Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

October 17, 2018

Would You Eat Slaughter-free Meat?






There's a looming crisis over the world's growing appetite for meat. Could a chicken running around a farmyard in San Francisco hold the key to a solution?
In 1931, Winston Churchill predicted that the human race would one day "escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium".
Eighty-seven years later, that day has come as we discovered at Just, a food company in San Francisco where we tasted chicken nuggets grown from the cells of a chicken feather.
The chicken - which tasted like chicken - was still alive, reportedly roaming on a farm not far from the laboratory.
This meat is not to be confused with the vegetarian plant-based burgers and other meat-substitute products which are gaining popularity in supermarkets.
No, this is actual meat grown from animal cells and variously described as cultured, synthetic, in-vitro, lab-grown or even "clean" meat.
It takes about two days to produce a chicken nugget in a small bioreactor, using a protein to encourage the cells to multiply, some type of scaffold to give structure to the product and a culture, or growth, medium to feed the meat as it develops.

ChickensImage copyrightALAMY
Image captionBillions of animals are slaughtered annually for meat

The result is not yet commercially available anywhere on earth but Just's chief executive Josh Tetrick says it will be on the menu in a handful of restaurants by the end of this year.
"We make things like eggs or ice cream or butter out of plants and we make meat just out of meat. You just don't need to kill the animal," Tetrick says.
We were given a rare taste and the results were impressive. The skin was crisp and the meat flavoursome although its internal texture was slightly softer than you would expect from a nugget at, say, McDonalds or KFC.
Tetrick and other entrepreneurs working on cellular meat say they want to stop the slaughter of animals and protect the environment from the degradation of industrial factory farming.
They say they are solving the problem of how to feed a crowded earth without destroying the planet, pointing out that their meat is not genetically-modified and does not require antibiotics to grow.
The United Nations says raising animals for food is one of the major causes of global warming and air and water pollution. Even as the conventional livestock industry strives to become more efficient and environmentally friendly, many doubt it will be able to keep up with the rising global appetite for protein.
We slaughter 70 billion animals each year to feed seven billion people, says Dr Uma Valeti, a cardiologist who founded California-based Memphis Meats, a leading cell-based meat company.
He says the global demand for meat is doubling as more people rise out of poverty and that humanity won't be able to raise enough cattle and chicken to sate the appetite of nine billion people by 2050.
"So we could just literally grow any meat, poultry or seafood directly from those animal cells," Dr Valeti says. "I think that is probably much bigger than sliced bread."
Many Americans say they are eating less meat but US Department of Agriculture (USDA) figures suggest the average consumer will still consume more than 222lbs (100kg) of red meat and poultry this year - about 20lb more than they ate in the 1970s.

A chicken sandwich in Boston
Image captionThe demand for meat is growing worldwide

The pioneer of cellular agriculture is Dutch scientist Mark Post. His first lab-grown hamburger, grilled in 2013, cost $300,000 (£228,000).
No company has yet scaled-up production to serve a cell-based patty commercially but Post estimates that if he started mass producing his burgers, he could get the cost of making them down to about $10 each.
"That's of course still way too high," he said.
If Just does manage to produce enough chicken nuggets to sell this year, it is unlikely to be in an American restaurant as the US government is still deciding how to proceed.
Most food in the US is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But some - mostly conventionally raised meat - is regulated by the USDA. So if you're buying a frozen pizza in the US, the USDA handles the pepperoni version and the FDA handles the cheese.
"There are a number of countries in Asia and Europe that we're talking to," Tetrick says. "There's a lack of clarity" about regulations in the US while the USDA and FDA hold public hearings, he explains.
"I think countries want to take the lead in this. Whether it's food scarcity, whether it's sustainability issues or they just want to build an entirely new economy, they want to take the lead in doing this," Tetrick said.
The eventual aim is to move cellular meat out of the laboratory and into large manufacturing plants.
There are now dozens of companies working in the field and they're attracting venture capitalist investment from across Silicon Valley and beyond. Billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson are among those who have ploughed money into the technology.
The product also has a more surprising benefactor in Tyson Foods, which has invested an undisclosed amount in Memphis Meats.
Tyson is the biggest meat processor in the US, processing around 424,000 pigs, 130,000 cows and 35 million chickens every week. So why is it investing in cellular meat?
The firm decided "to shift from being a meat company to a protein company," said Tom Mastrobuoni, chief financial officer for Tyson's venture capital arm, Tyson Ventures.
"We've made the conscious decision that we're going to be the biggest protein company," he added.
The cutting edge technology of Silicon Valley may be synonymous with the freewheeling, entrepreneurial spirit of the United States but this is still a country where tradition runs deep.
The Cattlemen's Association has a powerful lobby and there's arguably no symbol more revered or romanticised in the nation's history than the cowboy.
And so the ranchers of the mid-west are stepping into the debate about how this new product will be marketed - as clean meat, cellular meat, slaughter-free meat, ethical protein, or just meat?
On their ranch in the Ozarks, a mountainous region extending from Missouri into Arkansas, Kalena and Billy Bruce are feeding their herd of black Angus cattle, helped by their four-year-old daughter Willa.

