Friday, October 8, 2010

Genetically Modified Potatoes Providing Protein For Third World

"-------- One of the things I have become very interested in is the development of better foods through cross-breeding and other natural means, while avoiding things that could cause the planet, or those on it, problems. It is not an easy thing to do, with the many easy ways of increasing yields through what has been found to be unscrupulous means.

In New Scientist, a story tells of the way that the protein needs of many in the third world are being partly met by potatoes, grown to have a higher amount of protein, and also being more adaptable to the growing areas, producing much greater overall yields. ------ "

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feeding the World Through Food Science

IFT newsletter September 2010, Volume 64, No.9

" ----- Early in my food science career as a student recruiter, adviser, and instructor, I never needed to assume a defensive stance toward our profession. For example, on the first Earth Day, in 1979, I gave a public lecture and proclaimed to the audience that technological tools would assure us a cleaner environment from which to extract air, water, and food. But eventually louder and louder anti-technology voices were heard in classrooms and elsewhere. Colleagues also heard them and we bemoaned the fact that all our textbooks were only descriptive and did not provide us with some sort of a 'unified field theory' to rely on in this new age of people belittling, even attacking, achievements in science and technology, including food processing.

My enthusiasm for the report 'Feeding the World' knows no bounds. I urge you to read it in the September issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety (, to copy and disseminate it, and to integrate its message into your professional consciousness and practice."

by Manfred Kroger , Ph.D., an IFT Fellow, Scientific Editor of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety and Professor Emeritus of Food Science, Penn State University (

Sweet potatoes, cassava, taro good for diabetics

"MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) yesterday said there are selected root crops that have low glycemic index (GI) and would be good for diabetics.

In a statement, the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) said sweet potato (kamote), cassava (kamoteng kahoy), taro (gabi) and yam (ube) are some of the starchy root crops found to have low GI.

GI is a classification of food based on the blood glucose response to a food relative to a standard glucose solution. Low glycemic foods control the release of glucose into the bloodstream at a steady and sustained rate, keeping the body’s metabolic processes and energy levels balanced."

Monday, October 4, 2010

Why belly fat increases in women after the age of 40 & what to do about it

"On September 28, 2010, the Dr. Oz show, seen in Sacramento on channel 58 (Dish Satellite) emphasized how to reduce belly fat in women over age 40. As your estrogen levels drop, your fat cells increase as your body tries to make more estrogen by making more fat cells, particularly around the waist or in the belly."

There's a lot more to this article.

Giving Consumers What They Want

IFT newsletter September 2010, Volume 64, No.9
Six new mega-trends and market challenges are demanding product developers’ attention.

"Consumers are demanding dramatic changes in the way that food companies formulate, process, and even flavor foods as they continue to look to the food industry for more natural health solutions and increasingly convenient meal options. Following are six mega-trends and market challenges identified in IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo presentations and exhibits. Product developers and marketers who successfully address these issues are likely to find significant marketplace opportunities."

Read all about the six mega-trends.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

IINC 2010 Nutrigenomic Seminar

"One of the great challenges in genetics and nutrition is to understand how each individual interacts with, and responds to their environment. Diet is the most important environmental factor influencing expression of genetic information because of the constant exposure to nutrients in foods. The emerging discipline of nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics is the study of the effects of diet on the activity of an individual’s genes and health and the study of how different genetic makeup metabolizes nutrients. -------------- we in collaboration with The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI Southeast Asia Region) initiated to conduct an international conference in nutrigenomics."

Unscrambling the Egg Disaster

September 28, 2010, By JAMES MCWILLIAMS

" --------- Writing in the Atlantic’s Food Channel, Barry Estabrook, former editor at Gourmet magazine, categorically condemned 'industrial-scale factory farming' as 'the cause of virtually every instance of bacterial food contamination the country has experienced in recent years.' It’s the 'huge farms and processors,' he explains, rather than the 'small producers who live near us' that 'have given us' E. coli, salmonella and listeria. Estabrook, who raises a posse of his own chickens in a backyard horse barn, was challenged by a reader to have his birds tested for salmonella. Admirably, he did. Verdict: clean. --------------

For all the intuitive logic supporting Estabrook’s argument (not to mention the clean bill of health awarded his birds), others are less convinced that industrial farming per se is the problem. In a CNN interview, Professor Michael Lacy, who heads Poultry Science at the University of Georgia, explained, 'I know of no research that shows large-sale egg farming is less safe than any other,' adding that 'there is no scientific evidence that free-range or organic eggs are less prone to S. Enteritidis.' Darrell Trampel, an Iowa State poultry diagnostician, agreed, telling Newsweek, 'Even today, we find Salmonella Enteritidis on small organic farms—it’s not just the big ones.' "

Conference Shared Ways to End the Obesity Epidemic

" 'The status quo cannot remain,' implored Sam Kass, senior policy advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives and White House chef, during his keynote address that kicked off the 33rd Annual National Food Policy Conference last week. --------- The status quo to which Kass was referring is the 1 in 3 children in the US currently reported by the Centers for Disease Control to be obese, the $215 billion spent on annual economic costs associated with obesity, the portion sizes at restaurants that have expanded to be 2 to 5 times larger than historical servings, the 27 percent of people ages 17-34 who are ineligible for military service due to obesity, and the fact that for the first time in our history, the current generation of children may have a shorter life span than their parents.

