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Types of produce for natural food coloring

A large portion of the foods that we consume contain artificial food colorants. Many of these artificial food dyes have been banned for use in food manufacturing in the United Kingdom, Norway and other European countries. However, they are still considered safe for use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Thankfully, there is a growing number of various concerned groups who heed the warnings of numerous reports linking artificial food colorants to a myriad of health problems. Health-conscious consumers, for instance, actively take matters into their own hands and opt for natural food colorants. Some food manufacturers are giving in to the demands of these consumers, along with the outcry of health advocates and medical communities. Kraft, General Mills, Nestlé and a few more companies have pledged to phase the use of synthetic food colorants out in their manufacturing process.

While FoodFacts.com joins the American public in celebrating the ingenuity of the country’s confectioners during National Candy Month, we maintain that you should take caution in consuming sweet treats that are filled with artificial food colorants. This month, we shared important information of two of the most commonly used artificial food dyes according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #5, including the risks they pose to our health.

Staying away from vibrant, artificial food dyes doesn’t mean you’re left with dull, colorless foods. The great news is, you can make your own natural food dyes from produce. In the previous blog post, we shared a recipe for homemade red and yellow food dyes made from raspberries and mangoes, respectively. Today, we’re sharing other types of produce that you can use to make natural food colorants. After all, June isn’t just all about the candies; it’s also National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month!

Red and Pink

  • Beets
  • Pomegranate

Yellow

Blue  and Purple

  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Radicchio
  • Red cabbage

Green

  • Spinach
  • Matcha powder

Orange

  • Carrots
  • Paprika

Bear in mind that there are different processes in making your own natural food colorants, depending on the type of produce you decide to use. Homemade natural food dyes are boiled, puréed or dissolve with vinegar.

If you don’t have the do-it-yourself bone in you, there are brands of natural food coloring that you can easily purchase from grocery stores. Use the All My Food Facts app to see their health scores. Get the app on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon!

Changing the face of food processing

Food ShelvingProcessed foods carry a bad connotation for most people. The term conjures up images of chemical processes, controversial intredients, artificial colors and flavors – and that’s just to name a few. These aren’t great images for sure – and Foodfacts.com has spent a lot of time and energy educating people on the side effects and unhealthy, unsavory aspects of processed foods. But processing food was actually designed to keep food safe and accessible. Can that be accomplished while changing the face of food processing?

When it comes to food, at least in a Western context, we want it all, we want it now and we want it chemical-free. Consumers do not want to be limited to eating only local and seasonal produce; however, they expect their food to make its journey in an unadulterated state, and with colours, flavours and textures intact.

Against this backdrop is the necessity for food to be safe from bacteria.

About 75% of the new diseases that have affected humans over the past 10 years have developed from animals or products of animal origin.

According to the Europe Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Campylobacteriosis remains the most commonly reported foodborne disease in the European Union, with over 190,000 human cases annually. Common routes of the bacterium are raw milk and undercooked poultry.

Salmonella, often transmitted by eggs, is the second most common intestinal infection, with over 100,000 human cases reported each year.

Listeriosis is also causing great concern, and continues to rise in Europe. In 2014, there were 2161 confirmed cases, resulting in 210 deaths, the highest annual number reported since 2009. Dairy products, vegetables, fruit and seafood are the possible vehicles of the infection.

“Globalization and the movement of people have brought about trade in food, but there are also the chemical and biological hazards that come with it — and they know no borders,” explained Marta Hugas, head of the Biological Hazards and Contaminants Unit at EFSA.

For food processors, the challenge is huge. “Consumer preferences for convenient food that is easy to prepare, but as fresh as possible and minimally processed, are sidelining techniques like freezing, canning and chemical preservatives. Such techniques are very effective in terms of safety but may affect food quality and taste. Now we have to create new technologies to meet these demands and to ensure the long shelf life required by distant export markets,” said Geraldine Duffy, researcher at the Head Food Safety Department of the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin, Ireland.

Duffy’s department is contributing to a European project called HIPSTER, which is attempting to validate and implement a food processing technology combining high pressure processing (HPP) with temperature (HPT).

