Importance of Nutrition Labels

Importance of Nutrition Labels

 

 

 

 

 

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Importance of Nutrition Labels

Nutrition facts labels tell you about the nutrition of a particular product. This information includes serving size, number of servings in the package, calories per serving and the amount of various nutrients contained in the product. Once you understand the labels, they can help you follow a healthy diet and make it easier to choose the most nutritious foods.

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Making Healthy Food Decisions

Nutrition Labels do affect people’s food choices. When you are deciding between two different foods, you can look at the nutrition labels to determine which food is more nutritious. You can compare the labels to determine which foods are lowest in calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. These are the ingredients you should limit for good health. Checking the ingredients list will help you avoid foods that contain additives or other ingredients that you want to avoid. The foods with the fewest ingredients and those that only contain ingredients that you would have in your own kitchen are healthier than those with lots of ingredients you don’t recognize.

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Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Reading nutrition labels can help you make the right food choices when you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain.

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Nutrient Consumption

Many Indians don’t consume enough fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, so these are always included on nutrition labels. You can use the percent daily values listed on the label to give you a good idea which foods are high or low in these essential nutrients. Foods that contain at least 10 percent of the daily value for a nutrient are good sources of that nutrient, and foods that contain 20 percent of the daily value for a nutrient are considered high in that nutrient.

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Considerations

While nutrition facts labels can be helpful, not everyone understands the information included or the importance of it. Many people who had low levels of literacy and numeracy often didn’t understand these labels and that even some people who were more literate sometimes had trouble interpreting nutrition facts labels.

@Fogiene, we think it is very important as part of our social responsibility to provide education how to use these labels when making food choices.

Need help with nutrition labelling for your products? Call us for a free consultation today.

You are What you Eat

You are What you Eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we eat directly impacts our body. Food affects everything from our energy levels and mood, to our weight and ability to complete tasks. What we put into our bodies is what sustains us throughout the day, so it’s important to eat nutrient-packed foods that will set us up with an energized body and positive attitude. It is also important to realize that nutrition is a huge factor in staying healthy and avoiding potential diseases or other issues.

Let’s look at some tips to help you adopt a healthier, balanced diet:

  • Plan Ahead – We often find ourselves relying on outside food multiple times a week, whether its ordering lunch at work or going out for dinner. With work, family, friends, and commitments it’s convenient to buy meals rather than prepare them. By planning meals out at the beginning of the week, we avoid last-minute unhealthy choices. Packing a lunch and cooking dinner will allow you to choose healthier options and improve the quality of your food intake.
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  • Pack Snacks – It’s always a good idea to have a few healthy snack options with you so you can avoid a situation where you are desperate for food and have to turn to an unhealthy option. Pack a bag of nuts or fruits, and have it with you in case you need a quick snack.
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  • Focus on Healthier Foods – Eating healthier foods will hugely benefit your overall health. Not only will you be able to control your weight, but your energy levels will be higher, and you will work more efficiently and effectively throughout the day. Focus on eating protein and nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars and cholesterol such as deserts and baked goods.
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  • Improve Your Eating Habits – A great way to improve your diet is to become conscious of your eating habits and identify routines that are unhealthy and unnecessary. One of the most common habits is eating when you are bored. Asking yourself if you are hungry before grabbing a snack is a good way to avoid consuming unnecessary calories. Another good habit to adopt is to take your time while eating. This way you will be more likely to notice when you are actually satisfied than if you eat your meal fast and find yourself with a stomach ache because you ate too much.
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  • Choose Water – Avoid drinking juices or sodas. Though they satisfy and energize you in the moment, they contain a ton of sugar that will actually leave you feeling slow and lethargic soon after. Additionally, the sugar in those drinks adds unnecessary calories to your body. Try to replace unhealthy drinks with water. Water will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated, healthy, and energized.

Remember that the types of foods that we put into our bodies are what fuels us throughout the day. Nutrition matters, so choose foods that will set you up for success! Work to become aware of your eating habits, and adopt a healthier and more balanced diet to make sure you are taking care of yourself.

Need assistance in food testing? Contact us for expert services.

Tips for Avoiding Food Poisoning

Tips for Avoiding Food Poisoning

 

Food poisoning can be painful, exhausting, and honestly quite dangerous. The worst part about food poisoning is that once you get it, there’s not much you can do. For hours or days or however long it takes, you feel completely exhausted and searching for answers.

