We live in a society where many people tend to gravitate toward “black and white thinking” and extremes. The health and wellness industries are fraught with examples of extremism in many forms. Everyday a new headline pronounces a certain food as “bad and ruining our health,” while exalting another food and praising it’s “amazing benefits.” These lists of proclaimed “superfoods” and “harmful foods” seem to change on a weekly basis- leading many people to be confused as to the mixed messages they are receiving. Each year, new studies in nutrition science come out, many of which dispute earlier findings. Additionally, we are sold the lie that if we eat the “correct foods” and follow a set of rigid rules, that we will discover health and happiness. In light of all of the misinformation out there, the following are some of the biggest nutrition myths, debunked by experts.
I feel bad for the USDA. Congress has just assigned them the thankless task of overseeing a compromise law on GMO labeling. The compromise was possible even for our fractious political system because the alternative was to allow the state of Vermont to demand a food labeling, segregation and tracking system that would severely disrupt the national food system. That was a clear-cut violation of the interstate commerce protections in the Constitution, but it would have taken years to be resolved in the courts. So, the USDA gets to come up with the details and elements of a rule-set which won’t end the tedious debates about “GMOs” or their labeling. USDA is likely to be criticized and sued no matter what they do. More importantly, the net effect of all of this will do very little to help Americans “know what is in their food.” That assessment may sound harsh, but a quick review of the history of U.S. food labeling is rather sobering.
The genetic tweaks don’t significantly affect color and may preserve flavor, according to a new study. In an attempt to produce plump, tasty tomatoes with longer shelf lives, scientists have successfully tweaked a gene that slows how quickly the fruits soften without affecting their size or color. The genetically modified tomatoes, described in a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology, didn’t show telltale signs of softening, like pruned skin, 14 days after harvesting, compared with wrinkled ones from normal plants. To engineer them, the researchers turned to two DNA-altering techniques, including CRISPR-Cas 9, an editing tool used to snip out and replace unwanted genes.
Farmers and scientists have manipulated crops for thousands of years. Gene-editing is what proponents call a more precise version of mutation breeding that’s been used since the mid-1900s. Commercial varieties of edibles, including wheat, barley, rice and grapefruit, were created by mutating DNA with chemicals or radiation. Crops are on the forefront of gene-editing because plant DNA is the easiest to manipulate. San Diego-based Cibus changed one letter from canola’s DNA to create the new variant. Farmers in North Dakota and Montana planted about 20,000 acres of sulfonylurea-resistant canola this year, and Cargill Inc. is making it into cooking oil. Developing a new trait takes just five years with gene-editing, compared with seven to nine years with traditional breeding techniques and as long as 15 years with transgenic methods, which have been used to create the current generation of GMOs.
Boise cyclist Kristin Armstrong will head to the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro with the apparent distinction of being the first athlete ever sponsored by a crop bred using biotechnology. Armstrong will be 43 when she pursues her third Olympic gold medal, competing in the individual women’s time trial. She’ll also be raising awareness about the nutritional value of potatoes — and Simplot Plant Sciences’ Innate line of genetically modified Russet Burbanks and Ranger Russets in particular. Marketed under the White Russet label, the first generation of Innate russets contains traits introduced from other potatoes to keep them from browning after cutting, reduce bruising and reduce the formation of a potentially unhealthy chemical, called acrylamide, found in certain fried foods. The second generation of Innate, which awaits approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will include the original traits, plus enhanced cold storage and strong resistance to the destructive late blight pathogen.
