Edible Weeds List

Chickweed

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Dandelion

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Doc

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Mallow

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Nasturtium

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Oxalis

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Berkeley Open Source Food Project Lists Edible Urban Weeds

Tasty, nutritious and everywhere, our urban weeds may hold the key to health, food justice and equity.

Researchers from the University of California Berkeley have identified 52 edible weeds growing in abundance in the poorest neighborhoods of San Francisco, surrounded by busy roads and industrial zones.

At least six of them are more nutritious than kale, according to a new study.

The three low-income neighborhoods the researchers studied have been classified as “urban food deserts” — meaning they are more than a mile from the nearest shop that sells fresh produce.

Of the 52 species of wild-growing “weeds” they found, they tested six for nutrition content:

Chickweed

Dandelion

Dock

Mallow

Nasturtium

Oxalis

All six were more nutritious, by most accounts, than kale – arguably the most nutritious domesticated leafy greens.

The weeds boasted more dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron, vitamin K, and provided more energy.

The only nutrient kale scored higher in was vitamin C, but the researchers suspect other weeds they found, such wild mustard and wild radish, might rival it in that category.

Many of the edible weeds they found have been used in folk medicine, including plantain, cat’s ear, fennel, sow thistle, wild lettuce, and wild onions.

The really exciting part about the study, is that these weeds were foraged in the middle of a drought.

“Foraged leafy greens are consumed around the globe, including in urban areas, and may play a larger role when food is scarce or expensive,” writes Philip Stark, statistics professor and founder of the Berkeley Open Source Food Project.

“Even during this low-production period, almost every address in all three study areas had several servings of several different species, suggesting that wild edible greens are a reliable source of nutrition all year round,” writes Stark.

Soil at some survey sites had elevated concentrations of lead and cadmium, but tissue tests suggest the weeds don’t take up much of these or other heavy metals.

After being rinsed, they tested at less than the dosages considered safe by the EPA, the researchers said.

Pesticides, glyphosate, and PCBs were undetectable.

How can people identify which wild greens are edible?

“Familiarity,” says Stark. “Most people have no trouble telling the difference between, say iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce.”

He recommends people educate themselves and gradually start adding new weeds into their diets.

The report notes there are only 1.7 cups of farmed vegetables available per person per day in the United States, less than the recommended serving of two to three cups.

The researchers suggest wild food could fill in the gap and improve nutrition security.

“Wild foods might also contribute to a healthy ecosystem by building soil organic matter, retaining water and nutrients in the soil, and reducing erosion,” Stark wrote.

.

Food Labeling Impacted By Good Food Movement

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Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

The ‘good food’ movement transforms food labeling

What do we mean by the Good Food Movement? “The Food Movement. In a nutshell, encompasses the many people across America who have become passionately engaged with how their food is made and where it comes from”. Steve Armstrong | Oct 01, 2018

The reason we’re having this conversation is because like the terms ‘natural’ and ‘healthy, ‘good food’ and ‘clean labels’ mean different things to different people. It truly is a case of the value being in the eye of the beholder. ‘

The nutritional profile isn’t enough anymore. Consumers want to know everything about the supply chain – environmental stewardship, ethical labor practices, carbon footprint how a product is made. That’s what I call a rabid tribe.

Food manufacturers and regulatory agencies find this approach chaotic, That’s because they don’t really have any guidelines for translating consumer expectations about a food product onto its corresponding label,

That’s why there’s talk about a new “Process Label” As food production and consumption has become more complex, consumers have driven demand for food certifications. We have organic, GMO Free, Gluten Free, Cruelty Free and the list of 626 types of food certification labels goes on. You don’t need a scorecard, you need an app.

Consumers may not always know what’s in their best interest when it comes to convenience eating, but there are certainly enough of them to make traditional food brands like Campbell’s crumble and reorganize.

They and other processed food giants are finding it increasingly difficult to source new supply chains or retool processes to match the speed and depth of consumer self and planetary interests.

Steve Armstrong takes us on a deep dive into the morass of complexities confronting producers, regulators and consumers. Caveat Emptor!

→  Read full article

 

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According a new report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), grocery shoppers exhibit loyalty to products that create deeper relationships through information exchange,.
The Transparency Imperative report found that shoppers increasingly demand transparency and a closer connection to their food, so much so that 75% are more likely to switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what’s provided on the physical label. When shoppers were asked the same question in 2016 in a similar study by Label Insight, just 39% agreed they would switch brands.

→  Read full article

69% Of Consumers Want Transparency

The vast majority of consumers (69%) said it is extremely important or important that brands and manufacturers provide detailed information such as what is in their food and how it is made.

