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Gene-Altered Cattle Allowed for Food, FDA

For the first time, the FDA has finally allowed bioengineered cattle in meat market. Named a “low-risk determination”, two gene-edited beef cattle and their offspring can be used for food. According to FDA, the meat products from them imposes low risk to consumers. Genetically-modified animals for food use have been monitored and regulated by the FDA since 2017.

The bioengineered cattle have short hair, slick coat, to help them cope better with the heat. In a report, the FDA said the genetic products are soon used from the two in the global market with select customers. It is expected that their meat will be offered to general customers in two years, said the FDA.

The genes were modified with CRISPR technology by Acceligen, a pioneer in precision breeding.

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By Saha on March 19, 2022

Stay Healthy with Nordic Diet, A New Study

A recent analysis by University of Copenhagen reveals that the Nordic diet involves health benefits other than weight loss.

Nordic diet has so far carried out research on weigh loss. But now it is been found that a Nordic diet contributes in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, even with no weight loss.

Composition of dietary fats, in particular, justifies the positive effects of the healthy diet.

Professor of Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Lars Ove Dragsted said it is a surprise as the public opinion believes that lower levels in blood sugar and cholesterol are merely attributed to weight loss. 

For the research, blood and urine samples from 200 people over 50 were examined. They all had elevated BMI and increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The testees were broken down in 2 groups, the first group with Nordic dietary and the second, control group, with their habitual diet. They were on their diets for six months.

The results after this period show that the first group became substantially healthier and had lower cholesterol, and lower saturated and unsaturated fat, with a better regulation of glucose.

The diet focuses on locally sourced food products in the Nordic countries including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland.

Foods that are recommended in this diet include peas, beans, cabbage, onions and root vegetables, fruits such as apples, pears, plums, berries, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and shellfish, vegetable oils made from rapeseed, sunflower or flaxseed, and low-fat dairy products. 

Obviously, the solid diet includes fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, which help minimize high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease, among others.  

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By Saha on March 16, 2022

Danone to Step Up Revenue Growth As New Chief Comes In

Danone group plans on scaling up investments for its brands and keep rotating asset allocation to boost revenue. The new CEO of Danone, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, conducts the new strategic plan.

In a statement, he said “Renew Danone" plan focuses on sustainable and competitive growth. The French food group expects to lower its operating profit margin over 12% in 2022, from 13.7% a year ago, and gain like-for-like sales growth of 3% to 5% compared to 3.4% in 2021.

The food-products corporation has targeted a profitable growth for 2023 and 2024. The goal is to get like-for-like sales growth between 3% and 5% and a recurring operating income greater than like-for-like net sales.

Expanding sales in its three business lines including dairy and plant-based products, baby food, and bottled water will be a challenging task for him.

Another challenge would be rising cost of production and unpredictability due to Russian attack to Ukraine; Danone has been pushed to suspend investments in Russia.  

As yet, shares of the company have reduced 12% this year, which is negligibly better than their European sector (SX3P), with a loss of 13%.

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By Saha on March 8, 2022

Fifth Season Aims to Disrupt U.S. Produce Market

A vertical farm startup, sponsored by the co-founder of Tao Capital- Nicholas Pritzker- has turned to an innovation in agricultural technology.

Originally named RoBotany, located beside the last steel mill in the industrial town of Braddock, only nine miles from Pittsburgh’s U.S. Steel Tower, the farm was set up in 2016 by Austin Webb with Carnegie Mellon University support. Currently named Fifth Season, plans on using high tech, $75 million of venture capital, rising distribution of products, and a bigger management team to disrupt the $60-billion American produce market.  

Over five years, fifth season could be worth $15 million in Pittsburgh, firmly predicted by the farmland’s CEO Webb. He also estimated in 2022 the farm’s sales would reach a double-figure revenue, a 600% jump.

Utilizing proprietary robotics and artificial intelligence, the farm raises fresh yield throughout the year. It applies high tech to monitor water, light, and minerals.

The current 1% of fresh produce, raised via hydroponics, is estimated by Mordor Intelligence to rise by about 11% each year and reach about $600 million by the year 2025.

The indoor farming company aims to set up its second farm next year. Negotiations are underway to obtain a piece of land in Columbus, Ohio, near the John Glenn Airport.

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By Saha on March 7, 2022

Beyond Meat Reports Sliding Revenue

Beyond Meat Company’s Thursday report issued its revenue is growing smaller in the fourth quarter. This is while the Los Angeles–based company has been focusing on scaling production of fast-food inauguration.

The plant-based Beyond Fried Chicken debuted in 2022 and McDonald’s McPlant burger, made from peas, rice and potatoes, was piloted this February. 

The plant-based Beyond Fried Chicken debuted in 2022 and McDonald’s McPlant burger, made from peas, rice and potatoes, was piloted this February. However, the initiatives didn’t bring success as the company’s shares in extended-hours trading dropped 11%.

The Q4 report of the company declared net loss of $80.37 million, $1.27 cents per share, larger than the loss of $25.08 million in the previous year, shows surveys by Refinitiv.

Grocery sales in the U.S. dropped 19.5%, to $49.98 million, which according to Beyond was the result of softer demand, rise in discounts, market share loss fewer shipping days versus a year earlier.

The company’s major division has been challenging to keep the growth of its revenue as it was in 2020 due to rising demand.

CEO Ethan Brown in a teleconference with analysts said the slow growth partly stems from the company’s plan to deal with its restaurants instead of producing new grocery items.

