Categories
Food Policy Grocery Health Packaged Food Sweets

Mexico’s New Junk Food Labels Face Fierce Opposition From U.S., Other World Powers

In October 2020, Mexico is poised to take a monumental step forward to combat junk food and obesity issues the country faces. Already, black octagon labels are showing up on the front packaging of food products that warn of foods with excessive calories, sugar, salt, and saturated or trans fat.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

These labels are designed to meet requirements the Mexican government will enforce starting in October: requirements that, apparently, the US and other world powers oppose.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

According to Reuters, a meeting minutes document from the World Trade Organization shows the US, Canada, the European Union, and Switzerland trying to persuade Mexico to delay their labeling enforcement for anywhere from 1-2 years.

The United States, for example, expressed support to combat obesity, but thinks the regulations are “more trade restrictive than necessary to meet Mexico’s legitimate health objectives,” arguing that “Mexico has chosen more stringent nutrient thresholds than the thresholds set by other countries.”

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

All of the countries supported a delay, with reasoning behind it being the impact of COVID-19 on the food and beverage industry. A Mexican government official told Reuters that they objected to delaying the rules.

Laws that combat obesity and reveal high-calorie and junk foods are gaining more traction globally. Chile was one of the first to introduce such laws in 2016, and saw a reduction in the consumption of sugary drinks by 23%. Some American cities, including Berkeley, have also implemented sugar taxes in recent years that showed similar results. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also found that regulations such as these are instrumental in reducing obesity globally.

The United States itself has food labeling regulations that require added sugars to be marked in the Nutrition Facts, but the Trump Administration’s FDA has indefinitely delayed enforcement of the labels.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Lobbyist groups from both the United States and Canada have also put pressure on Mexico for these laws in the past. Mexico first passed the legislation in October of 2019, giving the industry a year to make the labeling changes.

Initial rules in the now-ratified US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would have prevented any front-of-packaging labeling of the sort to be issued. While this did not make it into the final agreement following media attention to the rules, the finalized version still has a clause that “technical regulations concerning labels… do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade.”

The United States is a known bully when it comes to food packaging labeling, having challenged multiple countries over their laws in the past, claiming them to be a threat to US trade and business interests. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA officials criticized multiple countries for such regulations in their most recent National Trade Estimate report.

Canada, who has its own front-of-packaging law, is already facing such challenges from US and Canadian lobbyist groups over its rules.

Photo: Erick Schmal // MexicanElite on Instagram

Combatting junk food through labeling has already proven to have a significant effect in reducing obesity. Mexico is taking a stronger approach than most countries, including local trading partners like the US, with its new regulations, leading to such political pressure.

We’ll have to see if any more challenges come to Mexico’s legislation as the October enforcement of the labeling draws nearer.

Categories
News

The U.S. Could Soon Be Seeing A Meat Shortage, Here’s What To Expect

You might very well see fewer meat options the next time you’re at the grocery store, as America may soon be facing a meat shortage in the not-too-distant future while the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe. This also means you might experience elevated meat costs, or limited selections while dining out. Yes, it sucks, but it’s reality right now.

Bloomberg reports that with slaughterhouses across the country closing down over workers falling ill to COVID-19, meat may be scarce in grocery stores in the months to come.

John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods, Inc, said in a statement that even if plants and facilities were to shut down for only a few months, that would equate to the loss of millions of pounds of meat. Animals such as chicken, pigs, and cattle will face depopulation resulting from the closure of processing facilities.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson says.

This shortage has already been affecting the fast food industry as KTLA reported 18 percent of Wendy’s stores across the United States have already stopped serving hamburgers due to meat closures. Due to this, the chain has shifted to highlighting their chicken sandwiches.

Folks, even with meat becoming scarce for a while, be sure to practice safe habits when shopping and never buy more than you need. Otherwise, this pandemic just continues on.

Categories
Health

Costco Now REQUIRES You To Wear A Mask Before Entering Their Warehouse

As more and more people flock to Costco to stock up  during this period of self isolation, the national warehouse club has been having to update their policies pretty frequently to ensure the safety of all its members and guests. The latest in these policies is a new requirement that everyone looking to enter their warehouse will be required to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Effective May 4, the company announced that all Costco members and guests will have to wear a mask or face covering that covers the mouth and nose at all times while inside their warehouses.

The only exceptions will be children under the age of two or individuals who can’t wear a face covering because of an existing medical condition.

Costco also stresses that this policy is definitely not a substitute for social distancing (which should always be practiced throughout this pandemic). Looks like if you’re planning to go to Costco next week, you better have a mask ready. Otherwise you’ll be waiting in that long line for nothing.

Categories
Fruits & Vegetables

Avoid Grocery Store Lines With This A La Carte Produce Box Shipped Straight To Your Door

While everyone’s trying their best these days to stay inside, the dilemma of getting fresh fruits and vegetables presents itself for those looking to steer away from eating cans of corned beef hash and beans every other day. Trust me, canned food gets old QUICK.

