July 12, 2024

USDA Issues Revised Guidance on Food Date Labeling

Most consumers are pretty confused when it comes to the meaning of date labels on foods. For instance, what does "use by" mean? Does that mean the food is unsafe after that date? What does "sell by" mean? So the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has issued updated information on food product labeling. They are encouraging food manufacturers and retailers to use a "Best If Used By" date to help reduce food waste. Al Almanza, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said, "In an effort to reduce food loss and waste, these changes will give consumers clear and consistent information when it comes to date labeling on the food they buy. This new guidance can help consumers save money and curb the amount of wholesome food going in the trash." Product dating is not … [Read more...]

USDA Finalizes Guidelines for Food Allergens

The USDA has released a set of guidelines to help reduce adverse reactions to allergens in food. The 26-page set will help meat, poultry, and processed egg product producers to manage ingredients that trigger allergic reactions. There are eight main food allergens addressed in this country: eggs, fish, soy, tree nuts, milk, peanuts, wheat, and shellfish. Those ingredients are the ones that cost the most allergic reactions, about 90%. The guidelines state that the number of recalls of USDA-regulated products for undeclared allergens increased from seven in 2008 to 29 in 2012. USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Al Almanza said in a statement, "our mission as a public health agency is to protect America's most vulnerable populations, including children, from harm, and these new … [Read more...]

CSPI Asks FDA to Label Sesame an Allergen

Regular readers of this site know that recalls are often issued in Canada for sesame seeds, but those types of recalls are not issued in the U.S. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is asking the FDA to require that sesame be disclosed on food labels in the same manner as the other major food allergens, which include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, what, and soy. When Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act in 2004, the "Big 8" allergens account for 90% of allergic reactions caused by food. But experts think that sesame is an emerging cause of severe allergy. About 300,000 to 500,000 Americans are allergic to sesame. CSPI filed the petition earlier this month, asking that the agency raise awareness among food service … [Read more...]

Rep. DeLauro Urges OMB to Finalize Mechanically Tenderized Beef Rule

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) wrote to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget this week, urging him to finalize the new USDA rule on mechanically tenderized beef products. There may be a delay implementing this critical rule if it is not finalized by December 31, 2014. Mechanically tenderized beef has been pierced with blades or needles to break up connective tissue so the meat is more tender. Unfortunately, this process pushes pathogenic bacteria present on the surface of the cut into the interior. Then, if the meat is cooked less than well-done, those bacteria survive in the center of the product, and can make someone sick. A 2008 study by USDA states that about 50,000,000 pounds of this product are sold every month without labels warning consumers of … [Read more...]

GE Food Labeling Bill Introduced in California

A new bill to label genetically engineered (GE) foods in California was introduced last week into the California senate. The bill is backed by the Center for Food Safety and other food safety and consumer advocates. It's sponsored by a coalition called Californians for GE Food Labeling. CFS west coast director Rebecca Spector said in a statement, "California consumers want the right to know what is in the food they eat, plain and simple. As a founding member of Californians for GE Food Labeling and lead authors of the legislation, we are proud to see our state legislators introduce this important bill." SB 1381 is a "simpler, cleaner" version of Prop 37, the proposed law that narrowly lost in election 2012. The No on Prop 37 group was heavily funded by large corporations such as … [Read more...]

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