Friday, May 21, 2010

The Winners of the Annual National Nutrition Month Poster Contest

On May 20, 2010 the Broward County Public School winners of the National Nutrition Month Poster Contest were given awards and money to buy a “Let’s Move” incentive prize. The annual event is coordinated by Darlene Moppert, MS, RD, Program Manager of Nutrition Education and Training at Broward County Public Schools and sponsored by the Broward County Dietetic Association.

The students did an amazing job. They creatively described the themes “Eat Right” or “Nutrition from the Ground”.

Congratulations to all the winners, parents,
teachers and nutrition service staff.

Broward County Public School Winners of the
National Nutrition Month Poster Contest

The Winners

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Heinz Ketchup to Provide Consumers with Lower Sodium Ketchup

To help in the effort to reduce consumers’ sodium intake, Heinz will reduce sodium by 15 percent in its core line of ketchup beginning the summer of 2010. “As the largest producer of ketchup in the U.S., Heinz is dedicated to meeting the growing consumer demand for better-for-you products, particularly with lower sodium,” said Idamarie Laquatra, Director of Global Nutrition, Heinz. “ Heinz Ketchup is proud to provide consumers with lower sodium ketchup with the great taste that Americans expect.” This reduction in sodium will make Heinz Ketchup the lowest-sodium, nationally available ketchup in the U.S. 

Where does sodium come from?
Sodium comes from natural sources or are added to foods. Most foods in their natural state contain some sodium. However, the majority of sodium Americans consume comes from sodium added to processed foods by manufacturers. While some of this sodium is added to foods for safety reasons, the amount of salt added to processed foods is above what is required for safety and function of the food supply.

Reading Labels
When you buy prepared and packaged foods, read the labels. You can tell the sodium content by looking at the Nutrition Facts panel of a food. Listed are the amount for sodium, in milligrams (mg), and the “% Daily Value.” Also read the ingredient list to watch for the words "soda" (referring to sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda), "sodium" and the symbol "Na" to see if the product contains sodium.

Salt and/or Sodium Descriptors

Salt Free:  Meets requirements for "sodium free."
Sodium Free: Fewer than 5 milligrams sodium per serving.
Very Low Sodium:  35 milligrams or less sodium per serving.
Low Sodium: 140 milligrams or less per serving 
Reduced Sodium:  At least 25 percent less sodium per serving.
Unsalted:  Has no salt added during processing. To use this term, the product it resembles must normally be processed with salt and the label must note that the food is not a sodium-free food if it does not meet the requirements for "sodium free".

The FDA and USDA state an individual food that has the claim "healthy" must not exceed 480 mg sodium per reference amount. "Meal type" products must not exceed 600 mg sodium per labeled serving size.

Sodium and Hypertension.
In order for a food to make an Allowable Health Claim it must contain a defined amount of nutrients. In relationship to sodium and Hypertension the amount is 140 milligrams or less sodium per serving.

American Heart Association (AHA)
The American Heart Association recommends you choose and prepare foods with little or no salt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to eat less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day (less that 3/4 teaspoon of salt).
The AHA is working with federal agencies to identify ways to reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply. The association is encouraging food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in foods by 50 percent over a 10-year period. AHA will help Americans lower the amount of sodium they consume by the following strategies:
 1. Reduce the amount of sodium in the food supply,
 2. Make more healthy foods available (e.g., more fruits and vegetables); and
 3. Provide consumers with education and decision-making tools to make better choices.

Tips for reducing sodium in the diet
 1.  Choose fresh, frozen or canned food items without added salts.
 2.  Select unsalted nuts or seeds, dried beans, peas and lentils.
 3.  Limit salty snacks like chips and pretzels.
 4.  Avoid adding salt and canned vegetables to homemade dishes.
 5.  Select unsalted, lower sodium, fat-free broths, bouillons or soups.
 6.  Select fat-free or low-fat milk, low-sodium, low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
 7.  Use spices and herbs to enhance the taste of your food. 
 8.  Add fresh lemon juice instead of salt to fish and vegetables.
 9.  When dining out, ask for your dish to be prepared without salt.
10. Don’t use the salt shaker. 

