Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disney Eggs?

Well, they aren't duck eggs, but I am sure that Donald would be saddened to see the way his relatives were treated in the "farm fresh" CAFO. Since when do we need Disney characters to sell food? Oh, since the industry realized it WORKS. Another reason why the food culture in this country is a mess. How confusing for children. I like what Marion Nestle says: Kid's food is suppose to be the same as adult food, with maybe smaller portions. Kids don't need special shapes, colors and cartoons to eat. They need to know their natural hunger cues.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

FDA Approves Salmonella

Leave it to the Onion to make me spit my coffee out this morning.
"Rigorous testing has shown that salmonella is...fine," FDA director of
food safety Stephen Sundlof said. "In fact, our research indicates that there's
no need to pull any more foodstuffs from the market. Not raw chicken. Not
contaminated spinach. Not thousands of jars of harmful peanut butter. Not
Check out the whole article here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pesticide Guide

The Environmental Working Group has release a new guide to 12 foods that contain the most and least pesticides. If you are going to buy organic, these are the ones. From there website:

What's the Difference?

An EWG simulation of thousands of consumers eating high and low pesticide diets shows that people can lower their pesticide exposure by almost 80 percent by avoiding the top twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated instead. Eating the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables will expose a person to about 10 pesticides per day, on average. Eating the 15 least contaminated will expose a person to less than 2 pesticides per day. Less dramatic comparisons will produce less dramatic reductions, but without doubt using the Guide provides people with a way to make choices that lower pesticide exposure in the diet.

Most Contaminated: THE DIRTY DOZEN

Consistent with two previous EWG investigations, fruits topped the list of the consistently most contaminated fruits and vegetables, with seven of the 12 most contaminated foods. The seven were peaches leading the list, then apples, nectarines and strawberries, cherries, and imported grapes, and pears. Among these seven fruits:

  • Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (97.3 percent), followed by peaches (96.7 percent) and apples (94.1 percent).
  • Peaches had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single sample - 87.0 percent had two or more pesticide residues — followed by nectarines (85.3 percent) and apples (82.3 percent).
  • Peaches and apples had the most pesticides detected on a single sample, with nine pesticides on a single sample, followed by strawberries and imported grapes where eight pesticides were found on a single sample of each fruit.
  • Peaches had the most pesticides overall, with some combination of up to 53 pesticides found on the samples tested, followed by apples with 50 pesticides and strawberries with 38.

Sweet bell peppers, celery, kale, lettuce, and carrots are the vegetables most likely to expose consumers to pesticides. Among these five vegetables:

  • Celery had the highest of percentage of samples test positive for pesticides (94.1 percent), followed by sweet bell peppers (81.5 percent) and carrots (82.3 percent).
  • Celery also had the highest likelihood of multiple pesticides on a single vegetable (79.8 percent of samples), followed by sweet bell peppers (62.2 percent) and kale (53.1 percent).
  • Sweet bell peppers had the most pesticides detected on a single sample (11 found on one sample), followed by kale (10 found on one sample), then lettuce and celery (both with nine).
  • Sweet bell peppers were the vegetable with the most pesticides overall, with 64, followed by lettuce with 57 and carrots with 40.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blue Planet Film Festival

The first annual Blue Planet Film Festival will be held at 6:00 PM on Friday March 27th, 2009 at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston, MA.

Co-hosted by the Friedman School and the interdisciplinary Water Science, Systems and Society Program of Tufts University, the festival will include a free viewing of a feature length film, short, and question and answer panel of experts. This should be an excellent networking opportunity.

The festival features the film Flow directed by Irena Salina and the short Drop of Life directed by Shalini Kantayya. Both works examine the threat of water shortages and the growing tension between water rights and the privatization of water. Water rights issues have widespread consequences. As Vice President Ismail Serageldin of the World Bank once famously stated, “The next world war will be over water.”

“The festival is an opportunity for students to learn about threats to ensuring water as a human right and positive action they can be a part of,” states organizer and Friedman student Ashley Colpaart.

Date: March 27th 2009
Time: 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Price: Free
Location: Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy 150 Harrison Ave Boston, MA.

Light snacks will be served.

Dietitians working in food policy, the new frontier

In conjunction with Registered Dietitian (RD) Day, U.S. Food Policy is participating in an RD Blog Fest on behalf of National Nutrition Month. Check back periodically as other dietitian’s blogs will be linked throughout the day.

