The Weekly: March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014

IFT Top Stories

FDA proposes updates to Nutrition Facts label on food packages
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new public health and scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The proposed label would also update out-of-date serving size requirements to better align with how much people really eat, and it features a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes. 

Changes to the label being proposed include:

  • Requiring information about food products “added sugars.” This proposed change is based on expert recommendations—including those from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans—that Americans should reduce their intake of calories from added sugar.
  • Updating reference amounts, which are used by manufacturers to determine serving sizes, so they reflect the amounts people currently eat and drink. Current data show that the consumption of certain food products has changed over the last 20 years. 
  • Presenting calorie and nutrition information for the whole package, in addition to per serving, on certain products that contain more than one serving size but that could be consumed in one sitting or in multiple sittings.
  • Requiring the declaration of potassium and vitamin D on the label, if present, because some segments of the U.S. population are not consuming adequate amounts, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health and potassium in beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Calcium and iron would continue to be required on the label if present, but listing vitamins A and C would now be voluntary. 
  • Revising the daily values for a variety of nutrients such as calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D. Daily values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label, which helps consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.
  • Refreshing the format to emphasize certain elements, such as calories, serving sizes, and Percent Daily Value, that are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease.

The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports, and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The FDA also considered extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders.

The proposed changes would affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry, and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS).

The FDA also is proposing some corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements, including proposed changes to the Daily Values and the units of measure.

The two proposed rules are available for public comment for 90 days. Once the rules are finalized, the FDA is proposing that manufacturers would have two years to comply with any final requirements.

More information on changes

Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (pdf)

Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One-Eating Occasion, et. al. (pdf)

Nutrition Facts label changes mean new challenges, opportunities
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published proposals to update the design and content of the Nutrition Facts label (NFL) and associated serving sizes on Feb. 27, 2014. Two factors driving the FDA changes are undeniable: consumers’ expressed desire for the labels to be easier to read and use; and outdated nutrition science and food consumption data that supported the 1993 regulations. In a new ePerspective post, Robert C. Post, Chief Science Officer at FoodMinds LLC, delves into how food manufacturers should approach the proposed changes. First, he urges manufacturers to prepare public comments on the proposed changes, as they have “a key role in helping to shape the changes.”

He also suggests manufacturers start to develop a broader strategy for assessing entire product portfolios based on the high probability that changes will occur with final rules that could be completed by the end of 2015. This includes analyzing the nutrient content of company’s brands to see if reformulating products may be in order. See what other advice Post has for food manufacturers to approach what will likely be the most extensive nutrition policy change in decades by reading IFT’s ePerspective blog.

Rob Post’s ePerspective post

Free exposure in Food Technology's pre-show issue
Exhibitors at IFT’s Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in New Orleans June 21–24 can build booth traffic with a free write-up in Food Technology magazine’s May Expo Preview issue. E-mail information about new products, technologies, or services to Karen Nachay (knachay@ift.org; 312.604.0219). If available, please also send a high-resolution (300 dpi, 3’ x 5” in size or larger) image of your company’s product (no company logos). The deadline for submitting materials is Friday, March 21.

IFT Research Briefs

Report: 31% of food went uneaten in 2010
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) has released a report providing the latest estimates on the amount and value of food loss in the United States. “Food loss” represents the amount of edible food, postharvest, that is available for human consumption but is not consumed for any reason. This includes “food waste,” which occurs when an edible item goes unconsumed, such as food discarded by retailers due to undesirable color or blemishes and plate waste discarded by consumers. Food loss (particularly the food waste component) is becoming an increasingly important topic both domestically and internationally.

The report—“The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States”—uses data from ERS’s Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) data series. In the United States, 31%—or 133 billion pounds—of the 430 billion lbs of the avail­able food supply at the retail and consumer levels in 2010 went uneaten. Retail-level losses repre­sented 10% (43 billion lbs), while consumer-level losses represented 21% (90 billion lbs) of the available food supply. (Losses on the farm and between the farm and retailer were not esti­mated due to data limitations for some of the food groups.) The estimated total value of food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the U.S. was $161.6 billion in 2010. The top three food groups in terms of share of total value of food loss were meat, poultry, and fish (30%, $48 billion); vegetables (19%, $30 billion); and dairy products (17%, $27 billion).

