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Good salt or bad salt, sustainable seafood, school food, and gluten-free – news to July 17 2011

There were a number of discussions this week about two studies on salt – one said that reducing salt doesn’t  reduce cardiovascular disease (see last week) and one that says that too much salt and too little potassium increases risks. Genetically modified farmed salmon – it can reduce overfishing because the salmon are more efficient, but what are the risks? Also in sustainable seafood, the NOAA has released its annual overfishing report. School food is becoming healthier through a number of different initiatives. Restaurants are starting to learn how to grow their business by offering truly gluten-free alternatives.

Salt – conflicting studies

Why your sodium-potassium ratio is so important Jul-11-11 HuffPost Food
A federal study suggests that the people most at risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses are those who eat too much salt and also get too little potassium.

Innovation in salt reduction Jul-11-11 Food Navigator-USA
Food manufacturers continue to seek ways to cut sodium without sacrificing flavor – and ingredients companies continue to find innovative solutions. Recorded discussion of some offerings at IFT.

Conflicting studies over sodium Jul-12-11 Food Business News (registration required)
Two studies published five days apart had conflicting views on the association between sodium intake and the risk of death. Archives of Internal Medicine – Americans who eat a diet high in sodium and low in potassium have a 50% increased risk of death from any cause and about twice the risk of death from heart attacks. American Journal of Hypertension – cutting down the amount of salt has no clear benefits in terms of likelihood of dying or experiencing cardiovascular disease.

Campbell’s to add back sodium to combat soup sales slump Jul-13-11 Food Navigator-USA
The company said that it will shift from “sodium innovation” to “taste-oriented innovation”. They intend to give consumers more choice by adding sodium back into many of their soups.

The complexities of salt Jul-15-11 Food Politics
It’s difficult to do studies of the effects of a low-salt diet, as processed foods are a major source of sodium in the diet. And not everybody responds to a low-salt diet.

Sustainable seafood – GM salmon, overfishing report, and more

Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) Jul-11-11 FIS
The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) has recently completed a number of assessments of species for inclusion into the SASSI list and consumer outreach tools. SASSI’S main objective is to inform and educate all participants in the seafood trade, from wholesalers to restaurateurs through to seafood lovers.

Genetically modified fish and sustainability Jul-12-11 Time
A fish with a gene that makes it grow twice as quickly could reduce the amount of smaller fish that have to be caught to feed the growing salmon. Skeptics worry the GM salmon might provoke an allergic reaction in some consumers, but the real fear has more to do with what kind of damage the modified fish might do if it escaped into the wild.

Bay Area sustainable seafood Jul-13-11 HuffPost San Francisco
Suggestions for making healthier, more sustainable seafood choices

NOAA releases annual overfishing report Jul-14-11 HuffPost Food
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has come out with its 2010 Status Of Stocks report. 40 fish populations (16%) are victims of overfishing, compared with 38 fish stocks in 2009. Three Northeast fisheries—Georges Bank haddock, Atlantic pollock and spiny dogfish—have been rebuilt to healthy levels. Twenty one fish populations have been rebuilt since 2000. See the report [pdf] here.

School food – local, no sweet snacks, healthy vending machines

Locally grown food for schoolchildren in farm-to-school programs Jul-13-11 Associated Press
One nonprofit estimates there are over 2,500 programs aimed at getting schoolchildren to eat locally grown food involving more than 10,000 schools in all 50 states.

New Massachusetts school food rules ban sweet snacks Jul-13-11 Boston.com
Sugary sodas and sweet snacks are out along with potato chips and other vending machine cuisine under Massachusetts’ new school nutrition standards approved Wednesday.

Healthy vending machines Jul-15-11 HuffPost Food
Schools and businesses have started to turn to healthier food in vending machines.

Gluten-free – products and menus

Gluten-free expo Jul-10-11 Washington Post
Over 60 vendors displayed gluten-free food products to the public.

The Co-op to launch free-from range Jul-11-11 Just-Food
The Co-operative Group (UK supermarket chain) is to launch its first specific own-label free-from range to meet “increasing demand” for gluten- and wheat-free foods.

Seneca Farms launches gluten-free product line Jul-14-11 New Hope 360
Seneca Farms has announced that its entire range of healthier snack chips, including Apple Chips, Sweet Potato Chips, and Crisp Onions, are now gluten free.

How restaurants can improve their gluten-free menu offerings Jul-15-11 SmartBlog on Restaurants
Customers who follow gluten-free diets “tend to be a passionate group.” Just as they will offer their praises and cash to businesses that accommodate their dietary needs, they will stir up trouble for businesses that put their health at risk with incorrect labels or sloppy food preparation.

Other – GM processed foods, orthorexia nervosa, and more

80% of U.S. processed foods genetically modified Jul-11-11 Osceola Sentinel-Tribune
According to the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, 80 percent of our processed food is genetically modified, unless it is certified organic.

Long-term alcohol consumption and cancer risk July-11-11 LA Times
In recent years, alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the risk of mouth, throat, breast, colorectal and possibly liver cancers. Many countries’ alcohol consumption guidelines — which typically define a moderate, “sensible” level of drinking designed to help consumers drink safely — fail to take into account long-term risks associated with drinking.

Grilling and carcinogens Jun-11 Today’s Diet and Nutrition
To reduce risks of carcinogens such as heterocyclic amines, nitrosamides, and hydrazines when grilling: Have a spotless grill rack; indirect grilling; grilling in foil packets; for direct grilling, use lower heat and don’t blacken the food

Traveling with food restrictions Jul-11 Today’s Diet & Nutrition
Almost half of people with celiac disease, food allergies, and other food intolerances travel less than they did prior to managing their special diets, according to research published in 2008 by the Chicago-based AllergyFree Passport and GlutenFree Passport

Vegan Iron Chef Jul-11-11 Oregon Live
Portland held its second-annual Vegan Iron Chef competition.

A&P launches locally raised meat brand Jul-12-11 Supermarket News
A&P has announced the launch of Mid-Atlantic Country Farms, a new private-label line of locally raised chicken, turkey and beef products at select A&P, Pathmark, Superfresh, Waldbaum’s and The Food Emporium Stores.

Cargill makes sustainable palm oil pledge Jul-12-11 Just-Food
Cargill has pledged that the palm oil products it supplies in markets including Europe and the US will be certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or originate from smallholder growers by 2015.

Unhealthy obsession with healthy eating Jul-12-11 Food Politics
“Orthorexia nervosa,” a supposed eating disorder characterized by an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating – does it exist?

Modified fat diet may be better than low fat diet Jul-13-11 Medical News Today
New evidence review finds that a modified fat diet and not a low fat diet might be the real key to reducing one’s risk of heart disease. A modified fat diet replaces saturated fat such as or animal or dairy fat with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as liquid vegetable oils, fish, nuts and seeds.

Study calls for mandatory allergy boxes on labels Jul-13-11 Food Navigator
EU – Allergen advice boxes on labels should be mandatory, a new study suggests, as most consumers look at this rather than the ingredients list.

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