Melissa’s Produce, is offering a sliding scale of amazing produce boxes that you can order and have shipped anywhere in the United States (though Southern California residents get free shipping).

You can order boxes of mixed fruits and vegetables depending on which type of produce you lean heavier towards.

If you lean heavy towards making vegetable-based dishes, perhaps a 70/30 box is something you need. If your diet is a little bit of both down them middle, consider the 50/50 box. Options also include a fruits only or vegetables only box for those who’d rather have one or the other. There’s even a box crafted towards making fresh juices.

If you’re looking for your produce fix without stepping foot outside the comfort of your own home, definitely check them out.

Categories
Fast Food

Chick-fil-A Just Announced They’re Installing Hand Wash Stations At Every Drive-Thru Nationwide

With restaurants around the world taking extreme precautions to futhur prevent the spread of COVID-19, fast food chains such as Chick-fil-A have taken the necessary steps to keep their employees hands as clean as possible.

The chicken sandwich chain just announced that they’ll be installing hand wash stations at every Chick-fil-A drive-thru and mall location nationwide beginning on April 11, reports NRN.

Employees working outside in the drive-thru will be required to wash their hands every 30 minutes and every time they interact with cold hard cash, on top of their already mandated disinfecting routines, to give themselves and customers that extra layer of protection against the virus.

Image Courtesy of Chick-Fil-A

The company is also encouraging customers to swipe their own cards during transactions to minimize foreign contact between employees. Some employees are even said to be wearing non-surgical face coverings while working in the restaurant.

As someone who’s been extra nervous about picking up food from restaurants, this extra precaution brings me some much-needed relief.

Categories
Food Trends Health Plant-Based Products Science Technology

This New Protein Made from Thin Air Might Just Save the Planet

Photo: Solarfoods.fi for Solar Foods

In what is perhaps one of the most interesting and oddly inventive ideas ever introduced to the world of food, Finnish based Solar Foods has created a protein made from thin air. Founded in 2017, Solar Foods is a food-tech company that specializes in innovative food production on a global scale. Their new creation is called Solein® and is dubbed a revolutionary bio-tech solution that enables natural protein production using renewable air and electricity. Naturally, these simple ingredients are utilized by a rather unique yet complex method called bioprocess. Bioprocess uses complete living cells or their components (e.g. bacteria, enzymes, chloroplasts) to obtain desired products. What that means in layman’s terms is that Solein® has the potential to be a new alternative to plant-based and animal-based protein that doesn’t rely on terrestrial resources. 

This is significant because the food industry has a massive impact on worldwide carbon emissions. It’s reported that livestock contribute 14.5% of anthropogenic greenhouse emissions. Anthropogenic means man-made. That’s the equivalent of 7.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. To get a sense of the scale, here’s an excerpt from The Washington Post, written by reporter Chris Mooney:

“In the International System of Units, the prefix “giga” means 109, or one billion (1,000,000,000). Hence terms like “gigawatt” or “gigahertz.” Thus, a gigaton is equivalent to a billion metric tons.

A male African elephant might weigh, at most, 6.8 metric tons, according to the San Diego Zoo. So a gigaton is well over a hundred million African elephants. As for sea life, the blue whale can weigh as much as 146 metric tons, according to NOAA. So a gigaton is more than 6 million blue whales.”

“We’ve set out to change humankind’s approach to food,” Pasi Vainikka, Solar Foods CEO says. Suffice to say, it requires thinking outside of the box to truly combat this cubicle of impending crisis. Using renewable air and electricity, Solar Foods’ believes Solein® will help create a new era of food diversity. Time will determine the effectiveness of this new protein. If the fate of the world interests you, further information about Solein® can be found here.

Photo: Solarfoods.fi for Solar Foods
Categories
Fast Food Health

10 Unhealthy Items to Limit in Your Menu

We’re pretty sure you know all of the following items are not good for you. But we all need a reminder every now and again that we should remove or at least eat less unhealthy food. If you’re willing to go on a healthier journey with us, read on.  

I know that it can be quite tough to keep to a healthier lifestyle, especially since life always seems to get in the way of that. With deadlines and disturbances in our schedules, kids just being kids or just too much stress, one of the first things to go out the window is healthy eating. But just because you sometimes sin, it doesn’t mean that you can’t course correct. And there is one simple thing you can always do to get your good habits back on track: removing unhealthy food from your diet.

We’ve already talked about those food groups that you should definitely let die on the supermarket shelves. But right now, let’s see which are the particular items to let go off. Of course, they might be already a part of your routine. But routines can change, can’t they?

