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Low-carb pros and cons, crop fungicide and diabetes, no labeling GM foods – news to July 2nd 2012

What’s in the news about food restrictions

  • ‘Atkins’-type high-protein low-carb diets may raise risk of heart problems, according to a study – but it looks like the study investigated old-style low-carb diets that encouraged eating processed meats and didn’t tell you to eat lots of greens.
  • On the other hand, a small study seemed to indicate that low-carb diets are better for weight loss than low-glycemic and low-fat diets. The researchers’ opinion – long-term low-carb may be difficult, but you can get a jump start with a low-carb diet then move to a low-glycemic index diet which may be better than severely restricting carbohydrates. This study set out to prove that all calories are not equal, an opinion that has been gaining ground for some years.
  • A fungicide used on farm crops can induce insulin resistance – this may mean some people at risk of diabetes leaning towards organic foods.
  • An amendment to the Farm Bill to label GM foods was rejected by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 26-73 – last fall over a million signatures from individuals called for labeling, but agribusiness is against it. It’s possible labeling may come through state laws.
  • Customers sued ConAgra for deception for Hebrew National hot dogs being not kosher – they say that meat processing services provided to ConAgra fell short of the standards necessary to label the products as kosher. Millions of people buy kosher products as a sign of purity; some may question ConAgra’s products, although this could be hard work as they’re not usually labeled as being company products.
  • The latest “Dirty Dozen” list of foods with the most pesticides was issued by the Environmental Working Group – not much change from last year.

Here are links and summaries for recent news and opinion about food restrictions.

Food risks – Food allergies, heart problems, insulin resistance, meat allergy, suicide risk

Even known food allergens dangerous for kids Jun-25-12 USA Today
Even when parents and caregivers are aware of infants’ food allergies and have been instructed in avoiding potentially dangerous trigger foods, allergic reactions still occur, the result of both accidental and non-accidental exposures, a study finds.

‘Atkins’-type diets may raise risk of heart problems Jun-26-12 HealthDay
Women who regularly eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet may be raising their risk of heart disease and stroke by as much as 28 percent, a new study suggests. Diets rich in plant-based foods may be a better choice in the long run for women, experts say. It was not clear from this article whether the latest high-protein low-carb diets, which limit processed foods and encourage eating greens, were studied.

Crop fungicide linked to insulin resistance Jun-28-12 Food Product Design
New research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting suggests the fungicide tolylfluanid, which is used on farm crops, can induce insulin resistance. The findings provide more evidence linking environmental pollutants to diabetes.

A bite from a certain variety of tick could make you allergic to red meat Jun-29-12 Rodale
Lone start ticks’ saliva carries an antibody that causes the immune system to overreact in the presence of sugars found in red meat, leading to an allergic reaction that usually shows up as itchy, burning hives all over your trunk and back. It usually takes between three and five hours for the body to have an allergic reaction, and in some people, the allergy will go away not long after a tick bite, while in others, the allergy could persist for up to 20 years.

Parasite may increase suicide risk Jul-2-12 WebMD
Women infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (found in undercooked meat, unwashed vegetables, and dirty kitty litter) may be at higher risk for self-injury and suicide, a new study shows.

Foods not deemed unsafe – Alcohol during pregnancy, GM soy, GM food labeling

Studies question ban on alcohol during pregnancy Jun-21-12 Harvard Health Blog
The findings from five studies suggest that “low” (1-4 drinks per week) to “moderate” (5-8 drinks per week) alcohol consumption in early pregnancy did not harm the neuropsychological development of children evaluated at age five.

EU commission reaches ‘no opinion’ on GM soy Jun-18-12 Food Navigator
The Appeal Committee for the European Commission has failed to come to a definitive opinion on the authorization of genetically modified soy for food and feed uses in Europe.

U.S. Senate rejects label law for genetically engineered foods Jul-2-12 Epoch Times
Nearly 75 percent of the U.S. Senate recently rejected an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have allowed for GE labeling. In the past year, 36 bills looking to label bio-engineered foods have appeared in nearly 20 states across the country.

Ethical foods – Definition, child labor, shark fins

What makes an ethical brand Jun-18-12 Food Navigator-USA
Do consumers care whether the ingredients in their favorite foods are produced sustainably, and whether the people that produce them are treated fairly?

