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Gourmet News September 2015

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BY MICAH CHEEK Retailers appear to be in the eye of the storm as heated discussion over the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Law rages around them. The bill has passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 275 to 150, and will be the center of more frantic debate as it moves to the Senate. The Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act would establish a voluntary program for labeling whether or not a food contains GMOs, pre- empting any state laws on the issue as well as creating federal programs for the sale of new bio- engineered products. While the bill, known as HR 1599, holds a BY LORRIE BAUMANN The new Director of the federal Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Ap- plied Nutrition promised the American Cheese Society that her office will work together with cheesemakers as her agency moves toward a prevention-based approach to food safety. Dr. Susan Mayne, Director of the Center for Food Safety since the end of January, said that al- though she's still learning her new job, she has long had a real interest in food and nutrition. "I have been a scientist my whole life. I always knew I wanted to be FDA Pledges Cooperation with Cheese Industry Continued on PAGE 10 Continued on PAGE 10 Continued on PAGE 9 a scientist," she said. Mayne grew up on a small cat- tle ranch in western Colorado, majored in chemistry at the Uni- versity of Colorado in Boulder and followed that with studies in food and nutrition at Cornell Uni- versity. She continued her educa- tion as a postdoctoral fellow at Yale University and eventually joined the faculty there. She left Yale to join the FDA. "I am a big fan of cheese, including artisanal cheese," she said. "I'm not an ex- pert on cheese. I'm not an expert on dairy." Although food safety is part of her portfolio at the FDA, her background in nutrition science informs her perspective, she said. "I don't think about things solely from food safety. I think from the perspective of a healthy food sup- ply. I want to make sure that the food supply is safe." The FDA has just released a final rule on a risk assessment of soft cheeses. "Our main concern with cheesemaking facilities in general is the presence of Listeria, which can be very persistent. It is very virulent and is among the leading causes of death from food-borne illnesses," she said. "It's obviously a serious food- borne issue." The FDA has found that listeria can be found in about one out of five cheesemaking facilities of any kind, whether small and artisanal or large and industrial. "There have been sporadic outbreaks, some of them attributable to cheeses, especially soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk," Mayne said. The FDA is still studying the factors that increase the risks from listeria contamination, in- cluding questions about how much of a difference it makes if the milk is pasteurized and how Canadian Cheese Takes Best of Show at ACS Genetic Engineering Controversy Continues as GMO Labeling Bill Passes House great deal of sway for manufactur- ers and customers, retailers will so far remain largely unaffected if the law is implemented. "Really there is no impact on retailers," says Katherine Paul, Associate Di- rector for the Organic Consumers Association. "The burden is on manufacturers." The House's passing of HR 1599 was not a surprise to many groups involved in the debate. A bipartisan bill with a low cost of implementation has proven to be an appealing choice for members of the House. "What people don't realize is that these members have maybe hundreds of pages to go through at any given time. They rely on aides to tell them in a nut- shell what the bill is about. In a nutshell, it's a false representa- tion," says Paul. If your congress- man is misinformed, it's easy to see why. The bill has been framed alternately as a state's rights viola- tion, a campaign against anti-sci- ence zealots, a public health crisis and an essential cost-saving meas- ure for the American family. This contentious debate is framed by recent legislation in Vermont. The passing of Act 120 by Governor Peter Shumlin in May of 2014 made the labeling of products containing GMOs BY RICHARD THOMPSON As the Food Safety and Modern- ization Act (FSMA) begins to be implemented this fall, one glaring issue has the entire food industry concerned: there isn't enough funding to make it work effec- tively. The 2016 Agriculture Ap- propriations Bill was approved by the Senate, providing funding of close to $144 million in com- bined discretionary and manda- tory spending, but still fell below both FY2015 enacted levels as well as the administration's budget requests. As the law Continued on PAGE 8 Food Industry Concerned Over Underfunded FSMA stands, industry leaders fear that increased costs, loss of product and uneven inspection policies will result through the entire food pipeline. In July, the Senate approved the 2016 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, putting a heavy focus on agri- cultural research and rural devel- opment, but allocating less than half of the $109.5 million the ad- ministration requested for FSMA. The FDA itself estimates that a total of $276 million – much of it in user fees – in additional fund- ing will be needed to fully imple- ment FSMA properly. While Ap- propriations Committee Chair- man Thad Cochran (R-Miss) is confident that the bill adheres to budget constraints while still funding federal initiatives impor- tant for food safety, a number of food industry professionals are wondering how it can succeed. "Without funding, it will be a problem for the whole food sup- ply chain. We'll have under- trained and insufficiently trained inspectors and the possibility for BY LORRIE BAUMANN For the first time in 30 years of competition, the American Cheese Society's Best of Show winner was a Canadian. Celtic Blue Reserve from Glengarry Fine Cheese in Ontario, Canada, took home the purple ribbon in a cer- emony held on Friday, July 31 in Providence, Rhode Island. The winning cheese is the re- sult of 20 years of work on the recipe, said Margaret Peters-Mor- ris, who began mak- ing cheese from the milk from her family's dairy farm in the early 1990s. In the years since, she has been an important mentor for many American cheesemakers, who were delighted to see her skills recognized with the Best of Show award, said Mateo Kehler, Cheesemaker for Cellars at Jasper Hill, who took home the third place Best of Show ribbon for Harbison, a soft-ripened cow milk cheese bound with cambium from spruce trees harvested sea- VOLUME 80, NUMBER 9 SEPTEMBER 2015 n $7.00 RETAILER NEWS n All in the Family at Tony's Market PAGE 12 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Bridor Brings European Pastries for American Tastes PAGE 14 BUYERS GUIDE n Pasta & Pasta Sauce PAGE 15 SMALL ELECTRICS n Coffee Brewers & Electric Kettles PAGE 26 News & Notes.................................6 Ad Index .......................................27 Smorgasbord ................................27 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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