Cooperative Extension Fresno County
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Cooperative Extension Fresno County

Posts Tagged: milk

By the bagful: pistachios and milk

A Canadian grocery market sells California pistachios (foreground) and milk in bags (background).
While visiting my brother in Toronto this summer, we stopped by a grocery store and I was struck by two things: pistachios and milk in bags.

Stacked high in the back corner were bags of California pistachios – a reminder of how prominent a producer the Golden State is and a sign of the marketing power of its largest pistachio processor, Paramount Farms. The United States is the world’s leading pistachio producer, and 99 percent of the country’s crop comes from California.

Pistachios are California’s third-biggest nut crop, behind almonds and walnuts, and the state’s sixth-leading agricultural export, with markets spanning from Canada to China.

To help continue to improve production, the pistachio industry is turning to the University of California. In January, the California Pistachio Research Board announced it will donate $1.5 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct nut and fruit disease research. This specialist position will help UC Agriculture and Natural Resources fulfill its mission as well as serve the pistachio industry’s needs.

UC research plays a key role in keeping California the nation’s leading agricultural state. Partnerships such as the one with the Pistachio Research Board – and previous ones with the California Rice Research Board and California Table Grape Commission – represent a new funding model to extend that role.

On the dairy side, California is known for happy cows; eastern Canada is known for bagged milk. Yes, milk is sold in bags of three, each 1.33 liters. My sister-in-law likes the bags because the packaging is more environmentally friendly than plastic jugs. You even can purchase specially designed pitchers for dispensing bagged milk. The key is cutting the tip of the bag properly, so it can pour smoothly – not too slow and not too fast. It’s an interesting concept, but a little messy. Will milk bags catch on in California? I think that will be a tough nut to crack.

Posted on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 1:09 AM
Tags: exports (1), milk (4), Pistachios (1)

The great flavored milk debate

Flavored milk on a shelf.
Back in January, British chef and TV personality Jamie Oliver filled an old school bus with 57 tons of white sand in a parking lot in Carson, Calif.  What was the purpose of this exercise, you might ask?  The sand was meant to represent the amount of sugar in flavored milk.  More specifically, the amount of sugar children in the Los Angeles Unified School District consume in a week’s time from flavored milk provided in their school lunches.

There has been much talk about flavored milk in recent months, and much of this debate has been fueled by Jamie Oliver who has a popular television show, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, on ABC.  His goal is simple: "To revolutionize school lunches to save the health of America’s next generation." Oliver launched a “sugary milk campaign” back in April, 2011. The purpose of the campaign is to ask schools to promote plain white milk instead of flavored milks. According to Oliver’s website, “chocolate milk has the same amount of sugar as a soft drink and just one additional soft drink per day increases a child’s obesity risk by 60 percent and is a major contributor to Type 2 diabetes.”

Well before Oliver emerged on the scene, people have debated the merits of offering flavored milk in the school lunch program. Chocolate (the most common), strawberry, vanilla and other interesting flavors are widely available in districts across the country. The milk provides essential nutrients, but with that comes added sugars that contribute extra calories to the diet – something most American children do not need.

Is there a place for flavored milk on the school lunch tray?

According to the American Dietetic Association, the Dairy Council and other health and nutrition organizations – the answer is yes.

Supporters of flavored milk in schools argue that it provides nine essential nutrients – unlike sodas and other sweetened beverages that offer no nutritional benefit besides extra calories.

According to the American Dietetic Association, leading health and nutrition organizations (including the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association) recognize the role that low-fat or fat free milk (including flavored milk) plays in helping kids achieve daily dairy serving recommendations.  According to the ADA, kids will drink more milk when it’s flavored and kids drink less milk (and get fewer nutrients) when flavored milk is taken away.  

The Diary Council offers an overview for school nutrition professionals in favor of flavored milk on the lunch tray. The Dairy Council of California argues that we cannot forget flavored milk has both natural sugars (lactose) and added sugar, and the amount of high-fructose corn syrup added to flavored milk is much less than the amount added to sugary beverages like soda or other processed foods. Additionally, some studies suggest that kids who drink flavored milk are less likely to consume soda and other sugary beverages, they consume more nutrients and are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight.

Where does LAUSD, the school district placed at the center of this debate, stand?

School lunch.
Last Tuesday, the board voted to eliminate flavored milk from its school lunch program. This new policy will affect 650,000 students who receive meals from LAUSD every day.  This will spare flavored milk-drinking students an additional 6-12 grams of sugar (or 1 ½ - 3 teaspoons) a day, should they have chosen chocolate or strawberry milk over plain low-fat milk.

