Health/Nutrition/Food Safety

Australian researchers study whether ‘plant medicines’ could help treat cancer, obesity

“Plant cures” are the key to world-first research by a team of scientists at the University of Queensland (UQ), led by Professor David Craik. “We’re engineering plants into super-efficient producers of next-generation medicines,” Professor Craik said. “So we want to put molecules into, say, potatoes, so that effectively you can have your french fries and not worry about the consequences.”

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US researchers identify potato cultivars with a low glycemic index

A team of researchers at Montana State University and North Dakota State University recently reported on results of a study into potato varieties thought to have a low glycemic index (GI). The research team evaluated 60 potato cultivars to identify cultivars with low amylopectin – that are thought to have low GI potential. The researchers identified five most promising cultivars.

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‘Nutritional giant, friend of peasants, rulers and sages’: How the humble potato changed the world

How could an Andean tuber persuade the world, in just a few centuries, to adopt it so completely? Diego Arguedas Ortiz explains in this great article: What made the potato so irresistible was its unrivalled nutritional value, its relative easiness to cultivate as compared to some major cereals, its ability to easily navigate wars and tax censuses due to its knack for hiding underground from collectors, and in particular, its camaraderie with working men and women in the fields.

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Study: Potatoes to ensure higher quality diet for teenagers

ANI reports on a recent study conducted among people aged between nine to 18 years which suggested that eating potatoes can be an effective strategy to modestly improve intake of key shortfall nutrients. “The potato is a nutrient-dense vegetable that provides important, critically under-consumed nutrients to adolescent diets,” said Victor Fulgoni, co-author of the study.

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Viewpoint: ‘How COVID has altered the future of US agriculture and the role of biotechnology’

The past year has been a doozy. Being locked up for a year and watching half a million Americans die was traumatizing. In the most productive agricultural country in the world, millions of people lined up for food and many Americans died because Covid preferentially attacks people with pre-existing conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. So says Jim Budzynski in an article published by Genetic Literacy Project.

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‘First of its kind’: Branston getting ready to create vegan meat using potato protein

UK potato supplier Branston is creating a new factory dedicated to transforming potatoes into plant-based protein. Vegan Food & Living writes that the £6 million facility will extract high-grade plant protein from potatoes, using potatoes from Branston’s supply. Right now, Branston supplies potatoes in fresh or prepared formats such as ready-made potato fries. However, the company wanted to find more uses for its potato crops.v

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‘Chuno’: An Andean dehydrated potato foodstuff that lasts for decades after preparation

Chuno comes from the indigenous Aymara word ch’unu. It is also practiced in Peru, but its origins are uncertain. Archeologist Jedu Sagarnaga believes this conservation method was developed “probably during the Formative Period” from around 2,000 to 200 BC. It may be even older, as 2017 tests on chuno dug up in Peru showed it was more than 5,000 years old. After it is prepared, this foodstuff lasts for decades.

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Study: Potato nutrients can help reduce sodium retention, may help reduce risk of hypertension

A new study published in Nutrients investigated the effect of increased dietary potassium from a whole food source – baked/boiled potatoes and baked French fries – or a potassium supplement on blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to a ‘typical American’ control diet (lower potassium intake) among 30 pre-hypertensive to hypertensive men and women.

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Europatat, other EU ag associations on pesticide use, Farm to Fork strategy

Following the first anniversary of the publication of the Farm to Fork Strategy by the European Commission, Europatat and twelve other association members of the Agri-Food Chain Roundtable on Plant Protection have co-signed an open letter on the importance of carrying out a comprehensive assessment before making any decisions about the reduction of pesticide use, including the target for 50% reduction of the use of chemicals.

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‘Not for couch potatoes’: First-of-its-kind organic ‘Sport Spuds’ said to be a game-changer for athletes

Atlanta is now home to ‘Sport Spuds’ – a new woman-owned business founded by endurance athlete, entrepreneur and professional violinist, Alison James. Boasting the “power of the potato,” Sport Spuds and its first-of-its-kind organic sports nutrition product line mark the realization of a dream 12 years in the making. Boasting three simple ingredients, Sport Spuds are non-GMO, non-dairy, gluten free and vegan.

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North America shines green to promote plant health

The United States, Canada, and Mexico recently dazzled North Americans with a green light celebration of the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), writes Greg Rosenthal in this USDA/APHIS news release. In April, the countries partnered to illuminate Niagara Falls in green. At the same time, they lit up iconic national buildings and monuments. These illuminations brought attention to the importance of plants to life on Earth and the need to protect plant health. The U.N. declared 2020 IYPH and extended the celebration through July 1, 2021.

