6:58 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Some Food Companies Are Quietly Dumping GMO Ingredients

General Mills' original Cheerios are now GMO-free. But you won't find a label on the box highlighting the change.
David Duprey AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:03 pm

A tour of the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury, Vt., includes a stop at the "Flavor Graveyard," where ice cream combinations that didn't make the cut are put to rest under the shade of big trees.

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7:07 am
Wed July 2, 2014

'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much

Advocates say consumers may assume that the "natural" label is the same as "organic."

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 8:50 am

Some people have had it with "natural" food.

For fifteen years, Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, has been pointing out that "natural" is just about the most misleading label that you'll ever see on a food package. Yet consumers still look for that word, food companies still love to use it and the Food and Drug Administration can't or won't define it.

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3:55 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Can You Call Yourself An Environmentalist And Still Eat Meat?

There's little consensus in the debate on how meat consumption fits into environmentalism.
Jit Lim iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 3:28 pm

Earlier this week, we told you about a school backed by director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, that may become the first vegan school in the U.S.

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5:43 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Columbia Public Schools Challenge to Preserving Food

Credit KBIA File Photo

With seven snow days, Columbia Public Schools has already surpassed its allotted limit of six snow days for the 2013-14 school year. For most, a snow day leads to relaxation. For people involved in the transportation and reception of food, it means exactly the opposite.

Their line of communication never ends. The Columbia Public School District has 34 schools to keep track of. That means 34 kitchens that receive food multiple times a week. Depending on what time a snow day is announced, it may be too late to stop a delivery service.

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6:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Field Notes: Snowmass wheat

Food companies want to capitalize on the growing market of white bread fans who want to eat whole wheat. A new variety of wheat makes that easier.
Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which we talk about important issues related to food production.

Consumers increasingly want the texture and taste of white bread but the nutritional benefits of whole grains. In this week's episode of Field Notes, Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon reports on a new variety of wheat called Snowmass that could help meet that demand.

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6:00 am
Fri January 10, 2014

The new wheat behind whole grain white bread

Scott Haley, the leader of Colorado State University’s wheat breeding program and the researcher that developed the Snowmass wheat variety, in his lab
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

A new wheat variety may have cracked the code to marry the fluffiness of white bread with whole grain nutrition.

For a long time, American bread makers have been in a bind. Many consumers like the texture and taste of white bread, but want the nutritional benefits of whole grains.

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6:57 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Consumers often lost in the middle of scientific food battles

Panelists, including Frances Moore Lappe (second from left), speak to a symposium at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Hot-button food issues of the day, such as the use of genetically modified organisms or the treatment of livestock, tend to pit large industries against smaller activist groups. Often, both sides will claim the science supports what they are saying. That can leave consumers, most of whom aren’t scientists, in a bit of a bind.

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5:09 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Rural areas face limited access to nutritious food

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Limited access to nutritious food is an issue facing rural communities in Missouri and the nation at large, according to University of Missouri specialists. 

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9:51 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Field Notes: Overhaul of meat labels on hold

From his vantage point, Ron Plain, a University of Missouri agricultural economist who focuses on the swine industry, believes the new COOL rule would be cumbersome for the food industry to implement.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This is the latest installment of Harvest Public Media’s Field Notes, in which reporters talk to newsmakers and experts about important issues related to food production.

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2:48 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

Waynesville flooding victim identified

Flooding in Waynesville, Mo., on Aug. 7, 2013.
Credit Photo provided by Miller County Emergency Management.

Authorities in southern Missouri have identified a 23-year-old single mother who's presumed to have died in recent flooding that also killed her young son.

Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long said Thursday that 4-year-old Elyjah M. Lee and his mother, Jessica D. Lee, both of Waynesville, were in a car that was swept off a roadway early Tuesday after torrential rains hit the area, flooding streets and damaging homes and businesses.

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Science, Health and Technology
8:24 am
Mon August 5, 2013

FDA launches new gluten free rules

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Walk down a grocery store aisle or open a restaurant menu.

Gluten-free labels are everywhere.

Gluten is a starchy protein compound found in products made from wheat, barley and rye. It’s what gives dough a chewy texture. But up until this point, there has been little oversight on what qualifies as gluten-free and what doesn’t.

