According to the BBC, advocacy group Action on Sugar has called for restaurants to stop serving "freakshakes," milkshakes with added "chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce." The group reportedly surveyed restaurants for nutritional information on their freakshakes and found that some contained as many as 1,280 calories, or "more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds." The group called on the U.K. government to "introduce legislation to force companies to be more transparent about what is in their products."
Russia has created a poultry-breeding program to reduce its dependence on meat imports, Bloomberg reports. The country has used Soviet technology—which created "a bigger and tastier version of Gallus gallus domesticus" that apparently nearly went extinct following the collapse of the government—to establish a program that aims to reduce foreign imports of food products. Bloomberg also notes that a "replacement program for potatoes" has been approved, while a program for sugar beets is in progress. "To our knowledge, no country has a large-scale poultry breeding program that competes with the major corporations," Bloomberg quotes a scientist with the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization as saying. “They thought we wouldn’t be able to compete with them in a million years,” one of the scientists who worked on the Soviet project reportedly told the news outlet. “Now it’s a completely different situation. Friends are friends, but you know how it goes.”
Food Navigator reports that a market research company has predicted a "coming flood of mainstream investment in cannabis in general and the edibles sector in particular." The firm suggests that legalization of cannabis products across the United States could create a market between $40 billion and $70 billion. Growth in the edibles category outpaced growth in other cannabis categories, the report authors note, with sales especially focused on the candy and chocolate categories, which account for about 60 percent of edibles sales. On November 6, 2018, Michigan voters passed a ballot measure to allow recreational marijuana in the state, making it the tenth state to legalize cannabis products; a similar measure in North Dakota failed to pass. Missouri and Utah voters also approved a ballot initiative to allow marijuana for medical purposes, which is now legal in 33 states.
Edible cottonseeds have been approved for commercial cultivation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and await Food and Drug Administration approval, according to Bloomberg. Texas A&M University has reportedly been developing the product—which apparently tastes "like hummus"—for more than two decades. Bloomberg compares the nutritional value of cottonseeds to other tree nuts such as almonds or walnuts; in addition, cottonseeds could be "fed to carnivorous fish like salmon and trout that eat ground-up fish," according to the article. The university's work “opens up the opportunity that eventually every cotton plant will have this technology in it,” a vice president at Cotton Inc. reportedly told Bloomberg. “There’s no reason to leave a toxin in a domesticated plant.”
The New York Times has reported on the Orthodox Union's efforts to determine whether meat grown in a lab from animal cells can be kosher. The reporter follows a rabbi tasked with researching the process. The rabbi distinguishes between products grown from muscle cells—which must be from an animal properly slaughtered in kosher standards rather than still alive—and products potentially grown from animal saliva or hair, which are reportedly under research. The latter products would not be considered meat under Jewish law, the New York Times notes. “The identity of a given cell, and ensuring that its identity is preserved and verifiable, would be crucial to our being able to certify a product,” the report quotes the rabbi as saying.
The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) has reportedly found that one-fifth of meat samples tested contained DNA not attributable to the animal source indicated on the label. FSA conducted 665 tests from 487 businesses suspected of "compliance issues," including restaurants and supermarkets, and purportedly found that some samples contained DNA from as many as four animals. The products included mincemeat, sausages, kebabs and curries. An FSA spokesperson reportedly told BBC that the results were "not representative of the wider food industry."
In a forthcoming Brooklyn Law Review article, professors from George Washington University Law School and Lund University argue that one solution to the definition dispute between cow's milk and plant-based milk producers may be to label plant-based milks as "mylk." Gambert et al., "Got Mylk? The Disruptive Possibilities of Plant Milk," Brooklyn L. Rev., forthcoming 2019. The professors assert that plant-based milk producers should embrace a new word, such as the "whimsical" and "creative" "mylk," to avoid negative associations with "milk with an 'i,'" including "exploitation and oppression – of women, people of color, and nonhuman animals." "At the end of the day, the 'milk wars' on both sides of the Atlantic serve as a barometer of plant milk’s role as a disruptive force in the millennia-long relationship between humans and milk. By replacing the 'i' with a 'y,' plant milk – or mylk – advocates can signal to the…
A U.K. television show has aired a report on the ingredients in locally available vanilla ice creams, finding that many products do not contain cream, fresh milk or vanilla. “One in five of the ice-creams examined by Which? contained none of the three ingredients shoppers might reasonably expect to find in vanilla ice-cream,” The Guardian reports. The program reportedly found that ice cream products replaced cream and milk with “partially reconstituted dried skim milk, and in some cases, whey protein” while vanilla “was often replaced with a general ‘flavouring.’” The Guardian notes that the United Kingdom has “no requirements for manufacturers to meet before a product can be called ice-cream.” VICE compared U.K. regulations to those promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, finding that the United States has stricter standards that dictate a product’s minimum levels of dairy fat to earn “ice cream” on its label.
According to the New York Times, Chinese regulators have announced that rainbow trout can be sold as salmon within the country. Rainbow trout and salmon are closely related, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance found, and the breeds have apparently been sold interchangeably for several years. Because rainbow trout is cultivated in freshwater, consumers reportedly worry about the threat of parasites, which salmon cultivated in saltwater is less likely to carry. The regulators noted that markets and restaurants must list the species of fish and its origin on the label, such as “salmon (Atlantic salmon)” or “salmon (rainbow trout).”
The New York Times has published an article exploring the use of the term "organic" to describe food sold in restaurants, which are not required to undergo the same certification process as farms and food companies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not certify restaurants and does not plan to change that policy, an agency spokesperson reportedly told the Times. Restaurants that claim to be organic can be certified by third-party organizations, but certification can require "meticulous record keeping, extensive staff training on organic rules, fees in the thousands of dollars and lengthy inspections that involve scrutiny of everything from produce invoices to cleaning materials."