National News

How restaurants calculate calorie counts

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:01

When you go into a convenience store, you might find hot dogs spinning on a roller grill or an egg salad sandwich in a cold case. Just how many calories do those items have?

For some of us, ignorance is bliss, but not the Food and Drug Administration. It's out with new rules today on posting calorie counts. It’ll affect anything from chain restaurants and vending machines with more than 20 locations to prepared foods at the grocery store. Some places, like Starbucks and New York City are already posting this information. But for everyone else, how do you actually count a calorie?

Lyle Beckwith, with the National Association of Convenience Stores, isn’t yet sure how to answer that question.

“We’ve not been in this business before,” he says. “I’m assuming there are labs that we’ll have to send various products out for testing. The cost and time to be determined."

In fact, there are private companies that do this work. James McKnight works at one of them, QC Laboratories in Pennsylvania.

“All they have to do is pretty much send us a sample, you know, via UPS, FedEx, give us a serving size and off we go,” says McKnight.

The FDA estimates these new rules will cost the restaurant industry $85 million over 20 years. QC Laboratories charges $700 per sample for full nutritional information or $150-$200 if it's simply using a database of ingredients to calculate the tally.

Most companies do use the database method, says Jim Painter, a professor at Eastern Illinois University.

For a slice of pizza, Painter says “you’d have the flour, you have a little bit of sugar, you have the salt, tomato sauce. You have whatever ingredients you put on the top and you’d add up all those, you’d divide it by what a portion would be, and then that is the calories for that slice of pizza.”

It’s generally pretty easy, according to Painter, unless the items change frequently or involve a great deal of customization.

However, he notes that because the databases are built on averages, they’re not entirely accurate.

“But at least it gives you a comparison when you’re looking at one food compared to the other,” he says.

That way customers can compare that slice of pizza to a hot dog, or the egg salad. Or maybe opt for an apple instead.

Flight school: JetBlue to offer educational videos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

Flight school: Jet Blue to offer educational videos

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 11:00

Good news for frequent flyers looking for another excuse not to talk to the person sitting next to them.

JetBlue and Coursera, one of the companies developing massive open online courses, are partnering up to offer educational videos in the sky. It gives new meaning to higher education.

Content will come from the University of Edinburgh, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Berklee School of Music. The videos will be available on all JetBlue flights by the end of the year, so get ready to learn.

Or, come to think of it, you could just read a book.

On-the-ground coverage from protests in Ferguson

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:54

Marketplace's Adam Allington is in Ferguson, Missouri reporting on the grand jury decision Monday not to charge officer Darren Wilson in the death of teenager Michael Brown. Here is his live coverage of the protests that followed.

[<a href="//storify.com/Marketplace/on-the-ground-coverage-in-ferguson" target="_blank">View the story "On-the-ground coverage in Ferguson" on Storify</a>]

Drugged Marshmallows Can Keep Urban Raccoons From Spreading Disease

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:50

Raccoons, as cute as they are, carry parasites that can be dangerous to humans. Mixing medicine with yummy treats reduced the disease risk for animals and humans in parks in Chicago.

» E-Mail This

China's smoking ban distracts from a larger issue

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 10:45

There are approximately 300 million smokers in China, roughly the population of the United States. Smoking also kills about a million Chinese each year. Now Beijing is considering a ban on smoking in public places and tobacco advertising. 

On the face of it, the ban is an effort by the government to control healthcare costs. But Stanford University anthropologist Matthew Kohrman, who has written extensively about smoking in China, sees the ban as a distraction from a bigger issue.

"It's a sideshow," Kohrman says.

This ban would target consumers, like advocacy efforts by other governments and the World Health Organization do. Kohrman is more concerned about the supply and production of tobacco. 

"Most people would think that cigarette production has gone down worldwide over the last two or three decades. In fact, cigarette production has tripled since the 1960s," he says. "China has become the world's cigarette superpower." 

The places a Westerner might be surprised to find smoking today? Taxis, schools and even hospitals. Even so, consumer habits are changing. Public buses and high-end department stores are smoke-free. Airplanes, too, for the most part. 

