Fresh isn't always best
When it comes to the health benefits of herbs and spices, what you stock in the produce aisle might not be better than the bottled stuff, according to a new study from the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. Researchers tested herbs—fresh, dried and processed pastes—for their antioxidant capacities, and found surprising results. Said Susanne Henning, one of the study's authors, in a statement: "We expected that [fresh] herbs and spices would be very high in antioxidant capacity, but we could clearly see that the processing of the herb paste actually helps retain the herb's antioxidant capacity."
Organic meals to go
Some shoppers may wish they could go an entire week without making dinner. Asheville, N.C.-based Earth Fare market is making that dream a reality with its new Gourmet 2 Go program. Customers get to prepare a week's worth of meals they can take home in oven-ready packaging—all in less than an hour at the store. How it works: Customers choose items off a menu of 13 meal and two dessert options, and work with a gourmet chef at a cooking station in the store to prepare six all-organic meals (for either a family of two or four). And at $6 per serving, customers are excited about the value. Said one Earth Fare shopper: "In the same amount of time it would have taken me to do the grocery shopping, I made six entrees for two people. And I love the fact that I don't have to wash one dish."
Pesticide use raises preemie birth rate
Another reason to go organic: New research from Indiana University School of Medicine found that pesticides and fertilizers containing nitrates are likely to blame for the 30 percent rise in premature births in the United States since 1981. Dr. Paul Winchester, the study's lead author, said in a statement: "As a neonatologist, I am seeing a growing number of birth defects and preterm births, and I think we need to face up to environmental causes."
Food-safety gets fashionable
Uniforms, aprons and towels may soon be even more useful. Minnetonka, Minn.-based G&K Services, a large supplier of work uniforms, has introduced a new line of antimicrobial products that can combat the spread of food-borne pathogens, according to company officials. The patent-pending BioSmart fabric has a special coating that binds pathogen-killing chlorine molecules to the surface of the fabric; independent tests found that it killed 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 7/p.22