How much sodium is in salt?
1/4 teaspoon salt = 600 mg sodium
1/2 teaspoon salt = 1200 mg sodium
3/4 teaspoon salt = 1800 mg sodium
1 teaspoon salt = 2400 mg sodium

Thursday, May 13, 2010

National Fruit Cocktail Day

May 13th is National Fruit Cocktail Day.

1. A mixture of sliced or diced fruits.
2. A mixture of chopped fruit served as an appetizer, often chilled; tends to be less sweet than a fruit salad.
3. A mixture of fresh or preserved fruits cut into pieces and served as an appetizer or dessert; also called a fruit cup.
4. Canned fruit cocktail and canned fruit salad are similar, but fruit salad contains larger fruit while fruit cocktail is diced.
Canned Fruit Cocktail can be purchased in the following packing mediums:
Extra heavy

Fruit Juice and Water
Fruit Juice
Artificially Sweetened

The USDA product sheets1 state canned "Fruit cocktail" must contain pears, grapes, cherries, peaches, and pineapples, otherwise it cannot be called fruit cocktail. It should contain fruits in not less nor more than the following percentages:
30% to 50% diced peaches, any yellow variety
25% to 45% diced pears, any variety
6% to 16% diced pineapple, any variety
6% to 20% whole grapes, any seedless variety
2% to 6% cherry halves, any light sweet or artificial red variety

1 Product sheets, Choice Plus, Publication Number FCS-297, a joint publication of USDA and the National Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi.

A simple fruit salad or fruit kabob makes a healthy dish and easy to prepare.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What Impact does Oil Spills have on Our Food?

What Impact does Oil Spills have on Our Food?

On May 5, 2010, Supermarket News1 (SN) interviewed Donald Rouse, president of Rouses Supermarkets (based out of Louisiana) about the spill's impact on the local seafood industry. The article notes two categories of Louisiana seafood, the oyster and the crab industry. Fifty percent of the areas oyster beds and seventy percent of the areas crabs are harvested east of the Mississippi, in the path of the spill and will be greatly affected. However, 77% of the state's total seafood production is fished out of the west side of the Mississippi, all the way to Port Arthur, Texas. "These waters are unaffected by the spill and remain open," Rouse said. Does the percentages add up or is some information missing?

In the same SN article, the National Fisheries Institute has assured consumers, retailers and restaurant owners that the spill is not expected to cause shortages of seafood, or wild price fluctuations in seafood markets.

On May 8, 2010 the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)2 Secretary Robert Barham announced that the shrimp season in the territorial seas of the central coast of Louisiana - from Four Bayou Pass to Freshwater Bayou closes effective sunset, Saturday, May 8, 2010. Effective with this action, all outside territorial waters from the Mississippi/Louisiana state line to Freshwater Bayou are closed to shrimp harvesting.

Today, May 11, 2010, the price of some seafood has gone up, some fishes are not being sold, after 21 days the spill has not been contained and we still hear the seafood industry reassuring us the seafood is safe.

Is the seafood really safe to eat?
The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation3 lists effects of oil spills (see Noted is the following: “The most toxic components in oil tend to be those lost rapidly through evaporation when oil is spilled. The lethal concentrations of toxic components leading to large scale death of marine life are relatively rare, localized and short-lived. Sub-lethal effects may impair the ability of marine organisms to reproduce, grow, feed or perform normal functions caused by prolonged exposure to a concentration of oil or oil components far lower than will cause death. Oysters, mussels and clams living in shallow waters routinely filter large volumes of seawater to obtain food and are more likely to accumulate oil components. While these components may not cause any immediate harm, their presence may render such animals unappetizing if they are consumed with the presence of an oily taste or smell. This is a temporary problem since the components causing the off taste are lost when normal conditions are restored.” How do you know when normal conditions are restored?

The first step on the road to recovery is a well conducted clean-up operation. Does that mean adding toxic detergents to breakup the oil and using “junk shots” (golf balls, tires, hair, etc..)? Are they making the situation worse? Robert R. Stewart4, a professor at Texas A&M University, Department of Oceanography states, “sometimes the cleanup is worse than the spill.”

It can be difficult to evaluate the effects of oil spills, because the scientific community is not always working together. One side is intent on measuring the damage, and the other side emphasizes the capacity of the environment to recover naturally. The simple reality is sometimes the extent of damage can be difficult to detect.