The study also reviewed the literature and found that food loss is economically efficient in some cases. There is a prac­tical limit to how much food loss the U.S. or any other country could realistically prevent, reduce, or recover for human consumption given: technical factors (e.g., the perishable nature of most foods, food safety, storage, and temperature considerations); temporal and spatial factors (e.g., the time needed to deliver food to a new destina­tion, and the dispersion of food loss among millions of households, food processing plants, and foodservice locations); individual consumers’ tastes, preferences, and food habits (e.g., throwing out milk left over in a bowl of cereal); and economic factors (e.g., costs to recover and redirect uneaten food to another use).

The report aims to provide better estimates of the amount and value of food loss, including food waste, in order to help serve as quantitative baselines for policymakers and the food industry to set targets and develop initiatives, legislation, or policies to minimize food waste, conserve resources, and improve human nutrition.

Report

New school meal standards may increase fruit, veggie intake
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that new U.S. federal standards launched in 2012 that require schools to offer healthier meals may have led to increased fruit and vegetable consumption. The study, the first to examine school food consumption both before and after the standards went into effect, contradicts criticisms that the new standards have increased food waste.

Under the previous dietary guidelines, school breakfasts and lunches were high in sodium and saturated fats and were low in whole grains and fiber. The new standards from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) aimed to improve the nutritional quality of school meals by making whole grains, fruits, and vegetables more available, requiring the selection of a fruit or vegetable, increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables, removing trans fats, and placing limits on total calories and sodium levels.

The researchers collected plate waste data among 1,030 students in four schools in an urban, low-income school district both before (fall 2011) and after (fall 2012) the new standards went into effect. They found that following the implementation of the new standards, fruit selection increased by 23% while entrée and vegetable selection remained unchanged. In addition, consumption of vegetables increased by 16.2%. Fruit consumption was unchanged, but because more students selected fruit, overall, more fruit was consumed post-implementation.

Importantly, the new standards did not result in increased food waste, contradicting anecdotal reports that the regulations were causing an increase in waste due to both larger portion sizes and the requirement that students select a fruit or vegetable. However, high levels of fruit and vegetable waste continued to be a problem—students discarded roughly 60–75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays. The authors say that schools must focus on improving food quality and palatability to reduce waste.

“The new school meal standards are the strongest implemented by the USDA to date, and the improved dietary intakes will likely have important health implications for children,” wrote the researchers.

Study (pdf)

U.S. consumers’ interest in reading Nutrition Facts labels wanes
Nearly 20 years after the Nutrition Facts labels were put on the back of nearly every food and beverage in stores, interest in reading the label has steadily waned among U.S. households, according to The NPD Group, a global information company. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing updates for the Nutrition Facts label to make it more relevant to today’s consumers, but according to NPD’s ongoing food and beverage market research, consumers read the labels when they first appeared but as time went on many stopped checking the label for what’s in their food.

Through its National Eating Trends service, which on a daily basis for more than 30 years has monitored the eating and drinking habits of U.S. consumers, NPD asks consumers their level of agreement with the statement, “I frequently check labels to determine whether the foods I buy contain anything I’m trying to avoid.” In 1990, after the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was passed, 65% of consumers completely or mostly agreed with the statement, that percentage decreased to 60% in 1994 shortly before the Nutrition Facts labels began appearing on food packaging, and rose to 64% in 1995 after the labels were on food packaging. Since 1995, the percentages of consumers in agreement have ranged from a high of 61% to a low of 48% in 2013.

“The most likely reason for this decline is that the effort succeeded in educating Americans about what’s in their food,” said Harry Balzer, NPD Chief Industry Analyst and author of Eating Patterns in America. “After all, how many times do you need to look at the Nutrition Facts label on your favorite cereal, or your favorite juice, and any other food you routinely consume?”

NPD also tracks what consumers usually look for when they do read the Nutrition Facts label. According to NPD’s Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers, the top five items consumers who read the label look for are, in consecutive order, calories, total fat, sugar, sodium, and calories from fat.

“It’s a safe bet that Americans now want more information, but be careful, there are always new issues that come up every few years,” said Balzer. “If the Nutrition Facts label is to continue to educate, it should allow for changes more often than once every 20 years. For example, gluten, probiotics, and omega-3 were not on the radar screen 20 years ago.”

