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Humanely grown food, unhealthy sprouts, regulating sugar – news to February 12 2012

As demand grows for humanely grown animal foods, suppliers and government regulations are starting to catch up. Raw sprouts have been considered healthy for years, but the government now advises against eating them as they carry a high risk of foodborne illness; heading in the other direction is coconut, which is increasingly seen as healthy even by more traditional thinkers. A high-fiber diet may exacerbate rather than help diverticulosis. Some prominent doctors have suggested that the added sugars in processed foods and drinks are responsible for so many cases of chronic disease and premature deaths that their use ought to be regulated, just like alcohol and tobacco.

Ethical/unethical food – meat, eggs, foie gras, shark fin

Meat from humanely raised animals Jan-19-12 The Bay Citizen
Among a small group of aware consumers, concern about their meat’s origins is growing. Though factory-farmed meat is still the big seller, some shoppers are willing to pay two or three times as much as supermarket prices to guarantee that the animals they eat were raised on organic or foraged food or both, had ample living space and sufficient time outdoors, and were not fed antibiotics or growth hormones.

House bill aims to formalize improved egg laying hen conditions Jan-25-12 Food Navigator USA
A bipartisan group of Representatives has proposed a bill aiming to standardize improved conditions for egg laying hens across the country, in an effort to avoid a patchwork of state laws.

PETA asks for no stars for foie gras, shark fin Feb-8-12 Huff Post Food
PETA has taken a different approach. The animal rights group has written a letter to the CEO of Michelin, Michel Rollier, requesting that the Michelin Guide stop awarding stars to restaurants the serve foie gras or shark fin soup.

Fair trade Trader Joe’s tomatoes Feb-10-12 HuffPost Food
Trader Joe’s signed a Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants employed in low-wage jobs in Florida. The agreement requires the grocery store to pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes and to ensure better working conditions for tomato workers.

Sustainable seafood – mainstreaming, rising demand

Sustainable seafood at big-box stores Jan-20-12 NPR
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label is found in Costco, Target, Walmart, and other big-box stores.

Sustainable seafood demand rises in UK Jan-31-12 PSFK
The number of fish and seafood products certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has shot up by 41% in the UK over the last year, as retailers and supermarkets respond to consumers’ demand to know the provenance of the produce they buy.

Sustainable canned tuna Feb-10-12 Progressive Grocer
Safeway brand skipjack (chunk-light) canned tuna will be responsibly caught using free-school purse-seine methods.

Unhealthy becomes healthy and vice versa – coconut, sprouts

Sprouts are being served less due to health concerns Jan-27-12 NPR
Sprouts of any kind — alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean, to name a few — now rate their own warning page on foodsafety.gov, which notes at least 30 outbreaks of illness associated with raw sprouts since 1996. The government advises to request that raw sprouts not be added to your food.

Turnaround for advice on coconut healthiness Feb-2012 Today’s Diet and Nutrition
Science is starting to show that not all saturated fats act the same way in the body. Coconut oil is comprised mainly of medium-chain saturated fatty acids, and while the jury is still out, some researchers believe these have a more neutral effect on heart health when compared to longer-chain saturated fats found in red meat and butter.

Other – fiber and diverticulosis, weird foods, regulating sugar

High fiber diet may raise diverticulosis risk Jan-23-12
Studies showed that a high-fiber diet did not protect against asymptomatic diverticulosis, and, in fact, was associated with a greater prevalence of the condition.

Food allergies much less prevalent than claims of food allergies Jan-25-12 HuffPost Food
Even though just three or four percent of Americans have a full-blown allergy to some food, over 20 percent of Americans claim to be allergic.

Meat-free claims grow 21% Jan-25-12 Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
The number of U.S. food products making a claim such as “meat free” or “meatless” on the package grew 21% to 1,198 last year from two years earlier, according to Innova Market Insights. Makers of meat substitutes are working to more closely mimic the taste and texture of meat, and are looking to appeal to “semi-vegetarians.”

New research to prompt interest in ‘free from’ category in UK Jan-26-12 FoodBev.com
Medical experts are pushing for greater acknowledgement of gluten sensitivity as predictions show that as many as 10% of the UK population could benefit from cutting gluten from their diet. A shift in awareness of this gluten sensitivity could mean that more people than ever will buy into the gluten free sector.

Kosher pilot in Senate cafeteria Jan-26-12 Food Management
The Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria is testing a kosher food program that offers prepackaged sandwiches and salads provided by an area kosher caterer.

Healthy hospital food Jan-28-12 Oregon Live
A Kaiser Permanente hospital creates a menu that caters to 17 special diets, including low sodium, low fat, allergen-free, sulfite-free and the like. “We also want to show people that these dishes can be healthy if we make them lighter, with fresh local ingredients,” he said.

McDonalds drops ammonium hydroxide from hamburger meat Jan-31-12 MSNBC
McDonald’s confirmed that it has eliminated the use of ammonium hydroxide in its hamburger meat.

Americans more willing to eat weird foods Feb-3-12 Food Channel
To help promote the cable channel’s new TV series, “Bizarre Foods America”, the Travel Channel surveyed nearly 3,000 adults about their willingness to try weird foods. The survey found that we Yanks may be becoming more adventurous in our dining habits—at least hypothetically.

Regulating sugar Feb-1-12 LA Times
Dr. Robert Lustig and two colleagues from UC San Francisco argue that the added sugars in processed foods and drinks are responsible for so many cases of chronic disease and premature deaths that their use ought to be regulated, just like alcohol and tobacco.

UFood Group under 500 calorie menu Feb-6-12 RestaurantNews.com
UFood Grill Chairman and CEO George Naddaff noted, “Most people want to eat healthier, but they have so few choices because `better-for-you’ fast-food is not widely available. At UFood, we’ve spent years perfecting a menu that tastes great–but also has lower fat and calories than typical fast-food.”

Deciphering the ailments tied to gluten Feb-7-12 Wall Street Journal
A group of 15 experts from seven countries proposed a new classification and diagnosing system to help doctors and patients figure out what’s a wheat allergy, what’s celiac disease and what falls under a new category of ills lumped together as “gluten sensitivity.”

CDC warns against top 10 salt foods Feb-7-12 WebMD
Breads and rolls; Luncheon meats such as deli ham and turkey; Pizza; Poultry; Soups; Cheeseburgers and other sandwiches; Cheese; Pasta dishes; Meat dishes; Snack foods including chips, pretzels, and popcorn.

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