University Place, WA—In the aftermath of the defeat of California’s Proposition 37, activists in the state of Washington are close to placing another genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling measure on a ballot. I-522, “The People’s Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” was submitted to state officials with 350,000 signatures from potential voters on January 3.

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News from industry food companies.

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A victim of budget cuts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Microbiological Data Program, which since 2001 has analyzed samples of select fruits and vegetables for foodborne pathogens, closed down its operations at the beginning of 2013.

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Auckland, New Zealand—Maybe that ban on large sodas implemented in New York City isn’t necessary; just tax them, and people will buy them less. So says a new paper published in PLoS Medicine, which also found that making healthy foods like fruit cheaper will increase their intake among consumers.

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News from industry food companies.

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Rockville, MD—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking for input on threshold levels for all eight major food allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts and soybeans).  

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Ithaca, NY—Learning that a product is certified organic may leave many consumers feeling a bit conflicted. New research, conducted by researchers from Cornell University and University of Michigan and published in the journal Appetite, shows that some groups of consumers acknowledge the “good” that organics provide while simultaneously holding a bias against them when it comes to taste and other qualities.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a new requirement for certifying agencies under the National Organic Program (NOP). Agencies must now annually test for non-organic residue in samples from at least 5% of the organic farms and processors they certify. The requirement went into effect on January 1, 2013.

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 News from industry food companies.

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Melville, NY­­—Premier Foods, one of the largest food producers in the United Kingdom, has sold several of its packaged grocery brands to The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. The brands acquired, all belonging to the Histon Sweet Spreads business, are home to such products as peanut butter, honey, jams, fruit, jelly, marmalade and chocolate. The Histon manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire, UK was also included in the transaction.

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