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Perdue Unveils New Reforms to How It Raises Chickens

Perdue Foods today announced a renewed focus on animal care, a continuation of its focus on premium, trusted brands that meet evolving consumer expectations. Chairman Jim Perdue shared the company’s commitments to animal care, a four-part plan that will accelerate its progress in animal care, strengthen relationships with farmers, build trust with multiple stakeholder groups and create an animal care culture for continued improvement.

Titled 2016 and Beyond: Next Generation of Perdue Commitments to Animal Care, the plan was developed with input from stakeholders such as farmers, academics and leaders of animal advocate organizations who were invited by Perdue to help shape this progressive animal care plan that sets new industry standards.

“As we continue to learn about innovative and better ways to raise animals through our No Antibiotics Ever journey and our experience in raising organic chickens, we are adopting a four-part plan which will result in changing how we raise chickens,” said Chairman Jim Perdue. “Transparency is very important to Perdue consumers, who are interested knowing how we raise, care for and harvest our chickens. Our vision is to be the most trusted name in food and agricultural products and animal care is a big part of that journey.”

“Poultry production as a whole has made great progress in keeping chickens healthy; however, we can improve by implementing policies that go beyond meeting chickens’ basic needs. We want to create an environment where chickens can express normal behaviors,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, DVM, Perdue’s senior vice president of food safety, quality and live production. “Over the past five years, we’ve been exposed to and learned some husbandry techniques associated with organic production. And, through the brands that have recently joined our company, we’ve been able to learn from some of the pioneers of a more holistic approach to animal well-being. When we talked to farmers they responded very positively to these improved husbandry methods. In addition, we hear from consumers that how animals raised for food are treated is important to them.”

The first major company to commit to implementing such progressive practices in raising and harvesting animals system-wide, Perdue’s Commitments to Animal Care goes well beyond most other companies’ commitments to encompass not only the animals but the people who care for and handle them, as well as stakeholders who have an interest in this area.

Perdue’s four Commitments to Animal Care

The Perdue Commitments to Animal Care summarizes current progress and details next generation initiatives for each part of the plan. Perdue is putting program measurements in place, including audits by third parties, and will release an annual report announcing its progress in reaching specific goals.

Specifically the four-part plan commits to:

  • The wants and needs of the animals – Based on The Five Freedoms, an internationally recognized standard for animal husbandry, Perdue’s commitment document lays out where the company is today on each of the five aspects as well as future goals. For instance, the majority of chickens today are raised in fully enclosed barns without natural light. Perdue is committed to retrofitting 200 chicken houses with windows by the end of 2016 to compare bird health and activity to enclosed housing.
  • The farmers that raise the chickens – Appreciating that chickens spend most of their time in the care of farmers, the plan stresses improved relationships with farmers. This includes creating an open dialogue about best practices in animal care, considering the farmer’s well-being and connecting animal care to pay and incentives.
  • Openness, transparency and trust – The plan also calls for Perdue to be open to criticism of its current policies and procedures when deserved, share information about animal care initiatives, and proactively engage with a wide variety of animal welfare stakeholders, including advocates, academics and animal care experts.
  • A journey of continuous improvement – The fourth part of the plan commits to ongoing learning and advancements in the company’s animal care programs to ensure the health and well-being of its birds through next-generation initiatives. This commitment will be driven by Perdue’s active Animal Care Council, which has been in place for more than 15 years.

“Our four commitments have one goal and that is continued improvement in animal care. We know we’re not where we want to be yet but we want to allow others to take the journey with us,” said Stewart-Brown.

“From lessons learned from organic chicken houses, it’s clear that there can be a general health benefit with increased activity—and that is a big focus of our plan. Short-term goals that support increased activity include window installations in 200 existing poultry houses by the end of 2016 and studying the role of enrichments such as perches and bales of hay to encourage activity. Our goal is to double the activity of our chickens in the next three years.”

“I think it’s wonderful that Perdue is taking these initiatives. We’re almost going back in time with what we’re doing, and putting the chickens back in a more natural state. I think we’re moving in the right direction making sure these birds are in a more natural habitat, and they’re more content,” said Georgie Cartanza, a 10-year poultry farmer from Camden, Delaware.

Animal advocacy groups such as Compassion in World Farming, Mercy For Animals and The Humane Society of the United States commended Perdue for taking this major step.

Retailers such as BJ’s Wholesale Club also expressed their support for this initiative.

Source: Business Wire

Should We Eat Breakfast Like a King and Dinner Like a Pauper?

“We should ‘eat breakfast like a king’ to fight obesity, scientists claim,” the Daily Mirror reports.

The headline was prompted by a new review into “chrono-nutrition”, which involves seeing if when we eat is as important as what we eat.

The review suggests eating more of our total daily food intake in the evening – the pattern most common among people in the UK – may be linked to obesity.

