Does Chipotle Really Care About Our Access to “Real Food”?

Chipotle Mexican Grill has created a new game application and video that they are hoping will lure consumers into eating more “real” food. Their goal is to steer consumers away from factory-made, highly processed junk food.

The company’s chief marketing officer was quoted by saying:

“We created ‘The Scarecrow’ game and film as an entertaining and engaging way to help people better understand the difference between processed food and the real thing. In many ways, ‘The Scarecrow’ represents what we aspire to accomplish through our vision of Food With Integrity.”

 The company’s latest animated short film made its way around the Internet, earning praises from advertising critics and consumers, while angering those within the agricultural industry. According to Chipotle, the film and its coordinating game are “designed to help educate people about the world of industrial food production that supplies much of what they eat.”

To the agriculture community, however, the film does nothing but further mislead consumers.

But, keep in mind that Chipotle was formerly owned and operated by the fast food powerhouse McDonald’s. The company separated from McDonald’s in 2006. Read these articles below and see how you feel about Chipotle capitalizing on the “real food” movement.

With Food Day approaching on October 24th, I think it’s coincidental that these restaurants are coming out with advertisements like these. Did I fail to mention that Food Day’s theme this year is “Eat Real”?

The Chipotle Scarecrow

The Scarecrow App

The Harm in the Chipotle Scarecrow

The Washington Post- Problem with Chipotle

Farmers Response to Chipotle

11 Things McDonalds Doesn’t Want You to Know

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Who is Howard Graham Buffett and Why Does he Care about Food Security?

If you had the resources to accomplish something great in the world, what would you do?

Legendary investor Warren Buffett posed this challenge to his son in 2006, when he announced he was leaving the bulk of his fortune to philanthropy. Howard G. Buffett set out to help the most vulnerable people on earth – nearly a billion individuals who lack basic food security. And Howard has given himself a deadline: 40 years to put more than $3 billion to work on this challenge.

Each of us has about 40 chances to accomplish our goals in life. This is a lesson Howard learned through his passion for farming. All farmers can expect to have about 40 growing seasons, giving them just 40 chances to improve on every harvest. This applies to all of us, however, because we all have about 40 productive years to do the best job we can, whatever our passions or goals may be.

40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World is a new book that captures Howard’s journey. Beginning with his love for farming, we join him around the world as he seeks out new approaches to ease the suffering of so many. It is told in a unique format: 40 stories that will provide readers a compelling look at Howard’s lessons learned, ranging from his own backyard to some of the most difficult and dangerous places on Earth.

Who are the authors of this book?

Howard G. Buffett is the founder and President of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private philanthropic foundation which strengthens food security for vulnerable populations throughout the world. A farmer, businessman, politician, photographer, and philanthropist, Howard has dedicated his life to wildlife conservation and finding solutions to world hunger. He has traveled to over 120 countries documenting the challenges of preserving our biodiversity while providing adequate resources to meet the needs of a growing global population. Howard is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Against Hunger, and serves on the corporate boards of Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola Company, and Lindsay Corporation. He operates a 1,500-acre family farm in central Illinois and oversees three foundation-operated research farms, including 1,400 acres in Arizona, 3,200 acres in Illinois, and 9,200 acres in South Africa.

Howard W. Buffett is the Executive Director of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. He previously served in the U.S. Department of Defense overseeing agriculture-based economic stabilization and redevelopment programs in Iraq and Afghanistan. For his work, he received the Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award – the highest ranking civilian honor presented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prior to that, Howard was a Policy Advisor for the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he co-authored and directed the President’s cross-sector partnerships strategy. He earned a BA from Northwestern University and an MPA in Advanced Management and Finance from Columbia University. He is from Omaha, Nebraska, where he and his wife operate a 400 acre no-till farm.

What are the Principles of 40 Chances?

1.)   Roots: Dig in. Am I acting with purpose and urgency in my life?

2.)   Bravery: Grow tall. Am I taking smart risks?

3.)   Lessons: Don’t fear mistakes. Am I learning the right lessons from my mistakes?