Kalena and Billy Bruce, with Willa
Image captionKalena and Billy Bruce, with Willa

"I think it needs to be labelled accordingly - a lab-produced protein," says Billy Bruce. "When I think of meat I think of what's standing behind us, a live breathing animal," he adds.
The state of Missouri agrees. At the urging of farmers, the legislature has decreed that meat labels may only be applied to the product of livestock. It is a hint of the disruption which traditional agriculture feels could be on the way.
"From a transparency standpoint for consumers, so that they know what they're purchasing and what they're feeding their families, we think that it needs to be called something different," says Kalena Bruce.
Lia Biondo, the director of policy and outreach with the US Cattlemen's association, based in Washington, DC, says she expects the Missouri law could be replicated in other states.
"We will let those companies decide what to call their products just as long as they don't call it beef or meat," says Biondo.
But in any case, will anyone actually eat it, especially here in cattle country? 
Diners at Lamberts, a traditional Midwest restaurant in Ozark, Missouri, are going to take some convincing.
"Meat oughta be growed on a farm, out in the fields," declares Jerry Kimrey, a construction worker from Lebanon, Missouri.
Teacher Ashley Pospisil, also from Lebanon, says she would prefer not to eat cell-based meat.
"I like to know where it came from and that it's natural and not processed from a lab," she says.
Linda Hilburn, who is tucking into a (cow) steak before heading home to Guthrie, Oklahoma agrees.
"I kind of like it having four feet in the beginning," she says.
"There's just something about man's creation that scares me. We've created havoc here. I kind of like the idea of God's creation."
While Ms Hilburn is far from alone in feeling squeamish about the idea of "Frankenstein food" as critics have labelled it, Josh Tetrick insists that cell-based meat is entirely free from the many animal diseases which plague traditional meat production.
And he is betting on human experience favouring progress.
"At the end of the day whether you're talking about a move from picking ice to refrigerator or from slaughtering a whale to refining oil into kerosene and moving from kerosene to a light bulb... even though people called the light bulb the Devil's current... humanity managed to embrace something new. 
"It always happens and if I had to bet it'll happen for this too."

August 29, 2017

20,000 People and10 Yrs Suggests Heavy Coffee Drinkers Live Longer





Feel free to pour that second, third, or even fourth cup of coffee this morning.
Higher consumption of coffee is connected to a lower risk of death, says a study presented by Spanish researchers during the European Society of Cardiology Congress held in Barcelona.
The study, conducted by Hospital de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, featured nearly 20,000 participants and followed up with them for an average of 10 years. 
The study found participants who drank at least four cups of coffee a day had a 64% lower risk of death than those who never or almost never drank coffee.
The research also found for participants who were 45 or older, drinking two additional cups of coffee was linked to a 30% lower risk of death.
"Our findings suggest that drinking four cups of coffee each day can be part of a healthy diet in healthy people," said Dr. Adela Navarro, a cardiologist at Hospital de Navarra, in a statement.
The findings back up a pair of studies published earlier this year touting the benefits of drinking coffee. One of the studies found coffee was linked to a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

March 16, 2017

Trump Admin Said You Are Not being Served on Meals on Wheels






Fortune magazine said yesterday the popular program M onW wont be cut but today on a news conference with the WH pool of reporters today budget director Mick Mulvaney finally put this to rest. 

