Given that the vast majority of us are entrusting someone else to grow/raise our food, it's common to want to know who is producing it and what methods are used to ensure it is being done in a manner that meets our preferences. Based on an inquiry from http://www.fooddialogues.com/, we sought out the help of Dr. Dan Thomson, Kansas State University, and Dr. Peter Davies, University of Minnesota, to better understand how farmers care for their animals. In a nutshell, we learned that what matters most isn't the size of the farm, but the management practices that farmers use, to ensure good animal care.
At the beginning of 2012, the world population exceeded 7 billion people and is projected to increase to over 9 billion people by 2050. That means, to feed this fast-growing population, we need to figure out how to double our food production in the 38 years that remain between now and then. Thinking a bit more specific, and looking just at the United States' ability to produce food for U.S. residents, we received a question from http://www.fooddialogues.com/ and enlisted Dr. Tom Tomich from the University of California, Davis.
On April 24, 2012, a new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) - better known as "mad cow disease" - was confirmed. The animal infected was a dairy cow in central California. Here are the details you need to know to stay safe.
A recent blog post from Food & Water Watch in the The Huffington Post raised concerns about genetically-engineered (GE) sweet corn. Previously, we posted information from experts regarding the effect of GE foods on human health. We asked those experts to weigh in on the GE sweet corn issue.
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.
Recently, Best Food Facts received a question from Maddee asking, "What is the hormone level (estrogen) in beef compared to that of other animal protein products? With that, how does an animal that has been implanted with synthetic hormones (estrogen) excrete those hormones?”
To answer Maddee's question, Best Food Facts contacted Dr. Ann Macrina from Penn State.
When asked whether there is a correlation between the size of a farm and whether it sustainably produces food, food experts say it all comes down to management.
We received this inquiry from Best Food Facts reader Kathleen:
“Can anything be done on how we raise our chickens? The breasts are huge. Way too big. Then they put some solution in them which leaks out white goo while they’re cooking. On top, they have no taste. We can’t afford to buy Bell and Evens. There’s got to be a better way.”
With all the buzz over questions about whether antibiotics fed to animals raised for food cause human antibiotic resistance, it seems apparent that this issue is at the forefront of consumer concerns. As well, we received the questions, “Why are antibiotics fed to livestock inside CAFOs or feedlots? Is this dangerous to humans?” from http://www.fooddialogues.com/. To address the topic, and as a follow up to our previous posts on the subject, we asked experts Dr. Peter Davies and Dr. H. Scott Hurd to respond.
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.
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.
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.
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.