Health/Nutrition/Food Safety

Tim Kitson: An inspirational story of resilience and a positive outlook in the face of great adversity

Norfolk potato consultant Tim Kitson, who suffered from severe head injuries after a 30ft fall from an elevated walkway onto the concrete floor of a potato store which he was inspecting in 2019, has received national recognition at the British Potato Awards. Besides overcoming physical challenges, he retrained his sense of smell, affected due to a brain bleed. His client, Lamb Weston, praised his innovative ideas and positive attitude despite facing significant professional and personal challenges.

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‘To veg or not to veg’: The controversy over the vegetable status of potatoes in U.S. nutrition policy guidelines

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is considering reclassifying potatoes from vegetables to a broader category of rice, grains, and carbohydrates in the 2025 national diet guidelines. This move is raising debates among scientists and potato industry stakeholders. Critics, such as the National Potato Council’s CEO, argue that potatoes are a gateway vegetable for children and should not be downgraded due to some people’s choice to eat fries instead of rice.

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The potato’s role in food security: FAO welcomes decision to celebrate International Day of Potato

The UN has designated May 30 as International Day of Potato in a bid to stress the vegetable’s global importance for food security. The move was initiated by Peru and builds on the International Year of Potato, observed in 2008. As a versatile, climate-friendly crop that is both nutritionally and economically valuable, potatoes play a pivotal role in addressing global hunger, malnutrition and poverty.

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The battle against acrylamide: Progress and challenges in European food industries

A research team in Italy studied acrylamide levels in over 15,000 food samples and found potato-based products and coffee were the top sources of exposure to the potentially carcinogenic compound. The study also revealed that mitigation measures by the European Union have made a significant difference over time, notably decreasing contamination levels. However, it equally emphasized continuous monitoring and strict regulation to maintain these improvements and ensure public health.

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Global food security and the power of potatoes: World Potato Congress webinar to provide insights

The World Potato Congress Inc. announces a webinar featuring WPC President Dr. Peter VanderZaag and Dr. André Devaux, focusing on the role of potatoes in global food security. The event, scheduled for November 28, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, will highlight the potato’s status as the world’s third most important food crop, its growing significance in developing regions, and the importance of scientific innovation for enhancing yield. Success stories and strategies for international collaboration in potato production will also be discussed.

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Rethinking potatoes: A comprehensive nutritional analysis and its impact on health

This article, based on research by Stephen A. Fleming and Jenny R. Morris at Traverse Science in Illinois, challenges the negative perception of potatoes, focusing on their nutritional value and health impact. It argues that potatoes are high-quality carbohydrates, comparable to legumes and grains. The study highlights the importance of preparation methods and dietary context, showing that potatoes can contribute positively to a balanced diet and should not be excluded based on their glycemic index alone.

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Global experts rally for sustainable food security solutions at symposium

At the Food Systems Transformation symposium, experts highlighted the urgent need for a strategic overhaul of global food security methods. The event, hosted by Agrico and SeedNL, emphasized the importance of sustainable, inclusive food systems and the role of strategic policy in leveraging food as a geopolitical asset. Discussions covered the necessity of local focus, innovation, and multi-stakeholder cooperation, with a special mention of Africa’s challenges in value addition due to trade laws.

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Ensuring safe potato storage: CRMG calls for grower support in CIPC data collection initiative

The UK potato industry has formed the CIPC Residues Monitoring Group (CRMG) to monitor chlorpropham (CIPC) residues in potatoes from stores previously using CIPC, now banned. The CRMG, led by Adrian Cunnington, seeks industry-wide cooperation to provide data to the Health & Safety Executive, ensuring continued safe use of these stores. The Group will act in the interests of the whole of the UK potato industry to ensure that the data submitted meets the standards expected by CRD. The group aims to maintain the temporary Maximum Residue Level for CIPC.

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How biofortified potatoes can become a game-changer in the battle against anemia of children

Hugo Campos, roots, tubers and banana breeding lead at CGIAR, discusses the global challenge of anemia, especially in children, in a recent article published by The Des Moines Register. Highlighting the higher prevalence in low-income countries, Campos emphasizes the potential of biofortification. The International Potato Center’s development of iron-enriched potatoes aims to combat anemia. These potatoes can provide essential iron, especially in regions with high potato consumption. This innovation offers a sustainable solution to address iron deficiencies and improve global health.

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Potatoes: The produce powerhouse driving retail success in the U.S.

Fresh potatoes have emerged as a consistent sales force in the U.S. produce sector, offering retailers vast opportunities for increased customer interaction. Data reveals that effective merchandising significantly boosts potato sales. With the highest household penetration among vegetables, purchased on average 10 times annually, potatoes enhance sales for other items too. Their contribution to the produce department ensures overall store success, making them a valuable asset for retailers.

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How effective and safe are current-generation pesticides?

An article by Kayleen Schreiber and Marc Brazeau at the Genetic Literacy Project explores the safety and efficacy of modern pesticides. It highlights a significant reduction in pesticide use per unit of food and fiber and per capita, credited to increased food production yields since 1985. While toxicity remains a concern, levels have decreased, and biodegradability has enhanced. Both organic and conventional farming use pesticides, but modern ones are less toxic and more environmentally friendly. The article series emphasizes understanding pesticide risks amid rising global food needs.

