Vilsack: Stronger rules on the way for fair play in livestock marketing

The USDA will propose three rules to give cattle, hog and poultry producers more leverage in dealing with meat processors in an increasingly concentrated industry, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The initiatives would make it easier for a producer to prove unfair treatment by a processor and would write a new regulation on use of so-called tournament systems by processors to determine pay for poultry farmers.

Farmers’ share of food dollar is shrinking

A decade ago, farmers received 17.6 cents of each $1 spent on food by Americans. Their share now is barely above 14 cents while processors, retailers and others in the food chain take a larger share, according to USDA economists, who have tracked the farmer/marketer relationship for a quarter century.

New leaders for USDA meat inspection, crop subsidy and marketing agencies

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Carmen Rottenberg will lead USDA's meat inspection agency, Richard Fordyce will head the Farm Service Agency, and Bruce Summers is the new chief of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

FDA sniffs at snortable chocolate

Nutrition professor and food author Marion Nestle says the FDA dropped the hammer on the promoters of “snortable Coco Loko ... cocoa powder infused with caffeine, ginkgo, taurine, and guarani.”

It sounds like a spoof, but it’s your Thanksgiving turkey

It was a comic skit on Portlandia: two hipsters asking about the provenance of the locally raised chicken being served in a restaurant. But farce has become fact this holiday season under a pilot program by Cargill that allows consumers to identify the farm that raised their turkey.

Companion bills encourage sale of local food

With an eye toward the 2018 farm bill, congressional backers of regional food marketing efforts filed bills in the House and Senate that would expand local and direct sales of food, which were estimated at $8.7 billion in 2015.

Will setback for soda warnings in California affect GMO labeling?

The U.S. appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the city’s ordinance requiring health warnings on display advertisements for sugar-sweetened drinks is a violation of the Constitution’s freedom of speech protections. A lawyer for the Washington Legal Foundation told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ruling, by recognizing “the right not to speak,” puts a cloud over government efforts to require labeling of foods made with GMO ingredients.

Food companies go their own way on certifying what’s ethical, sustainable

In an effort to save money and better serve their brand image, some major companies are breaking from third-party certifiers, such as FairTrade and the Rainforest Alliance, and developing their own schemes for certifying which products meet standards of sustainability and ethics, reports Reuters. 

U.S. decides Amazon purchase of Whole Foods won’t hurt competition

Amazon can proceed with its purchase of Whole Foods after getting the green light from the Federal Trade Commission, which determined that the deal will not reduce competition in the grocery sector. The FTC announced its decision hours after Whole Foods’ stockholders approved the $13.7 billion transaction, said CNBC.