January's top stories: Norway reports first BSE case, new US food safety agency

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has confirmed the country's first ever case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in a 15-year-old cow in Nord-Trøndelag, while a bill has been proposed by US Congress to create a single food safety agency by combining 15 agencies. Foodprocessing-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2015.


Mad cow

First BSE case reported in Norway

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority confirmed the country's first ever case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in a 15-year-old cow in Nord-Trøndelag, Norway.

Also known as mad cow disease, it was confirmed after tests in EU reference laboratory in England.

BSE is a progressive neurological disorder of cattle that results from infection by an unusual transmissible agent called prion.

US to set-up new single food safety agency

A bill was proposed by US Congress to create a single food safety agency by combining 15 agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture.

Democratic Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Rosa DeLauro said that the bill would create a single federal agency with an administrator directly appointed by the US President, Reuters reported.

Introduced as the Safe Food Act of 2015, the new bill aims to enhance food safety in the country by bringing together the scattered system with overlapping responsibilities between agencies.

Nestle plans $137m investment in Egypt's food sector

Swiss multinational food and beverage company Nestle is planning to invest approximately EGP1bn ($137.93m) in Egypt over the next few years to capitalise on growing demand.

Citing Nestle North East Africa Region CEO Suresh Narayanan, Reuters reported that the company will be investing in manufacturing, new products and the nutrition and health industries.

Narayanan was quoted by the news agency as saying: "Certainly the kind of investments we have made over the last three to four years are the kind of vision that we would have for this market also going forward."

US meat safety labelling implementation pushed to 2018

US meat

The amendment of 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.

Belgium releases guidelines on food safety of insects

The potential risks associated with consumption of edible insects can be controlled through good hygiene and manufacturing practices during breeding and marketing, stated a guide published by the Belgian food safety agency.

The Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) has produced these guidelines to guarantee the food safety of entomophagy on a large scale in Europe.

The advisory report states: "Worldwide, there are about 2,000 edible insects species known and, in certain regions, insects have already been eaten for ages by humans. Nevertheless, there is only little scientific literature available on the food safety of insects.

More than 110 people arrested in China for selling diseased pork

china pork

Chinese officials have arrested more than 110 people for allegedly selling pork from pigs that died from disease.

According to the Chinese Public Security Ministry, officials have also seized more than 1,000t of contaminated pork and 48t of cooking oil produced from the meat over the last four years, the New York Times reported.

These products were confiscated from markets in 11 provinces, including Henan and Guangxi.

Food redistribution up in UK, reveals Courtauld results

Courtwald

UK food waste prevention efforts have helped achieve redistribution of 80%, according to the first year results from the Courtauld Commitment Phase 3.

Released by WRAP, the result also showed around 4.5% reduction of the carbon impacts of packaging, said to be ahead of the 2015 target of zero increase.

Launched in May 2013, Courtauld Commitment 3 aims to further reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste, grocery product and packaging waste, both in the home and the UK grocery sector.

Post Holdings to buy MOM Brands for $1.15bn

Post holdings

US cereal maker Post Holdings has agreed to buy privately held MOM Brands for around $1.15bn, boosting its branded RTE cereal, private label, and hot wheat and oatmeal portfolio.

This acquisition of high-quality RTE and hot cereal products provider will solidify Post's position as the third largest provider of RTE cereal with a combined dollar share of approximately 18%.

Post president and CEO Rob Vitale said: "For Post, this is the right move, at the right price, in the right category.