Press release

SNAP may reduce food insecurity for children
A study published in Pediatrics shows that children in households who participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may have more consistent access to food, thus increasing their food security. Food security is defined as availability of food and one’s access to it.

SNAP, run by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), is the largest U.S. food assistance program and reached approximately 47 million people in 2013. Families enrolled in SNAP can use benefits to buy most food, but not alcohol, supplements, or prepared meals. According to the researchers, about half of SNAP enrollees are children.

The new study includes data from the SNAP Food Security survey, which was conducted by Mathematica for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service from 2011 to 2012. It included about 3,000 families who were enrolled in SNAP. The researchers first compared survey information from households that had enrolled within the previous five days to families who’d been in SNAP for six to seven months. They then followed up with the new-entrant families about six months later to see if there had been any changes in their access to food.

In the first part of the study, the proportion of households in which children were food insecure was 37% for new-entrant households compared to 27% for families that had been enrolled for six months. When the researchers followed up with the new-entrant families six months later, they found the rate of food insecurity among children had dropped to just under 25%. SNAP was also linked to a decrease in the odds of children experiencing severe food insecurity.

Abstract

Veggie-based diet may help lower blood pressure
A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that people who eat a vegetarian diet may have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians. Vegetarian diets exclude meat, but may include dairy products, eggs, and fish in some cases.

The review combined results from 39 previous studies, including 32 observational studies and seven controlled trials. Together the studies included a total of 21,604 people. The researchers found that in the observational studies, people who had been eating a vegetarian diet had an average systolic blood pressure that was about 7 mm Hg lower than among meat-eaters and a diastolic blood pressure that was 5 mm Hg lower.

Participants in the clinical trials who were given vegetarian diets to follow had, on average, a systolic blood pressure that was 5 mm Hg lower and a diastolic blood pressure that was 2 mm Hg lower than participants in control groups who were not on vegetarian diets.

According to the researchers, a plant-based diet is typically low in fat and high in fiber, so it helps people lose weight, which, in turn, causes a healthy drop in blood pressure. In addition, plant-based foods are often low in sodium and rich in potassium, which lowers blood pressure.

Abstract

U.S. obesity rate increases to 27.1% in 2013
In the United States, 27.1% of adults were obese in 2013, the highest rate measured since Gallup and Healthways began tracking in 2008. The obesity rate increased by nearly a full percentage point over the average rate of 26.2% found in 2012. As more Americans moved into the obese category in 2013, slightly fewer Americans were classified as overweight or as normal weight.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which uses respondents’ self-reports of their height and weight to calculate body mass index (BMI) scores, differs slightly from government reports of obesity, which are based on actual heights and weights found in clinical measurements. A recent government report based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 34.9% of adults ages 20+ in the study were obese. This rate had not significantly changed between 2003 and 2012.

Gallup and Healthways began tracking U.S. adults’ weight daily in 2008. Individual BMI values of 30 or above are classified as “obese,” 25–29.9 are “overweight,” 18.5–24.9 are “normal weight,” and 18.4 or less are “underweight.” For the past six years, nearly two-thirds of Americans have had BMIs higher than is recommended, while roughly 35% of Americans have been in the “normal weight” category.

The World Health Organization further classifies BMIs of 30.00 or higher into one of three classes of obesity:

  • Obese class I = 30–34.99
  • Obese class II = 35–39.99
  • Obese class III = 40+

Those with BMIs of 40+ are often considered “morbidly obese.” According to Americans’ self-reports of height and weight, the percentage of morbidly obese has been slowly rising since 2011, and is now the highest Gallup has recorded, at 3.8%.

The percentage of Americans in obese class II has also been on the rise, reaching a record high of 6.3% in 2013. The percentage in obese class I has varied, but the 17.1% who fall into this group matches the highest rate recorded since tracking began. Thus, the overall increase in obesity in 2013 reflects an upward shift among all three obesity groups.

The majority of Americans who are obese fall into obese class I, which means they have less weight to lose to move into the overweight or, ideally, the normal weight category. But the increase in the percentage in the U.S. who fall into obesity classes II and III is troubling, given the fiscal and physical costs of obesity.

The obesity rates across all major demographic and socioeconomic groups in the U.S. increased at least marginally in 2013 compared with 2012, with the exception of those ages 18–29, which showed no movement.