Using high pressure to preserve and sterilize foods is a century-old technique known as high pressure processing (HPP) or Pascalisation, from the 17th-century French scientist Blaise Pascal, famous for studying the effects of pressure on fluids.

Applied to certain foods, high pressure can render inactive some microorganisms such as yeast, mould and bacteria, and some enzymes too, which contribute to deteriorating foods when processed.

In Japan since 1990, HPP has been used to preserve some juices, jellies, and jams; it is now used to preserve fish and meat, salad dressings, rice cakes and yoghurts. In the US, the technique has been used for guacamole: it did not change the taste, texture or colour, but the product’s shelf life increased from three to 30 days.

However, HPP has its limitations. After HPP, most of the enzymes are intact, which means the colour and texture (and also flavour) are not stable during chilled shelf life. Another important difference is food safety of non-acidic products, like vegetables or meat. Due to bacterial spores, non-acid food is not safe after HPP treatment.

Enter the new version of HPP, the snappily-named ‘high hydrostatic pressure in combination with temperature’ (HPT) technique, which adds a heating step to the high pressure processing.

The combination of a preheating stage and high pressure is expected to sterilize food products and ensure greater food safety, freshness and nutritional quality, while extending shelf life. In addition, HPT promises to be environmentally friendly thanks to its low energy costs and reduced water consumption.

“We are testing its efficacy on prepared meals with extended shelf life, including soups and ready-to-eat meals that contain chicken and fish. If the HPT technology works, it could be applied to other foodstuffs in the future,” explained Duffy.

The high hydrostatic pressure on its own inactivates vegetative bacteria on the food, but not the spores that could make it unsafe or lead to spoilage.

Thus, scientists are investigating if submitting the food product to the high pressure treatment, in combination with temperatures of about 90°C, will inactivate such spores while guaranteeing quality, safety and taste and in addition to giving a long shelf life — conditions that are much valued by the market and the catering industry.

HPT promises much, but has not yet been scaled up and fully implemented into the food industry to be compared against existing food processing techniques.

The HIPSTER project
The European HIPSTER research project is aimed at validating, implementing and marketing this new method.

Nine European partners (five industries and four RTD organisations) will work together until August 2017, to implement HPT in the food industry on an industrial scale.

HIPSTER addresses the main barriers preventing the first market introduction and full deployment of HPT. The project will focus on the following activities:

R&D:
• Identify process windows (pressure/temperature/time) ensuring inactivation of pathogens and spoilage microorganisms using defined model systems and real foods.

Prototyping:
• Engineering and construction of a full-scale HPT equipment unit suitable for processing at different pressure/temperature ranges. The equipment is based on an innovative design of the vessel. Include auxiliary units for the preheating and cooling.
• Construction of tools (sensors, gauges, etc) for process monitoring.
• Develop a public database containing microbial kinetic parameters determined under well-defined processing conditions for guidance to food industry and control authorities.

Validation:
• Pilot and industrial scale testing of HPT treatments.
• Experimental production of a range of new food products (ready-to-eat and ready-to-use fish, meat and vegetable products).
• Shelf life studies.
• Viability study: compliance with legal requirements, economic feasibility and sustainability.
• Demonstrating in full-scale operational conditions the sustainability and techno-economic feasibility of the equipment and tools developed in collaboration with end users from the food sector.

Dissemination and exploitation:
• Communication of the technology to the broad public.
• Market plan to be deployed by each of the industrial partners.

It would be a remarkable development to embrace processed food without the current connotations. This is a HIPSTER we can all embrace!

http://www.foodprocessing.com.au/content/food-design-research/article/hipster-wants-to-change-the-face-of-food-processing-752687262

Happy National Drink Wine Day! Raise your glass and toast the health benefits!

Wine CorksFoodFacts.com is pretty convinced that most people understand that there are major health benefits that can be obtained from drinking wine. What we’re less convinced of is that those same people know what those health benefits actually are. We thought that in honor of National Drink Wine Day a review might be in order.

