The Weekly: June 19, 2019

June 19, 2019

IFT Top Stories

Canada announces its first-ever Food Policy
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s minister of agriculture and agri-food, along with Parliamentary Secretary Jean-Claude Poissant, joined stakeholders from across the food system on June 17 to launch Canada’s first-ever federal Food Policy.

Developed through consultations with more than 45,000 Canadians, the vision for the Food Policy for Canada is: “All people in Canada are able to access a sufficient amount of safe, nutritious, and culturally diverse food. Canada’s food system is resilient and innovative, sustains our environment, and supports our economy.”

To realize this vision, the Canadian government is investing $134 million through its 2019 budget, which includes new initiatives to help achieve key objectives.

A central piece of the Food Policy for Canada announced is the creation of a Canadian Food Policy Advisory Council. The Council will bring together the expertise and diversity needed beyond government to address today’s challenges, as well as the future of Canada’s food system. An open and transparent process, that includes letters of nomination, will begin over the summer.

Also announced is the launch of a five-year, $50 million Local Food Infrastructure Fund, designed to support community-led projects that improve access to safe, healthy, and culturally diverse food. Starting Aug. 15, 2019, eligible organizations will be invited to apply through the first intake period for nonrepayable funding of up to $25,000.

Some of the other Food Policy of Canada initiatives include:

  • Support for community-led projects like greenhouses, community freezers, and skills training that address food challenges and food insecurity in Northern and isolated communities.
  • A challenge fund to support the most innovative food waste reduction ideas in food processing, grocery retail, and foodservice.
  • New funds to help the Canadian Food Inspection Agency crack down on food fraud.
  • Taking the first steps to work alongside provinces and not-for-profit organizations toward the creation of a National School Food Program.

“The Food Policy for Canada is our roadmap for a healthier and more sustainable food system for our country. The investments and initiatives in the food policy will contribute to economic growth, better nutrition, and food security for all Canadians,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of agriculture and agri-food.

Press release

 

Future Food Institute, FAO partner to tackle food, climate crisis
The Future Food Institute (FFI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have launched a new partnership to promote food innovation in the agribusiness sector. It will provide education, training, and knowledge to generate and accelerate positive social, cultural, economic, and environmental impact around the world.

The FAO–FFI Joint Program will work closely with industry professionals, farmers, chefs, children, young talent, and Generation Z worldwide to mitigate the climate crisis with a series of capacity-building events and workshops across Europe, Asia, and the United States.

The program is based on the scientifically accurate FAO e-learning platform. With an ambition to reach millions of users, the platform is regularly updated and enriched with advanced pedagogical methods. It continually works to direct, facilitate, and accelerate a collective effort towards achieving the 17 objectives and goals (SDGs) laid out in the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations by 2030.

“This partnership aims to accelerate exponential positive change. We will achieve this by considering innovation in agribusiness as a key solution for the most urgent challenges we are facing,” said José Graziano da Silva, director general of the FAO. “Food is at the center of this equation. Farmers, food industry leaders, food experts, innovators, and cooks represent the engine of change. Technology and digital platforms are the enablers. “

The first FAO and FFI joint activity will focus on capacity building and scaling up of education. To kick off the partnership, Future Food for Climate Change Summer Schools will open this summer and deliver a series of training sessions for climate change and food shapers. The summer schools will bring together students and pioneers from around the world to codesign tangible strategies and innovations. These will be focused on accelerating positive action towards the climate and SDGs and facilitate a transition towards the sustainable development framework. Dates are:

  • New York: July 10–17 with a focus on Smart Cities
  • Tokyo: August 1–7 with a focus on Smart Farms
  • Iceland, September 1–7 with a focus on Smart Oceans

Press release

 

IFT Research Briefs

Identical twins have different responses to the same food
The first results from the largest ongoing scientific nutrition study of its kind suggest that individual responses to the same foods are unique, even between identical twins. Researchers—led by an international team of leading scientists including researchers from King’s College London, Massachusetts General Hospital, and nutritional science company ZOE— presented their findings at the American Society of Nutrition and the American Diabetes Association conferences.

For the study, the researchers monitored 1,100 UK and U.S. adults (60% twins) for blood sugar, insulin, fat levels (triglycerides), and other blood markers in response to a combination of standardized and freely chosen meals over two weeks. The study included a full supervised day in the hospital with regular blood draws and wearable devices to capture sleep and exercise. Individuals also logged their food intake, hunger, and medication in an app, in addition to other clinical investigations such as gut microbe analysis.

