Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News July 2014

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BY LUCAS WITMAN Makers of artisanal cheeses are fac- ing disaster after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration official has suggested that the agency could outlaw a traditional method of ripening cheeses on wooden boards. In a letter to the New York State Department of Agriculture, Monica Metz, Branch Chief of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's Dairy and Egg Branch directed that this method of aging does not conform to U.S. re- quirements that, "all plant equip- ment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable." BY LUCAS WITMAN This July, schools across the country are set to implement new USDA regulations that effectively ban all junk food sales on cam- pus grounds. The regulations, which were issued in April, limit snacks sold in cafeterias, as well as in independently owned vend- ing machines, to fruits and veg- etables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products that contain less than 200 calories per package. In addition, items sold on school campuses may not contain more than 35 percent sugar or fat. Trans fats are banned entirely. And beverage offerings Parents Sending Kids Back-to-School with "Real Food Solutions" Continued on PAGE 6 UPDATE: Holidays 2014 SEE PAGE 15 SPECIAL FEATURE: Breakfast Foods SEE PAGE 33 MARKETWATCH: Gift Baskets SEE PAGE 27 Continued on PAGE 8 Continued on PAGE 4 Continued on PAGE 7 are limited to water, low-fat milk and 100 percent fruit and veg- etable juices. The new USDA regulations are merely the latest developments in an ongoing fight to lighten up the foods that students are served in school. First Lady Michele Obama has been instrumental in effecting changes to school lunch menus across the country through her Let's Move! campaign, a move- ment to reduce childhood obesity through the promotion of healthy eating and exercise. Under Obama's direction, schools are now serving more fruits and veg- etables, whole grains and other healthy ingredients than ever be- fore. As more and more children are being introduced in schools to a new world of healthy eating, the lifestyle trend is trickling down to the ways families cook and eat at home. Many parents today are ac- tively seeking out healthful pack- aged products that they can tuck into their children's lunchboxes as well as serve for snacks and meals at home. "Parents are more informed than ever. There's so much infor- mation available out there," said Laura Fuentes, founder and CEO of MOMables, an online subscrip- tion service that provides parents weekly menus for healthful, af- fordable make-at-home school lunches. "What I've learned is that nowadays parents are doing their research about what they're feeding their family." "What we find is that kids are going home and talking to their parents," said Kiersten Firquain, founder of Bistro Kids, a Kansas City, Mo.-area company that works with schools to provide healthful lunches and educate students about nutrition, as well as preparing and cultivating food. Americans Eating Better after Great Recession Specialty Cheese Industry Balks as FDA Questions Safety of Wood Boards for Aging The letter reads, "Wooden shelves or boards cannot be ade- quately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood en- ables it to absorb and retain bac- teria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products." If American cheese makers are ef- fectively prohibited from using wooden boards to age their cheeses, the economic impact on the domes- tic specialty cheese industry could be catastrophic. The American Cheese Society estimates that 65 percent of its members use wooden boards in their own operations, and American commercial cheese oper- ations in Wisconsin alone have 33 million pounds of product aging on wood in any given year. In addition, cheese imports would also be affected, as no cheeses produced through a method the FDA deems unsafe for consumers would be allowed to be brought into the country. "Well over half of the cheese that comes into the U.S. from Europe is aged on wood, and [European BY DAVID BERNARD Major U.S. retailers are among those accused by a prominent London newspaper of buying shrimp from a large Thai seafood producer that admit- tedly purchases fish feed from companies using slave labor on their fishing vessels. The Guardian newspaper named a number of large retail- ers worldwide as companies that buy Thai shrimp whose Retailers Respond as World's Largest Prawn Farmer Accused of Slave Labor in Production Chain production chain involves slave labor. The report followed a six- month investigation into Thai- land's immense prawn industry, and particularly the world's largest prawn farmer, Charoen Pokphand Foods. According to The Guardian, numerous workers who man- aged to escape from the suspect trawlers have recounted stories of being duped by Thai agents to whom they had paid money in exchange for procurement of work in factories and on build- ing sites. Instead, the workers were sold into slavery and ended up held on ships for years at a time, enduring harsh condi- tions, beatings, and witnessing the murders of countless coworkers. The vast majority of these workers are Burmese and Cambodian immigrants to Thai- BY LORRIE BAUMANN Time-stressed Americans learned during the Great Recession that they can turn to their grocery stores instead of restaurants for meals and snacks that are conven- ient, taste good and offer better nutrition. And there is no sign that they are going to reverse course as the economy recovers. Consumers also figured out that they can have all of this without spending more time in front of their stoves. Grocery stores are taking a growing share of the American food market away from restau- rants, leaving restaurateurs strug- gling with the realization that they are no longer competing only with other restaurants for Americans' food dollars—they are competing with everyone in the food business. This is according to Bill Cross, Vice President of Brand Licensing for the Broad Street Licensing Group. The Broad Street Licensing Group is helping restaurant chains staunch their wounds by putting their names on retail food products, such as the P.F. Chang's line of frozen entrees. "Guess who made money dur- ing the recession: the grocery VOLUME 79, NUMBER 7 JULY 2014 n $7.00 TRADE SHOW BUZZ n The American Cheese Society Conference Comes to Sacramento, July 29-August 1 PAGE 8 GIFTWARE n Gary & Kit's Napa Valley's Extra Virgin Olive Oil PAGE 9 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Saffron Road Brings Global Flavors to Snack Foods, Frozen Entrees PAGE 11 RETAILER NEWS n Explore Amish Cuisine at Central Ohio's Walnut Creek Cheese PAGE 12 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n TreeHouse Foods Completes Acquisition of Protenergy Natural Foods PAGE 13 News ..............................................3 Ad Index .......................................35 Smorgasbord ................................35 www.gourmetnews.com G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ®

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