The Benefit: Promotes Longevity
The Evidence: Wine drinkers have a 34 percent lower mortality rate than beer or spirits drinkers. Source: a Finnish study of 2,468 men over a 29-year period, published in the Journals of Gerontology, 2007.

The Benefit: Reduces Heart-Attack Risk
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers suffering from high blood pressure are 30 percent less likely to have a heart attack than nondrinkers. Source: a 16-year Harvard School of Public Health study of 11,711 men, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, 2007.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
The Evidence: Red-wine tannins contain procyanidins, which protect against heart disease. Wines from Sardinia and southwest France have more procyanidins than other wines. Source: a study at Queen Mary University in London, published in Nature, 2006.

The Benefit: Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers have 30 percent less risk than nondrinkers of developing type 2 diabetes. Source: research on 369,862 individuals studied over an average of 12 years each, at Amsterdam’s VU University Medical Center, published in Diabetes Care, 2005.

The Benefit: Lowers Risk of Stroke
The Evidence: The possibility of suffering a blood clot-related stroke drops by about 50 percent in people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Source: a Columbia University study of 3,176 individuals over an eight-year period, published in Stroke, 2006.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Cataracts
The Evidence: Moderate drinkers are 32 percent less likely to get cataracts than nondrinkers; those who consume wine are 43 percent less likely to develop cataracts than those drinking mainly beer. Source: a study of 1,379 individuals in Iceland, published in Nature, 2003.

The Benefit: Cuts Risk of Colon Cancer
The Evidence: Moderate consumption of wine (especially red) cuts the risk of colon cancer by 45 percent. Source: a Stony Brook University study of 2,291 individuals over a four-year period, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2005.

The Benefit: Slows Brain Decline
The Evidence: Brain function declines at a markedly faster rate in nondrinkers than in moderate drinkers. Source: a Columbia University study of 1,416 people, published in Neuroepidemiology, 2006.

There’s no denying it … drinking wine can do a lot for your health and well-being. Raise your glass and toast the health benefits!

http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/8-health-benefits-of-drinking-wine

10 aphrodisiac ingredients for your Valentine’s Day menu.

There are holidays that we immediately relate with food. Thanksgiving turkey. Easter eggs. And then there’s Valentine’s Day. FoodFacts.com isn’t surprised that we relate Valentine’s Day with many different foods … chocolate, champagne, caviar – the list goes on. Not surprisingly those foods are considered aphrodisiacs … foods that put you in the mood. We thought in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’d share the details on 10 aphrodisiac ingredients for your Valentine’s Day menu.

Oysters: Oysters are high on the list of aphrodisiacs because they are rich in zinc. The notion that oysters are an aphrodisiac dates back to the 18th-century, when Giacomo Casanova would consume dozens of oysters to spike his arousal. There’s also science to back it up: American and Italian researchers found that oysters have rare amino acids (D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate) that triggers a spike in hormones.

Avocado: The pear shaped fruit was considered to be an aphrodisiac by the Aztecs, as the fruit hangs from trees in pairs, similar to testicles. There could be some science behind this notion, as the fruit has high levels of vitamin E which helps keep your energy level high.

Chili Peppers: If you have a penchant for spicy food, then know that chili peppers are an aphrodisiac since they mimic the feelings of arousal by stimulating endorphins (the feel good chemicals in your brain), speeding up your heart rate, and making you sweat.

Honey: Honey contains boron, a chemical element that regulates hormone levels and boosts your energy naturally.

Coffee: A study published in the journal Pharmocology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found that the caffeine found in coffee stimulates your heart rate and makes your blood flow.

Arugula: While arugula doesn’t sound like a likely aphrodisiac, its abilities have reportedly been noted since the first century A.D. The leafy vegetable has minerals and antioxidants that block contaminants that would harm your libido.

Olive Oil: Filled with antioxidants, the oil has many other health benefits including heart health, good blood flow and a rich source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Pine nuts: Though these little nuts are expensive, it may be worth the high price for their aphrodisiac abilities.

Chocolate: Dark chocolate has been shown to cause a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure.