The results revealed a wide variation in blood responses to the same meals, whether they contained carbohydrates or fat. For example, some participants had rapid and prolonged increases in blood sugar and insulin, which are linked to weight gain and diabetes. Others had fat levels that peaked and lingered in the bloodstream hours after a meal, raising the risk of developing heart disease.

This large variation is only partly explained by genetic factors (less than 50% for glucose, less than 30% for insulin, and less than 20% for triglycerides) and there is only a weak correlation between an individual’s responses to fat and carbohydrates.

Identical twins who share all their genes and most of their environment often had different responses to identical foods. The study also found that identical twins shared just 37% of their gut microbes—only slightly higher than the 35% shared between two unrelated individuals.

Surprisingly, the proportions of nutrients such as fat, proteins, and carbohydrates listed on food labels explain less than 40% of the differences between individuals’ nutritional responses to meals with similar amounts of calories. There are also large differences in responses to the same meals depending on the time of day they are eaten.

The results suggest that personal differences in metabolism due to factors such as the gut microbiome, meal timing, and exercise are just as important as the nutritional composition of foods, supporting the idea that simple nutritional labeling is insufficient for assessing food.

“For the first time, we’re expanding large-scale nutritional research beyond blood sugar,” said Sarah Berry, associate professor in nutritional sciences at King’s College London and scientific advisor at Zoe. “These findings show that the responses to food of a number of key metabolic markers—including triglycerides, insulin, and blood sugar—are highly individualized. No one has been able to combine data on this scale before.”

News release

 

Generational divergence in the notion of ‘healthy living’
Seven in 10 U.S. Gen Z consumers say that they have increased their physical activity in order to improve their health and wellbeing, according to new research conducted by Innova Market Insights highlighting key differences in the ways in which specific age groups approach this issue.

Younger consumers are tending to adopt a more holistic view of health, according to the 2018 U.S. consumer survey. At the other end of the age range, however, Baby Boomers are more focused on healthy aging, with 52% of U.S. Boomers having made changes to their diet to improve their health and wellbeing.

Consumers in the central age groups are more inclined to consider mental as well as physical wellbeing. Younger U.S. Millennials are focused on balancing body and mind, with 53% seeking to increase their “happiness.” This group is a strong target for foods that can deliver health and indulgence at the same time.

For older U.S. Gen X consumers, mental health is even more important and 55% are taking steps to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Healthier formulation is a long-standing focus for food and beverage innovators, but there is now much more to consider under the umbrella of health and wellbeing, and it is essential for brand owners to understand the lifestyles and attitudes of their target audience,” said Lu Ann Williams of Innova Market Insights.

Press release

 

Tart cherry may decrease joint, muscle pain in some breast cancer patients
A study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting earlier this month suggests that tart cherry reduces the musculoskeletal effects of aromatase inhibitors in patients with nonmetastatic breast cancer, according to new findings from a clinical trial by researchers at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are a standard treatment for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. These agents can help prevent recurrence of the disease by inhibiting the action of aromatase, an enzyme responsible for conversion of androgens to estrogens. About half of patients who take AIs also suffer from joint and muscle pain known as aromatase inhibitor induced arthralgia, which, at times, can be debilitating and cause patients to not complete their treatments.

This randomized, double-blind trial compared the consumption of 1 oz of tart cherry concentrate in 8 oz of water daily for six weeks with a placebo group in women with stage 1, 2, or 3 nonmetastatic breast cancer. A total of 60 patients were enrolled throughout the course of the clinical trial, conducted May 2016 to August 2018.

The patients documented their pain intensity at the start of the trial, weekly, and at study completion. Patients who completed the trial recorded a 34.7% mean decrease in pain compared to 1.4% in the placebo group.

“The flavonoids and anthocyanins in tart cherry have anti-inflammatory properties and may be playing a role in reducing the side effects of joint pain and muscles aches, although etiology of aromatase-induced arthralgias remain unclear at this time,” said principal investigator Maria Tria Tirona, professor of hematology-oncology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and director of medical oncology at Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. “There was a statistically significant difference in the pain levels experienced by patients in the group that received the tart cherry concentrate compared to the placebo group.”

