Global food prices on the rise, U.N. says
According to The New York Times, global prices for meats, dairy products, and cereals rose last month, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported Oct. 4. The agency said that on average, prices increased 1.4% in September, after remaining steady in July and August. Scorching heat and drought in the United States, Russia, and Europe constricted agricultural production and pushed up prices of corn and soybeans to record highs, the report said.
The largest increases were for dairy products, which rose 7% in September, their sharpest climb since January 2011. Higher feed costs were a major factor in the increase, and also helped to drive meat prices up 2.1%, especially in the “grain intensive” pork and poultry industries, the report said. Cereal prices rose 1%, and the food agency forecast a decline in global cereal production this year.
Despite the recent price increases, the agency’s overall food price index, which measures monthly price changes for a basket of goods including cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat, and sugar, remains below the levels it reached in 2011, when high food prices led to unrest in the Middle East and northern Africa. But, adjusted for inflation, the index is now only 13% below its levels of 2008, when food costs set off riots in several countries.
The New York Times article
Salmonella confirmed in peanut butter plant
According to the Associated Press, Salmonella has been found in a New Mexico plant that produces nut butters for retailer Trader Joe’s and several other large national grocery chains, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Oct. 5. The Trader Joe’s peanut butter is now linked to 35 Salmonella illnesses in 19 states—most of them in children under the age of 10.
Washington state health officials have also confirmed the presence of Salmonella in an opened jar of the Trader Joe’s peanut butter found in a victim’s home, the FDA said. Though the illnesses have only been linked to the Trader Joe’s peanut butter, the government findings have prompted New Mexico-based Sunland Inc. to recall everything made in the plant since March of 2010—a total of 240 products. In September, the company recalled 101 products that were manufactured in the plant this year.
An FDA investigation found Salmonella in environmental samples taken from various surfaces in the plant, officials said. The agency did not release any other details about conditions at the plant.
The recall includes nut butters and nut products sold at Whole Foods Market, Target, Safeway, Costco, Fresh & Easy, Harry and David, Sprouts, Heinen’s, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Giant Food of Landover, Md., and several other stores since 2010.
Some of those retailers used Sunland ingredients in items they prepared and packaged themselves or sold the peanut butter in jars labeled with a store brand. Some stores and companies that used Sunland products as ingredients have issued additional recalls. The products recalled include peanut butters, almond butters, cashew butters, tahini, and blanched and roasted peanut products.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that officials now count 35 Salmonella illnesses in 19 states across the country that can be traced to the Trader Joe’s peanut butter. The greatest numbers of illnesses were in California and Texas. Five illnesses were reported in each. No deaths have been reported.
Implications of the Farm Bill expiration
The U.S. Senate and U.S. House Committee on Agriculture have passed their respective versions of the 2012 Farm Bill, but the legislation is stranded, and the 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30, 2012. In the new ePerspective post, John Bode, Principal at John Bode LLC, delves into the practical implications of the 2008 Farm Bill expiration.
As Bode explains, farm state legislators were hoping to get the Farm Bill passed in 2012 because federal budget pressures are likely to mount in the coming years resulting in more extreme cuts. There is a chance that the bill could still be passed this year in the lame duck session that will follow the November elections, however, Bode sees a one-year extension as a more plausible outcome. While the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill has not had major impact, if something is not decided before Jan. 1, it could have some serious repercussions. Read IFT’s ePerspective blog to see what these might be, according to Bode.
John Bode’s ePerspective
Apply now for the Certified Food Scientist 2013 testing
IFT’s Certified Food Scientist (CFS) application is now available for the February 2013 testing window. Demonstrate your applied knowledge and critical real-world experience by applying and taking the exam to become a CFS.
Through the CFS program, food scientists will now be formally recognized for their experience and expertise so they can distinguish themselves throughout their professional careers. The program will also assist employers to identify, hire, and retain the best talent, and to continue to meet the ongoing demand for knowledgeable food scientists throughout the food system.
