A perennial wheat, Kernza heads for the cereal and snack aisle

Under development for decades as an erosion-preventing perennial crop, Kernza, "a sweet, nutty-tasting new grain," is getting a big boost from General Mills, which intends to commercialize the drought-resistant crop, says the Associated Press. Kernza could appear in cereals and snack foods as early as next year, according to the foodmaker, which encourages other companies to help create a market for the food grain.

General Mills invests in bees

General Mills is teaming up with the Xerces Society, a wildlife conservation nonprofit, to help save pollinators, says The Guardian. The food manufacturer, which has contributed $4 million to other pollinator conservation projects since 2011,says it will give $2 million to the Xerces-led program to make 100,000 acres of North American farmland pollinator-friendly over the next five years.

Monsanto and other major U.S. firms tell Trump to respect Paris Agreement

More than 300 companies, including Monsanto and Unilever, called on President-elect Donald Trump, President Obama and Congress to continue U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, reports NPR. The international treaty commits countries to lowering global climate emissions and keeping world temperature increases below two degrees beyond the pre-industrial standard.

Fifteen food companies pledge to cut food waste 50 percent

Fifteen companies, ranging from food processors to grocery and fast food chains, make up the inaugural class of "food loss and waste champions," said the EPA and USDA. The companies won the designation by agreeing to reduce food waste 50 percent by 2030, in line with an administration goal to conserve resources and to combat climate change.

More organic acres than ever in U.S.

The amount of U.S. acres in organic farmland increased 11 percent in 2016 from 2014 numbers to reach 4.1 million acres, says a report by the data-service company Mercaris. The individual number of organic farms also jumped in that period by 1,000, to 14,979. The increase is largely due to consumer demand and economics, Scott Shander, an economist at Mercaris, told Civil Eats.

CDC closes investigation of illnesses linked to flour

Federal health officials closed their investigation into foodborne illnesses linked to wheat flour milled by General Mills with a renewed warning to consumers to look for, and discard, packages of flour covered by the recall. "Consumers unaware of the recall could continue to use these recalled flour products and potentially get sick," said FDA.

Food companies agree to tackle water risks

Seven major food companies, with $124 billion in combined annual revenues, will work with growers around the world to reduce water use and pollution, said World Wildlife Fund and Ceres, a nonprofit group promoting sustainable food. The companies, Diageo, General Mills, Hain Celestial, Hormel Foods, Kellogg, PepsiCo and WhiteWave Foods, will submit detailed sustainable sourcing and water stewardship plans as part of the AgWater Challenge.

New illnesses prompt General Mills to expand flour recall for fourth time

For the fourth time since May 31, General Mills expanded its recall of flour because of illnesses linked to handling or eating uncooked flour dough and batter. The company said E. coli bacteria, which can cause food-borne illness, "has been detected in a small number of ... flour samples and some have been linked to new patient illnesses that fall outside of the previously recalled dates."

Could thrifty shoppers thwart cage-free producers?

Even though big food companies like Walmart, General Mills and McDonald’s pledged to sell only cage-free eggs, producers are growing wary of investing in cage-free housing because “those premium eggs simply are not selling well,” reports American Public Media’s Marketplace.

Dozens sickened by eating raw dough, FDA says

Dozens of people across the country have become ill by eating raw dough contaminated with a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, the FDA said. The doughs had been made with General Mills flour produced in a Kansas City, Missouri, facility.