Press release

 

Consuming foods high in AGEs may increase prevalence to food allergies
Research presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition suggests that the rise in childhood food allergies is linked to foods that contain what scientists refer to as “advanced glycation end products” or AGEs.

AGEs are proteins or lipids that become glycated after exposure to sugars and are present at high levels in “junk foods”—deriving from sugars, processed foods, microwaved foods, and roasted or barbequed meats. AGEs are already known to play a role in the development and progression of different oxidative-based diseases including diabetes, atherosclerosis (where plaque builds up inside the arteries), and neurological disorders, but this is the first time an association has been found between AGEs and food allergy.

Researchers observed three groups of children aged 6–12 (61 children in total): those with food allergies, those with respiratory allergies, and healthy controls. The study revealed a significant correlation between subcutaneous levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and junk food consumption, and further, that children with food allergies presented with higher levels of subcutaneous levels of AGEs than those children with respiratory allergies or no allergies at all. In addition, the research team found compelling evidence relating to the mechanism of action elicited by AGEs in determining food allergy.

“As of yet, existing hypotheses and models of food allergy do not adequately explain the dramatic increase observed in the last years—so dietary AGEs may be the missing link,” said principal investigator Roberto Berni Canani, University Federico II in Italy. “Our study certainly supports this hypothesis; we now need further research to confirm it. If this link is confirmed, it will strengthen the case for national governments to enhance public health interventions to restrict junk food consumption in children.”

News release

 

Competition looks to reinvent food production systems for space travel
At the Nation of Makers annual conference, held June 15–16 in Chattanooga, Tenn., Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden launched its Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest, a three-year multidisciplinary endeavor to leverage the ingenuity of minds across the United States to reinvent the systems used to grow edible plants on the International Space Station (ISS) and beyond.

The contest is open to professional, college, and high school teams. Entries to the contest will be assessed and judged by NASA engineers and botanists, and winning proposals will be considered for implementation on future NASA missions.

Grants totaling approximately $1 million from NASA ($750,000) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services ($250,000) support the new, first-of-its-kind community workspace dedicated to the technology of growing food. It will serve students in elementary, middle and high schools, local community members of all ages, and makers throughout the U.S.

As NASA looks toward a long-term human presence beyond Earth orbit, they face specific science, technology, engineering, and mathematics challenges related to food production in space. Through the Maker Contest, Fairchild’s goal is to harness the creativity and talent throughout a national network, and its local community, to address those challenges, which include:

  1. How to efficiently use three-dimensional plant growing space aboard spacecraft.
  2. How to maintain plants without human intervention.
  3. How to design a fully automated robotic planting and harvesting system.

In the first phase, Fairchild hopes to attract as many as 100 teams to participate. In the second phase, judges will award $500 to 15 teams to support prototyping and testing of their design. In the final phase, three top winners will be chosen in each category—professional, college, and high school. The winners will receive a stipend to attend the 2020 Nation of Makers annual conference. Designs must be submitted by Feb. 3, 2020, and the winning designs will be announced Feb. 14, 2020.

Press release

 

IFT Company News

Mondelēz International invests $6 million in UK technical center
Mondelēz International has announced it is investing $6 million in its Reading Science Center in the United Kingdom to support the development of new chocolate, biscuit, and candy products, serving over 150 different countries. The Reading Science Center is currently home to over 290 scientists, chemists, food technologists, and other specialists. The new investment will result in the creation of 50 food science and engineering jobs over the next five years.

The announcement is aligned with the company’s strategy to develop a global network of technical hubs strategically positioned around the world. These technical centers support the company’s growth-oriented innovation agenda as they improve speed, efficiency, and effectiveness, while enabling the company to address evolving consumer needs more quickly. The new Reading investment comes on top of the company’s previously announced global investment of $65 million in its 11 technical centers around the world.

“Our mission at Mondelēz International is simple—to offer consumers the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. And our global technical center network is crucial to support this,” said Rob Hargrove, executive vice president, Research, Development and Quality. “Reading is our largest global R&D center dedicated to research work and, as such, it’s a central hub for food testing and analysis for all our product categories. This new investment will enable us to further accelerate our understanding of the science behind our products.”