Those statistics are just some of the reasons why this year's Food Policy Conference focused primarily on childhood obesity."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Punitive Damages Added to Salmonella Egg Lawsuits

"Information brought to light during hearings before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has led to punitive damages being added to lawsuits against Quality Egg/Wright County of Iowa."

The Diet of the Future: Nutritional Genomics

"Since scientists in the Human Genome Project successfully decoded the human genome, the literal blue print of human beings, in 2003, medicine has been looking to take advantage of this information to enhance people’s health. Nutritional genomics (or Nutrigenomics) is a new field of study, based on the the Human Genome Project research, looking at the relationships between diet and how what you eat affects your genes.

-------------Epigenetics is an even newer field of study than genetics. Epigenetics looks into the way environmental factors influence your genes. Without delving into the science, environmental factors play a huge role in influencing the way genes work. Apparently, you can even influence future generations through epigenetic effects."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Khichdi recipe to enhance food value

The Telegraph
Calcutta, India

Jorhat, Sept. 27: Here’s a simple khichdi recipe: rice, dal and potatoes. Now, add some punch: to rice, stir in sprouted moong, a handful of soya nuggets and a sprinkling of dhekia (a fern).

Voila, not only a tasty khichdi but a more nutritious one is ready.

The food and nutrition department of the College of Home Science under Assam Agricultural University in Jorhat has come up with this recipe to enhance the food value of the government’s midday meal scheme for schoolchildren. Teachers and students of the department have demonstrated the way to make this khichdi at no additional cost at several programmes held in remote schools in Jorhat district recently.

The head of the department, Basanti Baroova, said usually the school serves khichdi made of rice, dal and potatoes but “we have shown that at no additional cost one can make a healthier dish”.

“The teachers and parents gathered on the occasion were told about the nutritional value of each item. Dhekia, which is available in plenty in the fields, is rich in micro-nutrients — vitamins and minerals. Sprouted moong, to be used in place of masoor dal (red lentil), is a source of vitamin C and protein and soya has vegetable protein besides rice which provides the carbohydrate. Ours is not just to demonstrate but to educate. We do not give them fish but teach them to capture fish so that they can feed themselves and feed others as well,” Baroova said.

Mamoni Das, another teacher of the home science department, said in every such programme held so far, the department had attempted a holistic approach to build a healthy society. “Our target is not just to better the food of schoolchildren but the whole family and that is why we address the women of the village who cook the food. In one such programme held at the Upar Deori ME School recently, pointers were given as to what constitutes a nutritional diet and what is unhealthy. We tell them about the food value of all things which are usually consumed daily and if they can replace it with something more nutritious — the stress being on greens and other items found in the surroundings,” Das said.

Jashodha Deori, a parent present at one of the meetings, said she would henceforth try to give her children raw peanuts instead of the fried variety and sprouted gram instead of biscuits at snack time.

Anup Deori, an assistant at the school, said they would try to cook the khichdi as demonstrated by the home science department, as it was packed with more nutrients.

To a query on whether the food of the villagers was deficient in nutrients, Baroova said apparently they looked healthy but 80 per cent of women in the country are anaemic and “if we look deeply you will find many suffering from skin and other deficiency-related diseases”.

Nestlé Announces New Food Science Institute

"Swiss food giant Nestlé plans to step up its involvement in food products designed to prevent disease and improve health. At a press conference this morning, the company announced the creation of a new research center, the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, to better understand the role of foods in disease prevention. A new daughter company, Nestlé Health Science, S.A., which will incorporate Nestlé's existing health business, will bring the fruits of its labors to the market.

The new institute, based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, will be led by Emmanuel Baetge, former chief scientific officer of ViaCyte, a biotech in San Diego, California, focussing on stem cell treatments for diabetes. Obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders, and aging will be major targets of the institute's researchers, Baetge said this morning. Nestlé representatives could not say how many scientists it will employ, but the company has said it plans to spend 'hundreds of millions' of dollars on the institute over the coming decade.

So-called functional foods and nutraceuticals, such as yogurts with 'good' bacteria, have already become a multibillion dollar market, but Nestlé says it plans to go a step further by providing consumers with 'personalized health science nutrition'—although company representatives were vague on how this would work exactly.

