Taiwan: Gov’t to control future GMO potato imports

Agriculture authorities say they’re prepared to implement controls to prevent the possible import of U.S. genetically modified (GMO) potatoes from affecting domestic growers. The U.S. recently applied with the Health and Welfare Ministry to import GMO potatoes, with the approval process expected to be completed next year at the earliest. However, concerns are being raised about the potential health impacts of GMO food products and the adverse effects of these imports on domestic potato farmers. The Council of Agriculture said Monday it would monitor future imports and call for proper labeling of foreign GMO potatoes. If approved for import, the GMO potatoes would be used in potato chips, French fries and other processed food products. The government currently allows five types of GMO products to be imported, namely soybeans, corn, cotton, rapeseed and sugar beets. More

Canada: New potato-derived health product hits store shelves

A potato farming business in the Manitoba province of Canada that successfully launched a natural health product for the hog sector, has now released a second-generation product aimed at the human market. It’s a product clinical trials show can significantly improve the digestive health of humans, particularly seniors. Earl and Derek McLaren, the Carberry-based brothers who own the company, recently saw their new potato-derived digestion-resistant starch supplement hit the shelves in Manitoba at Vita Health Fresh Market outlets. Results from clinical trials show MSPrebiotic significantly reduces bad bacteria and increases good gut bacteria in human subjects, improving digestion and overall gut health in two age groups studied, including participants 70 years old and older and another ages 30 to 50. More

Australia: Battling the potato myth

Battling the potato mythTaste, versatility and ease of use all rate highly for Australian consumers of potatoes. t’s the myth that potatoes are carbohydrate-loaded and that starchy vegetables aren’t healthy that’s caused the drop in consumption among Australians, according to a study by Potatoes South Australia (SA) and the University of Adelaide. The report ‘Australian consumers’ insights into potatoes – nutritional knowledge, perceptions and beliefs’ by Katie Wood, John Carragher and Robbie Davis, analysed the results of a survey of 1,200 Australians and found that one-third of those survey had decreased their consumption of potatoes in the past five years. More

US: Walmart stores to test skinny potatoes

A small product is about to get a potentially giant boost. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.—the largest retailer in the U.S.—is expected to begin testing the Skinny Potato this month, says Scott McDulin, vice president of Schmieding Produce Co. in Springdale, Ark. “I talked to [Walmart’s] category manager two weeks ago, and he loved the idea,” says McDulin, who added that the test will be in Walmart stores served by the retailer’s Dallas distribution center. The idea behind the Skinny Potato is a response to the fact that some consumers have shied away from russet potatoes while trying to cut carbs. McDulin says most russets packed in 5-pound bags are 5 to 9 ounces each. The 100-calorie Skinny Potato offers smaller portions, with 4- to 6-ounce potatoes. More

Potato extract shows satiety benefits for healthy women: Slendesta data

© iStockConsumption of a Kemin’s Slendesta potato protease inhibitor II one hour before breakfast may lower hunger and the desire to eat, says a new study by scientists from Kemin and Herbalife International of America. The benefits of the ingredient are reported to be related to a protein naturally found in white potatoes. The ingredient, when taken in the form of a tablet or capsule, one hour before taking a main meal, is said to enhance the body’s own release of cholecystotinin (CCK), an appetite-suppressing hormone that works by delaying the emptying of the stomach (gastric emptying) and thereby promoting the feeling of fullness. New data, published in a scientific journal, supports such claims with a 15 mg dose of the ingredient also associated with significantly higher postprandial fullness in healthy women. More

US approves 3 more types of Simplot GMO potatoes for sale this year

Genetically modified potatoes that won’t bruise are a step closer to public consumption as early as this fall, now that Simplot Co. has received final government approval to grow and sell them.The federal government has given the final OK to three more types of potatoes genetically engineered by Boise’s J.R. Simplot Co. to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine. They are safe for the environment and safe to eat, officials announced. The approvals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration last month mean Simplot is free to plant the potatoes this spring and sell them in the fall. The approvals apply to Simplot’s second generation of its Innate line of potatoes. The first generation already is sold in stores under the White Russet label. The company said the latest varities will have less bruising and fewer black spots, enhanced cold-storage capacity and a lower amount of a potentially carcinogenic chemical that is created when potatoes are cooked at high temperatures. More

