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Public Comment Sought on Draft National Strategy That Aims to Reduce Food Loss and Waste in the U.S.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a national strategy that will drive progress toward the national goal to reduce food loss and waste in the U.S. by 50% by 2030. This action is a continuation of the three agencies’ collaborative efforts to build a more sustainable future.
In the U.S., food is the single most common material found in landfills. More than one-third, nearly 100 million tons, of municipal waste stream is organic waste and food comprises sixty-six million tons of that waste. The Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics identifies opportunities to reduce food loss and waste across the entire supply chain.
“The FDA supports the mission to reduce food loss and waste. While we look forward to our continued partnership with USDA and EPA, we also want Americans to feel empowered and confident in their ability to play a part in that mission,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “We encourage the public to comment on practical ways everyone can play a role in reducing food waste.”
This Strategy is a deliverable in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in September 2022.
The draft strategy features four objectives:
- Prevent the loss of food where possible.
- Prevent the waste of food where possible.
- Increase the recycling rate for all organic waste.
- Support policies that incentivize and encourage food loss and waste prevention and organics recycling.
For each objective, the draft strategy highlights actions that the FDA, USDA or EPA could take. Examples of specific FDA actions include:
- FDA and USDA will contribute date labeling and food safety advice to inform EPA’s national consumer education campaign.
- FDA will continue working with the food industry to advance the goals under the FDA New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative to support and encourage supply chain stakeholders to adopt and leverage tech-enabled digital tracing technologies to remove contaminated foods more rapidly and accurately from the marketplace, while simultaneously reducing food loss and food waste associated with contamination events.
- FDA will continue to encourage uniform adoption of food donation practices updated in the Food Code, which provide consistency and uniformity for public health officials.
This effort will also provide social and economic benefits, including the potential to:
- Increase food access for food-insecure Americans and increase the recovery rate and donation of wholesome food, such as through the emergency food system.
- Create new jobs, industries, and sectors of the economy.
- Increase supply chain resiliency.
- Deliver financial savings to households, which can also help address the needs of underserved communities.
The public comment will begin on December 5 and will remain open for 30 days. Share comments through Regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0415.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, radiation-emitting electronic products, and for regulating tobacco products.
- Janell Goodwin
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Happy holidays? Not if your pet gets sick. The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine discusses some unhealthy holiday temptations and how to keep your pets safe.
Stocking Stuffers and Pet Treats
If your dog received a stocking full of pet treats, make sure he doesn’t gobble them all up at once, making them hard to digest. Unchewed pet treats can get stuck in the trachea (windpipe) or gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, and intestines).
If your dog is in obvious distress from eating too much too fast, call your veterinarian immediately. Some telltale signs are drooling, choking, or vomiting.
Take note of timing. If a bone or chew toy lodges in your dog’s stomach or intestines, the symptoms might not be immediate. Hours to days later, he may vomit and have diarrhea, be less active, not want to eat, and have stomach pain. If the blockage stays there too long, your dog may become very ill.
When in doubt, call your veterinarian, who may need to take x-rays, use an endoscope (a medical device with a special camera that can see inside the throat, stomach, and intestines), or even do abdominal surgery to see what and where the problem is and remove any pieces of bone or chew toy that are causing the blockage.
Tinsel and Ribbons
Decorating your tree? Wrapping or unwrapping gifts? Keep a close eye on where you leave leftover tinsel, string, and ribbons.
Your cat or dog may find these decorations irresistible because they look like easy-to-catch, sparkly, and wiggly prey. In fact, they can cause serious stomach and intestinal damage.
Play it safe by keeping tinsel off the tree and collecting all ribbons and string after gifts are opened.
Salt-Dough Ornaments and Homemade Play Dough
If you’re making salt-dough ornaments or homemade play dough, keep your pets away from them. They contain a great deal of salt, which can be fatal to pets if eaten. Be sure to warn children who may want to give a “treat” to Bowser or Kiki. Putting it in perspective, one cup of salt is 48 teaspoons. A 10-pound pet can get sick after eating just ½ teaspoon of table salt, and 1 ½ teaspoons of salt can be fatal.
If you have holiday plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, or holly around, take care. When you display (or dispose of) these plants, your cat or dog may decide they’re good to eat.