To become a Certified Food Scientist, a food professional must complete the application (available now) and meet certain eligibility requirements. These include one of the following:
- MS or Doctorate in food science, food science concentration, or global equivalent + 2 years full-time food science experience
- BS in food science, food science concentration, or global equivalent + 3 years full-time food science experience
- MS or Doctorate in related science or global equivalent + 4 years full-time food science experience
- BS in related science or global equivalent + 6 years of full-time food science experience
The CFS certification exam, consisting of 100 multiple choice questions, will be offered at more than 250 global testing centers. The first testing window is Feb. 1–22, 2013, so take the next step toward earning your CFS certification. Submit your application form today. For detailed information on eligibility requirements, exam dates, and exam content, download the Candidate Handbook. Consider also enrolling in the CFS Preparatory Course, an optional refresher course with practice exams. The first CFS Preparatory Course will be held Dec. 4–5, 2012, in Arlington, Va.
For a limited time, food scientists with at least a Bachelor’s of Science Degree (in food science, food science concentration, or a related science) and at least 15 years of full-time experience post-bachelor degree are eligible to apply for certification under the One Time Alternative Assessment program. This opportunity is available through Jan. 18, 2013.
Chewing may have a significant influence on satiety
A study published in Obesity shows that the length of time you spend chewing food may be at least as important as how full your stomach is when it comes to how much you consume.
Scientists from the Nestlé Research Center, in collaboration with Wageningen University in The Netherlands, carried out an examination of the effect of simultaneous oral and gastric stimulation on satiety. The results suggest the time people spend chewing may be an important factor in determining their energy intake.
The study involved 26 fit young men of healthy weight. The participants were monitored on five non-consecutive days. They were asked, in random order, to chew but not swallow food for one or eight minutes while having different amounts of the same food infused into their stomachs. In a control condition, participants did not receive any food and were not given any food to chew. Half an hour later, all participants were given a meal and invited to eat as much as they liked until they were comfortably full. The participants rated their appetite and hunger immediately before and after the tests, then 15 min afterwards and then again before and after the meal. Participants were not allowed to eat any food or drink for two and a half hours before the tests began. They were also asked to avoid intensive physical exercise throughout the study.
The study found that when participants chewed food for one minute, they ate the same amount as they did on an empty stomach, regardless of how much food had already been infused in to their stomach. However, when participants chewed for eight minutes they consumed significantly less than they did on an empty stomach.
“Our findings suggest longer oral-sensory stimulation may be an important factor in lowering energy intake,” said Alfrun Erkner, a Nestlé Research Center scientist involved in the study.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean specially-designed nutrition beverages can’t have a satiating effect, but that products that provide increased oral stimulation could be more effective. Follow-up studies are needed for a better understanding of the impact of the interaction of oral and gastric factors on eating behavior.”
BPA’s real threat may be after it has metabolized
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic chemical widely used in the making of plastic products ranging from bottles and food can linings to toys and water supply lines. When these plastics degrade, BPA is released into the environment and routinely ingested. A study published in PLOS ONE shows that the metabolic changes that take place once BPA is broken down inside the body may pose the greatest health threat.
In recent years, numerous studies have reported associations between BPA exposure and myriad adverse health and development effects. Of particular concern is that BPA exposure is correlated with disruption of estrogen signaling. The chemical’s molecular structure is similar to that of estradiol, one of the human body’s three main estrogens, suggesting that BPA binds to estrogen receptors. The estrogen receptor is designed to grab and hold estradiol and related estrogens. Disparate chemicals, however, can share some structures found in estrogens, enabling them to bind to the estrogen receptor. When that happens, problems can occur.
In the new study, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say three-dimensional modeling suggests a metabolite of BPA—a molecule produced when BPA is metabolized or broken down by the body—actually binds to the estrogen receptor much more strongly than BPA itself. The finding could point the way to development of a new class of drugs designed to specifically inhibit excessive estrogen activity linked to disease.
In 2004, Shin'ichi Yoshihara and colleagues at Hiroshima International University discovered that another compound, dubbed MBP, was produced when BPA was metabolized. MBP has a 100-fold to 1,000-fold stronger bond to the estrogen receptor than BPA. However, the structural basis for MBP’s high affinity for the estrogen receptor was not investigated further.