A key problem with health foods is that it's very hard to demonstrate scientifically that they work. The European Food Safety Agency, which is reviewing thousands of companies' health claims, has so far thrown out the vast majority of them, which could force companies to remove the claims from their labels and ads. But Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke dodged a question today about how his company's future products can avoid that fate."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Six top science bodies’ verdict: Bt brinjal safe

"Six premier Indian science academies, given the task of evaluating Bt brinjal by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, have declared it safe, but their findings also say all genetically modified (GM) items pose a risk if the science behind them is flawed. The academies, as part of their mandate, have made key recommendations, including allowing the use of GM crops to meet growing food demands."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

African countries urged to embrace biotechnology

"Abuja, Sept. 26, GNA - Dr Nompumelelo H. Obokoh, Project Manager of African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), has called on African leaders to position themselves to embrace biotechnology in solving food insecurity in Africa.

She said the challenges of science technology and innovation held the key for improved food security and poverty reduction as global trends have indicated preference for commercialized biotechnology and genetically modified (GM) crops.

Dr Obokoh disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency in Abuja.

The Project Manager said the United States, China and South Africa have taken full advantage of the system and expressed worry that trends that were fast changing and improving systems elsewhere was rather slow in Africa.

She advocated the mainstreaming of biotechnology into agricultural production, building of capacity for compliance and migrating to commercial high yielding crops."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dr. Fred Below gets excited about what he calls “the perfect crop”: corn.

"Ag connect expo 2011 will showcase science based agriculture ......... Dr. Fred Below gets excited about what he calls 'the perfect crop': corn. His enthusiasm for corn, and the power of his presentation, helps you see how producers could ultimately have eye-popping yields of 300 bushels an acre, Below predicts.

'If a scientist had to start from scratch to create a food-producing plant with the most flexibility and the highest responsiveness to management, the results would be corn. It’s the highest yielding crop in the world,' he says.

Dr. Below, who is Professor of Plant Physiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will bring his compelling corn production insights to AG CONNECT Expo, at the Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, in January next year. ............... Below said he plans to have early data from the 2010 harvest when he shares with attendees the 'Seven Wonders of the Corn Yield World' for optimizing crop management and yield at AG CONNECT Expo 2011.

'Science_based agriculture will show the way to feed the earth’s increasing population, and corn will be a keystone to that effort. We need to double food production in 20 years but we can’t do it without biotech,' Below said. 'And corn is the crop that is most amenable to modern scientific biotech management.' "

Sunday, September 26, 2010

About BeanCAP

"The Common Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project (BeanCAP) will significantly impact the future direction of research by providing new tools and research directions for this important nutritional and commodity crop. The first market-class-specific markers, whose value will extend well beyond the project duration, will be a major outcome affecting all bean research. When genotypic data, generated by using these markers, is coupled with nutritional profiling data, also generated by the project, species-wide and market-class-specific loci affecting the nutritional traits will be discovered. This will set the stage for significant common bean improvements for years to come."

Phil McClean
Project Director
North Dakota State University

Temperature abuse of packaged salads raises food safety fears - study

"Storing packaged lettuce salads at 5°C (41°F) or below is critical for reducing food safety risks such as E.coli 0157:H7, according to new research.

Researchers said the findings were significant as they demonstrated that foodborne pathogens 'can grow significantly on commercially packaged lettuce salads while the product’s visual quality is fully acceptable.' This challenged the widely held view that temperature control of bagged greens was a quality rather than predominantly a food safety issue, said the team."

Food Science Activities for Kids

"Food science is an interdisciplinary science, consisting of chemistry, microbiology and biochemistry. Experimenting with food can provide insight into all of these fields. Many schools are even incorporating food science into their curricula, including food science activities that are both educational and entertaining for children. You can also conduct food science experiments at home, using simple household items and ingredients."

This is a great article, and we need to get the kids more involved. The article includes several examples of "food science experiments" that kids can do at home.

Bamboo salts may act as sodium replacer: Study

" .........The new study, published in Meat Science, suggests that meat batters formulated with bamboo salts have better physical, chemical, and sensory properties when compared to batters made with conventional, commercially available sodium chloride. ...........Bamboo salts are produced by placing sea salt in thick bamboo stubs and baking them together with pine tree firewood, the process is suggested to purify the sea salt and infuse the oils from the bamboo.

Ancient bamboo salts were baked two or three times, before being used in traditional medical treatments, however it is now common for bamboo salt to be baked more than nine times before use."

My gut feeling is that bamboo salts are a long way from being cost-effective. Just my gut feeling. Otherwise, this is very interesting.

Food ingredients to drive processing sector

"India is the ingredients bowl of the future. The segment is driven by the growing food processing industry.

The key ingredients are food colours, flavours, sweeteners, antioxidants and antimicrobials, emulsifier and stabilizers. Their use in the food and beverage sector is indispensable. There are also a huge range of special ingredients like probiotics, prebiotics and bio-enzymes. In addition, there are bulk ingredients like dairy, oils, fats, sugars, basic proteins, emulsifiers, acidulants, phytochemicals, sweeteners, flavours, colours, enzymes, meat seasonings, bakery mixes, fruit preps, vitamin/mineral pre mixes, etc. Some of the leading companies in the space are Grifith Labs, Pristine Organics, Cargill Flavours, AB Mauri, Sonarome ITC Colors and Phytotec Extracts to name a few."

A complete and very interesting article.§ionid=49