IFT Media Update

July 31, 2009

To:                   Reporters, Editors, Producers
From:               IFT Media Relations

The following news briefs are from the Institute of Food Technologists® (IFT®), a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government.  The briefs are derived from a variety of IFT publications, including the Journal of Food Science, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, and Food Technology magazine.  The monthly media update also includes information on science and policy and IFT events.

For additional information contact 1-800-IFT-FOOD or Jeannie Houchins, MA, RD, jhouchins@ift.org, 312-604-0231.

Making Decisions about the Risks of Chemicals in Foods with Limited Scientific Information

On occasion, food safety managers may detect an undesirable chemical contaminant or unanticipated chemical substance in a food commodity, ingredient, or finished product, thereby warranting an assessment of the health impact of the substance at the level detected. Many times, such an assessment must be made with limited scientific information. In such situations, food safety managers must evaluate the available data and other information and make timely decisions such as whether to implement a food product recall to protect public health and maintain integrity of and confidence in the food supply. 

The Institute of Food Technologists convened a group of experts to (1) examine the complexities that challenge timely decision-making about such substances when available scientific information is limited and (2) define and develop a workable tool to guide food safety managers in effectively and knowledgeably evaluating available scientific evidence pertinent to assessing the risk from exposure to a chemical substance to make timely decisions. This Expert Report delves into the legal U.S. underpinnings of the risk management of chemical substances in foods, international considerations, risk-benefit evaluation, importance of the food matrix to risks and benefits, risk assessment and management, and the need for a new approach to timely decision-making with limited scientific information.

To read the full report and backgrounder: http://members.ift.org/IFT/Research/IFTExpertReports/chemicalsinfoods_report.htm

Beta-Glucans May Lower Cholesterol

The soluble fiber in whole wheat and barley known as beta-glucan may lower LDL cholesterol and thus decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a Food Technology article written by Roger Clemens and Peter Pressman. The beta-glucans from grains appear to function through a variety of mechanisms, such as reducing cholesterol reabsorption and delaying absorption of dietary fat. Other natural sources of beta-glucans are derived from some mushrooms like shiitake.

To read more about studies on the health benefits of beta-glucans: http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/52747E7A-E7A1-4B18-9F53-B12779976B76/0/0709fmh.pdf

The Pleasure Principle

Seeking adventure and enjoyment in everyday eating, U.S. consumers look for foods that are different, fun, and flavorful, but still affordable and easy to prepare at home. One in five consumers has cut back on fast-food visits because the menu no longer appeals to them, according to a study by Technomic.  As the economy continues to cause consumers to cut back on dining out, they’ll be looking for additional excitement in the foods they eat at home, according to A. Elizabeth Sloan in Food Technology magazine.

Read more about how consumers have demonstrated their willingness to splurge on indulgent treats, beverages that ensure enjoyable “me time,” and snack foods that provide a unique, emotional, flavorful, and fun experience: http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/F75A0554-7626-4219-8083-880BC21AFBD4/0/0709feat_pleasureprinciple.pdf

Understanding ‘Green’ Consumers

Seventy-five percent of adults say that eating green or sustainable foods will help them lead a life that is good for the body and the environment, according to an online survey by Strategy One.Whilesustainably produced, “green” products have captured the attention of an increasing number of shoppers, consumers are not sure exactly how sustainability is measured or determined. This presents an opportunity to develop a science-based approach to sustainable food production, writes Christine Bruhn of the University of California Davis in Food Technology.

Read more about green consumers and how the food industry might establish sustainability standards: http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/B941C26F-F5D9-4754-87B9-99EAEC114CE7/0/0709feat_green.pdf

The Diversity of Dairy

In the past, dairy’s benefits were associated predominantly with calcium and vitamin D, but recent research shows that other dairy components such as whey, milk peptides, and milk fat have positive effects on bone health, sports nutrition, digestive health, and weight management. Writing in Food Technology, Linda Milo Ohr covers the health benefits of milk protein, which include developing lean muscle mass and easing joint pain. 

To read more about the diversity of dairy: http://members.ift.org/NR/rdonlyres/9CAEEC66-B850-43BF-970A-55A5967C44DD/0/0709nutra.pdf

IFT Webcast: Risk-Benefit: The Whole Food Approach
July 28, 2009

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. CST

From natural toxicants to environmental contaminants, “whole food” doesn’t always equate to “safe” or “healthy” food. This webcast, which expands upon IFT’s recently released Expert Report: “Making Decisions About the Risks of Chemicals in Foods with Limited Scientific Information,” will help you examine the risks and benefits posed by chemicals found in food products such as seafood and soy, as well as the risks associated with chemicals produced through standard food heating processes.

Read the Expert Report: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122445570/PDFSTART

Credentialed media receive complimentary registration. Visit http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1002086 for more information or contact Jeannie Houchins, MA, RD, jhouchins@ift.org, 312-604-0231 to register.

Have You Seen IFT Food Facts?

To help consumers make informed decisions about  the food they eat, IFT developed IFT Food Facts to provide news consumers can use every day.  Visit www.IFTFoodFacts.org.

About IFT

Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is a nonprofit scientific society with more than 20,000 individual members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT serves as a conduit for multidisciplinary science thought leadership, championing the use of sound science through knowledge sharing, education, and advocacy.

IFT publishes various resources for the food industry, including Food Technology and the Journal of Food Science. The organization also provides a wide range of food science-related continuing education programs. Each year, IFT conducts the world's largest annual forum, the IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo ®, covering the latest food science trends, new product and technology innovations, and scientific applications. As the authoritative voice of food science and technology, IFT contributes to public policy and opinion at national, state, and local levels. IFT's Science and Policy Initiatives department advocates the scientific perspective on food science and technology issues. And, through the IFT Foundation, IFT supports programs such as undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, career guidance programs, and much more.

© 2009 Institute of Food Technologists