Categories
Food Safety Supply Chain

It’s not the food supply chain that’s breaking, it’s the meat supply chain

Supply lines across the food industry have been impacted by the coronavirus. Shuttered restaurants, university dining halls, workplace food providers, and more have all strained the food supply chain. In particular, the meat industry has suffered the hardest hit. In addition to closures of many of its largest purchasers, COVID-19 outbreaks inside meatpacking facilities have forced largest meat processing plants to shut down. The cold, damp conditions and crowded workstations in meatpacking plants make infectious diseases particularly hard to control.

On April 26, Tyson Foods Inc., the biggest U.S. meat processor, closed at least six major plants. Similar covid-19 outbreaks were reported at Danish Crown A/S, a huge pork producer; Goikoa, of Spain; Sanderson Farms Inc., America’s third-largest poultry producer, and Cargill’s High River slaughterhouse outside Calgary. The whole situation is an incontrovertible nightmare. But the pandemic is an opportunity to ask more probing questions about the nature of our system of animal agriculture.

Since COVID-19 began, we’ve seen plant-based product sales growth exceed that of animal-based products, both in meat and dairy categories. In the United States, sales of vegan meat jumped by a staggering 280% and sales of oat milk jumped by 477% in the second week of March compared to the same period last year, as the country became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. This meat crisis has become a big opportunity for plant-based protein companies that have developed healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional animal products.

Choosing a plant-based diet is one of the best things you can do for the environment as plant-based diets are kind to the earth and kind to animals. As is the case with plant-based meat, plant-based dairy supply chains are much better poised to respond in real-time to changing market conditions and are not vulnerable to the type of disruptions inherent in industrial animal agriculture.

Categories
Milk

Consumer preference for Milk in Europe and America

Americans prefer chilled milk, while Europeans store their milk outside the refrigerator. The difference arises due to different taste/ flavor preferences of consumers and the pasteurization technologies used by dairy industry in these two geographies. Pasteurization, here means, heat-treatment process that destroys pathogenic microorganisms in certain foods and beverages.The treatment also destroys most of the microorganisms that cause spoilage and so prolongs the storage time of food.

In the U.S. and Canada, milk manufacturers use high-temperature short-time pasteurization, or HTST. HTST is efficient but results in milk that expires relatively quickly—usually within a week and requires storage in a refrigerator. That’s because the temperature used (about 161°F for 15 seconds) is enough to kill most bacteria, but some will proliferate if the milk hangs around long enough.

In Europe, another technique called ultra-heat-treated pasteurization, or UHT, is used. Milk is exposed to higher temperatures of 284°F for three seconds, decimating virtually all the bacteria and making it shelf-stable for a couple of months if left unopened. (Once opened, it has to be refrigerated.) Because it’s “cooked” at high heat and burns off some of the sugar, UHT milk also has a slightly different flavor.

Read more at MentalFloss

Categories
Milk

FDA has given dairies the official permission to label their skim milk as “skim milk.”

Skim milk is milk with the fat or cream removed—skimmed off. According to FDA guidelines, in order to be called “skim milk,” dairies had to add vitamins A and D to the milk before it could be lawfully distributed. Dairies or creameries who did not add those vitamins were prohibited from labeling their skim milk as skim milk. Instead, they were required to call it “imitation skim milk” or “imitation milk product,” even though their skim milk was not, in fact, an imitation of anything.

The letter that the US FDA sent on April 22, 2020 informed South Mountain Creamery LLC that the agency will no longer enforce the “imitation” labeling requirement and will no longer ask the states to enforce it.

There’s a market for “all-natural” skim milk without the added vitamins, and dairies and creameries who want to offer this product have been battling federal and state regulators for years. “Words mean what the public understands them to mean, not what the government wishes they meant,” said IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell.

Read more at Institute for Justice

Categories
Policy

European Commission announces exceptional measures to support the agri-food sector

The Commission is taking swift action and proposes additional exceptional measures to further support agricultural and food markets most affected. The package includes measures for private storage aid (PSA) in the dairy and meat sectors, the authorisation of self-organisation market measures by operators in hard hit sectors and flexibility in fruits and vegetables, wine and some other market support programmes.