Some of the groups with the highest obesity rates saw the largest increases from 2012 to 2013. The obesity rate increased by more than one point among Americans who make less than $36,000 a year, those ages 45–64, and those living in the South. The obesity rate among African Americans, already the highest rate recorded among major demographic groups, rose 0.9 points to 35.8% in 2013.

Press release

U.S. restaurant traffic sees second month of decline
Driven by restaurant operators’ more optimistic outlook for future business conditions, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) posted a modest gain in January. The RPI—a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry—stood at 100.7 in January, up 0.2% from December’s level of 100.5. In addition, the RPI remained above 100 for the 11th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators.

“Restaurant operators are more optimistic about business conditions in the months ahead, which is also reflected in ramped up plans for capital spending,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “However, current situation indicators such as customer traffic were dampened in January, due in large part to adverse weather conditions.”

Restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales for the 11th consecutive month in January, but results remained relatively dampened overall. Forty-five percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between January 2013 and January 2014, while 40% of operators reported a sales decline. In December, 44% of operators reported higher same-store sales, while 41% reported a decline.

Restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic for the second consecutive month. Thirty-three percent of restaurant operators reported customer traffic growth between January 2013 and January 2014, while 50% of operators reported a traffic decline. In December, 30% of operators reported higher customer traffic levels, while 46% reported a decline.

Restaurant operators are somewhat more optimistic about sales growth in the months ahead. Forty-one percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 38% who reported similarly last month. Meanwhile, 11% of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, while 48% expect their sales to remain about the same.

Press release

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IFT Company News

Penford to acquire Gum Technology
Penford Corp., a manufacturer of ingredient systems for food and industrial applications, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gum Technology, a privately held gum and hydrocolloids distribution, blending, and services company. Gum Technology, based in Tucson, Ariz., serves primarily the food and beverage industries. It posted 2013 revenues of about $12 million.

“Gum Technology’s product line and reputation for outstanding customer service will broaden Penford’s portfolio of functional and specialty ingredient systems for existing customers and open new segments to the company,” said Tom Malkoski, Penford Corp. CEO. “We see opportunities in food and industrial bio-products for high value, specialized products from the combination of our product lines and customer relationships.”

Gum Technology markets a range of gums and other hydrocolloids throughout North America and Asia. The company specializes in developing and producing customized stabilizers to meet customers’ product formulation needs. Gum Technology’s products are found in a wide variety of food products including beverages, sauces, bakery, frozen foods, jams and fruit fillings, spice blends, dairy applications, and nutraceuticals.

The acquisition is expected to close in late March, subject to certain conditions.

Press release

FONA opens innovation center in China; hires Holocher
FONA International, developer and manufacturer of flavor solutions for food, beverage, nutraceutical, and pharmaceutical companies, has announced the opening of a new innovation center in Guangzhou, China.

“Our presence in the area allows us access to local consumer sensory, novel technologies, and regional application expertise we can share with our customers around the world,” said Luke Slawek, President of FONA International.

The facility features labs, a learning center, and elevated gardens. FONA’s continued global expansion is the result of its growth and commitment to collaboration with customers around the world. “Our Guangzhou facility is part of our larger vision of expansion throughout Asia Pacific to be onsite where our customers need us,” said Slawek.

In other news, the company has hired Peter Holocher as Director of Customer Innovation. Holocher’s focus will be to develop strategic partnerships with a variety of industry collaborators in order to explore and pursue technologies that meet customer and market needs. He will build key relationships with FONA customers’ innovation experts, work closely with FONA product development staff, and guide the Technology & Innovation team to streamline technology transfer into the business units.

Holocher has more than 15 years of experience in a variety of innovation, business development, product development/commercialization, and food science & technology roles. Throughout his career, Holocher has been heavily involved with innovation initiatives specific to the flavor, beverage, and nutraceutical industries. He earned his B.S. in food science and technology from the University of Washington and holds a series of professional certificates from the University of Minnesota Executive Education. Holocher is a member of the Institute of Food Technologists.

Innovation center press release

Smart Balance reformulates spreads with non-GMO ingredients
Smart Balance has announced it is transitioning its flagship line of buttery spreads to non-GMO. Following an extensive revamp of ingredients sourcing and manufacturing processes, Smart Balance buttery spreads landing on some store shelves beginning this month will be non-GMO, delivering the same taste and nutritional benefits with no increase in price. A full retail conversion to non-GMO Smart Balance spreads is expected by early summer.

