Missouri Becomes First U.S. State to Regulate Use of the Word ‘Meat’

Zlati Meyer wrote . . . . . . .

On Tuesday, Missouri became the first state in the country to have a law on the books that prohibits food makers from using the word “meat” to refer to anything other than animal flesh.

This takes aim at manufacturers of what has been dubbed fake or nontraditional meat.

Clean meat – also known as lab-grown meat – is made of cultured animal tissue cells, while plant-based meat is generally from ingredients such as soy, tempeh and seitan.

The state law forbids “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violators may be fined $1,000 and imprisoned for a year.

A similar argument is unfolding on the federal level.

The meat-substitute market is expected to reach $7.5 billion-plus globally by 2025, up from close to $4.2 billion last year, according to Allied Market Research.

The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, which worked to get the law passed, has cited shopper confusion and protecting local ranchers as reasons for the legislation.

“The big issue was marketing with integrity and … consumers knowing what they’re getting,” Missouri Cattlemen’s Association spokesman Mike Deering said. “There’s so much unknown about this.”

The bill was signed into law by then-governor Eric Greitens on June 1.

On Monday, the company that makes Tofurky filed an injunction in a Missouri federal court to prevent enforcement of the statute, alleging the state has received no complaints about consumers befuddled by the term “plant-based meats” and that preventing manufacturers from using the word is a violation of their First Amendment rights. Plus, it pointed out, “meat” also refers to the edible part of nuts and fruit.

The statute “prevents the sharing of truthful information and impedes competition,” according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. “The marketing and packaging of plant-based products reveals that plant-based food producers do not mislead consumers but instead distinguish their products from conventional meat products.”

The co-plaintiff is the Good Food Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

Deering said he was surprised by the suit because the primary target of the law was lab-grown meat.

Tofurky’s main ingredient is the the first two syllables of its name – tofu.

“I have always envisioned Tofurky serving a greater purpose beyond the plate, acting as an engine for global change,” said Tofurky CEO Jaime Athos in a statement about the suit. “Using our privately-held position to extinguish threats to legal definitions of terms like “meat,” is one way we can further our mission to help reduce global dependence on animal agriculture; therefore, improving environmental sustainability, animal welfare and human health.”

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would regulate lab-grown meat. Traditional animal proteins are the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ernest Baskin, an assistant professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University, said consumers use the word “meat,” when applied to nonanimal protein as a shortcut to understand how they eat the food they see on supermarket shelves.

“There’s a segment of consumers that doesn’t have to eat alternative products but wants to,” he said. “In those cases, putting those options together in front of consumers gives them the thought that ‘Hey, maybe these two are similar. Maybe I can substitute.’ ”

Source: USA Today


Steamed Fish Combining the Taste of North Africa and the Flavour of India


1/4 cup orange juice
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder
2-1/4 cups water
1-1/2 cups couscous
8 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 red snapper fillets, 5 oz each
1/2 teaspoon paprika


  1. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the orange juice. Add the onion and saute until wilted, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the peas, salt, cumin, and curry powder and saute for 1 minute.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, chickpeas, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Arrange a single layer of the fish fillets on top of the couscous and dust with the paprika. Cover and simmer until the fish is opaque throughout and the couscous has absorbed all the liquid, about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide among individual plates.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: The Mayo Clinic

This California Company Selling America on Tofu

Hidden behind gray walls and metal window guards on an industrial street in Oakland, Calif., Hodo Inc.’s tofu factory has a Willy Wonka-style energy. Vats full of soybeans bubble before they travel down chutes to be pulverized, strained, and compressed into giant cakes. In another area, workers toting supersize mesh strainers in each hand deep-fry cubes of tofu in oil. Later, they’ll add seasonings for products such as Hodo’s best-selling Thai curry nuggets.

On an average day, Hodo goes through 30,000 pounds of American soybeans to produce 40,000 pounds of organic soy-based products ranging from plain firm tofu to fully cooked, ready-to-eat meals of flavored tofu cubes. The products are sold across the country, from gourmet markets in San Francisco to health food stores in Brooklyn. Hodo is used by the salad chain Sweetgreen and the Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions in San Francisco. In a June Nielsen data report produced for Whole Foods Market Inc., Hodo was cited as one of the fastest-­growing companies in the plant-based protein category, which includes competitors such as Sweet Earth Foods, Wildwood, and Tofurky. Hodo’s current revenue is $15 million, with year-over-year sales growth of 35.9 percent.