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Canada backs down from full imidacloprid ban, but adds restrictions

Canada’s pesticide regulator said last week that farmers could keep using the chemical imidacloprid to control crop-destroying insects under stricter conditions, softening an earlier proposal to ban it. Farmers use imidacloprid to protect fruits and vegetables from aphids and beetles. The PMRA stated on May 19 that in-furrow application for root and tuber vegetables, including potatoes, was cancelled. This was due to the maximum application rate being reduced to 100 g a.i./ha. Potato foliar applications have been reduced to one per season.

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Interseeding cultivation method shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching

A two-year project funded through the University of Wisconsin-Water Resources Institute is investigating an interseeding cultivation method for potato cropping that shows early promise to reduce nitrate leaching. Researcher Kevin Masarik from UW-Stevens Point is pursuing what he termed an outside-the-box idea – interseeding rye, oat and millet between the rows of potatoes to create biomass to take up excess nitrates.

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Top seven noteworthy trends for fresh produce in 2021

The year 2020 has been unprecedented in many ways and has been extremely challenging for fresh produce suppliers, retailers, and shoppers, writes Raul Fernandez, President of Breakthrough Solutions, in an article published by Produce Business. Looking ahead, the following summarizes the top consumer trends for produce suppliers in the coming year. Fernandez identifies seven essential trends.

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‘The year everyone learned to cook at home’: Side Delights shares data on home-cooking habits

While restaurants across the US continue to open, more Americans are still cooking at home more now than they did before the pandemic began. Consumers reported cooking slightly less than half of their meals at home before the onset of COVID-19. Not surprisingly, this increased to 66% in April 2020 and remained elevated at 54% as of August – which Cooking Light magazine referred to as “The year everyone learned to cook at home.”

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PepsiCo to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres, sustainably source all key ingredients

PepsiCo, Inc. today announced a new, impact-driven Positive Agriculture ambition, anchored by a goal to spread regenerative farming practices across 7 million acres, approximately equal to its entire agricultural footprint. The company estimates the effort will eliminate at least 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the end of the decade. It also aims to improve the livelihoods of more than 250,000 people in its agricultural supply chain, and sustainably source all key ingredients by 2030.

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Post-CIPC: British ag industry groups present position paper to authorities

AHDB’s potato storage research team in the UK has worked closely with industry representatives from the British Potato Trade Association, Fresh Potato Suppliers’ Association, National Farmers Union, National Farmers Union of Scotland and UK Potato Processors’ Association to submit a position paper to the Chemical Regulation Division (CRD) of the HSE.

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Pesticides and food: ‘It’s not a black or white issue’

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring drew attention to pesticides and their possible dangers to humans, birds, mammals and the environment. Some of her conclusions and warnings have not held up over time, but Silent Spring produced a movement that changed how the U.S. thought about chemicals and biotechnology.

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Canada: Prince Edward Island seed potatoes cleared for export to the U.S. after no more wart found

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted its voluntary suspension of export certification for P.E.I. seed potatoes, allowing trade to the United States to resume. The suspension was lifted as of March 11, 2021, the agency said in a statement emailed to CBC News. The P.E.I. Potato Board confirms there have already been shipments of seed potatoes from P.E.I. to the U.S. since the CFIA announcement.

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Utz CEO: Boulder Canyon potato chips doing well with customers looking for healthier snacks

Some Utz Brands buyers are opting for snacks with healthier ingredients such as the avocado oil used to cook the Boulder Canyon potato chips, Utz Brands CEO Dylan Lissette told CNBC. The snack company has been rebranding and developing the Boulder Canyon chips since it bought its manufacturer Inventure Foods in 2017, said Lissette on CNBC’s Mad Money. “We’ve got a lot of excitement around those ‘better for you brands’,” Lissette said.

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Potatoes USA launches new marketing campaign

A new video campaign has been launched by Potatoes USA to help combat meal fatigue and show consumer the many different meals that can be prepared using potatoes. Retail potato sales saw tremendous growth in 2020 as consumers stocked their pantries in March and beyond.

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Side Delights: Healthy-eating, immunity gain importance with consumers since pandemic

Side Delights revealed recently released trend data on the growing focus on the health benefits of foods and the impact it has on consumer behavior. Since the inception of the pandemic, healthy-eating and immunity has continued to gain importance with consumers, and it shows in their shopping habits. Side Delights says its potatoes are grown in the best potato growing areas, stored in high-tech storage facilities, and packed and delivered close to customers/final mile experts.

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