• Food Science Communicator Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., University of Maine, functioned as food science expert in the May issue of Shape magazine and its article, “Superfoods–or Superfrauds?” Receiving high-profile exposure in the article’s sidebar, “Buyer beware: 7 problems with functional foods,” Camire said, “Food manufacturers are adding nutrients and botanicals to food willy-nilly.” In some cases, packing snacks with herbs and alleged nutrients is, “a marketing gimmick to get people to eat junk food,” Camire was quoted. Of significance was her final comment: “You can’t use fortified foods to compensate for dietary indiscretions.” Shape is a national consumer magazine with a monthly circulation of 900,000 copies.
• The News Tribune of Tacoma, Wash., put front and center a two-page feature in its May 6 issue on wood products used in food processing. Entitled, “From Wood to Food,” the article featured full-color photos and graphics on the front page of its business section and utilized comments by Barry G. Swanson, Washington State University. Specifically addressing concerns that could arise if consumers were more aware of how cellulose is used in food production, Swanson said, “The connection (consumers) make with wood pulp is a scary one. People keep thinking they’ll get slivers from it,” he said. “If we start telling people there’s sawdust in ice cream, that’s going to ruin ice cream for a lot of people.” This follows Swanson’s comments in Discover magazine’s March issue in an article on fake fats, entitled, “Can You Stomach It?” The News Tribune is a major daily newspaper in western Washington, circulating nearly 150,000 Sunday papers. Discover distributes one million copies monthly.
• In the February 20 issue of the Los Angeles Times, Dean O. Cliver, University of California-Davis, was quoted in the article, “Mad Cow Risk in U.S. Is Low But Does Exist,” on the chances of bovine spongiform encephalopathy inflicting U.S. cattle. In the May issue of Psychiatric Times, Cliver’s same comments were referenced in a three-page article. “I probably wouldn’t worry too much about eating beef [in the U.K.]. And I certainly would not worry about eating it here,” said Cliver. Cliver also brought readers—and consumers—back to reality with his comments published in the May 16 Los Angeles Times article, “Tainted Cantaloupes Kill 1, Sicken 30.” “We’re expecting to get goodies from around the world, eat them without cooking them, and not get sick,” said Cliver. “That’s just not a realistic expectation.” The Los Angeles Times circulates more than 1.1 million papers daily, while Psychiatric Times reaches 42,000 subscribers.
• What began as a simple Associated Press news wire story cascaded into nationwide exposure for Christina M. Stark, Cornell University. The story, with the most-common headline, “Industry Meets Consumer Demand for Quick Fix,” first ran on May 9 in newspapers ranging from southern California’s Orange County Register (circulation 358,000) and the Tulsa (Okla.) World (150,000) to the New Haven (Conn.) Register (100,000) and The Hawkeye of Burlington, Iowa. (8,000). Over the next week, Stark’s recurring comments appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Salt Lake (Utah) Tribune, and many other newspapers big and small. “No one food makes or breaks a diet—no one entree, no one home-meal replacement and no one fast-food meal,” she said. “What do people do day in and day out? That’s what counts.” The Enquirer and Tribune distribute daily 200,000 and 150,000 papers, respectively.
• Memorial Day weekend turned out to be a big hit among broadcast media seeking expert commentary on the annual start to the picnic- and barbeque-season. Videotaped comments on homemade mayonnaise and dangerous microorganisms made by Michael P. Doyle, University of Georgia, aired May 25 on Kansas City’s CBS affiliate KCTV-TV Ch. 5 during the five o’clock and ten o’clock newscasts. They re-aired Memorial Day on KCTV’s morning news program. Likewise, Doyle’s comments on avoiding cross-contamination during picnics and barbeques aired May 25 on Philadelphia’s CBS affiliate KYW-TV Ch. 3 during the 11 o’clock newscast, and again on the morning news program May 27.
• Linda J. Harris, University of California-Davis, provided her expertise on avoiding cross-contamination of foods to San Francisco’s CBS affiliate KPIX-TV Ch. 5, as aired during the May 25 five o’clock newscast. This was the second time in less than two weeks that Harris had provided KPIX with expert commentary. On May 16, her comments on contaminated cantaloupes in California aired during KPIX-TV’s five o’clock newscast. San Francisco’s KPIX-TV averages 122,000 viewers per newscast in the nation’s fifth-largest market. Kansas City’s KCTV-TV brings in more than 130,000 viewers in market No. 30, and Philadelphia’s KYW-TV boasts more than 225,000 viewers in the fourth-largest television market.
Newsmakers would like to acknowledge the comments made by Mark A. Kantor, University of Maryland, in an article originally published April 11 by the Hartford (Conn.) Courant, “Here’s to Your Health,” focusing on functional foods. Last month, we reported that the story had been circulated in newspapers totaling nearly 500,000 circulation. Since then, the article has appeared in many more outlets and now boasts distribution to newspapers with a total circulation of 1.4 million.
by JAMES N. KLAPTHOR
Media Relations Manager