As the saying goes, timing is everything. The 2020 International Food Information Council Food & Health Survey was conducted in April 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, that backdrop must be considered when looking at the results. Yes, consumer beliefs and actions have made a major shift. The question is, will those changes remain?
It’s not surprising that cooking at home is the biggest change for 8 in 10 Americans. Along with that, they are snacking more, washing fruits and vegetables more, and just giving more thought to food choices.
Going to the grocery store has decreased since consumers make fewer trips to the store each week. Online grocery shopping has gone up.
Food safety concerns about food have increased and more than a third of consumers avoid some foods and beverages. Keep in mind, COVID-19 has not been found to spread through food or food packaging. Consumers are more concerned about food safety when grocery shopping online.
In spite of all the challenges with COVID-19, 67% of respondents are at least somewhat confident in the overall safety of the food supply.
Have you had a piece of chicken breast meat that was tough and chewy? This is a disorder called wooden breast syndrome that occurs in broiler chickens. The pectoral muscles, or breast meat, becomes tough and chewy. This syndrome can cause an economic toll on poultry producers.
When you look at a piece of chicken breast meat, you cannot see the problem. But, once the meat is cooked, the defect is noticeable. Researchers at the University of Delaware have possibly discovered the reason and a solution to reduce the problem.
In broilers, if they abnormally metabolize fat in the pectoral muscles, the syndrome develops. Ideally, the broilers should be metabolizing glucose instead of lipids. Therefore, the broiler has a higher amount of free radicals that damage pectoral muscles. By testing their blood for the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, they can identify the problem early for better management.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education is hosting a contest to develop safe recipes. It is called the “30-Minute Meals Safe Recipe Contest.” The contest opens June 23, 2020.
There will be four categories including youth ages 5-18, BAC Fighters, food bloggers/influencers, and retailers. Cash prizes will be given for each category. The grand prize winner will be featured in an online cookbook.
We strive to prevent foodborne illness every day. Unfortunately, a single episode of foodborne illness can trigger an autoimmune illness in an estimated 200,000 consumers. The challenge is this could develop in days, weeks, or years after the actual foodborne illness event.
The organ systems that can be affected include the cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, hepatic, immune, and respiratory systems. Other autoimmune illnesses include irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome. With the unpredictable nature of all of these, medical professionals are finding it challenging to properly diagnose, control and treat these autoimmune illnesses. As a result, all of this also affects policies for public health to ensure a safe food supply.
The immune system is complex and strives to find and defend undesirable invaders. While most people recover from a foodborne illness with rest, fluids and care, the young, elderly, immunocompromised and pregnant and postpartum women are at high risk. Seeking medical attention early is important to reduce the risk of autoimmune illnesses.
Somewhere I read or heard, a person will get educated if they truly want to be educated. One food related topic that falls into this statement is learning about genetically engineered foods, commonly referred to as GMOs. The FDA, along with the USDA and EPA, have launched a science-based initiative to address GMOs called “Feed Your Mind.”
GMO foods have been available for many years, but many consumers are still confused about what they are and how they are used in our food supply. Educational materials are being developed for dietitians and high school science curriculums to be released later in 2020 into 2021.
Information on the Feed Your Mind website is also available in Spanish.
FNIC strives to serve the professional community (including educators, health professionals and researchers) by providing access to a wide range of trustworthy food and nutrition resources from both government and non-government sources. The FNIC website provides information about food and human nutrition.
Nutrition.gov serves as a gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers. The site is updated on an ongoing basis by a staff of Registered Dietitians at the Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) located at the National Agricultural Library (NAL), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Whether you like them sweet, sour, golden or red, cherries are in season! Their short season means you must enjoy them as much as you can now. But wait! They can also be preserved to save them for a later date.
Cherries can be preserved by canning, freezing, dehydrating, or made into canned pie filling, jam, jelly. The uses of fresh cherries are endless in many meals or just a simple snack.
Freezing is easy. Simply wash, remove stems and pits. Dry and spread on a tray in a single layer to freeze. Then place them in freezer containers. Cherries can also be frozen in a syrup or sugar pack.
If making canned pie filling, use sour cherries for that classic pie flavor. Use Clear Jel® starch (cook type) for best results.
Pinsa is an oblong flatbread pizza that was created in Rome by Corrado Di Marco in 2001. The crust is a made from a blend of wheat flour, rice flour, and soy flour. The wheat flour provides the gluten structure. The rice flour gives a lighter texture. The soy flour adds flavor, protein, and some chewiness.
The Pinsa can be baked in the oven or on a grill. The word Pinsa has a Latin origin meaning “to stretch or to beat or press.” This refers to stretching the dough to fill you up with only a few ingredients.
A Pinsa crust is crispy, light and airy. Toppings can be any favorite combination you prefer. A simple combination includes pesto, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Or make a dessert with fresh peaches, honey and walnuts.