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As you make efforts to use up those holiday leftovers and prepare dishes like this low-fat turkey and veggie bake
We noticed a discussion on a social media website asking, “Buying a chicken should be easy; labeling is confusing, what’s the healthiest?” Our food system expert Brenda Roche Wolford, M.S., R.D., University of California, Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County, answers this question.
In the U.S., we are privileged to have so many food choices. When buying grocerries, we can choose from products labeled as natural, organic and free-range, among others. But what do all of those labels really mean? Best Food Facts searched out definitions for a few labels from the USDA, which regulates meat, poultry and processed egg products. For simplification, we have bolded the main takeaways in the definitions, but have kept the full definition available in case you would like more specific information.
Ground beef products from a Nebraska meatpacker have been recalled from 16 states, due to possible E. coli contamination. Look for your state here.
According to Dr. Stephen Taylor, no one knows the exact answer to why the prevalence of food allergies is increasing. He doubts any experts would hypothesize that chemicals used in food production play a role in the prevalence of food allergies. He explains other theories that seem much more plausible, but have not been proven, like clenliness, c-section births and avoidance of specific foods.
Best Food Facts asks readers what they think about the possibility of GM food labeling.
A Best Food Facts website reader tells us she NEVER eats food from cans (except beans and stewed tomatoes), because she believes "anything canned or processed is bad for you... and besides, canned food tastes horrible." An expert says there’s not a single best choice, but rather, multiple options for a healthy diet year round.
In the post, Hormones in Milk: Are They Causing Early Puberty in Girls, we wondered, what is causing early maturity in girls? Based on what Dr. Ann Macrina indicated, it could be any of several factors.
One of our readers, Dan, asked for clarification from Dr. Macrina: "Dr. Macrina indicated it could be any of several factors – better nourishment, higher body weight and some even suggest exposure to chemicals. Does Dr. Macrina mean chemicals like pesticides and herbicides?"
Food has gotten more and more expensive over the last several years and protein sources seem to be some of the fastest increasing items. Even one of the most affordable protein sources – eggs – has seen an increase in price. Along with the general increases across the board, there’s plenty of chatter regarding the price differences for eggs produced in different types of housing systems.
Following up on Dr. Oz's research finding arsenic in apple juice, Connie Diekman, RD, says she's not worried about the juice we have at home in our cupboards, but she would like to see more research and education about how juice should more appropriately fit into a healful eating plan. As we exit a holiday filled with positive stories and reasons to give thanks, we find one causing much concern - and reasonably so. As reported by several online sources, television shows, videos and bloggers, there are, once again, questions about arsenic in juice.
Some people are perpetually adding salt to their dishes, while others prefer to use other spices to enhance flavors. Do you think the government should get involved?
We received the following question from Kat:
"Many of the experts’ responses indicate that the responsibility for monitoring food safety and standards, including the effects of GM food and pesticides on human health and living conditions for animals, rests with government agencies such as the EPA, the FDA, and the USDA. Given the frequency of corporate executives in government positions, especially in the food and agriculture industries, how heavily are food policies and legislature influenced by corporate interests? To what extent is there a conflict of interest and how can we be sure that food policies and legislation are in the best interest of the consumer rather than the corporation?"
To answer the question, we engaged two experts - one with a focus on public policy and another with experience serving in Washington. Here are their responses:
The time to give thanks for all we have is here… as is the stress of preparing a meal with big expectations! Let’s hope we can all get through it without starting the turkey on fire or sending our guests away with food poisoning!
Best Food Facts recently received a question from Marie asking, “It seems there were more food contamination issues in the past few years than usual. Is the problem growing?”
We’ve seen it in the news, too – Listeria outbreaks in cantaloupe, Salmonella in chicken livers and E. coli in ground beef, to name a few. To answer Marie’s question, we contacted Dr. Julie Albrecht, from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, for some insight on foodborne illness.