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Allergies, E. coli, meat and cancer, and sustainability – news to June 5 2011

May was National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, but it wasn’t until the end of the month that a number or related articles were published. Inner-city children may have a higher food-allergy rate than nationwide, and buckwheat allergy is common is Korea and Japan. The E. coli outbreak in Europe was the worst in recent history – initially it was blamed on various salad foods but most recently the source was traced to bean sprouts – many people may be more careful eating salads from now on. In two separate studies, eating meat was shown not to be associated with colorectal and prostate cancer. In sustainable food, lower-energy manufacturing methods are being researched, and sustainable packaging is increasingly seen as important to manufacturers as well as users.

Allergies – inner city, buckwheat, milk, reading labels, and picky kids

Higher food-allergy rate found in inner-city children May-31-11 Reuters
28 percent of inner-city New York children seen at their allergy clinic had a food allergy — with eggs, peanuts and milk being the prime culprits. By contrast, the rate of food allergy among U.S. kids in general is only about four percent [no note is made of the percentage of food-allergic children in allergy clinic country-wide]. Most had never had any obvious reaction to food. Instead, they were tested because they had asthma or eczema (an allergic skin condition) that was not responding well to medication.

Buckwheat allergy common in Korea and Japan May-31-11 Food Production Daily
A method has been developed to test for buckwheat protein residues. Buckwheat is often used as an alternative to wheat in gluten-free products.

Baked goods may improve milk allergy symptoms Jun-2-11 Reuters
A study theorizes that heating milk changes the shape of the proteins in it, and lessens the chance that the immune system will react to them.

How to read the label for food allergies Jun-3-11 Food Safety News
Instructions on reading the labels of most packaged foods marketed in the U.S. for allergens.

Picky kids: Could it be a food intolerance or allergy? Jun-1-11 New Hope 360
A new book, What’s Eating Your Child?, offers clues that help parents connect the dots between seemingly random symptoms and behaviors (chronic ear infections, rashes, anxiety) and possible food-related disorders, including food intolerances, deficiencies, even ADHD.

E. coli outbreak in Europe

Salads may be carrying super-toxic E. coli strain for European outbreak Jun-2-11 Washington Post
Scientists on Thursday blamed Europe’s worst recorded food-poisoning outbreak on a “super-toxic” strain of E. coli bacteria that may be brand new. Suspicion has fallen on raw tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce as the source of the germ, which has killed at least 18 people, sickened more than 1,600 and spread to least 10 European countries.

Beansprouts likely source of E. coli outbreak in Europe Jun-6-11 HuffPost Food
The terrifying E. coli outbreak in Europe appears to have been caused by vegetable sprouts grown on an organic farm in Germany, an agriculture official said Sunday as the toll climbed to at least 22 dead and more than 2,200 sickened.

Meat eating and cancer – colorectal and prostate

Meat consumption not a risk factor for colorectal cancer June 2011 European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
The association between meat consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC) has been controversial. Data in this study does not support the hypothesis that meat consumption is a risk factor for CRC.

Meat cooking, meat mutagens, and risk of prostate cancer 2011 Nutrition and Cancer
This study provides further evidence that consumption of processed meat and red meat cooked at high temperature is associated with increased risk of advanced, but not localized, prostate cancer. White meat consumption was not associated with prostate cancer. Testing was carried out on newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer aged 40-79 years.

Sustainable food growing, manufacturing, and packaging

Lower carbon consumption for manufacturing dairy and baking May-26-11 Food Production Daily
Finding energy efficient technical processes that can then be replicated widely across each food category is the ultimate goal of the Carbon Trust.

Mars Bars get Rainforest certification in Australia May-30-11 International Business Times, reported in GMA SmartBrief
Mars Bars in Australia will carry the Rainforest Alliance logo, indicating they are produced with cocoa from farms certified by the Alliance – sustainable cocoa.

Sustainability is the toughest packaging challenge Jun-2-11 Greener Package
Of those respondents working on sustainable packaging, 65% say their efforts are focused on design for recyclability or use of recycled content; 57% are focused on weight reduction; 41% rely on renewable or bio-based materials; and 25% say they are focused on compostable materials.

California bill to ban foam food containers advances Jun-2-11 Los Angeles Times
Restaurants and other businesses in California would have to stop using polystyrene foam food containers in the next five years under legislation approved Thursday by the state Senate to address environmental worries.

Gluten-free – Costco may stop carrying, others are more positive

Costco may stop offering gluten-free foods Jun-2-11 Daily Forage
Due to low interest level and slow sales, Costco Wholesale is contemplating pulling their inventory of gluten-free items from their shelves.

Gluten-free baking cookbooks May-31-11 New York Times
More Americans — about 6 percent of the population, according to the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland — have found that gluten, in wheat, barley and rye, causes health problems. There have also been a slew of cookbooks to help bakers navigate a gluten-free kitchen. More than 60 were published in 2010 alone.

Gluten-free entrepreneurs Jun-5-11 New Hope 360 / New York Times
A growing number of later-life entrepreneurs are building new careers by catering to the burgeoning gluten-free lifestyle. Yet, without labeling regulations, how do people know whether that gluten-free coconut cake is really gluten free?

Other – Meatless Mondays, avoiding fruit, diabetes restaurant month, and more

Meatless Monday reaches 50% national awareness May-31-11 HuffPost Food
Awareness of Meatless Monday in the U.S. is now at 50.22%. That’s up from 30% just 6 months ago.

Kosher food in prison May-31-11 Kosher Today
The Jewish prisoner population in the United States today numbers in the thousands, making for a plethora of penitently-style kosher meals to be manufactured, served, and consumed.

Overindulgence leads to acid reflux Jun-1-11 Times Herald-Record
Busy, high-stress, double-income lives can lead to acid reflux, as large-portion, high-fat, high-carbohydrate, highly processed meals are typically consumed — with the largest meal later in the evening — resulting in the increase in GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Low-carb, high-fat diets may not pose a risk to arteries Jun-2-11 HealthDay
New research suggests that low-carbohydrate high-fat diets, with regular exercise as part of the plan, don’t appear to harm the arteries in the short term, as some experts have feared.

Weight loss diets that exclude fruit Jun-2-11 DietBlog
A number of popular weight loss diets restrict fruit eating.

The high cost of cheap meat Jun-2-11 New York Times
Factory farming has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Because of this, several classes of antibiotics no longer work the way they should in humans.

Diabetes restaurant month Jun-4-11 Diabetes Self-Management
Former professional basketball player Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, who has Type 2 diabetes, is teaming together with Merck to create a new program called “Diabetes Restaurant Month.” During these weeks, participating restaurants in a particular city will feature select recipes that make regular dishes more diabetes-friendly.

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