Zoetis Influence Feed: Food scientists speak up

Stay current on the latest food and agriculture issues impacting your business with Influence Feed by Zoetis. Influence Feed tracks the top 1,500 most influential voices across all segments of food and agriculture to bring you insights in a convenient bi-weekly report.
calendar icon 29 October 2018
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1 Hurricane Michael:

On Oct. 10, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida panhandle and carved a path of destruction up through southwestern Georgia. The storm struck during or just before harvest for a variety of crops and livestock in Alabama, Florida and Georgia — cotton, peanuts, pecans, peppers, poultry, tomatoes and squash all experienced substantial losses as a result (CNBC). To illustrate the damage, Feedstuffs quoted Georgia agriculture commissioner Gary Black: “Today, where the farmer stopped, … you cannot tell where he stopped harvest and where the rest of it was harvested by the storm.” A week after the storm, University of Georgia Extension estimated that damages exceeded $2 billion in the peach state alone.

Food Safety News emphasised that hurricanes pose prolonged dangers to food safety: “Regardless if food is from a backyard garden or a large commercial farm, there is no way for it to be cleaned for safe consumption if it has been compromised by floodwater.” Additionally, National Restaurant Association noted that most restaurants in Florida and Georgia had shut down in the days following the storm, and the few that remained in operation were limited to serving only relief workers due to short supplies.

2 Summer Blend:

On Oct. 8, President Trump announced that EPA would lift summertime restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol (E15). Reuters’ coverage of the event highlighted the political aspects of the timing. Environmentalist group Sierra Club objected, “Despite claims, corn ethanol is not a safe and environmentally-friendly fuel source — it is hugely detrimental to the environment and public health.” National Corn Growers Association thanked the Trump administration “for following through on his commitment to America’s farmers.” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper added, “When markets are open and competitive, American consumers win.”

3 Chain Reaction – Burger Edition:

A group of six activist organisations released their fourth annual “Chain Reaction” report and scorecard. The report graded 22 of the top 25 burger chains an “F,” with only two chains receiving an “A” grade. The organisations targeted McDonald’s Corporation in particular, with U.S. Public Interest Research Group calling on readers to sign petitions for the company to change its beef-sourcing policies. The Los Angeles Times cited a McDonald’s statement: “Treating sick animals is consistent with the company’s long-standing commitment to animal health and welfare. Engaging farmers, producers and veterinarians in the responsible use of antibiotics is key to achieving our vision of preserving antibiotic effectiveness for both humans and animals.”

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