Fortune was wrong yesterday about saying this wont happen and so are people over 55  and people with disabilities that voted for a man that promised to cut all of these programs and give it to the military. People still refuse to believe that all the drastic things that Trump promised while running, He didn’t mean because that would be drastic and no president would do that. But if his imagining and tweeting he is being wired-tap by the exPresident or people are following him when is only his secret service detail, then you are thick. Be happy or be gone seems to be what some are saying you bought don’t play dumb now. 

The budget director on the Trump administration Mick Mulvany said that they see don’t see any good out of the Meals program. There should be something we are getting out of the Programs we fund He said. If “the administration has to tell a single poor mom why they are taking her money and spending on M on W  He said that would be irresponsible. He also stated they(admin) don’t administer or really fund wheels on meals but instead they give the money to the states in block grants and the states decide to fund meal on wheels.

                                                                            _*_

Throughout his campaign for president and since his election, Donald Trump has promised to reduce the size of government, cut taxes, eliminate regulations and slash numerous social programs, even as he boosts defense spending by billions.

His recently released budget proposal makes it clear he’s going to follow through on those threats.

One popular program facing elimination is “Meals On Wheels,” which uses federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to mobilize volunteers, businesses and donors to provide nutrition to thousands of senior citizens on a daily basis. It supports over 5,000 community-based organizations across America, reaching people in both urban and rural areas. 
 
The money for Meals On Wheels is part of the Older American Act, first passed in 1965 as part of LBJ’s Great Society, and endorsed by every president until Trump. The total cost, which includes other programs, is about $2 billion a year, which is less than the government hands out in fossil fuel subsidies every year.

Meals On Wheels alone costs about $3 million a year, which is the cost of just one trip to Trump’s “winter White House.”

On top of that, Trump’s proposed budget would “drastically reduce” the budget of the Food For Peace program, a State Department program that distributes desperately needed food supplies to areas across the globe that have been hit by famine or natural disaster. Since its creation in 1954 by President Eisenhower, it has helped feed more than 3 billion people.

It too has a budget that barely scratches $2 billion dollars – a drop in the bucket compared to the $54 billion that Trump is planning to pour into the military budget. 
 
Overall, the entire State Department budget also faces the ax, with a proposal to cut the $50 billion budget by almost one-third. It could have been worse, but Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a plea to ease the cuts, which in an earlier version were at a staggering 37 percent.

The needless cuts to critically important programs like Meals on Wheels and Food For Peace are literally taking food out of the mouths of hungry people. The State Department’s work around the world helps millions of people and builds much-needed goodwill for America’s international reputation, which has been dragged through the mud by President Trump’s abrasive isolationism.

Luckily, there was immediately Republican opposition to many of the proposed cuts. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says his party will not go along with the massive cuts to the State Department budget. Among the cuts, he said Republicans will oppose cuts in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development. 

Elderly people voted overwhelmingly for President Trump – and this is how he’s choosing to repay them. In 2014, 10.2 million American seniors faced the risk of hunger – a staggering 15% of all elder Americans. Trump needs to be pouring money into “Meals On Wheels,” not taking an axe to it.

It is absolutely appalling that in the richest nation in the world, our seniors cannot live their golden years without worrying where their next meal is coming from. Trump’s budget priorities tell you all you need to know about how he really feels about the struggles of the American people.

President Trump has made it clear once and for all that he cares nothing for the American people who are unlikely to ever dine with him at Mar-A-Lago and is willing to send millions of the most vulnerable into food insecurity and poverty just so that he can funnel the public’s money into the pockets of defense contractors and the ultra wealthy.

and adamfoxie blog intro.

April 6, 2015

The Chicken-less Egg

What Came First? Today is the Egg   




We might never learn which came first, the chicken or the egg, but we already know what’s coming next: the chicken-less egg.
Old-fashioned eggs are delicious and versatile, but nowadays most are produced in industrial factory farms, a system that requires a lot of energy, is highly polluting and involves force-feeding cramped, beak-less birds. So San Francisco-based startup Hampton Creek Foods has come up with a groundbreaking alternative: a plant-based egg that is healthier, safer and (they say) just as tasty. 
1.8 trillion eggs are laid every year, and 99 percent of them are produced in ways that would make most people want to throw up.
Seeing as eggs constitute an $8 billion market in the U.S. alone, Hampton Creek’s technology has tremendous commercial potential. “I realized the most effective way to change things is through capitalism, because it’s such an aggressive and powerful force,” says Josh Tetrick, who co-founded the biotech company with his best friend, Josh Balk, director of food policy at the Humane Society.
“We want to make it easier for good people to eat in a way that is good for the planet,” he explains. “1.8 trillion eggs are laid every year, and 99 percent of them are produced in ways that would make most people want to throw up.” 