Press release

 

Zume moves from pizza to sustainable packaging
Zume Inc., the company known for automated-pizza-delivery trucks, has launched Zume Source Packaging—the first-of-its-kind packaging technology that uses plant-based materials to create a cost-competitive alternative to plastic when manufactured at scale. The company is also announcing its acquisition of Pivot Packaging, a leader in the sustainable packaging space, and the launch of a 70,000-sq-ft manufacturing plant in Southern California, the first of several planned manufacturing facilities Zume is building in the United States.

“A more sustainable food future must start with packaging. That’s why we’re teaming with some of the world’s leading food brands to reach our goal of eliminating plastic and styrofoam in fresh foods and food delivery,” said Alex Garden, Zume’s CEO and chairman.

Zume has initially set a target of replacing one billion plastic and styrofoam food containers by 2020 with the aim of reducing the number of single-use plastics from entering the waterways and landfills. Zume Source Packaging repurposes agricultural waste from sources such as bagasse (sugarcane fiber), bamboo, wheat, straw, and other organic fibers. The use of agricultural waste significantly reduces water and energy use and carbon emissions in its production and disposal relative to plastic and styrofoam. After use, Zume’s compostable packaging breaks down into organic material and can be used again to regenerate soil or other organic matter.

Compostable packaging in its current state can’t mirror the adaptability and durability characteristics of plastic and is up to 50%–100% more expensive than plastic. Zume Source Packaging addresses these historical challenges with its proprietary set of formulas and forming and finishing processes to create moldable fiber that is intended to maintain the freshness and quality of perishable food compared to paper-based packaging.

The company is driving down the cost of molded fiber by innovating a new flexible manufacturing cell technology production technique that can produce unique shapes with higher yields and faster cycle times than traditional manufacturing methods. The company’s packaging business is protecting this innovation with an IP strategy.

Zume first entered the food packaging industry in 2016 with the launch of the Zume Pizza Pod: the first 100% compostable pizza box made of sugarcane. Produced with fibers from sugarcane waste, the Pod helps keep pizza fresh and warm in delivery and provides an environmentally friendly alternative to cardboard and was recognized by Dupont as a packaging innovator and Diamond Finalist in the 29th DuPont Awards. With the acquisition of Pivot Packaging, with whom Zume codeveloped the Pod, that design is now being transformed into other prepared food containers such as cups, bowls, plates, utensils, and serving tray

Press release

 

Kellogg restructures and cuts 150 jobs
According to Reuters, Kellogg has announced it will cut about 150 jobs and take a $35 million hit to trim its North American operations following the sale of Keebler biscuits and a handful of other brands for $1.3 billion in April.

The announcement comes one month after similar steps in Europe aimed at streamlining Kellogg’s operations and focusing on core businesses. The company’s shares lost around 10% of their value last year and are down by more than a third from peaks hit in mid-2016.

“This transaction will result in a smaller, more focused (North American) portfolio with fewer brands ... requiring a simpler, more agile, and rightsized organization,” said Kris Bahner, senior vice president for Global Corporate Affairs.

The company expects the restructuring moves in Europe and North America to be completed by end of 2020.

Reuters article

 

Arla uses AI to predict milk output more accurately
Every year, Arla Foods collects around 13 billion kilos of milk from its 10,300 farmer–owners across Northern Europe. Now, Arla has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to better predict how much milk 1.5 million cows will produce in the future. Before, this kind of forecast involved a manual process and took days to create. But with the new tool, it only takes a few hours and is more accurate.

Using AI, Arla is able to create the milk intake forecast from a much richer data foundation. It includes things like seasonal changes, the number of farmers converting to new milk types, the farmers’ geographical characteristics, as well as how much milk they produce on a daily basis. The improved milk intake forecast means that 200 million kilos of milk can be utilized better each year. For example, it is now possible to make the distinction between how much milk should be collected from farmers in North Germany and West Germany three to five months ahead of time.

The new milk intake forecasting tool is implemented in all Arla’s markets across Europe, including Denmark, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

“The better we are at predicting what our milk intake will be, the better we can plan and optimize our entire value chain, which both improves profitability for our farmer–owners and drives sustainability. The new AI tool provides us with an insight into our supply of milk that we have never had before,” said Michael Bøgh Linde Vinther, director of global milk planning, Arla.

Press release

 

Sara Lee Frozen Bakery opens innovation center, kitchen
According to the Daily Herald, Sara Lee Frozen Bakery has opened a 10,000-sq-ft research and development innovation center and test kitchen in its headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The Kitchens of Sara Lee facility will focus on the innovation and expansion of new flavors and product lines. The innovation center features a fully equipped test kitchen, lab, storage, and presentation space and is custom designed for customer showcase and co-collaboration.