Britain falls out of love with the potato as carb-free diets take hold – but we still can’t get enough crisps

Potato sales have fallen by a fifth in the last ten years – with a recent dive in figures being fuelled by 'carb-free' dietsFor hundreds of years they have been a staple part of almost every British dinner. But it appears that we are finally falling out of love with the potato. Sales have fallen by a fifth in the last ten years – with a recent dive in figures being fuelled by ‘carb-free’ diets. In the last three years alone sales have dropped by almost 7 per cent, according to figures published in the annual Food Report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Despite the fact many are shunning the great British spud in an effort to drop a few pounds, it appears that some potato-based treats just prove far too tempting to ignore as sales of chips and crisps remained steady. More

China predicts huge growth thanks to potatoes

China predicts huge growth thanks to potatoes, with the current Five-Year Plan recognizing the crop as one of the country’s four staple foods alongside rice, grains, and corn. The government plan is to focus on these staples in order to ensure the Chinese of food safety and security. Identifying potatoes as China’s fourth staple food has been long overdue. Although potatoes have historically been part of China’s various regional cuisines, their inclusion as a staple rarely happens in Chinese households, China Daily reported. The Communist Party of China (CPC) clearly defines food safety and security as among its top agendas in the present Five-Year Plan, which targets 6.67 hectares dedicated to potato production by 2020. The Ministry of Agriculture envisions potatoes will constitute 30 percent of China’s food. Chinese potato scientists also recently produced virus-resistant potatoes, which are capable of 30-50 percent higher yields compared to ordinary counterparts. More

Carcinogens found in British baby food and Belgian fries

Two new surveys have found high levels of acrylamide, a known carcinogen, in UK-made baby biscuits and Belgium’s favourite fast food. Acrylamide is a compound that typically forms in food products such as potato chips, bread, biscuits, and coffee, during high-temperature processing (above 120°), including frying, baking, and roasting. According to a study commissioned by the Changing Markets Foundation, 10% of biscuits marketed to infants and children in the UK have high levels of acrylamide. In the meantime, Changing Markets and Brussels-area news service BRUZZ conducted a similar investigation last month (23 February) of Belgian fries sold in the capital. They found that 15% of the food business surveyed sell fries with high levels of acrylamide, exceeding the European benchmark of 600 µg/kg. The highest acrylamide level found in the survey was 670 µg/kg, over six times higher than the lowest at 100 µg/kg, followed by two samples at 660 and 620 µg/kg. More

Breeder seeks healthy french fry

Overcooking french fries and potato chips produces a chemical called acrylamide that can be toxic and harmful to humans if eaten in large amounts. John Lu, an Agriculture Canada researcher who works at the Lethbridge Research Centre, is investigating acrylamide and how it can be reduced in tubers and potato products.
The chemical isn’t found in raw or fresh potatoes but it is formed when they are fried or subjected to certain types of processing. Scientists call it the Maillard reaction and it is the reason potato colour changes to golden, brown and eventually black. Lu is working to develop potato cultivars with low propensity to produce acrylamide when processed. More

Potatoes: Going on the attack

Potatoes — which boosters describe as “America’s favorite vegetable” — are going on the offensive after years of fighting defensively. “We used to say, ‘It’s OK to eat potatoes,’” said Blair Richardson, president and CEO of Potatoes USA. The organization, formerly known as the U.S. Potato Board, is the nation’s potato marketing organization. Soon, however, his industry will begin to aggressively promote what it views as potatoes’ attractive combination of high nutritional value and affordability. Richardson spoke Wednesday at the first day of the annual two-day International Crop Expo in Grand Forks. The show features concurrent sessions in potatoes, soybeans/dry beans and small grains on both days, most led by North Dakota and Minnesota extension officials. Though potatoes are popular with consumers, they have critics, who insist that Americans should cut back on consumption. The potato industry has responded by stressing that spuds are safe to eat, Richardson said. More