Plant-based foods—the kind packed with legumes, seeds, and vegetables, once synonymous with unappetizing dishes from the 1970s—have become a lifestyle ­statement as more consumers focus on the environmental impact and health risks of eating too much meat. According to a 2017 Nielsen study, more than one-third of Americans—39 percent—described themselves as ­pursuing a more plant-based diet. Much of the buzz is about engineered vegetarian and vegan products. Silicon Valley company Impossible Foods Inc. has ­created a popular faux meat from soy and plants; it mimics real beef so closely that the company’s Impossible Burger “bleeds.” The company has raised $400 million and ­captivated Bay Area venture capitalists. Tofu, on the other hand, the world’s oldest plant-based protein, ­dating to 2,000 years ago, is seen as a relic of the ­hippie set.

Minh Tsai, founder of Hodo, wants to give tofu a culinary makeover. The 47-year-old Vietnamese-born entrepreneur came to the U.S. in 1981. He received both a B.A. and a master’s from Columbia University, then worked in finance at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Charles Schwab before shifting his focus to tofu.

Tsai grew up in Vietnam eating what he describes as an exceptional version of tofu produced by mom and pop shops. He saw an opportunity in the U.S., where, in his view, the major Asian manufacturers made good tofu that wasn’t organic, and local companies made organic tofu that wasn’t very good.

For two years, Tsai sold his homemade tofu at a farmers market in Palo Alto. Farmers market shoppers, he says, “care about organic, local products, and they have disposable income.” He quit finance in 2004, pulled together about $80,000, and started Hodo. One of its first items was a line of chewy strips of paper-thin skins that resemble pasta, called yuba.

“They’ve developed an entire line of soft, Kyoto-style tofus that are incredibly elegant and consistent”

In 2005, Tsai brought on a business partner, John Notz, who became chief financial officer and helped raise money for a factory, 10 percent of which came from loyal farmers market customers. They invested in equipment, including a soy milk-producing machine and a conveyor press, and opened the facility in 2008. Hodo products were soon selling in stores including Bi-Rite Market and Whole Foods in San Francisco.

Hodo now makes about a dozen products, with several items rolled out every year. In 2018 the company created a line of regionally flavored tofu cubes including Moroccan spice and Mediterranean harissa, which come in 8-ounce packages and retail for about $6. A major expansion of the factory, from 25,000 square feet to 40,000, will be completed this fall, raising production capacity to 70,000 pounds of soy product a day.

More stores will stock Hodo’s products, too. By the end of August, Hodo will be in all 450 U.S. Whole Foods stores. Tsai is talking to Target Corp., though there’s no deal yet, and he’s testing new products on Costco Wholesale Corp.’s “roadshows,” events where vendors sell merchandise at the store for a limited time. Soy-free products also are in Hodo’s future. “We will explore all possibilities with the plant-based set, from ready-to-eat to drinks to snacks,” Tsai says.

Kyle Connaughton, chef and owner of SingleThread Farm in Healdsburg, Calif., winner of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ One to Watch award for 2018, has used Hodo products since he opened the restaurant in 2016. “They’ve developed an entire line of soft, Kyoto-style tofus that are incredibly elegant and consistent,” Connaughton says of the sumptuous, indulgent product. New York chef Brooks Headley features Hodo products at his acclaimed vegetarian spot, Superiority Burger.

For Tsai, this next phase of Hodo represents a brand refresh. “The word ‘tofu’ has baggage. ‘Plant-based’ has become an exciting phrase in popular conversation, and it represents the mainstreaming of plant-forward eating,” he says. “I want to reframe this product that’s thousands of years old, so people talk about it as much as they talk about the Impossible Burger.”

BOTTOM LINE – By the end of August, Hodo’s products will be sold in all Whole Foods stores across the U.S.; a factory expansion will raise production to 70,000 pounds of soy product per day from 40,000.

