Tag Archives: trans fat

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: July 19

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Check out these five stories from the foodservice industry from July 16-20.

U.S. Drought To Affect Food Prices

From HuffPost Green, Read Full Story

When looking at the U.S. Drought Monitor for the week of July 16, almost every state is at least experiencing abnormally dry conditions, but a majority of states fall under the moderate, severe and extreme drought categories.

This drought is bad news for farmers and may soon mean a rise in food prices too.  A HuffPost Green article reported grain prices in the Midwest are “near or past records.”  Prices for soybeans, corn and other crops have increased as well.  They spoke with U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsak, who said a rise in grain prices could mean higher meat and poultry prices in the future.

 Burger King’s Lettuce Fiasco

From Los Angeles Times Business, Read Full Story

A Cleveland Burger King employee caused quite a stir this week after posting a picture of himself standing on two tubs of lettuce.  The L.A. Times said there were actually three employees involved in the incident, all of which have been fired.

Burger King released a statement that said “food safety is a top priority at all Burger King restaurants and the company maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations such as the one in question.”

The Latest on California’s Foie Gras Ban

From HuffPost Food, Read Article and Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, Read Article

On July 1, California banned the sale of foie gras, the fatty liver of an animal (typically ducks or geese).  Restaurants caught serving the item can be fined up to $1,000.  “Foie gras is usually produced through a process in which ducks or geese are force fed corn through tubes and inserted in their throats, a practice seen as inhumane by animal rights activists,” said a Northridge-Chatsworth Patch article.

The foie gras ban has caused an uproar by restaurants and patrons who serve or enjoy the menu item and many have even made attempts to reverse the ruling but have so far been unsuccessful.  However, HuffPost Food reports restaurants are still finding ways to serve foie gras.  Some of the loopholes restaurants have found have been stating they are on land owned by a federal agency (and not the state of California), serving it as free side dish or cooking foie gras brought in by customers.

Changes in Restaurant Bread Service

From MonkeyDish, Read Article

A complimentary bread basket is common in many restaurants, but things are beginning to change now that foodservices are providing more upscale options and charging for them.

MonkeyDish spoke with Professor Ezra Eichelberger of the Culinary Institute of America who said, “Bread is a sign of hospitality and it imparts a feeling of spirituality and sharing to guests, but you have to cover your costs.”  He added customers are okay to upgrade as long as the bread is of higher quality, but providing free bread is beneficial to keep on the menu as well.

New York Trans Fat Regulation is Working

From CNN, Read Article

The ban on trans fats that New York City put into place five-years-ago  is proving to be successful.  CNN reported city health officials have discovered the amount of unhealthy fats customers have ate in fast food has drastically decreased.

Also, many of the large fast food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, etc., have actually implemented changes to locations nationwide in addition to New York City.  The changes were subtle and many customers did not even notice them.  These results come at a time when another controversial ban has been proposed, the sale of sugary beverages.

 

 

Remove; Image from MorgueFile

Advertising to Children: Harmless Fundraising or Obesity Threat?

Remove; Image from MorgueFileWe’ve all seen them, whether it was when we ourselves were kids or just last week:  Advertisements featuring happy, healthy kids running into the kitchen for a meal or snack.   It sounds harmless enough until you factor in that many of these ads are pushing items like sugary cereal, drinks with copious amount of food dyes and other items with way more than the daily recommended amount of fat, calories, etc.   While that may be bad enough, it gets worse when you realize that many (if not most) of the commercials for sweetened or fatty food and drink are geared towards school-aged children.  The Federal Trade Commission stated that, “The food industry spent more than $1.6 billion in 2006 alone to market messages to kids promoting foods that often are high in calories and low in nutrition.”  Taking into consideration that one in three children in the U.S. is overweight or obese, what can be done to make sure that future generations have a fighting chance against food advertisers?

In recent years, there has been at least a glimmer of hope on this front in the form of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign.   Although her terms are voluntary, she has put out a plea to food manufacturers to reexamine how they market to kids up to age 17.  Mrs. Obama gave this message to manufacturers saying, “It’s going to be so critical to increase marketing for foods that are healthy. And if there is anyone here who can sell food to our kids, it’s you. You know what gets their attention…You know what gets them to drive their parents crazy in the grocery store.”  According to Obama Foodorama, Mrs. Obama’s Principle can be broken down into two areas.

1)      Food advertising and marketing aimed at children up to age 17 should encourage them to choose foods that “make meaningful contributions to a healthful diet from food groups including vegetables, fruit, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products, fish, extra lean meat and poultry, eggs, nuts or seeds, and beans.”

2)      Saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium in foods marketed to children should be “limited to minimize the negative impact on children’s health and weight.”

In order to really make a difference, the Federal Trade Commission is shooting for all of the food industry to join in with the saturated fat, trans fat and sugar guidelines by 2016 and the sodium guidelines by 2021.  A forum will take place to discuss the Principles on Tuesday, May 24 with public comments being considered.

But while Mrs. Obama’s Principles are a huge step forward in admitting that there is a problem and making an attempt to fix it, it’s crucial to know that at the same time children are now being faced with advertisements in a place that is unavoidable: schools.   Because kids must attend school, advertisers have begun targeting the education system as a way to gain a captive audience while kicking a little money back for learning costs.

While some school advertising could be inconspicuous and never even seen by students (According to Time Magazine, a Massachussets school has been approached about placing advertising on the roof for planes to see while passing over), most are right within the eyesight and impressionable minds of students.  One of the biggest proponents of this, according to the Center for Commercial-Free Public Education, is a program seen in many schools each morning called Channel One.   The Center says that Channel One currently reaches 8 million middle and high school students each day, showing two minutes of advertising during a single news broadcast.  And while many would think of encouraging kids to watch the news every day as educational, it may actually be costing more than it is worth.  According to a 1998 study on the Analysis of Commercialism in Education, it was found that $26,333 is spent by the average secondary school on just the commercials shown during a year’s worth of Channel One programming.

Advertising in schools isn’t all just on the TV though.  In school districts like the one in St. Francis, Minnesota, 10-15% of the lockers are covered in ads.  In many townships, extra money has been awarded for struggling programs like art and music by putting ads on the sides of school buses (sometimes up to $1,000 per bus).   There have even been lessons to teach students about wildlife and architecture promoted by companies such as Exxon and McDonald’s.

In these cases, it seems there are only a few choices.  Instead of waiting for Mrs. Obama’s Principles to become a reality, there is  always the opportunity for communities to rally together to ensure local schools are not promoting products, especially those for foods that could lead to increased obesity and related health issues.   It’s also imperative to explore all options of raising money when a district is presented with the option of combining advertising and education.  Finally, it’s important to educate children about eating healthy and making decisions based on that instead of a commercial or signage.

Are unhealthy foods used in your or your child’s school?  What are your thoughts on advertising to children both in and out of school?  Please share your comments with us below.