US looks to gain back potato market share

A big factor influencing potato demand in the past decade or two has been low-carb diets that eschewed potatoes. But those negative views are changing, according to Blair Richardson, president of Potatoes USA. “The research we’ve been conducting in the last couple of years (shows) that consumer perception of the potato is actually improving quite a bit.” Richardson points to recent studies illustrating the nutritional value of potatoes as a big reason why. “The major change that we’ve made at Potatoes USA in the last year or two is we have switched from a defensive perspective to an offensive perspective,” Richardson says. “We’re not just saying it’s OK to eat potatoes; we’re using the research that the Alliance for Potato Research & Education group and that we ourselves have put together… to say you should eat potatoes and not only that, you should eat more potatoes.” Another test for U.S. producers has been fierce competition in the global french fry market, which has grown considerably in recent years. More

The “Truth” about McDonald’s burger and fries

The "Truth" About McDonald's Burger and FriesPeople may deny it, but there are times when you really crave a McDonald’s burger, fries, or at least a Shamrock Shake. We all know that fast food isn’t really good for you, even if you just order a salad, but how bad is it really? People all over the world eat McDonald’s, and it looks really different depending where you go. It is true, to a point, that the locations in the United States don’t always have the healthiest options. It is also true that you have to balance what you eat with exercise. Making smart choices, like swapping out apple slices for french fries, can also make your meal healthier. Still, what if you don’t want to sacrifice for your trip? Let’s delve into what you’re putting into your body… More

Are Baked Lay’s potato chips really “guilt-free”? PepsiCo says so

Image result for lays potato chips nutrition factsWhat do Baked Lay’s potato chips, Simply Tostitos chips and Diet Mountain Dew have in common? They’re all “guilt-free,” according to how PepsiCo categorizes them. In reporting higher global sales Wednesday, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi reiterated that 45 percent of the company’s revenue now comes from such “guilt-free” products. The comment underscores how malleable claims about healthfulness can be, and how food makers are trying to position themselves. Even the Food and Drug Administration said last year that it is re-evaluating its guidelines for when companies can use the term “healthy” on packaging to reflect the latest science. For PepsiCo Inc., the definition of “guilt-free” is broad. Though PepsiCo Inc. doesn’t stamp its packages with the guilt-free label, the idea conveys the message of how they’re generally marketed. More

Acrylamide needs to be regulated at the source, says expert

Image result for acrylamideThe EU Commission announced it was going to set maximum acrylamide levels in food last week (Thursday 9), but how can the chemical be managed? Food Navigator spoke to expert Gregor McCombie from Kantonales Labor Zurich, to find out how the industry could reduce their toxicity levels. Kantonales Labor Zurich is a laboratory dedicated to food safety and legislation. McCombie says that setting legal limits for acrylamide is problematic and instead the industry should be regulating reducing sugars for potatoes intended for (deep) frying or roasting as a more effective and easier to enforce method, than reducing acrylamide in final products. “Just considering legal limits on acrylamide in final products is problematic, as limits would need to be high in order to prevent a quasi-ban on certain foods. However, a high limit also equates to an approval up to that level, which will invariably be too high for a carcinogenic substance like acrylamide”. Similarly, McCombie says that the government has underestimated home-cooking, which cannot be regulated, and regulating cooking processes in restaurants is “impractical,” he says. Instead, McCombie suggests regulation at the source as being the most logical answer, urging the food industry to use potato varieties with low reducing sugars and storing them correctly. More

The Debunker: Are Most Nutrients in a Potato Really Found in the Skin?

potatooooGreat news, everyone – the Idaho Potato Commission has named February as its official Potato Lovers’ Month! In the commission’s own words, this is a time to “explore Idaho® Potato versatility from a different and exciting angle.” Some of us in the other forty-nine states sadly don’t get to take all of Potato Lovers’ Month off work, like they probably do in Idaho, but we can celebrate in other ways. For example, we’ve asked Jeopardy!‘s Ken Jennings, who lives in an Idaho-adjacent state, to correct any morsels of our potato knowledge that might be a little half-baked… More

