Food in the News

Caffeine in Drinks and Snack Foods--Will it Harm Children?

drinks and snacks with caffeineCaffeine added to soft drinks has been worrying the FDA for awhile.  Now there's a new concern: solid foods laced with added caffeine or coffee.  There are a surprising number of these products on the market now, and most of them are snack items popular with children. These are sources of caffeine that children have easy access to, so the FDA has launched an investigation to find what physical, psychological, and behavioral effects more caffeine in food products might have on younger children, adolescents, and teens. What options would the government have if the investigation indicates danger?  Let's look into the matter.

Odd products: Should you try them? Are they safe?

Butter coffee

Nothing odd about coffee or peanut butter, but when butter is added to coffee and caffeine is added to peanut butter--well, I consider that odd. Let's learn more about these stimulants and decide whether you should indulge in or steer clear of them.

 

 

Butter/Bulletproof coffee:

 

Recent Government Actions Concerning Food Labels

No, the U.S. government hasn't come out with a decision on GE labeling. However, the FDA has taken a first step toward  defining the word "natural" on food labels, and Congress has  loosened regulations about country of origin labeling (COOL) on meats. Here are the latest developments in  these news stories.

 

 

 

"Natural" on a Food Label:

Just in Time for New Year’s Eve, Getting High Makes Headlines

A plethora of newspapers and magazine articles about alcoholic beverages appear for our perusal as we approach New Year's Eve. The emphasis seems to be upon recipes rather than warnings, so Shelf Life Advice will dispense with the former and focus on the latter. We're fast approaching that evening when imbibing enough to get yourself a bit tipsy is expected and even encouraged by some well-meaning hosts who want you to have fun. Therefore, we're here to give you some trustworthy and sometimes sobering information about alcohol and your body.  No, we're not trying to bash the bottled holiday "cheer."  There are benefits as well as risks involved, as we point out.

Multistate E. coli outbreak linked to chicken salad sold by Costco, but what ingredient caused the illnesses?

The FDA and other government agencies have a mystery on their hands. Exactly what ingredient  caused chicken salad sold by Costco to sicken at least 19 people in 7 states? The following is a shorter version of the  FDA's December 8 update on this outbreak that came to the attention of the public with the recall of an onion/celery mix that may, in fact, not be the contaminated product.

 

The Painful Trials of Turkeyhood

I've been told that turkeys look forward to Thanksgiving Day and similar holiday dinners.  They dream of becoming the central attraction, star of the show, recipient of boisterous "aaahhhhs" at a festive dinner table.  Alas, the end is not always so glorious.  In May and June of 2015, avian flu caused the demise of some 48 million birds.  According to the Chicago Tribune, 7.7 million of them were turkeys.

LATEST UPDATE FROM THE CDC: On Cucumber Illness Outbreak

LATEST UPDATE,  Oct 7, 2015: An additional 61 cases of salmonellosis has brought the total size of this cucumber-linked  outbreak to 732 people.  Since the shelf life of a cucumber is only 14 days, the CDC does not expect too many more, if any, additional cases.  The scope of this outbreak has now reached 35 states, and 150 people have been hospitalized  

 

Consumer Attitudes Toward GMOs, Frozen Fruit, and Beautiful Food

GMOTwo recent surveys dealing with consumer attitudes toward foods make sense. One is  surprisingly illogical. Let's find out what gets people buying or eating certain foods, according to  these three surveys.

Increasing Concerns about GMOs

Hundreds Sickened, Likely by Tainted Cucumbers

Cucumbers contaminated with salmonella  are the suspected cause of 285 illnesses in 27 states. As a result, Andrew and Williamson Fresh Produce (“A&W”) of San Diego, California is voluntarily recalling all cucumbers sold under its Limited Edition® label from August 1 through September 3, 2015.

 

Why Trans Fats Are Back in the News Again, and Why You Should Care

FrostingWhat has inspired a rash of recent articles about trans fats, specifically the partially hydrogenated types (which is what most of them are)?  Exactly what are artificial trans fats?  What foods are they in, and why should we avoid eating them? These and related questions  are answered below by the FDA, food scientist Dr.

 
 

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