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Exploring the Wild World of Milk Alternatives

Vogue | Posted on December 18, 2017

A single container of cow’s milk stands, somewhat awkwardly, alone. Why? Because cow’s-milk consumption in this country has plummeted—7 percent in 2015, an 11 percent further drop expected by 2020—and I’m about to taste my way through the wild and woolly world of alternatives. Almond milk may be the lait du moment, having seen sales in this country rise 250 percent from 2012 to 2015. But I have assembled soy, rice, cashew, coconut, macadamia, and pea. I have convened camel, sheep, horse, and goat. Everyone perches on stools and regards the first sample: store-bought soy. We’ve decided to rate each as one would wine, by appearance, aroma, and taste. I’ve added a column for nutritional content. From our notes the soy is “milky, creamy, a little brown, with likable viscosity, not too leggy.” It smells “nice, lightly sweet.” The taste: “a little sweet, a little vegetal. Like food.” The homemade version brings to mind a wonderful healing broth—and I momentarily wonder why we ever milked anything but soy. Almond milks—six different ones—are next. I immediately wish for a spittoon. One, blended with pistachios and hazelnuts, from an Italian company called Mand’Or, includes 23 grams of sugar per serving—more than half a can of Coke. The Blue Diamond brand almond milk (which I bought unthinkingly for my twelve dairy-free months of nursing) is “grayish,” “smelly,” and “tastes like salty wastewater.” Quinoa milk is muddy, thin, and reminiscent of the liquid left in the pot after cooking quinoa. Tiger nut—not a nut but a little sedge tuber—is very sweet and very beige, with tiny particles floating throughout and a faint savor of rubber. Flax milk (“pearly white,” “appropriately thick”) is tasteless. 

Hamburger chain Wendy's to reduce antibiotic use in beef supply

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

Hamburger chain Wendy’s Co laid out plans to trim the use of antibiotics that are important to human medicine from its beef supply.

The Silicon Valley paradox: one in four people are at risk of hunger

The Guardian | Posted on December 18, 2017

One in four people in Silicon Valley are at risk of hunger, researchers at the Second Harvest food bank have found. Using hundreds of community interviews and data modeling, a new study suggests that 26.8% of the population – almost 720,000 people – qualify as “food insecure” based on risk factors such as missing meals, relying on food banks or food stamps, borrowing money for food, or neglecting bills and rent in order to buy groceries. Nearly a quarter are families with children. “We call it the Silicon Valley paradox,” says Steve Brennan, the food bank’s marketing director. “As the economy gets better we seem to be serving more people.” Since the recession, Second Harvest has seen demand spike by 46%.

The simple way we might turn food waste into green energy

NBC | Posted on December 18, 2017

Scientists have been looking for solutions to the food waste problem, and now researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, think they've hit upon a possible fix. They say that by making use of a pair of simple chemical processes — hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion — we could turn food waste into environmentally friendly biofuel.

Your mood depends on the food you eat, and what you should eat changes as you get older

Science Daily | Posted on December 18, 2017

Diet and dietary practices differentially affect mental health in young adults versus older adults, according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Lina Begdache, assistant professor of health and wellness studies at Binghamton University, along with fellow Binghamton researchers, conducted an anonymous internet survey, asking people around the world to complete the Food-Mood Questionnaire (FMQ), which includes questions on food groups that have been associated with neurochemistry and neurobiology. Analyzing the data, Begdache and Assistant Professor of Systems Science and Industrial Engineering Nasim Sabounchi found that mood in young adults (18-29) seems to be dependent on food that increases availability of neurotransmitter precursors and concentrations in the brain (meat). However, mood in mature adults (over 30 years) may be more reliant on food that increases availability of antioxidants (fruits) and abstinence of food that inappropriately activates the sympathetic nervous system (coffee, high glycemic index and skipping breakfast).

Consumers increasingly dictate production, retail placement through emerging fork-to-farm model

Food Navigator | Posted on December 18, 2017

Increasingly savvy shoppers who are well-versed in food production and nutrition are turning the tables on the farm-to-fork marketing model that once educated them and inuenced what they consumed to create a fork-tofarm model that requires producers, manufacturers and retailers to meet their continuously changing preferences for new products and increased quality, according to Rabobank analysts.

USDA Clears Arizona to Test SNAP Fraud Prevention Improvement

USDA | Posted on December 13, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cleared the state of Arizona to test a program aimed at limiting fraud and reducing illegal trafficking in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic benefit (EBT) cards. The two-year waiver, granted by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), will allow the state to require direct contact with SNAP benefit recipients who request a replacement EBT card more than two times in a 12 month period.

Perdue: SNAP changes won't threaten 2018 farm bill

Politico | Posted on December 13, 2017

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Tuesday that he did not believe that GOP-desired changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, like stricter work requirements for able-bodied adults, would disrupt Congress' ability to pass a farm bill."I think the coalition that has passed the farm bill for years will be maintained," Perdue said during a speech at the National Press Club, referring to the long-standing alliance between anti-hunger and agriculture groups that has been crucial to securing votes for farm bills."By and large, there is a bipartisan group of people that believe able-bodied adults without dependents shouldn’t rely on supplemental nutrition assistance forever," he added.Perdue didn't directly answer a question about whether recent actions by the USDA to give states greater flexibility in administering SNAP were part of President Donald Trump's broad review of welfare programs.

Food Stamp Fight Looms In Congress After Tax Code Overhaul

Huffington Post | Posted on December 12, 2017

Democrats have warned that after passing a tax bill that adds to the national debt, Republicans will say it’s all the more urgent to cut Social Security and Medicare.While overhauling those popular programs is a long-term Republican goal, in the near-term conservative lawmakers are more eager to cut food stamps.Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), founder of the House Freedom Caucus, told HuffPost on Tuesday that the influential bloc of conservative Republicans will push for “welfare reform” legislation next year that would add new restrictions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.“That’s what’s coming,” Jordan said, adding that President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) support the idea. ”It’s got huge support. We just need to get it done next year.”

Tyson terminates contract with Atlantic Farm in response to undercover video

Meat + Poultry | Posted on December 12, 2017

Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, terminated its contract with Atlantic Farm, a poultry production operation, after undercover video footage depicting animal cruelty was released by an animal rights group on Dec. 6. A representative from Compassion Over Killing posing as an employee recorded undercover video footage of what Tyson officials referred to as “egregious, inexcusable” actions by workers at the facility over the course of several weeks.