Benson Hill Biosystems Raises $60 Million to Improve Food and Ingredients

Business, Food

Benson Hill Biosystems, a crop improvement company unlocking the natural genetic diversity of plants, today announced the first close of its $60 million Series C financing. The round is led by GV, with participation from new investors Activant Capital and Tao Capital Partners. Existing investors Alexandria Venture Investments, Fall Line Capital, iSelect Fund, Lewis & Clark Ventures, Mercury Fund, Prelude Ventures, and S2G Ventures also participated.

“With its data-driven approach to crop improvement, Benson Hill has significant potential to impact the next wave of productivity gains across food and agriculture,” said Andy Wheeler, General Partner at GV. “The broad applicability of Benson Hill’s technology platform — combined with the executive team’s expertise in photosynthesis and genomic selection — creates new opportunities for farmers and the food production industry at-large.”

Benson Hill empowers organizations of any size across the agri-food value chain to benefit from the most advanced tools in seed innovation. Benson Hill’s CropOS™ computational platform and suite of breeding and genome editing tools leverage the natural genetic diversity of plants to improve the sustainability, nutrition and flavor profiles of crops with greater speed and precision than previously possible, dramatically reducing the costs and timelines to develop new products.

“Developing foods that are nourishing to our bodies, responsible to our planet and that taste great is not a trade-off, it’s an opportunity,” said Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill Biosystems. “By combining biology with machine intelligence, our platform provides a novel approach to crop improvement. With this round, we have expanded our base of investors who recognize the power of plants and innovation to benefit both farmers and consumers.”

The funding will be used to further advance CropOS™ and expand product development capacity to deliver a portfolio of improved crops with and for companies across the food and agriculture value chain.

“Consumer demand for healthier and more sustainable food choices creates opportunity across many crops and ingredients, and plant genomics is a proven lever that has been severely underutilized in most crops,” said Sanjeev Krishnan, Managing Director at S2G Ventures. “Benson Hill delivers the full suite of solutions a company needs to create differentiated products and capture this growing market, whether they are a seed company, food manufacturer or food retailer.”

No Kid Hungry And America’s Restaurants Unite To End Childhood Hunger In The U.S.

Society

This back-to-school season, millions of students in the United States will hit the books lacking an essential school supply – healthy food. No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end childhood hunger in America, is coming together with more than 15,000 restaurants and their guests to help the 1 in 6 children in America living with hunger.

Every September, restaurants across the country unite to end childhood hunger in America through Dine Out for No Kid Hungry, a guest-supported fundraising initiative. When guests dine out at a No Kid Hungry partner restaurant, from popular chains to local mom-and-pops, they can donate in exchange for valuable rewards. Every $1 donated provides a child with up to 10 meals.

To help raise awareness about childhood hunger and to highlight where to dine out this September, No Kid Hungry is launching its Hunger Can’t Wait tour, which will travel to 5 cities across the country, hosting special events at partner restaurants from August 28 to September 17. The tour will kick off in Los Angeles with stops in San Diego, Denver, Dallas and Atlanta. These events will engage the public in a conversation about the urgency to end childhood hunger in America and celebrate restaurant employees’ commitment to the cause. Mobile billboards will be deployed in each market to spread the message and recognize employees and guests who support of the campaign.

“Nobody understands that hunger can’t wait better than the restaurant industry,” says Russ Bendel, CEO of Habit Burger Grill, and a longtime Dine Out for No Kid Hungry partner. “We’re excited to continue our support of No Kid Hungry’s work, and look forward to giving our guests a simple way to be part of the solution.”

Childhood hunger isn’t isolated to inner cities and rural communities. It affects kids and families in every city, town and suburb across America. When kids don’t get enough to eat, they are more likely to struggle in school and get sick more often.

“Hungry kids can’t learn, and kids who can’t learn can’t reach their best and brightest potential. Yet three out of four teachers regularly see kids come to school hungry,” says Diana Hovey, Senior Vice President at Share Our Strength, the organization behind No Kid Hungry. “Now is the time to act, and we’re honored to once again have the support of restaurants, their team members and their diners in this work to end childhood hunger in America.”