Take poinsettias, which can irritate your pet’s mouth and stomach and may cause drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your pet eats poinsettia leaves, you can help by picking up the food and water dishes for a couple of hours to let your pet’s stomach settle.
Fortunately, severe mistletoe toxicity is uncommon and usually occurs only if your pet eats a large amount. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, low blood pressure, and odd behavior.
Even though holly berries and leaves aren’t very harmful, they can still make your pet ill and you should prevent your pets from eating them. In both dogs and cats, the plant’s toxins can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and decreased activity. Not to mention, the spikey leaves could hurt your pet’s mouth.
Don’t give your pet table scraps that are high in fat, such as fat trimmings from meat or skin from a roasted turkey or chicken. Not only can rich foods cause an upset stomach, but they can also cause a potentially life-threatening and painful disease called pancreatitis. The most common symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs include vomiting, stomach pain, restlessness, shaking, diarrhea, fever, and weakness.
In cats, the symptoms are less clear and harder to notice, such as decreased appetite and weight loss.
And be careful what you put in the trash can. Dogs, especially, are notorious for helping themselves to the turkey carcass or steak bones, which can get stuck in your dog’s esophagus, stomach, or trachea. Sharp pieces of bones can also injure your dog’s mouth, esophagus, and stomach, and can cause severe internal injuries. Once your holiday meal is done, securely wrap up the table scraps and bones and dispose of them in a trash bin that your pets can’t get into.
Other Human Treats, Including Alcohol
You may know that eating chocolate can be dangerous to your dog or cat. But that’s not the only thing.
For instance, the seemingly harmless mints common in the holiday season can cause life-threatening problems for your dog if they contain xylitol, also found in food items, such as candy, chewing gum, some peanut butters, and baked goods, and personal hygiene products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash.
Symptoms occur quickly after dogs eat items containing xylitol. Vomiting is generally first, followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of your dog’s blood sugar (hypoglycemia), such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse, and seizures. Check the package label to see if the product contains xylitol and call your veterinarian immediately if it does.
As for eating chocolate, some pets develop severe complications, including liver failure, bleeding disorders, and death. Unsweetened or baking chocolate is especially dangerous to pets because it has the highest concentration of the ingredient that’s toxic to pets. As with xylitol, if you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, consider it an emergency and call your veterinarian immediately.
And keep your pets away from alcohol, which can cause serious problems. The most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, incoordination, weakness, decreased activity, difficulty breathing, and shaking. In severe cases, coma and death from respiratory failure (lungs stop functioning) can occur.
Food and Snack Bags
Snacks are everywhere during the holidays.
Food bags, especially the mylar-type potato chip, cereal, and snack bags, can be dangerous for your pets. With their good noses, dogs in particular are apt to sniff them out. These bags are thin enough that if a dog puts his head far enough into one and breathes in, the bag can wrap around his nose and mouth, suffocating him. Make sure that snack bags are closed and put away in a cabinet or, if empty, tossed into a trash bin that your pets can't get into.
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Scooter’s Coffee® Presents $277,032 Donation to The Pink Agenda to Support Breast Cancer Awareness and Life-Saving Research
1 Million Cookies and Counting Since 2020
OMAHA, Neb., – Through a $277,032 check donation that was presented to The Pink Agenda today, Scooter’s Coffee will help the organization provide valuable resources such as funding for life-saving breast cancer research and raising awareness.
From Sept. 27- Oct. 31, and in connection with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, customers across the 30-state Scooter’s Coffee footprint supported this critical research by collectively purchasing 461,673 customer-favorite Courage Cookies and/or by adding a donation to their order—the donations and 20% of the cookie sales will directly support breast cancer research.
Since 2020, Scooter’s Coffee has donated nearly $676,000 to The Pink Agenda and sold more than 1 million Courage Cookies across its footprint. Due to significant progress in breast cancer research, there are more than
4 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
“For the fourth year in a row, we are so grateful for the direct and meaningful impact our partnership with Scooter’s Coffee has had on those fighting breast cancer,” said Serra Eken, Managing Director at The Pink Agenda. “This partnership helps fund groundbreaking research and care needed to save lives while raising awareness. We continue to strive to engage people today to find tomorrow’s cure.”