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By Saha on February 25, 2022

India Cuts Tax on Palm Oil Imports

India has reduced tax on the imports of crude palm oil (CPO), from 7.5% to 5%, as the world’s largest edible oil importing country aims to curb local goods prices along with assisting local consumers and refiners.

Tax cut will help to remove the widening gap between the CPO and refined palm oil import tariff. It will also reduce the prices for the refiners in India to import CPO, according to the industry authorities.

This measure was fulfilled as of Sunday.

BV Mehta, Executive Director of the Solvent Extractors' Association (SEA), said the cut in the Agriculture Infrastructure and Development Cess (AIDC) would broaden the import tax between CPO and refined palm oil to 8.25%.

He added it will benefit the refiners in India and the government will still have to create a further difference, to 11%, to support domestic refiners. The previous government’s notice said the Indian government would keep on reducing customs duty on edible oils until the end of September. The tax cut was supposed to end at the end of March.

India, facing a challenge to make increasing prices in the upcoming months, imports the greatest amount of its edible oil. Indonesia and Malaysia are the major exporters of palm oil to the country; soy and sunflower oils are imported from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

Sandeep Bajoria, CEO of Sunvin Group, said refined palm oil imports rounded up approximately half of the country’s palm oil imports over the last few months.

He added reforms in tax framework could bring down the share of refined palm oil to 20%. 

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By Saha on February 14, 2022

Nestle's Plan to Tackle Child Labor in Cocoa Industry

Problems like child labor, among others, is threatening the cocoa industry. But there’s no solution to this unless the fundamental problems are tackled. 

The child labor has been handled by local governments and private sector in West Africa who try to supervise farms, guide communities and develop schools for kids. Although there have been efforts in this regard, evaluations assert that they haven’t been a success with regard to extensive systematic change. Child labor is still a big risk in the cocoa supply chain amidst rising demand for sustainable sources. So, there’s a need to come up with a new approach to deal with the basic deep-rooted causes like poverty in the rural areas. The plan of rise in cocoa prices has not been fruitful for the farmers community. Rising prices often work for large-scaled farm lands rather than small ones.

The key to resolve this is to serve all farms of any size and grant financial aids for a stable economy, which supports the reformative agricultural activities to save the environment as well as helping local farmers and next generations.

Nestle’s recent plan is capitalizing US$1.4 billion for the upcoming decade to help thousands of cocoa farmers. Based on this plan, farmers will get money incentives to make use of practices that help women and kids, expand their yields, guarantee sustainable agriculture and offer extra sources of income for families. 

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By Saha on January 28, 2022

Best Places to Eat in Bangkok

Beautiful food scenes are seen throughout Bangkok, from food vendors preparing tasty food skillfully in front of your eyes to talented young chefs you can see food wonders in your visit to the city. Here’s a glance at the best places to dine and wine. Perhaps one of the city’s oldest food hubs lies in Chinatown.  

On Luk Yun is a place for nice breakfast: soft-boiled eggs, sweetened coffee, buttered toast and sangkaya (which is coconut custard).

For lunch meal, go to Roti Mataba to try pan-fried flatbread filled with spicy mixture.

Another option for your lunch would be in Nusara, where it is a challenge for chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn to satisfy the taste buds of foreign and local visitors. Here visitors can eat traditional Thai recipes and creatively-developed foods with new ingredients and flavors.

For snack lovers, Nai Mong is a place to hit. It features savory oyster pancakes (hoi thod in Thai). Lao Tang, too, serves tender, braised goose meat.   

The street-side restaurant, Jay Fai serves queues of food lovers with drunken noodles (pad kee mao) as well as crab omelet (khai jiew poo). 

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By Saha on January 26, 2022

National Restaurant Association's Call for Congress Aid

The National Restaurant Association’s request for contribution to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund comes amidst the omicron spread. In 2021, a fund of $28.6 billion was designed to help bars and restaurants struck badly by the covid-19. A restaurant’s total losses for one single location stood at $5 million.

Following depletion in funds, restaurants have called up for Congress to help with the crisis. In spite of lawmakers’ legislation to aid, the bills haven’t picked up steam. Seemingly, Biden and his administration has failed to back the industry.

However, the spread of the virus might be a game CHANGER. According to the report from the National Restaurant Association, 88% of restaurants faced a decline in indoor dining demand in the wake of the omicron.

Sean Kennedy, the National Restaurant Association’s top lobbyist, in his letter to Congress stated that the industry hasn’t been able to recreate the job opportunities lost as soon as the pandemic hit the world, over 650,000 jobs were lost.

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By Saha on January 24, 2022

Norway's Aid for Global Food Safety

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad, is undertaking NOK 25 million to the Standards and Trade Development Facility, STDF, for two years. Agency's purpose is to support developing and least-developed countries, LDCs, to follow global food safety and animals and plants health criteria.  

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director-General, embraced Norway's act of generosity. She said that this commitment will help these countries to take Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures such as applying science in supporting the health of plants, animals and human. It develops the safety and solidity of food supply among developing countries, allowing many farmers to offer their commodities in new markets to better their sustenance, she added.

Bård Vegar Solhjell, Norad’s Director-General, equally declared that food safety and implementing food system are of the greatest importance to Norwegians. He said we are honored to protect STDF and guarantee that LDCs will be capable to get involved in safe food business. We must keep on developing global safe trade, he added. He also said Norad aims to make sure that it expends its development aid finance in the best manner.  

In several agreements, Norway has granted CHF 5.2 million to STDF since 2007, apart from this new contribution. Across the last 20 years, it has contribute CHF 41 million to WTO trust funds. 

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By Saha on January 14, 2022

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