U.S. warns no food aid to North Korea

The U.S. warned it would not send food aid to North Korea if it goes ahead with a rocket launch next month, reports Associated Press. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. has "grave concerns" about the Feb. 29 agreement that had eased tensions between the long-term adversaries. Under the accord, Pyongyang agreed to nuclear concessions and a moratorium on long-range missile tests in return for 240,000 tons of American food aid for the impoverished country. North Korea said it plans to launch a satellite into space on the back of a long-range rocket between April 12 and 16 off its west coast -- a provocative step just as its new leader Kim Jong Un consolidates his power. The U.S., South Korea and other critics say the rocket technology overlaps with belligerent uses and condemn the satellite program as a disguised way of testing military missiles in defiance of a U.N. ban. Nuland said a rocket launch would call into question North Korea's good faith and would not create an appropriate environment to go ahead with the food shipments ... Fifty-five members of Congress signed a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, saying the agency's labeling policy is inadequate because it does not cover food technologies such as genetic engineering that elicit changes not detectable by human senses, reports FoodSafetyNews.com. "We urge you to fully review the facts, law, and science, and side with the American public by requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods as is done in nearly 50 countries around the world," the letter states ... As the amount of imported food grows in the U.S., so do the number of outbreaks, reports The Salt. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says imported seafood and spices together accounted for 60 percent of the imported food outbreaks from 2005 to 2010, although Americans don't need to change their food shopping habits. "Consumers should approach safety the way they always have," says Hannah Gould. "Cook, separate, chill -- follow prevention measures." ... Plentiful rains in West Africa could boost cocoa production, contradicting analysts' predictions of shortages, reports Bloomberg. A price drop of as much as 14 percent could be seen by July as cocoa producers in places such as the Ivory Coast predict they'll produce about 10 percent more cocoa than the 10-year average. "The mid-crop is going to be much better than people thought and that's going to save the season," said Ecobank's Edward George ... Tyson Foods Inc. is looking for acquisition opportunities or capacity utilization in the prepared foods category, reports Food Business News. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Agriculture Conference, Jim Lochner, COO of Tyson, said the company is not focused on growing its core commodity production, but looking at prepared foods opportunities ... Americans throw away 33 pounds of food per month, adding to almost 400 pounds a year, experts said at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit, reports MSNBX/Reuters. A high percentage of the tossed fare is produce, which causes concern since produce uses the most resources to get from farm to table. "No matter how sustainable the farming is, if the food's not getting eaten, it's not sustainable and it's not a good use of our resources," said Dana Gunders, a sustainable agriculture specialist ... Processing has become a dirty word, but we are going to need more processing, not less, in order to feed a growing population, according to professor and head of food science at Penn State University John Floros, reports Foodnavigator-usa.com. http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Market/Processing-is-a-dirty-word-but-we-ll-need-more-of-it-to-feed-the-world ... Bunge Ltd. has agreed to acquire Climate Change Capital Group, Ltd. Based in London, Climate Change Capital Group manages investments in companies, projects and technologies that provide products or services facilitating climate change mitigation or adaptation. "Bunge's Financial Services Group has been active in carbon markets since their inception, both as a buyer of carbon credits and an adviser to other market participants," said Daniel Rudoloph, managing director of Bunge Financial Services Group. "The transaction builds on this long-term presence, combining two established players in sustainability markets and advisory services to create an organization with deep expertise and global reach. We also see strategic and operational synergies resulting from the combined businesses, including an enhanced ability to expand service offerings." ... Starbucks will sell Verismo a single-cup coffeemaker branded under its name that will make both coffee and espresso-based drinks such as lattes by this year's holiday season, reports Advertising Age ... The jingle for Meow Mix, considered the second-most memorable American jingle after the Oscar Mayer song, is returning to television for the first time since 1996, reports Marketing Daily. TV ads for the brand's Tender Centers cat food show a split screen with two cats singing the famous tune, while subtitles provide the "translation."