The burning question we all want to know the answer to now is, will LAUSD students switch over to low fat or fat free plain milk when chocolate or strawberry milk is no longer available in the fall?  The answer will be very interesting and perhaps will put an end to the great flavored milk debate!

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 8:08 AM
  • Author: Brenda Roche
Tags: chocolate milk (1), dairy (2), milk (4), nutrition (1)

A new era begins in food and beverage science

A new winery, brewery and food-processing complex began operations this fall at UC Davis. Part of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the technologically sophisticated facilities will be used to teach students, conduct research, and solve practical problems related to foods, beverages and health.

The south wing of the new complex is home to the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory, which includes the brewery, general foods-processing plant and milk-processing laboratory. The complex’s north wing houses a new teaching-and-research winery. The complex is adjacent to a 12-acre teaching-and-research vineyard and across a courtyard from the departments of Food Science and Technology, and Viticulture and Enology.

The new $20 million, 34,000-square-foot complex, funded entirely by private donations, will be the first winery, brewery and/or food-processing facility to earn LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmental rating awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)

Features include onsite solar power generation and a system for capturing rainwater and conserving processing water. Stored rainwater will be used for landscaping and toilets.

The winery (right) will capture carbon dioxide, a natural byproduct of fermentation, thus reducing the building’s energy requirements for air quality and temperature control.

Other features include maximum use of natural light, food-processing equipment that minimizes energy and water requirements, use of recycled glass in flooring, interior paneling recycled from a 1928 wooden aqueduct, and use of sustainably certified lumber.

The new brewery will showcase the latest in brewing technology, as well as a sophisticated laboratory for conducting research and training students. It also provides commercial brewers and suppliers with a small-scale facility to test new recipes or processes.

The general foods- and milk-processing laboratories have been built to meet state and federal food- and dairy-grade standards. Products processed there will be used in sensory and nutritional evaluations.

Research in the food-processing pilot plant will examine alternative food-processing methods and their nutritional effects, nutritional quality and shelf life of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, nutritional enhancements from food-processing “waste” products, and improved food formulations.

The milk-processing laboratory will support research on separation of milk components into functional ingredients, processing of milk modified by different feed rations, and processing of milk from cows bred for specific characteristics.

Dozens of private donors helped make the complex a reality, including a $5 million contribution from the late winemaker, Robert Mondavi, and a $5 million pledge by the Anheuser-Busch Foundation.

Other major donations were made by Ronald and Diane Miller and by a group of winery partners led by Jess Jackson and Barbara Banke of Kendall-Jackson Wines, and Jerry Lohr of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines. The Department of Viticulture and Enology’s Board of Visitors and Fellows also made significant contributions.

California tomato processors and growers contributed more than $2.5 million to the food-processing pilot plant. Morning Star Packing Company provided a lead gift of $1 million for the food-processing plant. Hilmar Cheese Company also stepped up with a $250,000 pledge.

In all, more than 150 individuals, alumni, corporations and foundations contributed funds for the new winery, brewery and food-processing complex.

(Thanks to Patricia Bailey, UC Davis News Service, who provided content for this post.)

Learn more at http://greenrmi.ucdavis.edu.

Posted on Friday, October 22, 2010 at 6:54 AM
Tags: Anheuser-Busch (1), beer (1), dairy (2), food (1), food processing (1), fruit (1), milk (4), tomato processing (1), vegetables (1), wine (1)

Milk’s secret for fighting childhood infections

UC Davis microbiologist David Mills received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to test whether certain milk sugars can prevent life-threatening diarrheal diseases in young children. Globally, these gastrointestinal infections are the second leading cause of death among children under the age of five, each year killing 1.5 million children.

Mills, an authority on the molecular biology of lactic acid bacteria used in foods, said, “We will examine the ability of these compounds from milk to prevent gastrointestinal infections and to establish healthy bacteria in the intestines.” He and his colleagues are working to move the basic research toward practical applications in human health.

Earlier research has shown that similar oligosaccharides in human breast milk play an important role in supporting growth of protective bacteria in babies’ digestive tracts. Such bacteria are known to minimize the risk and severity of diarrheal disease and other gastrointestinal infections in infants.

The UC Davis researchers are hopeful that milk from cows will provide an abundant source of oligosaccharides that have comparable therapeutic characteristics for young children who are no longer breast-feeding.

Mills noted that if the researchers’ hypothesis proves correct, they plan to explore how oligosaccharides can be incorporated in a healthful, cost-effective manner into various food products designed for nutritional therapy and for use in international famine and malnutrition relief efforts.

For more information, read the full press release.
Posted on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 2:34 PM
Tags: David Mills (1), global health (1), malnutrition (1), milk (4)

This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. The USDA does not endorse products, services, or organizations. 

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