Bananas: The fruit contains bromelain, an enzyme which Dr. Oz says triggers testosterone production, and the fruit’s potassium and vitamin B elevate energy levels.

The holiday of love deserves the food (or foods) of love. So when you plan your Valentine’s Day menu, make sure you include a few aphrodisiac ingredients. You’ll make your meal more authentic to the holiday … and make your special someone feel even more special!

http://www.latintimes.com/valentines-day-ideas-eat-these-10-aphrodisiac-foods-sex-your-date-369203

What happens to a 6-year-old McDonald’s Happy Meal left in its bag? Absolutely nothing.

Six year old happy mealFoodFacts.com came across this very frightening story that starts out with a question. What happens to a 6-year-old McDonald’s Happy Meal left in its bag? Absolutely nothing is the correct answer.

We shouldn’t be shocked. The movie “Supersize Me” put forth the concept that all those preservatives in McDonald’s food actually preserve the food. So we’re not shocked. We’re disgusted, turned off and horrified that food can be six years old and not turn. It means it isn’t food because real food goes bad.

A mum claims to have conducted an experiment where she kept a McDonald’s Happy Meal for SIX years – just to see if it would decompose.

Jennifer Lovdahl, from Alaska, in the U.S., posted a status on Facebook about a meal she bought from the fast food chain back in 2010.

She said: “It’s been 6 years since I bought this “Happy Meal” at McDonald’s. It’s been sitting at our office this whole time.”

Shockingly, the pictures – one of the box, with receipt, another of the meal itself – show that the food has hardly changed.

She wrote: “[It] has not rotted, molded, or decomposed at all!!! It smells only of cardboard. We did this experiment to show our patients how unhealthy this “food” is. Especially for our growing children!!

She added: “There are so many chemicals in this food! Choose real food! Apples, bananas, carrots, celery….those are real fast food.”

FoodFacts.com has a pretty strong opinion about fast food. If it won’t decompose, it shouldn’t qualify as food to begin with. Just don’t eat this.

http://news.yahoo.com/woman-keeps-mcdonalds-happy-meal-untouched-for-132942288.html?nf=1

You Literally Are What You Eat!

appWe know people get tired of hearing this, but eating and exercising go hand in hand. Even if you work out 7 days a week, it won’t save you from losing or gaining weight if you aren’t smart about what you are eating. Not too long ago there was an article in Forbes on just this subject and it kept us wondering why more people don’t seem to grasp how simple this concept it…and how much better your health and wellness is when you realize how important it is to take a look at what you are eating everyday. That old saying “You Are What You Eat,” couldn’t be more true.

What we found most interesting in the Forbes article: “Exercise Can’t Save Us: Our Sugar Intake Is The Real Culprit, Say Experts” is that it breaks down an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that says that exercise does not promote weight loss. Rather we can exercise till the day is long, but all the sugar and carbohydrates we consume will overtake our weight. As this article points out, exercise has typically stayed the same over the past couple of decades and obesity has skyrocketed. We have no choice but to really look at the foods we are consuming and what they are made up off.

Go down any aisle in your grocery store and you will find an obscene amount of processed food. Let’s face it: people today are on the go and looking for the faster and cheaper solution. And unfortunately what manifests is putting chemicals inside your body that you can barely pronounce. What people need to start realizing is that these processed foods are causing far more issues inside our body than skipping a day of exercise.

As The British Journal of Sports Medicine points out: “What we know to be true is much simpler: Sugar calories promote fat storage and hunger. Fat calories induce fullness or satiation. For every additional 150 calories in sugar (i.e., a can of soda) a person consumes per day, the risk for diabetes rises 11-fold, regardless of how much or little we exercise. The single most effective thing people can do for their weight, is to restrict calories – and even more, restrict carbohydrates.”

Don’t mistake what Foodfacts.com is saying though, as exercise is still an extremely important part of your daily life. But exercise alone will not make you healthy. Avoiding processed foods and trying to eat a cleaner diet with very few ingredients is healthy and smart. Fast food is cheap and easy for a reason: it’s full of ingredients that don’t do anything to get your digestive track healthy. It’s time to not only focus on your training routine, but to also make a concise effort to start putting healthy and clean food into our bodies and throw out the junk food. In doing so, we lower the risk of disease and ailments that can push our immune system down.