“Consumers are communicating strong desire for more transparency in their food ingredients, and that is leading to a growing demand for non-GMO products,” said Stephen Hughes, Chairman and CEO, of Boulder Brands, parent company to the Smart Balance brand. 

Non-GMO Smart Balance is made from expeller-pressed oils from non-GMO seeds. In addition, manufacturing facilities and production processes have been enhanced to reduce risk of contact with GMO-containing ingredients. The new product will bear a prominent “non-GMO” label and pledge.

Press release

California Dairies increases processing capacity with new evaporator
California Dairies Inc. (CDI), a dairy processing cooperative in California, has announced it will increase its processing capacity with the addition of a third evaporator at its Visalia plant. Committed to becoming the leading source of dairy nutrition for a healthy world, the project will align CDI’s assets and capabilities to produce the value-added milk powders the world market demands.

“Management continues to look for new ways to add value to its member-owners’ milk through the expansion and improvement of its assets and product offerings,” said Andrei Mikhalevsky, CEO. “The addition of a new evaporator combines increased capacity and improved capabilities to offer CDI the flexibility to adjust product portfolios as market demands shift, which will grow market share and maximize member-owner profits.”

The largest capital project undertaken since the Visalia plant was built in 2007, the new evaporator will increase CDI’s ability to meet tight export specifications on value-added milk powders. This will allow CDI to focus on expanding relationships with its international customers and improving its presence in the global markets, both of which align with the company’s strategic goal. The evaporator is expected to be online February 2016.

Press release (pdf)

Weber Flavors receives SQF certification
Weber Flavors has obtained the SQF (Safe Quality Food) Level 3 Certification for its production facility located in Wheeling, Ill. With a score and rating of “Excellent,” Weber becomes one of the only flavor facilities in the world to achieve this level for both food safety and food quality.

Administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute, the SQF certification program is a leading global food safety and quality certification program and management system designed to meet the needs of buyers and suppliers worldwide. Obtaining Level 3 certification requires a third party audit process in addition to an extensive review of policies, procedures, and systems.

“Weber has demonstrated the Safe Quality Food passion for years. Our successful attainment of the SQF Level 3 Certification reinforces the quality we have been providing to our customers and consumers around the world since 1902. The SQF Certification is a journey, not a process. We are committed to a Safe Quality Food product and we will strive to continuously improve our products and our operations,” said Andy Plennert, CEO and Owner of Weber Flavors. 

Press release

Henkel, CMS to develop sustainable microbial-resistant technology
Henkel and CMS Technology have announced their intention to pursue a strategic North America alliance to develop food-safe additives for packaging. Henkel’s leadership position in packaging adhesives will be enhanced by CMS microbial-resistant technology for paper and plastic packaging.

“CMS utilizes environmentally-safe technology that curbs harmful bacteria and lowers packaging costs, so we are excited to be working with them,” said Kris Getty, Henkel’s Director of Global Business Development for Multi-Functional Adhesives. “Innovative, sustainable solutions are at the core of what we do.”

The Henkel-CMS Technology alliance will develop packaging solutions designed to ensure to the maximum extent possible that food is kept safe from harmful bacteria. The application will impact first-use and recycled material.

“Our relationship with Henkel, a leader in innovation and sustainability, brings CMS Technology to consumers,” said John Meccia, President and CEO of CMS Technology Inc. “Our mission is to provide cost-effective solutions that keep the food we eat fresher using safe, eco-friendly ingredients.”

Press release

Peter Lombardo retires from Robertet Flavors
After a 40-year career with Robertet, Peter N. Lombardo, President of Robertet Flavors USA, has retired, effective Feb. 28, 2014. An icon in the global flavor and fragrance industry, Lombardo was instrumental in driving Robertet’s growth over the years, both as a member of Robertet’s Board of Directors as well as the global leader of Robertet’s Ingredients Division.

Lombardo received numerous recognitions from various organizations and customers during his career, including the IFRA NA Eric Bruell Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the FEMA Dr. Richard L. Hall Distinguished Service Award in 2013.

Lombardo’s other positions in the industry included President and board member of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States (FEMA) and Fragrance Material Association (FMA), as well as various board memberships for the International Fragrance Association North America (IFRA NA), International Organization of the Flavor Industry (IOFI), and Research Institute of Fragrance Materials (RIFM).

