One afternoon last week at Fort Lincoln Elementary School in Mandan, kindergartner Traven Hanning placed a red apple on a cart parked in the middle of the cafeteria.The portable cart, dubbed the "share table," allows students like Hanning to return unwanted food to the table, and it gives them an option to take an extra helping."I can't eat my apple because I might break my tooth," said Hanning, who indicated his front tooth was loose. Instead, he prefers milk and crackers, which he has taken before from the share table.
The uproar following yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm’s recent Facebook video ad featuring elementary school-aged girls perpetuating GMO myths was widespread. Within hours, hundreds of consumers, farmers and scientists condemned the brand for spreading misinformation and fearmongering. Here’s what a company SHOULD do:Lead with science & facts.Don’t exploit consumer knowledge gaps. GMOs are safe!Inform consumers, don’t fearmonger.The Stonyfield video ended with the statement, “It’s important to know what’s in your food.” That’s correct. So rather than exploiting their knowledge gaps, food companies have an opportunity to help educate, using science-based information and facts.Be open to skeptics & open dialogue.Whether discussing organic, conventional or GMO foods, it’s important to acknowledge consumers’ concerns and communicate with fact-based, open dialogue — banning adverse, but constructive feedback isn’t the answer.
For some consumers, the mere act of shopping at the supermarket can be full of overwhelming decisions. After extended debate in the grocery aisle, after attempts to parse through the misleading packaging, you might end up choosing the organic tomatoes over the conventional ones. They’re twice the price, so they’ve got to be better, right? But it’s not so simple. Celebrities, anti-GMO groups, and food trends have spread misleading information and myths about the food we chose to eat every day. Do foods labeled “organic” actually make us healthier? Are they free of pesticides? Should we be afraid of pesticides in the first place? Recently, singer/actress Zooey Deschanel misleadingly claimed that people should eliminate the 12 vegetables and fruits most likely to have the highest amounts of pesticide residues in order to keep healthy. That claim isn’t in line with the consensus of the scientific community, however. Toxicologists have long discredited any ill effects of eating foods that happen to be on that list — 79 percent of the members of the Society of Toxicology said that the EWG “overstated the health risks of chemicals,” according to a 2009 survey by George Mason University. In 2016, the Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit that represents organic and conventional farmers, repeated calls for the EWG to consider the USDA guidelines before renewing its “dirty dozen” list, arguing that the produce on it has repeatedly been shown to have no negative health impacts.Even more concerning, Deschanel urges consumers to “strictly buy organic” foods to avoid pesticides. That’s bad advice backed by faulty reasoning. Many studies have shown that just because a food is labeled “organic,” that doesn’t mean it was grown without pesticides (more on that later). In any case, scientists note that limiting the consumption of fruits and vegetables for fear of pesticide use could be much worse for consumers’ health than inadvertently consuming a little bit of pesticide.
The “non-GMO” label is no longer something that some consumers seek for only plant-based products. That label is now also being sought for animal-based products such as meat, poultry and dairy foods. She showed a picture of one milk carton on which the label promoted the message that GMO feeds were not used for their cattle, and that milk product was not found at a higher-end grocery store that focuses on “natural” foods. Instead, it was seen on the Walmart shelves.“What’s most interesting about this is that milk is from Wal-Mart, so this isn’t just products that are sold at a significant price premium, but ones that are everyday value for everyday consumers,” Dornblaser said.Similar labels are also seen appearing in many other grocery stores as well, she added.
New York officials again today warned the public to immediately dispose of unpasteurized Breese Hollow Dairy raw milk because of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The state has issued Listeria alerts for the dairy’s raw milk at least three other times since 2007. The David Phippen Farm, which operates under the Breese Hollow name, suspended operations on Feb. 2, when state agriculture officials informed the owners that a routine test sample showed preliminary positive results for Listeria monocytogenes.
A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought against Wisconsin officials last year by an Ohio dairy no longer allowed to sell its butter in Wisconsin unless it complies with a state law requiring it to be graded.U.S. District Judge James Peterson wrote Monday that a state law requiring that butter sold in Wisconsin be state or federally graded does not violate the constitutional rights of Minerva Dairy, of Minerva, Ohio. The dairy had sold artisanal butter in Wisconsin until February 2017, when state inspectors discovered, after receiving an anonymous complaint, that the butter was ungraded and ordered the company to comply with the law.
None of the aggressive, judgmental pitches of the movement have ever been proven. The power of its association with the economic elite has, though. Fast food marketing itself as “clean eating” has got to be one of the more curious phenomena of our brave new world. A descendant of the American organic movement from the 1970s, it is now being sold with particular gusto by “fast casuals” like Panera and Chipotle as a way for consumers to forego factory foods, which are increasingly seen unhealthy, undesirable “poor people’s” food.
The recently enacted federal food safety law, known as the Food Safety Modernization Act, includes new requirements for maple syrup producers. The rules differ, depending on the size of operation and how you sell your syrup, and there is still some ambiguity on exactly what a producer must do.In Ohio and Pennsylvania, maple syrup production is regulated at the state level, and is considered a low-risk food because of its contents and simple method of preparation.Ohio producers who gather and boil 75 percent or more of their own sap are considered exempt from state inspection, but may be subject to the new federal rule.
For the food industry, 2017 was the year of the label. Whether 'non-GMO' or 'no high fructose corn syrup', 'no added hormones' or 'gluten free,' consumers are increasingly demanding more information about what's in their food.A report last fall by Nielsen found that 39 percent of consumers would switch from the brands they currently buy to others that provide clearer, more accurate product information. Additionally, 73 percent reported feeling positively about brands that share the "why behind the buy" information about their products.For food manufacturers – including those in the dairy industry – the writing is on the wall, and it couldn't be clearer. While many are responding with a barrage of new labels to meet that demand, they're doing so with an eye towards giving their products a leg up over the competition, and their bottom lines a boost as well.On its face, it makes sense. If consumers say they want transparency, tell them exactly what is in your product. That is simply supplying a certain demand. But the marketing strategy in response to this consumer demand has gone beyond articulating what is in a product, to labeling what is NOT in the food. And this is where "simple" supply and demand is no longer simple. So-called "absence claims" labels – those that arbitrarily tell a consumer what isn't in a product, rather than what is – represent an emerging labeling trend that is harmful both to the consumers who purchase the products and the industry that supplies them.
Bill sponsor State Rep. Kevin Hensley said he wants food stamp benefits to be used only on healthy food. Under the proposal, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services would create a list of what food would be allowed. Hensley said SNAP recipients could still use their own money to purchase food not covered by the food stamp program.