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

buffett1

buffett2

buffett3

Advertisements

The West Virginia Road Map for the Food Economy

The “buying local” trend has emerged within the last few years. In the United States, especially in West Virginia, food agriculture businesses are finding themselves at critical and electrifying times of opportunity. From 2006 to 2008, West Virginia small restaurants and hotels showed a 360% increase in purchases of local products. In the 2012-2013 school year, the WV Department of Education committed $250,000 in school food funds for local purchases. More than a dozen of county school systems reported buying directly from West Virginia farms in 2012, while four of these began buying locally since September 2011. Even the Martinsburg VAMC sees fresh, healthy meals as an ingredient of recovery for their patients and has spent over $23,000 on local food.

From 2002 to 2007, 39% more local West Virginia farmers began selling directly to consumers. And the dollar amount of direct-to-consumer sales increased by 55%. This means that farmers are capturing a greater portion of the consumer food dollar by marketing products as directly as possible from farm to table as demand grows, new business models are also emerging to provide the kinds of processing, aggregation and distribution required to meet the needs of sophisticated buyers.

This growth creates jobs for farmers and also for other parts of the state’s economy. A recent study by Downstream Strategies, LLC and WVU showed that if West Virginia farmers grew enough produce to meet the in-season fresh produce needs of all state residents, the shift would generate 1,723 new jobs and would result in about $190 million being retained in the state instead of flowing beyond its borders. Increased local sales of West Virginia products also creates the need for businesses that collect, process and distribute local food, which creates more local jobs. For example, one Iowa study found that every 1,000 cattle sent to small meat processing facilities supported 7.4 processing jobs.

So a common question that you might find asking yourself is… What exactly does “buying local” mean? There is no universally agreed-upon definition for the geographic component of what “local” or “regional” means, consumers are left to decide what local and regional food means to them. A 2008 survey found that half of consumers surveyed described “local” as “made or produced within a hundred miles” (of their homes), while another 37% described “local” as “made or produced in my state.”  The ability to eat “locally” also varies depending on the production capacity of the region in question: people living in areas that are agriculturally productive year-round may have an easier time sourcing food that is grown or raised 100 miles (or even 50 miles) from their homes than those in arid or colder regions, whose residents may define “local food” in a more regional context.

The Morgantown Farmers’ Market, for example, sells products that are grown or made within 50 miles of Morgantown city limits. So all of their products are supporting small family farms.

So, West Virginia has developed a “food charter” that’s designed to help us all focus, measure and celebrate our collective progress towards stronger local food systems. This Road Map for the Food Economy offers a vision for WV’s local food economy and provides ways of measuring how statewide and local policies, programs, and community efforts are contributing to the strength of this food economy. The Road Map is broken down into 2 parts: an action plan for building a food and farm economy over the next 5 years; and a “Food Economy Score Card” which allows us to measure the cooperative progress towards the goals of the action plan. The Food Economy Score Card will be updated annually and then the positive changes and progression will be distinguished in an annual report.

This Road Map is for everyone!It’s offered more as a tool to help people (and consumers) in West Virginia understand the key opportunities of the food policies and economy. Local government, citizens groups, policy makers, farmer groups, foundations, agencies, economic developers and other concerned groups are invited to adopt or adapt the Road Map as a guide to form an action plan for their own efforts.

So, how can you get involved?

          Adopt the Road Map for the Food Economy charter: encourage your local government, citizens group, legislators, farmer organization, community foundation, economic developers or other concerned agencies to sign on at

          Stay connected to statewide organizing efforts through the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition by signing up for our newsletter, and by attending statewide events hosted by other groups — such as the West Virginia Small Farm Conference, hosted by WVU Extension Service and its West Virginia Small Farm Center.

          Buy Local: set a goal for how much your family, business or agency will spend on local food. At home, consider buying at least $10 worth of locally produced food per week. At work, consider sourcing at least $500 worth of local food for events and meetings each year.