4.)   Challenges: Be adaptable. Am I improving upon every chance I have?

5.)   Hope: Prepare for tomorrow. Am I making the most of my chances in life?

Planting the seeds for long lasting impact.

40 Chances Programs advocate for the best ideas that seed sustainable, transformational change in accomplishing global food security. These programs will empower our next generation of leaders to develop market-based solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges in the areas of poverty and hunger.

40 Chances Programs

1.)   For High School Students: High school students across the country can compete for awards based on solutions they design to combat local food insecurity.

2.)   For College Students: 40 Chances Program will focus on seeding innovative ideas and plans from college students across the country,

3.)   For Post Graduates: 40 Chances Program will focus on seeding innovative ideas from recent post graduates.

4.)   For Start-Ups: The program will focus on seeding innovative ideas from start-up nonprofit organizations.

Authors of the book

Authors of the book

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Food Insecurity and Sustainability

Last week, international agricultural leaders met in Washington, DC to discuss plans to dispense and develop agriculture data collected in various countries to report global food security and nutrition.

Nutrition security is defined as secure access to an appropriately nutritious diet (ie, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water) coupled with a sanitary environment and adequate health services and care, in order to ensure a healthy and active life for all household members.  Nutrition security requires that all people have access to a variety of nutritious foods and potable drinking water; knowledge, resources, and skills for healthy living; prevention, treatment, and care for diseases affecting nutrition status; and safety-net systems during crisis situations, such as natural disasters or deleterious social and political systems.

Food security is a part of nutrition security and exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. The four pillars of food security are availability, access, utilization, and stability.  Although nutrition security requires food security, the two terms are sometimes merged into the term food and nutrition security to emphasize both food and health requirements.

Two important limitations with current food security measurements are that the term food is generally equated to food energy only, usually from just a few staple foods, failing to measure the wide variety of foods that are needed to provide all the nutrients for an active healthy life; and terms are often used incorrectly and/or interchangeably for hunger (a feeling/scarcity of food), undernourished (lacking nutrients), malnourished (poorly nourished), and food insecurity (lack of foods needed for a healthy life).

The effect of income on nutrition security depends on the local cost of living and social and political systems providing access to land, food, water, housing, health care, and education. Dramatic increases in international food prices have the greatest impact on low-income, food-deficit countries. The recent financial, energy, and food crises have negatively affected poor consumers through soaring food prices; reduced household income; and reduced health and social assistance. Lack of dietary diversification aggravates the problem. The cause of the food price crisis is not necessarily an underlying shortage in global supply, but a combination of high energy prices, pockets of agricultural failure, the financial crisis, and national policy errors resulting in a general price panic. In some countries, there are also increasing demands on the food supply for feeding livestock and making biofuels. Nations are at a higher risk for volatile food prices if their nutrition security is dependent on global financial systems and oil, such as for producing agrochemicals, operating machinery for harvesting, processing, and transportation.

Globally, approximately 30% of children under 5 years old are stunted and 18% are underweight. As growth slows down, brain development also lags behind and, as a result, stunted children are more likely to learn poorly. The global prevalence of underweight and stunting in children under age 5 years is decreasing, but prevalence is still unacceptably high in some regions. Approximately 15% of children are born underweight; however, almost 60% of newborns in developing countries are not weighed at birth.  Access to caloric intake in developing nations has increased during the past 40 years. In 1969-1971, 33% of the population had inadequate access as compared with the current estimation of 16% in 2010.

Micronutrient deficiencies affect more people (36%) than caloric deficiencies (12%), emphasizing the importance of addressing the quality of food in agricultural systems. Micronutrient deficiencies result in fatigue, lethargy, reduced learning ability, brain damage, reduced immunity, miscarriages and other pregnancy complications, blindness, and goiter, and raise the risk for mortality, especially from diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and measles.

The following five micronutrient deficiencies are of particular concern: iron deficiency, folate deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, zinc deficiency, and iodine deficiency disorder. It is estimated that >1 million children’s deaths worldwide could be prevented with adequate vitamin A and zinc and an additional 24,500 deaths prevented with adequate iron and iodine. Adequate micronutrient status improves health and intellectual abilities and the evidence for addressing deficiencies is compelling, cost effective, and achievable.

