Some thoughts on the latest food safety breach, TV dinners can help you understand portion size, and a new website dedicated to product reviews, for October 19th, 2011 this is Food News Today.
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If you have any thoughts or comments on today's show, tweet me -@phillempert- or send me a note on Facebook. We also have a live chat. Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.
So, Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? Well if you dress up as anything food – post your picture and a brief description on our SupermarketGuru Facebook fan page – the best costume will win an iPad2!
It's now time for today's useless food history fun facts. You'll never guess what today is! It's national seafood bisque day - I told you you wouldn't guess. Also in 1917 a WW1 Salvation Army volunteer made doughnuts for homesick US soldiers fighting in France. The doughnuts went on to become a symbol of the spirit of the Salvation Army and Homer Simpson's reason for living. Do you have any food fun fact you'd like to share? Let me know. For more interesting and fun food tidbits check out www.foodreference.com.
Oh, and the fruit of the week is (insert fruit). There's really no reason, I just thought of choosing a fruit of the week right now. Here's an idea, submit your pick for next weeks fruit of the week. Maybe your favorite fruit will win.
> Now to our first story. The farm to fork is an extremely convoluted process, especially in produce, and the recent Listeria cantaloupe outbreak demonstrates this to a tee. Although the exact farm the cantaloupe came from was identified, Jensen Farm in Colorado, the rest – where the cantaloupe ended up - is just a blur.
Why? Well, in general the produce on the dinner table may make four or five stops before it reaches the plate. First is the field, then the packing house where it’s cleaned and packaged, it may even stop at a processor where its further cut or bagged and then to the distributor who sells the produce in large quantities to various retailers. Before it hits the store, it ends up in the retail distribution center where it’s sent out to various stores. Finally it’s stacked on display at the grocery store. And that’s just the trip for domestic produce… you can only imagine what imported produce goes through.
Listeria is just one of many bacteria that has caused food safety nightmares. It’s a bacteria found in soil and water. If ingested it can cause fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms and even death. According to a recently published study by British medical researchers, as many as 20 percent of Americans – that’s 60 million people -- are more vulnerable to foodborne illness due to their age or health conditions that affect their immune systems.
So how should you take care of your produce to avoid a foodborne illness? First make sure you wash the fruit or vegetable thoroughly before you cut it – you can use produce sprays which are not soap, but citrus based- the acid kills the bacteria – It’s also useful to use a produce brush to get into the nooks and crannies on something like a cantaloupe. Many consumers choose to purchase produce from farmers markets, where they can ask questions directly to the person that is growing their food. Highlighting locally grown foods is also gaining popularity in supermarkets. What about you? Any tricks or tips you might have?
>The occupy wall street crowd is gaining a lot of media attention, but one local restaurant found an interesting way to Capitalize on this movement. So, what's going on in food in the far end of the city? Liberatos Pizza has been delivering hundreds of the $15 OccuPie (get it) pizza to protesters – it’s a pepperoni pizza – the pepperoni is placed around the circumference and across the diameter! I wonder how it tastes… it's NY pizza, so it's got to be pretty good, although it's no NJ pizza…
>For our nutrition story, we discuss portion-controlled frozen meals eaten as part of a reduced-calorie eating plan. This can help consumers learn proper portioning, according to research findings recently presented by ConAgra Foods. We know that today, a major contributor to calorie over-consumption is portion distortion. Supersize me anyone?
As part of the study, 32 participants between the ages of 25-65 replaced at least 10 meals per week (seven lunches and at least three dinners) with Healthy Choice meals, which are portion-controlled by nature. Participants accompanied the meals with two or three food items, such as salad, skim milk and fruit, and were encouraged to increase lifestyle activity and walk up to 150 minutes per week. Participants lost an average of six pounds and saw their waistlines reduced by about an inch!
According to Kristin Reimers, PhD, nutrition manager, at ConAgra Foods, “Multiple studies have shown that right-sized portions play a vital role in helping people lose weight. Consumers all reported that eating Healthy Choice meals for lunch and/or dinner for 30 days helped them better understand proper portion size. This is what makes healthy frozen meals so powerful- the food is easy and convenient to prepare, tastes fantastic, takes the guess work out of portion control, and teaches people about proper portions at other meals."
>Do you love new product reviews as much as I do? Well then you should hear about the new website Consmr which rates products not only from expert reviewers but you and your social network friends can also weigh in on the products– luckily we have Ryan Charles CEO of Consmr to tell us all about the website…
Thanks Ryan, I look forward to reading your reviews.
Well that's our show, thanks for watching! Be sure to tweet me @phillempert or visit our SG Facebook page and post your comments on any of today's segments. Have a terrific food week.