March 23, 2017

Today's News Summary:

Leading the headlines today is word that the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service announced additional steps to keep the food supply safe for American families in light of the recent investigations of Brazil’s meat industry. While none of the slaughter or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal have shipped meat products to the United States, FSIS immediately instituted additional pathogen testing of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil upon hearing reports of the Brazilian investigation. FSIS has also increased its examination of all these products at ports-of-entry across the country. The agency will indefinitely maintain its 100% re-inspection and pathogen testing of all lots of FSIS-regulated products imported from Brazil.

In other news, Kraft Heinz is investing $200 million in an expanded corporate social responsibility program that includes a pledge to fight malnutrition and decrease its environmental footprint. The Kraft Heinz announcement comes about a month after the company pulled a $143 billion bid to buy Unilever, saying it didn’t want to get involved in a politically charged takeover fight.

Blue Apron announced the acquisition of BN Ranch, a leading provider of sustainable, responsibly raised beef, lamb, and poultry in the U.S. Blue Apron will now own the BN Ranch brand, supported by the BN Ranch staff of experts and its global network of farms and ranches. Bill Niman will join the Blue Apron team as President and Founder, BN Ranch. In addition to providing meat for Blue Apron menus, BN Ranch will continue to supply its current retail, institutional and restaurant customers.

From Washington, the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have to contend with the worst farm slump in three decades, an overhaul of U.S. trade policy, and potentially the agency's slimmest discretionary budget in nearly 30 years. On Thursday, former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue is set to explain to members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry how he plans to tackle the job in what will be one of the final confirmation hearings for a cabinet nominee.

Whole Foods announced that all 365 Everyday Value® eggs sold in Whole Foods Market stores meet new standards, which require that farms adhere to the following living conditions for laying hens: Cage-Free Plus, Outdoor Access, Pasture-Raised, and Mobile Houses on Pasture.

Lastly today, after successfully raising more than 3 million meals to help ensure that no child in the U.S. should have to go without a meal, Church’s Chicken® announced they will be expanding their fundraising efforts for a second year. From March 27 through April 23 of 2017, every dollar raised from booklet sales will go directly to No Kid Hungry. Each dollar will provide a meal for 10 children. This year, however, Church’s® is aiming to raise $500,000 – a benchmark the brand feels confident its team members and guests will help them achieve.

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By Linda Lindner

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