Robertet has promoted Robert Weinstein to President of Robertet Flavors USA effective March 1. He will assume that role in addition to his current responsibilities as President Robertet Ingredients and Chief Operating Officer Robertet USA. Weinstein joined the Robertet team in 2012 and has been implementing strategic changes throughout the entire U.S. organization to position the company for robust growth in 2014 and beyond.

In addition, the company has promoted John Simons to Senior Vice President, Robertet Flavors USA. In addition to his present responsibilities leading the flavor sales and marketing teams, Simons will now also lead the Flavor Creation and Development groups. Simons joined Robertet in 2012 and has more than 30 years of experience in the flavor industry.

Robertet

IFT Regulatory News

USDA finalizes changes to the WIC program
The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to further improve the nutrition and health of the nation’s low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children. The changes—which increase access to fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy—are based on the latest nutrition science. The announcement marks the completion of the first comprehensive revisions to the WIC food packages since 1980.

“The updates to the WIC food package make pivotal improvements to the program and better meet the diverse nutritional needs of mothers and their young children,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The foods provided by the WIC program, along with education that focuses on the critical role of breastfeeding and proper nutrition, help to ensure that every American child has the opportunity to grow up healthy and strong.”

Along with a more than 30% increase in the dollar amount for children’s fruits and vegetables purchases, the changes also:

  • Expand whole grain options available to participants
  • Provide yogurt as a partial milk substitute for children and women
  • Allow parents of older infants to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables instead of jarred infant food if they choose
  • Give states and local WIC agencies more flexibility to meet the nutritional and cultural needs of WIC participants

The revisions reflect public comments submitted in response to the first major changes in more than 30 years that were published as interim requirements in December 2007, which updated regulations governing WIC foods to align them more closely with updated nutrition science, recommendations of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Federal government’s benchmark for healthy eating and nutrition.

Press release

USP launches new edition of Food Chemicals Codex
The latest specifications for the identity and purity of about 1,200 food ingredients, including test methods and key guidance on critical issues, are included in the new Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), Ninth Edition. Published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), the FCC is a compendium of internationally recognized standards for a wide variety of ingredients including colorings, flavorings, nutrients, preservatives, and processing aids. USP also produces physical reference materials for many of the ingredients specified in the FCC in order to obtain reliable results when the analytical procedures in the monographs are executed appropriately.

“The food industry is constantly innovating with new products and ingredients,” said Gabriel Giancaspro, USP Vice President for Food Ingredients, Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines. “At the same time, manufacturers are increasingly sourcing their ingredients globally. Public quality standards can serve as a resource for manufacturers by providing specifications to authenticate their ingredients, and help protect our increasingly global food supply chain.”

Among the new monographs in the FCC is spirulina, a food ingredient that was just recently approved as a natural source of blue color for candy and chewing gum by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Formulators also use spirulina in specialty food bars, powdered nutritional drinks, among other products due to its non-animal protein content. FCC monographs include the function, definition, packaging and storage, labeling requirements, test procedures, and other features of food ingredients.

Another monograph included in the new edition of FCC is brilliant black PN, a synthetic food color used in products requiring the color black in their formulation (jams, chocolate syrup, and candy are common examples). Even though the FDA has not approved brilliant black PN as a food color in the United States, its use in food is currently approved in many other countries.

Press release

FDA reopens comment period on evaporated cane juice as a food-labeling term
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reopening the comment period on its draft guidance for industry on declaring “evaporated cane juice” as an ingredient on food labels. The agency originally published the guidance in October of 2009 and accepted comments through early December of that year. 

The draft guidance advises industry of FDA’s view that sweeteners derived from cane syrup should not be listed on food labels as evaporated cane juice because the sweetener is not juice as juice is defined in Federal regulations (Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 120.1(a)). 

The FDA is reopening the comment period for 60 days to obtain additional data and information to better understand the basic nature and characterizing properties of the ingredient, the methods of producing it, and the differences between this ingredient and other sweeteners. Interested parties may submit comments by written letter or electronically starting March 5, 2014.

Federal Register notice (pdf)

Kyowa Hakko USA announces GRAS self-affirmation for L-citrulline
Kyowa Hakko U.S.A. Inc., the wholly owned subsidiary of Kyowa Hakko Bio Co. Ltd., has completed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) self-affirmation for the amino acid L-citrulline.