In 2011, Tetrick began experimenting in his kitchen with everyday ingredients before quickly enlisting a team of biochemists, including people who had worked with noble laureates on a cure for HIV. His team studied the molecular structures of 1,500 types of plants from 40 different countries and identified 22 varieties with egg-like characteristics, such as the ability to emulsify and congeal.
Three years later, Hampton Creek has three products: Beyond Eggs, an egg-substitute powder sold in bulk to food manufacturers; Just Mayo, a cholesterol-free (and protein-free) mayonnaise-style condiment available for $4.49 at Whole Foods; and Eat the Dough, a chocolate-chip cookie dough that can safely be eaten raw (not yet available for sale).
The recipes don’t vary much from the originals, but Hampton Creek swaps out the eggs for vegetal ingredients like ground-up yellow peas, sorghum and canola oil.
There are already other companies selling egg substitutes, but they’re made mostly of potato starch and tend to be marketed to home bakers. Hampton Creek, on the other hand, offers plant-based products and targets both consumers and large food corporations. The company’s ambitions go far beyond satisfying a few vegan foodies; it wants to make the multibillion-dollar egg industry obsolete.
To keep up with all the demands for the growing global population, we need to be more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and have more quality and affordable choices.
Hampton Creek’s plans may sound like a pipe dream, but Bill Gates sees it differently. So far, Hampton Creek has raised $30 million in funding, and Gates is just one name on its long list of high-profile investors. Others include Li Ka-shing, No. 14 on the list of the world’s wealthiest men, and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
Backers are inspired by the company’s mission to provide a sustainable solution to the impending food crisis. In 2000, the global demand for eggs was 14 million tons — a number that’s expected to reach 38 million by 2030.
But what fascinates Silicon Valley investors most is the prospect of revolutionizing an industry that has barely changed in 100 years. “When you show them that 1.8 trillion eggs are laid in such antiquated ways, they are shocked,” explains Tetrick. “As capitalists who care about profits, they say, ‘This is crazy.’” 

 So Hampton Creek sells itself on economics as much as environmentalism. Nearly 70 percent of egg production costs comes from chicken feed, so if birds are removed from the equation, the profit margins become substantially more enticing.
Not surprisingly, conventional egg producers have gone on the defensive. To discourage consumers from trying “eggless” alternatives, the American Egg Board launched a campaign called “Accept No Substitutes.”
“Consumers want natural ingredients and a clean label,” says Joanne Ivy, the board’s president. “Nothing is much more natural than an egg.”
But folks at Hampton Creek beg to differ. Their headquarters may resemble a science lab, but their products contain no artificial flavors or colors. 
And to ensure that their inventions are not only eco-conscious but also taste great, chefs from the world’s top restaurants have been hired to work alongside the biochemists. So far, the products have fooled skeptics in blind tests, including celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern, who said, “I preferred the taste of their Just Mayo to Hellmann’s, my ‘must-have’ brand.”  
Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo.
For Tetrick, eggs are just the beginning. “We are like Google’s search engine: The more we catalog, the more we can offer,” he says. Hampton Creek’s scientists have also found a plant variety that could replace sugar, and one that smells like beef.
But before it can take on the meat industry, Hampton Creek has to prove it can move beyond the healthy, wealthy, eco-friendly crowd and capture the mainstream consumer. Tetrick is optimistic. “People don’t buy mayo because they love eggs. They buy it because they love mayo,” he says. By delivering great-tasting, natural alternatives, Tetrick hopes to win them over.
Food industry analyst Roger Roberts, of PA Consulting Group, thinks Tetrick’s bid is well-timed, and that the animal-based food industry is “the 21st century’s biggest dinosaur.” 
A crucial test will come in early 2015, when Hampton Creek’s boldest product — an eggless mix for scrambles — hits store shelves. Meanwhile, the startup just signed retail partnerships with six Fortune 500 companies and, with the help of Li Ka-shing, hopes to expand to China, where their plant-based egg substitute could mitigate the risk of avian flu. 
For a company with only 55 employees, scaling could be the next challenge. “I don’t want us to spread ourselves too thin,” says Tetrick. But with heavyweight investors and a tasty product that’s also good for the environment, Hampton Creek may have cracked the recipe for abolishing factory farming, one bite at a time.


