Top Food Stories for 2015

The Lempert Report
January 29, 2016

How the stories about our foods in 2015 have changed the way we buy.

The San Francisco Chronicle, which continues to have one of the best newspaper food sections in the country, compiled the top food stories of the year, and we share some of those with you:

The World Health Organization declared bacon and other processed meats carcinogenic and red meat “probably carcinogenic.” Though eating small amounts of them does not increase cancer risk greatly, the announcement reinforced the consensus among health experts that reducing meat consumption is a good thing.

An analysis by Consumer Union of ground beef samples from 26 American cities showed conventional beef to be twice as likely as sustainable beef (raised without antibiotics) to contain antibiotic-resistant strains of E.coli and other “superbugs.”  

A strain of avian influenza devastated the nation’s egg industry, leading to the death of almost 50 million egg-laying chickens and turkeys. Egg prices in California went up as high as 150 percent over those from the previous year.

The California drought continued to deal a big blow to chinook salmon this year, killing off millions of eggs, juveniles and hatchlings in the warm Sacramento River. 

The FDA approved the production of genetically engineered salmon, the first food animal of its kind in the United States, which won’t require labeling when it arrives in stores in a few years. An Oceana study found 43 percent of salmon labeled “wild” is actually farmed.

The Associated Press uncovered widespread slavery in Thai shrimp farming, both on fishing boats and processing plants that supply to major U.S. grocery stores and restaurants like Walmart, Olive Garden and Whole Foods.

Sugar continues to be in the doghouse. The World Health Organization recommended that added sugar should only amount to 10 percent of total calorie intake, preferably five percent. For a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, that would mean about two to four tablespoons a day, and the recently released Dietary Guidelines recommended that we consume less than 10% of calories from added sugars. We can only hope that 2016 is a better year in food.