L-citrulline is an amino acid that plays an important role in nitric oxide (NO) metabolism and regulation. Increased production of NO promotes vascular dilation which improves oxygen and blood circulation throughout the body. L-citrulline is also expected to relieve muscle fatigue through ammonia elimination.

“We are extremely proud to announce GRAS for our amino acid L-citrulline, and look forward to working with manufacturers to incorporate it into foods and beverages,” said Toshikazu Kamiya, President & CEO of Kyowa Hakko USA.

L-citrulline is preservative-free, allergen-free, and contains no artificial flavors or colors. Manufactured in the United States using a proprietary fermentation process, L-citrulline will be marketed by Kyowa Hakko USA as a food ingredient in the United States for use at levels of 275 mg of L-citrulline/serving up to a maximum of 2,000 mg/day in various food products, such as beverages and beverages bases; grain products and pastas; and milk products.

Press release

IFT IFT & Meeting News

IUFoST seeks nominations for awards and competitions
The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) is seeking nominations for four different awards and competitions.

  1. Global Food Industry Awards: Celebrating food science and technology innovation in three product-related categories. This award showcases the creative work of food innovators in the areas of packaging design, nutrition, enterprise, food safety, and products. The winners will be announced in conjunction with the Industry Leaders Summit at the Congress, taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 17–21, 2014. For more information and the nomination form, visit http://iufost.org/awards_global_food_industry. Nominations can be submitted online before March 31.

  2. Food Science Students Fighting Hunger - Global Student New Product Development Competition: Food Science and Technology students are invited to be part of the solution to world hunger. In keeping with IUFoST’s aim to strengthen the role of food science and technology in securing the world’s food supply and eliminating world hunger, the Food Science Students Fighting Hunger IUFoST Product Development Competition encourages undergraduate students to use their knowledge and skills to develop innovative food products to fight hunger. Finalists will present their products at the IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology, being held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 17–21. The winning development team and product will be announced during the World Food Congress. For more information and the application form, visit http://iufost.org/awards_students_food_science. A two-page letter specifying details of the project and product must be submitted as part of an online application at IUFoST.org by March 14.

  3. Young Scientists: Give young scientists from around the world the opportunity of a lifetime by nominating deserving candidates for the IUFoST Young Scientist Award. Seven nominees will be selected to attend the IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology, taking place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 17–21, and to address the world community of food science and technology assembled there. For more information and the nomination form, visit http://iufost.org/awards_young_scientist. Nominations must be submitted online by March 14.

  4. Food Safety without Borders - Graduate Student Paper Competition: Food science and technology students at the graduate level are invited to submit academic papers addressing a food problem present in indigenous foods of their country/region in a marketable way with the objective of enhancing global food safety. The finalists will participate in the IUFoST World Congress of Food Science and Technology, being held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, August 17–21. For more information and the nomination form, visit http://iufost.org/awards_food_safety. A two-page letter specifying details of the project and product must be submitted as part of an online application before March 14.

March 20–21: Chicago, Ill.
Get healthy snack insights and leading practices from top companies in the industry
Hear how DuPont uses processing to create higher protein nutritional bars and protein drinks. Find out how Cargill uses new methodologies to better understand the functional role of salt in meat and cheese. And learn how Naturex reduces sugar in soft drinks without sacrificing taste. Industry leaders from these companies, along with an expected 300 other food professionals from top organizations, will be gathering to downtown Chicago this March to discuss new and innovative ways to commercialize healthy snack foods. Their stories will fall into three tracks of sessions which include Sodium Reduction, Protein Enhancement, and Sugar Reduction. A Short Course on food labeling is taking place just prior to the event. Check out the online schedule, and then register today.

June 20–21
2014 Pre-Annual Meeting Short Courses
This year, at the upcoming IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo, you’ll get nine pre-meeting Short Courses to choose from, each honing in on a different topic in the food industry. From food protection…to functional foods that enhance sports performance…to flavors, these Short Courses provide an exclusive learning environment that allows you to exchange with industry leaders and colleagues on topics that best fit your organization, and job role. Short Course registration opens March 3. Start planning your Short Course experience—check out this year’s new and returning Short Courses at ift.org/ift14.

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