So in this study, the researchers revived Yoshihara’s research by creating three-dimensional, molecular models of MBP and BPA in the estrogen receptor and matching it against the crystal structure of estradiol in the estrogen receptor. They found that MBP’s longer structure allows both ends of the chemical to interact with the estrogen receptor in a way similar to estradiol. The shorter BPA molecule contacts the receptor at just one end, resulting in a weaker connection, providing an explanation for BPA’s lower affinity for the estrogen receptor.
“In other words, MPB is basically grabbing onto the estrogen receptor with two hands compared to just one hand for BPA,” said Michael E. Baker, UCSD Professor of Medicine. “Two contact points makes a much stronger connection.”
Baker said the 3D modeling supports the idea “that BPA is not the endocrine disruptor culprit. Instead, MBP is one (of perhaps several BPA metabolites) that causes disruption of estrogen signaling in humans and other animals.”
He said the research points to the need to measure MBP levels in urine and blood of patients suspected of BPA-mediated health effects, and may fuel development of a new therapeutic treatment for conditions linked to excessive estrogen levels and activity, such as some forms of breast and prostate cancers.
“One could use MBP, which has a novel structure, as a template to develop a new class of chemicals that could bind to the estrogen receptor with high affinity,” said Baker. “The goal would be to have these chemicals inhibit the action of estradiol instead of activating the estrogen response. These chemicals could control unwanted growth of estrogen-dependent tumors.”
Eating tomatoes may lower stroke risk
A study published in Neurology shows that eating tomatoes and tomato-based foods may be associated with a lower risk of stroke.
The study involved 1,031 men in Finland, ages 46–65. The level of lycopene—an antioxidant found in tomatoes—in their blood was tested at the start of the study and they were followed for an average of 12 years. During that time, 67 men had a stroke.
The study found that people with the highest amounts of lycopene in their blood were 55% less likely to have a stroke than people with the lowest amounts of lycopene in their blood. Among the men with the lowest levels of lycopene, 25 of 258 men had a stroke. Among those with the highest levels of lycopene, 11 of 259 men had a stroke. When researchers looked at just strokes due to blood clots, the results were even stronger. Those with the highest levels of lycopene were 59% less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest levels.
“This study adds to the evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of stroke,” said study author Jouni Karppi, University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “The results support the recommendation that people get more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would likely lead to a major reduction in the number of strokes worldwide, according to previous research.”
The study also looked at blood levels of the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, and retinol, but found no association between the blood levels and risk of stroke.
Bitter taste receptors may regulate the upper respiratory defense system
A study from a team of researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Monell Chemical Senses Center, and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, reveals that a person’s ability to taste certain bitter flavors may be directly related to their ability to fight off upper respiratory tract infections, specifically chronic sinus infections. The new research is published in the latest edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The sense of taste is mediated by taste receptor cells which are bundled in our taste buds. “Sour” and “bitter” taste sensations alert the body to harmful foods that have spoiled or are toxic. But based on genetics, up to 25% of the population cannot detect certain bitter flavors (non-tasters), 25% can detect exceedingly small quantities (super-tasters), and the rest of us fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Recent investigations have shown that these taste receptors (T2Rs) are also found in both upper and lower human respiratory tissue, likely signaling a connection between activation of bitter tastes and the need to launch an immune response in these areas when they are exposed to potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.
“With this information in mind, we wanted to better understand the exact role that bitter taste receptors play in the upper airway, especially between these super and non-tasters,” said Noam Cohen, Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, Staff Physician at the Philadelphia VAMC, and senior author of the new study.
Cohen and his colleagues formulated the following hypotheses around the connection: (1) bitter taste receptors are functional in the nose (upper respiratory tract), and each receptor detects a specific type of bacteria; (2) upon activation by a specific bacterial product, the bitter taste receptor initiates a local defensive response to combat the attacking bacteria; and (3) genetic variability of the bitter taste receptors alters the vigorousness of the response, thus leaving certain individuals with very strong defenses and others with weak defenses against a specific bacteria.
