News Article | May 15, 2017
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future calculated the nutritional value of food wasted in the U.S. at the retail and consumer levels, shining a light on just how much protein, fiber and other important nutrients end up in the landfill in a single year. These lost nutrients are important for healthy diets, and some -- including, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D -- are currently consumed below recommended levels. Nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, seafood and dairy products are wasted at disproportionately high rates. Previous research estimated that as much as 40 percent of food is wasted nationally, but it wasn't clear before this study how nutritious that food was. While not all wasted food is consumable, a sizeable amount is, leaving researchers and policymakers looking for ways to minimize the amount of good food that gets tossed as millions of Americans go hungry, do not get enough nutrients or do not have access to healthy food options. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency have set a goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by 2030. The findings will appear online May 15 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Huge quantities of nutritious foods end up in landfills instead of meeting Americans' dietary needs," says study lead author Marie Spiker, MSPH, RD, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and a doctoral candidate in the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Our findings illustrate how food waste exists alongside inadequate intake of many nutrients." For their study, the researchers calculated the nutritional value of the retail- and consumer-level food waste of 213 commodities in 2012, using data from the USDA's Loss-Adjusted Food Availability data series. The research team, looking at 27 nutrients in all, found that food wasted in the U.S. food supply that year contained 1,217 calories, 33 grams of protein, 5.9 grams of dietary fiber, 1.7 micrograms of vitamin D, 286 milligrams calcium and 880 milligrams potassium per person, per day. Nutrient loss estimates provided by this study could contribute to a baseline for measuring future progress, the authors say. The study also highlights how the amount of nutrients lost to waste compares to nutritional deficits in the typical American diet. For example, dietary fiber is important for maintaining digestive health and is found in grains, vegetables and fruits. Researchers estimate that, in 2012, food wasted each day contained upwards of 1.8 billion grams of dietary fiber, which is comparable to the full recommended intake for dietary fiber for 73.6 million adult women. American women under-consumed dietary fiber by 8.9 grams per day in 2012. The study found that the daily amount of wasted dietary fiber is equivalent to the amount needed to fill this nutritional gap for as many as 206.6 million adult women. Many factors contribute to food waste at both the retail and consumer levels, including the disposal of food due to aesthetic standards, large portion sizes, and management of perishables in fridges and pantries. There is currently great energy around efforts to address waste of food. Preventing waste at the source is considered to be the optimal approach. Strengthening food recovery efforts that bring surplus food to food banks and pantries is also an important area of effort, innovation and impact. "This study offers us new ways of appreciating the value of wasted food. While not all food that is wasted could or should be recovered, it reminds us that we are dumping a great deal of high quality, nutritious food that people could be enjoying," says Roni Neff, PhD, an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health and Engineering who oversaw the study and directs the CLF's Food System Sustainability & Public Health Program. "We should keep in mind that while food recovery efforts are valuable, food recovery doesn't get to the heart of either the food insecurity problem or the waste problem. We need strategies addressing these challenges at multiple levels." "Wasted Food, Wasted Nutrients: Nutrient loss from wasted food in the US and comparison to gaps in dietary intake" was written by Marie L. Spiker, Hazel A. B. Hiza, Sameer M. Siddiqi and Roni A. Neff. This research was funded by the GRACE Communications Foundation. M. L. Spiker and S. M. Siddiqi were also supported by the CLF-Lerner Fellowship.
News Article | May 26, 2017
Budget cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the 2018 fiscal year, proposed by the Trump administration, could have an "outsized impact" on US aquaculture. This is according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, who conducted an analysis of federal spending on US aquaculture research. The analysis referred to a database of nearly 3,000 aquaculture grants awarded from 1990 to 2015, worth nearly $1 billion dollars. According to their findings, since 2000, federal spending on aquaculture research over the past quarter century generated an estimated 37-fold return. “Many industries rely on basic and applied science supported by the federal government and conducted at universities, small businesses, and federal research labs—and the aquaculture industry is no different,” said lead author Dave Love, associate scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center. “Federal dollars spent on aquaculture R&D appear to be highly impactful.” Under the Trump administration’s budget proposal, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), which makes up two-thirds of NOAA’s funding for aquaculture, would face elimination. Congress preserved 2017 funding for the program in a recent spending bill, despite a previous recommendation from the Trump Administration to reduce funding for Sea Grant by $30 million. “As Congress debates future spending on aquaculture research, we hope this study will provide stakeholders with information they need to help define research priorities and aid in policymaking,” said Love. According to the study, the species that received the most grant support were algae, oysters, salmon, trout, catfish, and shrimp. Federal funding was concentrated in states along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf Coast, and Great Lakes. Grants focused on animal health and disease, improving animal production efficiency, genetics and breeding, animal nutrition, and supporting education and job training opportunities for students.
