Here are some of the best food stories we came across this week:
- Lobsters Swim North Due to Ocean Warming – The seas are following the climate as global temperatures continue to rise, and this has led to a shift in American lobster habitats. These crustaceans’ locale is closely linked to the temperature of the ocean floor; in the last several years, lobsters in the Atlantic have been migrating north in search of cooler waters. There is also evidence linking rising seawater temperatures to a spread in a lobster shell disease.
- Big Agribusiness Fights GMO Labeling in California – California’s Prop 37 would require food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such. The powerful Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has spent $375,000 so far to defeat the measure; its members include Monsanto, PepsiCo, Kellogg and General Mills. The GMA has also fought efforts to restrict junk food advertising to children.
- Über-Distributor Sysco Pledges to Sell Only Crate-Free Pork – In a move that is not the first but may be the largest, food service behemoth Sysco has pledged to distribute pork only from gestation crate-free pig farms by 2017. Sysco had $37 billion in sales in 2010, and distributes over 400,000 products to the majority of restaurants and institutions in the U.S., giving this shift big ripple effect potential.
- Price Increases for Junk Food Decreases Child Obesity – A study by the Economic Research Service found a 10% increase in the price of soda lowered Body Mass Index (BMI) of the kids studied by .42% a year, and that price increases in 100% juices and starchy vegetables further lowered BMI by .3% over a year. The causes of childhood obesity are complex and many; however, the study also found a 10% decrease in the price of low-fat milk contributed to a BMI loss of ~.35%, indicating cost plays a notable role.
- A Change in Word Choice Can Help Beat Cravings – Four different studies, each focused on the concept of “empowered refusal,” found that mindful word choice had a significant impact on people’s ability to abstain from an unhealthy food, in part because it affected their view of self; people who said, “I can’t,” when offered unhealthy foods consistently viewed themselves as victims, while people who responded “I don’t” tended to feel empowered and were eight times more likely to abstain.
Photo courtesy of man pikin.