“Food poisoning” is a blanket term for any form of illness that results from eating expired or contaminated food.  Food can become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, viruses such as hepatitis, and even some forms of parasites.  Symptoms vary, but common experiences include fever, aches, pains, vomiting, and frequent trips to the bathroom.

Some extreme cases of food poisoning can result in a hospital visit or even death — but these cases often involve other interfering factors, such as an already poor state of health or effects of dehydration. If you do get food poisoning, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Other tactics for surviving the onslaught of illness include eating simple, unseasoned staple foods such as bread and rice and avoiding substances like dairy, caffeine, and alcohol.  You should also take care to eat slowly, so you can gauge your stomach’s reaction to the food before it’s too late.

Though you can’t guarantee you’ll avoid it entirely, food poisoning is somewhat preventable. Use these simple tips to avoid food poisoning as best you can.

Always Wash Your Hands

This one’s obvious — you should always wash your hands before eating or preparing food. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative for when you don’t have access to a sink, but it’s never as effective. Hand washing should be done with soap and warm water; ensure you lather for at least 20 to 30 seconds. The friction is how most of the bacteria get washed off.

Refrigerate Your Leftovers Immediately

It’s normal to keep cooked food out during dinner, just in case anyone wants to go in for seconds.  But once your meal is over, put away your leftovers promptly. After two hours, cooked food is at a risk of going bad if left at room temperature.  Pathogenic bacteria love room-temperature food; if bacteria grow and you later eat it, you’re likely to get sick.

Keep Your Kitchen Clean

You should really be keeping on top of kitchen cleaning, anyway  Keeping a clean kitchen ensures that the surfaces where you’re preparing and serving food are safe from pathogens.  If you hate harsh chemicals, you don’t need to rely on store-bought products. You can use all-natural alternatives that work just as well!

Wash Your Dishcloths

Dishcloths are used almost every time you cook. You touch them after you wash your hands. You dry your counter with them.  They sit in your kitchen and can catch all kinds of germs. Make sure you wash your dishcloths regularly; you can throw them in your laundry with the rest of your clothes and towels.

Store Raw Meat on the Bottom Shelf

This might seem like a random recommendation, but fridge placement matters. If you put meat on the bottom shelf, you eliminate the risk of any juices from the meat dripping onto your other food.

Keep Your Fridge Cold Enough

Most refrigerators offer an option to alter the temperature of your fridge and freezer. To prevent an environment with temperatures where bacteria can grow,  keep the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Look Out for ‘Use By’ and ‘Best By’ Dates

Even though “use by” and “best by” dates can sometimes be preemptive and overly cautious, they are important to pay attention to. After the expiration date, dispose of the food properly to ensure your food is still safe to eat.

Avoid Unpasteurized Dairy Products

Otherwise known as raw milk, unpasteurized milk is generally regarded as dangerous to consume. Unpasteurized cheese has also been linked to food poisoning outbreaks.  All of these unpasteurized dairy products can carry food-borne bacteria such as listeria, E. coli, and Brucella.

Know Which Foods Pose the Most Risk

It seems like some foods are just always getting recalled. Lettuce, for instance, has been involved in all kinds of outbreaks, especially recently.  That’s no coincidence — some foods are more prone to catching food-borne bacteria than others, whether it’s due to their texture or methods of packaging and production.  Be extra cautious when handling the foods that are most likely to make you sick.

Keep Cold Foods Together

When grocery shopping, you might not give much thought to how you arrange the food in your bags. However, a careful tactic for practicing food safety is to bag all frozen and refrigerated items together. Collectively, they’ll stay colder, lowering your risk of attracting bacteria on their journey from the store to your home.

Store Your Food Properly

If you’re strategic with your storage, you can get your food to last longer and remain safer. Brush up on which foods you absolutely need to put in the fridge —  and which foods should never be stored there. You might be refrigerating foods needlessly, which can actually make them go bad!   Alternatively, some foods should always be kept in the fridge, for similar reason. Did you know apples can last weeks longer if you refrigerate them?

Defrost Food Carefully

For many, it’s common practice to throw a chunk of frozen meat on the counter to defrost it faster. But this can be dangerous, attracting food-borne bacteria if the meat is left out just a little too long. Instead, you should always defrost meat either in the refrigerator overnight or with the defrost setting in the microwave.

