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Gluten-free labeling standards, produce traceability, bug-derived food coloring – news to August 18, 2013

Food choices in the newsWhat’s in the news about food choices

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

Gluten-free – Chipotle, gluten-free labeling

Chipotle: now going GMO-free and vegan Aug-2-13 Rodale News
Chipotle has added Sofrita, an organic and non-GMO tofu alternative to their meaty toppings, in the chain’s Pacific Coast stores. Chipotle reps say the chain is trying to expand its offerings for the 50% of Americans who say they eat at least one vegan or vegetarian meal a week. The chain recently made waves by being the first fast food company in the U.S. to label GMOs.

F.D.A. sets a standard on labeling ‘gluten free’ Aug-2-13 New York Times
The agency set a gluten limit of 20 parts per million in products labeled gluten free. The limit had long been discussed and did not come as a surprise to industry or patient advocate groups. It was similar to the level adopted in recent years by the European Union and Canada

Retailers react to gluten-free standards Aug-13-13 Supermarket News
Many manufacturers already comply with the new standards for gluten-free. Many small companies may remove gluten-free from their labels to avoid expensive testing, but that big manufacturers won’t be significantly affected.

Produce – consumption, traceability

Report finds fruit and vegetable consumption falls in U.S., Western Europe Jul-23-13 PMA
According to a new Rabobank report, despite efforts by governments to promote the benefits of a healthful diet, consumption of fruit and vegetables in Western Europe and the U.S. has declined during the past decade. Rabobank cited lower incomes and perceived price increases, alongside strong competition from processed and convenience foods, as the major factors driving this trend.

Wal-Mart to require traceability of fresh produce (free registration required) Jul-31-13 New Hope 360
Effective Nov. 1, Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club have informed their suppliers that all fresh produce delivered to a distribution center will be required to contain standardized case labels that are consistent with the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI)’s best practices. Includes best practices for retailers.

Obesity and weight loss – dieting, obesity in children

What really motivates people to diet? Jul-29-13 Washington Post
The author of this article argues that people diet for looks much more than they diet for health.

Poor children show a decline in obesity rate Aug-6-13 New York Times
The obesity rate among preschool-age children from poor families fell in 19 states and United States territories between 2008 and 2011. The cause of the decline remains a mystery, but researchers offered theories, like an increase in breast-feeding, a drop in calories from sugary drinks, and changes in the food offered in federal nutrition programs for women and children.

Other news – Wild meat, bug ingredients in yogurt, healthy baby food, and more

2-day diets introduced on NPR Jul-19-13 NPR The Salt
The strategy of so-called 5-2 diets is to endure two days a week of mini-fasting. This doesn’t mean starving yourself. Rather, it entails reducing your calorie intake during two days of the week down to somewhere in the range of 500 to 1,000 calories.

Many packaged foods are dietitian-approved (registration required) Jul-22-13 Supermarket News
Since store dietitians are such a trusted source for supermarket shoppers, a growing number of retailers are giving certain products the dietitian stamp of approval, including the center aisles. Sales data show at least a 10% lift on “Dietitian’s Top Pick” items.

Meat category goes into the wild Jul-22-13 Supermarket News
From wild game to farm-raised buffalo, consumers and retailers are moving beyond beef, chicken and pork.

Low-calorie fast casual restaurant in LA Jul-23-13 FastCasual
In Skynny Kitchen, each dish has fewer than 500 calories for less than $11.

Dannon under fire for using bug ingredient in yogurts Jul-25-13 Food Product Design
Dannon uses carmine—a dye extracted from cochineal insects—to give its fruit-flavored yogurts several varieties of their pink color. The bug-based dye puts some consumers at risk of serious allergic reactions. The CSPI urged the FDA to describe carmine as “insect-derived,” making it easier for vegetarians, those who keep kosher, and anyone else averse to eating bug-derived ingredients.

New study examines local, organic food trends Aug-5-13 PMA From Field to Fork
According to a new Sullivan Higdon & Sink consumer study, many consumers firmly claim to be interested in core ideas associated with organic, local, and natural food trends. As a food attribute, “fresh” ranks the highest, with 90 percent of consumers saying fresh is very/somewhat important. Locally sourced/grown/made was ranked at 59 percent, while natural came in at 58 percent. Organic, as an attribute, was named a very/somewhat important attribute by 36 percent.

Fresh, unprocessed baby foods tied to less allergy Aug-9-13 Reuters
Babies who ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer packaged foods were less likely to develop food allergies. Parents are sometimes advised to avoid certain foods as a means of preventing food allergies from starting. But researchers are concerned that parents are reducing the nutritional diversity of their infants’ diet without there being a great deal of evidence to back it up.

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