Nestlé vows to step up fight against child labor‎ Jul-2-12 FoodBev.com
Nestlé and its partners will involve communities in Côte d’Ivoire in a new effort to prevent the use of child labor in cocoa-growing areas by raising awareness and training people to identify children at risk, and to intervene where there is a problem. The FLA found that child labor is a reality on cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and has its roots in a combination of factors including poverty and the socio-economic situation of the farmers and their families.

Illinois shark fin ban Jul-2-12 HuffPost Chicago
Illinois became the first inland state, fifth in the U.S., to pass a comprehensive ban against the trade, sale or distribution of shark fins.

Antibiotic-free meat – Consumer demands, superbugs

Americans don’t want antibiotics in supermarket meat Jun-20-12 Progressive Grocer
A majority of Americans want meat raised without antibiotics to be sold at their local supermarkets, according to a new national poll conducted by Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports suggests antibiotic-free meat Jul-2-12 Consumer Reports
Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumer Reports, says: “We are urging consumers to say no to meat raised with antibiotic drugs to help stop the superbugs.” How to tell whether your meat contains antibiotics.

Lower sodium – Manufacturers and agribusiness

Unilever asks suppliers to reduce sodium Jun-28-12 Food Navigator USA
Unilever has already reduced salt in many of its products by 25% but is looking for potential partners to help it reduce sodium by a further 15-20% ”without compromising the taste of our products”.

Cargill introduces new sodium reduction system Jun-29-12 Food Navigator USA
Cargill has introduced a new system for up to 50% sodium reduction in a wide range of products, tailored to provide 1:1 salt replacement in three specific application areas of meat, cheese, and bakery.

Other – Hebrew National not kosher, low carb weight loss, dairy-free sorbet

Chipotle’s sour cream now comes from 100% pasture-raised cows Jun-18-12 HuffPost Food
As of this month, all of Chipotle’s sour cream and 65 percent of the company’s cheese will be produced from dairy cows raised on pasture, the company said Monday. These cows have daily access to the outside and are fed a vegetarian, plant-based diet.

Hebrew National hot dogs not kosher, lawsuit claims Jun-18-12 HuffPost Food
ConAgra sued for alleged deception. Eleven consumers fault meat processing procedures. ConAgra says stands behind Hebrew National brand.

2012 dirty dozen pesticide-heavy produce Jun-19-12 Food Safety News
Buy these organic: apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, imported nectarines, grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, potatoes. + green beans and kale/greens. Lowest in pesticide: onions, sweet corn, pineapple, avocado, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, kiwi, domestic cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, watermelon, mushrooms.

‘Better for you’ burgers for chain Jun-22-12 FastCasual.com
Fresh To Order (f2o) has announced plans to add a new line of “better for you burgers” to its menu. Offerings will include a vegetarian black bean burger that is less than 500 calories, a ginger scallion studded tuna burger for under 600 calories, and a Bison Burger for less than 600 calories.

Snack bar with insects Jun-26-12 HuffPost Food
Chapul, founded by college roommates Dan O’Neill of San Francisco and Pat Crowley of Salt Lake City, aims to introduce Americans slowly to the benefits of eating insects with nutritious but approachable cricket energy bars. (Think Clif Bars. But with bugs.)

Low-carb diet burns the most calories in small study Jun-26-12 USA Today
The research finds that dieters who were trying to maintain their weight loss burned significantly more calories eating a low-carb diet than they did eating a low-fat diet, and more than eating a low-glycemic index diet (low GI diet). This study challenges the idea that a calorie is a calorie, suggesting that certain foods and diets may be better than others for burning calories and helping people maintain weight loss.

Whataburger under-550 calorie offerings Jun-28-12 QSRWeb.com
A 550 Calories or Less menu with a selection of lower-calorie items will be featured as part of Whataburger’s new menu design.

Salt and fat reduction and flavor masking are major trends Jun-29-12 Food Navigator USA
Salt and fat reduction and flavor masking are major trends among new products at the IFT 2012 trade show in Las Vegas. As would be expected with the Institute of Food Technologists, products enabling this which are listed in this article are in many cases artificial or need to be combined with artificial ingredients.

Yogurtland introduces dairy-free sorbet Jun-29-12 QSRWeb.com
Yogurtland has introduced its first dairy-free option as part of a trio of new limited-time summer flavors.

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