FAO, WHO evaluate Codex
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a joint evaluation in April of their Food Standards Program, including the international food code, Codex Alimentarius Commission, so that it best serves the concerns of all (the rich and poor) regarding health, safety, and trade in food.

This is the first evaluation process of the Codex Alimentarius and its standard-setting mechanisms after 40 years of operations. The two organizations are inviting comments from the public to ensure that all those with a stake in the use of these food standards could make their views known. The world has changed dramatically since the Codex Alimentarius Commission was established 40 years ago. Public concern over food safety issues is now widespread, and consumers are much more aware of what they regard as threats to their health and of their rights to full information on foods. The link between safe food, a balanced diet, and the overall health and productivity of the population is increasingly recognized. The project is being carried out by an independent evaluation team and expert panel and will be completed in early 2003.

FAO is based in Rome, Italy. WHO is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Web site offers HACCP demonstrations
Iowa State University is offering a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) demonstration site on line at www.iowahaccp.iastate.edu.

Developed as a Food Safety Consortium project, the site contains plans, developed at ISU’s meat lab, that small businesses can use as models for writing similar plans tailored to their own plants. The site was developed to offer HACCP plan development and implementation help to small businesses that often lack the substantial in-house resources of their much larger competitors.

The plans cover beef, lamb, pork, poultry, raw ground meat, fully cooked meat products, and heat-treated meat products. Each plan contains a product description, a process flow diagram, hazard assessments, identification of critical limits, record keeping and verification procedures, a slaughter training and observation log, and HACCP forms.

Online lessons for training foodservice operators in HACCP procedures are under development for the site.

The Food Safety Consortium, based in Fayetteville, Ark., is a joint research effort of the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University.

Report shows food industry mergers down
The Food Institute released a report stating that merger and acquisition activity in the food industry has dropped to its lowest level in eight years.

The Food Institute tracked 516 mergers and acquisitions in 2001, 125 fewer (20%) than were documented the prior year, and the lowest level tracked since 1993. Among the segments with the sharpest declines were: restaurant and foodservice, packaging and equipment suppliers, and food processing firms.

However, after two years of decline, merger and acquisition activity in the supermarket industry was on the rise, totaling 27 transactions—three more than in 2000—but most with a smaller scope.

Some of the year’s notable mergers in all fields included the Suiza Foods/Dean Foods deal, giving the combined company 30% of the U.S. fluid milk market. Tyson Foods Inc. also acquired beef and pork processor IBP Inc. Smithfield Foods had wanted to acquire IBP but instead acquired Pinnacle Foods, Moyer Packing Co., The Smithfield Cos., Gorges/Quick-to-Fix Foods, Packerland Holdings, Inc., Stadler Country Hams Inc., and RMH Foods.

Information on obtaining a copy of the report, “Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions: 2001" is available at www.foodinstitute.com. The Food Institute is based in Elmwood Park, N.J.

Fortified foods market reaches $18 billion
A new report shows that total fortified food and beverage market sales have tripled since 1997.

According to The U.S. Market for Fortified Foods: Expanding the Boundaries, a newly published Packaged Facts report available at MarketResearch.com, sales of the total fortified foods market reached almost $18 billion in 2001, tripling the sales figure posted in 1997. Retail sales are forecasted to reach $28.6 billion by 2006. The report states that success within the fortified foods market stems from the industry’s high rate of product development. Consumer willingness to purchase fortified foods when they hit the market is also a factor.

MarketResearch.com provides research reports through an online database of more than 50,000 market research publications from more than 350 publishers.

CAMBIA offers patent database
The Center for the Application of Molecular Biology to International Agriculture (CAMBIA) is offering the CAMBIA Intellectual Property (IP) Resource. This searchable Web-based database, www.cambiaip.org, contains more than 257,000 agriculture-related patents from America, Europe, and the international Patent Co-operation Treaty system.

CAMBIA is based in Australia.

PowerPoint presentation on product development available
An educational PowerPoint presentation on newly emerging methods for product development is now available.

IFT Professional Members Howard Moskowitz, of Moskowitz Jacobs Inc., and Jacqueline Beckley, of the Understanding & Insight Group, have created the presentation, which also includes three videos and a concept optimizer. The presentation includes information on ethnographic observation, foundation studies that give a different twist to ethnography, in-depth interviews by computer and the subsequent text analysis, creation of concept elements by a Delphi technique using consumers on the Internet, rapid conjoint analysis to fine-tune the ideas, and concept optimization to run the results and get the best concepts.

The PowerPoint program is available at www.mji-designlab.com/contact2.html.

Moskowitz Jacobs is based in White Plains, N.Y. The Understanding & Insight Group is based in Denville, N.J.

Assistant Editor