New Zealand food packages are covered with nutrition and health claims just like ours, but the food agency only began allowing them a few years ago. The agency thought it might be interesting to find out whether the packages really contained the levels of vitamins and minerals claimed on the labels. Oops. Turns out that 58% did not. They either had too little (15%) or too much (42%). The excuses: built-in safety margins, hard-to-mix ingredients, unstable vitamins, uncertain analytic methods. The FDA hasn’t done one of these investigations in a long time, as far as I know. I wonder what it would find if it did?
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I am back from speaking at New Zealand’s “Primary Industries Summit,” a government-sponsored meeting of agricultural business leaders called to challenge their “conceptions of what the global economic environment will look like in 2020″ and to suggest ideas about how best to position New Zealand’s agriculture to give it a competitive advantage. The short answer: good, fair, clean, and green. The big challenge: Food miles. New Zealand is really, really far to get to (it took consecutive flights of 6, 13, and 3 hours to get me to the meeting venue). For New Zealand business leaders, “eat local” means fighting words. Their mantra: our foods have lower carbon footprints than yours. That’s the perspective from the Antipodes. Antipodes, by the way, is the brand name of their local bottled water–at least the bottles are glass.
It’s good to be back. I will be posting catch-ups in rapid succession.
I am off to a meeting in New Zealand–Primary Industries 2020–for the next week. This is a government meeting about how New Zealand businesses can succeed in a changing global economy. Making safe food is one way, and I will be talking about food safety and risk management, using the pet food and spinach recalls as examples. Will I have Internet access? Best to consider the blog on vacation until December 1. I will miss Thanksgiving when I cross the dateline tomorrow, but wish all of you a delicious holiday.