To test these hypotheses, the team grew cell cultures from sinus and nasal tissue samples collected during sinus surgical procedures. These cultures develop cilia, produce mucus, and reflect many of the defensive workings found inside the nose and sinuses.
They found that one of the bitter taste receptors that functions in upper airway cells, known as T2R38, acts as a type of “security guard” for the upper airway by detecting molecules that a certain class of bacteria secretes.
“These molecules instruct other bacteria to form a biofilm, which helps harbor the bacteria. From previous work, we know that these biofilms spur the immune system to mount an over-exuberant inflammatory response that can lead to sinusitis symptoms. When the T2R38 receptor detects these molecules, it activates local defensive maneuvers to increase mucus clearance and kill the invading bacteria. It’s really like modern warfare—intercept the enemies’ early communications to thwart their plans and win the battle,” said Cohen.
Through the cultures, the research team demonstrated that super-tasters detect very small concentrations of the offending molecules, while non-tasters and the middle-ground individuals require 100 times more of the molecule for detection. The research team also examined the patients that the original sinus tissue samples were collected from. They found that none of the super tasters were infected with the specific type of bacteria that are detected by the T2R38 receptor, known as a gram-negative bacteria.
“Based on these findings, we believe that other bitter taste receptors in the airway perform the same “guard duty” function for early detection of attack by different types of bacteria, and we hope to translate these findings into personalized diagnostics for patients with chronic rhinosinusitis,” concluded Cohen.
U.S. Hispanics perceive healthy foods as less tasty
U.S. Hispanics, particularly those foreign-born and Spanish-language dominant, claim to know more about nutrition than most people, but define nutrition in terms of quality as well as quantity, according to The NPD Group, a market research company. Filling and eating everything on-a-plate conveys that a person “eats well” and a nutritious meal was served, which is a symbol of good health among Spanish-language dominant and foreign-born U.S. Hispanics, according to insights shared in a recently released NPD study on U.S. Hispanics’ food and beverage consumption patterns.
U.S. Hispanics’ pride in their cooking, emphasis on traditional flavors, and ensuring the food they feed their families is nutritious, shapes perceptions that healthy foods aren’t as tasty or as nutritious, according to NPD’s It’s Mealtime with U.S. Hispanics report. Forty-six percent of Spanish-language dominant Hispanics feel that almost everything that is very good for you doesn’t taste very good. However, proportions change as Hispanics acculturate. For example, 31% of bilingual Hispanics and only 11% of English dominant Hispanics agree.
“Food and beverages play a central role in the preservation of Hispanic culture and reconnection for family; as a result, Hispanics view mealtime, nutrition, and healthy eating differently than non-Hispanics,” said Terry Soto, President and CEO of About Marketing Solutions Inc., who consulted with NPD on the development of the It’s Mealtime with U.S. Hispanics report. “Going for seconds is encouraged and welcomed, and conveys that a person ‘eats well’ and has a good appetite, which is a symbol of good health.”
The NPD report, which includes information from NET Hispanic, a year-long study on the eating behaviors of U.S. Hispanics by level of acculturation, finds that the effect of Hispanics’ attitudes about nutrition and healthy eating are reflected in weight and health issues, particularly among Spanish-dominant U.S. Hispanics.
Heavy caffeinated coffee consumption may lead to vision loss
A study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science shows that heavy caffeinated coffee consumption may be associated with an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma, which could lead to vision loss.
The study is the first to examine the link between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S.-based population. The study was composed of two cohorts: 78,977 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 41,202 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) who were at least 40 years of age, did not have glaucoma, and reported undergoing eye examinations from 1980 (for NHS participants) and 1986 (for HPFS participants) to 2008. The research team used questionnaires to obtain and validate the consumption of beverages containing caffeine and reviewed medical records to determine incident cases of exfoliation glaucoma, which contributes to elevated pressure sufficient enough to damage the optic nerve, or exfoliation glaucoma suspect that have milder or only suspect optic nerve damage.