Sustainability creates and maintains conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfills the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations. During the last 50 years, the physical and functional availability of natural resources has shrunk faster than at any other time in history due to increased demand and/or degradation of biodiversity, soil, forests, water, and air. This has been compounded by a range of factors, including human population growth, changes in lifestyles, and diets that use more land, water, and energy resources. It is imperative to encourage environmentally responsible practices that conserve natural resources, minimize# the quantity of waste generated, and support ecological sustainability of the food system.6 Individuals can make the biggest single contribution to the environment by shifting to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Agriculture contributes to the livelihood of 40% of the world’s population with 90% of farmers owning <5 acres. Agriculture is multifunctional because it produces or contributes to food, medicines, nonfood items, ecological services, livelihoods, social stability, culture, and tradition. The combination of community-based innovations, local knowledge, and science-based approaches maximize output and sustainability of food and water resources.

Local food systems, local consumption, and domestic outlets for farmers’ products can alleviate the risks inherent in international trade. Investment in local infrastructure, marketing systems, extension and communication services, education, as well as research and development, can increase food supply and improve the functioning of local agricultural markets, resulting in less volatile prices

Micronutrient deficiency prevention and control strategies include:

        Increased food diversity with improved dietary quality, bioavailability, and quantity;

        Disease control;

        Improved knowledge and education on prevention and control for policy makers and the general public;

        Supplementation to high-risk groups; and

        Where deficiencies are high, fortification technologies, such as biofortification, open market fortification of processed food, and targeted fortification

Schools that integrate health and nutrition into their classrooms and communities can become centers of excellence and hubs of knowledge and practice beyond the school-aged child. School meal programs provide complete or supplemental meals to promote nutrition, school participation, and learning potential. Gardens in schools can spread to communities and increase awareness of the importance of good nutrition and dietary diversity. Integrating health and nutrition education into lessons, meals, and gardening activities promotes healthy habits such as dietary diversity, food and water safety, food processing, nutrient preservation, sanitation, and hygiene.

Members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (registered dietitians; dietetic technicians, registered; and other health practitioners) have an important role in achieving global nutrition security whether working domestically or internationally. The tips that follow show how to become involved in promoting global nutrition security:

        Increase awareness of how current world events relate to malnutrition.

o   Promote awareness of global nutrition security issues.

o   Learn about, respect, and understand diverse customs and cultures.

o   Write articles addressing global nutrition security for your local newspapers, state Academy association, political leaders, and nutrition or health promotion newsletters.

o   Encourage support for global and domestic outreach efforts promoting nutrition security.

o   Become actively involved to ensure nutrition security programs support sustainable development.

o   Establish a class on global nutrition security issues.

        Network by joining a professional internationally focused interest group.

o   Join organizations such as: The Overseas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy; the American Society of Nutrition’s International Nutrition Council; the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior’s International Special Interest Group; the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior’s International Nutrition Education Division or the American Public Health Association’s International Health Section.

o   Attend national and international professional meetings that have a strong agenda addressing global nutrition security.

o   Become familiar with international food assistance and education programs such as Oxfam America, Heifer International, or Bread for the World.

        Volunteer in local, national, or international humanitarian assistance efforts and medical missions.

        Take a class in global nutrition.

o   Learn more about the ramifications of domestic policy decisions on world food security (eg, trade, food regulations, import and export tariffs, and foreign aid).

o   Learn about the policies, programs, and issues related to nutrition security.

        As the nutrition experts, registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered, can provide continuing education seminars to other nutrition and medical professionals.

