IMMOKALEE, Fla. (AP) — Growers of the bulk of all U.S. winter tomatoes struck a major deal Tuesday with a Florida farmworkers' group to boost their wages and working conditions, clearing the way for food giants such as McDonald's, Burger King and upscale grocer Whole Foods to pass along more money to poor field pickers for their harvests.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A far-reaching food safety bill that could give the government more power to prevent foodborne illnesses has become a target of advocates for buying food produced locally. They worry the legislation's safety requirements could force small farms out of business. The opposition of these "locavores" — advocates for buying food directly from the farm or closer to home — and owners of small farms has become a sticking point in the Senate, which was to vote Wednesday on whether to consider the bill.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The manufacturer of popular caffeinated alcohol drink Four Loko said Tuesday it will remove the caffeine from its products, pulling the blend off the market just as the Food and Drug Administration is poised to ban it. Phusion Projects said in a statement posted on its website that the company will remove caffeine and two other ingredients from its products going forward.
ROME (AP) — Prices of wheat and other staples have risen "alarmingly" over the past year, a U.N. report said Wednesday, acknowledging fears of a repeat of the 2008 food crisis when a spike in the price of bread led to deadly riots in some countries. Further increases were likely unless production of major food crops increases significantly in 2011, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said, warning that international food import bills could pass the $1 trillion dollar mark in 2010.
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — Even though this year's Dungeness crab catch is looking strong, many crabbers are waiting a little longer before filling their boats up this year. While Sunday marked the official opening to the Dungeness season off California's central coast, fishermen say the crustaceans need days or even weeks more to mature and fatten up.
NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Department of Agriculture has halted its practice of doing some produce inspections in Mexico, citing concerns for inspectors' safety. Department director Donald Butler said inspectors have been hassled by Mexican authorities and told they shouldn't be driving vehicles in Mexico that aren't their own, although the inspectors are using vehicles owned by the state of Arizona.
BEIJING (AP) — China's government is trying to cool double-digit food price rises by releasing stockpiled pork and sugar to boost supplies in markets, the Commerce Ministry said Tuesday. The move comes after food prices jumped 10.1 percent in October over a year earlier due to shortages of some goods.
WARFORDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Police are investigating the deaths of more than 900 pigs inside a barn at an abandoned southcentral Pennsylvania farm. State Police Lt. Gregory Bacher says authorities are examining the deaths of 925 pigs found Nov. 8 in a warehouse-style barn in Warfordsburg.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Public oyster harvesting grounds open Monday along Louisiana's coast, but on a smaller scale than usual, in part because of complications from the BP oil spill. Louisiana's Wildlife and Fisheries Commission recently voted to indefinitely delay the opening for a broad area east of the Mississippi River, which state wildlife officials estimate produces about 28 percent of the oysters harvested in the state.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Employees at the Oscar Mayer meat processing plant in Davenport have filed a class action lawsuit seeking compensation for time they spend putting on and taking off their safety equipment. The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in Davenport, claims employees are not paid while they don and doff uniforms, safety footwear, hairnets, gloves, earplugs, glasses and hard hats before and after their shifts in violation of state and federal law.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's mayor has vetoed legislation that would ban toys from fast-food children's meals, though it's still expected to become law. Earlier this week, city supervisors passed the measure, which prevents toy giveaways for meals that don't meet nutritional guidelines.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A recall of Mauri brand Gorgonzola cheese sold by Costco Wholesale Stores in Colorado because of potentially deadly E. coli bacteria, has been expanded to include additional packages, according to the products distributor. A statement Friday by DPI Specialty Foods of Tualatin, Ore.
The following recall has been announced: About 2,609 pounds of fully cooked, ready-to-eat smoked turkey breast products sold by New Braunfels Smokehouse of New Braunfels, Texas, because they may be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, or people with weakened immune systems.
NEOSHO, Mo. (AP) — A southwest Missouri egg-production plant has announced plans to expand. The Joplin Globe reports that Newton County residents who live near Moark's current plant recently received letters from Moark that said the company plans to expand current egg-laying operations by 2.
NEW YORK (AP) — The maker of a caffeinated alcoholic drink that has been banned in four states has agreed to stop shipments to New York state. Gov. David Paterson and the State Liquor Authority announced the agreement Sunday with Chicago-based Phusion Projects, which makes the drink Four Loko, and with the state's largest beer distributors to stop selling caffeinated alcoholic beverages.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — While the recession took a toll on manufacturing and other industries, one part of the economy has remained a bright spot over the past few years: food production. Across the nation, food producers are seeing enough growth that many are expanding and investing in new equipment.
CINCINNATI (AP) — A manager at a Cincinnati snack food company says a fire that damaged its potato chip factory has temporarily shut down production. Grippo's Manager Ken Lehmkuhl tells The Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday that the Tuesday night fire was caused by grease buildup on a potato fryer and caused about $20,000 damage.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mauri brand Gorgonzola cheese sold by Costco Wholesale Stores in Colorado is being recalled because potentially deadly E. coli bacteria has been found in the product. A statement by DPI Specialty Foods of Tualatin, Ore., says the recalled cheese is packaged in clear plastic in approximately 1-pound wedges.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Food safety and security will be discussed to a symposium in Raleigh with nearly two dozen local and national experts. The four-day meeting begins Thursday at the Raleigh Convention Center. It is sponsored by Sigma Xi, an international honor society of research scientists and engineers with headquarters in Research Triangle Park.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Retailers have a week to clear millions of dollars worth of alcoholic energy drinks from their shelves after state regulators banned them Wednesday, citing the hospitalization of nine dangerously drunk college students last month. The emergency ban, similar to those in Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma, takes effect Nov.