Exceptional measures announced as a further response to the Coronavirus crisis include:

  1. Private storage aid: the Commission proposes to grant private storage aid for dairy (skimmed milk powder, butter, cheese) and meat (beef, sheep and goat meat) products. This measure will lead to a decrease of available supply on the market and rebalance the market on the long-term.
  2. Flexibility for market support programmes: the Commission will introduce flexibility in the implementation of market support programmes for wine, fruits and vegetables, olive oil, apiculture and the EU’s school scheme (milk, fruits and vegetables). This will allow the reorientation of funding priorities towards crisis management measures for all the sectors.
  3. Exceptional derogation from EU competition rules: applicable to the milk, flowers and potatoes sectors, the Commission will authorise the derogation from certain competition rules. For example, the milk sector will be allowed to collectively plan milk production and the flower and potatoes sector will be allowed to withdraw products from the market.

Such agreements and decisions would only be valid for a period of maximum six months. Consumer price movements will be monitored closely to avoid adverse effects.

Read more at European Commission

Categories
Uncategorized

A2 Milk: attempts to premiumize the once-commoditized product

Conventional milk contains two main types of beta-casein protein, A1 and A2; the former is believed by many consumers and health care professionals to affect digestive health and possibly cause heart diseases and diabetes. This is where a2 Milk attempts to premiumize its brand. Australia-based The a2 Milk Co. Ltd. engages in the commercialization of A1 protein-free milk and related products. In order to do so, the company starts with specially selected cow that are not affected by the natural genetic mutation leading to the production of milk containing A1 proteins.

According to management, a2 Milk captures the leading value share of 6.4% in the fast-growing Chinese infant nutrition market. At the same time, a2 Milk has become the top premium milk brand in Australia with an 11.2% value share. As of fiscal 2019, the company had approximately 16,000 stores (up 64% year over year) for distribution in China and 13,000 (up 161% year over year) in the U.S.

Read more at GuruFocus

Categories
Uncategorized

Farmer forced to dump 17,000 gallons of milk

Farmers in North Carolina are dumping fresh milk they can’t sell during the coronavirus pandemic. Homeland Creamery supplies milk to restaurants and coffee shops. Many of those establishments are closed. There is a 65-percent decrease in total milk sales. Because there’s no one to buy milk in bulk, Bowman said he has no choice but dump it in a pasture down the road. Bowman said he’s dumped 17,000 gallons of fresh milk since the pandemic began. I would say probably about $160,000 if I had to put a dollar figure on it.

Dumping the milk is the worst. That’s the profit going down the drain.

In the meantime, to keep business afloat, Bowman opened up a drive-thru at his creamery, selling small quantities of milk, homemade ice-cream, and other items.

Read more at WBTV

Categories
Uncategorized

Study Suggests East Africa’s Ancient Pastoralists Processed Milk

A statement released by Washington University in St. Louis in St. Louis, scientists analyzed residues on pottery recovered from prehistoric sites in Kenya and Tanzania, and detected traces of cooked milk, meat, and plants. Grillo said the ability for adults to digest milk, known as lactase persistence, had been thought to have evolved in East Africa about 5,000 years ago, based upon previous genetic studies and the bones of cattle, sheep, and goats found at archaeological sites.

Most people don’t think about the fact that we are not really designed to drink milk as adults — most mammals can’t. People who had mutations that allowed them to digest fresh milk survived better in Africa.

Read more at The Source

Categories
Uncategorized

Cellular Agriculture – cell-based technology to produce milk.

Cell-based processes of creating clean milk completely bypass the environmental degradation and animal welfare issues of industrial dairy. The approach has the ability to match nutritional content, taste, and quality of milk obtained traditionally. Acellular technology works by culturing mammary cells in vitro and inducing their natural ability to produce all components of milk. The first step involves obtaining stem cells from sources such as milk. They are then transferred into an environment where they convert into mammary gland cells. The mammary gland cells interact with a special formula which causes the cells to lactate. The end product – milk is obtained through a filtration process.

Milk from plants like almond, soy and oat is increasingly popular as a good source of protein. However, the milk from these alternative sources lacks one or more components of dairy milk, therefore, are not able to recreate the functionality of milk, translating to other dairy products like cheese, butter and yoghurt.

Read more at Technology Networks

Categories
Uncategorized

Dumped Milk, Smashed Eggs, Plowed Vegetables: Food Waste of the Pandemic

With restaurants, hotels and schools closed, many of the nation’s largest farms are destroying millions of pounds of fresh goods that they can no longer sell. The waste has become especially severe in the dairy industry, where cows need to be milked multiple times a day, regardless of whether there are buyers. The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.

The widespread destruction of fresh food reflects the profound economic uncertainty wrought by the virus and how difficult it has been for huge sectors of the economy, like agriculture, to adjust to such a sudden change in how they must operate. The quarantines have shown just how many more vegetables Americans eat when meals are prepared for them in restaurants than when they have to cook for themselves.

Read more at The New York Times