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2:08 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Displaced Pinhook residents look for new home

Union Baptist Church as it stands today in Pinhook, Mo.
Credit Tamara Zellars Buck / KRCU

Drive along southeast Missouri’s Highway VV in Mississippi County, and you will primarily see vibrant green fields littered with farm equipment and the occasional farmer working the land.

The burned out remains of what was once a church stands sentry alongside the highway, just outside of what at first glance appears to be an ordinary rural community.

But, something seems out of place.

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5:30 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Interfaith gardens grow food and fellowship

Volunteers work in one of Columbia's interfaith community gardens.
Photo courtesy Lily Chan


Volunteers from different faith communities have been working together to grow food. Columbia has more than 30 community garden plots, and several of them are interfaith gardens. 

Monta Welch is the founder of a group called Interfaith Care for Creation, which has started an interfaith garden project in Columbia.  The goal of the program is to educate different faith communities about environmental stewardship, she said. 

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5:19 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

12 Mo. counties eligible for disaster assistance

St. Louis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lock and Dam 25 in Winfield, Mo., Apr. 20, 2013.
Credit Angie Smith/U.S. Missouri Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr

Farmers in a dozen Missouri counties could be eligible for emergency loans through the U.S. Agriculture Department for damage from severe spring weather.

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1:58 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Want To Forage In Your City? There's A Map For That

Falling Fruit tells you where you can pick peaches and other foods free for the taking around the world.

Originally published on Wed April 24, 2013 10:25 am

If you really love your peaches and want to shake a tree, there's a map to help you find one. That goes for veggies, nuts, berries and hundreds of other edible plant species, too.

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4:13 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Flooding causes road closures in mid-Missouri

Old road closure signs
Credit Stew Dean / Flickr

  Flooding from thunder storms has caused a large number of road closures in mid-Missouri, Thursday.

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10:18 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Gluten-free by popular demand

Eliminating certain foods from a diet can be risky, says Paula Vandelicht, a nutritionist at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Columbia, Mo. Among other things, she advises customers about the shortcomings of a gluten-free diet.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Six months ago, Kara Welter drastically changed her diet by eliminating food that contains wheat, rye or barley.

“I don’t eat gluten,” said Welter, a 41-year-old marketing executive in Kansas City. “I happened to just try it because I was having stomach issues for years. And it turns out within three days, I stopped having stomach issues.”

Welter’s gluten decision stemmed from what she read online. Medical tests showed that she did not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, the disorder that causes the immune system to reject the gluten.

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4:57 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Congressmen aim to improve river management during droughts and floods

Illinois Congressmen want improved river management during droughts and floods
Melanie Cheney Flickr

Two freshman Congressmen from southern Illinois want the Army Corps of Engineers to start thinking of ways it can coordinate river management to keep cargo traffic flowing during droughts or floods.

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10:16 am
Mon March 18, 2013

GMO labeling laws on deck in the Midwest

Labels at Swiss Meat and Sausage Co. near Hermann, Mo., do not indicate if products contain genetically modified organisms.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Just south of Hermann, Mo., Swiss Meat and Sausage Co. processes 2 million pounds of meat a year -- everything from cattle to hogs to buffalo to elk.

And everything gets a label.

“No antibiotics added, raised without added hormones, all natural, minimally processed," Glenn Brandt, the production manager for Swiss Meat, reads from a hefty roll of hickory smoked beef sausage stickers.

What this label does not indicate, however, is whether or not the sausage contains genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

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2:58 am
Tue March 12, 2013

Mississippi Passes 'Anti-Bloomberg' Bill

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 4:11 pm

Mayor Mike and his public health edicts are having a rough ride.

On Monday, a state judge in Manhattan struck down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's rule capping soda sizes. And lawmakers in Mississippi are taking the backlash against government regulation on food marketing one step further.

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4:47 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Gluten Goodbye: One-Third Of Americans Say They're Trying to Shun It

Michele Kelly, owner of Pure Knead bakery in Decatur, Ga., is one of many businesspeople catering to soaring demand for gluten-free baked goods.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 4:47 pm

Sure, we know that gluten-free is the Jennifer Lawrence of food trends. But we were still startled to hear that one-third of Americans say they're trying to avoid gluten. Really?

