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Produce, non-GMO, traceability, saturated fat recommendations – news to June 16, 2013


What’s in the news about food choices

  • Walmart keeps talking about produce – local, fresh
  • A growing number of consumers want to know if food is gluten-free or non-GMO
  • Traceability for meat and poultry is becoming more visible – food safety, humane, sustainable
  • Allergens were the primary source of food safety reports in 2012
  • Are saturated fats so terrible? It may be time to re-evaluate recommendations

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

Produce – retail and rooftop

KU expands rooftop garden May-20-13 Food Management
Kansas University Dining Services expects to get about twice as much fresh produce this year as before from its rooftop garden thanks to a major expansion of the available space.

Walmart to purchase produce directly from local growers Jun-3-13 HuffPost Food
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced (again) that it will deliver produce from farms to store shelves more quickly by purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from local growers.

Produce consumption varies within the USA; low Jun-4-13 PMA From Field to Fork
Overall in the United States, 37.7 percent of adults report consuming fruit less than one time a day and 22.6 percent eat vegetables less than one time a day. For adults, the median intake of fruits and vegetables is 1.1 times per day for fruit and 1.6 times per day for vegetables. For adolescents, it’s worse. Some 36 percent of adolescents report eating fruits less than once a day, and 37.7 percent say they eat vegetables less than once a day.

Walmart offering money-back guarantees on fresh produce Jun-2013 Facts, Figures & The Future
Phil Lempert: The nation’s largest grocer, Walmart, achieves so much with one bold move to offer money-back guarantees on fresh produce, that it earns our kudos. It shreds consumers’ single biggest reason for not buying more fruits and vegetables. No longer do people have to fear their produce might spoil before they get to eat all of it.

Unnatural foods – obesogens, GMO

Is lettuce making Americans fat? May-21-13 New Hope 360 / Natural Vitality Living
Environmental chemicals known as obesogens are found in many places, including pesticides used on conventional produce. They program our bodies to store fat and develop disease and do so to such an extent that, in theory, a head of conventional romaine could actually cause more weight gain than a grass-fed burger.

Seeking food ingredients that aren’t gene-altered May-26-13 New York Times
A growing number of consumers are demanding increased information about what is in their food, whether it is gluten or genetically engineered ingredients. Pressure is growing to label products made from genetically modified organisms, or “G.M.O.”

Ben & Jerry’s to cut all GMO ingredients from products Jun-4-13 Food Product Design
Ben & Jerry’s recently set a goal to cut all GMO ingredients from its ice cream products by the end of 2013, while also supporting mandatory GMO labeling legislation. Although the company hopes to make the transition to non-GMO ingredients in 2013, the conversion will likely continue into 2014. Ben & Jerry’s also wants all of its flavors Fairtrade certified and sourced.

Traceability – meat, chicken

Improving meat traceability in the U.S. May-20-13 Food Safety News
Food marketing has become more and more about the story of the product and how it got to the shelf at the grocery store or onto the plate at a restaurant. The ability to follow meat to its source is important not only from an integrity standpoint but from a safety standpoint. In the case of a foodborne illness outbreak, tracing contaminated meat back to its source quickly is key.

New site brings transparency to buying poultry May-23-13 Food + Tech Connect
Buying Poultry hopes to take the guess-work out of choosing the most humane and sustainable poultry products and plant-based alternatives. Online buying guide featuring animal, farm worker and environmental ratings for every poultry producer in the country.

Other – allergens and food safety, saturated fat recommendations, food waste, and more

Allergens are primary source of food safety reports in 2012 May-10-13 Food Business News
Undeclared allergens, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) were the top three food safety incidences reported to the Food and Drug Administration during 2012, with allergens making up 37.9% of reports in 2012, Salmonella 28.1% and Lm 21.4%. The next closest reported food safety incidence was associated with un-eviscerated fish at 2.7%.

Whole grains, protein highlight first quarter menu trends May-17-13 Food Business News
A lot of concepts now are focusing on what’s been removed in certain healthy menu items … but a lot of the focus may be turning to what healthy elements the food actually contains … which many consumers are now viewing as just as important as what the food lacks.

Lashback against petition for artificially-sweetened milk May-21-13 NPR: The Salt
A controversial petition by the dairy industry to allow milk sweetened with aspartame or other alternative sweeteners to be labeled on the front of the carton simply as MILK is drawing criticism from the nation’s leading group of nutritionists.

Time to re-evaluate saturated fat recommendations May-22-13 Food Product Design
Saturated fats per se may not be responsible for many of the adverse health effects with which they have been associated, and it is time to re-evaluate the dietary recommendations that focus on lowering serum cholesterol and to use a more holistic approach to dietary policy, according to a review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition.

Tropical Smoothie Café debuts chicken-free strips May-24-13 FastCasual
The Chicken-Free Strips are a blend of soy and pea protein and mirror the taste of real chicken. “Beyond Meat’s research shows that nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population is at least open to the idea of eating less or no meat in their diet, and this aligns well with our healthier customer base.”

World Environment Day aims to curb food waste Jun-5-13 Food Product Design
June 5 was World Environment Day (WED). Food waste currently exceeds 1.3 billion tons each year.

Crash diet tied to increased gallstone risk Jun-7-13 Reuters
People who go on an extremely low calorie diet are more likely to develop gallstones than people on a moderately low calorie diet, according to a new study. Gallstones affect as many as 20 million people in the U.S.

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