Never Reheat Leftovers More Than Once

Every time you reheat or cool leftovers, you’re at a risk of allowing bacteria to multiply. Reheat and cool food more than once and your risk of getting sick can multiply, as well. Don’t be afraid of leftovers, though. So long as you’re only reheating what you’re eating one time, there are delicious ways to repurpose leftovers into a satisfying lunch. When preparing any kind of food though, be aware of cleaning surfaces first. Some places in your kitchen have more bacteria than a toilet seat!

When to Use a Dehumidifier?

When to Use a Dehumidifier?

 

 

Do you know how and when to use a dehumidifier to get the best results in your home? Running a dehumidifier is an important step toward improving your home’s indoor air quality. If the air feels sticky or swampy, a dehumidifier will reduce moisture levels, so your home is more comfortable, and your HVAC system can run more efficiently and effectively.

Keep reading to learn when to use a dehumidifier and how to run it to maximize indoor air quality, enhance comfort and boost energy efficiency.

What’s the Difference Between a Humidifier and Dehumidifier?

While a humidifier adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness, a dehumidifier removes moisture. Studies have shown that maintaining home humidity levels between 30% and 50% will help you achieve the healthiest, most comfortable environment, prevent mould and keep your home and belongings safe from damage caused by excessive humidity or dryness.

Depending on the climate in your area, you may need to use a humidifier or dehumidifier at different times of the year to support optimal indoor air quality.

When Is the Best Time to Use a Dehumidifier?

Any time your home feels humid is a good time to run a dehumidifier. Typically, the summer months bring higher levels of humidity that can lead to too much indoor air moisture, resulting in mildew, mould and bacteria growth.

If you notice any of these signs in your home, it’s time to consider running a dehumidifier:

  • Sticky, swampy, or stuffy rooms
  • Window condensation
  • Musty odours
  • Increase in mould or mildew
  • Water marks on walls or ceilings
  • Increase in pest problems
  • Rotting or warping wood
  • Exacerbation of allergy symptoms

The best time to use a dehumidifier is before the humidity begins to affect your household. When you walk in the house after being outside on a hot and sticky summer’s day, you want to be met by a blast of refreshing, cool air – not additional stickiness. Because humid air makes a room feel warmer, you may notice your air conditioner isn’t making your home feel as cool and comfortable as you prefer. Hot air retains more moisture than cold air, which is why using a dehumidifier at appropriate times of the year can help your HVAC to run more efficiently and make your home feel cooler, even at a higher thermostat setting.

How Often Should You Use a Dehumidifier?

Should you keep your dehumidifier running all summer long? Not necessarily. How often you should use a dehumidifier will depend on your home, climate and other factors. To achieve the highest energy efficiency, run a dehumidifier for at least 12 hours a day. This will allow you to remove moisture from the air without racking up the energy costs.

If you notice your home is still too humid, you may need to address the sources of moisture. You can use a hygrometer, which measures humidity, to determine how much dehumidification your home needs to stay at the optimum level for indoor air quality.

Looking for Air Quality Monitoring? Contact Fogiene Sciences for a free consultation.

9 Methods to Extend the Shelf Life of Fresh Produce

9 Methods to Extend the Shelf Life of Fresh Produce

 

 

9 Methods to Extend the Shelf Life of Fresh Produce

As a grower or supplier of fresh produce, there’s not much worse than having your products expire early.

This can damage your reputation and be expensive to deal with. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of tons of food loss and waste it causes globally per year.

Growers and shippers give their fruits and vegetables the best chance of staying fresh by extending shelf life.

Why Extending Shelf Life Helps?

Fresh produce can spend up to half its life in transit. When shipping fruits and vegetables all over the world, it’s important to make sure the energy required to do so is put to good use.
Fruits and vegetables need to be given the best chance to survive long haul shipments.

Some benefits of extending shelf life include:

  • Better quality produce
  • Fewer shipments rejected
  • Less food loss and waste
  • Increased margins
  • Better brand reputation

There are a few different approaches to shelf life extension, including a few exciting innovations in recent years.

Causes of Reduced Shelf Life

To prolong shelf life, you must know what harms fresh produce.

The main factors that can affect shelf life are:

  • Ethylene exposure
  • Temperature changes and extremes
  • Humidity/moisture
  • Microbial growth
  • Physical harm

So, it makes sense that the methods used to extend shelf life should affect at least one of these factors.

Different Methods of Fresh Produce Shelf Life Extension

Methods to extend shelf life can vary for different types of fruits and vegetables, but there are multiple solutions for most.

