Today’s blog is written by guest blogger, Sameer Moorji, Director, Applied Markets.
People’s diets are frequently influenced by a wide range of variables; with environment, socioeconomic status, religion, and culture being a few of the key influencers. The Muslim community serves as one illustration of how culture and religion can hold influence over people’s eating habits.
Muslims, who adhere to Islamic teachings derived from the Qur’an, frequently base dietary choices on a food’s halal status, whether it is permissible to consume, or haram status, forbidden to consume. With the population of Muslims expected to expand from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, the demand for halal products is anticipated to surge (2).
By 2030, the global halal meat market is projected to reach over $300 billion dollars, with Asia-Pacific and the Middle East regions being the largest consumers and producers of halal meat products (3). Furthermore, increasing awareness and popularity of halal meat among non-Muslim consumers, as well as strengthening preference for ethical and high-quality meat, are all contributing to demand.
Foodborne disease affects almost 1 in 10 people around the world annually, and continuously presents a serious public health issue (9).
More than 200 diseases have evolved from consuming food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and chemical substances, resulting in extensive increases in global disease and mortality rates (9). With this, foodborne pathogens cause a major strain on health-care systems; as these diseases induce a variety of different illnesses characterized by a multitude of symptoms including gastrointestinal, neurological, gynecological, and immunological (9,2).
But why is food contamination increasing?
New challenges, in addition to established food contamination hazards, only serve to compound and increase food contamination risks. Food is vulnerable to contamination at any point between farm and table—during production, processing, delivery, or preparation. Here are a few possible causes of contamination at each point in the chain (2):
Production: Infected animal biproducts, acquired toxins from predation and consumption of other sick animals, or pollutants of water, soil, and/or air.
Processing: Contaminated water for cleaning or ice. Germs on animals or on the production line.
Delivery: Bacterial growth due to uncontrolled temperatures or unclean mode of transport.
Preparation: Raw food contamination, cross-contamination, unclean work environments, or sick people near food.
Further emerging challenges include, more complex food movement, a consequence of changes in production and supply of imported food and international trade. This generates more contamination opportunities and transports infected products to other countries and consumers. Conjointly, changes in consumer preferences, and emerging bacteria, toxins, and antimicrobial resistance evolve, and are constantly changing the game for food contamination (1,9).
Hence, versatile tests that can identify foodborne illnesses in a rapid, versatile, and reliable way, are top priority.
Even those of us with the greenest thumbs are baffled by the idea of growing food in Antarctica. From my tiny desk plant to my neighbor’s cabbage patch, plants generally have the same requirements: soil, sun and water. At the southern end of the planet, however, those are all scarce commodities. Nonetheless, on April 5, 2018, the team managing the EDEN-ISS greenhouse at Neumayer III announced that they had harvested 8 pounds of salad greens, 18 cucumbers and 70 radishes. This project has implications beyond just Antarctica, from moderate climates on Earth to future Mars missions. Continue reading “From Antarctica to Mars: Growing Food in Extreme Conditions”
So, I’m sitting at my desk right now. It’s cold outside. We’re in the late February doldrums of winter here in Wisconsin. As I look out the window at the snow blanketing the prairie around our office building and the blah gray sky, a cup of hot chocolate sounds pretty darn good. Late winter seems to bring out that particular craving for me. Maybe for you, too? I can just imagine how it’d taste: warm, frothy, velvety, creamy, rich, chocolaty, delicious. Can you taste it, too? Mmmm, hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is a good, good thing. This is not news. We know this.
I was supremely lucky this past fall to get six delicious fresh figs. It’s a rare treat for me since figs have such a short season and an even shorter shelf life. This year, I nearly had to leg wrestle my way to the bin at the store to score some of these fresh beauties. I had commented to another patron at the store that I couldn’t wait to get these little fellas home, stuff them with some goat cheese, wrap them in a bit of bacon, give them a quick balsamic and honey glaze, and pop them into the oven. Now, tender, sweet figs stuffed with rich, herbed goat cheese and wrapped with what is, quite possibly, the world’s most perfect meat makes me weak in the knees. The bacon, of course, is sublime, but the sweetness of the figs with the delicate crunch of those seeds really sells it.