All of the following have a way of making the rates of heart disease and diabetes rise, so whatever you gain in time or pleasure by eating them, would probably be undone very quickly once you get to the doctor. And they might ruin your skin, too.

10 unhealthy food items you should stop eating

1. Potato chips

Also known as crisps in the UK, potato chips have a lot speaking against them. Like the fact that they’re loaded with salt, bad fats, and calories. It’s no surprise there – they have been deep-fried after all, and are probably dripping with trans fats (the absolute worst!).

Unhealthy Food: 10 Items to Limit in Your Menu
Buy them as rarely as possible: chips are loaded with salt, bad fats, and calories.

2. Fat-free dairy

Marketing fooled us all into thinking that less fat in dairy products is better. But that’s not so. In order to make the low-fat or 0 percent fat products more palatable, they are often loaded with sugar or additives. Also, fat in dairy is not as evil as we all had thought until now.

3. Ice cream

I know, I don’t want to believe it either. But unfortunately, ice cream is usually a calorie bomb ready to explode in your arteries. Of course, as hot as this summer has been, I can’t urge you to give up on the frozen treat completely. But maybe have a bit less? Or learn how to make it yourself. And sometimes swap it out for vegan popsicles or frozen yogurt, ok?

4. Margarine

In my house, when I was a kid, we used margarine a lot instead of butter, because butter was supposedly fatter. But oh boy, were we wrong here! Margarine is so much worse. It’s made with hydrogenated vegetable oils and it’s rich in trans fats. It’s also been connected to higher risk of heart disease and cancer.

5. French fries

This one really hurts for me, because it’s one of my comfort foods. I love the saltiness and the crunchiness of a well-made batch. But unfortunately for all of us fry-lovers, French fries are an unhealthy food. On serving has somewhere between 200 to 340 calories and so much sodium! Not to mention that they’re practically doused in unhealthy oils!

Unhealthy Food: 10 Items to Limit in Your Menu
Even if you make them at home, French fries are bad for you. Try baking them in the oven.

6. Soda

Do I even have to explain why soda is bad for you? I will, anyway. But we all more or less know by now that soda is mostly just sugar, and sugar is evil. Soda drinks can increase the risk of having cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and osteoporosis. So put that can down and step away from the soda refrigerator in the supermarket.

7. White bread

Even if you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you still should lay off the white bread.First of all, it has no nutritional value, because the grain is stripped of all of its nutrients. But it also makes your blood sugar levels spike up, and too much of it can lead to plenty of health issues. So try to switch it out with whole grains as much as possible.

8. Microwave popcorn

Think about opening that bag of popped kernels and what do you first feel or see? That’s right, the oiliness and saltiness. There is way too much bad fat in a bag like that. Plus, there are plenty of toxic chemicals in each and every bag! Instead, maybe try to make some air-popped corn?

9. Processed meat

Deli meats, any type of salami, hot dogs and other processed meats are actually bad news for your health. Yeah, I know they’re tasty, but at what cost? A number of studies have found links between these and colorectal cancer, to name just one. And that’s because they’re full of carcinogens, synthetic chemicals, and toxic preservatives.

10. Energy drinks

What? You were not expecting that a drink which gives you insane amounts of energy is bad for you? Well, these drinks are loaded with glucose, sucrose, and caffeine, which are really really unhealthy.

If you crave for a sweet drink, try a smoothie instead:

Categories
Health

Three Fish Servings a Week May Protect You from Cancer

Do you want to significantly lower the chances of having bowel cancer? Science has good news for you: you should have three fish servings every week, according to major new research. 

The research was published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and was funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). It had almost half a million subjects. According to the data collected by the team, regularly eating fish, about three servings per week, lowers the risk of bowel cancer by 12%.

Eating oily fish like herring, mackerel, and salmon already had a positive reputation, health-wise. These fish protect heart health, but also protect your brain from degenerative conditions. This is all thanks to the anti-inflammation properties of omega-3 fatty acids found in them.

A few fish servings per week have a great impact

The new research is the first one conducted on a large scale that makes a connection between eating fish and having a lower risk of bowel cancer. Researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer followed over 476,160 people hailing from all over Europe, during a time frame of 15 years.

But what kind of fish servings? It doesn’t matter that much. According to the study, both lean and fatty fish hit the sweet spot when it comes to lowering the risk of bowel cancer. But the same thing cannot be said for shellfish, FYI.

“This large study adds to the scientific evidence suggesting that consuming fish could reduce the risk of bowel cancer. The biological reasons by which fish consumption potentially lowers risk are not fully understood but one of the theories include specific fatty acids such as omega-3, found almost exclusively in fish, being responsible for this protective effect via their anti-inflammatory properties,” said Dr. Anna Diaz Font, Head of Research Funding at the World Cancer Research Fund, which funded the research.

If you want to have more raw fish in your life, then read up on how many servings you should be eating to stay healthy.


Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.