Food in the News

Powdered alcohol: You don't need to drink it straight

powdered alcoholYou may not jump for joy at the news that powdered alcohol has been federally approved for sale in the U.S. by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).  But you may enjoy following the dispute between those who have been campaigning to ban this product they consider dangerous and those that value freedom and the right to imbibe above all.

Ground Beef Served Cupcake Size and Super-Size

cupcake, meat base, angel hair toppingCupcakes are sweet--that is, unless they have a meatloaf or ground turkey base and mashed potato or angel hair pasta topping. Such savory novelties are sold at the Meatloaf Bakery on Clark Street in Chicago, but  they can be mailed anywhere in the continental U.S.

Sabra Dipping Company Issues Nationwide Voluntary Recall of Select SKUs of Its Classic Hummus

food recallNote:  The FDA posted the following recall prepared by the Sabra Dipping Company.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 8, 2015 — Colonial Heights, VA — Today Sabra Dipping Co., LLC announced that it is voluntarily recalling approximately 30,000 cases [360,000 containers] of its Classic Hummus due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. This measure is limited to five SKUs of Classic Hummus sold nationwide.  To date, no other Sabra product is affected by this recall.

Is GM food safe or not? Scientists and the public don't see aye to aye.

GM Food LabelI'm not apologizing for the pun in the title, but it does require this explanation: 2 related surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center found that, while an overwhelming majority of scientists consider food containing genetically modified ingredients to be generally safe to eat, more than half of the general adult American population considers it generally unsafe.  The gap between the scientists and the public, the Chicago Tribune, points out, is 51 percentage points! Let's take a closer look at these 2 surveys and what they reveal about American attitudes toward GM foods and towards science in general.

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


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:


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.


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