My fellow shopper replied with “Well, good for you. I couldn’t possibly eat any of that. I’m vegan.” Fair enough. In a past life, I worked as a personal chef and did a tremendous amount of work with vegetarians and vegans alike. Although I may never personally understand a life without cheese, I can respect it and I can certainly cook in that fashion.
One portion of that exchange, however, didn’t quite seem right. I actually followed Mr. Vegan (I didn’t ask his name) into the next aisle and asked for some clarification. “I’m sorry,” I continued, “but what did you mean by you couldn’t eat any of it? Cheese and bacon are out, but who could ever turn down a looker like this?” I asked, tapping my fresh figs ever so gently.
The weather is getting colder, and the leaves are changing color; fall is upon us. It’s time to pull out your sweaters and scarves and cozy up under a blanket. It’s time to pick apples, carve pumpkins and eat one of my favorite comfort foods—winter squash.
Here at Promega our culinary team tends a garden onsite, filling our menus and plates with amazingly fresh and local produce. Our constantly changing breakfast and lunch menus are just as good of an indicator of the season as the calendar. This time of year dishes with tomatoes, beans and eggplant are disappearing and are being replaced winter squash, potatoes and root veggie dishes. Winter Squash Soup is starting to show up on the menu and Nate Herndon, our head chef, has been kind enough to share one of his favorite recipes with us. Continue reading “For the Love of Squash”
Yes, I am a Monty Python fan and I like to play the “Find the Fish” video on YouTube when I need some midday amusement. However, this video brings up the topic of eating less red meat and enjoying more fish on my dish. My husband and I are trying to curb our beef-eating activities by diversifying the protein sources in our diet. We have recently adopted some dining rituals that include Friday Fish Fry (leaning more toward broiling, even though it’s hard to resist a traditional Wisconsin fish fry) and Meatless Mondays for vegetarian fare. One reason for doing this is to hopefully find more sustainable approaches to supporting a healthy diet.
So I was intrigued to learn more about fish farming (aquaculture) at sea when I read Sarah Simpson’s article in the February 2011 issue of Scientific American titled “The Blue Food Revolution”. Sustainability has become more important in many of the buying choices I have made lately, especially after learning that our global population will reach 7 billion in 2011 and is expected to grow to 9.3 billion by 2050. Yikes! How do we provide high-quality protein and nutrition to so many people? Continue reading “Ooooh, Fishy, Fish! Please Land on My Dish”
I’m about six months pregnant with my husband’s and my first child, a wee thing of unknown gender and much kicking that we’ve taken to affectionately calling “The Colonel.” Amid all the voracious reading that modern moms like me seem compelled to do, I was intrigued to see the results of a study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine indicating what I eat during these nine months of magical gestation may directly affect The Colonel’s openness to eating various foods. As I sit down to dinner every night, am I setting myself up for a picky eater, or will my kid be just as happy to try Brussels sprouts as pancakes (shaped like Mickey Mouse, per my husband’s big plans)? This research may have the answer. Continue reading “DIY: Build a Baby Who Loves Broccoli”
Here in the northern hemisphere, yesterday, September 23, was the first full day of autumn. The days are not as long as those in midsummer and will only get shorter. Leaves are starting to turn color and fall from the trees, pumpkins abound in fields and roadside stands, and farmers are harvesting their crops.
My dad and my brother still farm the land owned by my great, great, great grandfather. Although times are different with larger, more powerful machinery, new seed genetics available each year and GPS to help ensure appropriate fertilization and seed density for each field, they are subject to the same vagaries as the previous six generations. Continue reading “A Time for Harvest”
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