“This new collaborative space brings our culinary experts together with our sales and marketing team to accelerate our product innovation, anticipate new trends and create many more irresistible foods for our customers for years to come,” said Craig Bahner, Sara Lee Frozen Bakery CEO.

Newly appointed Research & Development Director Judy Lindsey will lead the team of product innovators and culinary experts, which has doubled in size since Sara Lee Frozen Bakery became an independent company in July 2018.

Sara Lee Frozen Bakery, which makes frozen bakery and dessert products under the Sara Lee, Van’s, Chef Pierre, and Bistro Collection brands, brought the brand’s headquarters back to Oakbrook Terrace after it was sold by Tyson Foods in 2018. Tyson picked up the brand in a 2014 acquisition of Hillshire Brands, which was created after the Downers Grove, IL-based Sara Lee Corp. split into two companies in 2012.

Daily Herald article

 

Lamb Weston opens expanded operations in Oregon
Lamb Weston Holdings has completed expansion of its operations in Hermiston, Ore. The $250-million investment announced in 2017 adds a new processing line to the existing facility, increasing the company’s processing capacity for making frozen french fries. The expansion adds approximately 150 jobs to the local economy.

The 300,000-sq-ft expansion adds a new processing line to the company’s existing facility, increasing production capacity by approximately 300 million pounds annually. More than 500 employees will make nearly 750 million pounds of frozen french fries annually. Products made in Hermiston are served in restaurants in the United States and globally.

Press release

 

IFT Regulatory News

Canada finalizes regulations for the production, sale of cannabis edibles
The Canadian government has announced amendments to the Cannabis Regulations setting out the rules governing the legal production and sale of edible cannabis, cannabis extracts, and cannabis topicals. In keeping with the federal government’s public health approach to the legalization and strict regulation of cannabis, the amended regulations seek to reduce the health risks of these cannabis products. At the same time, the amendments provide for a broad diversity of cannabis products, which will help displace the illegal market.

As required by the Cannabis Act, the amended regulations will come into force on Oct. 17, 2019. However, it will take time, after that date, before new cannabis products become available for purchase. It is expected that a limited selection of products will appear gradually in physical or online stores, and no earlier than mid-December 2019.

Federal license holders will need to provide 60-days notice to Health Canada of their intent to sell new products, as they are currently required to do. Additionally, as with any new regulatory framework, federally licensed processors will need time to become familiar with and prepare to comply with the new rules and to produce new products. Provincially or territorially authorized distributors and retailers will also need time to purchase and obtain the new products and make them available for sale.

Public education and awareness efforts are critical to informing adult consumers about the unique health and safety risks posed by these cannabis products. Health Canada has released new evidence-based resources and updated content on its website to support consumers in making informed decisions about cannabis.

“The amended regulations under the Cannabis Act will support our overarching goal of keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and protecting Canadians by helping to mitigate the health risks posed by these new cannabis products,” said Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s minister of health. “I encourage adult Canadians who choose to consume cannabis to remember to store it safely out of the reach of children and youth, and to consult the new evidence-based resources on Health Canada’s website that can support you in making informed decisions.”

Press release

 

FDA issues final guidance on labeling of added sugars from honey, maple syrup
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final guidance to provide clarity on the labeling of added sugars for single-ingredient packages or containers of pure honey, maple syrup, and other single ingredient sugars and syrups as a result of a requirement contained in the Farm Bill. These single-ingredient products are not required to declare the number of grams of added sugars in a serving of the product on the Nutrition Facts label but must still include the percent Daily Value for added sugars to ensure that consumers have information about how a serving of these products contributes to their total diet. Daily Values are the amounts in grams, milligrams, or micrograms recommended for certain nutrients, or recommended not to exceed for certain other nutrients, for Americans aged 4 and older.

The FDA is stating its intent to exercise “enforcement discretion” by permitting the use of the “†” symbol immediately following the added sugars percent Daily Value declaration, which leads to a footnote inside the Nutrition Facts label explaining the amount of added sugars that one serving of the product contributes to the diet as well as the contribution of a serving of the product toward the percent Daily Value for added sugars. The symbol and footnote are not a requirement, but FDA encourages manufacturers to use them as a way to provide useful information to consumers.

