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Calorie counts for convenience foods, fastest-growing label claims, is salt bad for you? – news to June 17th 2012

What’s in the news on food restrictions

  • As more authorities are calling for menu boards to contain calorie and other information, a majority of U.S. adults would like to see them.
  • Kosher is the most popular label claim on new food products; economy, low/no/reduced allergen, high-protein, and low/no/reduced saturated fat are the fastest-growing claims.
  • The idea that salt may not be so bad for you is growing strength.
  • Recognition of worker treatment is a growing issue for food produced in the USA and around the world.
  • More health experts are advising avoiding or limiting sugar.
  • Restaurants are learning how to update their operations to effectively cater to customers with food allergies and other issues

Here are links and summaries for issues related to food restrictions in the news.

Food labeling and menu information

Consumers want calorie counts on convenience foods Jun-6-12 CS News Foodservice
77 percent of U.S. adults stating they want labels for hot dogs, pizza slices and burritos sold and c-stores, according to a United Press International report. The survey also found that 81 percent of adults prefer that supermarkets provide calorie information for prepared restaurant-type foods such as rotisserie chicken, sandwiches and soups; that 70 percent favor calorie counts on menu boards at movie theaters; and that 68 percent favor chain restaurants listing calories for alcoholic beverages.

The fastest growing label claims of 2011 Jun-12-12 Food Navigator-USA
While ‘all-natural’ and ’no additives & preservatives’ were still among the most popular food and drink label claims in the US last year, the fastest growth was in economy, low/no/reduced allergen, high-protein and low/no/reduced saturated fat claims, according to Mintel. Their Global New Products Database reveals that 27% of new products featured a kosher claim; 13.7% claim environmentally-friendly packaging; 13.1% claim all-natural; and 12.9% claim no additives and preservatives. Gluten-free claims rose. Low-fat, low-sodium, and low-trans-fat claims dropped off in 2011. Organic claims have dropped continuously.

Salt – Is it bad for you; low-sodium peanut butter

Salt may not be so bad for you Jun-2-12 New York Times
The possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we’d be harming rather than helping ourselves.

Low sodium peanut butter Jun-15-12 Convenience Store Decisions
Smucker’s expands its line of peanut butter products to offer a low-sodium option. Smucker’s peanut butter is offered in convenient control packages for guests at restaurants and c-stores.

Ethics – US food worker treatment, Fairtrade tea, cocoa without child labor

Worker treatment in US food industry Jun-6-12 Food Navigator-USA
The US food industry has poor job and wage quality and a lack of career mobility, according to a groundbreaking report into the sector.

Honest Tea commits to US Fairtrade standards Jun-8-12 FoodBev.com
Honest Tea has chosen to work with Fair Trade USA as its certification partner, committing to the organization’s recently announced vision to increase impact and include more farmers, farm workers and tea pickers.

Pressure mounts on Hershey to source 100% sustainable cocoa Jun-13-12 Food Navigator-USA
Hershey has come under pressure from human rights groups to source all its cocoa from certified farms that avoid child labor.

Sugar – Considered unhealthy by more healthy experts

Health advocates go sour on sugar Jun-8-12 USA Today
Many health experts are advising avoiding sugar or limiting it to 5-10% of calories or less, with issues of obesity and possible sugar addiction.

Choosing a sugar substitute Jun-11-12 New York Times Well Blog
People have different reasons for choosing – and avoiding – sugar, saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose, also stevia

Other – Restaurants deal with dangerous food issues, trans fat ban in Cleveland

11 not-so-healthy ‘health’ foods 5-30-12 Everyday Health
Low fat foods that aren’t low calorie; Protein bars and shakes; Granola; Dried fruit; Sushi rolls; Caesar salad; High-calorie fish sandwiches; Margarine; Fruit juice; Bran muffins; Nutrition waters; Turkey burgers

Starbucks opens chain of raw vegan juice bars Jun-5-12 NaturalNews
In late 2011, Starbucks brought out Evolution Fresh, a juice company. Juice bars were projected to open in mid 2012, but the first has already opened, months ahead of schedule, in Washington. They think the market demand is high enough to warrant its own set of chains, not just an extra few fruit options on the menu at their coffee shops.

3 disgusting facts about shrimp Jun-8-12 Prevention
They can contain cancer-causing antibiotics; They can be contaminated with rat hair, E. coli, and Salmonella; Farmed shrimp are ruining coastal infrastructures

Avoid these foods if you have rheumatoid arthritis Jun-11-12 John Hopkins Health – Arthritis
Foods high in some types of omega-6 fatty acids that can increase inflammation, found in many snack foods, fried foods, margarine, meats, corn oil and safflower oil. Fried and grilled meats at high temperatures. You may experience short-term benefit from trying an “elimination diet,” in which you stop eating suspected trigger foods and then gradually add them back, noting any changes in your symptoms.

Restaurants cater to diners with dangerous food issues Jun-12-12 Wall Street Journal
For some people with food allergies, even trace amounts can trigger a serious reaction. Thus, the real challenge for restaurants comes in guarding against cross-contamination, which can occur when even tiny particles of an allergen remain on utensils, gloves, prep areas or cooking surfaces.

Milk fat may lead to bowel diseases by altering gut bacteria Jun-14-12 Food Navigator
Saturated milk fats commonly found in Western processed foods could be leading to changes in the gut ecosystem that result in higher risks of inflammatory bowel disease IBD, warn researchers

LifeCafe introduces fresh, clean and healthier menu Jun-14-12 BusinessWire
Throughout Minnesota, LifeCafe destinations are offering better ingredients, free of trans fats, bleached flours, and artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners.

Cleveland trans fat ban Jun-14-12 Food Navigator-USA
An Ohio judge has sided with the city of Cleveland in its attempt to ban the sale of certain products containing trans fats in the city.

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