2015: The year's biggest Food Processing Technology stories

Snyder's-Lance to acquire Diamond Foods for $1.91bn, Obama administration releases measures to prevent mislabelling of seafood and Canada lifts 19-year old ban on beef from EU countries. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from 2015.


Food Top Stories

Snyder's-Lance agrees to acquire Diamond Foods for $1.91bn

Snyder's-Lance signed a definitive agreement to purchase Diamond Foods in a cash-and-stock transaction of approximately $1.91bn, which also includes a debt of approximately $640m.

As per the terms of the agreement, Diamond stockholders will receive 0.775 Snyder's-Lance shares in addition to $12.50 in cash for every Diamond Foods share once the deal is closed.

This agreement, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both the firms, needs approval of stockholders too.


Obama administration releases new measures to prevent seafood fraud

seafood

The Obama administration announced new measures to prevent the mislabelling of seafood and black-market fishing.

The government formed the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud in June.

The task force released an action plan to fight seafood fraud that would involve expanding partnerships with non-federal entities, and increasing the information available on the products.

US to invest additional $330m to contain bird flu outbreak

flu

The US Government will use emergency funds amounting to $330m to help farmers affected a bird flu outbreak, and to prevent further spread of the flu.

The additional funds will be invested in paying for the indemnity claims filed by farmers with infected flocks.

The money was granted after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's request to the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to tap emergency funds.

Before the current amount, almost $84.5m had been set aside by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the outbreak.

Nestle India gets safety clearance for Maggi Noodles

Maggi Noodles

India's Bombay High Court-appointed labs stated that fresh samples of Maggi Noodles are safe, a verdict that Nestle India has been eagerly awaiting in order to begin retail sales this month.

The fresh samples taken from its three facilities; Nanjangud (Karnataka), Moga (Punjab) and Bicholim (Goa), have received clearance from three National Accreditation Board for Testing Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited labs.

Nestle India stated: "We have received results from all three NABL accredited laboratories mandated by Bombay High Court to test newly manufactured Maggi Noodles samples. All the samples of the Maggi Noodles Masala have been cleared with lead much below permissible limits."

Kerry Group acquires three US businesses for $735m

The Tralee-based Kerry Group acquired three US businesses, namely Red Arrow Products, Island Oasis, and Wellmune, for a total of $735m, as part of its strategy to boost its core ingredients and flavours business, and expand its presence in the nutritional solutions segment.

The transaction has been funded by Kerry's existing credit lines.

Each of these companies is considered a leading player in the ingredients sector. Red Arrow Products supplies natural smoke and savoury grill flavours to several food companies, Island Oasis offers cocktail mixes and customised beverage solutions, and Wellmune produces and markets functional nutritional ingredients.

Canada lifts 19-year import ban on EU beef

beef strips

Canada lifted a 19-year ban on beef imports from the 19 member states of the European Union.

In 1996, the North American country imposed an import ban following the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, scandal.

The European Commission stated that Canada's move indicates the positive measures the European Union has taken to eradicate mad cow disease.

Yeasts used in the fermenting of cocoa can change aroma of chocolates, finds Belgian study

chocolate research

Yeasts used in fermenting cocoa during the chocolate making process can change the aroma of the end chocolate, finds a team of Belgian researchers.

The researchers of the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology, and the University of Leuven in Belgium explored strong yeast strains that could outcompete the several invading bacteria found during the fermentation process of cocoa beans.

The study researcher Esther Meersman was quoted by the American Society for Microbiology as saying: "After harvesting, the cocoa beans are collected in large plastic boxes, or even piled in large heaps on the soil, right in the farms where they are grown."

US Congress declares COOL law void

US Congress passed a spending bill that declared country-of-origin labelling (COOL) laws void.

COOL was put into law in the 2002 Farm bill, and was intended to offer greater transparency to consumers on the food they purchase.

Congress bolstered the law in 2013. COOL required imported beef and pork products sold in the US to carry information on packs where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

Meat labels mislead consumers in EU, says BEUC report

labelled meat in a chilled container

Meat products sold in the European Union are often found to contain less meat than mentioned on the label, and sometimes an altogether different variety, according to a report of European Consumer Organisation Europäischer Verbraucherverband Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC).

In the report, titled 'Close-up on the meat we eat - Consumers want honest labels', the consumer watchdog stated that several additives are being pumped into meat, including water and sulphites in beef mince.

Ever since the horse meat scandal erupted in 2013, Europe's food has been under scrutiny.

CDC confirms 358 Cyclospora cases across 26 states in US this year

Coriander

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have confirmed that the country has seen nearly 358 cases of cyclospora infections across 26 states this year.

The CDC said that most of the cases experienced the onset of symptoms on or after 1 May, and that none of the cases occurred due to international travels. It linked clusters of the illness to restaurants or events in Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia.

The centre had previously linked the outbreak to coriander (cilantro) grown in and imported from Puebla, Mexico.

British scientists produce useful ailment-fighting natural compounds from GM tomatoes

tomatoes

British researchers found a method to efficiently generate industrial quantities of ailment-fighting natural compounds by growing them in genetically-modified tomatoes.

The scientists of the John Innes Centre have been able to produce the compounds Resveratrol and Genistein.

Resveratrol is commonly found in wine and was found to extend lifespan in animal studies, while Genistein is found in soybeans and helps in preventing steroid-hormone related cancers, especially breast cancer.


US meat safety labelling implementation pushed to 2018

meat

The amendment of the US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for the labelling of raw meat and poultry products will not be implemented for at least the next three years due to the government missing its deadline.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been working on new mandatory labels for beef that is mechanically tenderised.

Tenderisation is a process that softens meat with tools and devices. Unsoftened meat is often susceptible to pathogens that can lead to foodborne illnesses.