The oil spill in the Gulf is just one of many oil spills that have occurred in our world over the last seventy years (79 oil spills effecting all 7 continents are noted below. The list is not complete.)*

What have the studies shown on the long term effects of oil spills?
Michael Kaller, School of Renewable Natural Resources assistant professor, notes it’s impossible to know what kind of effect the oil will have on the environment and economy right now. The immediate effect is that the fisheries are shut down and ecologically, we’re still not sure - the worst part of the oil spill is still offshore. (Rachel Warren, The Daily Reveille, Lsureveille News).5

An Internet search on the "long term effects of oil spills" produced about 6,750,000 results with no definite answers.

Will we see the destruction of marine life, oceans and coastal areas during our lifetime? Will we lose a low fat, high protein food source?

Addendum: Regarding Disaster Planning.
I have worked in the medical field for over 30 years and we are required by law to have a disaster plan. Why do companies working in the oil industry, not have a disaster plan? I’ve seen the tanker trucks with the warning signs - “Flammable”. Is that it?

Additional Resources
The Disaster of Oil Spills


1 SN (Supermarket News), NFI Says Oil Spill Should Not Impact Seafood Supplies. May 5, 2010 4:55 PM

2 Emergency, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF)

3 The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) is a not-for-profit organisation, involved in all aspects of preparing for and responding to ship-source spills of oil, chemicals and other substances in the marine environment. Effects of Oil Spills.

4 Robert R. Stewart, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University. Funding for the book comes from the State of Texas, Texas A&M University and from contract 1205046 with U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Oil in the Sea III: Inputs, Fates, and Effects (2003). Ocean Studies Board (OSB), Marine Board (MB), Transportation Research Board (TRB).

5 Long-term effects of oil spill expected, uncertain,Rachel Warren, May 5, 2010. The Louisiana State University, The Daily Reveille, Lsureveille News.

How the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Will Affect Your Dinner Plate, Emily Main, Rodale News, Emmaus, PA, May 6, 2010

*The oil spill in the Gulf is just one of many oil spills that have occurred in our world over the last seventy years (79 oil spills from all 7 continents are noted and it is not a complete list). Reference: Wikipedia: Oil Spills,

April 20, 2010. Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico, USA
April 3, 2010. Great Barrier Reef, Shen Neng 1, Great Keppel Island, Australia
January 23, 2010. Port Arthur, Texas, USA

August 21, 2009. Montara, Timor Sea, Western Australia
July 31, 2009. Full City, Rognsfjorden, south of Langesund, Norway
March 10, 2009. Queensland, Australia
February 14, 2009. West Cork, Southern coast of Ireland

July 28, 2008. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

December 12, 2007. Statfjord, Norwegian Sea, Norway
December 7, 2007. Korea Yellow Sea, South Korea
November 23, 2007. MV Explorer, south of King George Island, Antarctica
November 11, 2007. Kerch Strait, Ukraine & Russia
November 7, 2007. 2007 San Francisco Bay oil spill San Francisco, California, USA
October 23, 2007. Kab 101, Bay of Campeche, Mexico

August 11, 2006. Guimaras, Philippines
July 14, 2006. Jiyeh, Lebanon
June 19, 2006. Citgo refinery, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA
March 2, 2006. Prudhoe Bay, Alaska North Slope, Alaska, USA

December 8, 2004. MV Selendang Ayu, Unalaska Island, Alaska, USA
November 26, 2004. Athos 1, Delaware River, USA

July 28, 2003. Tasman Spirit Karachi, Pakistan
April 27, 2003. Bouchard No.120, Buzzards Bay, Bourne, Massachusetts, USA

November 13, 2002. Prestige, Galicia, Spain
October 6, 2002. Limburg, Gulf of Aden

October 4, 2001. Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Alaska
January 14, 2001. Amorgos oil spill, Southern coast of Taiwan
January 22, 2001. Jessica, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

June 6, 2000. Treasure Cape Town, South Africa
January 18, 2000. Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

December 12, 1999. Erika Bay of Biscay, France

January 12, 1998. Mobil Nigeria oil spill Nigeria

December 10, 1997. Nakhoda Sea, Japan

September 27, 1996. Julie N. Portland, Maine, USA
February 15, 1996. Sea Empress Wales, UK
January 19, 1996. North Cape Rhode Island, USA

