Atlanta, GA—Data on outbreaks of foodborne illness occurring in 2008 in the United States have been finalized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and released in a report. Officially titled “Surveillance for Foodborne Disease Outbreaks—United States, 2008,” and appearing in an edition of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the document indicates that for the most recent year with complete disease data, 1,034 separate foodborne outbreaks were reported.

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Farms that produce organic food are economically viable on a long-term basis, and are perhaps more profitable than conventional farms, according to new research. The study, conducted by the University of Minnesota and recently published in Agronomy Journal, analyzed 18 years of crop yields and other farm data. Findings included a lower risk of poor returns for organic corn and soybean crop rotations than for conventional rotations.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now has broader authority to levy fees for the re-inspection of imported food. The new fee structure comes as a result of certain sections of the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and some parties fear it may result in burdensome fees for small companies and in higher food prices.

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News from industry food companies.

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Washington, D.C.—The Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law on January 4 of this year, and one stipulation of that legislation was that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should increase its safety measures surrounding fresh fruits and vegetables. Since then, U.S. citizens have watched tainted vegetables become implicated in widespread illness in Europe. Now, FDA is announcing its plans to move forward with the required regulations.

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Venice, CA—Federal agents and local law enforcement, at the behest of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), conducted an armed raid on raw organic food distributor Rawesome for the second time recently, according to numerous reports.

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Laval, Canada—SmartBalance, Inc., marketer of the natural foods brand EarthBalance, has purchased Glutino Food Group (Glutino) from Claridge Natural Foods for $66.3 million. Claridge, a Montreal-based investment firm, transfered 100% equity interest in Importations DE-RO-MA, which owns Glutino, over to SmartBalance. Glutino is an established presence in the gluten-free market, with offerings under the Glutino and Gluten Free Pantry brand names.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken news steps to create a standard definition for the term “gluten-free,” according to a new consumer update. 

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News from industry food companies.

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Uelzen, Germany—The tragic E. coli outbreak in Europe, having taken the lives of at least 37 people mostly in Germany, has subsided at press time. Though the number of new illnesses has dwindled, the episode leaves lingering questions about organic farming in the minds of the public.

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