One of the many reasons why Foodfacts.com created our all my foodfacts app is to show people that food is more than just about calories or fats. The ingredients that you put inside your body have a direct affect on what happens inside your body. It’s such a simple thing. Download our app today to see exactly why you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet!

In the iTunes Store: apple.co/1QE8Gb6

In the Google Play Store: bit.ly/1WIOmpu

In the Amazon App Store: amzn.to/1Imr3ie

 

 

Is diet food healthy food? If you believe diet food brands, it is!

diet food collageIf you’ve been part of the FoodFacts.com community for a few years or more, you’re familiar with our stance on branded diet foods. We’re not fans. We truly believe that dieting done right requires adapting a healthy lifestyle – one which embraces fresh, healthy foods, exercise and the avoidance of ingredients that are distinctly unhealthy. If you’ve ever taken a look at the ingredient labels of any of the diet branded foods, you know they don’t fit that bill. It’s become obvious that many consumers agree with our approach as the sales of those foods are in decline. So, like any skilled and savvy manufacturer those diet brands have set out to reinvent themselves. Is diet food healthy food? If you believe diet food brands, it is!

For years, Americans cycled through one brand-name diet after another, each promising a sure method to lose weight. Along the way, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine made fortunes off their low-calorie, low-fat diet programs and products.

But it seems those days are over, according to industry analysts and nutritionists. “Dieting is not a fashionable word these days,” says Susan Roberts, a professor of nutrition and psychiatry at Tufts University. “[Consumers] equate the word diet with deprivation, and they know deprivation doesn’t work.”

According to Mintel, a market research firm, few people are purchasing diet products anymore. A survey of 2,000 people released by the firm in October found that 94 percent of respondents no longer saw themselves as dieters. They were also disillusioned with the industry: 77 percent of the consumers surveyed said that diet products are not as healthy as they claim to be, and 61 percent said most diets are not actually healthy.

“Consumers are not dieting in the traditional sense anymore – being on programs or buying foods specific to programs,” says Marissa Gilbert, an analyst from Mintel who worked on the report. “And there’s greater societal acceptance of different body sizes.”

That’s really hurt the dieting industry, Gilbert says. From summer 2014 to summer 2015, Lean Cuisine’s frozen meal sales dropped from around $700 million to about $600 million, or about 15 percent. Weight Watchers, Medifast and Jenny Craig have also seen revenues wither over the past few years. Sales of diet pills have dropped 20 percent in the last year, according to the Mintel report.

Roberts says it’s likely because many people who wanted to lose weight tried these diets and programs but weren’t successful. “They’ve tried Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and books and things of their own design,” she says. “It didn’t work.”

As Jean Fain, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated psychotherapist and author, has noted, programs like Weight Watchers typically are just “a short-term fix and conditional support for long-standing eating issues” and can even exacerbate them.

With each subsequent failure, people become more skeptical about the products. Some give up on losing weight altogether, Roberts adds.

But many people do still want to lose weight, and increasingly they’re hoping good nutrition and “healthy eating” will get them there, says R.J. Hottovy, a senior equity analyst with market research firm Morningstar. “Consumers are looking for a more holistic, more health and wellness approach,” he says. “The shift in food trends is toward fresher and more natural ingredients.”

The problem is there’s a lot of disagreement over what a healthy, well-balanced meal looks like. Half of the people in Mintel’s survey said they didn’t know what to think about nutrition and wellness information.
As we’ve reported, even the federal government isn’t sure what “natural” means. And increasingly consumers have to contend with terms like gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO in the grocery store. These and other restrictive notions of eating have been quick to catch on, but often don’t have consistent scientific evidence backing them up as healthful or effective for weight loss.

