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Food Insight Blog

Shedding light on the science behind nutrition and food safety.

By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/30/10

Due to the mounting questions, concerns and misinformation that are rampant on the internet today regarding the current Salmonella outbreak and subsequent egg recall, I thought it wise to provide a few facts to help you put the risk in perspective; 
information to help you make an informed decision about the food you plan to eat at your next breakfast or brunch this weekend.
 

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By: Andy Benson   Date: 8/27/10

Picture this: 1700 of the world’s top food scientists all in Africa, all of them beating out a rhythm on African Drums.  That’s what happened this week in South Africa and the drums served an important purpose.

Globally, we’re faced with a tremendous challenge to provide the right food, in the right way, and at the right place and time to feed the world’s seven billion people. Those 7 billion people all approach food a little differently: European gourmets seek the best in haute cuisine while harried executives and homemakers want quick and convenient food, and for 2 billion people in lesser developed countries there’s a desperate need for access to enough food to keep them from starvation.
 

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/25/10

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the can.  I’m certain many of us take the aluminum can for granted but if it weren’t for the revolutionary idea of Englishman Peter Durand we wouldn’t be able to enjoy favorites such as chicken soup on a rainy day or cold beer after a long day’s work.  In fact, we would probably still be using glass jars instead of today’s aluminum can technology. 

Nicholas Appert the “father of canning” received 12,000 FR from the French government for preserving food in glass jars by sterilization in 1809.  It was later that Durand improved on Appert’s idea and introduced the first tin – plated can in the U.S. in 1818 and in 1957 aluminum was introduced in metal can manufacturing.  Since 1957, aluminum cans continue to provide great benefits to us especially in regards to environmental impact.
 

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 8/24/10

Are you a health professional who wants to know what consumers think about the use of technology in food production? Or what their views are on hot topics such as sustainability?  What about understanding their concerns and gaps in information when it comes to food technology, and how to bridge those gaps through effective communications?
 

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By Jennifer Schleman, APR   Date: 8/23/10

Today is back to school day for thousands of kids here in the Washington, DC area. Hitting the books means a change in the easy going summer routine and back to a stricter schedule. But it doesn’t mean that moms and kids should cut out breakfast!

According to The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2009 Food & Health Survey, 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet less than half (44 percent) are eating breakfast every day. This is not the best idea asresearch has found that kids (and grown-ups too) who eat breakfast are able to concentrate better and maintain a healthy body weight.
 

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By: Matt Thoman Date: 8/20/10

When I think of food colors, I instantly think of baking cookies with my mom and sisters during the holidays as a kid.  My sisters and I would always get into fights over who got to squeeze the brightly colored tubes of food coloring into the batter.  And of course, I recalled the days of summer.  As my childhood summers mostly consisted of long days outside at the pool or playing games of “kick the can” with friends, frozen popsicles were our number one choice to cool down from the summer heat.  All of these memories are full of color – or, I should say, colorful food. I don’t think my fond memories from childhood would be the same without these summer and holiday favorites, and they would not be the same without their familiar color. 

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By: Tony Flood   Date: 8/19/10

The recent recall of over 380 million eggs due to salmonella concerns has a lot of people asking the question, “What should I do to keep safe?”  My brother who lives in Texas, where a cluster of illnesses has been identified actually asked me about this recall.  While I was surprised, I was also glad that he was seeking information and that he actually asked me. Here are a few things I told him. 

Check your egg cartons and look for a few things.  In particular, check for certain brand names.  Also, look for a specific set of numbers called ‘Julian’ dates which indicate specific dates of production.  If they fall between a certain set of numbers, it’s a very good chance they are part of this recall and should be thrown out!  That’s right thrown out immediately.  Do not eat them – don’t even try to cook them.  Or if you choose, return them to the store in their original carton where they will likely give you a refund.  You can visit the FDA website for a list of brand names and Julian dates to better identify recalled products.

 

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 8/18/10

New moms and pregnant women who can’t imagine a morning without their cup of coffee can breathe a sigh of relief—new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are the latest from a number of women’s health organizations that continue to support science-based conclusions that moderate levels of caffeine consumed by women of childbearing age, including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, are safe for both mom and baby.  

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By: Gwen Vito & Christa Drew

According to the 2010 International Food Information Council Food and Health Survey, 68% of Americans are looking to the Nutrition Facts panel (NFP) on packages for nutrition information. Among those consumers that use the label, Calorie content is ranked as the top piece of information used. But how does this help us in relation to our daily needs and overall diet?  Earlier this month,The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted a web cast to discuss how we should use information on the label to guide us in making healthy, balanced dietary choices.

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Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day. 

By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 8/13/10

The long days of summer are coming to an end and kids across the United States are gearing up for another year of school. As we sharpen our pencils, purchase new books and supplies, and endure the hassle of buying new clothes for the school year, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. Here are a few healthy eating and active living tips that can set you and your family up for success this school year.
 

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Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day. 

By: Dayle Hayes, MS, RD

Thinking about packing a lunch box for your kids? Think again! Wondering how to fit breakfast into busy back-to-school mornings? Think breakfast at school! Wonderful things are happening in school kitchens and cafeterias all across the country – and your children can take advantage of them as they head back to the classroom this fall. 

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Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day. 

