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This week in food restrictions – April 24 2011 – Country-of-origin labeling, organics and IQ, eating roadkill

The EU is proposing compulsory food labeling to include country of origin information. USA organics grew by 7.7% in 2010; a recent study showing that babies exposed to high levels of common pesticides in the womb have a lower IQ may boost organic sales more. At the same time as the publication in the USA of the popular Dukan diet, a couple of studies show benefits of low-carb diets while others say that paleo diets (which have a low-carb element) are too restrictive. Seasonal allergies may be helped by restricting certain foods, foraging ramps has sustainability issues, and there has been discussion about whether roadkill should be eaten.

Food labeling – country of origin and gluten-free

EU proposes food labels with nutritional and country-of-origin information Apr-20-11 Just-Food
Draft legislation on Europe-wide labeling regulations aims to “modernize, simplify and clarify” food labeling within the EU. Compulsory information would include nutritional and country-of-origin information and “date of first freezing” for frozen unprocessed meat, poultry and fish.

Gluten-free labeling standards Apr-18-11 Natural Foods Merchandiser
Currently no federal gluten-free labeling standard exists; consumers simply have to hope manufacturers are truthfully labeling products as gluten-free.

Organics – growth and benefits during pregnancy

USA organics grew by 7.7% in 2010 Apr-21-11 OTA’s 2011 Organic Industry Survey
Organic fruits and vegetables, which represent 39.7% of total organic food value, and nearly 12% of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales, reached nearly $10.6 billion in 2010, up 11.8% from 2009 performance. Organic dairy, the second-largest category, experienced 9% growth to achieve a value of $3.9 billion, nearly 6% of the total U.S. market for dairy products.

Pesticide exposure in the womb affects IQ Apr-21-11 New York Times
Babies exposed to high levels of common pesticides in the womb have lower I.Q. scores than their peers by the time they reach school age, according to three new studies. This research is likely to set off a new debate about the benefits of organic produce and the risks of chemicals found in the food supply and consumer products.

Pros and cons of restricted carb and paleo diets

Eating carbs mostly at dinner to lose weight Apr-7-11 Obesity
Greater weight loss and hormonal changes after 6 month diet with carbohydrates eaten mostly at dinner

Cravings reduced with low-carb diet Apr-19-11 Los Angeles Times
Researchers found that those in the low-carbohydrate group had much larger drops in cravings for carbs and starches compared to the low-fat group. The low-carb group also was less bothered by hunger than those in the low-fat group.

Dukan diet book hits the stores Apr-19-11 Slash/Food
The Dukan Diet – a high-protein, low-carb, four-phase diet – is reportedly followed by Kate Middleton and J. Lo. It’s already a top seller.

Low carb diet may fight kidney failure in diabetics Apr-20-11 D-Life
Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have for the first time determined that the ketogenic diet, a specialized high-fat, low carbohydrate diet, may reverse impaired kidney function in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Criticism of paleo diets Apr-21-11 Chicago Tribune
Dietitians argue that eliminating entire food groups (dairy, grains, legumes) is a mistake.

Food allergies and seasonal allergies

UK restaurant staff misinformed about allergies Apr-15-11 UPI, reported in ProChef SmartBrief
Restaurant workers in Britain may indicate confidence in providing a safe meal for food-allergic customers but they are often misinformed, researchers say.

Eating to beat seasonal allergies Apr-18-11 Slash/Food
Fight seasonal allergies by reducing the inflammation in your body. If you have a yeast or mold allergy, cut the aged cheeses and stick to low-yeast foods. Fight congestion during grass season by cutting back on dairy products and grains. Refined sugars, flours, and processed food all trigger inflammation, so steer clear of them. For food pollen allergy syndrome (also known as oral allergy syndrome / OAS), avoid celery, carrots, apples, potatoes, peaches, nuts, and flowering herbs belonging to the Apiaceae family, i.e. anise, caraway, coriander, cumin, fennel, parsley and parsnip.

Soy issues – reduced sales, soybean oil reduces omega-3s

Soy sales down Apr-15-11 Mintel
Consumers are experiencing soy burnout. Not too long ago, American consumers were told soy is a ‘super food’ that they can’t get enough of, but now they’re hearing that they may be getting too much. Taste is the main reason non-soy users steer clear of soy. About a quarter of these non-users also indicate that soy is too expensive.

Soybean oil has reduced omega-3 in the U.S. population Apr-20-11 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
The apparent increased consumption of linoleic acid, which was primarily from soybean oil, has likely decreased tissue concentrations of EPA and DHA during the 20th century.

Avoiding digestion problems – indigestion and IBS

Avoiding indigestion Apr-16-11 Everyday Health
Trigger foods for indigestion include: dairy products (if lactose-intolerant), spicy foods, acidic foods, fatty /fried foods, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, caffeine, very sweet or very salty foods, tainted foods

IBS awareness Apr-18-11 NIDDK
April marks the 14th Annual Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. IBS can cause chronic abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. Symptoms can come and go and can vary from mild to severe. IBS affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States—10 to 15 percent of the population. About two in three IBS sufferers are female. IBS affects people of all ages, even children.

Other – beef in India, cage-free eggs, eating roadkill, and more

Burger brands debate offering beef in India Apr-15-11 Nation’s Restaurant News
In India the vast majority of the population is Hindu and considers cattle to be sacred. Wendy’s won’t offer beef burgers, but Carl’s Jr. would consider beef as well as bacon — which is shunned by India’s  Muslim population — in regions where those meats are eaten.

Subway slashes sodium in sandwich line Apr-18-11 USA Today
Sodium content in Subway’s “Fresh Fit” sandwich line in the U.S. will be cut 28% vs. 2009, when Subway first began to cut salt. And sodium in its overall sandwich line will be cut by 15%, compared with the same period.

Eliminating styrofoam trays Apr-18-11 Progressive Grocer
Eco MV to launch its 100 percent wheat stalk-compostable, biodegradeable, gluten-free meat and poultry trays.

General Mills to use 1 million cage-free eggs Apr-20-11 Supermarket News
General Mills has committed to sourcing one million eggs from hens that aren’t caged, according to The Humane Society of the United States, which works to convince food manufacturers, restaurant chains, grocery stores, food service operators, hospitals and universities to make the cage-free switch.

Foraging ramps may damage plant populations Apr-19-11 New York Times
Over the last two decades, the lucrative market for ramps during their short early-spring season has drawn a horde of new diggers, who cart them out of the forest in unprecedented quantities.

Is roadkill safe to eat? Apr-19-11 Slash/Food
Laws vary state by state, but in some states, eating roadkill is encouraged, usually via the game warden phoning interested individuals when a fresh carcass is found. However, there are questions on its safety.

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