Article taken from: OZY - Smarter, Fresher, Different 

July 23, 2014

What’s in McD’s famous french fries? Not just potato and oil?


Its summer and it’s getting hot, sometimes too hot to cook at home. But wether you cook at home or not there is always lunch time. For many it means a trip for fast food. McD’s french fries have always been number one in surveys and I most admit they are my favorites. Have you ever wonder what’s in those crunchy fries?? Thanks to an article in Wired we get the answers. I most admit I was disappointed. I always thought that it was just a very fine nicely cut potato. I’m aware than in NYC restaurants are not allowed to use hydrogenated fats so I assumed it was a potato fried in some sort of vegetable or canola oil. I was disappointed. After you read this if you could let me know how you feel about it I will appreciated it. It will also prompt me to post similar articles once in a while.  


What Exactly Is in McDonald’s French Fries?

POTATOES
Mickey D’s uses varieties like the Russet Burbank, which have a nice oval shape and just the right balance of starch and sugar. Excess sugar can cause a fry to have brown spots where it’s over-caramelized, leaving a burnt taste and deviating from the uniform yellow-arches color. Just in case, the spuds are blanched after slicing, removing surplus sugar.
SODIUM ACID PYROPHOSPHATE
Taters can turn a nasty hue even after they’re fried—iron in the spud reacts with the potato’s phenolic compounds, discoloring the tissue. The phosphate ions in SAPP trap the iron ions, stalling the reaction and keeping the potatoes nice and white throughout the process.
VEGETABLE OIL
In the good old days, McDonald’s fries were cooked in beef tallow. But customer demand for less saturated fat prompted a switch to vegetable oil in the early ’90s. Here, that means oils of varying saturations combined into something reminiscent of beef tallow. There’s canola (about 8 percent saturated fat), soybean oil (16 percent), and hydrogenated soybean oil (94 percent). And to replace the essence of beef tallow? “Natural beef flavor,” which contains hydrolyzed wheat and milk proteins that could be a source of meaty-tasting amino acids.
MORE VEGETABLE OIL
That’s right, the fries get two batches of vegetable oil—one for par-frying at the factory and another for the frying bath on location. The second one adds corn oil and an additive called TBHQ, or tertbutylhydroquinone, which at high doses can cause nasty side effects in rats (mmmm … stomach tumors). McDonald’s uses this oil for all its frying, so the stuff usually sits around in big vats, which means it can go rancid as oxygen plucks hydrogens from lipids. TBHQ acts as an antioxidant, replacing those pilfered hydrogens with its own supply.
DEXTROSE
A brief dip in a corn-based sugar solution replaces just enough of the natural sweet stuff that was removed by blanching. The result is a homogeneous outer layer that caramelizes evenly. You’ll add more sugar later when you squirt on the ketchup.
SALT
Sprinkled on just after frying, the crystals are a uniform diameter—just big enough to get absorbed quickly by crackling-hot oil. Now add ketchup and you’ve achieved the hedonistic trifecta: fat, salt, and sugar.
By: Katie M. Palmer

July 3, 2014

Flatten your belly with new information from studies: Dr.Oz


                                                                          

