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[email protected]: Junk food ads target Black, Hispanic youth | Do sugary drinks cause colon cancer?

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Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

Black and Hispanic youth unfairly targeted by ads for junk food

There is a growing disparity with regard to fast-food ads aimed at marginalized groups compared with their white peers. Restaurants including McDonald’s, Domino’s and Taco Bell spent over $1.5 billion on TV ads in 2019 to target Black and Hispanic children. That same year Black youth viewed 75% more fast-food ads than their white counterparts, while no healthy items were promoted on Spanish-language TV. Furthermore, the majority of these ads promoted full-calorie, adult-sized, regular menu items (not kids’ meals) over more nutritious alternatives. Medical News Today reports.

Colon cancer is rising in young adults. Do sugary drinks play a role?

Researchers are uncovering a potential (and very frightening) connection between the rise in high-sugar beverage consumption—namely juice, energy drinks and soda—in 1980s and 1990s with a corresponding uptick in colon cancer rates. A study of almost 95,000 registered nurses in their 20s to early 40s found that those who reported drinking two or more servings of sugar-sweetened drinks per week saw their risk for colon or rectal cancers double, as opposed to those who reported drinking one serving per week or less. The New York Times has the details.

New US rules to protect animal farmers expected soon

The Biden administration plans to issue a new rule to protect the rights of farmers who raise cows, chickens and hogs against the country's largest meat processors as part of an overarching plan to encourage more competition in the agriculture sector. The new rule will make it easier for farmers to sue companies they contract with over unfair, discriminatory or deceptive practices and is just one of several steps that the White House plans to announce in the next few days. Farmer advocacy groups pushed for this kind of shift for years, but were often met with forceful opposition from Congress and the meat processing industry. Learn more at U.S. News.

Historic drought in the West is forcing ranchers to take painful measures

More than 15 million beef cattle are trying to graze this year on drought-parched grasses, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data; this drought affects U.S. West states from California to New Mexico and parts of Colorado as well. Because climate change-related dryness in this region gets worse over the coming years, ranchers are girding themselves to quickly find alternatives to water-dependent practices such as heavily irrigating pasture. National Geographic delves into other possible fixes to satiate Americans' growing appetite for meat.

How gleaning could reshape the farm economy

Gleaning isn't just for peasants living in the 1700s anymore! This Civil Eats interview with Salvation Farms co-founders Theresa Snow and Jen O’Donnell delves into how their organization works with farmers to manage their crop surplus and get it to people who need fresh produce through this ancient agrarian practice. Basically, when farmers have products they can't market, Salvation Farms gleans the produce and donates it to food banks and other charitable food programs such as meals on wheels. With rates of food insecurity in the U.S. still high, every gleaned fruit or vegetable counts. 

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