          Find simple ways to work on the Road Map’s action items within your own community. Tell your school superintendent about the importance of Agriculture Education; let a farmer know about farm to school opportunities, or help start a nutrition education class at your local farmers market. If you are part of a civic organization, help that organization choose an action item to work on this year.

Why should the Road Map matter to you?

The problem that I’m really trying to shine light on is the fact that food access has a HUGE effect on food insecurity in the U.S. right now. The State Indicator on Fruits and Vegetables 2013 reports that the percentage of census tracts with at least one healthier food retailer within a ½ mile of tract boundary in West Virginia is at 59.3%. Currently, West Virginia does not have a healthier food retail policy. West Virginia also does not currently have a state-level farm-to-school/preschool policy. The entire state only has 1 food hub. Yes, only one! And West Virginia has no local food policy councils. That’s right… zero!

As a community why can’t get try to enclose this gap in food access with the products that are right in front of us? Well, only time will tell how this community attempts to resolve this problem.

Sustainable Table

HOD Backgrounder

2015 Dietary Guidelines

road map

Logo Concepts revised

fv intake median

What Does “Team Growth” Mean to You?

A team, especially one that is in a foodservice operation, has four distinct stages of group development. The four stages of group development were created by Dr. Bruce W. Tuckerman after observation of the different phases in the development and maturity of groups of people.

Forming

The first stage is forming. This is where teams are getting to know each other, as well as learning what will be required of them in order to achieve their assigned goal. This stage is defined by the way the team members approach each other and inspect the limitations of group behavior. The group is also evaluating the manager’s role and leadership. Throughout this stage, the manager takes a larger role in directing the progress of the team. Directing involves telling the group what specifically needs to be accomplished, establishing guidelines, and providing specifics on the five Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why) and How. At this point, the team members are focusing on being part of a team.

Team Feeling:

          Excitement; Optimism; Pride in being selected; Wondering what role and influence they will have; Anxiety; Questioning why they and other team members were selected

Team Behavior:

          Friendly; Agreeable; Deciding how to accomplish tasks; Determining acceptable team behavior; Information gathering; Handling complaints about the organization; Discussing barriers to the task

Leadership Style:

          Directing

Storming

The second stage is storming. At this point, the reality of the project sets in for the team and various interpersonal struggles begin to surface. Typically, this is the most difficult stage for any team to get through, since power clashes and competition between team members are common and are easily seen here. Besides this realization, team members become impatient with their lack of progress and rely more on individual approaches instead of teamwork. At this time, the manager needs to utilize a coaching style to clarify and explain tasks repeatedly. The manager will need to persuade team members often to work together and refocus their efforts.

            Team Feeling:

          Resistance to approaches different from what the team is comfortable with; Swings in attitudes about the team and project; Questioning many aspects of the task

Team Behavior:

          Arguing; Choosing sides; Perceived “pecking order”; Increased tension; Jealousy; Power struggles; Lack of progress; Loss of interest

Leadership Style:

           Coaching

Norming

The third stage, norming, sees team member settling their differences and developing more cohesive and trusting relationships. The team realizes that they can work together and help each other achieve success. The members understand the team’s needs and accept the team ground rules and the roles that each person plays in achieving the project goals. Conflict decreases as these realizations occur and team members develop more confidence in their ability to work together and accomplish the task. At this time, the manager transitions into a leadership style of supporting the team by providing encouragement, listening more than telling, and promoting team discussions.

            Team Feeling:

          Expressing constructive criticism; Membership acceptance; Relief that things are finally going smoothly; Understanding own contribution; Acceptance of membership

Team Behavior:

          Attempts for harmony; Avoiding conflict; Discussing team dynamics; Sense of common purpose; Establishing and monitoring team rules; Expressing ideas

Leadership Style:

          Supporting

 

Performing

At last but not least, the fourth and final stage is performing. This is where team interdependence is recognized. Team members can analyze and solve problems successfully together. They have accepted each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can adapt to meet the needs of each member. The team becomes very productive and truly adds value to the organizations. At this point, the manager can use a delegating style. The manager no longer needs to provide much direction and can periodically monitor the team’s progress with update meetings.