Roberts, who also founded a weight loss start-up called iDiet but says she doesn’t currently make money from it, observes that food companies are taking advantage of the chaos. “Companies are bombarding [consumers] with gluten-free, sugar-free, cholesterol-free, and it’s got us to a very bad place because people don’t know what to think anymore,” she says. “I think what [consumers] want to do is lose weight by eating sensibly. That’s the holy grail of weight loss, and the companies say, ‘We’ll lock into that.’ ”

And while Weight Watchers’ point system emphasizes “natural” fare and home-cooked meals, it’s still manufacturing processed, high-sodium, low-fiber products.

According to Julie Lehman, marketing director for Lean Cuisine, the company, which is owned by Nestle, has put new labels on products that were already cholesterol-free or gluten-free without changing their formulations. “Lean Cuisine is an emblem of the diet culture that we’ve all grown up with. We know that and we want to walk away from that and focus on eating well and eating healthy,” she says. The brand has added “No Preservatives” and “Gluten-Free” and “Non-GMO” labels and a new line of frozen meals, certified organic by the nonprofit Oregon Tilth. “Consumers are demanding some of these things, and we want to offer it to them,” Lehman says.

Roberts is unconvinced. She doesn’t see the products getting any healthier. “They can relabel them, but the meals are not any different. If you open a box of Lean Cuisine or something like that, you’ll see about a quarter cup of veggies in there. Is that an outstandingly healthy meal? By my standards, it’s not.”

People will still be hungry and still feel deprived, and may ultimately not meet weight loss goals, she says. “They’ll give healthy eating a bad name just as they gave dieting a bad name.”

Healthy food is real food. You can easily determine how healthy your diet is by determining the contents of your grocery shopping. Are you purchasing meals with ingredient, or ingredients for meals? If you’re doing the latter, you’re on the right track!

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/01/20/462691546/as-diet-foods-tank-confusing-health-labels-replace-them

An Open Letter To Weight Watchers

Dear Weight Watchers,
We’ve read all about how you no longer want to use the word “dieting” to sell Weight Watcher memberships, and have rather termed it, “Beyond the Scale.” We can’t help but tell you that we think this is one of the smartest move you’ve made in years (maybe even more than bringing Oprah Winfrey on board). In fact, this type of move is exactly what our company, FoodFacts, is all about.
When we started FoodFacts.com it was to show people what’s really inside the foods they are eating. But as more and more research evolves, we realize that it’s so much more than that. We also tend to think that people are putting all the emphasis on just dieting and exercising. What they aren’t realizing (and what more and more scientists and doctors are) is that you can exercise morning, noon and night…if you don’t change the way you eat it won’t make any difference to your health.
Don’t get us wrong, exercising is important to maintain your health. But what we want people to realize is that everything you put in your body can have an affect on it (potentially leading to so many diseases) and it’s the most important way to to control your health. We can’t understand why people continue to eat foods that are full of processed chemicals, when eating foods with less, real ingredients is the safest and healthiest way to eat.
If people realized that by simply eating an apple instead of eating a processed apple fruit bar (that contains way too many ingredients and chemicals), they would be taking one step in making a healthier way of life. Eating foods with less ingredients and reducing the processed ingredients that you put in your body can change your life…for the better.
So what we are trying to say is that we are right there with you, Weight Watchers (or WW). And we think that we’d make a good team. Take a look at our “all my foodfacts app” and our site. We are all about wanting people to realize that dieting and counting every carbohydrate you eat isn’t the only way to make you healthy and lose weight. Taking control of what you put in your body and the lifestyle you maintain can make all the difference in the world.
We’d love to talk, please contact us at [email protected]!

The FDA approves Frankenfish … GMO salmon on the market in as little as two years

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Here in America, there are some crops we can pretty much guarantee are GMO. Our corn, our soy, cottonseed, canola and sugar beets are predominantly genetically modified. In the absence of real GMO labeling, this is helpful information for those who are consciously avoiding consuming genetically modified foods. Unfortunately, the FDA just made that a little more difficult by approving genetic modification in a completely different arena.  GMO salmon may be on the market in as little as two years.

This is big: The Food and Drug Administration approved the first genetically modified animal designed to be food. It’s an Atlantic salmon that also contains genetic material from Pacific-Chinook salmon and, well … this thing — an eel-ish creature known as ocean pout. The AquaAdvantage, as it’s officially called, has for years had its critics (for starters, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s), and that number is likely to keep growing now that the debate isn’t just academic and the fillets could soon be for sale at your local seafood counter.

