We oftentimes get questions about the funding source of research cited, or whether the researchers within Universities are "paid for" by private companies. Here, Peggy Lemaux, PhD, from the University of California at Berkeley, weighs in on how university scientists receive funding and what that means for the results.
Just like snopes, our experts sort truth from fiction on all things food.
Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.
Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.
Research shows larger farms use more comprehensive manure management practices than smaller farms. Larger farms must comply with stricter regulations than smaller farms and are often more able to employ people or hire consultants who specialize in manure management issues.
Research suggests that large farms as a group may practice better manure management than smaller farms as a whole.
An abundance of confusion has complicated the use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) since it was introduced as an industrial sweetener - a substitute for sugar - in the 1960s. Some of the controversy derives from the dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. (and in the rest of the world). The simultaneous occurrence of these two events is striking and it is tempting to relate one to the other.
Despite its name, HFCS is the equivalent of table sugar, nutritionally, chemically and functionally. It does not have significantly high fructose content if you compare it to sucrose, which is what it replaces in so many of the foods we eat. There are no differences in comparing sugar and HFCS in their impact on appetite or on levels of blood sugar, insulin or on a variety of metabolic measurements or hunger signaling hormones.
The realization that obesity is increasing with equivalent rapidity in many parts of the world in which HFCS is not commercially available further undermines the argument that HFCS is a cause of obesity.
HFCS lowers the cost of sweetening foods and producing certain kinds of foods and beverages. With lower costs we have increased consumption. HFCS is not the culprit, no more than sugar, but it is an innocent participant in the complex process of manufacturing and selling food.
There is no dispute that weight management mandates decreasing the consumption of high calorie foods. Nevertheless, there is no metabolic, nutritional or chemical reason to assign unique responsibility to HFCS. For weight management, it's every bit as bad as sugar, but not worse.
True? Or Not? "Food from organic and free-range farm animals is safer than animals raised in modern confinement buildings."
The popularity of organic and other niche-market products has increased in recent years primarily boosted by consumer perceptions that they are healthier and of higher quality. There is limited scientific data to support or refute the safety of such products.
Studies have found that pathogen prevalence is actually higher in niche market/ free range antibiotic-free farm animal production systems compared to conventional confinement operations.
For example, a nationwide survey showed that conventionally-labeled milk had the lowest bacterial counts compared to organic systems. A pork-related study found significantly higher prevalence of Salmonella and other pathogens in free-range pigs compared to those raised in confinement systems.
One reason prompting the move to raising certain farm animals indoors beginning a half-century ago was control of pathogens – diseases from parasites in particular. A return to outdoor systems may contribute to reemergence of parasitic pathogens, some of which have been effectively eliminated from food animals.
When the National Pig Association of the United Kingdom sent out a press release warning of a worldwide pork and bacon shortages in an effort to prepare consumers in the UK for higher pork prices, the story spread quickly on social media in the U.S. prompting dramatic media reports of an impending bacon shortage.
Many advocates argue that US Department of Agriculture (USDA) policies that establish farm prices for crops, provide subsidies to farmers and provide consumers with access to an abundant and affordable food supply are responsible for the increasing number of adults and children facing the challenges of obesity and diabetes. However, Julian M. Alston, with the University of California-Davis Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, says his research shows that eliminating farm subsidies would do little to change obesity rates, noting that consumers do not necessarily change food purchase patterns based on cost and that advances in technology and efficiencies on the farm have more to do with the low cost of today’s food than USDA policies and programs.