A meta-analysis of the two cohorts showed that, compared to abstainers, participants who drank three cups or more of caffeinated coffee daily were at an increased risk of developing exfoliation glaucoma or glaucoma suspect. The researchers did not find associations with consumption of other caffeinated products, such as soda, tea, chocolate, or decaffeinated coffee. The results also showed that women with a family history of glaucoma were at an increased risk.
“Because this is the first study to evaluate the association between caffeinated coffee and exfoliation glaucoma in a U.S. population, confirmation of these results in other populations would be needed to lend more credence to the possibility that caffeinated coffee might be a modifiable risk factor for glaucoma,” said Jae Hee Kang, Channing Division of Network Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass. “It may also lead to research into other dietary or lifestyle factors as risk factors.”
Mondelez buys Vitasnella brand snacks from Danone
According to the Chicago Tribune, Kraft Foods Europe, which is being integrated in spun-off snack giant Mondelez International, is buying Italy’s Vitasnella snack business from French foods maker Danone for an undisclosed sum as part of its consolidation plans in Europe.
The maker of Oreo cookies and Cadbury chocolates, which still operates under Zurich-based Kraft Foods Europe Gmbh in Europe, said it would retain Italian production of low-fat Vitasnella biscuits, snacks, and bread derivatives. Danone, which sold its global biscuit business to Kraft in 2007 but kept Vitasnella, was making the snacks under license with Kraft before deciding to sell the business. Danone will keep the Vitasnella brand for yogurt and cheese.
“The deal fits well into the spin-off of Kraft Foods Group in North America announced recently and the arrival of a new international company Mondelez International, listed on Nasdaq and world leader in snacks, but it is also a confirmation of the interest of the group in investing in our country for future growth,” said Valerio Di Natale, head of Kraft Foods in Italy and southern Europe.
Chicago Tribune article
Unilever may sell its Skippy peanut butter brand
According to Bloomberg, Unilever may be looking for a buyer for its Skippy peanut butter brand, which may fetch $300–400 million, as it pares its food business to focus on faster-growing health and beauty products.
“As part of a recently completed strategic review, we decided to explore various options for the Skippy business in the U.S. and Canada, including but not limited to a potential sale,” said Anita Larsen, a spokeswoman for Unilever.
Unilever may be pruning some of the brands and businesses that it doesn’t feel are core to its portfolio. In August, the company completed the sale of its P.F. Chang’s and Bertolli frozen meals businesses to ConAgra Foods Inc. for $267 million, and in 2010 sold food businesses in Italy, Brazil, and the United States.
Skippy had revenue of $300 million and 18.1% of the U.S. peanut butter market, not including sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., for the year ended Sept. 9, according to market researcher SymphonyIRI Group. J.M. Smucker’s Jif had 34% of the market during that time.
Kerry to establish Global Technology & Innovation Center in Ireland
Kerry Group, the global ingredients and flavors and consumer foods group, has announced the establishment of the Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Center in Ireland to serve the Group’s global and regional customers in the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). The new flagship global technology and customer innovation center will serve as a key focal point for Kerry’s customer engagement activities providing strategic customers with access to the Group’s technologies, scientific research, innovation, and applications expertise across food, beverage, and pharmaceutical markets. Kerry Group will invest €100 million in the new campus which will accommodate 800 people in 2015 and a further 100 positions when fully commissioned by mid-2016. The new Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Center will also include Kerry Ingredients & Flavors EMEA regional management, Kerry Global Business Services, and support functions.
“The establishment of this new global technology and innovation center is consistent with the Group’s Kerry Strategy for Sustainable Growth, providing our customers with access to Kerry’s total technical and innovation capability to optimize product differentiation in the marketplace and provide unrivalled speed to market. Working in tandem with the Group’s existing technology and innovation facilities, the new center will focus Group-wide capability to drive strategic customer engagement and sustainable growth,” said Stan McCarthy, Kerry Group Chief Executive.