The final guidance also provides clarification on the labeling requirements for certain dried cranberry products and cranberry beverage products. These products must still declare added sugars in grams and declare the percent Daily Value for added sugars. However, the FDA is stating its intent to exercise enforcement discretion for these cranberry products to allow the use of a symbol immediately following the added sugars percent Daily Value declaration leading to a statement outside the Nutrition Facts label explaining that sugars are added to improve the palatability of naturally tart cranberries. Manufacturers can use the symbol for cranberry products that are sweetened with added sugars and that contain total sugars at levels no greater than comparable products. A comparable product for cranberry beverage products would be unsweetened grape juice. This approach was outlined in a draft guidance issued February 2018 and has not changed in the final guidance.

Finally, the FDA is advising manufacturers of single-ingredient packages and/or containers of pure honey, pure maple syrup, and other pure sugars and syrups, as well as the cranberry products discussed in the guidance of its intent to exercise enforcement discretion until July 1, 2021 for complying with the labeling changes outlined in the Nutrition Facts label rule and the serving size rule. The FDA is taking this action because it recognizes the importance of giving manufacturers of the products discussed in the guidance additional time to make appropriate label changes consistent with the Farm Bill and the final guidance.

Press release

 

EFSA issues new advice on phosphates
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has issued new advice concerning phosphates after finding that the estimated total intake of phosphates from food may exceed the safe level set by the agency. EFSA’s scientists recommend the introduction of maximum permitted levels to reduce the content of phosphates when used as additives in food supplements as those who take them regularly may be at risk.

Phosphates are essential nutrients (a form of phosphorus), which are present naturally in the human body and are an essential part of our diet. A group of substances commonly referred to as “phosphates” are authorized as food additives in the European Union. They are added to a wide range of foods for “technological” functions (e.g., as emulsifiers, antioxidants). Some of them can be used in foods for infants and young children.

“The panel has reassessed the safety of phosphates and derived, for the first time, a group acceptable daily intake (ADI) of 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight [mg/kg bw] per day,” said Ursula Gundert-Remy, chair of EFSA’s working group on phosphates. “Because phosphates are also nutrients and essential to our diets, in our approach we defined an ADI which considers the likely phosphorus intake from various sources, including natural sources and food additives.”

The ADI corresponds to an intake of 2.8 grams of phosphorus per day for an average adult weighing 70 kg (about 154 lb).

Dietary exposure was calculated from the total amount of phosphorus from all dietary sources and not limited to the levels in food additives reported by manufacturers. The experts estimated that food additives indicatively contribute between 6%–30% of the total average intake of phosphorus.

“We estimated that dietary exposure to phosphates may exceed the new ADI for infants, toddlers, and children with average consumption of phosphates in their diet. This is also the case for adolescents whose diet is high in phosphates,” said Maged Younes, chair of EFSA’s expert Panel on Food Additives and Flavorings (FAF). “The data we had did not give rise to safety concerns in infants below 16 weeks of age consuming formula and food for medical purposes containing phosphates.”

Existing maximum permitted levels of these additives in food range from 500 to 20,000 mg/kg of food depending on the food type.

EFSA’s scientific advice will inform risk managers in the European Commission and Member States who regulate the safe use of phosphates as food additives in the EU.

Press release

 

FDA announces new qualified health claims for omega-3s and heart disease
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it does not intend to object to the use of certain qualified health claims stating that consuming eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids in food or dietary supplements may reduce the risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease.

Specifically, the FDA responded to a health claim petition submitted by The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s in a letter of enforcement discretion. Enforcement discretion means that FDA does not intend to object to the claim if it is used consistent with the factors described in the letter of enforcement discretion. The FDA determined that the overall evidence did not meet the “significant scientific agreement” standard required for an authorized health claim but did meet the “credible evidence” standard for a qualified health claim in the labeling of conventional foods and dietary supplements.

The agency found that while there is some credible evidence suggesting that combined intake of EPA and DHA from conventional foods and dietary supplements may reduce the risk of hypertension by lowering blood pressure, this evidence is inconclusive and highly inconsistent. EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in some fatty fish, fish oils, and dietary supplements.

The FDA thoroughly reviewed the 717 publications cited by the petitioner. The FDA also considered other written data and information, including studies published after the petition was submitted and studies cited in public comments about the petition. The FDA posted the petition for comment and received 22 comments in response to the petition.

