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[email protected]: Bayer-Monsanto merger clears regulatory hurdle | In SF, soda tax funds health programs

Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Bayer wins U.S. approval for Monsanto after two-year quest

Federal regulators have given the green light to Bayer’s $66 billion takeover of Monsanto, which will create the world’s biggest seed and agrochemical company. During a two-year review process, the Justice Department expressed concerns that the merger would harm consumers and farmers; Bayer agreed to divest $9 billion worth of its seed and chemical businesses to BASF to quell those concerns. The deal has received antitrust approval from most jurisdictions, and Bayer expects to get them from Canada and Mexico in the coming days. Some farmers still worry that the deal will create higher prices and fewer choices, as just a small handful of companies now dominate the global agriculture industry. Read more at Bloomberg…

 

Soda tax revenue to provide $10 million annually for health, food programs

In 2016, voters in San Francisco approved a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks. Now the city has announced that it will take $10 million of the money collected from that tax to address health disparities for low-income residents through health education, exercise and food access programs. About $4.5 million will become grants for organizations that focus on preventive health measures among low-income communities; $2.5 million will go to the city’s schools to improve oral care services and install water stations; and some will also go to support healthy eating vouchers to be administered by community organizations. Read more at SF Gate…

 

It pays to be premium

Dollar sales growth of retailer-branded products are outpacing that of manufacturer branded products three times over, according to Nielsen data, and premium products are winning more than discount-oriented products. Read more at Nielsen…

 

Sugar beet farmers caught in GMO debate, wait for USDA labeling decision

There will be winners and losers when the USDA finalizes and implements mandatory GMO labeling rules, and one of the losers just might be sugar beet farmers. More than half of all sugar produced in the U.S. is from beets, and 95 percent of those have been grown from seeds that were genetically modified to enable farmers to grow more beets on less land with less water. Some big companies have already transitioned to cane sugar to meet consumer demand for non-GMO products, and others likely will if products made with sugar from GMO sugar beets require labeling. Read more at KCUR…

 

Nestle Toll House unveils allergen-free chocolate chips made with only 3 ingredients

The new three-ingredient chocolate chips—with cocoa butter, pure cane sugar and chocolate—are certified organic and free of the top eight allergens. Read more at USA Today… 

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