            Team Feeling:

          Insights into group processes; Understanding of each member’s strengths and weaknesses; Satisfaction with progress; Trusting; Friendly; Having fun

Team Behavior:

          Individual behavior modification; Working through team problems; Close attachment to members; Flexibility; Humor; Ownership of results

Leadership Style:

          Delegating

team growth

team grow

Teamwork

Since my summer in the WVU Individualized Supervised Practice Pathway (ISPP) dietetic internship is primarily focusing on the Institutional Food Service, Production, and Management rotation, I thought it would be fitting that I talk about the importance of teamwork. The importance of teamwork has been proven to be effective in today’s fast-pace foodservice organizations. The use of teams has become an unavoidable solution at tackling some of the pressing challenges that managers face in the food industry. Whether it be from finding ways to reduce costs or to increasing overall sales, all of these issues usually impact more than one department and can benefit from a multi-perspective approach.

The companies or organizations that use teamwork and team-based activities will be better prepared to make necessary decisions to adjust to supply and to meet customer’s demands. Yes, individual employees can make a difference to an organization, but no single person has enough knowledge, creativity, or experience to tackle some of today’s complex problems. Remember, two heads are always greater than one.

Several foodservice systems look to managers to influence teams whenever and wherever possible. Essentially, a team is a group of individuals who operate as a unit for an assigned goal. Teams differ from other work groups because they typically have performance goals to achieve. Team members usually feel some type of accountability for working together to achieve these goals. So, teamwork is the actual state of acting in a collaborative and cooperative effort to create positive results for the achievement of one common goal. For example, my group at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café had one of our group members drop the Business class. So, instead of panicking or blaming each other for common mistakes that we might have made that next day, we worked as a group and everyone helped each other at their designated stations. And it even brought us closer together as a team because we know that all 3 of us rely on each other, as well as the management of course too. And to be honest, I think that we’re performing even better as a team now because we were somewhat forced with a fight or flight situation.

Part of a manager’s responsibilities is selecting team members who skills complement each other. Now, this particular situation the management did not have the choice to choose their teams. But the College of Business and Economics did have the choice to choose the students taking this class. Here is a list of complementary skills needed for teams:

          Technical expertise

          Problem-solving skills

          Interpersonal skills

Technical expertise is a core competency that every team needs. The type of problem that will be assigned to a team dictates to a certain extent what expertise you will need to bring together. Skill in several areas may be needed, depending on the problem at-hand. For example, if Taziki’s Mediterranean Café was researching a new menu item to offer to customers, a team of dietitians, food prep specialists, servers, operations personnel, and marketing specialists would supply the necessary blend of experience to ensure a thorough analysis of what customers want, rather than just a team made of one of these groups listed. Using the knowledge and skills of a cross section of an organization will strengthen the likelihood of a team reaching its goal.

Problem-solving skills are needed by teams to identify the root or underlying cause of a situation or challenge. These skills are also needed to identify potential solutions and trade-offs. Initially, a team needs to have at least one member with this capability. As the team progresses, more team members should develop these important skills.

Interpersonal skills is the third and final category of team skills. Members who communicate effectively and facilitate a group process are critical to the success of a team. Team members who possess these skills help produce an environment of directness and confidence that allows the team to flourish and make progress towards their goal.

Balancing all 3 of these skills is essential f or a manager to consider when working with a team.

Teamwork

TeamWorkMakesTheDreamWork

The Big “C” in Food

eggs

People everywhere are looking for easy and affordable ways to add healthy protein to their diet. It seems that eggs appear to be the perfect little protein package. But since the advice from health professionals seems to change often about eggs, consumers are becoming increasingly confused. Healthy consumers really shouldn’t worry about this but, individuals who at-risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) or who have CVD, may want to be aware of this.

What seems to be more important than the food itself is the total cholesterol intake from food. Regardless of where the cholesterol comes from, like eggs or other animal products, consumers who are more susceptible to CVD should keep account of the cholesterol and saturated fat that they are consuming from these food sources.

