US food safety shake-up; Colombia’s coffee woes: Global News Bites

Global News Bites keeps you up-to-date on what's happening around the world in food and beverage manufacturing.

FDA proposes new food safety standards
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. The proposed rules implement the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) … The proposed rules build on significant strides made during the Obama Administration, including the first egg safety rule protecting consumers from Salmonella and stepped up testing for E. coli in beef as well as existing voluntary industry guidelines for food safety, which many producers, growers and others currently follow … The first rule proposed would require makers of food to be sold in the United States, whether produced at a foreign- or domestic-based facility, to develop a formal plan for preventing their food products from causing foodborne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise. The FDA seeks public comment on this proposal. The FDA is proposing that many food manufacturers be in compliance with the new preventive controls rules one year after the final rules are published in the Federal Register but small and very small businesses would be given additional time. The FDA also seeks public comment on the second proposed rule released today, which proposes enforceable safety standards for the production and harvesting of produce on farms. This rule proposes science- and risk-based standards for the safe production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables.

Improvement in Colombia coffee production 'urgently required': Agriculture Minister
Colombia's Minister of Agriculture on Sunday said that the government is dedicated and has proven its dedication to aiding the country's sluggish coffee industry. In a press release from the Ministry of Agriculture, Juan Camilo Restrepo called the decline in Colombia coffee production in 2012 "troubling and disappointing" and that improvement in 2013 is "urgently required." Restrepo said that the administration remains determined to assisting Colombian farmers through this troubling period. The Minister of Agriculture noted that 75% of funds invested into the coffee industry come directly from the national government. Restrepo also mentioned the $33 per load subsidy farmers are currently getting to help offset the declining international price of coffee, which fell 26% in 2012. A calamitous 2012 production season caused the national government to directly subsidize farmers whose production numbers represented a 33-year low. The dramatic decline, according to the Communications Director for Colombia's National Federation of Coffee Growers [FNC], was due to a myriad of factors including global market fluctuation, torrential rains and a rising peso. Besides a shifting global market, a heavy rainy season "prevented flowering and sparked an increase in coffee tree diseases" which dramatically affected production goals. Despite the disappointing 2012 season, the Minister of Agriculture said he remained hopeful that the industry would rebound in 2013.

UK 'mega deals' at three-year high
The number of big deals increased from 24 to 39, helped by the £5bn acquisition of NDS by US software company Cisco and by the £4.6bn partial acquisition of Alliance Boots by US rival Walgreens. In total, such deals accounted for £128bn in 2012 and helped boost the overall value of deals by 4.8pc, from £231bn in 2011 to £242bn in 2012. The most active sector for large deals was food and drink manufacturing, followed by chemical manufacturing, and professional and business services. Deals included Diageo’s £1.3bn acquisition of Vijay Mallya’s stake in Indian drinks company United Spirits, as well as the £1.2bn sale of Weetabix to Chinese conglomerate Bright Food.

Udyami meet: Food processing industry in state under focus
The food processing industry in Bihar came under focus at the Udyami panchayat here on Monday, at which the entrepreneurs aired their problems and chief minister Nitish Kumar, who headed a team of ministers and top officials, promised to address them. Promoters and representatives of rice and wheat flour mills, rural agri business centres, processing units of maize, fruits and vegetables, biscuit manufacturing and edible oil processing units attended the meeting. The State Industrial Promotion Board (SIPB) has approved altogether 533 projects under food processing sector with the total projected cost of Rs 5942.74 crore. Of this, over Rs 762 crore has already been invested, said industry minister Renu Kumari Kushwaha after the meeting … The SIPB has also approved proposals for 28 new sugar mills at a projected cost of Rs 6507.86 crore, extension of 10 existing sugar mills for Rs 956.64 crore, establishment of ethanol plants at three existing sugar mills at an outlay of Rs 151 crore, said principal secretary, industry, Navin Verma.

Canadian Health Officials 15 E. coli Illnesses in Eastern Provinces
Canada’s eastern and adjoining provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are reporting 15 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7. None of the illnesses have yet been traced to a source. Ten of the E. coli illnesses are located in central Nova Scotia, with five reported by the Capital District Health, two by the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority, and one each by the Pictou, Cumberland, and Colcherster East Hants health authorities. On the other side of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, heath officials reported two cases were reported in the St. John region and three in the Fredericton region. Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer for New Brunswick, said it is not known if there is a common source for the cases. A number of possible sources are being investigated. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer for Nova Scotia, said that it would not be uncommon for there to be additional cases as it may take as long as ten days for some people to begin to experience symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 and get tested. One of the Nova Scotia patients experienced kidney failure, but along with the others is said to be recovering. In New Brunswick, four illnesses were treated by emergency room visits, and one victim was hospitalized.

Federal agriculture minister announces Canada-wide information hubs
Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the government will phase in 16 information hubs for farmers, fishers and foresters needing advice on growing and selling their products. Ritz made the announcement at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratories in Saskatoon. He said the centres will have expertise on newly developed crop strains, strategies to increase yields and best practices related to food safety. For example, a canola company needing information on export regulations on food-grade canola will have one-stop access to the rules through a centre. The hubs are to be spread across Canada and are to specialize in an activity concentrated in a given region such as shellfishing in Moncton, N.B., and forestry in Burnaby, B.C. Ritz says producers located far from any centre will be able to get advice through a toll-free number or digital means.

Change4Life advertising campaign highlights sugar and fat in food
A graphic government television campaign highlighting the levels of sugar, fat and salt in everyday foods, including a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza, will be launched on Monday during an episode of Coronation Street. The adverts will bookend commercial food adverts, including from Asda, the Co-Op and Quorn, featuring their healthier ranges. The campaign is part of the Change4Life scheme. The public health minister, Anna Soubry, said: "We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use." The government has been criticised in the past by many in the health sector for not introducing a mandatory simple uniform labelling system, but has finally won agreement from major supermarkets to introduce a traffic light system of labelling on a voluntary basis this year. Soubry said with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, there was more to do. "Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.

US Demand for Plastic Film to Grow 1.9% Annually to 16 Billion Pounds in 2016
US demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.9 percent annually to 16 billion pounds in 2016, with a market value of $19 billion. Expansion of the market will be fostered by an acceleration in economic growth and an increase in consumer spending, which will drive demand for film used in diverse applications such as retail sales, manufacturing, and construction. Advances will also be helped by an increase in the use of film in packaging, where it offers advantages in cost, performance, and source reduction over other packaging materials. The versatility of plastic film increasingly allows for the downgauging of packaging, reducing the amount of material needed and lowering production and shipping costs, while maintaining desired characteristics.


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