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U.S. Food Companies Refocus on Product Healthfulness

ERS research on voluntary health and nutrition claims on over 7,000 recently introduced food and beverage products found that the fastest growing claims related to trans fats, gluten calories, vitamins/minerals, and antioxidants.

ERS research on voluntary health and nutrition claims on over 7,000 recently introduced food and beverage products found that the fastest growing claims related to trans fats, gluten calories, vitamins/minerals, and antioxidants.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

On your last visit to the grocery store, you may have noticed the multitude of products proclaiming “no trans fats,” or “gluten-free,” or “high fiber.”  These voluntary claims are one way companies compete for customers. But what influences food companies’ use of these claims, and are they successful in boosting sales? Read more »

Working Together to Prevent Summer Hunger

Making sure children have nutritious meals and keep their bodies moving all year long is one of USDA’s most important missions. Our Summer Food Service Program plays an important role in ensuring that all children get healthy meals during the summertime.    We’re proud to say that in 2012, our partners helped to serve 144 million summer meals at 38,800 sites across the country. That translates to 2.3 million children served on a typical summer day.

But there is still a lot of work to be done. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of kids who rely on free and reduced price meals during the school year participate in the summer program. So this year we’ve set out to serve 5 million more summer meals. We need your help to meet that goal. Read more »

Using 21st Century Technology to Solve Age-Old Problems

For years, we believed that food was the most powerful commodity to combating food insecurity in the developing world. But with a more intricate challenge than ever before, particularly in the developing world, data and information about food insecurity and agricultural research are proving to be almost as valuable in this fight.

Later this month, here in Washington, the G-8 and World Bank will host agricultural leaders from around the world at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture. The two-day event will bring the G-8 together with private and public research entities, as well as with businesses and NGOs who share the same goal: shoring up global food security.

The G-8 committed to this conference and to strengthening the virtual community by sharing data relevant to agriculture because it believes that creating this data “ecosystem” can leverage public research investment from many countries, drive innovation and fuel economic growth. Read more »

Forest Service Chief Tidwell Tours New York City’s Urban Forests

Volunteers work during a MillionTreesNYC fall planting day in New York City. (New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Photo/ Malcolm Pinckney,)

Volunteers work during a MillionTreesNYC fall planting day in New York City. (New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Photo/ Malcolm Pinckney,)

When most people think of urban forestry in New York, they usually evoke Central Park, Frederick Olmstead’s crown jewel that covers 843 acres in the middle of bustling Manhattan. Read more »

Age is Just a Number for 100-Year-old Farmer

A new calf, new life on the ranch, is reason for Annie Woodson, 100, to step out into the pasture and the Texas sunshine.

A new calf, new life on the ranch, is reason for Annie Woodson, 100, to step out into the pasture and the Texas sunshine.

Ms. Annie Faye Woodson has been directly involved in farming and ranching in Texas for the last 76 years. At 100 years-old she stays up-to-date on Farm Service Agency (FSA) program news and still makes trips to the Fannin County FSA office to sign up for farm programs and to certify acres.  It is no surprise that Woodson has seen many changes throughout her life on the farm.

“I rode in a wagon, buggy and tractor,” said Woodson. “Technology is the biggest change I’ve seen in my lifetime.” Read more »

Secretary’s Column: The President’s 2014 Budget Proposal

This week, President Obama released his budget proposal for the Federal government, including USDA, for Fiscal Year 2014.

Today, the Federal budget is more important than ever. The American people expect and deserve a government that operates efficiently and effectively. We must carry out our mission while safeguarding taxpayer dollars.

Our USDA employees have worked hard in recent years to manage with fewer resources. The Department’s discretionary budget that funds our operations is lower today than it was in 2009 – but we are still getting the job done. Read more »