‘Don’t blame the spud!’: Nutritionist speaks up in defence of the potato

Put down the fries: Ms Shaw said the problem is with the way the potatoes are cooked, not the potatoes themselves (stock photo)When it comes to weight gain, many people put the blame for extra kilograms on carbohydrates. Going gluten free has become popular in recent years, with the focus initially on cutting out pasta, rice and bread. When that doesn’t work, many cut out potatoes as well, according to Australian sports nutritionist Abby Shaw. Ms Shaw wrote in Nine Coach that many of her clients cut out carbs and then come to her saying they’re not losing any weight. ‘Sorry to burst your bubble, but it is probably not the potato that made you gain the extra few kilograms,’ she said. ‘My guess is it is what you are putting on the potato, or maybe how you are cooking the potato, or that the potato in fact been turned into french fries. Please don’t blame the spud!’ The nutritionist said that the way you consume potatoes is the most important thing. So out with the chips and fried potato, in with having them whole and baked. ‘[Whole potatoes] contain 10 percent or more of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin C, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid and potassium,’ Ms Shaw explained. More

Frito-Lay: A bag of chips that detects alcohol, and even orders Uber rides

Frito-Lay, an American subsidiary of PepsiCo that manufactures, markets and sells corn chips, potato chips and other snack foods, unveiled the “Party Safe” Tostitos bag that detects whether its holder has been drinking and can even order an Uber. The limited-edition “Party Safe” Tostitos bag, designed by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, contains a sensor connected to a microcontroller that detects trace amounts of alcohol on a person’s breath, turning the front of the bag red and showing an image of a steering wheel and the message, “Don’t Drink and Drive.” The bag also flashes an Uber code and contains technology that allows the holder to tap their phone against it to order an Uber. “We’re proud to introduce to the world the first bag of chips that gets you home safe,” Roger Baran, a Goodby Silverstein & Partners creative director, told Adweek “There is a lot of emotion involved with a game. It’s easy to drink more than you planned. And a lot of times all you need to stop short of driving after drinking is a friend who calls you off.” More

Sustainability Report: Potato processor Lamb Weston / Meijer continues to innovate

Lamb Weston’s European joint venture, Lamb Weston / Meijer has published its sustainability report for 2015-2016. This sustainability report shows that Potato Processor Lamb Weston / Meijer is well on its way to achieving the sustainability objectives it has formulated for 2020. Over the last two years the company has made a number of significant investments to support those ambitions. Compared to the reference year 2008, energy consumption per tonne of product has reduced by more than 21% and potato utilisation has improved by 4.5%. Furthermore, Lamb Weston / Meijer pre-fries more than 82% of its products in a healthier frying oil. On an annual basis this equals a reduction of 9.6 million kilos of saturated fat through its products.  Continue reading

Consumers need not fear acrylamide levels in fries: McDonald’s

A McDonald’s spokesperson said consumers had nothing to fear from indulging in their favourite meal from the fast food store in view of the FSA’s warning earlier this week about the high levels of acrylamide present in fries, toast and other carbs. According to the spokesman, when the warning was released, fast-food chain McDonald’s meals already contained lower levels of acrylamide as compared with other food chains. It had been reported that McDonald’s had been taking steps to cut acrylamide in its food. Over the past decade McDonald’s had changed the variety and type of potatoes they used that had lower starch content and had also introduced new storage methods and processing conditions to limit the risk of acrylamide formation. Acrylamide is formed when sugars and proteins in starchy foods are roasted, fried, baked or toasted. More

McDonalds’ crackdown on ‘cancer-causing’ chemical – as nanny state warns of link between fries and killer disease

McDonald's it has been taking measures to reduce acrylamide, which health officials warned this week could increase a person's risk of cancerMcDonald’s said today it has been taking steps to reduce levels of acrylamide in its food for ten years. Earlier this week the Food Standards Agency warned high levels of the toxic chemical in fries, toast and other carbs could increase the risk of developing cancer. Animal studies have shown a link, but critics erupted with anger at the “nanny state” campaign, pointing out no study has found any such link in humans. A chemical reaction causes acrylamide to form when sugars and proteins in starchy foods are cooked at temperatures in excess of 120°C. The FSA said people should not keep potatoes in the fridge, because cold temperatures increase the risk of acrylamide formation – and the longer potatoes are kept the greater the risk too, their experts said. They said people should follow cooking instructions and aim for chips and toast to be a golden brown, but to avoid crispy, burned food. More

