Food in the News

Latest Food Trends Described in the News Media

packing pouchesSure, Americans want more healthful, sustainable, minimally processed, and local food.  But many consumers also want food products that make it fast and easy to prepare tasty, tangy, novel meals. Often, the second group of wants/needs comes in conflict with the first.  Let's see what the news media are telling us about what trends are available that are time-saving, a stimulus to eating veggies, and enticing to those that want new and dramatic flavors.  These trends will be noticeable on restaurant menus as well as supermarket shelves.

 

We'll also find supermarkets saving shoppers time by becoming more like restaurants.  That is, they prepare the food for you, deliver it to you, or, if you choose, provide both services. All this help makes the grocery bill higher, but the time-challenged multi-tasker may decide it's worth it.

Food and Your Meds; Food and Your Low-cal Diet

wine and medsThough Shelf Life Advice doesn't usually discuss weight loss tips (since these are ubiquitous) or medications, we found the following articles so helpful that we couldn't resist passing the content on to you.  One article tells what not to eat with specific types of prescribed medications.  The other tells what you should eat to feel satisfied even when on a weight loss diet.  This Shelf Life Advice piece primarily summarizes and paraphrases the two articles named in the captions below.

Tainted Taffy Apples Cause Listeria Outbreak

food recall

UPDATE ON BIDART CO. CARAMEL APPLE RECALL (January 9, 2015):

The Bidart caramel apple recall has now been extended to include all Bidart Bros. Granny Smith and Gala apples still available in the marketplace.  To find out the brand names these apples are sold under and other information about the new recall and the original one, go to this FDA link:

http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm429689.htm?source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

 

In the midst of the holiday season, the biggest news story involving food concerned contaminated caramel (taffy) apples. Caramel apples tainted with an organism called Listeria monocytogenes led to widespread illness and hospitalizations and even a small number of deaths.  Investigators now know that the listeria came from the apples, but how the apples came to be contaminated has not been announced and perhaps is still unknown.

 

As of December 30, 2014, a total of 32 people from 11 states--Arizona, California, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin--have become ill from the same strains of listeria found in the apples, and 31 required hospitalization.  Six of the patients have died, though it is unclear whether 2 of these deaths might have been caused by other problems, and one was definitely unrelated.

Are Food Labels Misleading, Deceptive, or Just Confusing?

syrupReduced salt is not the same as low salt. "Light (lite)/" or "natural" may be interpreted differently by consumers looking for different benefits. Are manufacturers deliberately trying to confuse us, or, to paraphrase Shakespeare, does the fault lie not with the manufacturers but in ourselves? 

Food Surveys and Studies: Sometimes They're Surprising

breakfastSurveys and studies can tell us about American eating habits, mistaken beliefs about food, and insights into what foods might improve our health. Parade, the Sunday supplement magazine, partnered with the market research company NPD Group, to obtain some of the statistics quoted below.  Other statistics come from health newsletters published by universities.  (See sources below.)  Let's look as some recent data.

Counting Calories? The FDA Is Requiring Food Facilities To Help You

popcornIt's official. Some may view it as unwelcome, but the FDA's November 25th final ruling, which requires that calorie count information be revealed on many of our favorite foods eaten away from home, is now the law. Covered food establishments affected by the law will have to comply within a year (around December 1, 2015).  The ruling will apply to many of our most popular low-priced dining spots.  Let's find out what types of food sellers will be affected, which will be exempt, and why the FDA and many consumers feel that this ruling is necessary.

Thanksgiving Dinner: Is there Anything New?

dinner napYou may think you know everything there is to know about the up-coming holiday because (you say) it's the same every year--same food, same guests, same bloated stomach, same redundant leftovers. Still, perhaps there are a few Thanksgiving-related questions you can't answer.  Try these:  Can eating turkey make you sleepy?    Can a turkey be fried indoors? What's the best way to prepare a turkey for traveling? We'll answer these and other questions including the most important one: is there any way to make this holiday fun for overworked hosts?  Let's find out. 

Election News on GMO Labeling and GMO Seeds; the New GMO Potato

Non GMO labelPerhaps you think there's no connection between elections and food--except for the fact that folks snack more when they stay up late to wait for election results.  If you think that, you probably don't live in Oregon or Colorado.  In both states, food (to be specific, "genetically modified organisms" printed on food labels) was on the ballot. We'll tell you about the outcome of the voting, the cost of the initiative, and the issues.  Then we'll touch briefly on Hawaii's vote on genetically modified seeds and the USDA's recent ruling on GM potatoes.

Food Waste: The Extent of the Problem; Your Role in the Solution

food wasteAre you tired of being scolded by the government and the news media for wasting food?  Well, don't just sulk or become belligerent; do something about it.  No, I'm not recommending that you eat the household garbage.  (Then you'd be accused of adding to the obesity crisis.)  There are better ways to deal with the problem, such as not buying more food than you can use, freezing leftovers or making another meal incorporating them, composting, and so on.  Let's find out just how much food waste there is, why wasted food is a problem, and what can be done to solve the problem. Are use-by dates partly to blame?  Let's check out that possibility, too. 

Three Sweeteners You May Want to Try: Advantame, Coconut Palm Sugar, and Agave

coconut palm sugarThe supermarket sweetener shelves are getting more and more crowded.  Let's look at the specifics about 1) advantame, an artificial sweetener that the FDA just approved, which will soon join the crowd of other sweeteners with and without calories; 2) coconut palm sugar, a  natural product long a staple in Southeast Asia, which is becoming more popular in the U.S., along with other coconut products; and 3) agave nectar, another popular natural sweetener made from a Mexican plant. These last two contain--excuse my use of this bad word-- calories, but they have a more exciting taste than cane sugar. One has a hint of caramel and the other of maple.

 
 

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