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FDA Memo Urges ‘Reset’ on Nutrition Goals

The Food and Drug Administration says the federal agency should “go a step further and aim for its policies to actually result in healthier Americans,” rather than just giving consumers the information they need to make healthy choices. An FDA memo obtained by Politico shows leaders argue that reorienting the agency’s nutrition work could save billions in health care costs. FDA leaders say the move would offer far more savings than the agency’s current push to overhaul food safety is projected to deliver. The FDA’s Nutrition Review Project says “there is a growing appreciation for how many health problems in the U.S. have nutritional causes.” The review was completed in December of 2014 but never released to the public.

Land Grant Universities Compiling Animal Feed Database

21 land-grant institutions are collaborating to provide researchers, producers and industry partners’ up-to-date, research-based information on the nutrient needs of agricultural animals. Since forming in 2010, the National Animal Nutrition Program has created a database of animal feed ingredients. Organizers say the database is a vital tool to inform cost-effective production decisions, animal welfare policies and procedures, and to guarantee the safety and nutritional value of consumers’ food. So far, the program has collected and sorted 1.5 million feed ingredient records to create a database used by organizations in more than 30 countries, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

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Brazil Could Clear U.S. GMO Corn Imports This Fall

Brazil’s agriculture ministry is seeking the approval of U.S. GMO corn imports as the country’s livestock, and poultry producers struggle with tight supplies and rising domestic prices. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports Brazil’s National Biosafety Technical Commission will meet September first to address the potential approval of U.S. GMO corn imports. The Commission is reportedly under heavy political pressure to approve the measure. Meanwhile, China is pushing for GMO soybean production within its borders. The latest five-year science and technology plan from China outlines plans for the country to approve the commercialization of GMO soybean production for food and feed use by 2020. The plan also calls for the commercialization of GMO corn production. While GMO soybean production will face stiff opposition, China is seeking to increase soybean output and encourage more crop rotations with corn.


Cargill Stops Antibiotic Use in Turkey Flocks

Cargill has stopped using an antibiotic for disease prevention in its turkey flocks. The move follows concerns that using the antibiotic, gentamicin (gent-ta-mice-in), contributes to the threat of antimicrobial resistance. Global Meat News says Cargill was “making good on its promise” to reduce antibiotic use across its protein lines by stopping use of the antibiotic. The antibiotic is also used to treat a range of bacterial infections in humans. Cargill’s announcement came after Tyson Foods announced its chicken lines would be free of antibiotics by the end of 2017. Both companies are responding to concerns about antibiotic use and resistance by consumers and investors.

Farm Safety for Just Kids Disbands

The safety organization, Farm Safety for Just Kids, has closed its doors. After 30 years of advocating safety on the farm, the board of the organization has voted to disband the group. In a statement, the group said Farm Safety for Just Kids would donate $5,000 each to the National 4-H Council and the National FFA Organization, in “recognition of their important advocacy for youth safety in agriculture.” The remainder of Farm Safety for Just Kids’ assets will be donated to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. Farm Safety for Just Kids will also give its library of educational materials and other intellectual property to the Progressive Agriculture Foundation to remain free of charge to the public. As agriculture has changed since the organization was founded in 1987, the Board of Farm Safety for Just Kids believes that the mission of making agriculture safer for youth will be better served by combining its resources with the Progressive Agriculture Foundation. The statement says “Farm Safety for Just Kids has accomplished what Marilyn Adams set out to do nearly 30 years ago.”

U.S. Orange Juice Production Declining

The Department of Agriculture says orange juice production in the United States continues to fall. U.S. orange juice production peaked during the 1997-98 season at 1.55 million gallons, but has trended lower since then to only 533 million gallons expected for the 2015-16 season. USDA says the production decline reflects many factors, including the increased prevalence of diseases such as citrus canker and citrus greening, as well as pressures from urbanization in parts of Florida. Meanwhile, exports of orange juice have remained fairly constant over time, while imports have increased in recent years. As a result, orange juice availability per capita has trended lower as well, falling from a peak of 6.27 gallons in the 1997-98 season to a forecast low of 2.74 gallons in 2015-16. USDA says the decline in orange juice consumption over the past decade is consistent with trends that have also been observed for other types of fruit juice and caloric soft drinks in the United States.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service