialty Foods Awards categories are:

• Best Baked – cookies, cake, breads, mixes
• Best Beverage – hot or cold
• Best Condiment I – sauces, rubs, seasonings
• Best Condiment II – oils, vinegars, dressings
• Fruit Confit – jams, jellies, preserves, marmalades
• Best Soup/Chili
• Best Chocolate Candy/Dessert
• Best Non-Chocolate Candy/Dessert
• Best Snack – dips, salsas, nuts
• Best Healthy Lifestyle – organic, gluten free, sugar free

Food entries are judged based on taste, originality, and packaging. Participation is limited to current Gourmet Market exhibitors or temporary exhibitors for the June market. Participants may enter in up to two categories; entry fee is $50 per entry or two for $75. Click here to enter before the deadline of Friday, May 21, 2018.

Judging will take place Thursday, June 21 and winners will be revealed during an awards ceremony and cocktail reception on Friday, June 22, in the World Trade Center Atrium at 6 p.m.

For three decades, Gourmet Market at Dallas Market Center has been the buyers’ resource for “everything gourmet.” Featuring more than 1,000 product lines from specialty food and beverages, kitchen and wine accessories, housewares, casual tabletop, and gifts for all occasions. It is the only permanent showroom in the gourmet industry open daily between markets with full time staff on site.

The 30th Anniversary of Gourmet Market brings with it many milestone anniversaries for its exhibitors as well. The following exhibitors will be honored during the Gourmet Gold Specialty Food Awards during June Total Housewares and Gourmet Market:

  • Carmie’s Kitchen, 1988
  • Lammes Candies, 1988
  • Redstone Foods, 1988
  • Sweet Shop USA, 1988
  • Claudia B Chocolates, 1996
  • Indianola Pecan House, 1997
  • Lois Roush, 1997
  • Pelican Bay, 1997
  • New Canaan Farms, 1998
  • Great San Saba River Pecans, 1999
  • Neighbors Coffee, 1999
  • Quintessential Chocolates, 2000
  • Holiday Tins & Containers, 2001
  • Prairie Thyme, 2001
  • Coffee City, 2002

For more information visit Gourmet Gold Awards. For a complete list of events, visit the Dallas Market Center website.

Organic Trade Association Wheels in Artillery for Court Battle on Animal Welfare Standards

The Organic Trade Association this week ratcheted up its court battle against the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the agency’s failure to put into effect new organic livestock standards, with two of America’s most influential animal welfare groups joining the association in its ongoing legal fight to uphold the integrity of organic standards.

In a new filing that revised the original complaint against USDA to reflect the department’s move to withdraw the rule, the Organic Trade Association was joined by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) as co-plaintiffs in the suit.

USDA on March 13 announced its intention to withdraw the final regulation on May 13, contending that the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) gives the National Organic Program the authority to regulate only veterinary medications, not animal care, welfare or production standards. The Organic Trade Association’s amended complaint — filed on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — argues that this new claim by USDA is a “novel and erroneous” view of OFPA that “conflicts with every prior administration’s approach to rulemaking under the OFPA and the National Organic Standards Board.”

“We welcome the critical support of our friends in the animal welfare community in standing up against the Administration’s attack on this important organic standard,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “In USDA’s attempt to kill this fully vetted final regulation, they’ve taken a radical departure from conclusions reached over more than 20 years of rulemakings regarding organic livestock care, and have assumed an aberrant view that has no historical basis or legal justification.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is North America’s oldest humane organization with roughly 2.7 million supporters nationwide. The Animal Welfare Institute is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people, and has sought to improve the welfare of farm animals since the early 1950s.

The Organic Trade Association is also challenging USDA’s assertion that it does not have to consult with the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) — the advisory board to the National Organic Program established by OFPA – before withdrawing the regulation.

“The organic standard-making process established by Congress requires consultation with the National Organic Standards Board to make or amend existing organic standards,” said Batcha. “The day the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final regulation was published, it became the regulation of the National Organic Program. Withdrawal of this regulation requires NOSB’s consultation and review.”

The Organic Trade Association said that USDA continues to flagrantly disregard and refuse to consider the overwhelming support from the public for the organic animal welfare rule.

“USDA knows the public overwhelmingly supports the implementation of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) regulation. Indeed, in its announcement to withdraw the rule, USDA noted that out of the 72,000 comments it received, over 63,000 opposed the withdrawal of the final rule, and that only 50 supported its withdrawal,” said Batcha. “But despite the clear evidence of the public sentiment, USDA is acting against the will of the public, and the will of the organic sector.”

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule was published on Jan. 19, 2017, after more than a decade of extensive public input and a thorough vetting process. Before the final withdrawal, the government had attempted six times – either through the rulemaking process or through court filings — to delay the implementation of the rule.

The regulation addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices: living conditions, animal healthcare, transport, and slaughter. Most importantly, it stops the use of “porches” from being allowed in organic poultry production and requires producers to give their poultry access to the outdoors.

The Organic Trade Association filed its lawsuit against USDA last September over the department’s delays in the implementation of the OLPP regulation. The lawsuit argues that USDA violated the Organic Foods Production Act by failing to consult with NOSB on the rollback of the final organic standard, and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards developed by industry and in accordance with the established rulemaking processes. The suit also argues that USDA issued its repeated delays without the required public process, and that USDA ignored the overwhelming public record established in support of these organic standards. Those arguments still stand.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, support for the legal action against USDA has grown. A host of organic stakeholders representing thousands of organic farming families, organic certifiers and organic policymakers – along with leading retail brands and groups speaking out for millions of consumers — have supported the suit as declarants harmed by the USDA action. The declarants include:

  • George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative;
  • Gina Asoudegan, Vice President of Mission and Innovation Strategy for Applegate;
  • Jesse Laflamme, co-founder of Pete & Gerry’s Eggs;
  • Robynn Schrader, CEO of National Co+op Grocers;
  • Kyla Smith, Chair of Directors for the Accredited Certifiers Association (ACA);
  • Tom Chapman, Chairman of the National Organic Standards Board and Director of Ingredient Sourcing at Clif Bar & Company.

