James N. Klapthor

It was a simple news brief on p. 2 of the July 21 Houston Chronicle, but comments made by Barbara Klein, University of Illinois, at IFT’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans had the potential of reaching hundreds of thousands of readers. Speaking on the attributes of canned vegetables vs frozen vegetables, Klein was quoted by the Chronicle, “Your mother was right . . . from the standpoint of our studies, you should eat your vegetables regardless of what form they come in, because they’re all equal in nutritional value.” According to the Chronicle, Klein noted that as many as 25 days pass from when fresh produce is harvested to the time it gets to the dinner table. The Houston Chronicle boasts a circulation of more than 500,000 newspapers daily.

USA Today scooped the competition with a story of reduced-fat fish-oil ice cream that was generated by comments made at IFT’s Annual Meeting by Marvin Rudolph, Arthur D. Little Inc. As noted in the article, “There’s a catch to this healthful ice cream,” published in the July 30 edition of the newspaper, Rudolph proclaims the benefits of utilizing fish oil in the production of ice cream as a means to make the favorite frozen food more nutritious. “Omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in tuna and salmon) have been shown to reduce cardiovascular disease, heart disease, enhance brain function and decrease antidepressant qualities,” Rudolph was quoted as saying. Rudolph noted that because many people don’t get enough fish oil in their daily diet due to its taste, “I put them (fish oils) in a product that would be accessible.” This article first appeared in the Des Moines (IA) Register July 9, under the headline, “Fish Nutrients in Dessert Bowls.” The Register circulates nearly 160,000 copies daily. USA Today is the largest circulated national daily newspaper, distributing more than 1.5 million copies.

USA Today was not the only nationally distributed newspaper that published news generated by the IFT Annual Meeting. The Los Angeles Times published in its August 2 issue an article, “Putting the Squeeze on Germs,” that focused on new high-pressure processing techniques designed to reduce pathogens on food while maintaining the food’s taste and texture. Referring to the high-pressure machinery as a “germ crusher,” the Times quoted Christine Bruhn, University of California-Davis, as an advocate for the process. “It looks promising,” she said. The Times also quoted Jeffrey Barach, National Food Processors Association, who noted that the frequency of large food recalls has kept the issue of food safety on shoppers’ minds. “E. coli, salmonella, and listeria—those microorganism names that have become more and more common in discussion,” Barach said. The Los Angeles Times circulates more than one million newspapers daily, including its national edition.

In its June 28 issue, the Los Angeles Times utilized insight provided by five IFT members—including Barach—in the article, “A New Age for Food’s Shelf Life,” detailing the advances packaging technology has made in providing fresh perishable food to consumers weeks after processing. “The [new] definition of fresh is that it isn’t spoiled. It’s still good,” said Karl Deily, Sealed Air Corp. According to Barach, “What most people [food processors] are looking at, to cover the extra cost of processing, is extending the shelf life two to three times as long.” And Marion Nestle, New York University, added, “It [food] is certainly not going to increase in nutritional value the longer it sits on the shelf.” Aaron Brody, a contributing editor to Food Technology, noted that new technologies can extend shelf life but also dull aroma and flavor. To counter the effect, Brody noted packaging that’s in the development stages that would release appetizing aromas when opened. “That could be a bit deceptive,” said Michael Doyle, University of Georgia. Such flavor capsules could block “the natural defense mechanism that tips us off that [a product is] unsafe.” Near the end of the article, Deily noted that there’s only so far packaging can go to add shelf life to foods. “On fresh products you can only fool Mother Nature for so long,” he said.

IFT’s Expert Panel Report on Biotechnology in Foods is proving it has an extended shelf life, too. In an editorial published August 1 in The Wall Street Journal-Europe, coauthor Henry I. Miller, Stanford University, referenced it as “an authoritative report . . . concluded that ‘the science that underlies [GM] foods does not support more stringent safety standards than those that apply to conventional foods,’ and that the evaluation of GM food and food ingredients ‘does not require a fundamental change in established principles of food safety.’” The Wall Street Journal-Europe is circulated throughout Belgium, France, Germany, and other European countries, with more than 280,000 copies daily.

Media Relations Manager