AquaBounty, the biotech company behind this Frankenfish, says the salmon will be available in two years, and, controversially, there will almost certainly be no label identifying the fish as GM. As the company’s CEO Ron Stotish explains, “When you’re the first and only, labeling is a dangerous decision. We’d like to label it as a premium product, but we’ll probably introduce it as ‘Atlantic salmon.’” AquaBounty says the advantages of this particular fish are that it grows twice as fast and only needs about 75 percent as much food as most conventional salmon.

In addition to the ongoing debate around food that’s been genetically modified, critics are also concerned that these salmon could escape into the wild. The company says that’s not very likely, but it’s implemented “several layers” of safeguards just in case — the fish are raised in sealed-off facilities in Canada and Panama, and the fish that are not used for breeding are always sterilized. Haven’t these people ever seen Jurassic Park?

While GMO salmon isn’t coming to your grocery store fish counter tomorrow, it is on the foreseeable horizon, with some estimates placing the market arrival of this new breed of fish at about 24 months. And once it does show up, GMO salmon isn’t going to be identifiable at that fish counter. The small sign sticking up from the ice next to those filets of fresh salmon won’t read New Salmon Product from AquaBounty. And we’ll never actually know what we’re eating. So even if you don’t like the idea that your salmon is part “eel-ish,” FoodFacts.com wants you to remember that it won’t matter. Because somehow or another according to AquaBounty and the FDA, we’ll all forget about it, stop caring about what we’re eating, or suddenly be perfectly fine with companies pretending to be Mother Nature without actually knowing or understanding whether or not there are ramifications or consequences. We need to stay vocal about this and remind them that there assumptions are incorrect.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2015/11/geneticall-modified-salmon.html?mid=facebook_nymag

McDonald’s focuses on technology instead of food to increase sales

digital menu boarddigital menu boardmcd-menu-boards2015 hasn’t been McDonald’s best year ever. Continuing a trend, sales have declined for the fast food giant. FoodFacts.com has watched with interest as McDonald’s has introduced new products, debuted all-day breakfast and a new app for its customers all in the name of increasing sales. While we really think it would make sense for McDonald’s to concentrate on improving the quality and ingredients of their food, they’ve decided to pursue a different path. McDonald’s focuses on technology instead of food to increase sales.  They need to increase their cost per transaction and they’re relying on technology to get that job done. If that sounds a little cold to you, you’re probably not wrong.

McDonald’s apparently noticed that people are really into eating seasonally these days — but for the world’s second largest fast food chain, the eerily green Shamrock shake served every March is about as seasonal as it gets. Instead, the McRib slinger has decided to install new digital menu boards that recommend meals based on the weather.

“It can monitor temperature outside and it will know which products sell better at hotter or colder temperatures and promote those products,” McDonald’s US President Mike Andres says. For instance, when it’s 100 degrees out, the menu might suggest a McFlurry; when it’s the dead of winter, the digital menu board may instead push lattes. What’s the proper weather in which to enjoy a McRib, anyway — and which McNugget sauce is best suited to a balmy summer day?

Stay tuned: The digital menu boards will be rolled out to all U.S. locations by the end of 2016. Andres also said “customers ended up spending more on every transaction in restaurants where the new menu boards were tested in Canada,” and the chain can probably use all the help it can get right now: It’s just beginning to emerge from a years-long sales slump.

So there you have it. McDonald’s continues to ignore its food issues in favor of marketing solutions for slumping sales. While that digital menu board may be a cool innovation, let’s face it, it’s not going to improve the ingredients in the McRib, or make the Big Mac taste any better. Consumers have been communicating a consistent message to McDonald’s – they aren’t thrilled with the quality and taste of the menu items. There’s no cool new technology trick that’s going to help them with that. And sooner or later, they are going to have to listen to their customers.

http://www.eater.com/2015/11/11/9716058/mcdonalds-weather-menu-boards