I took advantage of a business trip to a North Carolina sweet potato grower in December 2016 and spent my free time visiting the local supermarket to have a look at the range of vegetable products. I am particularly interested in the health claims and nutritional labelling that is used in the US.
I had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of eating orange flesh sweet potato which has a high beta-carotene content. There is interest in improving the nutrient density of crops for the benefit of consumers and I want to find out how nutritionists and growers are working together to achieve this.
My hosts were kind enough to take me out lunch where I was able to enjoy the traditional North Carolina barbeque chicken and Brunswick stew, I declined the deep fried oysters…..
Take a look at my vlog to for a snapshot of my trip..
The 2016 Nuffield Farming conference, held in Newcastle, was truly a great event.
The newly elected scholars for 2017 attended a ‘briefing’ the day before the conference, to get acquainted with the Nuffield family, project guidelines and to let reality sink in.
Nuffield Farming scholarships are awarded to people wanting to take a step out of their day to-day work in the food, farming and rural industries, to travel and study a subject of interest.
I had read various projects over the years and found them innovative and interesting but it was only this year that I felt the timing was right both personally and professionally for me to pursue my topic ‘Vegetable production for specific nutritional need’.
There is a great deal of focus on public health nutrition at the moment and debates on obesity, sugar and fat seem to be continuous. The focus on vegetables has not translated into higher consumption of them and the health of the nation continues to decline.
Where are farmers and food processors in these debates? Nutrition scientists are quick to point out national vitamin D deficiency, a lack of fibre consumption and low selenium in our foods but are these messages being incorporated into the decisions made about choice of variety in the fields and choice of ingredients in recipe dishes?
One area I want to look at more closely, is the level of potassium especially in potato products. People with chronic kidney disease have to limit their potassium intake and avoid potato based foods, whereas people with heart problems need to ensure that they have a good intake of potassium. So why don’t we label food products with the level of potassium?
So many questions, I guess now it’s time I went in search for some answers.
Now I wonder who I can speak with to get an appointment with Marion Nestle………..