In the mood to blast belly fat and boost weight loss? Dr. Mehmet Oz says he has the answer for flattening your tummy with the newest discoveries. He revealed them on his talk show Monday, including tips on high-fat dairy backed by a new study.
When it comes to stubborn sags and fat bags, belly fat ranks on the top of the list of hard-to-budge spots. Dr. Oz says one key is to implement safe solutions for boosting your metabolism and thus accelerating weight loss. But if you think that means cutting fat, you're wrong.
Dr. Oz advises avoiding fat-free and low-fat foods, because they often replace fats with sugar. He recommends eating Swiss cheese, which is high in calcium, to flatten your belly.
And a new study supports his claim that full-fat dairy foods are safe. Researchers challenged the theory that eating dairy foods high in fat, such as cheese and butter, increase the risk of dying, reported Medical Xpress on Monday.
After completing their study, they found no risk of cardiovascular disease or other problems. Instead, they discovered that high fat dairy is healthy, said dietitian Therese O'Sullivan.
"Dairy fat has been shown to increase the good cholesterol in the blood," she revealed. In addition, the beneficial bacteria can "help with our gut biome," which has been shown to boost weight loss.
In addition to dairy, Dr. Oz recommends healthy fats such as avocado and olives. And to season that avocado, try hot sauce, which Dr. Oz says boosts your metabolism.
Another metabolism booster is green tea. Dr. Oz recommends two cups a day.
Seeking a supplement? Try L-Arginine, which helps your body burn more fat when you exercise. In addition, use acacia powder to stay full and cut down on your food.
For weight loss weapons, eat foods high in water, says Dr. Oz. Examples include cucumbers, watermelon and strawberries.
Do you suffer from carb confusion? You're not alone: Many dieters are unsure about the difference between "good" carbs and "bad" carbs.
Dr. Oz recommends choosing sweet potatoes to replace carbohydrates made with white flour. Theyre high in fiber (but skip the butter and marshmallows).

December 19, 2013

Has Your Expensive Steak Been Glued Together?

Thumbnail image for beef.jpg


Most of us, one time or another, have gone to large gatherings that served food during the occasion. The event may have been a 50th birthday, bar mitzvah, wedding anniversary, etc. Chances are included free with the meat was some glue, an adhesive enzyme.
 These enzymes are used to bandage meat remnants together. Did you ever wonder why the pieces of beef are all same uniform size when the plates hit the table. Corporate butchers actually mesh them together so they look like clones. It is done so well you don’t notice all the tiny pieces that make up your piece of steak. Taste is like what you are expecting so any difference is not recognized by your palate.
The sticky material is made of protein-like substance called transglutaminase. Some is made from blood plasma components that cause clotting in pigs and cattle. It can also be made from bacteria.
This glutenous material is mainly used for meals in restaurants, on cruise ships and for weddings.
Heat kills any disease-causing bacteria on the outside of the meat. With these glues, the beef under the glue may not reach the proper temperature to decontaminate the underlying surface. This risk is significantly increased when ordering a rare or medium-rare serving.
There have been links to food poisoning from consumption of steak. Since the diners never knew their meat was glued together, correlations about something that was invisible is very difficult to prove. This can also be done with fish, chicken and other meats.
Renovating Your Mind has discovered this video clip from Australia that shows how meat glue works seamlessly to trick our senses.

June 15, 2013

10 MYTHS About The American Food You BUY-Eat



food myths in america
Top 10 All-American Food Myths
(Photo: Jamie Grill/Getty)

Author and journalist Tracie McMillan went undercover along the American food chain—as a picker in the garlic fields of California, a stocker in a Detroit-area Walmart, and a kitchen worker at a Brooklyn Applebee’s—to write her myth-busting book The American Way of Eating. Her astute observations about our food system got our attention well before they rankled Rush Limbaugh, who attacked her book on-air. Here she shares with us her top 10 American food myths, in her own words.
Myth 1
Only the affluent and educated care about their meals; the higher your income, the more you will know about, and care about, what you eat.
Fact
The desire to eat well is universal. In a recent survey of low-income families, 85 percent said eating healthy food was a priority. Despite achingly low wages and long work days, sometimes at two jobs, the people I lived and worked with found creative ways to supplement their diets with fruits and vegetables—traveling long distances to farmers’ markets where their food stamps were doubled on produce, or through meal-sharing, or small gardens.  
Myth 2
In America, the land of plenty, we grow more than enough food for everyone to eat nutritiously. If we could distribute it more evenly and make it affordable, we could all eat well.
Fact
We all know Americans need to eat better, but the truth is there aren’t enough fruits and vegetables grown here to make it possible. The U.S. food supply contains less than 60 percent of the vegetables required to meet recommended daily allowances, and less than half of the fruit. To change that, the U.S. would need to more than double the acreage devoted to fruit and vegetable crops.