News Article | May 26, 2017
A new study published by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health and Engineering found that while US federal investments in aquaculture account for a small fraction of all government-funded research spending, they result in a "significant return on investment in terms of production value." The study found US federal agencies awarded nearly $1 billion (€891.9 million) in grants for aquaculture research in the past 25 years -- but that these grants had an estimated 37-fold return on investment since 2000. “Many industries rely on basic and applied science supported by the federal government and conducted at universities, small businesses, and federal research labs -- and the aquaculture industry is no different,” said lead author Dave Love, associate scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “Federal dollars spent on aquaculture R&D appear to be highly impactful.” According to the study, the species that received the most grant support were algae, oysters, salmon, trout, catfish, and shrimp. Federal funding was concentrated in states along the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf Coast, and Great Lakes. Grants focused on animal health and disease, improving animal production efficiency, genetics and breeding, animal nutrition, and supporting education and job training opportunities for students. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are the lead US government agencies overseeing aquaculture, and combined they provide $0.80 (€0.71) of every $1 (€0.89) awarded by the federal government for aquaculture research. Researchers said budget cuts to USDA and NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year proposed by the Donald Trump Administration could have an outsized impact on US aquaculture. Researchers said budget cuts to USDA and NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year proposed by the Trump Administration could have an outsized impact on US aquaculture. For instance, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program (Sea Grant), which makes up two-thirds of NOAA’s funding for aquaculture, would face elimination under the administration’s budget proposal. Congress preserved 2017 funding for the program in a recent spending bill, despite a previous recommendation from the Trump Administration to reduce funding for Sea Grant by $30 million (€26.8 million). “As Congress debates future spending on aquaculture research, we hope this study will provide stakeholders with information they need to help define research priorities and aid in policymaking,” said Love. The study is the first of its kind to examine US federal grants awarded in the field of aquaculture, which includes aquatic organisms raised for food, feed, fuel, and recreation. To conduct this analysis, the researchers compiled a database of nearly 3,000 aquaculture grants awarded from 1990 to 2015. For more seafood news and updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter or sign up for our daily newsletter.
News Article | May 24, 2017
Americans waste between 1,200 and 1,400 calories of food per person everyday, which we can all agree to feel bad about: all that energy- and water- and money-intensive nourishment going straight to the landfill! But in spite of a national love for counting nutrients, we didn’t know how many macros we’ve been chucking out. A new study courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is the first to measure just how much nutrient value is ending up in the bin. The most jarring example: Those 1,400 calories of wasted food per person per day include 48 percent of an average adult’s daily iron intake. Also wasted: 43 percent of the recommended levels of Vitamin C and 29 percent of the calcium. This is significant, the researchers note, because so many American adults suffer from crucial nutrient deficiencies. We asked Kevin Klatt, a PhD candidate at the Cornell Division of Nutritional Sciences, if these numbers — they’re so big! — seemed normal. If anything, Klatt said, the percentages seemed slightly conservative, because recommended daily values tend to be higher than what most people need.
