Health/Nutrition/Food Safety

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 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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Western Australia: ‘Back to Basics’ for autumn potato marketing campaign

Local consumer research has shown that those who are decreasing their consumption of potatoes are concerned about health and weight loss. Those who have increased their potato consumption are interested in budget-friendly and healthy meals and are young families or young adults with no kids. So says Western Australia’s Marketing Manager, Georgia Thomas. The theme of the Autumn-Winter campaign for WA Potatoes is

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Mancozeb: Why the potato industry must prepare for its loss

Despite its recent stay of execution, there is little hope for sustained use of multisite fungicide mancozeb beyond the 2023 growing season in the UK, and potato growers are urged to start planning how they will effectively manage disease and fungicide resistance without it. Despite the renewal process being triggered in the UK, hopes are described as very slim by many observers.

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AHDB’s new marketing campaign to feature the jacket potato

AHDB Potatoes will launch a new marketing campaign this February, with the amazing jacket potato at its heart. The versatility and adaptability of baked potatoes is the focal point of the latest wave of marketing activity, with Britons encouraged to extend the teatime favourite to a hot lunchtime alternative.

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AHDB applies for Emergency Authorisations after Vydate ban

Following an announcement that nematode treatment Vydate 10g has not been re-authorised and as of 1 January this year it is no longer approved for use in the UK, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has applied for emergency approval to provide limited use of the product for the 2021 growing season. Following consultation with stakeholders AHDB submitted requests for emergency approvals for those Vydate uses where growers lack alternative pest control options.

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Dietary Guidelines for Americans: ‘Make every bite count with potatoes’

Potatoes help support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation for increased nutrient-dense vegetable consumption. Says John Toaspern, Potatoes USA Chief Marketing Officer: “It’s official: the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans have yet again confirmed the importance of eating more vegetables such as potatoes that provide potassium and vitamin C. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations focus on increased nutrient-dense vegetable consumption.

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