As the year winds down, we'd like to thank all of our readers for taking time to learn more about our food system. We appreciate your comments and questions! We'd also like to thank our food system experts for providing their thoughts and expertise throughout the year.
As you make efforts to use up those holiday leftovers and prepare dishes like this low-fat turkey and veggie bake
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.
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?"
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.
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.
Dr. Dennis Savaiano discusses foods to help with lactose intolerance.
An index of posts, a table of contents, listing the posts for the Best Food Facts GMO series.
Dr. Nancy Keim discusses the difference between fructose and sucrose.
Blog post from Dr. Ruth MacDonald about using leftover vegetables and onions.
When new research says, “93 percent of pregnant women and 80 percent of their umbilical cord blood samples contained a pesticide implanted in GMO corn,” it’s no wonder there’s concern - especially from moms. An expert reacts.