Sen. Roberts Tells Trump Administration to Forget About COOL

Sen. Roberts Tells Trump Administration to Forget About COOL
While the Trump administration prepares to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is warning against any reconsideration of country-of-origin labeling (COOL).
COOL is reportedly among the administration’s “key elements of a model trade agreement” that it aims to address in renegotiating NAFTA and other trade deals. But in a committee hearing last week Roberts told Robert Lighthizer, Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative ambassador, to scrap that idea.

“We’ve been down this road before,” Roberts said. “We fixed the issue of COOL in 2015. We don’t need to go down that road again. We narrowly escaped about $4 billion … in retaliatory tariffs against the United States. I do not think we need a constantly changing list of key elements of a model trade agreement … what we need is a U.S. Trade Representative confirmed … and in place who will embark on a robust trade policy.”

Source:

http://www.northernag.net/AGNews/AgNewsStories/TabId/657/ArtMID/2927/ArticleID/7996/Sen-Roberts-Tells-Trump-Administration-to-Forget-About-COOL.aspx

Brazil’s Rotten Meat Scandal

The agriculture ministry said in an online statement that China had suspended imports of meat from Brazil in health scare (AFP Photo/Miguel SCHINCARIOL)

Brasília (AFP) – The fallout from Brazil’s rotten meat scandal accelerated on Monday when China, a huge client, suspended imports and the European Union demanded a partial ban.

Another ban on Brazilian meat imposed by Chile sparked fears of a trade spat between the two South American partners.

A charm offensive by President Michel Temer, who even invited foreign ambassadors to a traditional meat restaurant in the capital Brasilia late Sunday, failed to calm importers.

China, which with Hong Kong is Brazil’s biggest meat export market, said it needed to know more about the allegations that major meatpacking businesses bribed inspectors to get health certificates and masked tainted meat as fit for consumption.

Read more of this post

Whole Foods To Close Nine Stores & Scale Back Expansion Plans

Whole Foods to close 9 stores amid sluggish sales

Whole Foods Market said Wednesday it will close nine stores in the second quarter as it abandons its goal to open 1,200-plus stores.

“We’re going to continue to grow, but I think we’re going to be a more disciplined growth company than we have been in the past,” John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods, told analysts on the company’s first-quarter earnings call.

Mackey called the closing of the nine stores a “difficult but prudent decision” and said the company will now have more targeted site selection and “continued moderation in ending square footage growth.” He said these moves together will “result in a healthier bottom line, increased cash flow and higher returns.”

Still, the Texas-based company also said it welcomed 14 new stores in the first quarter, including two outlet relocations.

Mackey added the retailer remains “optimistic about the future growth potential for our 365 format but we want to see how this next round of stores perform before getting more aggressive.”

Read more of this post

GMOs Kicked Out of U.S. Organics Guidelines

on Monday, Nov 28th, 2016 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

usda-organic

The National Organic Standards Board voted unanimously last week to update its U.S. standards to ban ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques from certified organic products.

The vote served as a recommendation by the NOSB to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. The board says it will ensure ingredients that are derived from new GE techniques will not wind up in organic certified foods and beverages.

“The NOSB is clear that GMOs do not belong in organic,” Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, told TriplePundit. “In the absence of strong federal regulations on the labeling and commercialization of genetic engineering, the organic standard continues to provide consumers with a transparent and clear way to avoid GMOs in the food they eat.”

One of the new GE methods the board is concerned about is synthetic biology, which designs and constructs new organisms to either produce something they would not normally produce or to edit DNA to stop certain traits from being expressed, according to FOE.

Some synthetic biology ingredients are ending up in food and consumer products without sufficient labeling, just as traditional GE ingredients do. GE ingredients in general lack adequate oversight, the group insists. And some are labeled as ‘natural,’ which is incredibly misleading to consumers. Although a few states passed mandatory GE labeling laws, the federal requirements are murky. Back in August, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that preempts state GE labeling laws, virtually striking them down with what many call a lackluster federal labeling requirementRead more of this post

1,000 Tons of Tainted Meat Seized in South China Including Some ‘Soaked in Bleach’

Chinese police officers check cartons of smuggled meat seized during a raid on a boat in Shenzhen city, south China's Guangdong province, 16 September 2016. Maritime police in southern China's Guangdong province have seized 1,000 tonnes of smuggled meat and arrested 16 suspects during a recent raid, local authorities announced Saturday (17 September 2016). The frozen meat was found wrapped in cardboard boxes in three freezers on a boat and was worth more than 80 million yuan (11.9 million U.S. dollars), police said. The suspects were caught in waters off the coastal city of Shenzhen Thursday, according to police. The frozen meat had no quarantine certificates or legal purchase documents, and included beef, ox tripe, chicken wings, drumsticks, oxtongue and chicken feet, from the United States, Brazil and Thailand.

Chinese police officers check cartons of smuggled meat seized during a raid on a boat in Shenzhen city, south China’s Guangdong province, 16 September 2016.
Maritime police in southern China’s Guangdong province have seized 1,000 tonnes of smuggled meat and arrested 16 suspects during a recent raid, local authorities announced Saturday (17 September 2016). The frozen meat was found wrapped in cardboard boxes in three freezers on a boat and was worth more than 80 million yuan (11.9 million U.S. dollars), police said. The suspects were caught in waters off the coastal city of Shenzhen Thursday, according to police. The frozen meat had no quarantine certificates or legal purchase documents, and included beef, ox tripe, chicken wings, drumsticks, oxtongue and chicken feet, from the United States, Brazil and Thailand.

