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Friday
Jan252013

New York Restaurants Have Informal Ban on Food Photos

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The days of simply dining and enjoying have changed.  More and more restaurant-goers are pulling out their smartphones or digital cameras and taking photos of elaborate entrees and dishes at New York City restaurants.

This growing trend is commonly known as foodstagram, a photo taken on a cellphone and quickly posted online.

"With the advent of social media, it just became that people like food porn," said Steven Hall, PR representative for Bouley restaurant.  "People really love looking at pictures of food."

But some restaurants are cracking down on snap-happy guests.  The New York Times reports that owners of upscale restaurants like Fat Duck, Le Bernardin and Per Se "discourage flash photography" by their guests.

Gerald San Jose, media manager for Per Se, said the restaurant "does not have a no-photography policy, although if guests do photograph, Per Se asks that they refrain from using flash and be discreet so as to not disturb the experience of other guests."

Le Bernardin agrees, saying, "Flash photography disturbs other diners."

So far, the informal ban has not made its way to the New York State Restaurant Association, which includes 5,000 restaurants in the New York metro area.  Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the NYSRA, says the issue is not something that's on the organization's radar.

"At our level, it's not something we're looking to regulate or weigh in on in any way," said Moesel.  "Some restaurants would encourage people to share the dishes that they serve there, while others might want to make sure the dining experience is more private."

Private yes, but off limits?  Not entirely.  Although more and more guests are taking photos of their plated inspirations, Hall said he believes it depends on the setting, but "there is such a thing as the right time and the right place."

"People have kind of forgotten their manners," said Hall.  "Your food is getting cold, your ice cream is melting, all so that they can get the lighting for their picture.  It disrupts the flow of service."

One establishment that does ban photos altogether -- not in the name of food but for the sake of privacy -- is SoHo House New York in the city's Meatpacking District, an exclusive members-only club.

In an email to ABC News, Jacki Spillane of SoHo House said, "SoHo House New York does have a no photography policy within the Club.  SoHo House is a private members club, we have this policy to respect and maintain our members' privacy."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun132011

Nestle Invests Billions to Decode Digestive Systems

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(VEVEY, Switzerland) -- Nestle, the world's largest food company -- responsible for making Eskimo Pies, Haagen-Dazs ice cream, and Tombstone frozen pizza -- has invested billions of dollars to research metabolic disorders and improve nutrition in our diets.

Headquartered near the tranquil waters of Lake Geneva in Vevey, Switzerland, the Nestle Research Center hosts a team of top food scientists dedicated to decoding the human metabolism. The company also agreed to purchase Prometheus Laboratories Inc, a maker of treatments for cancer and gastrointestinal illnesses, Bloomberg reported last month.

Metabolomics, or the study of the chemical processes of the human metabolism, is a relatively new field of science. It has only been around for about 10 years, according to Nestle researcher Alastair Ross.

Using artificial body parts, scientists test the digestion cycles of infants, adults -- even dogs. In one experiment, they pumped strawberry yogurt through an artificial human intestine filled with acids, enzymes and pig bile. There are millions of receptors in the gut that give feedback to the brain, including the feeling of satiety or hunger.

They're also trying to decode what consumers -- too young to talk -- think about different foods.

"By examining closely the facial expression of the baby we can identify...differences between rejection and fullness, for example," said Ciaran Forde, a senior sensory specialist.

Other experiments use live adult test subjects, who are questioned about their eating habits, such as how much of this food versus that food does the subject thinks he would need to feel full. They are even analyzing urine samples in a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to unlock the secrets of human metabolism. Aside from food studies, Nestle scientists also use software that tracks a person's eye movement as he looks over a product's packaging to analyze how effectively the product is marketed.

With about 10,000 brands under its name, Nestle's global sales last year nearly reached $105 billion. In 2010, its food and beverage division spent $1.3 billion on research and development.

The company spent 10 years perfecting "extrusion freezing" to make low fat ice cream for their Bryer's Slow Churned ice cream brand. It developed an infant cereal that reduces constipation under their Nestum brand. It even invented a low carbon footprint coffee machine for the Dolce Gusto.

But aside from just improving its products, Nestle is also studying how our bodies crave fat and sugar in order to develop healthier products and help ease the American obesity epidemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans is considered obese.

The challenge is not only to crack the code on how to make healthy food more desirable but also how to trick our bodies into making us feel full faster and longer so we eat less.

After running tests with the artificial stomach, Nestle scientists discovered that olive oil treated with monoglyceride -- a lipid often found in chewing gum, whipped cream, and other bakery products -- will take eight times longer to digest than regular olive oil.

"We think that if it is slower it also will mean that people will feel full for a longer time and then they'll maybe eat less and snack less," explained Heribert Watzke.

Scientists are also developing personalized diets, tailored down to suit an individual's own digestive system.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio