Sunday, January 30, 2011

Local Food Connection: Eugene Oregon Conference

A group called “Local Food Connection” is hosting a conference in Eugene, OR, on February, 7th, 2011 to help connect local food producers and commercial fishermen to local customers and food buyers.

The Agenda will include workshops on marketing to and directly contacting local consumers and restaurants, and marketing to other food outlets.

Admission for the whole day workshop is $25, including tours. Trade show booths are also available for $50.  The event will be held at the Lane Community College, in Eugene, OR, at the Center for Meeting & Learning, Building 19.

For more information, for the agenda or to register, contact Local Food Connection via the Internet at:  www.localfoodconnection.org or call Willow Cordain, Event Coordinator, at (541)821-1332.

source: Fishlink Sublegals

Thursday, January 27, 2011

USDA 2011 Consumer Price Index

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service has released its 2011 Consumer
Price Index analysis for projections on food prices.

According to the index, overall food prices are expected to increase 2% to 3% this year.

Food purchased from grocery stores as well as food-away-from-home (restaurant) prices are forecasted to increase 2 to 3 percent.

Although food price inflation was relatively weak for most of 2009 and 2010, higher food commodity and energy prices have recently exerted pressure on wholesale and retail food prices.

As a result, higher prices are projected to push inflation toward the historical average inflation rate of 2 to 3 percent in 2011.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Food Riots Becoming Common

Riots have broken out across the world over high food prices. This year, prices for food have reached an all-time high since 1990. In Tunisia and Algeria, hundreds have been injured while some have even been killed due to uprisings over the unjust price of food. Countries that have yet to experience demonstrations have been stocking up on groceries in efforts to keep their citizens calm.

Climate change is one of many causes explaining the recent excessive food prices. Across the planet, weather has been unpredictable and damaging to crops. Farming often provides less available food than anticipated and costs therefore increase.

For example, crops in Pakistan suffered from massive flooding, and Russian crops were hit by record heat in 2010. In Laos and Cambodia, unpredictable rainfall foiled many crops.  Climate change experts predict that this sort of unreliable weather will only become more common in the future as global warming accelerates.

As a result of unruly weather, cereal prices rose nearly fifty percent, and meat and sugar costs have been at their highest in the past twenty years. In efforts to address the prices, Nicholas Sarkozy, France’s President and the new Chairman of the G20, has put the issue on this week’s G20 economic reform agenda in Washington, D.C.

"The reality is that the same speculators that caused the global economic meltdown through their illustrious trade in sub-prime mortgages, are betting on our food system now too," says Deborah Doane, from the World Development Movement. Speculators play a big role in this situation as they have been pouring investment dollars into indexes of food prices, causing much talk over the subject.

source: Fishlink Sublegals

Friday, January 21, 2011

Emory University School of Medicine Study Links Fried Fish Consumption to Strokes

Research from Emory University’s School of Medicine seems to suggest that fried fish may contribute to strokes in Americans living in the Southeastern part of the United States.

A study published in the Dec. 22 online issue of the journal Neurology found that people living in the "stroke belt" eat more fried fish than people living in the rest of the country.

The stroke belt includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Previous studies have shown people living in this region are more likely to die from a stroke than people living in other parts of the United States. Blacks are more affected than whites.

The study’s author, an Emory neurologist, says the type of fish is just as important as the preference to eating the fish when cooked fried.

“While all fish contain healthy omega-3 acids, the amount of these essential nutrients varies depending on the type of fish and the cooking methods,” says Fadi Nahab, MD, an assistant professor of neurology in Emory University School of Medicine and medical director of the stroke program at Emory University Hospital.

Previous studies have shown that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel, may reduce the risk of stroke, and the American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish at least two times per week with an emphasis on fatty fish.

The new study from Emory University seems to imply that while eating fish is healthy, it may be better to limit frying and instead use healthier cooking methods such as baking, broiling, grilling or poaching. 




source: Emory University press release

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Nutritional Standards for School Meals Proposed

On January 13, 2010, The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a proposed rule to update the nutrition standards for meals served through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 13, 2010.

The new proposed meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in fifteen years and will make critical changes to school meals and help improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day, an important component of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to solve the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.

The proposed changes to school meal standards, which would add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk to school meals, are based on recommendations released in October 2009 by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (IOM) and presented in their report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children. Schools would also be required to limit the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories, and trans fats in meals. A comparison of the proposed nutrition standards can be viewed here.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act gives schools and communities new tools to meet the challenge of providing more nutritious food including increasing school lunch reimbursements by 6 cents per meal, and increasing technical assistance. School meal programs are a partnership between USDA, State agencies and local schools, and USDA will work with schools and communities to help improve meals so that they are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

According to government data, almost 32 percent of children 6 to 19 years of age are overweight or obese; the number of obese children in this age range has trebled in the last few decades. These children are more likely to have risk factors associated with chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. Updated school meal standards are a central part of the strategy developed by President Obama's Childhood Obesity Task Force to provide healthier food at schools, and in turn, work toward resolving childhood obesity.

USDA is seeking input on the proposed rule from the public through April 13, 2011. Those interested in reviewing the proposal and offering comments are encouraged to do so at www.regulations.gov

According to USDA, comments will be considered carefully in finalizing the rule before it is implemented.

source: USDA press release

Congress Pours Money Down the Drain

According to Food & Water Watch, bottled water costs for Congress were a staggering $190,000 in the first quarter of 2010.

The watchdog group is suggesting that members of Congress should support investment in the nation's drinking water infrastructure, rather than spending public dollars on drinking water served in plastic containers.

The issue of clean water becomes more important each year as communities find themselves struggling to obtain enough of the resource to fill their needs.

Legislators must choose between environmental issues and constituent needs. Obviously, big business does its part to influence Congress. In a perfect world, our officials would do the right thing when water-related issues came to the table.