        Become more “green” as you make personal choices. Personal and national decisions affect our immediate environment and also people and environments in other parts of the world.

o   Teach others how changes in their eating and purchasing practices can reduce consumption of the world’s nonrenewable resources.

o   Support sustainable food and water efforts locally and internationally (eg, gardening, water filtering, well construction, fish ponds, and reforestation).

optimal nutrition

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Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Nutrition Security in Developing Nations: Sustainable Food, Water, and Health

The Plant-Based Mediterranean Wallet

The Mediterranean Wallet

Americans constantly correlate a healthy lifestyle to expensive foods. This is not always the case. Yes, fresh foods, like produce for example, are normally higher in price compared to canned foods, or foods with a longer shelf-life.

Studies have shown that adopting the Mediterranean Diet helps reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, amongst other chronic health disparities. The lifestyle stresses the importance of plant-based meals. One major ingredient in the diet is olive oil. The introduction of olive oil into the diet has been determined, to aid in feeling fuller long or the feeling of satiety.

Studies have also shown that an increase in plant-based meals can lead to a decrease in food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to nutritional foods for at least some days or some meals for members of a household.

Researchers conducted a study to emphasize the use of simple, plant-based recipes and olive oil, following a Mediterranean diet pattern. A number of participants commented on how inexpensive a Mediterranean-style diet was.  So, the study approached a local food bank about designing their study using food pantry items for the program’s recipes.

Most people, who attempt at putting together a nutritionally balanced menu for their family or household, spend the bulk of their budget on meats, poultry, and seafood. These items, specifically lower-fat versions, tend to be the most expensive items someone will see on their grocery store receipt. Low socioeconomic status families will normally purchase these items first, leaving little left in the budget for healthier fruits and vegetables.

The researcher on the study explained that if the focus of the shopper could be changed to eliminate foods that are not needed to improve health from the shopping list, a healthy diet can be more economical.  Certain foods that could be crossed off that grocery store list include meats, snacks, desserts, and carbonated beverages/sodas.

The first 6 weeks of the study consisted of cooking classes where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes that incorporated ingredients like olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. The participant’s progress was tracked for 6 months after the conclusion of the cooking program.

One particular benefit for those attending the 6 week cooking class was that they were provided with groceries that contained most of the ingredients discussed by the class facilitators. The chosen ingredients provided to the participants would allow them to make 3 of the discussed recipes for their family members.

Once the classes were over, the researchers collected grocery receipts throughout the remainder of the study. Analysis of these receipts showed a significant decrease in overall purchases of meats, carbonated beverages, desserts and snacks. This was particularly interesting to the research team as they never offered instruction to the participants to avoid buying these items.

The further review of the grocery receipts showed that each household enjoyed an increase in the total number of different fruits and vegetables consumed each month. Participants cut their food spending in more than half, saving nearly $40 per week. The study also found that the reliance on food pantries decreased as well, indicating a decrease in food insecurity.

The research team also found that the cooking program had unexpected health benefits as well. Almost one-half of the participants presented loss in weight. This was not an objective in the study but, raised a few eyebrows. The study also showed an overall decrease in BMI of the participants.

Overall, this study shows that a plant-based diet, similar to the Mediterranean Diet, not only contributes to an overall improvement in health and diet. The study also highlights how a plant-based diet can contribute to decreasing food insecurity in America.

Plant-Based Med Diet Can Be Easy On the Wallet

6-week Cooking Program on Plant-Based Recipes

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Beware of the Mushroom?

Another elderly person has died from accidental mushroom poisoning at a California senior care facility, bringing the death toll to four.

The latest victim, 92-year-old Dorothy Mary Hart, died at a nursing home, according to The Associated Press. The date of her death has yet to be released.

The first two women died the day after a caregiver at their senior-care facility inadvertently served them a meal with poisonous mushrooms picked on the Loomis, Calif., property Nov. 8. The caregiver and three other residents of Gold Age Villa were hospitalized,  according to the ABC News affiliate in Sacramento.

Dr. Pierre Gholam, a liver specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland, said he has seen an uptick in wild mushroom poisonings in his area, too. More than two dozen patients have arrived in the past three years with telltale mushroom poisoning symptoms, he said, including diarrhea followed by kidney and liver failure.

