FDA to Meet Over Fiery Cultured Meat Labeling Debate

FDA to Meet Over Fiery Cultured Meat Labeling Debate

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will host a public meeting July 12th to discuss cultured meat as the debate over labeling the new technology intensifies.

According to New Food Magazine, back in February the U.S Cattlemen’s Association submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting they ban labeling cultured meat as “meat.” The USCA’s petition argues that the USDA must establish labeling requirements to differentiate beef products derived from cattle from those created in a laboratory.

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How a Strong Operator-Supplier Partnership Leads to Success

There's more to restaurant success than the perfect operation, service staff, chefs, or menu items. It all begins with the right ingredients, which is exactly where suppliers come in. How does having a strong operator-to-supplier relationship lead to success? Find out in this episode of "Rock My Restaurant," hosted by William Bender and Eric Norman.

And the two special guests joining them? The first is Katy A. Jones, who serves as vice president of marketing at FoodLogiQ, a supply chain management software company whose products aim to improve food safety, traceability, and sustainability. Jamie Davis, the director of supply chain of 400-unit brand Tropical Smoothie Cafe, also shares her insights on how to improve communications between restaurants and food sources.

What kinds of questions should operators expect to answer while evaluating their supply chain?

"What it comes down to is how do you balance between...food safety, your food costs...to what consumers are asking for?" Davis said. "How do you engage your suppliers to meet that need?"

Jones also brings up another concern operators should be aware of as they're moving from being a one-to-two-unit chain to a 15-to-30-unit chain.

"Do you have suppliers that can really grow with you?" She said.

A common challenge for a brand and its supply chain is staying true to its vision, Jones said. A chain can start with a strong brand promise, such as being a farm-to-fork establishment. When a chain expands nationwide, how can operators stitch their supply chain to stay true to their foundational values? 

Do as much research as possible, Davis encouraged. Take a look at suppliers' history, their processes, and their own goals and missions statements. You can never over communicate.

"Years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago, [with suppliers] you either take it or leave it. But these days, it's more of you build a relationship. You build a solid relationship with your supplier, with your customers, so you can succeed," Davis said.

Watch the full episode now to learn more!

A Closer Look at Chipotle’s Food Safety Crisis and the Brand’s Road to Recovery

A Closer Look at Chipotle’s Food Safety Crisis and the Brand’s Road to Recovery

By Kerri Adams, Editor-at-Large

Chipotle has often been cited as the concept that started the fast casual movement. This Denver-based chain was founded in 1993 and it quickly spread like wildfire.

Consumers could not get enough of the Mexican grill with the open kitchen. It wasn’t uncommon to see long lines stretched outside of the stores with customers waiting for their burrito bowl.

But in November of last year, those long lines were no more. This when Chipotle received major backlash for a number of food safety issues that created a media frenzy.

The Timeline of the Outbreaks

The brand’s first food safety issue occurred on September 11, 2015 when Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota had a salmonella outbreak. 45 cases were traced to tomatoes served by the chain in the area. This was small enough though that the media didn’t have a field day.

On October 31, the brand, whose tagline is ironically “Food with Integrity,” was forced to close 43 of its stores in Washington and Oregon after an E. coli outbreak. This is when the media exploded with stories with headlines like “Chipotle banned GMOs, but it Couldn’t Stop E. Coli” and “I Was Terrified': Oregon Woman Became Severely Ill in Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also started their investigation on the chain and its sourcing.

The brand was quick to respond to the PR nightmare on both social media and with a press release stating they were taking aggressive action to clear up this issue.

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NRA Special Report: ServSafe Updates and Broadening Food Safety Culture

Aside from the menu, food safety is arguably the biggest factor that underlines a restaurant’s success — or if done improperly, downfall.

In this NRA Special Report edition of “On Foodable Weekly,” we are joined by three food safety champions: Hal King, president and CEO of Public Health Innovations, LLC; Mick Miklos, senior manager for program compliance at the National Restaurant Association; and Dave Crownover, product manager at ServSafe®.

“One of the things Mick and I, and even Hal, talk about is [that] to serve food safely, it takes commitment from the top down,” Crownover said, from the smallest food card to the largest multinational chains. “...And it is recognizing that without that commitment, they’re not going to be in business.”

What are some of the most recurring issues restaurants face when it comes to food safety?

“I think sanitation and cleaning is still a big challenge. I’ll be [at] restaurants and see the red bucket and the rag,” King said, urging for more innovation. “It can be used safely if it’s maintained in a sanitizer solution, but often times what happens is they [the kitchen staff] gets so busy, they’ll use that as a way to clean and sanitize without actually using cleaners and sanitizers.”

Currently, most food codes suggest that there should be one certified food protection manager per establishment, but there is a potential in the next iteration of the food code in 2017 that a CFPM will need to be present at all shifts. But beyond the internal team being prepared, it is even more so important to establish a positive relationship with external regulatory agencies and to not have an us-against-them mentality.

“I can tell you from direct experience that a crisis is not the time to be exchanging business cards for the first time with the regulatory authority in the jurisdiction,” Miklos said. “We are partners with a common purpose, and that purpose to protect the dining public.”

Want to learn more about broadening the food safety culture? Watch the episode now!