Health/Nutrition/Food Safety

Glyphosate EU licence renewal dossier published online

An alliance of chemical firms has published thousands of scientific studies online to support its application for the EU licence renewal of glyphosate, which is due to expire in December 2022. The dossier contains approximately 1,500 scientific studies. Roundup users have blamed the weedkiller for causing their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. But Bayer has strongly denied the claims and repeatedly defended the product’s 40-year safety record.

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British fans of ‘grow your own’ fruit and veg urged to test soil for safety before eating lockdown harvest

Britain’s legions of ‘grow your own’ gardeners are being urged to ensure their soil is safe before they consume their hard-earned harvest. The UK’s love affair with gardening has flourished amid lockdown as more people took up the hobby and began to grow their own fruit and vegetables. But a firm set up to test domestic soil quality has urged caution before garden enthusiasts enjoy their first crops. A spokesman for SafeSoil UK said in a recent press release: “With the UK’s proud industrial heritage the reality is that many of the plots of land that gardeners are using to grow their crops have a back-story that can mean contamination in the soil.

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‘Grow Your Own Potatoes’ project in Britain a success despite pandemic crisis

Keeping children engaged in the Grow Your Own Potatoes (GYOP) project has been a priority for AHDB Potatoes’ education team, ever since schools closed back in March, not long after planting their potatoes as part of this year’s GYOP project. GYOP was launched in 2004 and since then over 5 million children in Britain have discovered where potatoes come from, how they grow and their health benefits. The value of the programme has been recognised by the general public, and also by the potato and food industry.

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Canada: COVID-19 cases identified at a Simplot potato processing plant

Two employees at a potato processing in Portage la Prairie in Canada’s Manitoba province have tested positive for COVID-19, and 14 are in self-quarantine. On Thursday evening, J.R. Simplot confirmed employees had tested positive for COVID-19 within the Portage la Prairie plant. Josh Jordan, the manager of communications and public relations for Simplot, said the company was notified on Monday that one employee tested positive. He said 12 other employees who had been in contact with the person either in or outside of work, had been identified and tested.

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Podcast: ‘The rightful place of potatoes in the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans’

In this edition of the Eye on Potatoes podcast, NPC President Britt Raybould calls in from Idaho to talk about the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), which are currently being drafted by USDA and U.S. Health and Human Services, as well as NPC’s efforts to advocate for the inclusion of potatoes in all forms in the recommendations. It is anticipated that the final DGAs will be published before the end of 2020.

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‘All hail the rise of the climate-smart potato’

The potential of the potato has only just begun to be realized, writes
Sandra Cordon in this article published by Landscape News. Some 368 million metric tons of potatoes were harvested globally in 2019, as people from Vietnam to Kenya, the Peruvian Andes to Rwanda produced a wide variety of the root vegetable, helping feed an estimated 1.3 billion people who rely on them as a staple food. And this is a minimum threshold – potato production is expanding across parts of Africa and Asia.

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Nutritious and satisfying: Potatoes USA explains the versatile potato

With consumer demand increasing for plant-based menu options, now is the time to put more spuds on your menu. Potatoes are a staple in nearly every cultural cuisine, so they’re uniquely suited to deliver today’s most craved global flavours, says Potatoes USA in this article prepared by Caterer Middle East staff. Being naturally fat-free, cholesterol-free, and low in sodium, this makes potatoes the perfect product for a healthy diet.

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Side Delights positioning for increased cooking at home and changing consumer wants

Side Delights was an early adapter to the trends of “the cooks of this century” with cutting-edge blogger programs, organic options, convenience products, and packaging breakthroughs. Since the pandemic began, consumers leaned further into home cooking. This encouraged associated benefits, like eating healthier and saving money. Side Delights saw a significant increase in organic web traffic to the Frequently Asked Questions page of Sidedelights.com during the Shelter in Place. The most common searches were for the best way to prep, cook, and store meals at home.

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Dutch group creates low carb french fry which is healthier than a traditional fry

Leon de Winter wasn’t impressed when his doctor told him he couldn’t eat french fries anymore. The Dutch writer had been diagnosed with diabetes and was put on a strict new diet — and french fries weren’t included. The writer quickly decided he would find low carb fries, however his internet searches turned up zilch. That didn’t deter de Winter and he enlisted his cousin León Eisman, a cardiac doctor, for help, writes Ashley Robinson in an article published by Spud Smart magazine.

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Dutch ag sector has ‘lowest environmental footprint’ in the world

The Dutch agricultural sector is said to have, relatively speaking, the lowest environmental impact of all countries in the world. That is what ABN Amro says. According to the bank, the joint ‘footprint of CO2, energy, pesticides and antibiotics in the Netherlands is the smallest per kilo of agricultural product.’ “We produce more per hectare of land here than any other country,” says Jan de Ruyter, agricultural sector banker at ABN Amro.

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‘Stop cutting out white potatoes – they’re as healthy as sweet ones’, dietitians say

When trying to improve one’s diet, many people think they need to cut out potatoes. White potatoes, some of us have been led to believe, are fattening carb-bombs that should be shunned at all costs, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Well, not quite. Not at all, in fact. Three dietitians explained to Insider how the nutritional profiles of sweet and white potatoes are very similar, and they’re calling for people to stop demonizing the latter.