Vitiva offers analytical services
Vitiva has opened Vitiva Analytical Services to offer analytical, applications, and R&D services. The new service is part of Vitiva’s recently inaugurated New Innovation Center in Slovenia. Product and ingredient system analysis, consulting, development, and optimization services will be available at competitive rates to the food, beverage, feed, and pet food industries.
“We are committed to providing the highest quality services, bringing clients accurate results in time, with expert consulting by highly qualified staff,” said Ohad Cohen, CEO of Vitiva. “The reliability and accuracy of produced data help our customers make critical decisions on risks, and meet their increasingly stringent quality and safety high standards—and the demands of regulatory authorities—around the world. Vitiva Analytical Services will act as a partner to its clients by assisting them in finding the most cost-effective, top-quality service to meet their needs.”
American Sugar Refining acquires majority interest in Belize Sugar Industries
American Sugar Refining Inc., the world’s largest sugar refining company, has become the majority shareholder of Belize Sugar Industries Ltd. (BSI), the main supplier of fair trade-certified sugar globally. American Sugar acquired a majority of BSI, while the company’s previous shareholders, including BSI Employee Holdings Ltd., continue to hold the remaining shares.
BSI owns the only sugar mill in Belize, which crushed more than a million tons of sugar cane and produced 114,000 tons of sugar in its most recent crop. The company directly employs nearly 500 people and farms 4,000 acres of cane. BSI also processes the cane of 6,000 independent growers, who farm roughly 55,000 acres. All of the farms qualify for the fair trade certification, which provides additional compensation to local farmers and helps foster sustainable businesses and communities.
BSI produces raw sugar, demerara specialty sugars, and white sugar. While the white sugar is sold within the domestic market, more than 85% of the company’s total production is exported as raw sugar to the EU and U.S. markets or as demerara to the U.K. and Canadian markets.
American Sugar and its parent companies—Florida Crystals Corp. and Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida—own and operate 10 sugar refineries and five sugar mills, located in New York, Maryland, Louisiana, California, Florida, Canada, Mexico, England, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic.
“We look forward to partnering with the employees and farmers in Belize to use our technological and agricultural know-how to aid them in increasing their cane production and raw sugar output,” said Antonio Contreras, co-President of American Sugar. “Our group is the ideal partner to do this, because we already run farming, milling, and refining operations in six different countries.”
ABA to bring calorie counts to vending machines
America’s beverage companies have announced a new Calories Count Vending Program, which will be launched in municipal buildings in the cities of Chicago, Ill., and San Antonio, Texas, beginning in 2013 and then made available to vending customers nationwide.
“We are proud to launch our Calories Count Vending Program with Mayor Emanuel and Mayor Castro, both of whom are deeply committed to reducing obesity in their communities,” said Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association (ABA).
Building upon previous industry initiatives that removed full-calorie beverages from schools and placed new calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can, and pack, the Calories Count Vending Program will provide clear calorie information on vending machines. Under the Calories Count Vending Program, The Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and PepsiCo will work with government leaders, foodservice operators, vending companies, and other customers to:
- Increase availability of lower-calorie beverages in vending machines;
- Display a Calories Count vending snipe on the front of beverage vending machines reminding consumers to consider calories in their beverage choices with messages such as “Check then Choose” and “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage” and;
- Add calorie labels to the selection buttons on beverage vending machines to show calorie counts per beverage container.
Moore joins food, drug lawyers at Venable
Venable LLP has announced that food industry attorney John Moore has joined the firm as Of Counsel in its Washington, D.C. office. Venable’s attorneys work on FDA, USDA, and FTC regulatory matters, as well as investigations, prosecutions, and enforcement actions. Moore, who holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, arrives from Hunton & Williams. Prior to his legal career, he worked for Baskin Robbins overseeing production for the company’s extensive ice cream line and also for yogurt maker YoFarm as a food technologist.
