Category Archives Global

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization has released a report examining potential challenges in the production of food developed from edible insects. "The farming of insects for food and feed is relatively recent and brings with it both benefits and challenges, some of which this publication explores," the report states. "The regulatory frameworks that govern edible insects in various regions are discussed. In addition, the document highlights some of the other challenges, such as research gaps and scaling up production, that the insect sector will need to overcome if it is to have a more global reach." In addition to consideration of allergenicity of insects, the document covers "some of the major food safety hazards that should be considered, including biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants). Safe and successful insect production must include efforts to prevent, detect, identify and…

Singapore has reportedly approved for sale a lab-grown meat product to be sold as "cultured chicken." The product, created by Eat Just, has been approved for use in chicken nuggets following a safety assessment submitted to the Singapore Food Agency's "novel food" working group. The cultured chicken will reportedly sell for a price comparable to animal-derived chicken nuggets and will be available "soon enough to begin making a reservation" at an unnamed restaurant, according to Eat Just founder Josh Tetrick.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call for experts to join the Technical Advisory Group on Food Safety: Safer Food for Better Health, which "will serve as an advisory body to WHO through providing technical guidance and inputs to support WHO's efforts and work in food safety by analyzing the current and future challenges in agri-food supply chains, advising innovative solutions and approaches with greatest public health benefits. Eventually, the aim is to strengthen national food safety systems and lower the burden of foodborne illnesses." The organization is taking online applications until August 21, 2020.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released a report on Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and the foods that tend to host it. Researchers analyzed data from foodborne outbreak investigations globally, finding 957 outbreaks in 27 countries. The data identified that 16% of outbreaks were attributed to beef, 15% to produce and 6% to dairy, while the sources for 57% of the outbreaks could not be identified. "Prioritizing interventions for control on beef supply chains may provide the largest return on investment when implementing strategies for STEC control," the report recommended.

A New Zealand pizza restaurant is reportedly under investigation after it sold 3,000 "Burger Pizzas" that only featured a plant-based meat substitute rather than animal-derived meat. The company marketed the pizza topping as a "medium rare burger patty," and a company manager apparently asserted to the BBC that the description was accurate on its face. Many consumers seemed to respond negatively, noting that the stunt could have triggered allergies because of the lack of proper ingredient disclosure. The manager reportedly told BBC, "If covertly adding meat-free options onto a pizza encourages more people to be open-minded, we're happy to do that."

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) has submitted a citizen petition urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to "[e]nforce existing 'imitation' labeling requirements against nutritionally inferior non-dairy substitutes for standardized dairy foods that are named and positioned as forms of 'milk,' 'yogurt,' 'cheese,' 'ice cream,' or 'butter,' yet fail to provide the 'imitation' disclosure statement that is required." The petition's introductory letter argues that its recommended actions "are necessary to ensure that consumers are adequately informed concerning the material differences between standardized dairy foods (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, butter) and the wide variety of non-dairy substitutes that are available in the marketplace which are identified through the misappropriation of terms that have been defined by standards of identity to identify standardized foods that meet specified compositional, nutritional, or functional requirements." The debate over dairy and non-dairy substitute labeling extends to Canada, where a creamery has reportedly…

The Lancet Commission has issued a report on “The Global Syndemic,” a combination of “three pandemics—obesity, undernutrition, and climate change.” The report was intended to focus on obesity as the Commission did in similar reports issued in 2011 and 2015, but the authors apparently found the roles of undernutrition and climate change to be key in understanding global obesity during the process of preparing the report and ultimately expanded its scope. The Commission’s recommendations to improve “The Global Syndemic” include implementing stronger laws at national and lower levels, strengthening accountability systems and “creating sustainable and health-promoting business models,” such as “eliminat[ing] or redirect[ing] subsidies away from products that contribute to The Global Syndemic.” The Commission also suggested that governments “reduce the influence of large commercial interests in public policy development … so that governments can implement policies in the public interest that benefit the health of current and future generations,…

The European Union has requested a World Trade Organization consultation with the United States to address the imposition of tariffs on Spanish olives in August 2018. The United States reportedly applied countervailing and anti-dumping tariffs of 34.75 percent to the import of Spanish black olives on the grounds that Spanish growers receive benefits from the EU that are unavailable to other growers, such as those in California.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced "a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply." The plan consists of six steps represented by the acronym REPLACE: (i) "review" sources of trans fat and the landscape for policy change; (ii) "promote" the replacement of trans fats; (iii) "legislate" regulatory actions to eliminate trans fats; (iv) "assess" trans fat content in the food supply; (v) "create" awareness; and (vi) "enforce" compliance. "The world is now embarking on the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition, using it as a driver for improved access to healthy food and nutrition," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press release. "WHO is also using this milestone to work with governments, the food industry, academia and civil society to make food systems healthier for future generations, including by eliminating industrially-produced trans fats."

China’s Ministry of Commerce has reportedly announced that it will require importers of U.S.-grown sorghum to pay a 178.6 percent deposit in anticipation of anti-dumping tariffs, which may discourage imports and directly affect American growers. A Chinese investigation apparently concluded that U.S. sorghum is being dumped on the Chinese market, despite denials from U.S. officials. “This approach is in line with Chinese law and [World Trade Organization] rules; it aims at correcting unfair trade practices, maintaining normal trade and competition order,” Wang Hejun, director of the ministry’s trade remedy and investigation bureau, reportedly said in a statement.