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Trending: Potatoes and a strong immune system

Maintaining a strong immune system and living a healthy lifestyle has been trending since before the shelter-in-place began. A March 10 Seattle Times article, Can you Boost your Immunity with Food?, suggests consumers choose immune-supporting nutrients such as Vitamin C and a plant-based diet. Potatoes are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Folate and can help restore electrolyte balance because they have a high level of potassium in addition to sodium – two important electrolytes.

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Research study provides basis for new processing strategies to mitigate acrylamide formation, improve chip quality

Potato chips are among the highest contributors to the dietary intake of acrylamide, a potent neurotoxin and likely carcinogen in heat-processed foods, says a Canadian research team, whose study on acrylamide formation in chips was recently published online in the journal Food Control. The research team says their findings provide the basis for new processing strategies to mitigate acrylamide formation, and improve the quality of chips from these, and possibly other, potato cultivars.

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Namibia to spend millions on potato imports in effort to address food crisis

To make up for the monthly potato production shortfall, drought stricken Namibia will have to spend around N$160,2 million on potato imports for the next five months – N$13 million a month. This was revealed by the Namibia Agronomic Board. The country’s production forecast for the next five months revealed that local farmers will only produce 8 121 tonnes of potatoes, while the country needs 19 144 tonnes. Potatoes are the most consumed fresh produce product in the country, with an average demand of 3 800 tonnes every month.

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In defense of potatoes

In the world of nutrition, potatoes seem to have fallen from grace. Meanwhile, sweet potatoes still — largely — get away scot-free. What is this travesty? Angela Dowden, British award-winning health journalist and Registered Nutritionist examines the evidence in this article published by the American Council on Science and Health.

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Viewpoint: Without modern, industrial farming, pandemic would have claimed many more lives

In November of 2019 The Atlantic asked “experts” what they would change if they could go back in time. The experts had titles like “mythographer” – no scientists invited – so it’s no surprise only one response had real-world relevance, A historian at Rutgers wished agriculture had never been invented. Agriculture, that fundamental progressive achievement which made food plentiful so that we no longer spent our days foraging and could learn things and, you know, create universities, had to be undone. How out-of-touch with the world must you be when you wish to go back in time 10,000 years and re-implement periodic famine?

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Vegetable growers in the US rally to conquer COVID-19-induced challenges

The vegetable industry in 2020 is living through extraordinary times. The State of the Vegetable Industry survey that Growing Produce conducted this year gave invaluable insight into what you are experiencing when it comes to production issues, labor, and specialized areas like protected agriculture and technology. “When the government says you can’t have any customers, guess who becomes your customer? The government,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council (NPC) says. It’s only a short-term solution, he says.

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Video: Shifts in the US foodservice industry, and how chefs find inspiration from potatoes

In this episode of Potatoes USA’s “Keeping it Current” initiative, Kendra Keenan, Global Marketing Manager for Foodservice, talks about the shifts in foodservice and how chefs and operators from across the globe are finding potato inspiration for their menus and getting more creative to drive sales. Kendra also touches on the numerous marketing materials created for foodservice operators and where they can be accessed.

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Trending: ‘The Age of Agrochemicals is Ending – It’s Time for Agricultural Biotechnology’

As Europe moves to reduce its reliance on agrochemicals in the farming system over the next 10 years and beyond, a crucial question emerges: what replaces them? Agricultural biotechnology could provide the answer, writes Farhan Mitha in this insightful article published by Labiotech Insider. The use of agrochemicals — pesticides, fertilizers, and plant growth enhancers — has been crucial to humanity over the last century. Yet, their impact on the environment has become too profound to ignore, and they’re increasingly seen as 20th-century instruments that are ill-suited for 21st-century challenges.

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US potato industry focuses on re-establishing, growing America’s love of potatoes

The National Potato Council held their first ever virtual event this week. There’s been remarkable changes in the food system over the last few months because of COVID-19. That’s led to a lot of adjustments to the potato industry. “The versatility, the commonality and the nutritional benefits of the potato solidified our position with consumers—many of whom cooked their first potatoes at home over the past 90 days,” said Blair Richardson, CEO of Potatoes USA. Despite the hardships that COVID has presented, Richardson is still bullish for the potato industry.

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Talking Biotech: Where did GMOs come from? Former Monsanto scientist Robb Fraley recounts the advent of biotech crops

On the five-year anniversary of the Talking Biotech podcast published on the Genetic Literacy Project (GLP) website, host and plant geneticist Kevin Folta sits down with former Monsanto chief technology officer Robb Fraley. He recalls the race to transform plants and his work as a leader at Monsanto. While the company did important work to advance crop biotechnology, Fraley says, Monsanto made little effort to explain genetic engineering to food companies, the media and consumers and was thus unprepared for the backlash against GMOs in the 1990s.

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Bayer to pay up to $10.9bn to settle US Roundup lawsuits

Bayer said today that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to settle litigation over the weedkiller Roundup, which has faced thousands of lawsuits over claims it causes cancer. Bayer said it was also paying up $1.22 billion to settle two additional areas of intense litigation, one involving toxic chemical PCB in water, and one involving dicamba, another weedkiller. The company continues to maintain that Roundup is safe.

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Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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