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News Round-Up

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Touch the Soil News #647 (feature photo – logo of the World Health Organization)   EPA Won’t Belly Up After the World Health Organization announced that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) was a probable carcinogen, the U.S. EPA decided to do its own research. The EPA published a report later on that said Roundup is not likely to be carcinogenic. When consumer advocacy group U.S. Right To Know sued the EPA for the documents used to determine Glyphosate’s safety last May, the EPA has been stonewalling the request. Legally, under the Freedom of Information, the EPA must provide the documents.   Tyson Chicken Tyson Foods announced that all of…

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News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News #454 On August 1, 2016, McDonalds Corporation announced that it had achieved a complete transition away from using chicken products from chickens administered antibiotics used in human medicine. Originally the transition was not to be completed until March, 2017. In other news, McDonalds currently pays a minimum wage to all its employees equal to $1.00 over the local minimum wage. On August 5, 2016, Wendy’s Hamburgers announced that it too was going to phase out the use of chicken raised with antibiotics used in human medicine. Wendy’s said it would complete the transition in 2017. The BBC News just published an in-depth report on the hunger…

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News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News #402 GMO Microbes – Ugh As the world is embroiled over issues surrounding GMO seeds and corporate patenting of seeds, biotech companies are now entering the arena of owning, controlling and technifying soil microbes. Soil microbes are the foundation of life. On average, a person has 3.5 lbs. of microbes in their bodies, the replenishing source being microbes from the soils. Will corporations in time seek to own the bacteria in our gut? Economics and Politics Part Company with Intelligence There is a dairy “price” crisis that is threatening European Union dairy Farmers in general and German dairy farmers in particular. The drivers of this crisis…

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The Fastest Growing (Small) Food Companies (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News #190 Thanks to research from Inc. 5000, we have some insights into the 10 fastest growing food companies and the trends they are setting. These examples, open our minds to lots of opportunities in food and smaller-scale farming. Following are the last 5. Logo courtesy of Deliver Lean Deliver Lean. This company was inspired by the idea that workers are more productive after a fresh, healthy lunch. This Florida meal delivery service grew its revenues 3,000 percent since 2011. http://www.deliverlean.com/googlesummer2014/ Logo courtesy of Kill Cliff Kill Cliff. This company’s vision is to provide functional recovery drinks. The drinks are fortified with B, C, and E vitamins,…

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Can you Name the Largest Food Company in the World? (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 146 Forbes Magazine and News has been one of the closest followers of Cargill, its finances and its global footprint. In its November 23, 2104 issue, Forbes writer Dan Alexander provided some rare insights into what Cargill is presently doing: Creating a $100 million cocoa plant in Indonesia. Putting in a $91 million livestock-feed factory in Korea. Building a large dairy feed facility in India capable of producing 1.2 million metric tons a year. All in all, Cargill has poured more than $3 billion into upgraded facilities, acquisitions and new projects around the world over the past year. Besides being directly involved with food production,…

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The Nation’s Top 100 Restaurants – Can You Find Your Favorites? (Part 2 of 2)

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Touch the Soil News # 138 Here are restaurants #50 to #1. Surprising is the Starbuck’s Coffee is the nation’s #2 restaurant. Restaurants #50 to #26 #50) Steak ‘n Shake                        $952,000,000 #49 Bob Evans                                 $959,900,000 #48 Bojangle’s                                  $1,000,000,000 (one $billion) #47 Culver’s                                       $1,000,000,000 #46 Waffle House                             $1,100,000,000 #45 Ruby Tuesday                            $1,200,000,000 #44 Five Guys Burgers n’ Fries      $1,200,000,000 #43 Wawa                                          $1,200,000,000 #42 Zaxby’s                                       $1,300,000,000 $41 Red Robin                                  $1,400,000,000 #40 Carl’s Jr.                                    $1,500,000,000 #39 LongHorn Steakhouse            $1,500,000,000 #38 Golden Corral Buffet               $1,700,000,000 #37 Jimmy Johns’s                          $1,800,000,000 #36 TGI Fridays                               $1,800,000,000 35 The Cheesecake Factory            $1,800,000,000 #34 Whataburger                             $1,800,000,000 #33 Texas Roadhouse                     $1,900,000,000 #32 Hardee’s                                      $2,100,000,000 #31 7-Eleven stores                           $2,100,000,000 #30 Cracker Barrel Country Store $2,100,000,000 #29 Panda…

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Egg Conundrum

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Touch the Soil News # 135 Consumer pressure to make egg production more humane resulted in a watershed law in California last year. California laws required that on January 1, 2015, any eggs sold in California must come from hens that have at least 116 square inches of floor space – a 73 percent increase over common practices. Egg industry experts estimated that many egg laying enterprises will enlarge the spaces in order to be able to sell in California, but may reduce the number of hens they have. One estimate is that the California law might precipitate the culling of 10 million hens. Unanticipated, however, is the roughly 50…

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News Roundup – Food-Chain News You Might Have Missed

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Touch the Soil News # 134 Kraft-Heinz Merger, Now a Reality The much publicized merger between Kraft Foods and Heinz is now completed according to a recent company press release. Together, the two companies form the third largest food and beverage company in North America and the fifth largest in the world. The Company’s immediate focus will be on integrating the two businesses, establishing a new organizational structure and delivering its 2015 financial objectives. Unfortunately for the employees, stockholders have high expectations, some of which will be funded by eliminating jobs. Estimated are 7,000 job cuts at Heinz and as yet an undetermined number at Kraft. Following is a short…

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Green Sense Farms – Deeper Insight to the Change Coming

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Touch the Soil News # 133 When it comes to raising food, most farmers think about things like land, tractors, harvesting equipment and chemicals. For some crops this may not change much. For other crops, particularly lettuces, micro-greens and herbs, the future may be totally different. Green Sense farms, working with Royal Phillips – a global leader in lighting – is taking a completely different approach. Capital expenditures for setting up farming include specialized LED lighting, a large indoor facility, growing towers and a physical location that puts them within 100 miles of 20 million people. Photo courtesy of Green Sense Farms – from left to right Rob Schlyer -…

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U.S. Food Expenditures – On the Road to $2,000 billion ($2 Trillion)

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Touch the Soil News # 128 Every year the U.S. population grows around 2.7 million and the USDA estimates that food inflation averages 3 percent. By using USDA averages, the U.S. will spend $1,561 billion for total food expenditures in 2015. Of that amount, $26 billion is the value of food grown at home and donated. The following Info Graphic #1 illustrates the growth in total food expenditures. Based upon historical growth averages, we should hit $2 trillion plus by 2021. There are some unknowns between now and then that could change this projection: Will Americans be able to translate their work ethic, skills and labor for enough dollars to…

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