The USDA has begun to issue a monthly report providing data on the cage-free egg market, including wholesale and retail prices, production estimates, flock size estimates for both organic and conventional cage-free eggs. Wholesale price data includes contract-traded and spot market egg sales. Retail price information covers large and extra-large cage-free eggs gleaned from the advertising materials of 29,000 U.S. grocers. Cage-free organic and conventional egg production data are based on flock size estimates coupled with egg laying rates. In related news, IKEA restaurants and foodservice provider Compass Group have committed to cage-free eggs, along with Six Flags Entertainment’s amusement parks by 2026.
"USDA Introduces New Report Covering the Cage-free Egg Market", News release, USDA, October 21, 2016
Chicken supplier Perdue Farms says it has ended the routine use of antibiotics at all of its facilities, a process it began in 2007. It still uses antibiotics when chickens get sick, something that happens to about five percent of its flocks each year. Other poultry producers have promised to reduce antibiotics use, but Perdue has taken it a step further. It has eliminated not only human antibiotics, but also a class of antibiotics known as ionophores, which are toxic to humans. Other poultry companies that have committed to a no-antibiotics program include Tyson Foods, Foster Farms and Pilgrim's Pride. However, one producer, Sanderson Farms, has mocked the term "raised without antibiotics" as a worthless marketing gimmick.
"Perdue Goes (Almost) Antibiotic-Free", NPR, October 07, 2016
Ardent Mills recently exhibited at a major baking industry exposition, where it featured some of its newest grain-based industry solutions. Among the showcased innovations were a line of clean label flours containing no bleach, bromate or other additives, grown and ground the old-fashioned way. The company showed an array of ancient grains and new heirloom wheats that included quinoa, organic spelt and triticale. Also displayed: sprouted wheat and new sprouted wheat blends, and new blends made with Sprouted Wheat Ultragrain High Performance that offer whole grain nutrition, gluten strength, higher absorption, and lower formula costs.
"Ardent Mills Introduces New Products, Highlights Portfolio of Premium Multi-Use Flour, Organic Flours and Grains at the IBIE Show in Las Vegas", News release, Ardent Mills, October 07, 2016
Papa John’s International pizza chain CEO John Schnatter announced that the company has kept its promise to eliminate 14 dubious ingredients from its menu by the end of 2016. The list of unwanted ingredients includes artificial flavors and colors, corn syrup, flavor enhancers, thickeners, and preservatives. The company did not say what replacement ingredients were used. Schnatter also noted that the chicken the company uses in its chicken poppers and to top its grilled chicken pizza are all fed a vegetarian, antibiotics-free diet. It is also using only cage-free eggs.
"Papa John's Completes Removal of 14 Unwanted Ingredients", News release, Papa John's, October 04, 2016
People who try to eliminate all grains from their diet – many say it makes them feel better – are missing the point. Grains are in fact an excellent source of nutrients, but only when they are not highly processed. Whole grains retain B vitamins and fiber, minerals like selenium and copper, as well as carbohydrates and varying amounts of protein. Processed grains contain significantly lower amounts of these nutrients. Studies have shown that eating whole grains is associated with lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from all causes. But diets high in refined grains seem to increase the risk of these health problems.
"Is a Grain-Free Diet Healthy?", Healthline, September 30, 2016
The Progresso soup brand of General Mills announced that all of the chicken breast meat used in its 36 chicken soup varieties is free of antibiotics and hormones. In addition, the soups contain no artificial flavors and 60 percent of them contain no artificial colors. The company hopes to eliminate all artificial colors within three years. The soup brand has reduced sodium levels in more than 40 soup varieties, added seven soups to its certified Gluten Free product line and is increasing its vegetarian soup options.
"Progresso Completes Move To Antibiotic And Hormone Free Chicken Breasts In All Chicken Soup Varieties", News release, Progresso, September 26, 2016
A Philippines-based baking company is now offering “healthilicious” treats made with mango flour. Because it is gluten-free, the flour is trickier to use, requiring substitute ingredients that provide binding capacity. In the case of Magic Melt Foods, egg white was the gluten substitute along with other healthful ingredients. This allowed them to make muffins, bread, energy bars, and sandwiches using mango flour. Their decision to offer mango-based baked goods is well-timed: market research projects consumer demand for natural and healthy bread and baked food products to reach $310 billion this year.
"Pastry chain goes gluten-free, using mangoes", Sun Star , September 26, 2016
A new nonprofit watchdog organization has compiled a list of baby and toddler foods that are contaminated by harmful ingredients. The Clean Label Project’s list highlights the products that meet or exceed standards established by its medical advisors based on independent lab analyses. Eighty-one percent of the 628 tested products failed to meet the standards. Baby foods were tested for toxic and heavy metals – e.g., arsenic, lead, cadmium – pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA), antibiotics, food coloring and flavors, and other unwanted substances that do not appear on ingredient labels. Eighty percent of infant formulas and 60 percent of meat and dairy baby food jars contained detectable antibiotic residues. One-third of jars and meals... More
"Clean Label Project reveals baby food brands with least contaminants", News release, Clean Label Project, September 20, 2016
The Natural Resources Defense Council and other consumer advocates have flunked 17 of the top 25 fast food chains in the U.S. on the basis of antibiotics use in their menu items. Big name eateries that earned the F grade because of a lack of a strong policy on antibiotics use include KFC, Burger King, Starbucks, IHOP, and Little Caesars. The stars of the class, earning A’s, were Chipotle and Panera Bread. Subway and Chick-fil-A earned a B, while McDonald’s snagged a C+. The FDA discourages producers from using antibiotics routinely in feed to promote growth, but does not prohibit the practice. It also supports routine use in meat and poultry production for disease prevention. The ratings appear in NRDC’s “Chain Reaction” report.
"Chipotle, Panera lauded over antibiotics rules; many chains fail", San Francisco Gate, September 20, 2016