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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, May 25th…

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FDA Announces Voluntary Sodium Guidance

The Food and Drug Administration Wednesday released the agency’s long-awaited voluntary guidance on salt intake for Americans. The draft guidance focuses on reducing the salt used in processed and restaurant foods by one-third over ten years. The FDA says the reduction is recommended because Americans get 70 percent of their sodium from those foods, according to the Hagstrom Report. The FDA says current average adult intake of sodium is approximately 3,400 milligrams per day, and the FDA’s goal is to reduce consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day. The FDA says the reduction would result in tens of thousands fewer cases of heart disease and stroke each year, as well as billions of dollars in health care savings over time. The FDA says the targets are voluntary because sodium is important to taste, texture and microbial safety.


Hemp Industry Petitions to Legalize Crop

The Hemp Industries Association, along with the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council filed a petition Wednesday to legalize industrial hemp. The petition was filed with the Drug Enforcement Administration to remove industrial hemp plants from its list of controlled substances, which would green-light cultivation in the United States. The groups claim legalizing the crop at the federal level would open economic opportunities in rural America, but the Controlled Substances Act classifies all forms of cannabis as a schedule one substance, even though industrialized hemp lacks the potential for drug abuse, according to Politico. The 2014 Farm Bill defined hemp as distinctly different from marijuana and also permitted farming pilot projects in states that have legalized cultivation. Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie and Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden have introduced bills that would legalize industrial hemp. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has also been a leading advocate of the legislation.


U.S. Bison Sales Increasing

The National Bison Association last week announced U.S. bison sales have topped $340 million at the retail and foodservice level. However, the association says continued growth is primarily constrained by the limited supply of market-ready animals. The association’s analysis was based on the results of the latest survey of commercial bison marketers. According to the association’s research, sales of bison meat in retail stores and restaurants have grown by 22.3 percent over the past two years. Further, the association’s latest survey of commercial marketers found that 94 percent of those businesses could easily expand sales if additional product was available.


General Mills Recalls 10 Million Pounds of Flour

General Mills issued a recall of 10 million pounds of flour this week because of a possible link to an outbreak of E. coli. USA Today reports the outbreak has sickened 38 people in 20 states since December. The recall covers select bags of Gold Medal bleached and unbleached flour, bleached and unbleached Signature Kitchen flour, Gold Medal self-rising flour and Gold Medal Wondra quick-mixing flour. The Gold Medal brand is the most widely used flour in the United States, according to General Mills. The Centers for Disease Control found about half of the people sickened in the outbreak reported making something homemade with flour before becoming ill. General Mills noted no E. coli has been found in any of its flour products. The flour was milled at the company’s Kansas City, Missouri facility. General Mills noted flour is made by milling wheat, which is grown outdoors and carries the risk of bacteria and that the bacteria are killed by baking, frying or boiling.


China Pork Prices Continue Rising

Chinese pork prices climbed to new records this week, according to government data, signaling its auctions of frozen pork reserves and other measures to boost production are doing little to cool the market. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports farmers are holding back pigs from slaughter as they work to rebuild herds after the industry was engaged in widespread culling two years ago. Additionally, stringent new environmental rules have forced many small-scale producers out of the market. As a result, Rabobank expects China to import a record 1.5 million metric tons of pork in 2016, possibly helping China to surpass Japan as the world’s top importer. The increase could be a boon for major pork exporters like the U.S. and Germany.


National Pork Board Names New CEO

The National Pork Board announced Wednesday William J Even will serve as the organization’s CEO starting next week. Currently based in South Dakota, Even is Global Industry Relations Lead with DuPont Pioneer and previously served as South Dakota’s Secretary of Agriculture. National Pork Board President Derek Sleezer says he feels confident in Even’s experience to “build and lead teams to meet the growing demand for protein in the U.S. and abroad.” Even and his family own and operate a fifth-generation diversified crop and livestock operation near Humbolt, South Dakota. Even will begin on June 6th, and his first week as CEO will include attending the National Pork Board’s June Board of Directors meeting and World Pork Expo.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service