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To crack down on misleading health claims, US lawmakers have introduced the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021. The proposed legislation would require standardized front-of-package labeling that tells consumers if a product is healthy or not. The new label may feature star ratings or a system of red, green, and yellow traffic icons. The legislation would also require packages labeled "whole grain" to list the actual percentage of whole grain in the food. The well-intentioned legislation faces an uphill battle before it becomes law.
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At least 4% of the entire world's new cancer cases can be attributed to drinking alcohol, according to a new study. Nearly 47% of those cancers were linked to heavy drinking, or more than six drinks per day. The study did not account for individual environmental, physiological, genetic and social risk factors and researchers admitted that their data may have been impacted by the pandemic.
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In a new study, researchers analyzed 5 years of federal contamination data from nearly 40,000 samples of chicken, pork, beef, and lamb. Results showed that organic meat is 50% less likely to contain multidrug-resistant bacteria as conventionally grown and produced meat. That may not be surprising given that organic producers are prohibited from using antibiotics. However, the report also revealed that among so-called "split facilities" that process both organic and conventional products, all meat was 30% less likely to be contaminated compared to meat from conventional-only facilities. The new data helps document how drug-resistant bacterial contamination occurs not only at the farm but also in the meat processing supply chain, enabling processors to improve their sanitation standards.
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Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) analyzes USDA data to find the fruits and vegetables containing the most and least pesticide residues. This year, strawberries once again top the so-called "Dirty Dozen" list, along with spinach, kale, nectarines, and apples. While health agencies like the World Health Organization recommend avoiding excessive pesticide exposure, the solution isn't to stop eating good-for-you produce. Nutritionists say to choose organic for items on the Dirty Dozen list, since several studies have shown that organic produce contains fewer residues. Or lean more heavily on vegetables and fruits in EWG's "Clean Fifteen" list. This year, avocados top that list, joining sweet corn, pineapples, onions, and papayas. It's the perfect excuse to mash up a bowl of guacamole.
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A new US House Subcommittee report found that popular baby food brands like Gerber, Beech-Nut, Earth's Best, Enfamil, and Similac contain high amounts of toxic metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium. These metals can remain in the environment for decades from past pesticide and herbicide use, according to Michael Hansen, senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports. The Food and Drug Administration considers these metals harmful to human health, and babies are particularly vulnerable due to their developing brains. The subcommittee's report said Earth's Best Organics used ingredients that tested as high as 309 parts per billion for arsenic, while Beech-Nut used ingredients testing as high as 913 ppb for arsenic, well over the FDA's 100 ppb limit. The companies claim the report cites outdated data, but Hansen recommends that concerned parents switch to fruits, vegetables, and grains pureed at home.