As a RD mastering in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, I see now more then ever as the time for RD’s to fully embrace the world of policy as an agent for change. A short trip down memory lane shows us the causal story of how our food system and societal health got where it is today, all through policy. As the ‘food and nutrition professionals,’ it is imperative that dietitians understand how food is grown, why certain foods are grown, and how these policies are contributing to the very disease we are attempting to rebuke.

In 1973, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz, encouraged farmers to "get big or get out," as he urged farmers to plant commodity crops like corn "from fencerow to fencerow." These policy shifts coincided with the rise of major agribusiness corporations, and the declining financial stability of the small family farm. Evidence shows that while the present capital and technology-intensive farming systems are productive and able to produce cheap food, they also bring a variety of economic, environmental, and social problems.

Industrial farms are subsidized by commodity payments (your tax money) and are contributing to environmental degradation through: bi-cropping (corn and soy), heavy use of pesticides, inefficient use of increasingly scarce water, depletion and erosion of soil, difficulty recycling nutrients and destruction of biodiversity. Recent research has also shown a decrease in nutrient values in fruits and vegetables over the last 30 years. This alone is great reason for RD’s to be the leading soil advocates.

What is infuriating is that the food that is being subsidized and grown throughout the Midwest is not really food at all, in that it is not fit for human consumption. It is an input and it must be processed, which leads us another problem: processed food. Almost every product you find in the center aisles of the grocery store is made from corn and soy. From steaks to chicken nuggets, condiments, juices, frozen entrees, pastries, etc., are ultimately derived from corn, either as high fructose corn syrup or from the corn-based animal feed that is being fed to animals. The animals confined to the industrial food system are also not supposed to eat this corn. Cows are ruminant animals and are suppose to eat grass. This is like trying to make a patient with Celiac’s Disease eat a diet of wheat gluten. The cows, like the patient would, get sick with a condition called acidosis which causes one of their four stomachs to inflate, ultimately causing suffocation. To combat this problem, the industrialized food system provides animals living in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations) with a low dose of antibiotics. Presently, 80% of the antibiotics in the US are used non-therapeutically in animals being grown for consumption.

Those working in the community and clinical dietetics and with at-risk populations see the ramifications of these policies every day. The American people, especially low-income populations, are sick. Both corn-fed beef and high-fructose corn syrup contribute to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Those working on obesity know that behavior change alone is not working. Patients are stricken by a federal policy that makes cheap food possible. While American’s spend a smaller fraction of their budget (about 11%) on food compared to any other industrialized nation, the cheap food is catching up to us on the other end: our health care costs, or what I call, “sick care.” Another issue for those working in the area of hunger and food security is our dependency on petroleum inputs to grow food.

With a new administration and a new secretary of agriculture, now is a great time for RD’s to join in the political process that is entrenched in our food. In order for your representatives to begin to change these archaic policies, they must first know that there is political will. Dietitian’s can be the story-tellers and the educators for their policy makers, communities and clients. As the nation's food and nutrition experts, registered dietitians are committed to improving the health of their patients and community. Registered Dietitian Day commemorates the dedication of RDs as advocates for advancing the nutritional status of Americans and people around the world. There is no better place to an RD to start, then in policy.

What could an RD do to learn more?
Here are some other posts by fellow RD's--

Beyond Prenatals - Food vs. Supplements and Real Advice vs. Fake Advice
Annette Colby - No More Diets! A Registered Dietitian Shares 9 Secrets to Real and Lasting Weight Loss
Diana Dyer - There and Back Again: Celebration of National Dietitian Day 2009
Marjorie Geiser - RD Showcase for National Registered Dietitian Day - What we do
Cheryl Harris - Me, a Gluten Free RD!
Marilyn Jess - National Registered Dietitian Day--RD Blogfest
Julie Lanford - Antioxidants for Cancer Prevention
Renata Mangrum - What I'm doing as I grow up...
Liz Marr - Fruits and Veggies for Registered Dietian Day: Two Poems
Meal Makeover Moms' Kitchen - Family Nutrition ... It's our "Beat"
Jill Nussinow - The Registered Dietitian Lens I Look Through
Wendy Jo Petersen - March 11 is our day to shine!
Diane Preves - Registered Dietitians and the White House Forum on Health Reform
Andy Sarjahani - Dr. Seuss Tribute continued: Green Eggs and Ham and a Sustainable Food System
Rebecca Scritchfield - Big Tips from a "Big Loser"
Anthony Sepe - RD Showcase: Registered Dietitian Day, March 11, 2009
Kathy Shattler - RD Showcase for Nutri-Care Consultation
UNL-Extension, Douglas/Sarpy County - Nutrition Know How - Making Your Life Easier
Monika Woolsey - Dietitians--Can't Do PCOS Without Them!
Monika Woolsey - In Honor of National Registered Dietitian Day
Jen Zingaro - My life as a Registered Dietitian

