Cost of Chicken Labs

Cost of Chicken Labs is our place for ideas on products that come from collecting information on true food costs around the world. We’ve started work on designing a mobile phone app that would track the consumer’s ecological footprint based on their food purchasing choices.

Lab Meat Burgers

As eating real animal meat becomes more and more unsustainable, scientists are turning their labs into food laboratories. CNN did a report on a lab-grown meat. Note that this meat was grown from real cow cells. One burger cost about $300,000. The lab meat has no fat — this affects its taste. And it only looks like meat due to added food coloring — lab meat is white! Yam!

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2013/08/05/rivers-serving-up-stem-cell-burger.cnn.html

Global Food Prices Are Rising

BBC Food Prices Report

The price of food around the world is set to rise as the Global Warming is causing draughts in many agricultural areas. Here’s a story from BBC: Global food prices set to rise due to severe weather

Safe Chicken

The US Agriculture Department is looking to improve chicken safety and reduce the number of Salmonella outbreaks:

Salmonella outbreaks expose weaknesses in USDA oversight

Federal regulators and poultry companies are scrambling to find new ways to reduce salmonella contamination, which sickens a million Americans annually. And the Agriculture Department is planning to expand rules to limit salmonella on chicken parts, not just whole birds.

Genetically Modified Foods

GM Purple TomatoDavid Shukman reports:

Scientists in Norwich have developed a genetically modified purple tomato, which is being produced in Canada due to European hostility to GM foods.

Their dark pigment potentially offers the same health benefits as fruit such as blueberries and could be used in everything from ketchup to pizza topping.

Read more here: “Genetically-modified purple tomatoes heading for shops

GM Purple Tomato Sliced

Tradition Versus Progress

Cindy Sui Taimanise handmade noodlesCindy Sui of BBC News wrote an article examining the economics of producing traditional food: “Calling time on Taiwan’s handmade noodles.”

Hand-pulled string noodles, called mian xian in Mandarin, have been made for around 2,000 years. … Today only about 50 noodle makers are thought to remain in Taiwan.”

The economics of producing the noodles by hand changed — a family making the noodles for 14 hours each day can make only $100. And the hand-made noodles are sold for $2 to $3 per bag. It’s too much effort for too little reward — not enough to feed a family and to provide for all the other basic needs. And so another food tradition has to die. There will still be people making noodles by hand, but it will be something very special (and very expensive) and so an average person might never taste “the real thing!”

US Food Policy

Famines are not necessarily caused by a lack of supply, but by a failure to get the food that exists to the people who need it. — Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Winning Economist

New York Times article “The Insanity of Our Food Policy” By Joseph Stiglitz about American Food and Farm policies provided an interesting collection of data:

  • 15% of US population and 2-% of its children live in poverty.
  • SNAP — Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program — gives $4.00 per day per person toward food purchases for those living below poverty threshold [for family of 4 this is equals to $23,492 per year (in 2012)].
  • The U.S. House of Representatives is proposing to cut an additional $40,000,000,000 from the SNAP program over 10 years after already cutting $5,000,000,000.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives is passing the Farm Subsidies worth $14,900,000,000.
  • In approximately the last 10 years, 1% of the famers received $1,500,000 each.
  • In approximately the last 10 years, 10% of all farms got 3/4 of $14,900,000,000, or $30,000 per farm per year.

You do the math!

The Insanity of Food Policy Article

Note by Note Gastronomy

molecular gastronomy
Chef Heston Blumenthal talks about the components of food — oils, amino acids, sugars, and other basic compounds — and how they can be used to create molecular gastronomy. This is food minus the fruits, vegetables, and meat… Enjoy!

Is this what we’ll eat in the future?

The Fall of Great Civilizations and Bad Soil

Homeland Security News Wire published as story on correlation between the fall of civilizations and poor spoil management: Planet’s arable land rapidly degrading.

Great civilizations have fallen because they failed to prevent the degradation of the soils on which they were founded. The modern world could suffer the same fate. A new study describes how the productivity of many lands has been dramatically reduced as a result of soil erosion, accumulation of salinity, and nutrient depletion.

Soil degradation map

Study: Chicken is Highly Contaminated with Arsenic

Cooked ChickenRoxarsone, an arsenic-based drug used in chicken production, has been contaminating chicken sold to the American people: “Study Finds Conventional Chicken to be Highly Contaminated with Arsenic.”

The researchers found the cooked conventional chicken had the highest level of arsenic, at about 1.8 micrograms per kilogram of body weight (1.8mg/kg). Cooked organic chicken had the lowest levels, at 0.6mg/kg.

Hunger in America

Some kids in America don’t get enough food to eat. The cost food has risen in the last year, while many people are still out of work. The result is that in our own country, some kids go hungry. Here’s a BBC article and video about a family that can’t afford food, home, pets…

The Children Going Hungry in America