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Brought to you by the editors of Food Technology magazine, The Weekly Newsletter delivers the latest news and research from the food science, technology, and regulatory landscape.

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The Weekly for March 25, 2020


Top Stories

Retailers, manufacturers seek to employ furloughed foodservice workers
Throughout the world, businesses have been forced to close or scale back operations, furlough employees, or reduce hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Retailers, such as Albertsons Companies, one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, are now partnering with companies to provide part-time jobs to their employees who have been furloughed or had their hours cut.

U.S. consumers remain polarized when it comes to GM foods
Americans have mixed views about genetically modified (GM) foods and their implications for society. According to a Pew Research Center survey, about half (51%) of U.S. adults think GM foods are worse for people’s health than foods with no GM ingredients, while 41% say GM foods have a neutral effect on health.


Research Briefs

U.S. restaurants see sales fall as pandemic spreads
With the COVID-19 pandemic spreading throughout the United States, more people working from home, and social distancing guidance in place, U.S. restaurant customer transactions declined by 8% in the week ending March 15 compared to a year ago, according to the NPD Group.

Tofu may help lower heart disease risk
A study published in the journal Circulation suggests that eating tofu and other plant-based proteins rich in isoflavones may lower the risk of heart disease, particularly in younger and postmenopausal women not taking hormones.

Familiarity, acceptance for prebiotics, CBD and ashwagandha grow
“A Star is Born” is one of the Innova Market Insights top 10 trends for 2020, highlighting how the food industry continues to experiment with novel and unusual ingredients in order to move them into the mainstream. Innova Market Insights reports a 20% global growth for food and beverage launches with prebiotics in 2018 versus 2017 and a further rise of over 13% for 2019.

Consuming fish during pregnancy may benefit children’s metabolic profile
A study published in JAMA Network Open suggests that children whose mothers ate fish one to three times a week during pregnancy were more likely to have a better metabolic profile than children whose mothers ate fish rarely (less than once a week).


Company News

Dean Foods drops DFA as stalking-horse bidder
According to the Kansas City Business Journal, the Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest dairy cooperative by membership in the United States, remains in the running to buy Dean Foods, but it no longer has an inside track.

Food industry groups partner to ensure sufficient food supply
The International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) and FMI – Food Industry Association have announced an ad-hoc partnership motivated by widespread consumer needs fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Nature’s Fynd raises $80 million to commercialize a new protein
Nature’s Fynd, a food tech company producing a protein from a microbe initially discovered in the geothermal springs of Yellowstone’s ancient volcano, has raised $80 million in new funding.

Victory Hemp Foods partners with Applied Food Sciences
Victory Hemp Foods and Applied Foods Sciences (AFS), a manufacturer of functional and organic ingredients for the natural products industry, have entered a strategic partnership in which AFS will provide marketing and sales support for Victory Hemp’s food and beverage ingredients.

No Kid Hungry releases $5 million in emergency grants in response to COVID-19
No Kid Hungry, a campaign to end childhood hunger in America, has announced it will be immediately deploying $5 million in emergency grants to ensure children have access to free meals as the pandemic forces school closures.

General Mills reports third-quarter results, updates full-year outlook due to COVID-19
General Mills has reported results for its fiscal third quarter, which ended Feb. 23, 2020, right before the coronavirus pandemic escalated in the United States.

Regulatory News

USDA signs poultry regionalization agreement with China
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has announced a regionalization agreement with China for the safe trade of poultry products.

USDA to allow ‘healthy’ claim on certain products
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) has published a notice in the Federal Register that it will allow establishments to use the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” on their labels in accordance with certain guidelines.

USDA appoints David Wu as deputy assistant secretary for administration
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced the appointment of David Wu to serve as deputy assistant secretary for administration at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

IFT & Meeting News

Use this time to expand your mind
During this time, it may feel like the world has been put on hold, but your professional development doesn’t have to be. IFT has opened its virtual webcast library and podcast for you to take advantage of for FREE!

Connect with the science of food community without leaving your home
In these unprecedented times, it’s important we come together to problem solve, share, and support one another. Thus, we are opening visibility of IFT division groups to non-members to share resources and information to help everyone in the times ahead.

GDST 1.0—Launching new traceability standards to grow our industry
The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) is proud to announce the release of groundbreaking new standards to support affordable, reliable, and interoperable seafood traceability. This panel webcast is the official launch of GDST 1.0—a ready-to-use framework applicable to companies across the entire seafood supply chain worldwide.

IFT webcasts are free for premier members

Educators: Resources for teaching online
In response to campuses moving to online instruction due to the COVID-19 health emergency, IFT is curating online teaching resources and is making them available to support our food science academic community.

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