March 31, 1994. Seki United Arab Emirates
January 7, 1994. Morris J. Berman, Puerto Rico

January 5, 1993. Braer Shetland, UK

December 3, 1992. Aegean Sea, Coruña, Spain
April 16, 1992. Katina P Maputo, Mozambique
March 2, 1992. Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

July 21, 1991. Kirki, off the coast of West Australia
May 28, 1991. ABT Summer, off Angola
April 11, 1991. MT Haven Mediterranean Sea near Genoa, Italy
January 23, 1991. Gulf War, Persian Gulf

September 16, 1990. Jupiter, Saginaw River, near Bay City, Michigan, USA
June 8, 1990. Mega Borg, Gulf of Mexico, SE of Galveston, Texas
March 6, 1990. Barge Cibro Savannah, Citgo facility, Linden, New Jersey
February 7, 1990. American Trader, Bolsa Chica State Beach, California, USA

December 19, 1989. Khark 5, off Atlantic coast of Morocco
March 24, 1989. Exxon Valdez Prince William Sound, Alaska, USA

November 10, 1988. Odyssey, off Nova Scotia, Canada
January 2, 1988. Ashland, Floreffe, Pennsylvania, USA

December 6, 1985. Nova, South of Kharg Island, Arabian Gulf
September 28, 1985. Grand Eagle, Delaware River, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, USA

August 6, 1983. Castillo de Bellver, Saldanha Bay, South Africa
February 4, 1983. Nowruz, Persian Gulf

March 7, 1980. Tanio , Brittany, France
February 23, 1980. Irenes Serenade Navarino Bay, Greece

November 15, 1979. MT Independenta Bosphorus, Turkey
November 1, 1979. Burmah Agate Galveston Bay, Texas, USA
July 19, 1979. Atlantic Empress / Aegean Captain Trinidad and Tobago
June 3, 1979. Ixtoc I, Gulf of Mexico
January 8, 1979. Betelgeuse Bantry Bay, Ireland

March 16, 1978. Amoco Cadiz Brittany, France

April 22, 1977. Ekofisk, North Sea
February 26, 1977. Hawaiian Patriot, off Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

December 15, 1976. Argo Merchant, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, USA
June 23, 1976. NEPCO 140 oil spill Saint Lawrence River, USA
May 12, 1976. Urquiola A Coruña, Spain

January 31, 1975. Corinthos, Delaware River, Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, USA
January 29, 1975. Jakob Maersk Oporto, Portugal

August 9, 1974. Metula Strait of Magellan, Chile

December 19, 1972. Sea Star Gulf, Oman

March 20, 1970. Othello Tralhavet Bay, Sweden

January 28, 1969. Santa Barbara, California, USA

March 18, 1967. Torrey Canyon Isles of Scilly, UK

December 30, 1958. African Queen Ocean City, Maryland, USA

1940's and 1950's
Brooklyn, Newtown Creek, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, USA.  One of the world’s largest underground oil spills. At approximately 17 million gallons and 55 acres, the spill is at least 6 million gallons larger than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. The spill is the result of leaks in the 1940s and 1950s. ExxonMobil neglected the spill for more than two decades. In 1978, a helicopter patrol, the US Coast Guard discovered a large plume of oil flowing out of the banks of the creek. No action was taken until 1990. (Riverkeeper,

Friday, May 7, 2010

Stamp Out Hunger with the
National Association of Letter Carriers
on May 8, 2010

On Saturday, May 8, 2010, the National Association of Letter Carriers will do their part to Stamp Out Hunger across America. Now in its 18th year, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation's largest single-day food drive. In 2010, drive organizers hope to exceed last years record-setting total of 73.4 million pounds of donated food, as well as surpass one billion pounds of food collected over the history of the drive.  

Who's Hungry in America?

Remember to help out on May 8, 2010.
Place non-perishable food products in a bag and leave at your mailbox.
Your Letter Carrier will deliver the food to local food banks.
To find out how you can help go to

Monday, May 3, 2010

Melanoma Monday, Detection and Prevention

Melanoma Monday is the kick-off of May Melanoma Month.  People are encouraged to self examine their skin for skin cancer.