But the evidence for this is not conclusive, and the studies included in the review vary in their findings.

The study also shows there is a wide variation in the eating patterns of people in different countries.

Previous research found eating breakfast is linked to a lower risk of obesity, supporting the theory that it’s better to eat earlier than later.

However, this study’s authors say we are still a long way off understanding the optimum eating patterns for health.

One note of caution is that the methods used in this review are poorly described and not what you would expect to see from a comprehensive systematic review. This means it’s possible the authors have not considered all literature relevant to the issue.

Current dietary advice is not to skip your morning meal and to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast with plenty of wholemeal, vegetables, fruit and limited saturated fat, sugar and salt.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from Imperial College London, Nestlé Research Centre, the University of Thessaly, King’s College London, and VU University Amsterdam.

The authors report no funding and no conflicts of interest. However, Nestlé produces breakfast cereals, so the company is likely to have an interest in this type of research.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the Nutrition Society on an open-access basis, so it is free to access online.

Both The Daily Telegraph and the Mirror plumped for the “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper” adage in their headlines.

However, they don’t make it clear that the study’s findings are uncertain and require more – and better – research before they can be confirmed.

What scientist Dr Gerda Pot actually said was: “There seems to be some truth in the saying ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper’; however, this warrants further investigation.”

What kind of research was this?

This was a review of observational studies, including cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal cohort studies.

It aimed to look at global trends in timing of food intake and see how this could be linked to obesity.

A systematic review is a good way to get an overview of research in a field.

However, observational studies can only tell us about a link between factors – in this case, whether obesity is linked to eating at particular times of day – and not whether one factor causes another.

Notably in this case, however, the methods the researchers used are not outlined in full, so it cannot be said with any degree of certainty that this is a fully comprehensive systematic review of the relevant literature.

What did the research involve?

Researchers reviewed studies looking at people’s energy intake at different times during the day, and identified common eating patterns in different countries.

They also reviewed studies that looked at the association between the time of day someone eats and obesity or weight. They then summarised the findings.

The researchers aimed to only include studies that used standardised dietary questionnaires. Even so, there was much variation in the way eating patterns were described.

They excluded studies that looked at very specific groups – for example, athletes or people being treated for specific medical conditions.

Most studies divided eating times into four groups: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. But in most cases there was no information about when people ate snacks.

Although the authors described their general study inclusion and exclusion criteria, they did not clearly set out their methods in the way you would expect from a systematic review.

For example, they did not give information on which literature databases they searched, the search dates, search terms, or a description of how studies were quality-assessed for inclusion.

What were the basic results?

Researchers identified four main patterns of food consumption, seen in 11 studies from different countries:

  • equal energy consumption at breakfast and dinner, with the greatest consumption at lunch – seen in Guatemala and Poland
  • smallest energy consumption at breakfast, greatest consumption at lunch, followed by dinner – seen in France, Switzerland and Italy
  • equal energy consumption at breakfast and dinner, with the smallest consumption at lunch – seen in Sweden
  • smallest consumption at breakfast, greater consumption at lunch, and greatest consumption at dinner – seen in the UK, the US, Germany, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium

They included 10 studies that looked at the link between eating, time of day and weight.

The studies used a variety of methods to assess the link, differing numbers of days of assessment, and different outcome measures, including different ways of reporting body mass index (BMI) and fat distribution.

This makes it hard to summarise, but the key findings from the studies were:

  • one study found people who ate more in the evening, compared with the morning, were likely to have a higher BMI
  • one study found eating between meals was linked to more body fat
  • one study found people who didn’t eat breakfast ate more later in the day and had a higher BMI

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers said: “On the balance of this evidence, it could be speculated that evening energy intake is a major risk factor for obesity”, but they go on to add that more study data is needed to confirm this.

They warn of difficulties in drawing conclusions from the studies they found, which varied widely in their methods, and say researchers need to reach agreement on how to define eating patterns, and future studies should record the timing of snacks.

They also say the data in the review “might not summarise current trends” because it does not include currently ongoing national studies.

Conclusion

This study gives a fascinating overview of the different ways people from different cultures eat.

It also includes interesting historical information – for example, breakfast was considered sinful in medieval England, while 10th-century Middle Eastern doctors recommended eating two meals a day, before dawn and at dusk.

But what it cannot do is tell us which eating patterns are healthiest to provide the best energy intake distribution throughout the day for our modern lives.

The evidence linking obesity with evening energy intake is interesting, but there is not enough good-quality data to rely on this finding.

Also, confounding health and lifestyle factors could contribute to this link – for example, people who eat less in the evening might do so because they are out at the gym, rather than sitting in front of the television.

The paper also points to the cultural context of eating as being likely to affect when we eat, as well as what we eat.