The FDA Foods and Veterinary Medicine Program-Strategic Plan. This FVM Program outlines goals and objectives for the next 10 years: GOAL 1: Food Safety Hazards -- Protect America’s Consumers and Animals from Foreseeable Hazards. 1.1: Establish and gain high rates of compliance with science-based preventive control standards across the global farm-to-table continuum. 1.2: Improve prevention, detection, and response to foodborne illness outbreaks and other food and feed safety incidents.1.3: Strengthen the ability of consumers to play a proactive role in minimizing food safety risks. 1.4: Enhance the safety of food and feed additives and dietary supplements. 1.5: Strengthen existing partnerships with international, federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the FDA’s food safety program for government and industry. GOAL 2: Nutrition -- Foster an Environment to Promote Healthy and Safe Food Choices. GOAL 3: Animal Health -- Protect Human and Animal Health by Enhancing the Safety and Effectiveness of Animal Health Products. GOAL 4: Organizational Excellence -- Continuously Improve the Leadership, Management, Staffing and Organizational Capacity of the FVM Program to Protect Public Health
It appears that consumers are growing anxious about the economy, and that is leading to some unease in the restaurant industry, according to a QSR magazine report. Signs are ominous that almost every sector in the $783 billion restaurant industry is in trouble. Although breakfast sales at fast-food restaurants rose 2 percent during the first quarter of 2016, far more critical lunch sales were down 3 percent, while dinner sales were off 2 percent, reports The NPD Group.
It is as if consumers who never fully recovered from the last recession are now preparing for the next one, says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at NPD. “I’m not an economist, but I’ve studied all the past recessions and how consumers behaved, and we’ve never experienced anything quite like this before,” she says. If there is one clear sign that something might be amiss in the restaurant industry, it is this: even the high-flying fast-casual dining sector has hit turbulence. For years, the fast-casual industry grew at an explosive pace. But uncertainty is settling in, as it has in the rest of the restaurant industry, and the onus is not just on troubled Chipotle, which has faced a series of health and safety-related issues.
For months Congress has haggled over pre-empting Vermont’s new GMO-labeling law, which mandates direct package labels for food sold or produced in the state. Some companies say they’ll stop selling in the state rather than absorb the expense. But about 15 states are considering labeling schemes, and the Senate earlier this year failed to prevent a patchwork mess with a voluntary labeling program. Thus comes the latest idea, from Senators Pat Roberts (R., Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich). The food industry supports the bill, in part because it allows companies flexibility on how to convey the information. It also precludes a state system that would pull over a Twinkies truck for inspection at the Connecticut border. Organic interest groups—Just Label It, the Center for Food Safety—aren’t satisfied. One complaint is the Agriculture Department’s discretion to decide what the label will cover. The bill excludes meat from animals who chomped on genetically engineered feed, and more dispensations may follow. The irony is that the groups howling about arbitrary standards invented the false GMO distinction: Everything humans eat has been genetically modified through breeding.
t larger organizations are less likely to require members to invest in food safety procedures due to higher implementation costs. Recalls induce organizations to adopt stricter food safety standards only when expected future gains from improved product reputation outweigh the short run costs of implementing those standards. The same logic holds for organizations representing growers of a product with higher demand, e.g., a larger share of fruit and vegetable sales. Organizations whose members have a larger share of the market for their product are more likely to adopt stricter food safety guidelines when that investment induces members to increase output, a necessary condition for which is that members’ current food safety procedures are more protective than the industry average. Our econometric analysis finds that organizations with more members are less likely to adopt food safety guidelines for their members, as our theoretical analysis predicts. Organizations whose members account for a larger share of the market for their product and organizations for commodities representing larger shares of fruit and vegetable sales are more likely to implement food safety guidelines, consistent with considerations of long term profitability increases due to improved reputation for safety outweighing concerns about increases in cost of production.
Hispanic households in the U.S. that trace their origin to Puerto Rico are more than twice as likely as Cuban-origin households to suffer from food insecurity, a new study shows. The research shows that within the ethnic designation of Hispanic, significant differences in food insecurity exist, depending on family origin, as well as immigration status and length of time residing in the United States. Nationally, 22.4 percent of Hispanic households were food insecure in 2014. Of Hispanic subgroups, households of Puerto Rican descent living in the United States had the highest food insecurity rate – 25.3 percent. The rate for families of Cuban origin was 12.1 percent.