Different ways of extending shelf life include:

  • Packaging improvements and modified atmosphere packaging
  • Improving treatment and handling procedures
  • Finding weaknesses in cold chain
  • Monitoring humidity
  • Individual item coverings
  • Smart stickers
  • Absorbent food trays and pads
  • New varieties
  • Natural antimicrobials

Packaging Improvements and Modified-Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

An easy step towards extending fruit and vegetable shelf life is to improve packaging. Shelf life-extending packaging can control respiration rate, ripening, and/or microbial growth.

Longer shelf life enables extended seasonality, less food loss, and a higher chance of maintaining freshness.

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) works to control the gases that surround an item. For example, limiting the oxygen that surrounds fruit will help to prolong shelf life.

Certain pallet covers, carton containers, and sheets can help to control ethylene.

Packaging improvements and MAP to extend shelf life

Improving Treatment and Handling Procedures

From the moment a fruit or vegetable is harvested, you need to make sure your treatments and handling methods are not harming them.

Examples of poor treatment methods can be using contaminated water to clean items or storing them in contaminated boxes.

Also, ensuring fresh produce is not subjected to excessive forces will help to ensure they are not damaged. Even minor things can harm shelf life. Keeping standard operating procedures (SOPs) is important to ensure proper handling, treatment and handling procedures to extend shelf life

Finding Temperature Weaknesses in Cold Chain

Keeping a low temperature helps to limit decay and slow down microbial growth. If any part of the cold chain between harvest and the customer is compromised, it can harm the products.

One study showed that a delay of four hours between harvest and precooling of strawberries increased water loss by almost 50%. It also harmed the appearance upon arrival at the distribution center.

There are a few useful methods to record the temperature throughout the cold chain. This data can also be used to enable shelf life prediction.

Fix weaknesses in the cold chain to extend shelf life

Monitoring Humidity to Identify Improvement Areas

Humidity monitoring is equally important to temperature tracking. The two are often bundled together, as well.

Having high humidity helps to limit moisture loss in fruits and vegetables. Refrigeration can cause humidity loss, so keeping proper humidity levels is crucial to reducing shrink.

IoT devices track both temperature and humidity of items from the farm to the customer to identify areas for improvement, monitor humidity to extend shelf life

Individual Item Coverings

Natural, plant-based coverings on fresh produce have generated a lot of buzz lately. One company, Apeel, has even raised a few hundred million dollars in funding for its solution.

Produce degrades by losing water and through oxidation (a chemical process requiring oxygen). Apeel’s coverings work by keeping moisture inside and oxygen outside.

Some stores have implemented using individual plastic coverings on fresh produce to extend the shelf life. It is best to avoid plastic wherever possible. However, using plastic coverings can be better for the environment than letting food go to waste.

Smart Stickers

Some studies show how certain compounds can reduce the effects of ethylene or limit microbial growth to extend shelf life.

While there is plenty of validation in the supply chain left to perform, it is certainly an interesting idea that requires little effort smart stickers to extend shelf life

Absorbent Food Trays and Pads

There is a lot of innovation around pads that can go in the containers of fresh-cut produce. Pads absorb excess juices and can help to slow a product’s respiration rate.

These are already commonly used in the industry, but it’s worth keeping up with the increasing capabilities of absorbent pads, absorbent food trays and pads to extend shelf life

Switching Varieties

Since farming began, humans have always sought ways to make new varieties that taste better. Now that our planet is more spread out and we ship across the world, creating varieties of produce with longer shelf lives is an area of focus.

If you are open to using new varieties, it is best to keep an eye on what is available and evaluate potential alternatives.

Natural Antimicrobials

Using herb, spice, or plant extracts as antimicrobials can help to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life.

As customers demand safer ingredients, it is important to seek out natural alternatives to chemicals. This can also be a selling point used to win even more customers.

What if You Had Extra Shelf Life?

What immediate benefits would you have if you could extend the shelf life of your produce by days, or even weeks? The answer is probably a lot.

You can have more shipments accepted, less shrink and loss, and improved margins.

Long-haul shipments become a possibility and you will be able to guarantee higher quality fruits and vegetables.

Conclusion

Reducing fresh produce food loss and waste reduces cost, improves brand reputation, and helps meet sustainability goals.

You can extend shelf life in several ways, and the best solution depends on the application.

Shelf life prediction is another useful tool for reducing food loss and waste and does not require physical product changes.

Need assistance with Shelf Life testing of your products? Contact us for a free consultation.

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