Nachman K.E.,Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future |
Baron P.A.,Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future |
Raber G.,University of Graz |
Francesconi K.A.,University of Graz |
Love D.C.,Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2013
Background: Inorganic arsenic (iAs) causes cancer and possibly other adverse health outcomes. Arsenic-based drugs are permitted in poultry production; however, the contribution of chicken consumption to iAs intake is unknown. Objectives: We sought to characterize the arsenic species profile in chicken meat and estimate bladder and lung cancer risk associated with consuming chicken produced with arsenic-based drugs. Methods: Conventional, antibiotic-free, and organic chicken samples were collected from grocery stores in 10 U.S. metropolitan areas from December 2010 through June 2011. We tested 116 raw and 142 cooked chicken samples for total arsenic, and we determined arsenic species in 65 raw and 78 cooked samples that contained total arsenic at ≥ 10 μg/kg dry weight. Results: The geometric mean (GM) of total arsenic in cooked chicken meat samples was 3.0 μg/kg (95% CI: 2.5, 3.6). Among the 78 cooked samples that were speciated, iAs concentrations were higher in conventional samples (GM = 1.8 μg/kg; 95%1.4, 2.3) than in antibiotic-free (GM = 0.7 μg/kg; 95%0.5, 1.0) or organic (GM = 0.6 μg/kg; 95%0.5, 0.8) samples. Roxarsone was detected in 20 of 40 conventional samples, 1 of 13 antibiotic-free samples, and none of the 25 organic samples. iAs concentrations in roxarsone-positive samples (GM = 2.3 μg/kg; 95%1.7, 3.1) were significantly higher than those in roxarsone-negative samples (GM = 0.8 μg/kg; 95%0.7, 1.0). Cooking increased iAs and decreased roxarsone concentrations. We estimated that consumers of conventional chicken would ingest an additional 0.11 μg/day iAs (in an 82-g serving) compared with consumers of organic chicken. Assuming lifetime exposure and a proposed cancer slope factor of 25.7 per milligram per kilogram of body weight per day, this increase in arsenic exposure could result in 3.7 additional lifetime bladder and lung cancer cases per 100,000 exposed persons. Conclusions: Conventional chicken meat had higher iAs concentrations than did conventional antibiotic-free and organic chicken meat samples. Cessation of arsenical drug use could reduce exposure and the burden of arsenic-related disease in chicken consumers.
Nachman K.E.,Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future |
Schwartz B.S.,Geisinger Health System
JAMA Internal Medicine | Year: 2013
IMPORTANCE: Nearly 80% of antibiotics in the United States are sold for use in livestock feeds. The manure produced by these animals contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resistance genes, and antibiotics and is subsequently applied to crop fields, where it may put community members at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections. OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between individual exposure to swine and dairy/veal industrial agriculture and risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A population-based, nested case-control study of primary care patients from a single health care system in Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2010. Incident MRSA cases were identified using electronic health records, classified as community-associated MRSA or health care-associated MRSA, and frequency matched to randomly selected controls and patients with skin and soft-tissue infection. Nutrient management plans were used to create 2 exposure variables: seasonal crop field manure application and number of livestock animals at the operation. In a substudy, we collected 200 isolates from patients stratified by location of diagnosis and proximity to livestock operations. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Community-associated MRSA, health care-associated MRSA, and skin and soft-tissue infection status (with no history of MRSA) compared with controls. RESULTS: From a total population of 446 480 patients, 1539 community-associated MRSA, 1335 health care-associated MRSA, 2895 skin and soft-tissue infection cases, and 2914 controls were included. After adjustment for MRSA risk factors, the highest quartile of swine crop field exposure was significantly associated with community-associated MRSA, health care-associated MRSA, and skin and soft-tissue infection case status (adjusted odds ratios, 1.38 [95% CI, 1.13-1.69], 1.30 [95% CI, 1.05-1.61], and 1.37 [95% CI, 1.18-1.60], respectively); and there was a trend of increasing odds across quartiles for each outcome (P <.01 for trend in all comparisons). There were similar but weaker associations of swine operations with community-associated MRSA and skin and soft-tissue infection. Molecular testing of 200 isolates identified 31 unique spa types, none of which corresponded to CC398 (clonal complex 398), but some have been previously found in swine. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Proximity to swine manure application to crop fields and livestock operations each was associated with MRSA and skin and soft-tissue infection. These findings contribute to the growing concern about the potential public health impacts of high-density livestock production. © 2013 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
News Article | November 16, 2016
New Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health-led research suggests that some workers at industrial hog production facilities are not only carrying livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their noses, but may also be developing skin infections from these bacteria. The findings are published Nov. 16 in PLOS ONE. "Before this study, we knew that many hog workers were carrying livestock-associated and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in their noses, but we didn't know what that meant in terms of worker health," says study leader Christopher D. Heaney, PhD, an assistant professor at the Bloomberg School's departments of Environmental Health and Engineering, and Epidemiology. "It wasn't clear whether hog workers carrying these bacteria might be at increased risk of infection. This study suggests that carrying these bacteria may not always be harmless to humans." Because the study was small, the researchers say there is a need to confirm the findings, but the results highlight the need to identify ways to protect workers from being exposed to these bacteria on the job, and to take a fresh look at antibiotic use and resistance in food animal production. Hogs are given antibiotics in order to grow them more quickly for sale, and the overuse of antibiotics has been linked to the development of bacteria that are resistant to many of the drugs used to treat staph infections. The researchers, involving collaborators at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help in Warsaw, NC, and the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, enrolled 103 hog workers in North Carolina and 80 members of their households (either children or other adults) to have their noses swabbed to determine whether they were carrying strains of S. aureus in their nasal passages. Each person was also shown pictures of skin and soft tissue infections caused by S. aureus and asked if they had developed those symptoms in the previous three months. The researchers found that 45 of 103 hog workers (44 percent) and 31 of 80 household members (39 percent) carried S. aureus in their noses. Nearly half of the S. aureus strains being carried by hog workers were mutidrug-resistant and nearly a third of S. aureus strains being carried by household members were. Six percent of the hog workers and 11 percent of the children who lived with them reported a recent skin and soft tissue infection (no adult household members reported such infections). Those hog workers who carried livestock-associated S. aureus in their noses were five times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection as those who didn't carry those bacteria in their noses. The association was stronger among hog workers who carried multidrug-resistant S. aureus in their noses, who were nearly nine times as likely to have reported a recent skin or soft tissue infection. Multidrug-resistant S. aureus infections can be difficult to treat because the antibiotic drugs that doctors typically prescribe don't work. Researchers are concerned about what might happen if these bacteria develop the capacity to spread more broadly between animals and humans. While the study is small, Heaney says the findings suggest that more work is needed to figure out how to mitigate S. aureus exposure and the risk of infection among workers and to track the extent to which these livestock-associated bacteria may spread into the community at large. Since the study found that those hog workers who never wore protective masks over their nose and mouth were more likely to be carriers of the bacteria than those who did, Heaney says recommendations about wearing personal protective equipment might be prudent. Heaney says 89 percent of the hog workers in the study were Hispanic and that many are likely without health insurance. Studies like this, he says, can help focus on risks to a population that is vulnerable and may otherwise fall through the cracks. According to a Duke University analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, roughly 327,350 people were employed in hog farming in the United States in 2012. Most evidence about the burden of human infections associated with drug-resistant S. aureus nasal colonization comes from studying strains that circulate in hospital settings, where patients are often tested upon admission so that medical staff can take precautions. Less is known about whether generally healthy people in the community, such as hog workers, are at increased risk of developing S. aureus infections. The rise of multidrug-resistant bacteria - often called superbugs - is a global crisis according to the World Health Organization and the use of antibiotics in food animal production has been highlighted as an important contributor. Roughly 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the United States are used in animals, with heavy nontherapeutic uses in food animal production. "This issue isn't going away and there are many more research questions that need to be answered," he says. "Livestock-associated, antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage and recent skin and soft tissue infection among industrial hog operation workers" was written by Maya Nadimpalli, Jill R. Stewart, Elizabeth Pierce, Nora Pisanic, David C. Love, Devon Hall, Jesper Larsen, Karen C. Carroll, Tsigereda Tekle, Trish M. Perl and Christopher D. Heaney. Funding for this study was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (1K01OH010193-01A1), the Johns Hopkins NIOSH Education and Research Center, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the Sherrilyn and Ken Fisher Center for Environmental Infectious Diseases Discovery Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (018HEA2013), the National Science Foundation (1316318), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (5T32ES007141-30), the Royster Society fellowship, an Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results fellowship the GRACE Communications Foundation and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (1R01AI101371-01A1).
