Food in the News

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?

Parkers Farm Acquisition, LLC Issues Voluntary Recall of Products Due to Listeria Contamination

food recallMarch 22, 2014 - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is alerting consumers to avoid eating certain peanut butter, cheese, salsa, and spreads produced by Parkers Farm Acquisition, LLC of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, after state agriculture department product sampling determined some of the finished products to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria.


There have been no reports of illness associated with consumption of the products. Parkers Farm Acquisition, LLC is cooperating with the MDA investigation and has issued a voluntary recall of all products with the “sell by” dates listed below. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged to return them to the place of purchase or discard them.


The list of recalled products includes:

4 Reasons Why Food Prices are Climbing; 12+ Money-saving Tips

milkWhether you've noticed it yet or not, food prices, especially on perishable staples, have been climbing in 2014. Even worse news: they're likely to continue moving in that dire direction.  We'll tell you the reasons and the specific products affected.  Then we'll provide many tips for coping with this budget-breaking trend.

Roos Foods Cheeses Linked to Listeria Outbreak

food recall


The number of  states in which Roos products have been distributed in retail stores has been expanded.  The total list now includes Washington, D.C. and  these 5 states: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia.


In addition, the recall has been expanded to include more types of cheeses, more sizes of the cheeses listed in the original recall (below), and sour cream.


This recall now includes include all product sizes and containers of Santa Rosa de Lima Queso Duro Blando (hard cheese), and Mexicana Queso Cojito Molido. This update also serves as additional clarification that ALL sizes and containers of the cheese products previously identified are being recalled: Amigo, Anita, Mexicana, and Santa Rose de Lima brands of: Cuajada En Terron, Cuajada/Cuajadita Cacer, Cuajada Fresca, Queso Fresco Round, and Queso Duro Viejo (hard cheeses), Requeson, Queso de Huerta and Quesco Fresco.


Roos Foods is also recalling all product sizes and containers of these brands of sour cream: Santa Rosa de Lima Crema Salvadorena Cultured Sour Cream, Santa Rosa de Lima Mantequilla de Bolsa Tradicion Centroamericana, Crema Pura Mexicana Cultured Sour Cream, La Chapina Crema Guatemalteca Guatemalan Style Cream, and Amigo Brand Crema Centroamericana.


Further questions about this recall can be directed to Virginia Mejia at 302-653-0600, Monday thru Friday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM EST.

Original Article:

Roos Foods of Kenton, Delaware has recalled at least 16 varieties of cheese after 8 illnesses and 1 death due to Listeria monocytogenes that were linked to Roos products. All of the patients are of Hispanic ethnicity.  Seven are Maryland residents.  California has reported 1 illness and 1 death. 

A Big Beef Recall, A Limited Tomato Recall

food recall

Update, 2/19: Hot Pockets Recall Linked to Rancho

Two types of Hot Pockets sandwiches--Philly Steak and Cheese and Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese (in 3 different size packages)--have been recalled by Nestlé USA because they may contain recalled meat processed by the Rancho Feeding Corp. This new recall involves 238,000 cases of Hot Pockets pastries.  


Nestlé said that, although the company had not purchased meat directly from Rancho, some meat involved in the Rancho recall was used in a California facility that makes Hot Pockets. 


If you have Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets in your freezer, check out the list of batch codes posted by Huffington Post. A CNN article also provides a link to this info.  If you have any of the recalled products, return them for a refund or call Nestlé Consumer Services, 800-392-4057.


Original article:

The sheer quantity of one of these recalls--nearly 9 million pounds of meat!--caught the attention of major news media.  The tomato recall was much smaller but still affected several states.  Here are the details on both of these recalls.


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