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5@5: New stimulus funds fail to support small farms | USDA food box program contractors raise red flags

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.

Millions of dollars heading to farmers, but small farms won't see much of it

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which opened for applications last week and is purportedly designated to support America's struggling farmers, largely excludes those farmers who rely on direct-to-consumer orders and wholesale accounts. Giant commodity farmers have come out on top in terms of government aid compared with the nation's small, sustainable farming operations these past few months, but even the biggest producers have found it difficult to transform their business models during the pandemic. Read more at Civil Eats...

 

Contractors selected for USDA food box program raise more red flags

USDA's list of contractors for its Farms to Families Food Box Program has been under a greater level of scrutiny after the agency recently cancelled one $40 million contract and another $39 million contract holder was found to have made "dubious claims about his clients and credentials." Dozens of these contractors also do not have Perishable Agriculture Commodities Act licenses, which are required by USDA for such operations, and the agency did not seem to take into account recent product recalls when selecting them. Read more at The Counter...

 

Bid to grant MSC 'ecolabel' to bluefin tuna fishery raises fears for ‘king of fish’

Conservationists and scientists are taking a stand against the Marine Stewardship Council's "ecolabel" for eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna. MSC plans to certify a Japanese bluefin fishery to sell the species of fish, which was nearing extinction a mere decade ago. The director of the World Wildlife Fund Mediterranean marine initiatives says that the move would effectively be classified as "market fraud" if the fishery is certified. Read more at The Guardian...

 

US online grocery sales up again in May

Online grocery dollar sales hit $1.3 billion in May, and the total number of orders rose 18% to 73.5 million from 62.5 million in April. Consumers are finding it easier to get delivery and pickup time slots, which has boosted household penetration for the service. The same research also highlighted that consumers are once again satisfied by and comfortable with the shopping experience. Read more at Supermarket News...

 

Food co-ops are mixing community with stringent safety measures

Member-owned food co-ops are implementing unique methods to diffuse the tension between shopper and employee that big-box chains are currently experiencing. At 4th Street Food Co-op, shoppers who refuse to wash their hands upon arrival are simply turned away; strategies such as this are why co-op members are by and large happy with the safety and cleanliness of these types of stores than regular retail employees have reported being. Read more at Eater...

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