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Period: April 23, 2011 to May 21, 2011
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Food Safety Problems Plague China Again

Two years ago China reacted swiftly to the melamine-contaminated milk scandal that sickened thousands of children: the government threatened, raided and arrested – even executed – disreputable food processors. But efforts by the government to enforce a tougher food safety law are falling short, The New York Times reports, as “a stomach-turning string of food-safety scandals this spring” has provided evidence of a continued problem. The media have reported on recycled buns, fake eggs, pork contaminated with drugs, pork sold as beef after being soaked in borax, rice contaminated with the heavy metal cadmium, arsenic-laced soy sauce, etc. And without a strong consumer lobby to voice its concerns, consumers feel helpless. Government officials meanwhile, though admitting embarrassment, say the situation is improving.

"In China, Fear of Fake Eggs and ‘Recycled’ Buns", New York Times, May 07, 2011

Coca-Cola Refuses To Budge On The BPA Issue

Arguing that the use of bisphenol A (BPA) is not only safe but is the only commercially viable way to line beverage cans, the Coca-Cola Company is refusing to give in to demands from shareholders for information about whether it plans to phase out the use of the controversial chemical. More than 25 percent of shareholders at the company’s annual meeting voted for disclosure of the company’s plans, if any, for addressing consumer concerns over BPA use in its beverage cans, and called for phasing out its use. BPA has been linked to neurological defects, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

"Coca-Cola shareholders demand resolution on chemical", California Watch, March 29, 2011

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

Opposition To GM Crops Expressed At Organic Seed Exchange Festival In Greece

About  5,000 people attended a festival in northeastern Greece to exchange seeds and voice opposition to genetically modified crops. European countries are under pressure from American GM producers such as Monsanto who argue that European bans on GM products violate global trade rules. The European Union has approved only two GM-crops: a maize strain for animal feed and a potato for paper-making. Popular disapproval of genetically modified crops has delayed decisions on a long list of others. On display at the festival were organic tomato roots and seeds to grow organic courgettes, beetroots, melons, watermelons and herbs. A total of 4,000 plant types were distributed to organic growers and supporters.

"Greeks mobilize to protect endangered seeds", France 24, May 15, 2011

New FDA Food Safety Rules Will Take Effect In July

The first rules issued by the U.S. FDA under the recently enacted Food Safety Modernization Act will take effect on July 3, 2011, the agency announced. One rule bolsters the FDA’s ability to prevent potentially unsafe food from entering commerce, while the second requires anyone importing food into the U.S. to inform the FDA if any country has refused entry to the same product, including food for animals. Prior to the new law, the FDA’s ability to detain food products applied only when the agency had credible evidence of contamination or mislabeling. The new information reporting requirement in the second rule improves the FDA’s ability to target foods that may pose a significant risk to public health.

"FDA issues first new rules under Food Safety Modernization Act", Press release, FDA, May 04, 2011

Marketing & Advertising  

Food Imports From China Rising In U.S. Grocery Stores

Chinese imports are expanding their presence in the U.S. grocery trade. Chinese products account for 7% of the frozen fruit and vegetable market but for some products it is much higher, such as apple juice concentrate where China accounts for around 60% of the US apple juice supply. Contrasting positions adopted by Trader Joe's, which stopped selling Chinese imports in 2007, and Whole Foods, which still sources some  organic products from China, illustrate the ongoing public perception battle over Chinese imports. A Deloitte survey found 73% of consumers are more concerned about the food they eat than they were five years ago, yet most do not check nation-of-origin labels, in spite of various food safety scandals in China.

"China Imports in the Grocery Store: A Cause for Concern", Reuters, May 11, 2011

Mothers Voice Strong Antipathy Toward Use Of Antibiotics In Animals Raised For Food

Eighty percent of  804 American mothers who responded to an online poll commissioned by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming said they were concerned about giving antibiotics to animals produced for meat and poultry. Forty-two percent of the responders, all of whom were registered voters and mothers of children aged 16 and younger, said they were “very concerned” about the practice. In response to the poll findings, the Pew Campaign launched  a grassroots movement of mothers working to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for their children and families. More than three-quarters of those polled favor federal regulations that would allow antibiotics to treat sick animals, but would eliminate the use of antibiotics to promote growth.

"How American Moms In An Internet Study View Antibiotic Use In Food Animal Production", Press Release/Presentation, The Pew Charitable Trust, May 03, 2011

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