Our consumer panel on BPA, a food store in New Jersey that weathered the storm, and if you don’t know what gifts to give this holiday season, I have the answers for you, for November 23rd 2011, this is Food News Today.
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Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.
Today is National Cashew Day. And eat a cranberry day. Do you know any food fun fact you'd like to share? Let me know. If I use your fact I'll send you a SG Canvas Tote.
The safety of BPA has been questioned for decades; and it is back in the headlines. But few really understand the facts. BPA's toxicity was first discovered in 1930 when it was initially found to mimic estrogen, and lead to various cancers. But even though, its use became and still is ubiquitous in plastics, cans, and tins used for our foods.
Recently, researchers have found that this chemical could be causing behavioral problems in young girls. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that female toddlers exposed to BPA before they were born exhibited worse behavior at age three than those that didn't.
A new report released just last week by the Breast Cancer Fund documents the presence of BPA in canned foods used to prepare a typical Thanksgiving meal. The study tested some of America’s favorite brands and found that a single serving of almost half of the products tested had levels of BPA comparable to levels that laboratory studies have linked to adverse health effects. Research by the NIH found that BPA may pose risks to human development, raising concerns for early puberty, prostate effects, breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, liver toxicityand behavioral impacts.
We surveyed our consumer panel about BPA and found that just about half say they know a little about BPA, while nearly 40% say they have learned a lot about BPA. 11% say they are not aware of BPA at all. When asked if they avoid certain containers for fear of BPA, 62% say “sometimes,” but they are not entirely sure how to avoid it, 19% say they only purchase BPA-free products.
Labeling is an issue that consumers strongly favor, 92% of the consumer panel would like to see BPA-free labels on plastics, canned foods and wherever else BPA might appear.
Next up we head to New Jersey... where my grandfather had a dairy farm and I grew up. And this is one of those stories that makes you understand just how important food stores are to their communities! Remember that October storm that dumped heavy snows, rains and wind from Virginia to Maine, and toppled electric lines and put 3.2 million people out of power for days - and some are still without power? The Teaneck Kosher Supermarket came to the rescue!
This grocer gave out 700 hot dinners on the first night and nearly 1,000 on the second and continued to give more meals to all, customers and non customers, for as long as the area was without electricity.
The store's manager Yitz Stern explained that the store's owner wanted to “spread the wealth” after he lost power in his house for two hours and “knew what it felt like.” On the free menu: rotisserie chickens, fried chicken nuggets, French fries, hot soups, and even hot dogs for the kids. “It’s a good feeling to try to help the community,” said Stern, noting that people even came from the surrounding affected towns.
Reacting to this kindness, the grateful people that were interviewed by the local press, who were not current customers said they intend to support the store in the future. Good karma all around - reinforcing the unique role of supermarkets as the center of the community.
The economy is still struggling, and while I’m sure you want to be generous in your gift giving this year, I'd like to suggest you think of the perfect gift - the gift of food. Giving foods to family or friends is old school - and used to be standard and more personal then say - a plastic gift card to Home Depot; think homemade cookies, cakes, and even non-food items like framed photos, or a hand-knit scarf were greatly appreciated. These days we run through stores and malls with expensive shopping lists, buying all kinds of stuff that people don't really need….
So think food - foods like a package of dried soup ingredients along with a hand-written recipe. Or several flavors of a local jam or jelly; or better yet make your own, and include a package of scone or muffin mix. If the kitchen is a challenge for you - how about gift certificates for homemade meals, or cooking lessons or even an evening with a personal chef… or even some potted food plants - herbs that you can use fresh daily. Get creative! Remember it’s the thought that counts.
What's on your food mind this week? Join our live chat right now on our facebook page. Do you have any other food gift ideas to share? or that secret recipe for stuffing that everyone always begs for? Share it here!
Thanks for watching! You can always tweet me @phillempert or post your comments on our SupermarketGuru facebook page.
Happy THANKSGIVING & remember it is that one holiday where most of us eat way too much and start packing on the pounds through Super Bowl as we sit on that couch and watch the games. This year be sure to take a walk after that big meal to get in shape for those manic shopping deals on Black Friday!