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Archive for the ‘food and agriculture’ Category

U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Trade: Past, Present and Possible Future

July 16, 2015 Comments off

U.S.-Cuba Agricultural Trade: Past, Present and Possible Future
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

In December 2014, the United States announced that it would implement executive actions designed to ease the restrictions on trade, remittances, and travel with Cuba. This report explores the potential implications for U.S. agricultural exports.

Effects of Recent Energy Price Reductions on U.S. Agriculture

July 13, 2015 Comments off

Effects of Recent Energy Price Reductions on U.S. Agriculture
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Over the last half of 2014, energy prices, including crude oil and natural gas, fell sharply and are expected to remain low at least through 2016. Lower energy prices will benefit the agricultural sector mainly via lower production and transport costs.

US biofuels policy, global food prices, and international trade obligations

July 9, 2015 Comments off

US biofuels policy, global food prices, and international trade obligations
Source: American Enterprise Institute

Key Points

  • US energy policy requires that motor fuel is blended with large quantities of biofuels, produced from crops like corn and soybeans. This disrupts domestic production, prices, and trade for major crops.
  • Recent studies estimate that corn prices in the US are about 30 percent higher than they otherwise would be because of biofuel production, and staple food prices have increased worldwide by 20 percent.
  • International agricultural trade negotiations must expand beyond trimming farm payments to curtail the broader policy instruments that affect agriculture and, particularly, that divert large amounts of crops out of the food supply and drive up prices.

International Food Security Assessment, 2015-25

July 1, 2015 Comments off

International Food Security Assessment, 2015-25
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

The number of food-insecure people in the 76 low- and middle-income countries included in this report is projected to fall 9 percent, from 521 million in 2014 to 475 million in 2015. Over the longer term, the food security situation is projected to deteriorate as the share of population that is food insecure moves from 13.4 percent in 2015 to 15.1 percent in 2025.

FDA — Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils

June 18, 2015 Comments off

Final Determination Regarding Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PDF)
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Based on the available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) has made a final determination that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of industrially-produced trans fatty acids (IP-TFA) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for any use in human food. This action responds, in part, to citizen petitions we received, and we base our determination on available scientific evidence and the findings of expert scientific panels establishing the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fat.

Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Many economists believe that export restrictions increase world prices for food commodities, thereby exacerbating food insecurity and poverty among the world’s poorest people. The authors examine alternative policies to a conventional export tax that are less market distorting and less welfare diminishing.

Lower-Calorie Foods, Beverages Drove Bulk of Supermarket Sales Growth―First Analysis of its Kind

June 11, 2015 Comments off

Lower-Calorie Foods, Beverages Drove Bulk of Supermarket Sales Growth―First Analysis of its Kind
Source: Hudson Institute (via Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)

A report from the Hudson Institute released today found that lower-calorie foods and beverages drove the bulk of sales growth for supermarket chains between 2009 and 2013, making up 59 percent of growth, compared to just 41 percent for their higher-calorie counterparts. This is the first report to examine the business impact that sales of lower-calorie items have on supermarket chains.

Those trend lines did not hold, however, for foods and beverages that contribute the most calories to the diets of children and adolescents, items like desserts, snacks, sugary drinks, and pizzas. During the study period, higher-calorie versions of these products made up more than 70 percent of sales and grew more than 12 percent, whereas lower-calorie foods and drinks saw growth of roughly 5 percent.

The overall shift in supermarket sales to lower-calorie products is largely consistent with recent changes in the restaurant and food and beverage industries, the report found—except that sales of lower-calorie items grew at an even faster rate for the latter two sectors, indicating that supermarkets could be taking better advantage of the public’s shift in food preferences.

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