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Potato starch shows promise for bone marrow transplant patients

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Michigan have discovered that potato starch may modify the gut microbiome in bone marrow transplant patients, potentially reducing graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) complications. The study, published in Nature Medicine, found that over 80% of participants safely consumed the potato starch supplement, leading to increased gut butyrate levels. This dietary intervention could enhance the success of bone marrow transplants.

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Veg of Lund receives U.S. patent protecting its plant-based potato drink DUG

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has informed Veg of Lund AB that they intend to approve the patent application “vegan potato emulsion,” which defines the company’s unique vegetable milk alternative. This means that the upcoming patent protection will cover the US market. The drink is marketed under the brand name DUG in several European markets.

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New storage research units to safeguard crop storage research in the UK

The UK’s agricultural sector is undergoing a transformation with the establishment of a new network of post-harvest research facilities. This initiative, resulting from the collaboration of ADAS, CHAP, NRI, and JHI, aims to enhance crop storage and post-harvest approaches. The facilities will focus on advanced research areas like supply chain tracking, energy-efficient storage management, and sustainable packaging. The goal is to bolster food supply chain resilience, reduce waste, and optimize food value chains.

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‘Finding a needle in a potato sack’: Potato farmers prioritize inspection systems to ensure food safety

Farmers in North America, especially from Prince Edward Island (PEI), are prioritizing potato safety due to past incidents of metal contaminants in produce. In response, Fortress Technology introduced the Phantom metal detection system, designed to handle the unique challenges posed by potatoes. This system ensures high standards in the potato supply chain, emphasizing shared responsibility in food safety and the importance of upstream inspection to protect brands and guarantee consumer-safe products.

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‘Potatoes Forever!’ campaign launched in Europe to promote sustainable practices in the potato industry

Europe has initiated a €3.2 million “POTATOES FOREVER!” campaign, spanning three years in France and Italy, to educate the public about sustainable practices in the potato sector. Funded 80% by the European Union, the campaign aims to highlight the industry’s efforts in biodiversity protection, water conservation, and eco-friendly farming. The initiative responds to consumers’ growing demand for transparency in food production and sustainability.

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America’s ‘veggie king’: The unwavering popularity of potatoes

At the 2023 Potato Business Summit earlier this year, Kim Breshears of Potatoes USA highlighted the enduring popularity of potatoes in America. Studies show potatoes as the top vegetable for five consecutive years. While 40% of the U.S. potato crop goes to retail and food service each, 20% is exported. Despite a brief pandemic-induced dip, food service sales are rebounding, indicating a robust future for the potato industry. The data presented by Kim Breshears underscores the unwavering popularity of potatoes in the U.S. market.

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Eye on Potatoes podcast: Defending potatoes in the 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans process

The “Eye on Potatoes” podcast discussed the upcoming 2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The U.S. potato industry aims to ensure accurate potato nutrition information is considered in the guidelines. NPC CEO Kam Quarles provided testimony to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The podcast also featured Beth Johnson, a food policy expert with over 25 years of experience, who has been working with NPC to promote the benefits of potatoes.

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Addressing potato wart: Prince Edward Island and industry officials to draft plan for ‘pest-free places’

The potato sector of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) is collaborating with federal officials to develop a “pest-free places of production” (PFPP) system. Federal Agriculture Minister and P.E.I. MP Lawrence MacAulay on Friday reported meeting with staff and representatives of the P.E.I. Potato Board, to discuss next steps in the face of new potato wart-related restrictions on the province’s crops since 2021.

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Crafting a super spud: Researchers set the stage for climate-resistant potatoes poised to enhance nutrition

Scientists have developed a “super pangenome” that encompasses the genetic diversity of multiple potato species to enhance its resilience and nutritional quality. The pangenome includes 296 potato varieties and 60 wild species, making it the most extensive genetic database for potatoes to date. The research team aims to improve potato germplasm for climate resilience and food security.

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‘Between health and harvest’: Europe’s debate on glyphosate use

Glyphosate, a key herbicide globally, faces potential bans in Europe due to environmental and health concerns. Its prohibition could significantly impact European agriculture, especially high-value crops. The economic effects vary by country and farming system, with potential increased costs and yield losses. The decision to ban balances health risks against economic implications.

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Potatoes: More than just a staple in South African cuisine

On National Potato Day, South Africa celebrates its long-standing love for potatoes, a vital part of its culinary history. As reported by Duncan Masiwa for Food for Mzansi, potatoes have been cherished for generations. Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potatoes South Africa, highlights their unifying power and versatility. They’re not just a food source but also a symbol of unity and adaptability.

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Swedish innovation: DUG shakes up plant-based milk market with potato power

Swedish company DUG has revolutionized the plant-based milk industry with its innovative potato milk. Launched in 2021, this sustainable alternative uses significantly less land and water than traditional plant-based milks. Originating from Professor Eva Tornberg’s research at Lund University, the product boasts a unique amino acid profile and avoids common allergens. With its recent UK expansion and multiple awards, DUG is set to lead the sustainable food movement.

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Mastering pesticide management: The must-attend course for potato farmers in a post-Brexit era

The “Managing Pesticides in Fresh Produce” course, offered by Practical Solutions International Ltd, aims to clarify the challenges of pesticide use and residue management, especially post-Brexit. Designed for technical managers working with European retailers, the course, tutored by Ian Finlayson, covers topics like EU pesticide legislation, sampling, and data analysis. Scheduled for September and November-December, it offers an interactive learning experience with practical examples. Testimonials praise the course’s practicality and relevance.

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Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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