By: Katie Burns   Date: 8/10/10

Starting school for the first time or even heading back to school from summer break can be stressful enough for parents and kids alike.  When the child has a food allergy, it can be much more concerning and stressful.  The good news is there are steps and measures that can be taken to greatly reduce the worry and stress that come with sending a food-allergic child off to school.  With a little planning and some proactive measures, parents of food-allergic kids can go back to worrying about school supplies, homework loads and missing their munchkin!
 

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Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day. 

By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD   Date: 8/10/10

My colleague Tony Flood, Director of Food Safety and Defense, is often heard around the office saying that “Food has to be safe before it can be nutritious.” So, before we get into talking about how to pack a school lunch that can be balanced and nutritious for you little one(s) check out our blog post from yesterday, A Lunchbox Full of Food Safety.

The Mid-Day Meal
It didn’t matter if it was a hot lunch from the school cafeteria or a brown bag special made by my mom, when I was in school I loved lunch.

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By: Katie Burns Date: 8/9/10 

Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day. 

When I think back on my experience in elementary school, it’s hard to forget the lunches my dad packed for my brother and me.  We got a sandwich (Owen’s, peanut butter; mine, peanut butter and jelly), an apple or a banana, a granola bar and a bag of pretzels tucked into a brown, paper bag with an “O” on Owen’s and a “K” scrawled on mine.  While my dad did a great job providing us with over 1,400 lunches throughout elementary school tenure, there are some tips that may have been useful then and will certainly be useful for parents, students and teachers alike today! 

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By: Andy Benson Date: 8/6/10

One of the key topics of conversation, and the focus of a major international panel discussion at the recent International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) annual conference, was the question of how to inform and advise consumers about important developments in food safety and security.

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By: Kris Sollid, RD   Date: 8/4/10

America.  What a vast, fertile, and diverse place.  In fact, there are so many places in America, it’s virtually impossible to have seen them all.  This summer I had the pleasure of visiting a place that many Americans never have, and sadly never will.  A place so much a part of our history, that our survival as a nation simply wouldn’t have been possible without it.  That place is the small family farm.

Small family farms have endured the test of time, and in doing so, have had to change right along with the times.  Technology has completely saturated our urban existence in America, but this summer I found out how much farms have been revolutionized too.  To gain perspective on the subject, I picked the brain of my family’s resident expert; my uncle Berlin, who’s been farming his family’s plot of land in Northwestern Ohio for over 65 years.

I had visited the farm before, but hadn’t been back in years.  With a keen interest in food these days, this experience was much different than as a child (there was no Billy goat to scare me off this time around).  I had so many questions for him, where would I even begin?
 

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By: Marsha Hudnall, MS, RD   Date: 8/2/10

Life at a fat camp seems an odd subject for a television series, but these days anything about weight seems to grab the spotlight. "Huge", ABC’s new series about that life, shows insight into and even encourages empathy and compassion for the angst of weight-struggling teens (which by the way appears to be much the same angst of any teen, weight struggling or not.)  What it doesn’t show, however, is good sense when it comes to what one might think is the series’ focus – fat.

I have a number of problems with fat camps. A primary one is that they supposedly offer an experience in healthy living. Therein lies the rub.  If the camps promote the same approach to eating and physical activity that's portrayed in "Huge", nothing could be further from health. 

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By: Katie Burns Date: 7/30/10

Next Monday marks the start of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP)’s Annual Meeting, and it could not come at a better time.  There has been recent media attention to food safety issues, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and the safety of seafood from the Gulf shore in the wake of the BP oil spill.  Additionally, our 2010 International Food Information Council Foundation Food & Health Survey results indicate that 44% of Americans feel that foodborne illness from bacteria is the most important food safety issue today. 

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By: Mary Alice Shreve   Date: 7/28/10

As a Gulf Coast native, “cocktail and tartar sauce” were part of my vocabulary by age six. I grew up learning how to peel shrimp, cast with a rod and reel, and check a crab trap. I will never hesitate to devour a basket of fried crab claws (even as a future Registered Dietitian), and I turn my nose up at so-called seafood restaurants that do not offer fresh Gulf fare. In my hometown of Mobile, Alabama, we had “crawfish boils” for graduation parties, and raw oyster eating contests are still a favorite pastime among locals. Needless to say, I am one of many who come from communities that thrive off seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. 

In the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon blast and subsequent oil spill, the question on Gulf Coast residents and the rest of the nation’s minds alike is, “What about the seafood?” In May, the Louisiana State University Agcenter and the University of Minnesota interviewed over 1,000 consumers concerning their attitudes toward seafood and the oil spill. The researchers found that 44% of those who expressed that the spill has affected their seafood eating habits are opting not to consume seafood from the Gulf. The survey also found that 89% of those interviewed were “at least somewhat concerned” about how the oil might impact the Gulf’s seafood .

With that in mind, here are some facts to set the record straight about seafood safety in relation to the oil spill:
 

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By: Kerry Robinson, RD   Date: 7/26/10

I’m back in Washington, D.C. after a trip to the wonderful city of Chicago to attend the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2010 Annual Meeting & Food Expo, where food science experts from around the world representing academia, industry, and government gather to learn about the latest innovations in food science and technology.  While I gained several new insights pertaining to the latest food science innovations at the conference, what impressed me the most was an introductory session on food nanoscience.  There’s a lot to learn about the potential benefits of this emerging technology. The following is a brief overview of what I learned.

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