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Food Fraud on a Grand Scale

Touch the Soil News #818 (Feature photos – CCA 2.0) It’s bad enough when over 50 percent of the tuna sold as tuna is not tuna. However, in the European Union and Asian theater of things, this past few months has rocked the grocery industry and the hundreds of egg farmers. At the heart of the things was the discovery of traces in eggs of the chemical fipronil. Fipronil is effective at killing fleas and ticks in poultry flocks, but its use in poultry flocks is illegal. Under investigation and prosecution are a handful of individuals that knowingly put fipronil in products sold to egg farmers while not labeling it.…

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Seeds of a Different Economic Order?

Touch the Soil News #537 Oklahoma State Senator Kevin Matthews has a problem. His small voter district( #11 in northern Tulsa, Oklahoma) is mostly a food desert. Many of his constituents have limited or no access to fresh produce and meats. Ditto for 32 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. Kevin Matthews’ district #11 – an area of approximately 70,000 people – has financial and economic shortcomings – affordability and ready access to food have been compromised. Matthews is exploring the possibility of creating an urban farming system that bypasses the grocery stores that financially cannot come into the area. He has raised the topic in the State Senate and is now…

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Kraft Heinz – Sued for Woodchips in Cheese

Touch the Soil News #348 Okay, have you ever heard of the following people? Bernardo Hess – CEO Kraft Heinz – with a 2015 salary of $5.4 million Paulo Basilio – Chief Financial Officer Kraft Heinz – with a 2015 salary of $3.4 million Eduardo Pelleissone – EVP global operations of Kraft Heinz – with a 2015 salary of $2.5 million These gentlemen are the top three officers of Kraft Heinz Corporation. The company puts forth is reason for existence as: A Platform for Performance. Performance in this case means payouts to investors. So while the senior officers are making millions, and for 2015 having paid out $2.2 billion to…

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Is the World Daydreaming When It Comes to Ending Hunger?

Touch the Soil News #318 We hope not. However, when looking at the theories put forth to solve hunger – one can just scratch their head. By now, most of us have heard it all: In theory, there is enough food to feed everyone – but it is in the wrong location. In theory, the world has enough farmland and water to adequately feed 9.5 billion people (population today is 7.3 billion). In theory, we can end hunger by stopping food waste. Unfortunately the food we waste is often not in the location where there is starvation. In theory, if all the starving families had money, they would not starve.…

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Anatomy of Food Poisoning in America

Touch the Soil News #273 Once a week we visit sources that compile food poisoning and food recall events. Surprisingly there is a new food poisoning or food recall event almost every day. The food poisoning and recall events surrounding Blue Bell Ice Cream provides a window into food handling that is not altogether reassuring. Earlier in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control reported a total of 10 patients infected with several strains of Listeria reported from four states: Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. These illnesses were onset from January 2010 through January 2015. All ten patients were hospitalized. Three deaths were reported from Kansas. The Centers for Disease Control…

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News Round-up

Touch the Soil News #271   Are You A Climatarian Eater? New terms are emerging that identify what kind of eater you are. A climatarian is one who eats with climate change in mind. This generally includes eating locally, choosing pork and poultry over beef and lamb to limit gas emission and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds) to limit food waste.   The Expansion of Food Banking We recently reported on the trend to locate food pantries on college campuses as polls reveal over 35 percent of freshman are food-insecure. On a new front, the Iowa Food Bank has started a new program to quash hunger…

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The Ugly Side of Food

Touch the Soil News #188 Today, for the first time in history, executives of a food manufacturing company were sentenced to jail. Their crime, as executives of Peanut Corporation of America, was in knowingly selling to food processing manufacturers peanuts that were tainted with Salmonella. During 2008 and 2009, 20,000 people were sickened in 46 states and 9 people died as a result of the tainted peanuts. U.S. District Court Judge, W. Louis Sands, sentenced Stewart Parnell and Michael Parnell – the two top executives of Peanut Corporation of America – to 28 years and 20 years in prison respectively. Mary Wilkerson, in her role as quality control manager, was…

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Weird Food Happenings

Touch the Soil News # 177 Over the course of the past few weeks the nation’s food chain has been in a flurry of recalls due to the weirdest of causes. In addition, Salmonella and Listeria issues seem to be off the Richter scale. Is it the full moon or Halloween on the horizon? See if you can make sense of what’s been happening from all of these FDA reports: 8/25/215 │ Macadamia Nuts Jansai Valley Raw Macademia Nuts, distributed nationwide in retails stores and mail orders are possibly contaminated with Salmonella and are being recalled.   8/26/15 │ Cut Green Beans Cascadian Farm Cut Green Beans in 10 ounce…

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Oversights, Carelessness and Corruption Compromise Food

Touch the Soil News #164 The title of this news piece almost reminds one of politics – an activity surrounded by perils, corruption and unsafe practices. One of the investigative themes we cover in Touch the Soil News relates to compromises in the food chain – a scary thought. Yet, it is these kinds of discoveries that support trends for decentralization, localization and transparency – even if it means starting your own food garden for a portion of your nutritional needs. Following are a few highlights from events unfolding within the last 30 days (sources: FDA and Food Safety News): 8/21/15 │ Alphin Brothers – a North Carolina seafood processor…

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How Pervasive is Food Fraud?

Touch the Soil News # 157 Popularly, when the topic of food fraud comes up, we think of foreign countries. Recently, Food Safety News had a special interview with Mitchell Weinberg – who is CEO of a food-fraud investigation firm. According to Weinberg, his company finds food fraud in 50 percent to 60 percent of the investigations they do. Weinberg explains that food fraud goes across the spectrum of all food and in virtually every country in the world. At the end of this story is a videotaped interview with Mitchell Weinberg that is revealing. Food fraud touches many areas including: When one food is substituted for another and it…

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