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By: Katie Burns  Date: 5/28/10

Memorial Day is this weekend, and with it comes the unofficial start of summer.  Cookouts and picnics and bar-b-ques, OH MY!  With all the fun that the summer months bring, it’s important to be food safe to avoid letting foodborne illness get the better of you.  There are simple things that you can do to keep you family safe this summer. 

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 5/27/10

Several decades ago, the pathogen known commonly today as Escherichia coli (commonly abbreviated E. coli; named after Theodor Escherich) was relatively new to the world food safety.  It wasn’t until a series of unfortunate and fatal food safety incidents that we began to more strongly recognize, address and take prudent food safety measures to reduce the risk of contamination.  Today, there are numerous test methodologies and tools available to the food industry and even consumers to reduce the risk of contamination.  But what do we actually know about this E.coli?

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By: Andy Benson   Date: 5/26/10

Working for the International Food Information Council Foundation, you would expect that we might have more than a passing interest in the international food supply, and you would be right!

A sizeable proportion of the food we eat and the beverages we consume every day comes from outside our domestic borders.  While this gives us access to a tremendous variety of new tastes and culinary experiences, it doesn’t come without its challenges.  Not the least is ensuring that all the food we eat in this country, imported or local, fresh or frozen, meets the same standards for food safety.

And we are not alone!  Countries around the globe share the same concern. 

There’s an increasing amount of cooperation between US and international food safety and health authorities, including the World Health Organization the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and APEC to help ensure that the global food supply is as safe and sufficient as it needs to be.

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By: Lindsay Maurath   Date: 5/24/10

This month we were fortunate to join in for the debut of a great new food safety education experience-the Food Safety Discovery Zone Mobile
!  This 40-foot long big rig houses an interactive, food safety learning experience created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The education center on wheels is designed to deliver food safety information nationwide in an effort to help spread the word about foodborne illness and prevention. Visitors of all ages will learn the importance of cleaning, separating, cooking and chilling in this mobile kitchen, all part of the USDA’s Be Food Safe campaign. 

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By: Lindsay Maurath   5/21/2010

As a future dietitian I am extremely curious about the outlook for nutrition and food in the years to come.  What challenges might consumers, industry and public health professionals face and what goals should be set?  In the recent past, consumers have placed their focus on convenience foods and fad diets that eliminate some food groups entirely.  Dietary counseling may not have been an option, except for the very ill.  In this fast paced world, food choices can also be constrained by lifestyle and affordability.  Given the rise in chronic disease rates and the burden of chronic disease on our health care system, we know this approach is not working.  But there is good news! 

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By: Tony Flood & Lindsay Maurath   Date: 5/19/10

Bisphenol A (BPA) is once again taking center stage in the media after a new report was released on the chemical earlier this week.  The National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of US public health and environmental health non-government organizations, released the report No Silver Lining: An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned Foods after conducting a study that aimed to quantify BPA levels in common canned goods. Following the release of the report several mainstream media outlets featured stories on the report calling into question the safety of canned foods.

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 5/18/10

Currently, the United States Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is in the process of finalizing their Committee report to inform the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be jointly produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. Once finalized, the report will be used to set nutrition standards for all federal food and nutrition policy.

After listening to the Committee deliberations over the past two years, it has become clear that for the first time, the emphasis of this report will focus on reducing the prevalence of overweight and obesity among the U.S. population. Earlier editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans focused on a healthy population and provided recommendations for food groups and nutrients to encourage helping Americans reduce their risk of nutritional deficiencies and chronic disease.  Today, however, in an effort to help Americans achieve a healthful diet, the Committee is placing a special emphasis on foods that are high in fiber and whole grains, as well as nutrients such as vitamin C, A, E, and D, calcium, and potassium. These foods are known as nutrient-dense foods.

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By: Russell Pate, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina  Date: 5/17/10

The first National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) for the United States was launched on May 3, 2010 in Washington, D.C.  What’s the purpose of the Plan?  To change our communities in ways that will make it much easier for more Americans to lead physically active lives. 