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Future of Food and Nutrition - Graduate Student Research Conference

Register today to receive the $25 rate for the Tuft's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy's Future of Food and Nutrition Student Research Conference. The conference will be held Saturday, March 28, from 9am-5pm at the Jaharis Building in downtown Boston.

Click here to register. Registration includes admission to all conference sessions, breakfast, lunch, and coffee breaks.

The conference will feature oral and poster presentations from 35 students – including several Tufts students - doing research in the fields of food policy, public health, agriculture, nutrition, and anthropology. Click here full event schedule.

In addition, the conference will culminate with an exciting expert panel discussion entitled "New Approaches to Feeding the World," moderated by our own Parke Wilde and featuring:

Mark Winne- Mark currently writes, speaks, and consults extensively on community food system topics including hunger and food insecurity, local and regional agriculture, community food assessment, and food policy. He also does policy communication and food policy council work for the Community Food Security Coalition. His first book "Closing the Food Gap — Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty", published by Beacon Press, will be available for purchase at the event.

Susan Roberts- As a consultant, writer and speaker on food systems Ms. Roberts takes scientific information and translates it into policy applications linking public health, food, agriculture and food security. Recently Ms. Roberts directed the WK Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Policy Fellows Program where national fellows used media to influence food systems, agriculture and health thinking and policy.

Robert Paarlberg- His latest book, titled "Starved for Science: How Biotechnology is Being Kept Out of Africa," was published by Harvard University Press in March 2008. He is currently senior consultant to a Chicago Council on Global Affairs bipartisan study group on the future of U.S. agricultural development assistance policy. He has published books on agricultural trade and U.S. foreign policy, on international agricultural trade negotiations, on environmentally sustainable farming in developing countries, on U.S. foreign economic policy, on the reform of U.S. agricultural policy, and on policies toward genetically modified crops in developing countries.

We hope to see you there!

The Future of Food and Nutrition Steering Committee

Monday, March 2, 2009

The aquaduct, a clean water solution

"What have the Roman's ever done for us?" "The aquaduct." "Oh right" -Monty Python- Live of Brian

Here is a creative way to solve a very serious drinking water problem:

Revisiting The Lorax: a tribute to Dr. Seuss

Theodore Seuss Geisel, pen name 'Dr. Seuss,' was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield Massachusetts which would make today his 105th birthday. While I enjoyed many of his 60 published children's books as a child, (Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish), it was not until I was older that I truly appreciated the charm of Dr. Seuss.

In 1971, Dr. Seuss wrote the infamous children's classic The Lorax, that according to Wikipedia:
"chronicles the plight of the environment and the Lorax (a mossy, bossy man-like creature), who speaks for the trees against the greedy Once-ler (industry)."
The tale is a major environmental fable that speaks of the destruction of the environment through the eyes of the Lorax, who is the protector of the Truffula trees. The Lorax watches on in sadness as his home and habitat get destroyed by an industrial business. As the business continues to pillage the environment, killing the plants and animals and leaving a polluted wasteland, the Once-ler comes to his senses, realizing his gaffe. Once-ler is now at the mercy of the Lorax to restore the beauty and sustainability to the land by replanting the last-ever Truffula seed.

This theme is ever so common in our world today as we are realizing the limitations of extracting limited resources with no consideration for the future or respect to the inner workings of the natural world. It was also a markable theme in the book Dust Bowl, The Southern Plains in the 1930s by Donald Worster, who argued that the enemy at work is rampant, unfettered capitalism. As industry has taken heed to the trend of sustainability, will they truly take environmental factors into consideration at the expense of their bottom line? Or will strong advertising and marketing campaigns be able to continue pull the wool over the eyes of the consumer in what is now termed 'green washing.'

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss and admirable salute to your works. Maybe we can celebrate with a movie viewing and some green eggs and ham. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

“And the turtles, of course... All the turtles are free- As turtles and, maybe, all creatures should be.”