Food in the News

Summer Isn't Over Yet! More Tips on Ice Cream and on Steaks to Grill Outdoors

ice creamThe kids may be going back to school, but that doesn't mean you need to stop serving ice cream desserts or grilled steaks.  Follow the tips below, and enjoy these foods until hot chocolate sounds more appealing than frozen treats or until your grill is buried under a mound of snow.

What We SHOULD Eat; Why We Don't

fruitTwo university health newsletters I read regularly recently covered interesting scientific reports.  One tells  how much produce you should eat daily in order to increase your life span.  The second concludes that obesity is primarily caused by too much consumption of  cheap food. Let's delve into the evidence and conclusions of both studies.


Zapping Our Seafood Favorites for Safety's Sake

shrimpThough American consumers have been slow to trust the procedure, irradiation, if performed properly, can make food less risky to eat.  That's why the FDA recently added crustaceans--a classification that includes shrimp, lobster, crab, crayfish, and prawns--to the list of edibles that can be treated with ionizing radiation. 

Why Is Dairy Milk Losing Customers? Is This A Healthy Trend?

milkDairy milk, say Oklahoma State University scientists, "contributes a greater number of the essential nutrients for human nutrition than any other single food, some in relatively large amounts."  Yet, on April 8, 2014, the Chicago Tribune reported the following: in 2011 and 2012, the decline of dairy milk consumption in the U.S. was the highest in more than a decade.  Furthermore, milk consumption dropped about 1/3 from 1975-2012. What type of milk and what age groups have been losing the most customers? What are many people drinking instead? Are the newer products as nutritious for fetuses and young children?  Let's find out. 

Coconut Products: Are They Really Health Foods?

coconutProducts from the coconut palm tree might enter your kitchen in many forms—the fresh fruit, (whole, shredded, or grated), coconut milk, coconut water, and/or coconut oil.  Lately, two of these products have become quite trendy: 1) coconut water as a popular sports drink and  2) coconut palm sugar, the newest of

Should Butter Be Making a Comeback?


Update, June 16: Time magazine has made the topic of this article its cover story for the June 23, 2014 edition.  The titles are  "Eat Butter," "Ending the War on Fat" and "Don't Blame Fat."  The emphasis is on a historical perspective, the evolution of scientific attitudes and medical advice about dietary fats.  Online, you can access the beginning of the Time article and responses to it on other sites. To access the entire Time story online, you must be a subscriber or become one. 


Before you sink your teeth into your next steak or butter-laden slice of toast, you may wonder if you SHOULD be enjoying these foods high in saturated fats. If so, you may want to focus on this recent nutrition debate:  Are saturated fats really bad for you or not?

"Butter is Back" is the title of a New York Times article by health food writer Mark Bittman. Let's investigate the study that prompted Bittman's welcoming attitude toward saturated fats. And let's consider some responses from the scientific community.  But first, a quick review of different types of fats.

Massive Ground Beef Recall; Hummus and Dip Recall

food recallTwo very popular foods--burgers and dips--have been prominent in the news lately.  It's been bad news warning the public about contamination.


Getting the most media attention--close to 2 million pounds of ground beef that have been recalled by the Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit, Michigan because of possible E. coli contamination. CNN calls this one of the largest beef recalls in the nation's history.  So far, 11 illnesses (no deaths) in four states have been associated with this recall.


Approximately 14,800 pounds of hummus and other dips sold nationwide have been recalled due to possible listeria contamination.  The products came from prepared food manufacturer Lansal, Inc. (doing business as Hot Mama's Foods), headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.  Among the company's customers are Target and Trader Joe's. 

FDA: Let's Improve Food Labels

soda and soupIt's time for a change; in fact, it's long overdue, most people agree.  The nutrition facts labels on American foods have not been revised (except for the addition of trans fat) since they were introduced about 20 years ago.   So the FDA has finally announced its proposals for revising them.  The goal, says the FDA, is to "help consumers make informed food choices and maintain healthy dietary practices."


What changes is the FDA proposing? Food scientist Dr. Karin Allen, who serves on this site's Advisory Board and works extensively with food labeling matters, has helped Shelf Life Advice identify some FDA recommendations that would be of most interest to consumers.  Here they are.

No Reason to Fear Aspartame, New Report Says

aspartameWill the artificial sweetener aspartame--used in both NutraSweet and Equal Original--adversely affect your health? Unless you're an adult drinking at least 16 cans of aspartame-sweetened soda every day or using about 90 tabletop aspartame packets daily, there's no good evidence that this sugar substitute will harm you in any way. This is the position taken by the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).  The EFSA's recent risk assessment report has made aspartame a major news topic recently. 

Is Caramel Coloring in Sodas and Syrup Dangerous?

caramel coloringYou've had to be brave to eat breakfast in the past decade--especially if you've been following the media's food safety reports.  Perhaps you were persuaded to give up eggs and switch to indisputably healthful oatmeal. But what about that non-stick pot you cook your hot cereal in? Does it give off harmful chemicals?  Then, there's talk of possible danger from your sweetener of choice: too much sugar can make you fat and therefore susceptible to diabetes or heart disease. Aspartame has been accused of being cancer-causing, so maybe you've switched to sweetening with artificial maple syrup. But beware of the latest scare!  That caramel coloring in the syrup could also be a carcinogen. What's the story on this latest breakfast menace?


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