Big Money Shapes Gmo Food Labeling Fight In Washington State

Food photos on social media ‘may ruin your appetite’

A photo of food being taken with an i-phone

| Reuters Close By BILL TOMSON | 10/4/13 10:52 AM EDT A convenience store cashier rings up $100 worth of food that a customer isnt buying, takes $100-worth of food stamp benefits from the customers government-issued card and hands the customer $50 in cash, pocketing the rest. Thats food stamp fraud, and its a crime thats on the rise. But regulators are preparing to zero in on a group that they see as being a regular culprit: Small retailers that often dont provide the kind of fresh and nutritious food that the Obama administration would like to see more people eat, government officials and documents reveal. + reset Of course the owners of the nations 150,000 convenience stores are worried, as food stamps account for about $4 billion of their annual sales. Making it difficult for convenience stores to participate in the food stamp program could disqualify some important sources of nutrition for people that have little or no access to supermarket, says the National Association of Convenience Stores , the industrys trade association. House Republicans railed this year against rising spending on food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. They are demanding $40 billion be cut from the program over 10 years by denying benefits to those who are not working or in government job-training courses. Thats 10 times the comparably meager $4 billion in cuts included in the Senate farm bill. They point to the programs dramatic growth to $80 billion in 2012, up from to $35 billion in 2007. Whether significant cuts to SNAP are needed remains a hotly debated subject, but there is little argument over the need to reduce fraud in the program. Especially not after the USDAs report , released in August, found retailers willing to pay cash in return for the government food credit stole $858 million annually from government coffers from 2009 through 2011. Thats nearly triple the $330 million stolen annually from 2006 through 2008. Only about 15% of all the food stamps used by shoppers in the U.S. are spent at small stores, but they are also the source of 85% of the fraud, according to the USDAs report .

Fast-food giants want pizza the action in Africa

Well according to a new study, you may have just put your friends off their food. Researchers from Brigham Young University (BYU) and the University of Minnesota say their study, published in The Journal of Consumer Psychology, shows that looking at too many pictures of food can make it less enjoyable to eat. “In a way, you’re becoming tired of that taste without even eating the food,” says Ryan Elder, professor at BYU and co-author of the study. “It’s sensory boredom – you’ve kind of moved on. You don’t want that taste experience anymore.” The researchers recruited 232 participants who were asked to carry out experiments that involved viewing and rating pictures of various foods. In one experiment, half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of sweet foods, including cake, truffles and chocolates. The other half of the participants were asked to look at 60 pictures of salty foods, including chips, pretzels and French fries. Both groups rated each food based on how appetizing they thought it was. All subjects were then required to eat a salty food, specifically, peanuts. They then rated how much they enjoyed eating the peanuts. Decreased appetite due to satiation Researchers say that viewing too many uploaded photos of food on social media sites may reduce appetite by increasing a person’s satiation. Credit: Brigham Young University Results of the experiment showed that the participants who viewed the photos of the salty foods enjoyed the peanuts significantly less, compared with those who viewed the sweet foods, even though they had not viewed pictures of peanuts, just other salty foods.

Nearly all of the opposition money against I-522 has come from six out-of-state contributors that also were among the top donors against Californias measure. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has given $7.2 million, while the biotechnology company Monsanto Co. has given $4.8 million. The average contribution to No on 522 is $1.2 million. About 72 percent of the money raised by supporters of I-522 has also come from out of state. Dr. Bronners Magic Soaps has given the most: $1.7 million. The pro-labeling group has received lots of smaller donations from within the state. The average contribution to Yes on 522 is $874. In television ads featuring Pike Place Market fishmongers and others, supporters say more information is needed so consumers can make informed decisions. We should be able to decide for ourselves what we want to buy and eat, said Trudy Bialic, public affairs director for PCC Natural Markets, a Seattle-based natural food retail cooperative that helped write the measure. Without labeling, theyre not providing full disclosure. Other advocates worry about potential environmental harm from genetically modified crops, such as cross-contamination with non-GMO crops, while some object to increased corporate control of food. Labeling foes say those who dont want GMO foods can buy certified organic products. In TV ads featuring a farmer and a former state agriculture director, opponents say the measure creates misinformation by exempting many food products and poses unnecessary burdens for farmers and food manufacturers. To put a warning on it implies theres something wrong with it, said Dana Bieber, a spokeswoman for No on 522.

Food stamps are pictured. | Reuters

cuisine. Elias Schulze, managing partner of The Africa Group , a boutique Africa-focused investment consultancy, said U.S. takeout stores are rapidly becoming “aspirational brands” for cosmopolitan Africans with disposable income. He said: “An upwardly mobile, confident, Western-leaning and young consumer class bodes well for an American burger boom.” And the battle for the African market is well underway. This year, Yum! Brands — owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut — is expanding into Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. An upwardly mobile, confident, Western-leaning and young consumer class bodes well for an American burger boom. Elias Schulze, The Africa Group The Louisville-based restaurant giant already has outlets in 14 African countries , with more than 700 KFCs in South Africa and plans to open a further 45 stores in 2013. Read this: South Africans thirsty for craft beer And with growing political and economic stability, Western fast food brands are approaching the region with a renewed sense of optimism, according to Schulze. He said KFC is an established brand on the continent today, adding: “My general sense is that markets beyond South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa are in the investing phase given their level of infancy and may not have reached a payback point quite yet.” And more big players are beginning to follow suit. In May, Burger King opened for business in South Africa and last year Domino’s — the U.S. pizza chain — opened its first African store in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation. With two stores already, Domino’s is planning to launch three more African branches by the end of this year.