"For years now I've been flying on Chinese airlines," Kohrman says. "Shortly after the flight takes off, I've almost on every flight smelled cigarette smoke. I always figured someone in the back has a fierce nicotine habit."

Turns out, the passengers obeyed the signs and flight attendants' instructions. The smoke was coming from the cockpit. 

 

Treatment For HIV Runs Low In U.S., Despite Diagnosis

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 09:16

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only a third of Americans infected with HIV have the virus under control. Most have been diagnosed, though that's less common among the young.

» E-Mail This

Making it a meatless Thanksgiving with Tofurky

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 08:48

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so throw on your stretchy pants.It’s time for mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, gravy, ham and of course a giant turkey right in the middle of the table. Many will deep-fry their turkey, others will stick it in the oven and baste it. But there are those who will eat tofu, or Tofurky to be exact.

"Tofurky is a meat alternative that is the original and number one selling meat alternative turkey in America," says Seth Tibbott, founder and president of the Tofurky Company.

Soybean-rich Tofurky has been a reliable vegan and vegetarian go-to at Thanksgiving gatherings for the past 20 years.

"We first sold 500 tofurky roasts in Portland, Oregon, in 1995," Tibbott says.

The company remains a family-owned and independent enterprise.

"We never sold equity to any outside investors or venture capitalists," says Tibbott. "I wish I had Kickstarter around when I started it."

Take A Bite Out Of Ringo: Giant Cookies Honor Pop Culture Icons

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 08:13

From Calvin and Hobbes to Fall Out Boy, two self-taught pastry pros specialize in hand-painted cookies of musicians and other cultural icons. Their creations seem almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.

» E-Mail This

How Can Vultures Eat Rotten Roadkill And Survive?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 07:24

Vultures consume toxic bacteria that would sicken or kill humans. Stouter immune systems, colonies of helpful microbes and potent stomach acid may help the carrion eaters gorge with abandon.

» E-Mail This

'New York Times' Hires Former NPR Executive To Lead Digital Push

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 07:05

Kinsey Wilson was NPR's chief content officer when he was forced out last month by the network's new CEO, Jarl Mohn.

» E-Mail This

Federal Ferguson Investigation Will Remain Independent, Holder Insists

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 06:02

The federal probe is examining whether Darren Wilson intentionally violated Michael Brown's civil rights. Justice Department veterans say proving he violated federal criminal law will be difficult.

» E-Mail This

Turning 21? Here's How To Avoid A Big Hike In Health Premiums

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 05:52

Coming of age can also mean a whopping 58 percent jump in the cost of your insurance. Shop carefully to pick a plan that strikes the right balance between benefits and cost.

» E-Mail This

Ferguson Documents: What The Witnesses Saw

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 04:32

The big question in this case is whether police Officer Darren Wilson felt threatened and whether Michael Brown had his hands up. Witnesses differ on what they say they saw.

» E-Mail This

Quiz: How to start college with good habits

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:45

Students who meet with their advisors are more likely to enjoy college, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement.

var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "how-many-college-freshmen-met-with-their-assigned-academic-advisor-at-least-twice", placeholder: "pd_1416919336" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed'));

Thought Bubbles And One-Liners From An Ohio Classroom

NPR News - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:23

Art imitates life for Chris Pearce — English teacher by day, comic artist by night. Inspired by his students, the material practically writes itself.

» E-Mail This

Grand juries usually decide to pursue charges

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00
11 in 162,000

The number of cases in which federal grand juries declined to issue an indictment in 2010, FiveThirtyEight reported. The federal investigation into Michael Brown's death is ongoing, but it's clear the county grand jury's decision not to pursue charges is very rare. The site's research showed one exception to the trend: when the cases involve law enforcement.

8 years

After eight years of sponsorship, Sony Corp announced it would not renew its contract with FIFA, the organization behind world soccer. As Reuters reports, Sony says the move is the result of a restructuring of divisions and a concerted effort to grow its electronic devices division.

