"So I decided on a radical experiment. I would spend eight weeks each on six different plans representing the various options for would-be dieters, from popular fads to clinical studies: the Abs Diet, the Paleo Diet for Athletes, the Mediterranean Prescription, the Okinawa Program, the advice of a personal nutritionist, and the USDA's nutritional pyramid. [more inside]
Are Healthy Foods Really More Expensive? (6.78 MB PDF) It turns out that it depends on how you measure the price. In a recent study by the USDA, some 4,439 foods were compared using the following metrics: the price of food energy ($/calorie), the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams), the price of an average portion ($/average portion), and the cost of meeting the federal dietary recommendations for each food group. The study found that for all metrics except the price of food energy ($/calorie) healthy foods cost less than less healthy foods (defined as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar, and/or sodium, or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations).
Atomic Bread Making At Home is an in-depth article covering the ingredients, manufacture, and chemistry of; market research into; and social impact of the 1950's-era USDA No.1 white pan loaf.
The USDA has ended the pyramid scheme. For the first time, the USDA advises Americans to "eat less." The previous design abomination (previously) is archived for comparison.
American Meat Is Even Grosser Than You Thought In the focus on E. coli and salmonella, meat contaminated by heavy metals, veterinary drugs and pesticides has been slipping through the bureaucratic cracks. PDF report from USDA via. Pesticides previously and more.
USDA makes available in map form a searchable, county-level compendium of data about food in the United States.
Ammonia-injected centerfuged fatty trimmings = pink slime + E. Coli. Eight years ago, federal officials were struggling to remove potentially deadly E. coli from hamburgers when an entrepreneurial company from South Dakota came up with a novel idea: injecting beef with ammonia.
Undercover video (warning: very graphic) released by the Humane Society reveals abuse of animals on the slaughterhouse floor and other code violations. [more inside]
Find out what's in it before it's in you... using free software provided by the US Department of Agriculture's database. The information, which can be kept on a PC (Windows) or PDA (Palm OS), provides a detailed listing of nutrients (calories, protein, fat, carbs, sugars, vitamins, minerals) on almost 7,000 foods, including processed and fast foods.
SOS or Safegaurd Organic Standards is what the Organic Consumers Association is calling their effort to protect the USDA's National Organic Program's organic food standards adopted in 2002. A rider attached to the 2006 agriculture appropriations bill and sponsored by the Organic Trade Association contains changes to the standards that in their view will make "technical corrections" to the national organic standards. This became necessary in their view after a 73-year-old organic blueberry farmer from Maine named Arthur Harvey won a court appeal against the USDA, arguing that federal regulations guiding organic food standards were less stringent than the original legislation had intended. This issue is splitting the organic standards lobbying community. Or perhaps this has been in the works for sometime as large corporate food producers have moved to take advantage of the rapid growth of the organics market. (more inside)
USDA releases new food pyramid(s). Instead of one cogent nutritional guideline for all Americans, the USDA has released a dozen because "one size doesn't fit all." Dietitians have advocated revision for a while now but change has been slow. According to author Marion Nestle, the nutritional guidelines have become highly politized by industry lobbyists: "My first day on the job, I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat' as a way to reduce intake of saturated fat." Newspeak for sweets appears to be discretionary calories; are we doing any better?
The US Government pronounces the Food Pyramid dead. More information from the USDA. Hail the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005! The guidelines won't be released for a couple months yet, but some graphics on Food Groups, being On The Go and Physical Activity are being circulated as teasers.
"The directives have not changed anything. They are just clarifications of what is in the regulations that were written by the National Organic Standards Board" Think your "organic" food is pesticide free? Not if the Bush Administration has their way. War is Peace and all that jazz... via Grist Magazine
"64 grams of fat, 2,090 milligrams of sodium, and enough cholesterol to kill anything that's ever lived." 104% of your USDA daily requirements of saturated fat. 231% of your daily intake of cholesterol. Swanson's Hungry-Man All-Day Breakfast! (Pancakes included.)
Biological Incident Even the food industry is concerned when medicinally-modified crops spread their genes to food crops. How can accidental or intentional contamination be stopped? Is even the USDA's power to quarantine and destroy enough?