Food News Today transcripts for the week of March 12th, 2012

March 16, 2012

Importance of School Breakfast, health risks at the beach and test tube meat… is that our future?

Today is National Potato Chip Day, and in 1794 Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin. – Oh and I can’t leave this one out, in 1958 'Tequila' by The Champs was number one on the charts….


>National school breakfast week was March 5-9th, but now since it has passed, it’s a great time to celebrate the School Breakfast Program, which serves well-balanced, healthy meals to more than 11 million children every school day. Earlier this week I interviewed DORA RIVAS, Executive Director, Food & Child Nutrition Services from Dallas Independent School District (School Nutrition Association Past-President)  Here’s what I found out:


Studies show that eating breakfast can improve students' test scores, attendance and behavior.  And USDA research found that children who eat school breakfast consume more fruits and milk than those who do not eat breakfast at school. 


>Next up, our environmental segment, where we’ll hear from Rebecca about health risks at the beach...


Thanks Rebecca, federal budget cuts to water testing programs may place the health of beach-goers' at risk…. Yikes!


>Well, heres another topic that will make you say “yikes”Meat from a test tube, yup, the world's first "test-tube" meat is in the works, a hamburger made from a cow's stem cells, is in the planning stages to be produced this fall; Dutch scientist and chairman of physiology at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, Mark Post, revealed his plans at a major science conference recently.  His goal? To invent an efficient way to produce skeletal muscle tissue – aka steak - in a lab, that exactly mimics meat, and hopes to eventually replace the entire meat-animal industry – an industry with huge environmental costs. Conventional meat and dairy production requires more land, water, plants, and disposal of waste products than almost all other human foods, according to Post.

The global demand for meat is expected to rise by 60 percent by 2050, according to scientist Nicholas Genovese, who organized the "The Next Agricultural Revolution" symposium.  “the majority of earth's pasture lands are already in use, so conventional livestock producers can only meet the booming demand by further expansion into nature. The result would be lost biodiversity, more greenhouse and other gases, and an increase in disease” – that doesn’t sound good…In 2010 a report by the United Nations Environment Program called for a global vegetarian diet. And in my predictions due to health and price reasons, I believe consumers are going to start getting more comfortable with replacing animal proteins with vegetable sources … I’m not sure about the test tube meat just yet… and so far, no companies in the meat industry have expressed interest.