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Healthy Diets are Less Expensive than Unhealthy Ones, Study Says

For those who think Twinkles and Pop Tarts are the cheaper way to go when it comes to a budget-friendly diet, think again. A new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that eating a diet consisting of healthier foods doesn’t necessarily cost more than one made up of mostly unhealthy foods.

Reason for the study was motivated in part by the perception that diets that align with the USDA dietary guidelines are not affordable; and that eating a diet higher in fat, sugar and processed foods is less expensive.

The study was led by a group of economists at the USDA, one of which was Andrea Carlson who helped analyze the cost of more than 4,400 foods. In their research, she and her colleagues considered each item by price per calories, price by edible gram, and price per average portion.
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Fourth Case of Mad Cow Disease Confirmed in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed a case of Mad Cow disease in a dairy cow in Fresno, California. The dead animal tested positive for the disease and experts are now completing an investigation to ensure no other cows have been infected. Thus far, no sign of the disease has been detected in the cow feed, which is a positive sign.

Mad Cow, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE – is a fatal disintegration of the brain and nervous system. Although it’s most commonly found in cows, it can also infect humans if they ingest the meat of a cow with the disease.

One such instance occurred in the U.K. close to 30 years ago, when nearly 200 hundred people were infected with the disease after an outbreak. One extreme case left one man blind, deaf and immobile from 2001 until his death in 2011.

More than 4.4 million cows were slaughtered in the 1980s to control this outbreak after close to 180,000 cows were found to have the disease.

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USDA Allows Beef Trimmings into Packaged Ground Beef and School Lunches

Would you like any pink slime in your hamburger, sir? I wouldn’t think so.

But the U.S. Department of Agriculture is allowing this suspicious substance into the packaged ground beef being served in school lunches across America, according to a recent article from The Daily.

Two former microbiologists for the Food Safety Inspection Service, Carl Custer and Gerald Zirnstein, believe they have reason to be concerned about this “pink slime.” Zirnstein discovered the pink matter in 2002 while touring a Beef Products Inc. production facility as part of a ground beef salmonella investigation.

So what is exactly is the stuff? BPI’s ‘Lean Beef Trimmings’ reportedly consist of connective tissue and beef scraps that are normally produced for dog food and rendering and are treated with ammonia hydroxide to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.
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USDA Adds Nutrition Labels to Raw Meat

March marks the start of nutrition labels for raw meat and poultry. The new USDA rule states that nutrition information must be made available for most ground meat and ground poultry and for popular cuts of the two.

Previously, the USDA only required nutrition labels on meat that had added ingredients like stuffing or a marinade sauce. Now, all ground meat and poultry must carry a label. Along with ground meat 40 popular cuts will also be required to post a label either on the product or on a nearby chart. Some of those cuts include beef porterhouse steaks, chicken breasts, and pork chops.

The labels will provide the calorie and fat content of the meat. If the product shows a percentage of lean meat, it must also include the percentage of fat.

The labels do not have to include amount of trans fat though. This is not a requirement as the USDA estimated that nearly 80 percent of all nutrition labels list trans fat voluntarily.

There is an exception to the new labeling rule. Small meat grinding businesses are exempt. As long as the business provides lean and fat content information and makes no other nutrition claims on the package, they do not have to provide the other content in a label.

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School Denies Student Right to Eat Lunch From Home

A four year old student in North Carolina was not allowed to eat the lunch her mother packed for her. Apparently her lunch was taken away from her because school officials claimed it was not healthy enough to eat based off of the USDA guidelines.

The young child brought a home-packed lunch to school containing a turkey sandwich, banana, potato chips, and an apple juice. A lunch inspector told the child she wasn’t allowed to eat it and provided her with a USDA-approved lunch. The approved lunches meet the USDA guidelines that require one serving of meat, one serving of grains, and two servings of fruit or vegetables. The uneaten lunch was returned home with the child. Inside, the girl’s mother found a note explaining that the lunch didn’t meet guidelines and a bill for $1.25, the cost of the school lunch.

The child’s mother took action. She anonymously wrote her local paper and called a state representative. The North Carolina rep contacted the school regarding the issue and the school issued an apology. The child’s lunch was deemed acceptable after a second review.


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