Source: Bloomberg

Investigators Develop More Accurate Measure of Body Fat

Cedars-Sinai investigators have developed a simpler and more accurate method of estimating body fat than the widely used body mass index, or BMI, with the goal of better understanding obesity.

The new method is highlighted in a study published in Scientific Reports, one of the Nature journals.

“We wanted to identify a more reliable, simple and inexpensive method to assess body fat percentage without using sophisticated equipment,” said the study leader, Orison Woolcott, MD, of Cedars-Sinai.

While the BMI is commonly accepted, many medical experts in the field of obesity consider it to be inaccurate because it cannot distinguish among bone mass, muscle mass and excess fat. BMI also does not account for the influence of gender—women generally have more body fat than men

The new formula developed at Cedars-Sinai is called the relative fat mass index, or RFM, and it uses only height and waist circumference measurements.

“Our results confirmed the value of our new formula in a large number of subjects: Relative fat mass is a better measure of body fatness than many indices currently used in medicine and science, including the BMI,” Woolcott said.

For the first time, researchers examined more than 300 possible formulas for estimating body fat using a large database of 12,000 adults who participated in a health and nutrition survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the next step, investigators calculated the relative fat mass for 3,500 patients and compared the results to the patients’ outcomes from a specialized, high-tech body scan called DXA, widely considered one of the most accurate methods of measuring body tissue, bone, muscle and fat. The patients’ RFM results corresponded most closely with the precision of the DXA body scan.

“The relative fat mass formula has now been validated in a large data base. It is a new index for measuring body fatness that can be easily accessible to health practitioners trying to treat overweight patients who often face serious health consequences like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease,” said Richard Bergman, PhD, the senior author of the study and director of the Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular Diabetes and Obesity Wellness and Research Center.

And the best part, according to Woolcott: “You don’t need a bathroom scale to determine your relative fat mass, just a measuring tape.”

To determine relative fat mass (RFM), you need to measure your height as well as your waist circumference. To measure your waist, place the tape measure right at the top of the hip bone and reach it around your body for the most reliable result. Next, put those numbers into the relative fat mass equation—

making a ratio out of the height and waist measurements. The formula is adjusted for gender:

Relative Fat Mass Formula

MEN: 64 – (20 x height/waist circumference) = RFM

WOMEN: 76 – (20 x height/waist circumference) = RFM

More than 93 million people—nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population—are considered overweight, according to the CDC. Obesity is associated with a poor quality of life and premature death from chronic disease.

“We still need to test the RFM in longitudinal studies with large populations to identify what ranges of body fat percentage are considered normal or abnormal in relation to serious obesity-related health problems,” Woolcott said.

Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Eating Most of Your Food Earlier in the Day Helps Losing Weight

Len Canter wrote . . . . . . . . .

Weight loss depends on eating fewer calories than your body uses up. But when you eat those calories could make a difference that you’ll see on the scale.

An Italian study found that you can boost weight loss by about 25 percent just by eating 70 percent of each day’s calories between breakfast and lunch, including a mid-morning snack, and the other 30 percent as an afternoon snack and dinner.

The researchers used the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet for their study. Participants all cut their intake by 600 calories a day. Their calorie breakdown was 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein, with over 30 grams of fiber daily.

At the end of three months, the participants who ate 70 percent of their daily calories through lunch lost 18 pounds compared to 14 pounds lost by those who ate just 55 percent of their calories through lunch. Plus, they lost more body fat and used insulin more effectively, which can help ward off diabetes.

It will take some effort to rebalance your calories, especially if you’re used to eating more later in the day and evening. But the results could be more than worth the switch.

Key guidelines for following the Mediterranean diet:

  • Most of the foods you eat should be plant-based, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
  • Use plant-based oils, notably olive oil in place of animal fats.
  • Eat moderate amounts of dairy in no- or low-fat varieties.
  • Eat low-to-moderate amounts of fish, less poultry and even less meat.
  • Focus on fresh, seasonal foods when possible and try to eliminate processed and packaged foods.

Source: HealthDay

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