Merriam-Webster defines technology as, "A manner of accomplishing a task especially using processes, methods, or knowledge." We're used to technology with the latest mobile phones, music players and cars, for example, but what about technology in food production? We received a question from www.FoodDialogues.com asking about technology in food.
In gathering facts from our food experts, we've come upon some interesting ones that may surprise you.
Should sugar be regulated?
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.
Wanting understand the issues with school lunches, we went straight to a top U.S. "lunch lady." Joni Davis won a Bronze Award at a White House reception hosted by First Lady, Michelle Obama, as part the USDA’s Healthier U.S. School Challenge. We talked with Joni to get her thoughts on the importance of providing healthful diets for our school children.
Some say eight 8-ounce glasses is the ideal amount of water to drink each day. What's your norm?
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.
We’ve been seeing some recent articles touting pickle juice as an aid to reduce muscle cramping. And companies are marketing the juice as a sports drink. To determine whether pickle juice packs this kind of a punch, we asked nationally renowned expert on nutrition and fitness Dr. Liz Applegate, Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of California-Davis, to weigh in on the topic.
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.
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.
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.
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.