Remember that eggs are contained in many foods, including bread, cakes, ice cream, muffins and even such entrees as breaded fish, meat dishes and meatloaf. Each of those might add just a fraction of an egg per serving, but together they can increase your cholesterol intake, especially since many of those items contain other ingredients that can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat, such as butter or cream.

Consumers should be careful about not confusing dietary cholesterol with blood cholesterol (LDL, HDL, and triglycerides). The major contributing factor of blood LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. There is a recommendation to limit dietary sources of saturated fat, largely found in dairy and animal protein. Although the saturated fat in eggs is relatively low compared with that in many other animal-based protein sources (one large egg has less than 2g of saturated fat), many of the foods that often accompany eggs (such as bacon, butter, cheese and sausage) are high in saturated fat as well. The combination of foods high in cholesterol, like these, can really add up.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, cholesterol intake by men averages about 350 mg per day, which exceeds the recommended level of less than 300 mg per day. Average cholesterol intake by women is 240mg per day. Independent of other dietary factors, evidence suggests that one egg (including egg yolk) per day does not result in increased blood cholesterol levels, nor does it increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy people. Consuming less than 300mg per day of cholesterol can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels. Consuming less than 200mg per day can further help individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

On the plus side, eggs have many nutritional benefits. They’re a good source of high-quality protein, with relatively few calories (6.3 grams of protein for only 72 calories in a large egg). Eggs also contain vitamins B12 and D, and several essential micronutrients, including choline (important for brain health) and lutein (for eye health).

NHANES satd fat

cholesThe Washington Post

Quality Tomato Capital of the World

Tucked away in the Pennsylvania city of Pittston, this place gained fame in the late 19th century as a coal mining center. Today, Pittston is promoting itself as “The Quality Tomato Capital of the World”. The Pittston Tomato Festival in its 30th year is held annually to celebrate the city’s tradition and heritage in promoting the tomato.  The festival includes multiple food vendors from the area, a beauty pageant, tomato tasting contest, a best looking and ugliest tomato contest, a 5K run through the city, tomato fights, live entertainment, and even a parade!

Over 50,000 people attend the 4-day festival that has been crowned as one of the best festivals in Northeastern PA.

Pittston Tomato Festival

tomato fight

tomato fest

tomato fightt

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

food insec

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

Dear Sequester, Thank You For the Food-Borne Illness

Dear Sequester, Thank You For the Food-Borne Illness

Due to the recent government sequester that went into effect on March 1st, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will administer fewer number of food safety inspections throughout the country. While American consumers may not feel the impact immediately, the loss of $209 million from its budget will force the FDA to conduct about 2,100 less inspections. This reduction in food inspections account for an 18% decline compared to last year. The funding loss will also delay the agency’s implementation of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act.

Not only are food-borne illnesses (FBI) of concern but, the approval of new drugs are as well. All of the programs within the FDA are at risk for being compromised because of the huge cuts that are taking place. The Sequester is becoming a really big hit and I think that more and more people will start to experience that, and in turn realize its significance.  The FDA does plan to prioritize programs that have the greatest effect on the public’s health, including disease outbreaks.

These next statistics are so ridiculous to me…. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 6 Americans, which equals 48 million people, develop a FBI each year. Out of these people, 3,000 people die and 128,000 are hospitalized. The FDA is already facing serious criticism, not to mention legal actions, for being slow to implement the food safety law. This law is geared towards refocusing the FDA’s efforts on prevention, instead of responding to crises. Since the law was signed into effect in 2011, it sat for 2 years with the White House Office of Management and Budget where it was rewritten in ways that weakened FDA’s oversight.  The FDA claims that they’re frustrated with this situation, as is the rest of the country.  The more time that goes by without this law going into effect, the more people that are at-risk of getting seriously sick.

But, I don’t believe that the FDA is as innocent as they might be leading on. Even before the Sequester, the FDA was able to inspect less than 2% of all food imports.

The FDA also addressed other key issues like:

        Plan B being sold over-the-counter to anyone, regardless of age.