More information about where to dine out and No Kid Hungry’s Hunger Can’t Wait tour and can be found at NoKidHungry.org/DineOut. The public can join the conversation on social using #HungerCantWait.

Dine Out for No Kid Hungry national sponsors include Citi, Ecolab, Food Network, National Restaurant Association and Open Table.

New York-based food processors agree to stop food preparation operations due to food safety violations

Food, Safety

Two New York-based food processing companies have agreed to stop preparing food products, which include a variety of ready-to-eat foods and certain salt-cured and pickled fish, because the facility’s food preparation areas were contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono), until the companies can comply with federal food safety laws and regulations.

On July 16, 2018, U.S. District Judge Brian M. Cogan for the Eastern District of New York entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the U.S. and Euroline Foods, LLC, Royal Seafood Baza, Inc.; the companies’ co-owners Eduard Shnayder, Syoma Shnayder and Albert Niyazov; and a manager, Oleg Polischouk.

Euroline Foods, LLC and Royal Seafood Baza jointly own a food processing facility, and the consent decree prohibits the defendants from receiving, preparing, processing, packing, holding, labeling and/or distributing foods at this facility, or any other facility that receives, prepares, processes, packs, labels, holds and/or distributes food that presents a L. mono hazard, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) until the defendants meet certain requirements. The consent decree does not, however, prevent defendants from receiving, holding and distributing food that remains completely sealed and enclosed by a container, and is in compliance with the FD&C Act, or from operating retail food establishments (i.e., grocery stores).

“FDA investigators found widespread L. mono contamination at the Euroline and Royal Seafood facility,” FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Melinda K. Plaisier said. “With this agreement, the company will not be able to bring any contaminated products or potentially contaminated products to market. Conditions where their products were being produced were unacceptable, and the FDA took action to protect Americans.”

According to the complaint, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA inspected the defendants’ facility in 2015, 2016 and 2017. These inspections revealed that the defendants failed to comply with the FD&C Act and its implementing regulations, including the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (“HACCP”) regulations and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (“CGMP”) regulations.

In 2015, the FDA issued a warning letter to Royal Seafood Baza after a facility inspection identified violations of HACCP and CGMP regulation requirements. During the 2016 inspections, the FDA’s investigators conducted environmental sampling and found L. mono from the seafood and vegetable processing environments, as well as continuing inadequate sanitation practices by the company’s employees. L. mono is a pathogenic bacterium that can cause listeriosis, a rare but potentially life-threatening illness. People with compromised immune systems, the elderly, pregnant women and developing fetuses are particularly susceptible to listeriosis. While the company subsequently conducted a voluntary, nationwide recall of its ready-to-eat herring products for L. mono concerns and defendants made assurances that they were correcting its violations, the FDA’s subsequent inspections revealed that the company had not implemented adequate corrective actions.

The consent decree requires defendants, among other things, to retain an independent laboratory to collect and analyze environmental and finished food samples for the presence of L. mono, retain a qualified independent expert to assist the company in developing a program to control L. mono and ensure compliance with CGMP requirements, and take other corrective actions if they wish to resume food preparation operations at the facility or any other facility that receives, prepares, processes, packs, labels, holds and/or distributes food that presents a L. mono hazard.

Should the defendants be permitted to resume or permit food preparation operations at its current facility in the future, the FDA maintains oversight over such operations under the consent decree and may order the defendants to take corrective actions if the agency discovers further food safety violations.

Individuals who have eaten products purchased from the company should contact a health care professional if they experience any symptoms of listeriosis. In addition, consumers are encouraged to contact the FDA to report problems with FDA-regulated products.

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, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

A Century After Umami’s Discovery, Its Benefits Continue to Expand

Food, Health

Umami, known as the savory taste, was discovered more than a century ago, yet recent research continues to document the benefits of umami. Currently underway is a year-long recognition of umami’s 110thanniversary since its discovery in 1908.