Myth 3
The price of produce is directly proportional to farm worker wages; lower prices mean lower wages, and vice versa.
Fact
The bulk of food costs are tied to transportation, processing, and marketing—a full 84 percent. A very small portion goes to farm labor. And the sad reality is, many farm employers routinely cook the books to underpay workers, recording fewer hours than were worked in the field to give the illusion that workers earn minimum wage. When I picked garlic in California, the highest wage I earned was $3.40 an hour. This was entirely illegal—and entirely common. If wages went up for everyone—via a minimum wage hike—the USDA estimates that food prices would increase by less than one percent. Similarly, if the wages of farm workers alone increased by 40 percent, the average American family would see this as a $16 per year increase in their grocery costs.
Myth 4
Rich people spend more on food than the poor.
Fact
Poor and working-class families spend a much larger share of their paychecks on food than the affluent. In 2010, households earning from $5,000 to $35,000 a year spent 16 to 35 percent of their income on food, whereas those earning $70,000 a year or more spent 8 percent. Imagine spending a third of your income on food! Our current food system makes eating healthy very difficult for a lot of Americans.
Myth 5
Finding nutritious food is as easy as going to the supermarket; if you can’t afford organic food, grocery stores offer abundant conventional produce options. It’s a matter of choosing good food over junk food.
Fact
All over our country, but especially in urban areas, there are communities where the primary grocery options are in liquor stores and convenience stores. Produce, if it’s offered, is often paltry and past its prime. People living in these “food deserts” spend a great deal of non-work time driving (if they have a car; and gas is not cheap) to get to a supermarket. It’s hard to believe if you live in an area where there are plenty of grocery stores that there are communities where they don’t exist. But it’s true.
Like water and electricity, real food—not processed, packaged food—is a natural resource all our communities should have ready access to.
Myth 6
Convenience foods—like Hamburger Helper—are time and money savers. Eating healthy is more expensive than eating junk food.
Fact
Food companies don’t want us to know it, but most of the convenience they’re selling us is an illusion. When I tried to make a from-scratch version of Hamburger Helper, I expected it would be faster, and it was: by one minute. In fact, a study of dual-income families’ cooking habitsfound that those who use convenience foods don’t save any time on meal prep. But what really shocked me was the price comparison. Making Hamburger Helper from scratch saved me 69 percent off the cost of the box, and 42 percent on the overall price of the meal.


Myth 7
Most of America’s produce is grown in the Heartland.
Fact
Farms in the Midwest are primarily dedicated to growing commodity crops like rice, wheat, soy, cotton, and corn. In 2008 we spent 42 percent of the nation’s farm subsidies on these crops (used primarily for sweeteners, fuel, animal feed, and grain) and just 5 percent on fruits and vegetables. Our fresh produce is grown largely in California or overseas.
Myth 8
Small farmers are the backbone of our agricultural system.
Fact
Farming has become an industrialized process, and most communities are fed by a shrinking number of very large farms, rather than a vast network of small, independent ones. Today, 6 percent of farms, at an average size of more than 2,200 acres, generate 75 percent of farm sales, making the 2010s an era of unparalleled economic concentration in agriculture. The vast scale of these farms is no accident: As supermarket chains consolidated in the 1990s, creating huge demand centered at one company, farmers had to get big, too. After all, a chain of 200 stores doesn’t need just one pick-up full of green peppers, but several semi-trucks’ worth. And those who couldn’t get big simply had to get out.
Myth 9
Walmart is the best solution to food deserts.
Fact
Walmart got to be our country’s largest grocer by leveraging massive quantities of scale, but here’s the thing: those economies require industrial food, boxed stuff that can sit around without going bad. Healthy food like produce can't be made as cheap. And though one in four American dollars spent on produce is at Walmart, it’s not necessarily the cheapest place for it. When I worked at Walmart, produce at my local supermarket was cheaper by 8 percent, and the meat cheaper by 17 percent. Walmart may draw you in with deals on the processed stuff – these are called loss leaders – but as soon as you start putting the fresh stuff in your cart, you may actually end up spending more.
Myth 10
Restaurants serve meals prepared from scratch, using raw ingredients and recipes.
Fact
Many restaurants do, of course! But just as many, from the least to the most expensive, and to varying degrees, are food assembly lines where workers simply heat, arrange, and serve food delivered to their back doors frozen or in bags. Chefs I worked with at Applebee’s lamented the time when they actually cooked food!

Featured Posts

Behind The Back of The Vice-Cheney Family

The Cheneys at former Vice President Dick Cheney's swearing-in in 2005   EMILY DAVIES People ...