Under FDA’s health claim regulations, foods and dietary supplements that bear a health claim must meet requirements regarding levels of certain nutrients. These requirements and the enforcement discretion factors the FDA intends to consider for the use of this qualified health claim are described in detail in the letter of enforcement discretion issued to the petitioner. One of these enforcement discretion factors is that dietary supplements and conventional foods labeled with the qualified health claim contain at least 0.8 g EPA and DHA (combined total) per serving.

To prevent consumer deception about the strength of the science underlying the new claim, the qualified health claim must be accompanied by a disclaimer or other qualifying language that accurately describes the level of scientific evidence supporting the claim.

Press release

 

USDA to relocate ERS, NIFA to the Kansas City region
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to the Kansas City Region.

“Following a rigorous site selection process, the Kansas City region provides a win win—maximizing our mission function by putting taxpayer savings into programmatic outputs and providing affordability, easy commutes, and extraordinary living for our employees,” said Perdue. “The Kansas City Region will allow ERS and NIFA to increase efficiencies and effectiveness and bring important resources and manpower closer to all of our customers.”

USDA conducted a Cost Benefit Analysis and conservative estimates show a savings of nearly $300 million nominally over a 15-year lease term on employment costs and rent or about $20 million per year, which will allow more funding for research of critical needs like rural prosperity and agricultural competitiveness, and for programs and employees to be retained in the long run, even in the face of tightening budgets. On top of that, state and local governments offered generous relocation incentives packages totaling more than $26 million. Finally, this relocation will give the USDA the opportunity to attract a diverse staff with training and interest in agriculture.

Press release

 

Recall linked to ADM flour expands
On June 14, Hometown Food, an additional customer of ADM Milling, issued a press release to inform customers of the recall of 5-lb bags of Pillsbury Best Bread Flour with UPC Code 0 5150020031 5 and the following lot codes and use-by dates:

  • Lot Code: 8 342; Use-By Date: June 8, 2020
  • Lot Code: 8 343; Use-By Date: June 9, 2020

This product was distributed in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

In addition to the Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, the recall includes the following brands:

  • ALDI Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour: All 5-lb bags, all lot codes, and all best if used by dates for product distributed in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia.
  • King Arthur Flour: 5-lb bags of unbleached all-purpose flour with the following lot codes and best by dates: Best Used by 12/07/19, Lot L18A07C; Best Used By 12/08/19; Lots L18A08A, L18A08B; Best Used By 12/14/19; Lots L18A14A, L18A14B, L18A14C.

Recall alert

 

IFT IFT & Meeting News

Short Course: Design Thinking: Powerful Methods to Improve your Product Development
July 17–18 | Chicago, IL | IFT Headquarters
Learn about design thinking and why it’s one of the best tools for all stages of product development. Whether your company makes consumer products, ingredients, packaging, or machinery – this workshop provides basic concepts in design thinking and brings those concepts to life with small group exercises. Over the two days, you’ll practice techniques to discover unmet consumer needs, define problems and brainstorm solutions, define value propositions and business models, pitch concepts, and get customer feedback. Learn more.

Webcast: Clean Meat: Navigating the Safety and Regulatory Landscape
July 30 | 11 a.m.–12 p.m. CT | Quality Assurance Division
Get a deeper exploration of the regulatory and safety aspects of cell-based meat. Join us to engage with industry and regulatory experts in the field. Learn more.

Give your career a boost in 2019!
How has becoming a Certified Food Scientist (CFS) helped Yousef Al Saadi, PhD, CFS? “Becoming a CFS has helped me gain tremendous credibility with employers, customers, and professionals.”

Are you considering taking the Certified Food Scientist (CFS) exam in 2019? If so, check out the online CFS Prep Course and standalone CFS Practice Test, both designed with input from experts in various food science fields to help candidates prepare for the exam. Check your eligibility for the CFS and apply for the exam today. Learn more at ift.org/certification. Questions about renewing your CFS? Access the free recorded webcast for a quick overview of the renewal process at ift.org/CFSrenew.

Volunteer globally: Give back to the global food community
Through Feeding Tomorrow, the foundation of IFT, you can apply for global opportunities to leverage your technical knowledge to provide scalable, sustainable, safe, and nutritious food technology solutions for regions with the most critical needs. Learn more.

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