        Drug shortages

        Outbreaks of fungal meningitis within pharmacies  

USA Today

96cs1480 cd-0334-65

sequester_foodsafety

sequester_fdsafety

What’s Trending in Food for 2013?

Top 10 Food Trends in 2013

1.     Repositioned Palate

        One in 10 shoppers now choose higher-end cuts of meat in order to recreate a restaurant dining experience. In the past, consumers used to eat food for substance, today more people are having eating occasions that can be described as “savoring”, which conveys a new upscale eating experience defined by freshness, distinct flavors, and more.

2.     Redefining Health

        Data shows that consumers relate the word “fresh” with “healthy”. Nine in 10 people think fresh foods are healthier, and 80% look for the descriptor “fresh” when it comes to retail and 58% in restaurants.

3.     Generational Cooking

        Young adults are continuing to cut back on restaurant visits for the fifth year in a row, which means the market for the food industry to develop at-home meal products that appeal to the newest generation of cooks is on the rise.

4.     Eating Alone

        There has been a dramatic increase in the number of adults who are eating solo, regardless of family dynamics. In addition to adults, children are also eating alone more often opening the market for new fresh/refrigerated meals for kids.

5.     Seeking True Transparency

        Food safety is trending and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. 17 % of consumers have stopped buying a certain food or brand due to certain safety concerns.

6.     Global Look-Alikes

        The integration of ethnic flavors, food items, and ingredients into American foods. Children’s sushi is predicted to be a hot trend for 2013.

7.     Farmstead Formulations

        Hyper-local sourcing, like restaurant gardens, farm/estate brands, small-producer suppliers, and the mainstreaming of farmers’ markets all attest to consumers’ fascination and appreciation for all things agricultural related.

8.     Craveable Finger Foods

        Restaurants have added bite-sized food to their menus and 67% of consumers find it “extremely appealing” to get their flavor through dips/condiments.

9.     Nutritional Insiders

        In 2012 alone, 78% of consumers made a strong effort to get more vitamins and 57% tried to consume more products with specialty nutritional ingredients. The top vitamins were vitamin D, vitamin C, B-vitamins and omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamin E, and vitamin A.

10.  Mother Hens

        Moms are more likely to buy nutritionally enhanced food and beverages. They are also more likely to seek out nutritional information. Moms want healthier kids’ food away from home.

Top 10 Food Trends in 2013

food-trends-2013-600x250

Chain Restaurants Impact on Kids’ Meals and their Health

Kids Meals Get an “F” in Nutrition at Chain Restaurants

Nearly all of the meal possibilities offered to kids at America’s top chain restaurants are of poor nutritional quality. A report released today found that fried chicken fingers, burgers, French fries, and sugar drinks continue to dominate kids’ meal setting, with 97% of the nearly 3,500 meal possibilities not meeting CSPI‘s nutrition criteria for 4- to 8-year-olds.

And if you don’t believe CSPI, ask the National Restaurant Association (NRA): 91% of kids’ meals at America’s major chains do not even meet the nutritional standards of the industry lobbying group’s Kids LiveWell program.

One out of every three American children is overweight or obese, but it’s as if the chain restaurant industries didn’t get the message. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released “Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention” and addressed these health concerns for further research and studies to use in the fight against childhood obesity.

Two-thirds of adults and almost one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese, representing young and old, urban and rural, and majority and minority populations. This epidemic of excess weight is associated with major causes of chronic disease, disability, and death. Obesity-related illness is estimated to carry an annual cost of $190.2 billion.

Most chains seem stuck in this time warp, serving the same dated meals based on chicken nuggets, burgers, macaroni and cheese, fries, and soda. I know that they can come up with healthier, cost-effective, nutritionally beneficial meals that are more current than these.

One chain that has gotten the message is Subway. All eight of Subway restaurants’ Fresh Fit for Kids meal combinations met CSPI’s nutrition criteria. Subway is the only restaurant chain that does not offer sugar drinks as an option with its kids’ meals, instead including low-fat milk or bottled water along with apple slices with all of its kid-sized subs.

