Archive for the ‘food and agriculture’ Category

Menu Labeling Imparts New Information About the Calorie Content of Restaurant Foods

January 19, 2015 Comments off

Menu Labeling Imparts New Information About the Calorie Content of Restaurant Foods
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

Menus with calorie information allow U.S. consumers to fine-tune their food choices at restaurants, even consumers with a substantial level of nutrition knowledge.

Regulation of Grain Sales & Storage

January 15, 2015 Comments off

Regulation of Grain Sales & Storage
Source: National Agricultural Law Center

As a result of several recent elevator and grain dealer failures in the United States, the National Agricultural Law Center has begun a project to outline and digitize the state requirements for those entities to operate. Requirements are very different from state to state, ranging from no regulation at all to very significant regulation, including licensing, bonding, statutory liens, and civil and criminal sanctions.

This project involves the regulations set up to address both warehouses and grain dealers. Warehouses are involved in the storage of grain. Typically, ownership is maintained by the grower, rather than being transferred to the warehouse. Warehouses are regulated by either state or federal government, depending on the entity with whom the warehouse is licensed. To read more about warehouse licensing on the federal level, click here. On the other hand, a grain dealer is a person or entity involved in buying, receiving or exchanging grain from the grower. Typically, an interaction with a grain dealer requires a transfer of ownership (title) to that dealer. Largely, regulation of grain dealers has occurred on the state level, and varies significantly from place to place.

The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with easy and free access to a state’s statutory language by simply clicking on the link in the chart below. It may be useful for producers interested in learning more about protections in place that ensure payment for their crop, to individuals who wish to learn more about getting into the business of grain dealing, and to policy makers deciding what, if any, changes should be made to their state laws.

Approximately 1 Million Unemployed Childless Adults Will Lose SNAP Benefits in 2016 as State Waivers Expire

January 12, 2015 Comments off

Approximately 1 Million Unemployed Childless Adults Will Lose SNAP Benefits in 2016 as State Waivers Expire
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Roughly 1 million of the nation’s poorest people will be cut off SNAP (formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) over the course of 2016, due to the return in many areas of a three-month limit on SNAP benefits for unemployed adults aged 18-50 who aren’t disabled or raising minor children. These individuals will lose their food assistance benefits after three months regardless of how hard they are looking for work.

One of the harshest pieces of the 1996 welfare law, this provision limits such individuals to three months of SNAP benefits in any 36-month period when they aren’t employed or in a work or training program for at least 20 hours a week. Even SNAP recipients whose state operates few or no employment programs for them and fails to offer them a spot in a work or training program — which is the case in most states — have their benefits cut off after three months irrespective of whether they are searching diligently for a job. Because this provision denies basic food assistance to people who want to work and will accept any job or work program slot offered, it is effectively a severe time limit rather than a work requirement, as such requirements are commonly understood. Work requirements in public assistance programs typically require people to look for work and accept any job or employment program slot that is offered but do not cut off people who are willing to work and looking for a job simply because they can’t find one.

The loss of this food assistance, which averages approximately $150 to $200 per person per month for this group, will likely cause serious hardship among many. Agriculture Department (USDA) data show that the individuals subject to the three-month limit have average monthly income of approximately 19 percent of the poverty line, and they typically qualify for no other income support.

The indigent individuals at risk are diverse. About 40 percent are women. Close to one-third are over age 40. Among those who report their race, about half are white, a third are African American, and a tenth are Hispanic. Half have only a high school diploma or GED. They live in all areas of the country, and among those for whom data on metropolitan status are available, about 40 percent live in urban areas, 40 percent in suburban areas, and 20 percent in rural areas.

New survey reveals shockingly high levels of salt in pizza both in UK and worldwide

January 12, 2015 Comments off

New survey reveals shockingly high levels of salt in pizza both in UK and worldwide
Source: World Action on Salt & Health

  • Half of all UK pizzas surveyed contain more salt per pizza than the UK daily maximum of 6g
  • Five pizzas were found to contain 16g salt – the equivalent of 7 Big Macs!
  • Some countries are being fed TWICE as much salt from the same pizza as in other countries
  • Many pizzas now have MORE salt than they did 2 years ago

New Year’s Res-Illusions: Food Shopping in the New Year Competes with Healthy Intentions

January 8, 2015 Comments off

New Year’s Res-Illusions: Food Shopping in the New Year Competes with Healthy Intentions
Source: PLoS ONE

How do the holidays – and the possible New Year’s resolutions that follow – influence a household’s purchase patterns of healthier foods versus less healthy foods? This has important implications for both holiday food shopping and post-holiday shopping.

207 households were recruited to participate in a randomized-controlled trial conducted at two regional-grocery chain locations in upstate New York. Item-level transaction records were tracked over a seven-month period (July 2010 to March 2011). The cooperating grocer’s proprietary nutrient-rating system was used to designate “healthy,” and “less healthy” items. Calorie data were extracted from online nutritional databases. Expenditures and calories purchased for the holiday period (Thanksgiving-New Year’s), and the post-holiday period (New Year’s-March), were compared to baseline (July-Thanksgiving) amounts.

During the holiday season, household food expenditures increased 15% compared to baseline ($105.74 to $121.83; p<0.001), with 75% of additional expenditures accounted for by less-healthy items. Consistent with what one would expect from New Year’s resolutions, sales of healthy foods increased 29.4% ($13.24/week) after the holiday season compared to baseline, and 18.9% ($9.26/week) compared to the holiday period. Unfortunately, sales of less-healthy foods remained at holiday levels ($72.85/week holiday period vs. $72.52/week post-holiday). Calories purchased each week increased 9.3% (450 calories per serving/week) after the New Year compared to the holiday period, and increased 20.2% (890 calories per serving/week) compared to baseline.

Despite resolutions to eat more healthfully after New Year’s, consumers may adjust to a new “status quo” of increased less-healthy food purchasing during the holidays, and dubiously fulfill their New Year’s resolutions by spending more on healthy foods. Encouraging consumers to substitute healthy items for less-healthy items may be one way for practitioners and public health officials to help consumers fulfill New Year’s resolutions, and reverse holiday weight gain.

Nut Consumption Among U.S. Adults, 2009–2010

January 7, 2015 Comments off

Nut Consumption Among U.S. Adults, 2009–2010
Source: National Center for Health Statistics

Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010

  • Almost 40% (38.2%) of adults consumed nuts on a given day.
  • More non-Hispanic white (43.6%) than non-Hispanic black (23.7%) or Hispanic (25.5%) adults consumed nuts.
  • Approximately 80% of nuts consumed (84.0% by men and 79.7% by women) were nuts or seeds as single-item foods or nut butters.

UK — Nutrition legislation information sources

January 5, 2015 Comments off

Nutrition legislation information sources
Source: Department of Health

The information note covers:

  • general food labelling on food and drinks
  • food supplements
  • fortified foods (i.e. foods which have extra vitamins or minerals added)
  • nutrition and health claims
  • foods known as ‘parnuts’ foods (i.e. infant formula, follow-on formula, medical foods, baby foods, slimming foods and gluten-free foods)

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