News Article | December 7, 2016
Scientists have discovered a dangerous and highly transmissible form of multidrug-resistant bacteria lurking on a Midwestern hog farm, according to a study published yesterday. The bacteria have easily shared bits of DNA that help them fight off antibiotics called carbapenems, and this is the first time such microbes have been found on a U.S. farm. When these bacteria infect humans, they are extremely difficult to treat, and are often deadly. The discovery also poses something of a mystery. Carbapenems are not used on farms—they are mostly used in hospitals—so it is perplexing that microbes developed abilities to withstand a drug they probably did not encounter. The feat illustrates the ease with which antibiotic resistance traits travel to new locations and jump into different species, but it is still unclear what the findings mean for public health. As yet there is “no evidence that it is entering the food supply,” says Thomas Wittum, a scientist at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine who published the findings in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy along with his colleagues. “It is a rare resistant strain on a single farm,” he adds. “We will need to do a lot more research before we can say what exactly the risk is.” The researchers collected samples over the course of four visits to a farm that raises 1,500 hogs a year. They swabbed surfaces that come into contact with both animals and farm employees: crate bars, pen gates, floor mats, doorknobs and feed scoops, among other things. They also collected some hog rectal swabs and fecal samples. Wittum and his colleagues found that 18 samples, collected from surfaces that housed piglets and sows, harbored bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). The gene that helped them withstand the antibiotic was on a circular piece of DNA called a plasmid, and this particular circle is notorious for its ability to share copies of itself with other bacterial species in the presence of other “helper” plasmids. Indeed, “the striking evidence from this study is that they found [the resistance gene] in multiple species of bacteria, and that strongly suggests that it has moved around,” says Tim Johnson, a microbiologist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. A study published in January 2016 found carbapenem-resistant bacteria in dairy cow manure on farms in New Mexico and Texas—yet these resistance genes were not on plasmids, but rather on bacterial chromosomes, which are not shared in the same way. No one is sure where these resistance genes came from or how they got to the farm but researchers have ideas. “The most logical source would be a hospital, where carbapenems are frequently used and CRE are not uncommon,” Wittum says. Farm workers might, for instance, carry CRE home from a hospital visit and then deposit the bacteria on farm equipment. But even if some bacteria were left on a doorknob by a farm employee, why did the microbes with the resistance trait stick around in animals? Resistance typically does not persist if it is not useful—and it is difficult to see the advantage of carrying a shield against an antibiotic that is not used in agriculture. One possibility is that a different antibiotic used on pigs, called ceftiofur, might be to blame. Ceftiofur molecules are structurally similar to carbapenems, and because of that genes that confer resistance to one frequently provide resistance to the other. This scenario is supported by the fact that researchers did not find CRE in samples collected from barns housing older hogs; ceftiofur is only used in young animals, and the resistance may dissipate as the hogs get older. Studies have shown that bacteria passed from people to animals can then evolve in ways to make them more dangerous. In a 2012 study published in Mbio, researchers reported that a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Europe acquired its methicillin resistance as well as resistance to another drug, tetracycline, after jumping from people into pigs on farms. Then it jumped back into people again, causing serious illness. One cannot help but worry, says Keeve Nachman, director of the Food Production and Public Health Program at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, that additional harmful genes will get off the farm in the future.
Neff R.A.,Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future |
Merrigan K.,George Washington University |
Wallinga D.,Natural Resources Defense Council
Health Affairs | Year: 2015
Food has become a prominent focus of US public health policy. The emphasis has been almost exclusively on what Americans eat, not what is grown or how it is grown. A field of research, policy, and practice activities addresses the food-health-agriculture nexus, yet the work is still often considered "alternative" to the mainstream. This article outlines the diverse ways in which agriculture affects public health. It then describes three policy issues: farm-to-school programming, sustainability recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and antibiotic use in animal agriculture. These issues illustrate the progress, challenges, and public health benefits of taking a food systems approach that brings together the food, agriculture, and public health fields. © 2015 Project HOPE.
PubMed | Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Type: | Journal: Annual review of public health | Year: 2015
The US food system functions within a complex nexus of social, political, economic, cultural, and ecological factors. Among them are many dynamic pressures such as population growth, urbanization, socioeconomic inequities, climate disruption, and the increasing demand for resource-intensive foods that place immense strains on public health and the environment. This review focuses on the role that policy plays in defining the food system, particularly with regard to agriculture. It further examines the challenges of making the food supply safe, nutritious, and sustainable, while respecting the rights of all people to have access to adequate food and to attain the highest standard of health. We conclude that the present US food system is largely unhealthy, inequitable, environmentally damaging, and insufficiently resilient to endure the impacts of climate change, resource depletion, and population increases, and is therefore unsustainable. Thus, it is imperative that the US embraces policy reforms to transform the food system into one that supports public health and reflects the principles of human rights and agroecology for the benefit of current and future generations.