What Is A Melanoma?

Melanoma is a malignant tumor found predominantly in skin but also in the bowel and the eye. Around 60,000 new cases of invasive melanoma are diagnosed in the US each year. It is more common in Caucasian people living in sunny climates or in those who use tanning salons. According to WHO about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide per year. Treatment includes surgical removal of the tumor, adjuvant treatment, chemo- and immunotherapy, or radiation therapy.

American Academy of Dermatology has prepared a Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention program called 31 Days - 31 Ways

The Facts About Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer because of its ability to spread. It is important to catch melanoma early when the cure rate with dermatological surgery is about 95%.

Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body - soles, palms, inside the mouth, genitalia, and underneath nails. However, it is most commonly found on the back, buttocks, legs, scalp, neck, and behind the ears.

Melanoma often develops in a pre-existing mole that begins to change or a new mole. This is why it is important to be familiar with the moles on your body and perform regular self-examinations of your skin. When looking at moles, keep in mind the ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection as described in the following video.

Is That Just A Mole - Or Early Signs of Skin Cancer?
We all have at least some moles on our skin. Do you know which moles are normal, and which could be signs of trouble? This year, more than one million Americans will get some form of skin cancer, and in many cases, moles could have served as early warning signs.

Most skin cancer can be prevented by practicing sun protection. Research shows that not only does sun protection reduce one’s risk of developing skin cancer; sun protection also may decrease the likelihood of recurrence.

The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) recommends that everyone protect their skin by following these sun protection practices:

Avoid deliberate tanning. Lying in the sun can cause premature aging (wrinkles, blotchiness, and sagging skin) as well as a 1 in 5 chance of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds and sunlamps are just as dangerous.  If you like the look of a tan, consider using a sunless self-tanning product. These products do not protect skin from the sun, so a sunscreen should be used.

Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet. Don’t seek the sun.

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin every day. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 and be broad-spectrum (provides protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Don’t forget your ears, nose, neck, hands, and toes. Many skin cancers develop in these areas. Protect your lips, another high-risk area, with lip balm that offers sun protection with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Sunscreen should not be used to prolong sun exposure. Some UV light gets through sunscreen.

Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied approximately every two hours.

Be sure to reapply sunscreen after being in water or sweating.

Sunscreen does not make sunbathing safe.

Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, a hat, and sunglasses, where possible.

Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase your risk chance of sunburn.

Aside from skin cancer, the sun’s UV rays also cause premature aging: Signs of premature aging include wrinkles, mottled skin, and loss of skin’s firmness.

Indoor Tanning is Out

Not only can the ultraviolet radiation from indoor tanning beds lead to wrinkles, it also increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. On an average day, more than one million Americans tan in tanning salons. Research shows that nearly 70 percent of indoor tanners are female, primarily 16 to 29 years old.

The Academys public service advertisement (PSA) campaign aims to educate the public, especially young women, about the dangers of indoor tanning. The campaign contains print, television and radio advertisements, which all carry the same theme: Indoor Tanning is Out®. In the television advertisements, a series of young women tell their peers why indoor tanning is not as safe as they might think.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

May Wellness News Highlights

May 2010 Current News and Resources in Nutrition, Food, Health,
Recalls/Safety and Disability Rights.
Encourages awareness & inspires ideas for Journalists, Educators,
Consumers and Health Professionals.

May Wellness News Highlights

Arthritis Awareness Month, Better Hearing & Speech Month, Clean Air Month, Family Wellness Month, Gifts From The Garden Month, Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month, Heal the Children Month, Motorcycle Safety Month, National Allergy/Asthma Awareness Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbeque Month, National Bike Month, National Egg Month, National Hamburger Month, National Hepatitis Awareness Month, National Meditation Month, National Melanoma / Skin Cancer Awareness Month, National Osteoporosis Awareness Prevention Month, National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Smile Month, National Strawberry Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, National Vinegar Month, Older Americans Month, Strike Out Strokes Month, Sweet Vidalia Onions Month, Teen Self-Esteem Month, Ultra-violet Awareness Month, Women's Health Care Month, Young Achievers of Tomorrow Month, National Family Month (5/9 to 6/20)