Plant-Based Foods Could Save A Country Billions

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Plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live.

Billions of euro could be saved from a country’s annual health bill if more people can be persuaded to follow a plant-based diet, according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition. Also society overall will benefit due to less absenteeism from work.

The study looked at the health and economic consequences of two plant-based eating patterns, a diet with a daily portion of soya foods and a Mediterranean-style diet.

The study suggests the British government could reduce its healthcare and societal costs over the next 20 years by £5.21 billion if just 10% of the UK population would emphasize plant-based foods in their diet. Cost savings could be as high as £7.54 billion if 10% of the UK population could be encouraged to incorporate soya products in their daily diet.

“Our research demonstrates that increasing plant-based eating is cost-effective, reduces economic costs, such as hospital admissions and doctors’ bills, as well as increasing the number of healthy years people live, and enabling them to continue having an active life,” said Lieven Annemans, professor of health economics at Ghent University, and the lead author of the paper. “Our study has the potential to contribute to the way healthy eating is promoted,” he added.

There are different approaches to plant-based eating, from Mediterranean-type diets through to vegetarian and veganism. Plant-based eating is in line with the latest government dietary guidelines, the Eatwell Guide. In other words, plant-based eating does not have to exclude all animal products, but places plant-based foods such as soya, fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils at the core of the diet.

The researchers carried out an extensive review of the scientific literature and concluded that both plant-based and soya eating patterns reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and certain cancers. Diets containing soya demonstrated the most favorable health effects from the two evaluated plant-based food patterns.

The researchers calculated the impact of these plant-based food patterns on ‘quality adjusted life years’ (QALYs), which estimate the number of expected years of good health. To calculate disease costs, a societal perspective was taken, including direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are those directly associated with the disease or related conditions including costs related to diagnosis and treatment. Indirect costs include employment related elements such as absenteeism, and productivity loss due to sickness.

For the UK, a diet containing soya is estimated to yield 159 QALYs and 100 QALYs per 1,000 women and men, respectively. Similarly, adherence to a plant-based Mediterranean-type diet also results in living longer in good health and cost-savings to society.

Professor Ian Rowland, professor in nutrition from Reading University, supported the findings of the new study and commented: “Emphasizing plant-based foods in your diet can help to improve nutrition and meet current dietary recommendations. More plant-based eating helps against a variety of diseases which many people are currently confronted with. In addition to the personal health benefits, it can also help reduce society’s healthcare costs.”

This study provides yet more reasons to eat more plant-based foods and is in line with the UK ‘Eatwell guide’ which champions plant-based foods for good health and sustainability. It follows a report published by the Sustainable Food Trust in November – The Hidden Cost Of UK Food – which found that poor diets add 37p of healthcare costs to every £1 spent on food.

Full bibliographic information

Nutrition, Volume 48, April 2018, Pages 24-32. Applied Nutritional Investigation
The potential health and economic effects of plant-based food patterns in Belgium and the United Kingdom
Janne Schepers M.Sc
Lieven Annemans Ph.DDepartment of Public Health, Interuniversity Centre for Health Economics Research (I-CHER), Ghent University, Ghent, BelgiumDepartment of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacologic Sciences, KU Leuven, Flanders, BelgiumReceived 8 August 2017, Revised 6 November 2017, Accepted 11 November 2017, Available online 15 December 2017.

 

Database Reveals 16,000 Foods That May Be Packaged with BPA

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Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure
Tart Cherry Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Environmental Working Group Database Reveals 16,000 Foods That May Be Packaged with BPA

WASHINGTON––For consumers who want to avoid bisphenol A, EWG unveiled an easily searchable database of more than 16,000 food and beverage items that may come in cans, bottles or jars containing the hormone-disrupting chemical, better known as BPA. The list was compiled from a little-known food industry inventory and is now available at EWG’s Food Scores database.

BPA acts like estrogen in the body and is especially dangerous for pregnant women and children in critical stages of development. Independent scientific studies link it to cancer, infertility, diabetes, obesity and brain, nerve and heart disorders, and it’s just been listed by California as a chemical known to cause reproductive problems.

“No other industry in the world is more adept at marketing products to its customers than food and beverage companies––except apparently when it comes to informing them about the possible presence of a toxic chemical linked to hormone disruption and cancer,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “So we decided to give them a little help in making their own data accessible. Our new database shines a light on just how pervasive BPA is in our food system, and will help Americans navigate the supermarket armed with more information.”