“Our goal has always been to provide the most nutritious, balanced kids meals in the industry and we are proud to be recognized by CSPI for achieving that goal,” said Lanette Kovachi, corporate dietitian for the Subway brand.

To meet the CSPI’s nutrition criteria, kids’ meals must be at or below 430 calories, no more than 35% of calories from fat, or no more than 10% of calories from saturated plus trans-fat. Meals that meet CSPI’s criteria cannot have more than 35% added sugars by weight or more than 770mg. of sodium. The criteria require meals to make a proactive nutritional impact either by providing at least half a serving of fruit or vegetable, including an item that is 51% or more whole grain, or including specified levels of vitamins or fiber. CSPI’s criteria exclude sugar drinks in favor of water, juice, or low-fat milk. The NRA’s standards are quite similar, though they allow more calories.

Here are some of the least healthy kids’ meals available at chain restaurants:

–        Applebee’s Grilled Cheese on Sourdough with Fries and 2% Chocolate Milk has 1,210 calories with 62g of total fat (46% of kcal), 21g of saturated fat (16%), and 2,340mg. of sodium. That meal has nearly three times as many calories, and three times as much sodium, as CSPI’s criteria for four-to eight-year-olds allow.

–        Chili’s Pepperoni Pizza with Homestyle Fries and Soda has 1,010 calories, 45g of total fat (40% of kcal), 18g of saturated fat (16% of kcal, and about as much saturated fat as an adult should consume in an entire day), and 2,020mg. of sodium.

–        Denny’s Jr. Cheeseburger and French Fries has 980 calories, 55g of total fat (50% of kcal), 20g of saturated fat (18%) and 1,110mg. of sodium. Denny’s does not include beverages with kids’ meals.

–        Ruby Tuesday’s Mac ‘n Cheese, White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, and Fruit Punch has 860 calories, 46g of total fat (48% of kcal) and 1,730mg. of sodium. Ruby Tuesday’s does not disclose saturated or trans-fat content on its menus or website.

–        Dairy Queen’s Chicken Strips, Kids’ Fries, Sauce, Arctic Rush (a Slushee-type frozen drink) and Dilly Bar has 1,030 calories, 45g of total fat (39% of kcal), 15g of saturated fat (13% of calories), and 1,730mg of sodium.

At 19 chain restaurants reported on, not a single possible combination of the items offered for children met the CSPI’s nutrition standards. Out of these restaurants, 9 (that included McDonald’s Popeye’s, Chipotle, and Hardee’s) not a single kids’ meal met the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell standards. At Wendy’s, only 5% of 40 possible kids’ meals met the CSPI’s standards. Most of these items were either too high in sodium or saturated fat. At Burger King, just 20% of the 15 possible kids’ meals met CSPI’s criteria.

The last time the CSPI reviewed the nutritional quality of kids’ meals at chain restaurants, in 2008, it is reported that these restaurants have made little progress. In 2008, just 1% of kids’ meals met the CSPI nutrition standards, compared to only 3% in 2012. Only one-third of the chains had at least 1 meal that met the nutritional standards in 2008. This number scaled to 44% in 2012- good, but not great improvement.

While the CSPI report recommends that companies consider several changes, it also encourages the chains to participate in the NRA’s Kids LiveWell program. For these restaurants to do so, they would need to restructure their kids’ meals to meet these standards. The bottom line is that these restaurants should offer more fruits and veggies, and to offer these fresh options as an alternative side to French fries. Whole grains should be offered more, as well as removing soda or other sugar sweetened beverages from the kids’ menus. And just because Subway was the only chain restaurant to meet CSPI’s criteria for all kids’ meals, it should increase the whole grain content of its breads and continue to lower sodium.

The long-term problem I see in this article is that the chain restaurant industry is conditioning children to accept a really narrow range of food options. More chains are adding fruits and veggies at this point, but realistically- a lot more could offer these options. And given the childhood obesity epidemic that America is currently attempting at combating- you would think that more restaurants would want to take action in the health of their future consumers.

CBS News Clip

Print

subway-kids-meal

This is a standard Subway Kids’ Meal option