Moore’s practice focuses on the full spectrum of federal and state food and drug regulations, covering packaged foods, food additives, food contact substances, dietary supplements, alcoholic beverages, biologics, as well as consumable products of biotechnology. Among areas in which Moore has been particularly active include advising on the regulatory approval of new food products and dietary supplements, as well as alcoholic beverages; representing clients in FDA filings on food additive petitions and GRAS notifications; advising on the regulation of genetically modified crops and pesticides; counseling on the use of plastics, paper, and other packaging materials, equipment, and housewares in contact with food. He has also counseled clients specializing in pet food and animal feeds.
Moore received his JD (Juris Doctor) from the University of South Carolina, his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of South Carolina, and his BS from the University of Delaware. He is a member of the Food and Drug Law Institute, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the American Chemical Society.
FTC issues revised Green Guides
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued revised “Green Guides” that are designed to help marketers ensure that the claims they make about the environmental attributes of their products are truthful and non-deceptive. The revisions to the FTC’s Green Guides reflect a wide range of public input, including hundreds of consumer and industry comments on previously proposed revisions. They include updates to the existing Guides, as well as new sections on the use of carbon offsets, “green” certifications and seals, and renewable energy and renewable materials claims.
“The introduction of environmentally friendly products into the marketplace is a win for consumers who want to purchase greener products and producers who want to sell them,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “But this win-win can only occur if marketers’ claims are truthful and substantiated. The FTC’s changes to the Green Guides will level the playing field for honest business people and it is one reason why we had such broad support.”
In revising the Green Guides, the FTC modified and clarified sections of the previous Guides and provided new guidanceon environmental claims that were not common when the Guides were last reviewed.
Among other modifications, the Guides caution marketers not to make broad, unqualified claims that a product is “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly” because the FTC’s consumer perception study confirms that such claims are likely to suggest that the product has specific and far-reaching environmental benefits. Very few products, if any, have all the attributes consumers seem to perceive from such claims, making these claims nearly impossible to substantiate.
The Guides also:
- advise marketers not to make an unqualified degradable claim for a solid waste product unless they can prove that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature within one year after customary disposal;
- caution that items destined for landfills, incinerators, or recycling facilities will not degrade within a year, so marketers should not make unqualified degradable claims for these items; and
- clarify guidance on compostable, ozone, recyclable, recycled content, and source reduction claims.
Finally, either because the FTC lacks a sufficient basis to provide meaningful guidance or wants to avoid proposing guidance that duplicates or contradicts rules or guidance of other agencies, the Guides do not address use of the terms “sustainable,” “natural,” and “organic.”
Green Guides (pdf)
FDA approves use of corn, oat fiber ingredients in meat applications
Z Trim Holdings Inc., a biotechnology company providing value-added ingredients to a variety of industries, has announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the labeling of Z Trim products in meat applications. Specifically, the FDA has approved the use of Z Trim corn and oat fiber ingredients in ground, emulsified, and processed meats and poultry.
“Z Trim ingredients are perfectly positioned to help the enormous meat and poultry industry deliver on the promise of healthier, better quality finished foods for consumers,” said Lynda Carroll, Z Trim VP of Sales and Applications. “We’ve already made significant progress testing Z Trim in meat applications with a number of major processors, and now that we have FDA labeling approval, expect to achieve substantial sales to this market segment in short order.”
Indiana farm tied to Salmonella outbreak unclean
According to the Associated Press, a U.S. federal inspector found two strains of Salmonella and unclean conditions at an Indiana cantaloupe farm’s fruit-packing plant during inspections prompted by a deadly outbreak linked to the farm’s melons.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) report on the mid-August inspections at Chamberlain Farm Produce Inc. shows an inspector found improperly cleaned and apparently rusted and corroded equipment. The inspector also found what appeared to be algae growing in standing water beneath conveyer belts at the Owensville, Ind., plant, the report said.
Two strains of Salmonella were found on cantaloupes in the farm’s fields and on surfaces throughout the packing building located about 20 miles north of Evansville in southwestern Indiana, according to the report. One Salmonella strain was found on cantaloupes that had been processed in the building and boxed, according to the inspector.
