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What is the farm bill? Answers to questions about the sweeping bill headed to Obama's desk

WASHINGTON - The huge, five-year farm bill that Congress sent to President Obama on Tuesday sets policy for hundreds of programs, including farm subsidies and food stamps. It would make small cutbacks to both, eliminating some subsidy programs and cutting the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program by $800 million a year, or 1 per cent. Conservatives had proposed much higher cuts. President Obama is scheduled to sign the bill in East Lansing, Mich. on Friday. Some questions and answers about the farm bill and its politics: Q: What is the farm bill?

FDA proposed rules to ensure food is safe while it's being shipped

WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration is proposing new rules to keep food safe while it's transported. The rules announced Friday are part of a sweeping food safety law signed by President Barack Obama in 2011. They would require many larger companies that ship, hold and otherwise transport food by roads or rail to prevent contamination as the food is moved.

800,000 Malians starving as food crisis deepens

More than 800,000 Malians are desperate for food while another three million risk going without meals as the country struggles to emerge from months of armed conflict, 11 humanitarian groups warned on Friday. An Islamist insurgency and the after-effects of a food crisis in 2012 combined with poor recent harvests have severely limited access to basic supplies for the most vulnerable, the organisations including CARE International and Oxfam said in a joint statement.

Cost of complying with federal food safety rules and paperwork rising, says CFIB

REGINA - A new report suggests it costs Canadian farmers and the agriculture industry $657 million a year to comply with food inspection rules. The figure from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is based on a survey of agri-businesses across the country. The CFIB also says only one-in-five agri-business owners believe the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides ‘‘good overall service.‘‘ The lobby group says since 2006, the annual average cost of complying with CFIA rules and paperwork has grown from $19,000 to $20,396 per business.

Americans eating a little less, a little better

Americans are eating a bit less, dining out fewer times and consuming slightly healthier food, the US Department of Agriculture said in a study released Thursday, calling the finding "encouraging." Between 2005 and 2010 the number of calories consumed each day decreased five percent among working-age adults, the study reported. Fat consumption also decreased, while fiber consumption increased, it added, based on a survey of nearly 10,000 adults.

Over 1,000 ill as Japan tainted food scandal widens

More than 1,000 people have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food as a scandal widens across Japan, Jiji Press reported Wednesday. People have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating products including pizza and lasagne made by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, the nation's largest seafood firm. The number of people affected by the tainted food has now risen to over 1,000, with more than 200 taken ill in the northern main island of Hokkaido alone, Jiji said.

WFP's food aid to N. Korea hits all-time low in 2013

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea received record-low food aid from the United Nations food agency in 2013 due to sluggish contributions from the international community, a media report said Wednesday. Some 38,000 tons of food were delivered from the World Food Program (WFP) to the impoverished communist country in 2013, some 30 percent of the agency's target for the year, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Over 350 sick in Japan after eating pesticide-tainted food

More than 350 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating pesticide-contaminated frozen food produced by the nation's largest seafood firm, national broadcaster NHK said Tuesday. People have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating products including pizza and lasagne made by a subsidiary of Maruha Nichiro Holdings, according to surveys carried out by NHK and local media.

300 sick in Japan after eating contaminated food

More than 300 people across Japan have fallen ill after eating frozen food products contaminated with pesticide, reports said Tuesday. Shoppers have reported vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms of food poisoning after eating food produced at a plant in Gunma, north of Tokyo, according to surveys carried out by the Asahi Shimbun and other local media. The plant, run by a subsidiary of the nation's largest seafood firm Maruha Nichiro Holdings, is at the centre of the nation's latest food poisoning scandal.

Discarded food could feed the world, Pope Francis says

Vatican City, Dec 20 (EFE).- "With the food that is thrown away we could feed all the people in the world who suffer from hunger," Pope Francis says in a video released this week. The pope's message was filmed Dec. 5 during his meeting with leaders of Argentina's Excluded Workers Movement, which released the clip at a gathering of people who eke out a living recycling trash in the South American nation, Vatican Radio said.
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