Gholam, speaking to ABC News by phone from a meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in Boston earlier this month, said doctors there from across the country report similar increases in mushroom poisoning patients, even in areas not typically known for mushroom poisonings, such as the Midwest.

“Clearly, there is something that has changed, in my mind, that has led to more mushroom poisoning cases,” he said. “It looks like a nationwide phenomenon.”

The reasons are unclear but Gholam suggested that more people could be picking their own mushrooms in the bad economy to save money.

Gholam’s hospital is one of only a few authorized by the federal government to give patients an antidote called silibinin, which blocks the poison from attacking the liver. Fourteen patients have come from up to 150 miles away for the life-saving drug.

The poison in these mushrooms is called amatoxin, and it’s colorless and odorless, so people who pick or eat them won’t know until it’s too late, Gholam said. The poison fungi can also come in different sizes and shapes. Cooking or freezing the mushrooms does not deactivate the toxin.

Typically, people begin to feel sick within six hours of eating the mushrooms, and come down with severe diarrhea, which causes dehydration and kidney failure, he said. Without the antidote, liver failure can set in after 72 hours, and the needs a liver transplant after 96 hours.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mushrooms-kill-fourth-california-senior-us-cases-rise/story?id=17826740#.ULwUbobJpqQ

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Food Additives & GMOs in America

Food Additives & GMOs in America

What is the definition of an additive? A substance added to another to improve its appearance, increase its nutritive value, etc.

What is the definition of a food additive? Any of a large variety of substances added to foods to prevent spoilage, improves appearance, enhance flavor or texture, or increase nutritional value. Most food additives must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

One form of a food additive has been notably recognized as genetically modified organisms, commonly known as GMOs. GMOs are organisms that have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques.

Some examples of the benefits of GMOs include:

Edible vaccines

–          Inexpensive and accessibility

–          Avoids risk of spreading infections from needles

Qualities of crops and safer food

–          Safer varieties of crops that could replace traditional varieties

Food security

–          Golden Rice: nutritionally enhanced plant created in 2000 that is popular in underdeveloped and low-income countries

–          Countries like Asia, Africa, and South America rely heavily on Golden Rice as the primary food staple

–          Golden Rice contributes to the solution in the vitamin A deficiency epidemic in these countries.

Some examples of the health risks of GMOs include:

Not a single human clinical trial has been published. Therefore, they haven’t been properly tested

–          If there are problems, consumers would probably never know because the cause wouldn’t be traceable & a lot of diseases take a long time develop

–          Unless GMOs cause acute symptoms with a unique signature, then the traceability would be easier

Cancer

–          GM crops use a common ingredient called glyphosate, with pesticides

–          Glyphosate has been linked to increases in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Allergenic potential

–          Allergies are caused by new proteins forming or their interactions with usual proteins

–          Allergies develop when a person is exposed to a particular protein allergen repeatedly

–          Scientists can’t determine exact allergenicity because there doesn’t exist any reliable tests on GMOs

Social Differences

–          Many innovations are unreachable for developing countries

–          Genetically engineered seeds could cause food shortages, unemployment, resistant weeds, and the extinction of native cultures in developing countries

–          Labor costs would be decreased  by letting farmers use more chemicals, since 80% of commercial GM seeds are designed only to resist herbicides

Livestock

So, how are the social ethics involved in GMO use? The ethical reasoning behind this could be due to the natural organisms’ intrinsic factor. Some people think of feeding livestock with GMOs is tampering with nature on both ends of the spectrum. Feeding livestock GMOs can cause a stress on the animal and that stress can be directly related to a number of health problems. Stress on animals can cause things like infertility and animals dying in large numbers.

Labeling

Did you know that the labeling of GMOs in food is not mandatory in the U.S.? This becomes a problem because mixing GM crops with non-GM products seriously confuses consumers. Consumers have the right to know what they’re putting into their body and the bodies of their families and friends. The term “Consumer Sovereignty” refers to the information made available so people can make food choices based on their own values. This idea is becoming more and more popular because consumers want to be informed of what they’re eating and feel in control on their food choices. Nowadays, that’s really starting to become difficult with big food companies.