“We appreciate the unwavering support from our new and loyal customers as they rallied behind this cause. Our gratitude also extends to our dedicated franchisees and employees who made this important initiative happen.
“We take immense pride once again in partnering with The Pink Agenda to join in the fight against breast cancer. Courage is an important core value at our company, and we extend heartfelt compassion to those battling breast cancer as they show incredible courage every day.”
The Pink Agenda funds four major research projects through its strategic partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). These projects aim to: improve survivorship and treatment approaches; eliminate disparities in access to care in ethnically diverse communities; investigate risk factors to inform preventative strategies; and understand genetic risks.
About The Pink Agenda
The Pink Agenda is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to raising money for breast cancer research and care, as well as awareness of the disease among young professionals. Born of the belief that engaging today’s generation can go a long way toward finding tomorrow’s cure, The Pink Agenda finds, funds, and partners with people and programs that are improving the lives of those suffering from breast cancer and conducting the groundbreaking research necessary to improve their odds. To-date we have raised more than $8 million for breast cancer research and care.
The Pink Agenda shares a strategic partnership with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), its long-time beneficiary, to fund research, and also partners with Giuliana Rancic’s FAB-U-WISH initiative to grant wishes aimed to help women undergoing breast cancer treatment feel special.
About Scooter’s Coffee
Founded in 1998 by Don and Linda Eckles in Bellevue, Nebraska, Scooter’s Coffee uses only the finest coffee beans in the world, which are roasted by its affiliated company, Harvest Roasting, in Omaha, Nebraska. In over 25 years of business, the key to Scooter’s Coffee’s success is simple: stay committed to the original business principles and company’s four core values, which are Integrity, Love, Humility and Courage. The Scooter’s Coffee Brand Promise, often recited to franchisees, customers and employees, is: “Amazing People, Amazing Drinks… Amazingly Fast!®” It represents the company’s business origins and reflects a steady commitment to providing an unforgettable experience to loyal and new customers.
Scooter’s Coffee, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2023, is at the dawn of a strategic growth phase nationwide. Its network is approaching 750 stores in 30 states, and the company plans to have more than 1,000 stores open by the end of 2024. Scooter’s Coffee ranked #13 on Yelp’s 2023 list of 50 Most Loved Brands in the U.S. and ranked #3 on Franchise Times Fast & Serious 40 Smartest-Growing Franchises in 2023. Scooter’s Coffee is striving to become the #1 drive-thru specialty coffee franchise system in the nation.
For more information, visit scooterscoffee.com or call 877-494-7004. To connect with Scooter’s Coffee, visit Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or X (formerly Twitter) and share your favorite moments by tagging @scooterscoffee using the hashtag #ScootOnAround.
Here’s an important Thanksgiving food safety tip that will surprise many: USDA doesn’t recommend stuffing a whole turkey. The practice increases the risk of cross-contamination and takes the turkey longer to cook. Cook stuffing separately instead.
But if you decide to stuff your turkey, we recommend the following:
- Don’t stuff a turkey the night before cooking it. Bacteria can multiply in the stuffing and cause foodborne illness when a stuffed bird is refrigerated.
- The wet and dry ingredients for the stuffing should be prepared separately and refrigerated until ready to use. Mixing dry and wet ingredients produces an environment that bacteria may thrive in hours before cooking.
- Fully cook raw meat, poultry, or seafood ingredients before adding to stuffing.
- Combine the ingredients and place them in your bird immediately before cooking. Don’t stuff whole poultry with cooked stuffing.
- In addition to the turkey, the stuffing’s center needs to reach 165 F.
Here are timetables for turkey roasting based on a 325 F oven temperature:
8 to 12 pounds — 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds — 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4½ to 5 hours
8 to 12 pounds — 3 to 3½ hours
12 to 14 pounds — 3½ to 4 hours
14 to 18 pounds — 4 to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds — 4¼ to 4¾ hours
20 to 24 pounds — 4¾ to 5¼ hours
For more information, contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) to talk to a food safety specialist or chat live at ask.usda.gov from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. On Thanksgiving Day, the Hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
Access news releases and other information at USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) website at www.fsis.usda.gov/newsroom. Follow FSIS on X at X @usdafoodsafety or in Spanish at: X @usdafoodsafe_es.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.