Hormel offers $500 Covid-19 bonus to steady workers

Up to $7 million will be paid in bonuses to "team members who continue to produce food during the Covid-19 outbreak," said Hormel Foods on Thursday. The money will be paid in July to employees at Hormel's meat and processed food plants and would follow a $4 million bonus paid in April. (No paywall)

Mapping Covid-19 in meatpacking plants

FERN staff writer Leah Douglas has created a map of meatpacking and food processing plants where cases of Covid-19 have been reported. As of midday Wednesday, at least 11 meatpacking plants and two processed food plants have closed, and a total of 40 have reported cases of Covid-19. At least 1,950 workers are confirmed sick and at least 11 have died, the story says.(No paywall)

Food industry tries to shape food policy, says nonprofit group

A series of emails obtained under a state freedom of information law suggest major food companies have a "roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges," says the leader of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know in a Bloomberg story. The emails by current and former Coca-Cola executives suggest actions such as enlisting outside organizations to question dietary advice that was contrary to their business interests.

Foodmakers say ‘not so fast’ to FDA call for less salt in food

The FDA called on foodmakers and restaurateurs to reduce sharply the amount of salt in their products to help Americans avoid high blood pressure and the risk of chronic illness. The food industry balked, saying it already has low-salt products on sale and that the science on healthy salt levels was not as clear as the government says.

Jobs to outnumber grads in ag, food and natural resources

There will be nearly two open jobs for every qualified graduate in the agriculture, food and natural resources sector in the next few years, says Harvest Public Media in summarizing a report by Purdue and the USDA. The gap between graduates and the estimated 60,000 jobs open annually for the next five years has "left the USDA, land grant universities and private industry scrambling to try and bridge the gap."

“Mother of organic” Merrigan at work on food policy

Kathleen Merrigan, who helped craft the organic food law in 1990 as a Senate staffer and implement it a decade later at USDA, "is an agricultural policy workhorse who calls the public policy arena her 'playground,'" says a profile story at Greenwire.

White House defers to FDA on GMO food-labeling petitions

The White House responded to two petitions for labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms by deferring to the expertise of the FDA, which has been studying the question for more than two years.

Life sentence urged in salmonella outbreak in peanut butter

The U.S. Probation Office, in a pre-sentencing report, recommended life in prison for Stewart Parnell, the former chief executive of Peanut Corporation of America, says Food Safety News.

House Agriculture takes the lead against GMO food labels

The House Agriculture Committee, a stronghold for conventional agriculture, will act first in Congress to prevent states from requiring labels on food made with genetically modified organisms.