New Foodborne Illness Outbreak Tracking Tool

October 30, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that foodborne illness sickens 1 in 6 people in the United States every year. Annually, food borne illness leads to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

If you are concerned about food safety, your best bet is to follow the 4 food safety tips:

  • Clean – wash your hands and surfaces often
  • Separate – separate your raw foods from cooked foods, don’t cross-contaminate
  • Cook – cook foods to their proper internal temperatures
  • Chill – refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours

If you really want to know more about food borne illness outbreaks, check out the CDC’s new Foodborne Outbreak Online Database (FOOD) tool available at:


This online database tracks all food borne illness data back to 1998. You can learn which foods were culprits, geographic areas affected and see just how susceptible our food supply is.

For more information about food safety and keeping your own kitchen safe from food borne illness, check out



Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb: Who Wins?

Agitated young woman looking up in frustration


As the end of 2015 approaches and the nutrition world anxiously awaits publication of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it’s worth taking a moment to consider where the world of research falls with regard to fad diets.

In the post-low-fat world that followed the 1990’s fat free and low-fat diet craze, you don’t hear much about a low fat diet anymore. The American Heart Association has moved off of recommending a “low fat” diet for heart disease prevention, and praise is now routinely heaped on the Mediterranean Diet – a relatively “high fat” (but the right type of fat!) eating pattern.

A study published last week in PLOS ONE did take a look at low-fat vs. low-carb diets and found that low-carb diets appear to be slightly better at lowing cardiovascular disease risk.

The meta-analysis looked at 1,797 obese or overweight people who were enrolled in 17 different studies. The overall weight loss was 17.6 pounds in the low-carb group and 13.2 pounds in the low-fat group.

To be fair, both of the groups showed a significant reduction in their 10-year cardiovascular disease risk score, but the study was funded by Atkins Nutritionals – the retail arm of the low-carb Atkins Diet.

The take away message is: when it comes to losing weight and cutting heart disease risk – calories do count. Eliminating added sugars, reducing white carb foods and cutting out excess amounts of bad fat have been shown to be effective ways to trim your waistline and your heart disease risk profile.

30 Minutes of Exercise Just Doesn’t Cut It!

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While many professional associations and scientific groups differ on minimum exercise requirements, a recommendation you hear thrown around a lot is, “Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week“. In fact, the American Heart Association makes the same exercise recommendations for overall cardiovascular health.

But is this enough to help reduce risk for heart failure – events that affect over 5 million people in the US and are responsible for 1 in 9 deaths? A new study seems to show that these exercise levels may not be optimal for reducing risk.

A new meta-analysis published this week in the journal Circulation found that 30 minutes a day most days of the week probably doesn’t cut it when it comes to heart failure event risk reduction.

The researchers looked at 370,460 men and women who had varying levels of physical activity. They were followed over 15 years and collectively experienced more than 20,000 heart failure events.

Activity was self-reported, but analysis of the data indicates that the 30-minutes-a-day exercise adherents had “modest reductions” in heart failure risk compared to “substantial risk reduction” of 20 percent and 35 percent if they exercised twice or four times that amount (respectively).

Of course heart disease is a multi-faceted condition, and heart failure events aren’t the only objective endpoints researchers can study. But if you’ve been looking for a reason to ramp your physical activity – this study shows it can’t hurt – and may in fact be worth your while!

Getting Geared up for Food Day

October 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Consumer awareness, General, Holidays


While we eat food every day, Food Day is a special day to think about what and how we eat. Food Day is on October 24 and the celebration seeks to “inspire Americans to change their diets and our food policies.”

Food Day was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest but is championed by a diverse group of leaders in the food movement, public office, school settings and local organizers.

In addition to celebrating food, the Food Day movement has a number of national priorities that relate to our food system and “provide common ground for building the food movement”. Food Day seeks to:

  • Promote safer, healthier diets
  • Support sustainable and organic farms
  • Reduce hunger and improve food access
  • Reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals
  • Support fair working conditions for food and farm workers

To get involved this year in Food Day, you can:

This year as an added bonus, Food Day is partnering with to host filmmaker Susan Rockefeller’s new film “Food for Though, Food for Life” that, “inspires us to think differently about what we eat, and to make changes that will positively impact our health, our communities and the environment”. The film will be available this month on the website, available here.