Most concern about BPA has focused on its use in plastic bottles and canned food linings. But the voluminous list of products brought to light by EWG shows that Americans are exposed to BPA in food packaging far more widely than previously known. The array of products from 926 brands includes:

  • The lids of glass jars for baby food, pickles, jelly, salsa and other condiments;
  • Aerosol cans for whipped toppings and non-stick sprays;
  • Bottles and tins of cooking oil;
  • Aluminum beverage cans, coffee cans and even beer kegs.

Food packaging is the largest source of exposure to BPA. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found it in the urine of more than 90 percent of Americans sampled. In 2009, tests commissioned by EWG were the first to find BPA in the umbilical cords of nine of 10 infants sampled.

California officials added the hormone disrupting chemical to the Proposition 65 list, which requires warnings on products with listed chemicals. The state allowed instead for generic warning signs at checkout registers that don’t name specific products.

Food companies set up a website with a list of products, but made little effort to publicize it. The website is a chaotic jumble––incomplete, inconsistent, poorly organized and not searchable.

EWG downloaded files from the industry website, which were in a variety of non-compatible formats, then extracted the brand names, product descriptions and barcodes. The data was then matched against information in Food Scores, and the matches were hand-reviewed to ensure accuracy.

Despite the mounting evidence of BPA’s health risks at very low doses, federal regulation is lagging. EWG urges regulators and lawmakers at the state and federal levels to regulators, federal and state lawmakers to look at the evidence and reassess BPA’s use in the U.S. food supply.

→  Read more on BPA

European Approved Health and Nutritional Claims

All this to define food.

No wonder so many new products keep showing up.

No surprise about the many possible certification labels for food.

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Two Regulations Just To Explain Food Claims Used On Product Labels

How much of a bigger share from the Universe Of Food could we get if we talked more about the benefits of what it is we’re trying to regulate.

The most direct path to an intended outcome is to regulate for what you want. Seems like we have too many competing interests to agree on a simple, true story.

Food has been pretty cool for a long time now. We’re starting to realize just how important it really is. If they’re going through this much trouble in Europe, no wonder, clean, simple food is catching on and the packaged goods market is scrambling to keep up.

Thanks to  Richard A.H.G. De Klerk International Senior Account Manager, Nutrition/Pharma, Asia & Europe for this report.

European Commission published two regulations just to explain and determine approved claims to be used in food products labels, and one regulation regarding the consumer protection and detailed information about the label content. The regulations are better described below:

This isn’t meant to put anyone to sleep.It’s a sign that food and nutrition are becoming so important that multiple interests are keenly aware of how much power consumers are beginning to exert when it comes to food choices. An educated consumer is a healthy consumer. We don’t need a tracker to know where that  leads.

Didn’t Amazon just buy Whole Foods?

1. Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods:

Nutritional Claim Conditions Applying

LOW ENERGY A claim that a food is low in energy, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 40 kcal (170 kJ)/100 g for solids or more than 20 kcal (80 kJ)/100 ml for liquids. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 4 kcal (17 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

ENERGY-REDUCED A claim that a food is energy-reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the energy value is reduced by at least 30 %, with an indication of the characteristic(s) which make(s) the food reduced in its total energy value.

ENERGY-FREE A claim that a food is energy-free, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product does not contain more than 4 kcal (17 kJ)/100 ml. For table-top sweeteners the limit of 0,4 kcal (1,7 kJ)/portion, with equivalent sweetening properties to 6 g of sucrose (approximately one teaspoon of sucrose), applies.

SOURCE OF (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is a source of vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least a significant amount as defined in the Annex to Directive 90/496/EEC or an amount provided for by derogations granted according to Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods (1).

HIGH (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) AND/OR (NAME OF MINERAL/S) A claim that a food is high in vitamins and/or minerals, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product contains at least twice the value of ‘source of (NAME OF VITAMIN/S) and/or (NAME OF MINERAL/S)’.

CONTAINS (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT OR OTHER SUBSTANCE) A claim that a food contains a nutrient or another substance, for which specific conditions are not laid down in this Regulation, or any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product complies with all the applicable provisions of this Regulation, and in particular Article 5. For vitamins and minerals the conditions of the claim ‘source of’ shall apply.

INCREASED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients, other than vitamins and minerals, has been increased, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the product meets the conditions for the claim ‘source of’ and the increase in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product.

REDUCED (NAME OF THE NUTRIENT) A claim stating that the content in one or more nutrients has been reduced, and any claim likely to have the same meaning for the consumer, may only be made where the reduction in content is at least 30 % compared to a similar product, except for micronutrients where a 10 % difference in the reference values as set in Council Directive 90/496/EEC shall be acceptable and for sodium, or the equivalent value for salt, where a 25 % difference shall be acceptable.

→  Read full article

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