In addition to the lawsuit’s co-plaintiffs, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a separate lawsuit on Jan. 12 against USDA for withdrawing the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices regulation. HSUS is the largest animal protection group in the country with some 10 million members.

“Support for our lawsuit is rapidly growing,” said Batcha. “Being organic is a choice, and all of our organic stakeholders – from farmers to retailers – work hard every day to voluntarily abide by organic standards. They want clear consistent standards. Consumers want clear consistent organic standards. We call upon the government to act responsibly as the steward of our federal organic program. That is what the organic community wants, what consumers expect and what the law mandates.”

View the complete amended complaint from the Organic Trade Association.

And the sofi Award Goes to…

By Lorrie Baumann

The two best cheeses entered into this year’s sofi Awards competition were made by Rogue Creamery and Vermont Creamery. Rogue Creamery won a gold sofi Award for Organic Rogue River Blue, which won from among 68 entries in the category for cow milk cheeses, while Vermont Creamery’s Cremont, an aged mixed-milk cheese, won from among 65 entries in the category for non-cow milk and mixed-milk cheeses.

Vermont Creamery also won the best new product award in the non-cow milk category for its Fresh Goat Cheese Log with Clover Blossom Honey and a silver award in the dairy and dairy alternative category for its Creme Fraiche. Medlee Foods, LLC, won the gold award for the best dairy or dairy alternative product with its Red Chile Seasoned Butter. Nduja Artisans Co. won the gold award for charcuterie with Finocchiona.

The announcements came on April 11 in videotaped presentations by Specialty Food Association President Phil Kafarakis. Gold, silver and bronze awards were given on the basis of taste and ingredient quality, while new product winners were also judged on innovation, which was defined for the judges as an unexpected culinary experience, creativity in making the product healthier and/or sustainable or a sense that the product is on trend with changing consumer preferences. All of the winners will be displayed in the sofi Awards showcase at the Summer Fancy Food Show, June 30-July 2 at Javits Center in New York City. For the full list of this year’s awards, click here.

Gold awards also went to Loacker USA, Inc. for its Loacker Gran Pasticceria Tortina White in the baked good category, to La Tourangelle for its Roasted Virgin Peanut Oil in the baking ingredient category and for its roasted Pistachio Oil in the category for nut oils. La Tourangelle’s Roasted Walnut Oil won the bronze award in the nut oils category.

Wildly Delicious Fine Foods took home gold in the barbecue sauce category for its Badass Smoked Sriracha & Roasted Garlic Mop Sauce. The award for the best cooking sauce or marinade went to Salsaology for its Ancho Chile & Tamarind Sauce.

In the three chocolate categories: one for dark chocolate, one for milk and white chocolate and one for a chocolate candy, the three gold awards went to Poco Dolce for its Olive Oil and Sea Salt Chocolate Bar, to Milkboy Swiss Chocolates for its Swiss Alpine Milk Chocolate with Crunchy Caramel and Sea Salt and to Droga Chocolates for its Money on Honey Toasted Coconut Almond. Milkboy Swiss Chocolates also won the silver award for Swiss Alpine Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds and best new product for Swiss White Chocolate with Blue Potato Chips and Sea Salt. Neuchatel Chocolates won the gold award for a vegan product with its Vegan Dark Chocolate with Hazelnut Nectar, Honey Mama’s won gold in the sweet snack category with Honey Cocoa Bar Nibs and Coffee and Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier won the gold award in the confection category for its Strawberry Mango Gummy Pandas.

Mouth Foods received the gold award for the best cookie with its Smart Cookie Orange Pistachio Shortbread, and That’s How We Roll, LLC, won in the cracker category for its Kitchen Table Bakers Parm Crisps Original. The award for the best ice cream or gelato went to Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream for its Black Sesame Ice Cream, while the award for the best dessert sauce or topping went to Mount Mansfield Maple Products for its Single Malt Barrel Aged Organic Pure Vermont Maple Syrup.

There were two categories for cold beverages, one for a drink and cocktail mix and the other for a ready-to-drink beverage. Improper Goods LLC took home the gold award in the cocktail mix category for its The Bitter Housewife Cardamom Bitters, while Brands Within Reach took the gold award for a ready-to-drink beverage for Belvoir Fruit Farms Cucumber & Mint Lemonade. The gold award for the best hot beverage went to Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate for its Drinking Chocolate Belize Toldeo.

Date Lady won the gold award for the best condiment for its California Date Syrup as well as the silver award in the dessert sauce or topping category for its Pure Date Syrup and the bronze award in the category for vegan products with its Coconut Caramel Date Sauce. Cafe Spice Global Cuisine won the gold award in the gluten free category for its Cafe Spice Vegetable Bhajias with Chutneys.

In the granola category Cucina Classica Organic Italian 10 Minute Farro won the gold award. It’s imported to the U.S. by Atalanta Corporation. The French Farm received the gold award in the honey category for L’Abeille Occitane Pure Lavender Honey, and Blake Hill Preserves won the gold award in the category for jams and preserves with its Cardamom-infused Meyer Lemon Marmalade. In the nut and seed butter category, Manna Organics won gold with Manna Butter Coconut Cashew and silver with Manna Butter Hazelnut Cocoa Truffle.

In the olive oil category, Planeta Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italian Products USA won gold, and the winning vinegar was Villa Manodori Dark Cherry Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, imported by De Medici Imports, Ltd.

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