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• The terrorist attacks of September 11 heightened American news media’s interest in subjects like bioterrorism, and in at least one instance a major national daily newspaper utilized the opinion of an IFT member to drive home the importance of the topic. In the September 28 issue of USA Today, Douglas Marshall, Mississippi State University, was quoted in the article, “Open Fields Offer a ‘Beautiful Setup,’” that focused on America’s food supply systems and their risk as potential terrorist targets. Marshall noted that beefed-up security methods at ports-of-entry that successfully restricted foot-and-mouth disease from spreading to the United States offer some assurance against possible future intentional outbreaks of foodborne disease. “That would suggest our current system of managing these threats is effective,” Marshall said. But he cautiously added, “Just the idea that someone could manipulate the system to harm you is enough to give you nightmares.” USA Today distributes daily more than 1.6 million copies nationwide.
• Hoping to offer its readers simple solutions for reducing or eliminating stress from their lifestyle, Woman’s World magazine leaned on IFT member Mary Ellen Camire, University of Maine, for smart diet solutions. “There are many simple strategies that can reduce stress hormones,” Camire told readers. The article suggested that readers add breakfast to their regular meal plan, and urged them to ingest sufficient amounts of magnesium, vitamin C, and carbohydrates while also maintaining a simple regimen of exercise. Woman’s World is a full-color, national newsprint tabloid published weekly, boasting a circulation of 1.6 million.
• The importance that diet plays in health was the topic of two articles that relied on the expertise of Paul Lachance, Rutgers University. In the August 22 issue of the Contra Costa (CA) Times, Lachance spoke about high-protein diets for active people in the article, “Try Grains Like Quinoa for a High-Protein Diet.” Anyone with a family history of kidney troubles should be wary of a high-protein diet, Lachance said. “The protein in meat and other sources is highly concentrated,” he said, and “You get about 5.5 calories in every protein gram, but the body only uses 4 grams.” Lachance urged the consumption of grains as an equally important protein source. A heavy-grain diet, Lachance said, “was good enough for loggers at the turn of last century who needed 4,000 to 5,000 calories per day to do their jobs. It seems reasonable to think it’s good enough for athletes and other active people in our push-button society.” He warned, however, that “Eating doughnuts and croissants is not what we had in mind when developing a food pyramid with 6 to 11 daily servings of grains at its base.” The Contra Costa Times circulates 180,000 copies daily.
Lachance also lent his expertise to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in the September 27 article, “Additives Help, But Whole Foods Best.” Lachance noted of today’s consumers, “We’re on the run,” and said that 70% of dinner decisions are made just a few hours beforehand. He correlated such patterns with Americans’ increased obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, and suggested that the need for fortification will only increase as factors such as geography, job mobility, and one-parent homes affect meals. “As these practices continue, individuals are at a greater risk for certain nutrient inadequacies,” he said. The Sun-Sentinel is a daily newspaper based in Fort Lauderdale with a circulation of 240,000.
• Barry Swanson, Washington State University, injected his professional insight into the article, “Putting the Squeeze on Food Processing,” published on August 26 in The Spokesman Review of Spokane, Wash. Commenting on alternative food processing techniques like high-pressure, Swanson reflected, “don’t know how much canned beans, peas or corn you’ve eaten in your day, but most people don’t like them,” he said. “The one [procedure] with the most potential, I think, is high pressure.” The Spokesman Review is the largest daily newspaper in eastern Washington, with more than 110,000 papers printed daily.
• In western Alaska in August, concerns over strange, glowing smoked salmon was alleviated by Brian Himelbloom, University of Alaska. Rows and rows of salmon curing in a Yukon River smokehouse were found to be glowing bright yellow, and one resident of Holy Cross, Alaska, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. she couldn’t believe her eyes. But Himelbloom reminded CBC, its listeners, and online readers throughout the Great White North that glowing sea creatures are not uncommon. “People have seen this when they are out boating,” he said, “They see luminescent bacteria out in the ocean. And they see it in particular in marine food that’s been refrigerated, like squid.” Himelbloom told CBC that the bacteria that’s making the salmon glow is called photobacterium, a naturally occurring organism, and said that it’s safe for people to eat the fish. CBC broadcasts coast-to-coast in Canada via a series of radio and television stations, and operates a comprehensive news Web site at www.cbc.ca.
by JAMES N. KLAPTHOR
Media Relations Manager