A University of California, Berkeley professor stands at the front of the room, delivering her invited talk about the potential of genetic engineering. Her audience, full of organic farming advocates, listens uneasily. She notices a man get up from his seat and move toward the front of the room. Confused, the speaker pauses mid-sentence as she watches him bend over, reach for the power cord, and unplug the projector. The room darkens and silence falls. So much for listening to the ideas of others.
Thought for Food Blog
Topics: organic, agriculture, genetics, genetic modification (GM), environment and sustainability, IFIS Publishing, bacteria, food production, food safety, functional foods, regulations and guidance, food research, nutrients, pesticides, food security
The eating of insects, or entomophagy, is not a new concept. In fact, insects have been eaten around the world since prehistoric times.
A history of insect consumption
Stable carbon isotope analysis of the bones and dental enamel of australopithecines, for example, has shown that they were significantly enriched in isotope 13C, suggesting that the diet of these people was largely composed of animals feeding on grasses, including insects. Termites are reported to have been included into the Plio-Pleistocene hominin diet, and an analysis of fossils from caves in the USA and Mexico showed that coprolites from caves in Mexico contained ants, beetle larvae, lice, ticks and mites, providing further evidence for entomophagy in human history.
Topics: protein, nutrition, Africa, Asia, vitamins and minerals, allergies and allergens, cholesterol, environment and sustainability, fatty acids, food safety, food security, pesticides, texture, insect foods, nutrients, amino acids, magnesium, zinc, calcium, enzymes, consumer behaviour, novel foods
Organic foods often come at a higher cost than their non-organic counterparts. Yet, some consumers consistently choose to buy them above conventionally-produced foods. Evidence suggests that there is often some discrepancy between what consumers believe organic foods offer and the reality. So what exactly are organic foods, and what motivates consumers to buy them?
Organic food: a definition
Organic foods are those produced by organic farming methods, which aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment. The exact standards producers must meet vary slightly between countries, which set their own guidelines, but there are a few core principles that are shared by all of the various regulatory bodies.
Topics: organic, animal welfare, agriculture, regulations and guidance, retail and marketing, environment and sustainability, pesticides, meat, consumer behaviour, zinc, nutrition, food safety, cancer, food quality, flavour
Africa is home to many of the world's most hungry and impoverished citizens. Although the developed world speaks of the need for a 'second green revolution', it is widely recognised that the first green revolution of the 20th century bypassed Africa almost entirely.
The high-yielding varieties of wheat, maize, and rice of the green revolution were not successfully introduced to African agriculture, mainly because they require large inputs of fertiliser and pesticides to realise their high-yield potential, and most African nations have lacked the infrastructure necessary to grow these varieties on a large scale.
Europeans concerned about possible food-related risks tend to worry more about chemical contamination of food instead of bacterial contamination or health and nutrition issues, according to a Eurobarometer survey, published by the European Commission.
Most Europeans have confidence in national and European food-safety agencies as information sources on possible risks associated with food, the poll also shows.