In case you’ve missed the recent stream of news, Nutella is being pulled from grocery store shelves in Europe due to a fear it may cause cancer. Before you skim these headlines and run to trash your chocolatey spread, let’s examine the facts.
The European Food Safety Authority, an organization similar to the United States’ Food and Drug Administration, recently released a report stating when palm oil is heated above 200°C (392°F), it forms glycidyl fatty acid esters – compounds which are genotoxic (damaging to DNA) and carcinogenic (cancer promoting).
While Nutella certainly should be evaluated, many other food products also contain palm oil - including ice cream, bread, chocolate, and peanut butter. Even so, when you read Nutella’s ingredient label, it’s understandable why consumers would be concerned. Ingredients are listed on packages by weight in descending order, and the second ingredient in Nutella is palm oil, following sugar.
The swirl of controversy around Nutella’s potential can...
From the classroom to the locker room, from the restroom to the water fountain, and from the cafeteria to the library, schools can be a breeding ground for germs. Schools are also places where many people are close together for periods of time. This means that it’s easier to spread germs and get sick.
One of the most effective (and simplest!) ways to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands—which is a fact many of us are aware of by now. In fact, in a study of 305 school children, it was found that those who washed their hands four times a day had 24% fewer sick days due to respiratory illness and 51% fewer days due to upset stomach.
But even though we are aware that it’s important, the basics in hand washing are often lacking. Did you know that most students don’t clean their hands often or well enough? In another study, only 58% of female and 48% of male middle and high school students washed their hands after using the bathroom. Of these, only 33% o...
As the health of our children continues to be at the forefront of U.S. school foodservice policy, here’s what policymakers and school communities are thinking about, talking about and putting into action.
New Ways to Incorporate More Fruits and Vegetables: single-serve packages of sliced fresh fruits and vegetables for students on-the-go; allergy-free trail mix made with dried fruit; unsweetened apple and pear sauce; smoothies; fruit and veggie beverages, baked sweet potato “fries” and puffs; felafel and hummus.
Whole Grain Rich Foods – For Snacking Too!: whole grain pancakes and waffles, whole grain pretzels, crackers, majority of breads served are whole grain, in addition to whole grain salads and incorporating whole grains in soup.
Lower-Sodium Foods: reduced sodium sauces for stir fry dishes; reduced sodium salsa and pasta sauce; reduced sodium deli meats; fresh, whole foods prepared in house.
Kid Favorites Made Healthy: pizzas made with whole grain cru...
There are a large number of concerns about genetically modified organisms and genetic engineering. Many feel that there has not been sufficient testing of the effects of this technology on both the environment and humans. Specific concerns about genetically modified organisms include:
Allergic reactions: One potential problem is that with known allergens; for example, inserting genes from nuts into other foods without the public’s awareness. There is also the fear that all of this playing around with genes could create new allergies.
Gene mutation: There are questions about the stability and integrity of organisms after forcing genes from one organism into another. Could this lead to abnormalities and further organism mutation? How would this affect human DNA?
Antibiotic resistance: Most GMO food contains antibiotic resistance “marker genes.” These help producers determine whether gene transfers have been successf...
GMO stands for genetically modified organism, which is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a living thing in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally. The technology is often called “modern biotechnology” or “gene technology,” sometimes also “recombinant DNA technology” or “genetic engineering.”
This allows individual genes to be selected and transferred from one organism to another as well as between non-related species (for example, wheat and tomatoes). These methods are used to create genetically modified plants/crops.
Today, crops that are most subject to genetic engineering are corn, soy, cotton, canola and sugar beets. The original goal of this technology was to strengthen varieties of crops, (especially those commodity crops just mentioned) and improve yields, but has since its inception sparked much debate among scientists, farmers, corporat...
1. Thawing a frozen turkey requires patience. The safest method is to thaw turkey in the refrigerator. Be sure to plan ahead — it takes approximately 3 days for a 20 pound turkey to fully defrost.
2. For crispier skin, unwrap the turkey the day before roasting and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350°F oven for a defrosted turkey and 10-15 minutes per pound for fresh.
4. A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not densely stuffed. Consider adding flavor by loosely filling the cavity with aromatic vegetables — carrots, celery, onion or garlic work nicely — or by carefully tucking fresh herbs underneath the breast skin. For the stuffing lovers, cook the dressing in a casserole dish on the side.
5. For even roasting, truss your turkey.
6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with veg...
It’s BBQ season! With great, grilled food comes great responsibility. This time of year can be rife with cases of food poisoning as families and friends prepare food outdoors in hot weather and with minimal access to sinks and other supplies.
Check out some of these tips for safe grilling!
Keep It Clean
* Before you fire up, scrub down the grill, all outdoor utensils, coolers and other containers with hot, soapy water.
* Always wash utensils in warm, soapy water between uses.
* Figure out a hand washing strategy so that you can wash your hands before, during and after handling foods outside. The best way to wash your hands is in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
Separate to Prevent Cross-Contamination
* Use one set of plates and utensils to handle raw foods and another set for cooked foods. Cross-contamination is the top food safety concern during the outdoor grilling season.
I’ve unfortunately been plagued with food poisoning recently, not once, but twice, due to food eaten in restaurants. Anyone who has had food poisoning in any form knows just how unpleasant it can be. I was so affected by these incidents that I was inspired to write (and complain) about it and reinforce ways to prevent it.
And I want to emphasize that food safety and foodborne illness are NOT to be taken lightly. As we have seen recently in the news regarding bacterial contamination of ground beef, peanuts and spinach, the everyday activity of eating food can become a life or death situation.
Foodborne illness is sickness caused by consuming foods or beverages contaminated by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Foodborne illness typically results in abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever. While many symptoms are mild, foodborne illness can lead to severe medical complications and as we know, is even fatal if left untreated...