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Vending Contradictions: Snack and Beverage Options on Public Property

December 10, 2014 Comments off

Vending Contradictions: Snack and Beverage Options on Public Property (PDF)
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

Obesity and poor nutrition are contributing to high rates of heart disease, diabetes, and other diet‐related chronic diseases, which diminish Americans’ quality of life and increase healthcare costs. The foods and beverages that are available in our surroundings have a strong influence on what and how much people eat. Unfortunately, many of the foods available in our daily food environments are unhealthy.

As a way to make sure that healthier options are available in vending machines on public property, many states and localities are starting to ensure a certain percentage of food and beverage options meet nutrition standards (sometimes referred to as food service guidelines or procurement policies). Increasing access to healthier options helps to create more supportive food environments for government employees, visitors to public property, and participants in government‐sponsored programs. Though many states, counties, and cities are considering healthy vending policies, the majority do not yet have policies in place.

This study revealed that vending machines on state and local property are stocked primarily with unhealthy products. Fifty‐eight percent of beverages were sugar‐sweetened beverages. Of the 42% that were “healthier” options: 16% were water, 23% were low‐calorie beverages, and 3% were 100% juice. Vended food offerings were overwhelmingly unhealthy. Candy (32%) was the most prevalent item in food vending machines on public property, followed by chips (24%) and sweet baked goods (15%). These three items together represented over 80% of the products available in food vending machines on public property. Only 5% of vended foods were healthy options, such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts.

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Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0: How the United States can learn from the practices and innovations in other countries

November 13, 2014 Comments off

Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0: How the United States can learn from the practices and innovations in other countries
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts/Center for Science in the Public Interest

This food safety report, written by Pew and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), highlights the need to modernize the meat and poultry inspection system in the United States to better protect consumers from the health risks posed by contaminated food.

Salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne bacteria and viruses are nearly impossible to detect with the naked eye. Yet U.S. inspections still rely on methods developed a century ago, primarily visual examination of animals and carcasses.

Meat and Poultry Inspection 2.0 looks at the practices used by five countries and the European Union to better address the microscopic hazards that pose the greatest risks to public health. Pew and CSPI recommend that the United States find opportunities for improving meat and poultry inspection by commissioning comprehensive scientific assessments of its current approach and increasing the collection and analysis of data on food animals and production facilities.

Xtreme Eating 2014

August 5, 2014 Comments off

Xtreme Eating 2014
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

When we were screening candidates for the first Xtreme Eating awards in 2007, we were shocked to see 1,500-calorie entrées. This year, nearly all of our “winners” hit (or just missed) the 2,000-calorie mark. And a few doozies topped 3,000 calories. You could take half home and still overeat.

The sad truth is that it’s not hard to find Xtreme Eating winners. Virtually every chain has viable contenders. But this year, we’re giving a special XXXtreme Eating award to The Cheesecake Factory. It took three of our nine coveted spots…and, as usual, it could easily have filled all nine. Congrats!

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria Sickened 167, Hospitalized 47 in 2011

March 18, 2012 Comments off

Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria Sickened 167, Hospitalized 47 in 2011
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

Rampant use of antibiotics in animal agriculture means foodborne illnesses are likely to become longer, more serious, and harder to treat, according to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.

In three major outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant foodborne illness in 2011, 167 Americans became sick, 47 were hospitalized, and one died, according to a white paper released by the group today. Two of those outbreaks were connected to ground turkey, one contaminated with Salmonella Hadar and one with Salmonella Heidelberg, and one outbreak was connected to ground beef contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium. All of those bacteria were resistant to treatment from several antibiotics that are critically important to human medicine, including drugs in the penicillin, cephalosporin, and tetracycline families.

+ White Paper (PDF)

What’s all the fuss about green tea?

August 5, 2011 Comments off

What’s all the fuss about green tea? (PDF)
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

Green tea is hot. You can buy a bottled green tea beverage just about anywhere these days. And food manufacturers are adding green tea or its extracts to everything from coffee (one Eight O’Clock coffee blend has compounds from green tea “gently infused” into its beans) to juice drinks (V8 V-Fusion contains “the natural goodness of green tea”).

How good is the evidence that green tea is good for your health? Studies in laboratory animals are impressive, but compelling evidence in humans has been hard to come by.

Eating is Xtreme as Ever at America’s Chains

July 22, 2011 Comments off

Eating is Xtreme as Ever at America’s Chains
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

If this year’s winners of the Xtreme Eating Awards are any indication, the overfeeding of America seems likely to continue unabated at the nation’s chain restaurants. The dishonorees, unveiled in the current edition of the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action Healthletter, include burgers topped with pork belly and fried eggs, meatballs stuffed with provolone, and grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with deep-fried mozzarella sticks.

“If Americans are feeling a little more full when lumbering out of The Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, Denny’s, and other chains, it’s not in their heads,” said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman. “It’s as if the restaurants were targeting the remaining one out of three Americans who are still normal weight in order to boost their risk of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and cancer.”

One chain, Applebee’s, is openly bragging about its new “stacked, stuffed, and topped” menu. But that’s hardly the only chain stacking, stuffing, or topping already high-calorie menu items with high-cal add-ons. To put the following numbers into context, consider that a typical eater should limit themselves to about 2,000 calories, 20 grams of saturated fat, and 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day.

+ Xtreme Eating 2011 (PDF)

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