At one event this year, participants at the Asian Congress of Dietetics (ACD) will discuss the latest research on umami, including its dietary significance, during an ACD lunch symposium on Friday, July 6. The symposium ties in directly to the theme of the 7th ACD, which is “The Rise of Nutrition and Dietetics in Asia,” being held July 6-8 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The principal speaker at the lunch symposium will be Dr. Snigdha Misra, who is chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at International Medical University, in Malaysia. Dr. Snigdha will present the latest research demonstrating that umami improves the palatability of foods and stimulates appetite regulation, supporting nutrition among the elderly. Dr. Snigdha also will discuss how foods with umami seasonings are effective in reducing sodium intake and can help maintain normal blood pressure.

Dr. Snigdha notes, “The elderly face challenges in appetite due to decline in taste sensitivity. The addition of excessive sauces or dressings may make food appetizing, but could be detrimental to health due to the high sodium content. Umami enables food to be flavorful while lowering the sodium content of the food and stimulating appetite.”

According to the International Glutamate Information Service (IGIS), sponsor of the symposium, “It is fitting that ACD is focusing on the rise of nutrition in Asia. It was in Japan that 110 years ago Professor Kikunae Ikeda identified the ‘glutamic taste’ after isolating it from kelp broth. Dr. Ikeda was the first scientist to identify the unique properties of glutamate. He named the taste of glutamate ‘umami,’ which has a distinctive taste that is different from sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is now recognized as one of the five basic tastes. Dr. Ikeda’s driving goal was to improve nutrition of the Japanese with his umami seasoning.”

The IGIS is a non-profit organization communicating science-based information about umami, glutamate, and monosodium glutamate (umami seasoning). For more information, visit glutamate.org.

SOURCE International Glutamate Information Service

2017 Year in Review: Red Cross Delivers More Food, Relief Items and Shelter Stays than Last 4 Years Combined

Society

Stories of resilience, community and hope in the face of disasters at home and around the world

2017 was marked with record-breaking disasters, and the American Red Cross mobilized quickly to deliver more food, relief supplies and shelter stays than all of the last four years combined.

In just 45 days, the Red Cross responded to six of the year’s largest and most complex disasters. This included back-to-back hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate — the deadliest week of wildfires in California history, and the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas.

As 2017 comes to a close, the Red Cross is also now responding to devastating and quick-moving wildfires across much of Southern California, opening shelters, and providing food, comfort, and a safe place for people forced from their homes.

242 LARGE DISASTER RESPONSES IN 2017 In addition to hurricanes and wildfires, the Red Cross mobilized more than 56,000 disaster workers — 92 percent volunteers — to provide help to people affected by 242 significant disasters in 45 states and three territories. This aid included:

  • Opening 1,100 emergency shelters to provide 658,000 overnight stays
  • Serving 13.6 million meals and snacks
  • Distributing 7 million relief items
  • Providing 267,000 health and mental health consultations
  • Supporting 624,000 households with recovery assistance

“There was someone every step of the way with a red vest on letting us know everything was going to be okay,” said Houston-resident Tabitha Barnes, who received Red Cross services after Hurricane Harvey flooded her home.

Altogether, Red Cross emergency response vehicles traveled 2.5 million miles to deliver food, relief supplies and support to communities affected by disasters during 2017. That’s the equivalent of driving around Earth 103 times.

MOST FREQUENT DISASTER Most people likely heard about the large disasters like hurricanes this year, but the most frequent type of disaster the Red Cross responded to in 2017 were home fires. The Red Cross responded to nearly 50,000 home fires this year, and provided casework assistance to help 76,000 families recover.

Through its Home Fire Campaign, the Red Cross and thousands of local partners are working to help prevent home fires and save lives by installing smoke alarms, helping families create home fire plans and offering youth education programs. During 2017, more than 382,000 free smoke alarms were installed and 401,000 people were reached through home visits. Since the Campaign launched in 2014, 303 lives have been saved, more than 1 million smoke alarms have been installed, and 940,000 youth have been taught about the importance of fire safety. Hear from Rosie Saunders how having a working smoke alarm saved her daughter’s life: https://vimeo.com/229324955.