The bust is the latest food-safety scare in China

Police in China’s southern province of Guangdong have seized $12.3 million of potentially hazardous frozen meat including some reportedly soaked in bleach.

Sixteen suspects were detained in the raid late last week, say local police, who uncovered 1,000 tons meat and offal — chiefly from the U.S., Brazil and Thailand — on a vessel near Dangan Island by the city of Shenzhen.

“A criminal gang that used to smuggle frozen meat products, along with marine smuggling channel in Guangdong waters, were busted in the crackdown,” said a police statement, reports the state-backed China Daily newspaper.

Police said some of the haul — including beef cuts, tripe, tongue and chicken wings — had been soaked in bleach in order to clean the meat and increase its weight. A kilogram of beef weighs more than 1.5 kg after soaking in highly toxic bleach, said police, warning that the doctored meat would have “seriously harmed people’s health.”

The bust is the latest food-safety scare in China, where in recent years consumers have faced horrors such as cadmium-laced rice, fake eggs and infant formula contaminated with the toxic chemical melamine.

Food safety now consistently ranks as a top concern for most Chinese, with exasperated netizens calling for tough punishments after this latest scandal, and asking why standards were not being implemented.

“Could we just execute these offenders?” asked one user of China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

“I’ve become numb after so many food-safety issues,” posted another. “As long as I don’t die of poisoning, I don’t care any more. But I just don’t understand, how difficult is it to implement the rule of law?”

 

Original Article:

1,000 Tons of Tainted Meat Seized in South China Including Some ‘Soaked in Bleach’

Safest food in the world – Canadian edition; US says clean up

The Globe and Mail is reporting that the U.S Agriculture Department has given the Canadian Food Inspection Agency until mid-March to fix significant food safety and sanitation concerns found during an audit of Canada’s meat, poultry and egg inspection systems.
Safest food in the world – Canadian edition; US says clean upCFIA met the “core criteria” for overall food inspection, but American officials identified “operation weaknesses related to government oversight, plant sanitation and microbiological testing” for listeria, salmonella and E. coli, according to a final report submitted to CFIA on Jan. 14.

Failure to fix the deficiencies could lead the U.S. government to delist Canadian plants that were audited from exporting their products to the United States.

CFIA issued a statement to The Globe and Mail late Monday insisting that food safety was not compromised and steps are being taken to improve the inspection system.

“It is important to note that none of the audit findings posed a food safety risk to consumers, including the identified sanitation issues,” CFIA said. “At the time of the audit, the CFIA inspectors were already addressing the sanitation findings outlined in the audit report and the establishments were already taking the required steps to fix the issues in question.”

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) conducted the audit between May 28 and June 13, 2014, of slaughter and processing plants in Ontario and Quebec.

The audit found CFIA does not conduct ongoing environmental sampling and testing in food-production plants for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm), the bacteria that contaminated cold cuts produced by Maple Leaf Foods in 2008 that resulted in the death of 22 Canadians.

Food-plant employees test the surfaces where ready-to-eat meat and poultry is packaged but “does not collect samples or test for the presence of Lm on non-food contact surfaces,” the audit said. Read more of this post

Was That Steak Raised In The USA? Soon, It’ll Be Hard To Know

Was That Steak Raised In The USA? Soon, It'll Be Hard To Know

Country-of-origin labels — like this one, on a package of steak at a grocery store in Lincoln, Neb. — tell consumers where their meat comes from. | Grant Gerlock/NET News

An attachment to the last-minute spending proposal going before Congress this week would end a six-year trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada. If it’s passed, as seems likely, the omnibus budget bill would repeal a law called COOL that requires “country-of-origin labels” on meat. Read more of this post

USDA Searches Globe for Cheap Beef. Congress Works to Ensure it Remains Undifferentiated in U.S.

USDA Searches Globe for Cheap Beef. Congress Works to Ensure it Remains Undifferentiated in U.S.Billings, Mont. – After decades of depressed cattle prices that triggered the unprecedented liquidation of the U.S. cow herd that began in 1996, reports indicate that U.S. cow-calf producers are beginning to experience better times. Read more of this post

Perdue Farms To Buy Natural Meat Maker & Chipotle Pork Supplier Niman Ranch

Perdue Farms to buy Chipotle pork supplier Niman Ranch

Poultry company Perdue Farms will buy natural meat maker Niman Ranch, which is Chipotle Mexican Grill’s biggest pork supplier and a brand name on U.S. restaurant menus, the two companies said on Tuesday. Read more of this post

The Not So COOL Reason You Won’t Know Where Your Steak Came From

The Not So COOL Reason You May Soon Not Know Where Your Steak Came From

Cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy—mad cow disease—have been reported in Brazil as recently as 2014. When a cow was found to have died from the neurogenerative disease, which humans can contract by eating meat from sick animals, in 2012, a number of countries suspended beef imports from Brazil as a precaution. The United States was not among them. Read more of this post

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