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This week in food restrictions – April 17 2011 – Sustainable seafood and packaging, Passover, toxic sugar

Greenpeace’s annual report rating supermarkets on sustainable seafood was issued this week – no supermarket achieved a “good” score, and a number of prominent supermarkets got “fail” scores. Women are more concerned than men about sustainable packaging. With Passover this week, there have been a number of articles on kosher and kosher for Passover food. Pregnant women are avoiding fish altogether rather than working out which fish are lower in mercury. Is sugar toxic? A long article in the New York Times magazine talks about the health dangers of sugar.

Sustainable seafood – Greenpeace report, avoiding red-rated fish

Greenpeace annual report on sustainable seafood in supermarkets Apr-12-11 Greenpeace
Detailed “Carting Away The Oceans” report issued, which ranks supermarkets on their sustainable seafood policies.

Whole Foods replaces red-rated fish Apr-13-11 Progressive Grocer
Whole Foods Market plans to stop selling all red-rated swordfish and tuna at its seafood counters nationwide by this Earth Day, April 22, 2011.

Sustainable seafood, fishing, and the state of the oceans Apr-14-11 New York Times – Mark Kurlansky
“Ask your fish market lots of questions, most of which they will not be able to answer. But as the fish business learns that consumers want this information they will start providing it.”

Sustainable packaging – demographics, antimicrobial bio-based packaging

Demographics of sustainable packaging Apr-13-11 PRNewswire / Thompson Reuters
Women prefer environmentally-friendly packaging, men: convenience; industry lacks “green” packaging standards

Bio-based packaging Apr-12-11 Food Production Daily
Consumer demands for preservative-free, high quality food products, packaged in materials that create less environmental impact have inspired research into the application of biopolymeric materials . In combination with antimicrobial (AM) packaging systems, biopolymer materials with AM properties are emerging.

Passover and kosher food – animal feed, Passover meals, kosher and non-kosher food

Animals avoid non-kosher grains for a month before Passover Apr-11-11 Kosher Today
Israel’s farms and fisheries have been feeding their animals and fish with kosher feed since Purim – 30 days before Passover holiday – in order to ensure the highest levels of kashrut during the holiday. Dairy farmers make certain that the feed given to cows has none of the grains which are not kosher for Passover ensuring that milk marketed at Passover will be completely kosher. Dairy farmers say they even change the hay during the Passover to assure that it does not come from grains.

Restaurants offering Passover meals Apr-11-11 New York Times – Dining & Wine
For years, families have been going on cruises or to hotels where the entire facility is meticulously prepared for Passover and everything is 100 percent kosher for the holiday. But increasingly, less traditional, more secular Jews who want a festive family feeling are finding that a restaurant Seder fits the bill.

Starbucks’ expanded offerings raise kosher concerns Apr-7-11 Houston Belief
The full-service Starbucks that now offer sandwiches pose a risk to the kosher requirement of meat-and-dairy separation.

Kosher offerings in supermarkets Apr-11-11 Kosher Today
A&P (Waldbaums, Pathmark, Foodtown) and Target are offering more kosher foods in Jewish neighborhoods. “Kosher czars” help with the transition.

Food restrictions and health – cataracts, pregnancy, high fat splurges

Eating less meat is tied to a lower risk of cataracts Apr-8-11 Reuters
In a large dietary survey that followed people for as long as 15 years, researchers found that about three in 50 meat eaters had cataracts, compared to about two in 50 vegans and vegetarians.

Pregnant women and fish Apr-13-11 CNN
Nearly a third of pregnant women surveyed said they never ate fish – they may misunderstand the risks. Should the consumption of cooked fish during pregnancy be encouraged to increase omega-3s?

Occasional high-fat may be beneficial to health Apr-15-11 NutraIngredients
Short-term ‘splurges’ of a high-fat diet may offer protection from heart disease and reduce the risk of tissue damage from heart attacks, according to new research.

Foods that may be unsafe – food additives, sugar, meat

Is sugar toxic? Apr-13-11 New York Times
If Robert Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. It would also mean that sugar is the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them. In Lustig’s view, sugar should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that’s killing us.

App listing food additives released by CSPI Apr-11-11 Food Product Design
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announced the launch of the Chemical Cuisine app, a searchable list of some 130 food additives, including descriptions and safety ratings. Every time the user starts up the app, a randomly selected additive pops up.

Staph bacteria found in half of U.S. meat Apr-15-11 Slash/Food
Almost half of all the beef, chicken, pork, and turkey bought in five U.S. cities and sampled by researchers, was found to contain drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus

Other  – fortified organic foods, calorie labeling on beverages, organ meats, and more

Fortified organic foods Apr-13-11 New Hope 360
Some retailers say additives to organic foods should be organic; others say there shouldn’t be any additives at all. The OTA (Organic Trade Association) surveyed consumers and found that more shoppers than not would buy fortified organic products.

USDA proposes removing potatoes from school menus Apr-14-11 KXLY-TV reported in FMI dailyLead
The potato may soon be removed from public school menus in favor of other fruits and veggies that are considered by the government as more healthful.

Calorie labels appearing on beverages Apr-15-11 Food Product Design
America’s beverage manufacturers have begun rolling out new packaging based on the Clear on Calories initiative.

How to reduce salt in your diet Apr-12-11 John Hopkins Health Alerts
Choose fresh foods over canned or processed items. Limit smoked, cured, or processed meats. Select canned or processed foods that are sodium free or low in sodium. Try rinsing and draining canned foods. Always check the nutrition label.

More restaurant chains offering low-calorie options Apr-8-11 FastCasual
Recent research conducted by Technomic finds that more restaurant chains are providing menu items with fewer than 550 calories.

Rebuilding the popularity of organ meats Apr-14-11 Wall Street Journal

Liver is mostly exported from the USA. However, there are some liver lover clubs.

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