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the American Red Cross aided millions of people impacted by disasters around the globe in 2017. This included helping nearly 9,400 families to search for loved ones who were separated during international conflict or disasters, and sending humanitarian aid to 26 countries to help in the aftermath of disasters. The organization also deployed American responders to disaster zones around the world 27 times this year —including to NigeriaMexico, and BangladeshSusan Schaefer, a Red Cross disaster responder, deployed to Dominica after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Her team helped reconnect family members separated by the disaster.

“If you don’t know whether your kids or your family members are okay, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself, to remind yourself to eat and sleep. You just can’t focus on anything else,” said Schaefer. “Being able to provide peace of mind to people helps them to be stronger for themselves so they can focus on their recovery.” Read more about Schaefer’s experience providing aid in the Caribbean here: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/QA-from-the-field-Reconnecting-loved-ones-in-Dominica

Red Cross volunteers also visited more than 2 million households to encourage families to vaccinate their children against measles in countries like Malawi and Indonesia and helped to save lives by mapping vulnerable communities around the world — using only a computer and wifi connection.

HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Please consider making a donation today. Visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends goes to its programs and services, which includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance, as well as supporting the vehicles, warehouses, technology and people that make help possible.

CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; ConocoPhillips; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.

ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; LabCorp; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Assurant; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

About our Corporate Holiday Supporters: 
During this holiday season, the American Red Cross is grateful for those corporate donors that generously contribute to our Holiday Giving Campaign. They include: Circle K and American Girl. Thanks to the generosity of these and other supporters, the Red Cross is able to bring help and hope to people across the country. To learn more about our corporate holiday supporters, visit redcross.org/corporate-holiday-supporters.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

Dunkin’ Donuts is “Brewing Joy” for the Holidays Once Again with Hot Coffee Promotion

Food, Press Releases

On weekdays from December 1st through December 20th, select U.S. Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants will each offer up to 500 guests free medium hot coffees

In each “Brewing Joy” market, local Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees will donate $1,000 to organizations helping bring joy to sick or hungry kids

 

CANTON, Mass., Nov. 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — For the second year in a row, Dunkin’ Donuts is saying thank you to its guests and local communities by brewing a little extra joy for the holiday season with free coffee through its “Brewing Joy” program. On weekdays between Monday, December 1 and Wednesday, December 20, at least one Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant somewhere in the U.S. will serve up to 500 free medium-sized cups of its signature hot coffee. Dunkin’ Donuts is bringing the “Brewing Joy” program to approximately 40 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in December.

Additionally, in each market where a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant is “Brewing Joy” with free coffee, area franchisees will donate $1,000 to a local organization aligned with the Joy in Childhood Foundation’smission to bring joy to children whose lives are affected by health issues or hunger. In total, Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees will donate more than $25,000 to local organizations through the “Brewing Joy” program.

The “Brewing Joy” program kicks off December 1 at perhaps the most appropriate Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant in the U.S., in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. The full schedule of participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations hosting “Brewing Joy” events can be found on the brand’s blog.

According to Tony Weisman, Chief Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Donuts U.S., “We put the word ‘Joy’ on our holiday cups each year to represent the gratitude, giving and cheer that marks the season. In that same spirit, we are celebrating our guests by serving free coffees in select stores across the country and giving back to our local communities through our second annual ‘Brewing Joy’ program.”

Dunkin’ Donuts earlier this season also introduced two sweet deals to bring further joy throughout the holiday season. Now through the end of the year, Dunkin’ Donuts’ signature Hot Chocolate is available for only $1.99 for a medium or larger sized cup*. Dunkin’ Donuts’ packaged coffee is also available at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide for the special price of three pounds for $19.99**.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ holiday menu includes the new Frosted Sugar Cookie Donut, new Gingerbread Cookie Donut, Snowflake Sprinkle Donut and Snowflake Sprinkle MUNCHKINS®. For coffee lovers, the returning holiday flavors include Peppermint Mocha and Brown Sugar Cinnamon. Both coffee flavors are available for a limited time hot or iced, including lattes, macchiatos and Frozen Dunkin’ Coffee. This holiday season, Dunkin’ cups once again feature a festive design and the simple word, “Joy” to convey the happiness and spirit of the season. Learn more about the innovation behind the brand’s holiday lineup on the Dunkin’ Donuts blog here.