For example, in France – where lunch is the biggest meal of the day – people are more likely to sit down to a full meal at lunchtime, perhaps in family groups.

In the UK, food consumption is more individual and informal – perhaps a sandwich and bag of crisps at the desk at lunchtime, or an evening takeaway.

A second study in the same publication found eating irregularly, rather than at regular meal times, may be linked to the chances of getting diabetes. We were unable to see the full study, so we cannot assess the evidence for this.

We cannot be sure this is a comprehensive review of all literature relevant to this issue. Again, many of the elements of the methods you would expect to see recorded in a well-conducted systematic review are missing.

This means it is possible the researchers may not be presenting a fully impartial review of this subject, and some relevant studies could be missing.

There is no official advice in the UK about when we should have our meals, although people are advised not to skip breakfast.

Source: NHS Choice


Read more:

Dieters, take note: When you eat may be setting you back . . . . .

Study Finds Women with High Blood Sugar Have Lower Risk of Benign Brain Tumors

Misti Crane wrote

In a surprising twist, benign brain tumors that have previously been tied to obesity and diabetes are less likely to emerge in those with high blood sugar, new research has found.

The discovery could shed light on the development of meningiomas, tumors arising from the brain and spinal cord that are usually not cancerous but that can require risky surgery and affect a patient’s quality of life.

Because previous research had established that the slow-growing tumors are more common among people who are obese and those who have diabetes, researchers led by The Ohio State University’s Judith Schwartzbaum set out to look for a relationship between meningiomas and blood markers, including glucose.

After all, high blood sugar is a component of diabetes and a precursor to its development. Furthermore, Type 2 diabetes and obesity are closely linked.

But when they compared blood tests in a group of more than 41,000 Swedes with meningioma diagnoses 15 or fewer years later, they found that high blood sugar, particularly in women, actually meant the person was less likely to face a brain tumor diagnosis.

“It’s so unexpected. Usually diabetes and high blood sugar raises the risk of cancer, and it’s the opposite here,” said Schwartzbaum, an associate professor of epidemiology and a researcher in Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. The work appears this month in the British Journal of Cancer.

“It should lead to a better understanding of what’s causing these tumors and what can be done to prevent them.”

Though meningiomas are rarely cancerous, they behave in a similar way, leading scientists to wonder if some relationships between possible risk factors and tumor development would be similar, Schwartzbaum said.

The researchers, looking at data collected from 1985 to 2012, identified 296 cases of meningioma, more than 61 percent of them in women.

Women with the highest fasting blood sugar were less than half as likely as those with the lowest readings to develop a tumor.

The relationship was not statistically significant when researchers looked at men’s fasting sugar readings and tumor development.

But when they compared the less-reliable non-fasting sugar readings (those taken without a period of no food or drink that could influence the results), they found that both men and women with high blood sugar had a lower likelihood of meningioma diagnosis.

A diabetes diagnosis before meningioma also appeared to decrease the risk of this tumor, although Schwartzbaum said the data likely had incomplete information on diabetes.

The results could lead to a clearer explanation of how the tumors develop and grow and could potentially start researchers down the road to improved diagnostic techniques, Schwartzbaum said.

“These tumors take years to develop, and an earlier diagnosis would certainly lead to better surgical outcomes,” she said.

About seven in 100,000 U.S. residents receive a meningioma diagnosis annually. Meningiomas can cause headaches, weakness in the limbs, seizures, vision problems and personality changes. They represent about a third of all tumors that originate in the brain, according to the American Brain Tumor Association.

Possible explanations for the relationship could be found by closer examination of the role of sex hormones and the interplay between glucose levels and those hormones, Schwartzbaum said. It’s also possible that sugar levels dip during early tumor development because the tumor is using glucose to grow, she said.

“There are so many things still to be learned, but I am glad that people are now serious about studying these so-called benign tumors,” Schwartzbaum said.

Because information in the database is limited, the researchers weren’t able to account for all the confounding factors that could have contributed to their results, including body mass index, blood pressure and hormone levels.

Source: The Ohio State University

Sesame Fingers with Puff Pastry

Ingredients

10 oz packet puff pastry
6 rashers smoked streaky bacon, rind removed
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
3 oz finely grated mature Cheddar cheese
4 teaspoons sesame seeds

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF).
  2. Roll out pastry to a 20- x 12-inch rectangle and cut in half to 10- x 12-inch.
  3. Grill bacon until crisp and golden and cut into strips.
  4. Spread one half of pastry with mustard and sprinkle with bacon strips. Brush the second half of pastry with beaten egg and lay egg side down on top of the bacon. Press down well.
  5. Brush with beaten egg, scatter cheese over the top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut into 3- x 2-inch fingers and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until cheese is golden and the pastry cooked through.

Makes 20 pieces.

Source: Breakfasts and Brunches