Many of you have seen it: the so-called "pink slime" video where food celebrity Jamie Oliver seeks to demonstrate to children how chicken nuggets are made.
Researchers have been looking at the food safety implications of different hen housing methods, but research is underway in the United States. Researcher Dr. Deana Jones is studying the potential for food safety issues based on hens in different housing systems, and Dr. Jeroen Dewulf, a researcher in Europe, pointed out the vast differences in European egg production compared with United States egg production, and that the European research should be used cautiously to predict food safety in eggs in the U.S.
When it comes to sodium, Best Food Facts experts agree: we need to pay attention to sodium levels in the foods we eat. To decrease sodium consumption, experts encourage choosing foods closest to their natural state and checking labels for foods with less sodium.
Best Food Facts recently received a reader question from Margie asking, "Why is carrageenan added to so many dairy foods? My daughter is allergic."
To answer the question, we reached out to Dr. Roger Clemens, Adjunct Professor, Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences, USC School of Pharmacy.
We received the following inquiry from DeLyla regarding the white film on carrots:
"What is the scoop regarding baby carrots made from deformed carrots and then added bleach to them? Then, after a few days in your refrigerator the carrots get a white film on them? Is this chlorine and is it safe or does this cause health issues and or cancer?"
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.