Food in the News

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.

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.

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. 


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