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July 24, 2014

Member in the News: Dr. Hailu Kinde Retires from CAHFS



CAST GE Labeling Issue Paper Creates an Impressive Impact


The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) released Issue Paper 54, The Potential Impacts of Mandatory Labeling for Genetically Engineered Food in the United States, on April 28, 2014. This timely paper provides pros and cons on the potential impacts of mandatory labeling, the costs involved with labeling, and experiences in countries that use mandatory labeling.

Since its release, the paper has generated significant interest due to new state initiatives and the growing national debate on mandatory labeling. In addition to a strong day of rollout activity, there have been many follow-on activities, media interviews, a well-attended webinar involving task force authors, and steady website traffic to download the paper and view presentation videos. CAST News Release, 07/22/14


Commentary: Nature Knows Best

If you were asked to name the hottest new beverage in the dairy case these days, would you guess correctly? The answer is almond milk. Why? Ask most consumers, and organoleptic considerations aside, a substantial majority will typically agree that almond milk is a better "environmental choice" than cow's milk. The reasoning goes something like this: It's made from nuts, and nuts grow on trees, and trees are green, so voila! Almond milk must be "green." Plus, cows make manure, which smells terrible, so almond milk has to be a better for the environment, right?

Not so fast. Let's dig a little deeper. Although most brands boast about the low calorie count per serving – an eight–ounce serving of unsweetened almond milk is only 30 to 35 calories – there's a reason for that. The main ingredient is filtered water. That's why an eight–ounce glass of almond milk offers only has one gram of protein and less than of one gram each of fiber, versus almost 8 grams of protein in a comparable size serving of cows milk. Of those 30 "delicious" calories, 25 (or 83 percent) are from fat. What you're buying for the $3.50 to $4.00 it costs for a two–quart carton is basically a container of water laced with a dose of ground almonds, plus some emulsifiers to maintain the suspension and food gums to mimic the mouthfeel of dairy milk.

But here's the most disturbing aspect of the sudden surge in almond milk sales, which is fueled in large part by all the vegetarian advocates who ceaselessly demonize cow's milk: It requires more than a gallon of water just to grow one single almond. By Dan Murphy, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14

Poultry Rule Would Shift Inspection Responsibilities

A coalition of consumer groups has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget to release the latest version of a rule to change poultry inspection and open a new comment period. Unconfirmed reports have circulated that USDA pulled back on a proposal to increase the speed at which chickens whizz past inspectors after a meeting with the National Council of La Raza, which speaks for the Hispanic workers employed in the plants.

The rule, promulgated by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would shift some poultry inspection responsibilities from federally employed inspectors to employees of the poultry companies, theoretically freeing the federal employees to perform other tasks. The original version of the rule also shifted the allowed line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. Members of the Safe Food Coalition that signed the letter urging that the rule be made public and open to comment include: Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, Government Accountability Project, National Consumers League, and STOP Foodborne Illness.By Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek, 07/21/14



Commentary: Nature Knows Best

If you were asked to name the hottest new beverage in the dairy case these days, would you guess correctly? The answer is almond milk. Why? Ask most consumers, and organoleptic considerations aside, a substantial majority will typically agree that almond milk is a better "environmental choice" than cow's milk. The reasoning goes something like this: It's made from nuts, and nuts grow on trees, and trees are green, so voila! Almond milk must be "green." Plus, cows make manure, which smells terrible, so almond milk has to be a better for the environment, right?

Not so fast. Let's dig a little deeper. Although most brands boast about the low calorie count per serving – an eight–ounce serving of unsweetened almond milk is only 30 to 35 calories – there's a reason for that. The main ingredient is filtered water. That's why an eight–ounce glass of almond milk offers only has one gram of protein and less than of one gram each of fiber, versus almost 8 grams of protein in a comparable size serving of cows milk. Of those 30 "delicious" calories, 25 (or 83 percent) are from fat. What you're buying for the $3.50 to $4.00 it costs for a two–quart carton is basically a container of water laced with a dose of ground almonds, plus some emulsifiers to maintain the suspension and food gums to mimic the mouthfeel of dairy milk.

But here's the most disturbing aspect of the sudden surge in almond milk sales, which is fueled in large part by all the vegetarian advocates who ceaselessly demonize cow's milk: It requires more than a gallon of water just to grow one single almond. By Dan Murphy, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/21/14

Poultry Rule Would Shift Inspection Responsibilities

A coalition of consumer groups has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Management and Budget to release the latest version of a rule to change poultry inspection and open a new comment period. Unconfirmed reports have circulated that USDA pulled back on a proposal to increase the speed at which chickens whizz past inspectors after a meeting with the National Council of La Raza, which speaks for the Hispanic workers employed in the plants.

The rule, promulgated by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, would shift some poultry inspection responsibilities from federally employed inspectors to employees of the poultry companies, theoretically freeing the federal employees to perform other tasks. The original version of the rule also shifted the allowed line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175 birds per minute. Members of the Safe Food Coalition that signed the letter urging that the rule be made public and open to comment include: Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, Government Accountability Project, National Consumers League, and STOP Foodborne Illness.By Jerry Hagstrom, Agweek, 07/21/14



Watch for Illegally Compounded Animal Drugs

In the wake of recent horse deaths following treatment with compounded drugs, the Animal Health Institute (AHI) is warning veterinarians to avoid these products and be cognizant of the risks and potential liability they present. In a news conference this week, AHI and others also called on the FDA to step up their enforcement of laws regulating manufacture of compounded drugs. By John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian, 07/16/14

Researchers Use "Big Data" to Track Zoonotic Diseases

About 60 percent of diseases are zoonotic, or can pass between humans and various animal species, and understanding the pathways and complex relationships between pathogens, hosts and environmental factors is key to improving control strategies.

To untangle some of those relationships, researchers at the University of Liverpool in England are developing the Enhanced Infectious Diseases (EID2) database with funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The researchers have built a database team member and epidemiologist Dr. Marie McIntyre, says is "matchless in scale, and has the capacity to hold data on all known human and animal pathogens, when detailed information becomes available." The database has been used in efforts to trace the history of human and animal diseases, predict the effects of climate change on pathogens, produce maps of which diseases are most likely in some areas and categorize the complex relationships between human and animal carriers and hosts of numerous pathogens. By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork, 07/17/14



USDA Offers PEDv Reporting Instructions, Other Details

The USDA has followed up with more specifics on how to understand and comply with its Federal Order on June 5 that requires pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive or confirmed positive occurrences of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), Porcine Deltacoronavirus, (PDCoV) or other swine enteric coronavirus diseases (SECDs) that meet the case definition. The details currently available, including the newly revised SECD Herd Plan Requirements and other instructions on potentially reimbursable expenses, can be found HERE. National Pork Board via PORK Network, 07/15/14

APHIS Posts May 2014 Scrapie Report

The May 2014 report for the National Scrapie Eradication Program has been posted HERE, (PDF). Published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the report reviews the current progress of scrapie eradication in the United States.

Eight source flocks (including two goat herds) and three infected flocks were designated in fiscal year 2013. As of May 31, 2014, two source flocks and three infected flocks have been designated in fiscal year 2014. At the end of fiscal year 2013, the percentage of cull sheep found positive at slaughter and adjusted for face color was 0.015 percent. This measure of prevalence has decreased by 90 percent since slaughter surveillance started in fiscal year 2003. ASI Weekly, 07/18/14



 



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