The NPAP was conceived at a time when the 2008 Federal Physical Activity Guidelines were being developed, and is a natural extension of the Federal Guidelines. While the Federal Guidelines are aimed at the individual, describing the types and amounts of physical activity that should be performed for health benefits, the NPAP targets policy makers.  The new plan offers 215 evidence-based recommendations for changes in environments in which Americans live, work, play and go to school.  When acted upon, these changes will yield marked increases in population levels physical activity. 


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By: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RD and Lindsay Maurath  Date: 5/13/10

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity’s much anticipated report to the President was released this week, accompanied by a press conference from First Lady and Let’s Move campaign spokesperson, Michelle Obama.  The Action Plan is a road map for ending childhood obesity within a generation.  After months of research and planning, the time to move forward and take action is upon us.

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By: Julia Bradsher, PhD, MBA, CEO, The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN)   Date: 5/12/10

This week, communities across the country are recognizing Food Allergy Awareness Week (FAAW), a national awareness campaign that was started by FAAN in 1998 and is aimed at educating the public about food allergies and anaphylaxis. I appreciate the opportunity to guest-blog during FAAW, May 9-15.

In classrooms from coast to coast, students and teachers alike are learning about this potentially life-threatening medical condition through educational presentations, videos, and children’s books. Governors in at least 29 states have recognized FAAW with proclamations. And some of you may learn about food allergies after watching a national public service announcement featuring country music star Trace Adkins.

This information could save a life.

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By: Kris Sollid, RD  Date: 5/11/10

Last week, some of America’s top nutrition minds circulated in our nation’s capital.  The American Heart Association (AHA) convened in Washington, DC on May 5th and 6th for a two day forum for a pulse check on the state of the science surrounding added sugars. 

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By: Katie Burns  Date: 5/10/10

As recent media reports have mentioned, food allergies appear to be on the rise in the U.S.  While the cause for this increase is unknown, it is more important than ever for people to understand food allergies, to be aware of symptoms of a reaction, and to know how to properly respond in the event of a reaction.  For those of you who have food allergies or know someone who does, it is important to understand how to manage food allergies to avoid a potentially deadly reaction. 

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By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD  Date: 5/7/10

I love the sounds of the city, I also love jazz, and was lucky enough to attend Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana this past weekend. But, like so many Washingtonians, I have a hard time leaving my work behind. What was on my mind? Well, I’m happy that you asked. Last Wednesday, I attend the 2010 Nutrition Summit, which was sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the conference was to focus on the food environment and how the government can harness its efforts to make change happen.

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By: Kimberly Reed, International Food Information Council Foundation Executive Director   Date: May 4, 2010

Since their debut in February, both President Obama's White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity and First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative have been effective efforts to raise national awareness and to get Americans more focused on healthful eating and important food and exercise choices.

At the International Food Information Council Foundation, we and our stakeholders are anxiously awaiting the recommendations of the Task Force's 90-day Report to the President to be released next week (the week of May 10, 2010).

These recommendations may no doubt serve our nation well, but even beyond the report, we believe that the Task Force and the "Let's Move" initiative can also serve as an important template for other nations as they discuss nutrition, health, and food safety issues.

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By: Marianne Smith Edge, MS,RD,LD   Date: 5/4/10

From the Older American’s month theme, “age strong, live long!” to the International Food Information Council Foundation's Healthy Aging website title “living well, living longer," the message is clear: physical activity and eating healthy count!  Regardless of how old we think we are ( and I for one, believe in the “forever  young” philosophy), we have to realize we have only one body and how we treat it helps determine  our quality of life as we move into the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond.

So let’s face the facts. Over 70% of all the chronic diseases that we, as a society, incur are the results of poor lifestyle habits. Granted, we cannot always change our genes, but we do have control over what we put in our mouths and how physically active we want to be! And it’s never too late to start. 

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