Here’s why GMO labeling initiatives might fail – again

Yesterday, the Oregonian released a new poll it had commissioned showing that Measure 92, a ballot initiative to require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients in the state, was trailing 48 to 42 percent among likely voters. Yet back in July, another poll conducted for Earthfix of Oregon, an environmentally focused branch of Oregon Public Broadcasting, put support for the initiative at a very impressive 77 percent…One 2013 survey conducted by researchers at Rutgers University found that 54 percent of Americans say they know "very little or nothing at all" about genetically modified foods, and 25 percent have never even heard of them. .."It’s really clear that people don’t know very much about the subject," says Rutgers’ William Hallman, lead researcher on the poll. "And when people don’t know much abut a subject, how you ask them a question about it largely determines the answer you get back."

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Rutgers community provides targeted Ebola aid for Liberia

Imagine walking into a Rutgers health care center with a high fever and finding the place nearly deserted. Most of the nurses and doctors are sick, dead or too afraid to show up. For the remaining few, there are no gloves, soap or disinfectant. Jim Simon described this scenario to illustrate the urgent need for medical supplies in Liberia in the wake of the Ebola outbreak. Simon, a distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at Rutgers, helped start Operation: Targeted Support, a volunteer initiative at Rutgers focused on shipping medical supplies overseas.

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Rutgers develops nutrient-packed lettuce

Blueberries may have been dubbed a "superfood" by some, but the fruit may have met its match with a new variety of lettuce developed by Rutgers University. Named Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce as a tribute to the school’s mascots, the Scarlet Knights, the variety is high in polyphenols and has a low glycemic index, according to a news release. Polyphenols are plant-based chemicals known for beneficial properties, such as helping with diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity.

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Fending Off Disease with a Fork: Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce Exceeds Blueberries in Polyphenol Content

Rutgers Professor Ilya Raskin’s research focuses on plant-derived functional foods and medicines.

Rutgers Professor Ilya Raskin’s research focuses on plant-derived functional foods and medicines.

Modern science is catching up with ancient wisdom. The expression “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” has been attributed to Hippocrates, father of medicine, around 431 B.C. Hippocrates’ adage is aptly illustrated by a glance down a supermarket produce aisle with its colorful display of deep red strawberries, fiery orange carrots, bright green broccoli and brilliant blueberries. The vibrant hues found in plant pigments that create these distinct colors have aroused the interest of the scientific community as vast amounts of research uncovers the beneficial effects these “phytonutrients” have on preventing disease and maintaining health.

Antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols have become familiar buzzwords to the health-oriented, and certain fruits and vegetables have achieved “superfood” status due to their high content of these beneficial compounds. In the arena of produce with high antioxidant abilities, blueberries have topped the list. Blueberries are considered the gold standard due to their high levels of polyphenols, which are a subgroup of phytochemicals. Anthocyanins are a further subgroup of polyphenols and provide the pigments that color deep red and purple foods such as blueberries, acai, blackcurrant and red wine. Research has shown these polyphenols to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. [Read more...]

Rutgers professor develops ‘superfood’ lettuce

Blueberries are considered the gold standard of "superfoods" because of their high levels of polyphenols, beneficial compounds shown to protect against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, inflammation and cancer. However, this seasonal fruit, often priced at a premium, is high in sugar content, requiring limited consumption by people on restrictive diets…A new superfood that’s low in sugar and available year-round and exceeds the high polyphenol content of blueberries hits the market this month. This high-polyphenol lettuce has been named Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL) – a tribute to Rutgers’ school mascot and color, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and is the brainchild of Rutgers Distinguished Professor in Plant Biology Ilya Raskin.

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