On Aug. 22, about a week after the FDA inspections, Chamberlain Farm Produce announced it had voluntarily recalled all of its cantaloupes due to concerns that some might be tainted with Salmonella. Six days later, the FDA disclosed that genetic testing on Salmonella collected at the farm matched the “DNA fingerprint” of the Salmonella strain responsible for this summer’s outbreak, making it a source for at least some of the bacteria.
The outbreak sickened at least 270 people in 26 states and killed three people in Kentucky, according to the FDA.
Kraft Foods recalls Jalapeno String Cheese due to choking risk
Kraft Foods Group Inc. is voluntarily recalling the Jalapeno variety of Kraft String Cheese with the use-by-date of Nov. 23, 2012, as a precaution due to the possibility that a thin layer of plastic film from the package may remain adhered to the product. If the film sticks to the cheese and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard. The recalled products include the 12-oz bag with 12 individual 1-oz snacks.
There has been one consumer complaint. Approximately 2,700 cases of the affected product were shipped to customers across the United States. The affected product was not distributed in Canada. No other code dates of Kraft Jalapeno String Cheese and no other varieties of Kraft String Cheese or any other Kraft Foods products are being recalled.
EFSA approves nature-identical zeaxanthin in food supplements
DSM Nutritional Products has reported that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a positive opinion on the safety of nature-identical zeaxanthin as an ingredient in food supplements. This decision opens the way for DSM’s zeaxanthin brand OPTISHARP to obtain a market authorization in the EU.
The EFSA concluded that based on the available data, intakes of up to 0.75 mg/kg body weight per day for zeaxanthin, corresponding to a daily intake of up to 53 mg for a person with a body weight of 70 kg, do not raise safety concerns. The EFSA opinion is in response to a dossier containing a comprehensive safety package that includes a two-generation reproductive toxicity study and 22 additional references, prepared and submitted by DSM to the European Commission in January 2012.
Together with lutein, zeaxanthin is one of the main components of the macular pigment. It is deposited into the human macula, the small, highly sensitive area of the retina responsible for central vision where it works as a blue light filter and as an antioxidant.
Education Advisory Panel survey: Winners announced
Congratulations to the raffle winners who submitted feedback and entered their names into a drawing for the Education Advisory Panel Survey issued in September. The survey was conducted to enhance programming for food science educators and instructors beginning with the 2013 Annual Meeting & Food Expo. Results of the survey, and the Advisory Panel’s program recommendations, will be shared with the Board of Directors in November 2012. Winners are as follows:
- Alexandra Armstrong: Free AMFE reg
- Allison Laguna: Free AMFE reg
- Soohyoun Ahn: Free AMFE reg
- Jun Xu: iPad3
Scientific Program Call for Session Proposals
The Scientific Program call for session proposals ends November 8, 2012. If you and your colleagues have celebrated your own successes this past year, we encourage you to share them with others. The Scientific Program, held at the 2013 IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, taking place July 13–16, 2013, in Chicago, Ill., is the one time out of the year where we can all get together and not only learn from, but celebrate our collective wins. Visit the Scientific Program page today for additional submission categories, guidelines, and deadlines.
Food Policy Impact and Pre-Conference Food Labeling Short Course
This one-day event offers a diverse range of speakers who will be providing their perspectives on food policy issues. Recently, a number of new speakers were added to the program, including: Darci Vetter, Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, USDA; Leon Bruner, Senior Vice President for Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Chief Science Office, GMA; Lisa Weddig, Director, Regulatory and Technical Affairs, National Fisheries Institute; Dr. William Yan, Director, Bureau of Nutritional Sciences, Health Canada; and Patricia A. Wester, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs and Certification, Food Safety Net Services. For all speakers and topics, check out this year’s program, and then register today.
Food Policy Impact webcasts
Two webcasts will be offered as an extension of the Food Policy Impact program. These webcasts, which are complimentary to all Food Policy Impact registrants, will focus on FSMA comments and EU GMO approaches and research. Food Policy Impact registrants will receive notifications to attend these webcasts soon, and details will also be made available on the Food Policy Impact web site. For those who can’t attend Food Policy Impact, these webcasts will be made available at a separate fee.