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9:00 am
Mon March 4, 2013

Exploring our global food system at the Natural History Museum

“Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture,” on view now at the American Museum of Natural History, explores how our food is produced, distributed and eaten.
Mansoor Khan for Harvest Public Media

Can a watermelon be grown in the shape of a square? What do Olympic athletes like Michael Phelps eat for breakfast? Which island nation produces the most lamb in the world? Consumers interested in pulling back the curtain on our food system will get these and many other questions answered at “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.” The exhibition, on view now at the American Museum of Natural History, explores how our food is produced, distributed and eaten.

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4:26 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Safety concerns threaten growing market for raw milk cheese

Some consumers consider raw milk cheese more nutritious because pasteurization hasn’t killed living beneficial organisms in the milk. But not pasteurizing milk can also allow harmful bacteria to live. Raw milk cheese has sickened more than 500 people in t
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Raw milk cheese — which is made from unpasteurized milk — has gathered a small but fervent following for its taste, nutritional benefits and freshness.

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10:15 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Increasingly, Holstein beef is what’s for dinner

A registered Holstein at Brandt Dairy in Linn, Mo.
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

This blog is part of ongoing coverage from Harvest Public Media, a public radio reporting project in the Midwest that focuses on important issues related to food production and agriculture.

When I dig into a burger, I might think about how the cow the beef came from was raised -- whether it was grass or grain fed, locally raised or imported -- but rarely do I consider what breed of cow the meat came from.

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11:25 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Will the defeat of Prop 37 lead to a national food labeling push?

A poster in support of Prop 37.
Nuclear Winter/flickr

California voters defeated Proposition 37 [PDF] on Tuesday night, the ballot measure that would have required labels to indicate the presence of genetically modified foods. At the polls, 53 percent of Californians voted against the proposition, while 47 percent voted for it. 

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5:37 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Mud and Moonscape: Missouri towns struggle with flood recovery

"It is pure sand dunes," Atchison County Sheriff Dennis Martin said, of Corning, Mo. land still covered with sand a year after surging Missouri River waters receded. "Before the weeds started growing up, it looked like the moon."
Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

Back in April, Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock headed to Tekamah, Neb., to see how planting was going for farmers on the Missouri River floodplain. The river's surging waters put thousands of farm acres in Nebraska under water last summer, causing more than $100 million in crop losses in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:04 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Indiana farm linked to contaminated cantaloupe also recalls watermelons

In the produce section of the Schnucks grocery store in Columbia, Mo., the store posted a statement about the watermelon recall on a box of non-recalled watermelons. (Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media)
Abbie Fentress Swanson Harvest Public Media

The Indiana farm that recalled cantaloupes linked to a Salmonella outbreak that has killed two and sickened 204 is now recalling its watermelons. Chamberlain Farms issued the voluntary recall because the melons could be contaminated with Salmonella Newport.

Foodborne illness is always a danger for farmers, grocery stores and customers alike.

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8:53 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Mo. River gets boost from northern reservoirs

The Missouri River near Rocheport, Mo.
aimeeorleans flickr

The same reservoirs in northern states that were blamed for last year's flooding on the Missouri River are now giving the river a boost during a severe drought.

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8:31 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Mo. county denied compensation for flood damage

The Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway after it was flooded.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A southeast Missouri county has been told it won't be getting any money for damage caused by the activation of the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway last year.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:35 pm
Mon July 9, 2012

Work to resume at damaged Mo. levee

Brett Ciccotelli Flickr

Work is resuming on the intentionally breached Birds Point levee in southeast Missouri now that a protest to a construction bid has been deemed "without merit" by the Army Corps of Engineers.

An Oklahoma company last month protested the $20 million in contracts awarded to three other companies to rebuild the levee, which was intentionally breached at the height of 2011 flooding along the Mississippi River. The breach relieved pressure on the flood wall at nearby Cairo, Ill., but damaged 130,000 acres of rich Missouri farmland and dozens of homes.