Food & Beverage Industry – A major recall of frozen foods contaminated by listeria bacteria is putting pressure on government regulators to take a closer look at safety practices in the food manufacturing sector. Millions of packages of fruits and vegetables made by Washington-based CRF Frozen Foods were pulled from store shelves in April and May 2016, making the incident one of the largest food recalls in recent history, according to the Associated Press. The company’s recall includes more than 350 product lines under 40 different brand names, and CRF’s retail customers — which include Costco, Target, Trader Joe’s, and Safeway — have imposed secondary recalls of at least 150 additional products, Food Safety News reports. There is evidence that past enforcement of health and safety regulations has been lax at the CRF plant where the listeria outbreak originated: FDA and state agriculture inspectors documented several code violations at the facility since 2014 that were never adequately resolved. The US Justice Department is investigating a similar incident in which Dole Food recalled listeria-contaminated packaged salad products earlier this year, more than a year after federal investigators first found evidence of contamination at one of the company’s production plants.
Commercial water bottlers may face increased opposition from the public and government agencies concerned about water usage and pollution caused by discarded bottles. A recent vote by residents near Portland, Oregon, to halt construction of a commercial water bottling plant could signal growing opposition to the industry. Hood River County voters defeated an eight-year effort by Nestlé Waters North America to build a bottling plant, citing drought and environmental issues. An appeal is possible, according to the Wall Street Journal. A similar fight is underway in Flathead County, Montana.
- US nondurable goods manufacturers’ shipments of food products, an indicator of demand for food manufacturing, rose 0.2% year-to-date in May 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
- US retail sales for food and beverage stores, a potential measure of food demand, increased 2.5% in the first six months of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
Posted by Terry Fick.