World wastes 30% of all food

Monday, June 06, 2011

There’s no reason to waste food. 

A gut-wrenching fact: 30% of all food produced in the world each year is wasted or lost, with developed countries wasting 10 times more food than a developing one.  That’s about 1.3 billion tons, according to a new report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. That’s the weight of more than 8.6 million full-grown blue whales, the largest creatures on earth or the weight of more than 2.3 million Airbus A380s, the largest commercial planes in existence.  It’s almost unfathomable isn’t it?

Here’s another statistic: all the food that the world’s richest countries waste is about equal to all the food that sub-Saharan Africa produces. Basically, the waste of the rich could feed much of the African continent.

A major change of mindset is what is needed, and one of the biggest challenges is helping people get over the perception of food perfection.

 The U.N.  suggests:

  • Charities work together with markets to collect food that’s unsold and about to pass its expiry date to be redistributed or cooked up at food kitchens for the needy and homeless.
    Simply don’t buy more food than you need.  You’re more likely to not finish it, you’ll end up throwing it away and you’ll have wasted your money.
    And my own personal tip: if I eat at a restaurant and can’t finish it all, I ask for a doggie bag.

 It’s up to all of us to use our common sense to eat and shop just a bit wiser.  Remember, we’ve got 1.3 billion tons of food on our plate to clean up – each year and counting.



USDA lowers minimum safe cooking temperature for pork

Monday, June 06, 2011

The United States Department of Agriculture is dropping their baseline metric for safe pork cooking from 160°F (71.11 Celsius) to 145°F (62.77 Celsius) and adding a three-minute rest time. The safe temperature for cuts of beef, veal, and lamb remains unchanged at 145°F.

Cooking raw pork, steaks, roasts, and chops to 145°F with the addition of a three-minute rest time will result in a product that is both microbiologically safe and at its best quality.



Australian farmers feeling the most confident about the future

Monday, June 06, 2011

Food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank Australia, released its quarterly rural confidence survey which questioned about 1200 farmers across Australia and found that confidence had moderated compared to the prior quarter, but was at the highest level recorded for the second quarter since 2001.

Farmers were buoyed by favourable commodity prices and good autumn rains, with 42 per cent expecting conditions to improve in the coming year, compared to 48 per cent in the prior quarter.

Many farmers had received abundant summer rain and a top-up in autumn, which was good for the start of the winter cropping season, and prices for beef, sheep, and grain were relatively firm given strong demand and short supply.



DNA tests quality of live sheep

Monday, June 06, 2011

Australian scientists are confident they can now tell the eating quality of a lamb while the animal is still alive.

In fact they are confident that such epicurean qualities can now be determined at the point of birth.

It is as simple as taking a DNA sample from a lamb and using the latest in genetic analysis - the SNP or single nucleotide polymorphisms - to determine a lamb's propensity to produce intra-muscular fat and a loin muscle with a low shear force.

Both measures, following extensive local research at Western Australia's Murdoch University and the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), are critical indicators of a lamb's eating quality.

Last week the Sheep CRC released details of these quality traits along with four other lamb carcass traits that can be identified with DNA SNP analysis.

The other traits were for lean meat yields, carcass weight, eye muscle and fat depths.

Sheep CRC chief executive Dr James Rowe said the analyses were still in the research phase though there was already one year of on-farm testing with another season of pilot trials scheduled for this year.

While the carcass weight and eye muscle and fat depth have been measured and reported as Lambplan breeding values for several decades, Dr Rowe said the DNA analysis would improve the accuracy of the traits.

"But the beauty of the DNA analysis for the lean meat yield, intra-muscular fat and shear force traits was that they were hard-to-measure traits, which, until now, could only be assessed on a processed animal or through extensive consumer evaluation," Dr Rowe said.

He was also confident the release of the carcass traits would be timely to prevent the prime lamb industry damaging its eating quality reputation through any pre-occupation with growth rates and lean meat yield.

Validation of the DNA analysis for carcass traits is part of the Sheep CRC seven-year Information Nucleus program, where the progeny of research flocks of Merino, and terminal and maternal breeds have been extensively evaluated and analysed for an exhaustive array of wool, carcass, growth and animal health traits.

The release of the carcass traits last week followed the release earlier this year of several wool traits.

Dr Rowe envisaged that once the DNA SNP analysis was commercially available, stud breeders would be paying between $50-$100 for a once-off analysis of traits.

Dr Rowe said the analyses would be combined and reported with the existing sheep breeding values, currently administered by Sheep Genetics.   



MLA's eat meat campaign

Monday, June 06, 2011

Food envy — there is nothing worse. And,  just in case you're not sure what it is, watch Meat and Livestock Australia's latest television commercial in its "Nothing Beats Beef" campaign. The commercial - which went to air this week - shows a couple in a cosy restaurant on a chilly winter's night. He orders the beef curry. She orders the salad.The plates arrive, one steamy and succulent and the other a pile of lettuce.  And there you have it — food envy!

MLA general marketing manager Glen Feist said the latest campaign was designed to drive beef demand during winter.

"Australians crave hearty, warming slow cooked meals such as beef casseroles, curries, pies and beef roasts in winter," Mr Feist said. "This phase of the campaign aims to remind them of their love for these tasty, value for money beef meals as the weather cools."

The campaign includes radio promotions, television segments and competitions



Live export ban bill

Monday, June 06, 2011

Independant MP Andrew Wilkie wants to ban all live exports within three years.

The Tasmanian independent will meet with Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig this afternoon to outline his private member’s bill to immediately ban cattle exports to Indonesia and a three-year phrase out plan for all live trade.



The food desert in your own backyard

Monday, June 06, 2011

America's national image may be one of waving wheat fields and overflowing platters, but the reality for many communities is much less plentiful. A new interactive map built by the United States Department of Agriculture allows users to locate the food deserts in their neighborhood and across the country, simply by typing in an address or zip code.  Click here for more information

 




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