Liz Caselli-Mechael's blog

Rice Advice: When It Comes to Consumer Reports, Think Twice

When many of us hear the word 'arsenic,' we often pair it with 'old lace' and the two little old ladies from the play and movie who liked to poison visitors. It's understandable, then, that thoughts of arsenic--atomic number 33 on the periodic table of elements--might make us jumpy. Why on earth would something so ‘scary’ be in our food?

‘Dirty’ Myths: Fact-Checking the Lists

File this in the category of “here we go again.” After establishing the Dirty Dozen brand with questionable science on pesticide residues, the Environmental Working Group released a ‘dirty dozen’ list of food additives.

Let’s see how some of the additive dirty dozen myths stand up to FACTS.

Naturally Confusing: Two Things You Need to Know from New York Times’ ‘Natural’ Debate

Lately, the use of the word 'natural' has become the source of much public debate, since the definition can vary by product, as opposed to terms like 'organic' that have a standardized definition.  In the recent New York Times’ opinion column Room for Debate, Vani Hari, also known as The Food Babe, wrote on the use of the word natural on food products, stating, “The word natural has become polluted.” That’s a catchy sound bite, but unfortunately, Hari and others are using the term natural inaccurately, as a proxy for quality or safety.

Database ≠ Science

Database ≠ Science

#Farm4Thought: What a City Girl Learned on World Food Day

The latest FoodInsight video, shared for World Food Day, takes us through a bit about our food, where it comes from, and everything that goes into it. I am an agriculture enthusiast, but I could count my farm days on my fingers (with room to spare!). So in honor of World Food Day learnings, I wanted to own up that even I had plenty to learn from #Farm4Thought.

Here are the three things that surprised me the most:


Community Spotlight: 4 Unexpected Learnings from Packing a Paper Bag

On Friday, the team here at the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation visited Food & Friends, a DC-area nonprofit that prepares and delivers specialized meals and groceries (in conjunction with nutrition counseling) to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.

The Latest Revelations in Science Communications Came from Jimmy Kimmel

This weekend, somewhere in between the Shia Labeouf segment and the LL Cool J segment, Jimmy Kimmel started lighting up my favorite blogs and newsfeeds. In his ever-beloved man-on-the-street segment, he introduced us to farmer's market shoppers, asking if they avoided GMOs ... and if they could say what GMOs were. (A more accurate term is "food biotechnology.")

Stay in Your Lane: The Issue with Non-Transferable Expertise

Consumer Reports did wonders for me when I was buying my first appliances. As a kitchen newbee, it made a big difference to have a brand-impartial commentator predicting all the practical errors I was sure to run into with every toaster oven. I had so much trust in those reviews, which is why it's a little jolting for me to read the magazine's increasingly questionable coverage of food issues.

12 Steps for Spotting Bad Science

The volume of science that's out there on food and nutrition is staggering, and living in a Google-based world is a blessing and a curse. Every time I've had a question about food, I've instantly been able to find dozens of sources...all saying conflicting things. They're constantly telling me 'Ten Cups of Coffee Could Save Your Life!' or (below) that becoming tangled in my bedsheets is impacting skiing revenue (ok, those guys were being ironic, but there are definitely real-life reporting parallels!) 

Worried about your coffee habit?

Been hearing some crazy news about caffeine lately? So have we! That's why we were keen to check out this infographic by Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher in the UK. It shows just how much coffee, water, and alcohol would be 'potentially toxic' at high doses – and it's pretty surprising! It really puts caffeine concerns into perspective to see that, in high quantities, water could do us in before caffeine!