Tag Archives: food industry

Chicken Nuggets: Made From Pink Goo

Have you ever seen one of those dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and wondered, how do they do that? I personally imagined some kind of cookie-cutter shaped blade on a big machine.

Wrong. Apparently, this is what chicken nuggets look like before they’re cooked. The chicken is mechanically separated and de-boned, then the remaining meat is ground-down into this unappetizing paste. According to Michael Kindt, the goop is then disinfected, re-flavored and bleached back to the whitish color we all associate with cooked chicken breast. And of course, shaped along the way.

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Baby Carrots Getting Junk Food Marketing Makeover

UPDATE 10/14/10: To date, this campaign, which challenges the establishment’s dominance over snacking culture, has been a wild success. Now carrot farmers are looking to add to the success this Halloween by creating “Scarrots”. Scarrots are 1.7 ounce single-serve bags of baby carrots, offered in a master bag containing 25 servings in 3 unique designs.  Also included is a sealed pouch containing 25 temporary glow-in-the-dark tattoos of masquerading baby carrot characters. 

If you are a food company that sells baby carrots, how do you get kids interested in your healthy product, when what they really want are those Fruit Roll-Ups, or some other snack with a flashy cartoon character and brightly colored logos?

As they say, if you can’t beat ’em join ’em.

It’s back-to-school time, so there’s no better time than now to make a bold move to be the choice snack for kids’ brown bag lunches. So, basically the entire baby carrot industry is making radical changes to their presentation, mimicking the junk food packaging that is so successful. (more…)

What You Should Know about Interesterified Fat

Now that Americans, food manufacturers and restaurant chains have made trans-fats part of their every day vernacular and a daily avoidance in their diets, enter a new unhealthy fat also found in processed foods: Interesterified fat.

A bit more difficult to pronounce than “trans fatty acids,” but equally dangerous, interesterified fats are liquid oils, rather than a semi-solid fat, like the now taboo, trans fats.

To get a jump on this new addition to the health dictionary, read on to learn where this additive may be lurking in your kitchen and how it might be hurting your health.

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FDA’s Reportable Food Registry Helps Protect Consumers

FDA Site Help Protect ConsumersIn 2007, several major outbreaks of food-borne illness prompted the FDA to come up with a new strategy for intercepting contaminated foods. In an effort to step up food safety surveillance, the agency developed a website where potentially hazardous foods could be immediately reported. The Reportable Food Registry site launched in September of 2009, requiring manufacturers, processors, packers and distributors to report any contaminated food, animal feed and per food that could pose a health threat.

Although it is too soon to compare the effectiveness of the site to prior years, the site appears to have positive results. Between the site’s launch in 2009 and March 2010, 125 reports were filed by both domestic and foreign sources. Once report resulted in the recall of hydrolyzed vegetable protein that had been contaminated with salmonella. The product is a flavor enhancer that is used in hundreds of foods like dressings and dips. The recall prevented any incidents of illness.
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Food Companies Fight to Advertise to Children

A food-labeling campaign began last year called Smart Choices, backed by most of the largest food manufacturers in the U.S., was “designed to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.” This included the campaign’s “check mark of approval” on food packages.

The problem is, some of the food held up as “healthy choices” include sugary cereals like Fruit Loops and frozen fried dinners.

But there’s an effort afoot among government agencies to create tougher advertising standards for what foods can be marketed to kids. Last year, Congress ordered the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  to recommend standards for children’s food advertising.

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Start the Week with Meatless Monday

Farmers marketMany times when I was asked why I became a vegetarian, or pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish), my answer was twofold. One of the first reasons was due to the treatment of animals, which in a recent film I watched were actually termed “animal cities” and that term was not meant as one of endearment. The quality of life our animals have, from cows to chickens to pigs, is horrendous. Whether being kept in pens or tight quarters where slight movements are difficult or never seeing sunlight, I could not fathom taking part in allowing this to continue so I stopped giving those stock yards and farmers my money. (more…)

New Film PLANEAT Shows How the Way We Eat Affects Us and Planet

In the past few years, we have seen a rise in the number of films and documentaries highlighting how our current food industrial practices are not just taking years off our lives but perhaps off the planet’s also. Films like Fast Food Nation, Fresh, and Food Inc., are just a few recent notables in what appears to be a growing trend among filmmakers, activists, scientists, journalists and farmers to urge Westerners to become more mindful about our food choices and more proactive in demanding safer and healthier food.

The new film by British filmmakers, PLANEAT: How to Feed a Planet, is an eye-opening look into how our love of meat and dairy is taking its toll on our health, environment and the planet.

Here is clip from PLANEAT.

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6 Ways to Stay Healthy at the Airport

airplaneI thought travel season was pretty much over, now that school is back in session, but as we drove behind school buses on our way to the airport this morning, the friend who is driving my car home said that he was taking three other friends to the airport this week. My friends that travel for business seem to be booked for weeks. Even those with children in school have Labor Day weekend, fall break, and Thanksgiving for which they can plan. As I write this from above 10,000 feet, I thought it would be a great time to share some healthy airline travel tips.

  • Walk instead of taking the moving sidewalk. Or for a really great workout, cut your time short and sprint to your gate with all your luggage. Trust me, that is a workout!
  • Pack your own healthy snacks and pass on the salted peanuts and spiced cookies. A small baggie of trail mix can easily fit in a carry on. The airline will provide water (or coffee if you had to get up as early as I did). Do not give in to the bright colors and temptations of McDonald’s, Cinnabon, or Starbucks at every gate. (more…)

We are Still Hungry for Change with Food Inc.

In a June blog article written by Heather Ashare, our Yoga expert and daily contributor to DietsinReview.com, she wrote about Food Inc., a film that took a hard look at food production and consumption in the U.S. I wanted to share some interesting facts I learned from seeing the movie in no particular order, but all equally astounding to me:hungry for change logo

  • On average our food travels 1,500 miles from the farm to our plate
  • Because of the long distances that food travels, we no longer eat with the seasons and therefore eat produce that does not provide our bodies with all their nutritional benefits
  • Grocery stores now boast over 47,000 products to choose from – most of which can sit on shelves for weeks or even months (more…)

Food Inc. is Hungry For Change

Food Inc. is the just-released movie, by director Robert Kenner, unveiling the dark and dirty underbelly of our food industry. As the movie’s byline suggests, “you’ll never look at dinner the same way.”

Photo courtesy of Food Inc

The documentary-style feature shows how the majority of the food we consume is controlled in the hands of just a few giant food manufacturers whose sometimes deplorable and shocking processing practices have not only been hidden from the American consumer but have had the consent of the government’s two food regulatory bodies, the FDA and USDA.

The movie, which features interviews with In Defense of Food author Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser of Fast Food Nation, is more than just a jaw-dropping expose that graphically shows our food travels from farm (or machine) to fork, but it also motivates all of us to think twice before we order a hot dog at the baseball stadium, grab a box of sugar corn popped cereal or select a few tomatoes from our mass grocer for a summer salad. (more…)