80 percent

The portion of cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 nationwide that have SWAT teams at their disposal, up from 13 percent since the early 1980s. In light of this summer's protests in Ferguson the New York Times' Retro Report looked back at the proliferation of SWAT teams in the U.S. The squads have their roots in late 1960s shootouts with the Black Panthers but are now commonly implemented in drug raids.

30 percent

Americans spend about half their food dollars outside the home and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out their calorie consumption doubles. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and the prepared food sections of grocery stores. It's significant, especially when you consider that a study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent in Starbucks with calorie signage.

28

The number of cabinet members President Barack Obama has had so far, Quartz reported. Even with four secretaries of defense, including Chuck Hagel's successor, the Obama administration is in the middle of the pack. Cabinets are rife with turnover. George W. Bush and Harry S. Truman each had 35 cabinet members.

PODCAST: Counting calories

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00

First up: the government's calculation of economic growth July through September. It was revised upward beyond what most forecasters were expecting. Couple that to new signs of strength in the housing market. More on that. And the Food and Drug Administration will come out with new rules requiring restaurants with more than 20 locations to list the calories of the food that's on the menu. So how will this change what we see? Plus, a famous venture capitalist who says monopoly, not competition is the way to go. Peter Thiel was a co-founder of the electronic payments system Paypal and was the first outsider to put money into a little social networking site called the Facebook. As part of our ongoing discussions on this program about the innovation economy, Thiel's advice to entrepreneurs is to find a niche and dominate the heck out it. Actually, he put it more strongly than that.

The decision not to pursue charges is a rare one

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00
11 in 162,000

The number of cases in which federal grand juries declined to issue an indictment in 2010, FiveThirtyEight reported. The federal investigation into Michael Brown's death is ongoing, but it's clear the county grand juries decision not to pursue charges is very rare. The site's research showed there was one exception to the trend: when those cases involve law enforcement.

8 years

After 8 years of sponsorship, Sony Corp announced it would not renew its contract with FIFA, the organization behind world soccer. As Reuters reports, Sony says the move is the result of a restructuring of divisions, and a concerted effort to grow its electronic devices division.

80 percent

The portion of cities with populations between 25,000 and 50,000 nationwide that have SWAT teams at their disposal, up from 13 percent since the early 1980s. In light of this summer's protests in Ferguson the New York Times' Retro Report looked back at the proliferation of SWAT teams in the U.S. The squads have their roots in late 1960s shootouts with the Black Panthers, but are now commonly implemented in drug raids.

30 percent

Americans spend about half their food dollars outside the home, and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out, their calorie consumption doubles. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and grocery store prepared food sections. It's significant, especially when you consider that a study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent in Starbucks with calorie signage.

28

The number of cabinet members President Barack Obama has had so far, Quartz reported. Even with four secretaries of defense, including Chuck Hagel's successor, the Obama administration is in the middle of the pack. Cabinets are rife with turnover; George W. Bush and Harry Truman each at 35 cabinet members.

Does caloric transparency really change behavior?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-11-25 03:00

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration releases rules requiring an additional set of food merchants to disclose caloric content: theaters, amusement parks, convenience stores, pizza chains, and grocery store prepared food sections.

Today, Americans spend half their food dollars outside the home, and consume around 30 percent of their calories outside. Strikingly, when children eat out, their calorie consumption doubles.

Does transparency change behavior? One of the largest studies on this followed Starbucks users, at stores with calorie signs and without.

“People were systematically underestimating their calories in food items,” says study co-author Bryan Bollinger, who teaches marketing at Duke University. “So when they saw the information on the board, they were surprised and then reacted accordingly. Consumers can and will use this information if it’s useful to them.”

Listen here for more from Bollinger's interview:

The study found purchased calories fell an average 6 percent, and that changes in behavior stuck with Starbucks consumers, even when they visited outlets without calorie signage.

There’s also evidence that merchants required to post calorie counts start to offer more low-fat choices.

These finalized FDA arise from the Affordable Care Act and are scheduled to take effect in one year.

Pages