Beleaguered potato deserves place back at the table

Part of the potato’s problem is simply its classification. When you call it a vegetable, you ask it to fight above its weight class.In the two decades I’ve been writing about food and health, one piece of diet advice has remained consistent: eat more whole plant foods. More vegetables and fruits, more legumes and grains, more tubers and roots. There has been, that I can recall, only one notable exception: the beleaguered potato. Eat more plants! Just not potatoes. Why? One word: starch. Starch is made up of molecules of glucose, a simple sugar, which our cells can use as fuel with very little processing from our bodies. It goes right to the bloodstream, and the blood sugar spike prompts the pancreas to release insulin, which enables our body to either use or store that sugar. When that’s done, we’re hungry again. The quicker it happens, the sooner we start casing the kitchen, looking for our next meal, and the fatter we get. That’s the theory, at any rate, but there’s no potato consensus in the nutrition community. More

US: New era with new oil begins for Jones’ Potato Chips

_DSC0521.JPGThe traditional way of producing Jones’ Potato Chips, with soybean oil, is gone. Chief Executive Officer Bob Jones said the company ran out of partially-hydrogenated soybean oil in December — after the FDA ruled partially-hydrogenated oils were no longer “generally recognized as safe.” “We send a lot of potato chips and potato sticks to New York state and New Jersey. We have significant business in Michigan and a contracted business in Miami, Florida,” Jones said. “The business is changing. It goes back to 2007. We processed more potatoes in 2016 than any other year.” Jones said he can empathize with his customer in missing the original flavor that became the company’s trademark. “Of course,” he said. “I was raised on that oil. No one wanted it to happen. The government forced it to happen. At the moment, I was not particularly happy with what was going on.” Jones said he went through the stages of grief when he found he had to get rid of the soybean oil chip line. But he is now confident. The new chips are made with corn oil. More

UK: Fast food chains introduce new controls on storage and cooking of potatoes after acrylamide warning

McDonald's have announced they will change the way their fries are prepared Fast food companies including McDonald’s are taking steps to reduce levels of a cancer-risk chemical in their fries. All the major chains, including KFC and Burger King, have been told by the Food Standards Agency of the dangers of acrylamide. The agency has this week issued warnings about levels of the chemical in fried and toasted food, as well as crisps, biscuits and baby food. Acrylamide forms on starchy food such as potatoes and bread when they are roasted, fried, baked or toasted at high temperatures. Skinny fries are likely to have more acrylamide than chunky chips because they have a greater surface area. McDonald’s has responded by introducing controls on the storage and cooking of the potatoes and fries it sells. At the same time, the British Hospitality Association has issued guidelines to restaurants, pubs and hotels on how to curtail levels of acrylamide. Bosses at McDonald’s in the UK have reduced acrylamide to low levels by using varieties of potato that have less starch and so are less likely to generate the chemical. They are making sure they are not stored in cold conditions and they are capping the temperature used to cook fries. More

Schmieding Produce launches new 100-calorie Skinny Potatoes

According to research from PaleoLeap, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and Christmas is 3.5 pounds, but overweight people gain an average of 5 to 10 pounds during this time frame. January is a key month for Americans to lose weight. “We are extremely excited about the launch of our new 100 Calorie- Skinny potato product next week,” says Scott McDulin- Vice President of Marketing/Retail Sales with Schmieding Produce. During January, everybody wants to focus on health. “We think the January timeframe is perfect since people are actively looking for diet friendly items to help with nutritional meal planning. The Skinny potato is a 100-calorie potato that offers consumers an opportunity to use smart portion control while keeping potatoes as part of a healthy diet,” mentioned McDulin. Supermarkets are filled with 100-calorie packs of yogurt, pretzels, popcorn, snacks, etc. “Nabisco recently launched 100-calorie packs of Oreo’s,” shared McDulin. “It shows that the 100-calorie measurement resonates with today’s consumers so we wanted to add the same portion controlled serving to the potato segment.”  Continue reading