In the recent past, information published in Food Technology on topics ranging from probiotics to organic food safety to foods marketed to women was referenced in consumer news outlets such as Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine, The (Raleigh, NC) News-Observer, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, and The Bangkok (Thailand) Times, all in one month alone, May 2002. And in April 2003, information published in Food Technology was relayed to readers of The New York Times Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, WebMD Web site, and elsewhere.
While subscribers of Food Technology may be acquainted with these other publications, odds are slim that their frequent readers regularly seek out Food Technology. Thus, when IFT information is deemed worthy of popular news coverage, its reach expands to new and important audiences.
A lengthy May 4, 2003, article in The New York Times Magazine entitled “The Futures of Food” drew extensively from past issues of Food Technology to provide the author’s opinions of and expectations for future product choices. A supplement to the parent publication’s Sunday issue and accessible via its Web site, The New York Times Magazine mirrors the Sunday paper’s circulation of 1.6 million, the largest distribution of any national daily newspaper.
Proving at least in part that timing is everything, Food Technology’s April cover story on top food trends reached editors of the San Francisco Chronicle’s food and dining section who were compiling information for an article on consumers’ alternatives for reducing carbohydrate intake. The article, “Now, low-carbos can have their beer and nachos, too,” specifically noted from Food Technology’s cover story that “More than one-third of consumers believe cutting carbs is a good strategy for improving long-term health, and 37 percent believe it is a reliable means of weight loss.” San Francisco Chronicle is the nation’s 15th-largest newspaper, circulating nearly 500,000 papers daily.
The online publication WebMD took the cover story information a full step further, publishing on April 29 a synopsis of all top ten food trends. Among the most popular Web sites for physicians and the general public seeking health care information, WebMD content—including that article—is also shared via major Web sites, including the Microsoft and Lycos Web portals. WebMD claims 18 million online users monthly.
Research by IFT Food Science Communicator Dean Cliver, University of California at Davis, provides another example of food science expertise’s making a high-profile appearance in a nontraditional outlet. In the April issue of First for Women magazine, Cliver’s research on the microbiological safety of kitchen sponges made the list of seven ways to feel better that was featured in the health know-how section. To increase readers’ odds of dodging the flu, the magazine seconded Cliver’s safety recommendations to give kitchen sponges a 30- or 60-second zap in the microwave to effectively sanitize them before and after use. First for Women publishes 17 issues annually, with a paid circulation of 1.4 million.
Rapid-Response Food Science Communicator Charles Santerre, Purdue University, piqued the interest of a television production company specializing in science topics, and parlayed that connection into nationwide distribution of a news story on fish toxicology testing. Development of Santerre’s new heavy metals testing technique reached audiences in Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Baltimore, Houston, San Diego, Chicago, and elsewhere via NBC-TV affiliated stations. In the four-day period April 11–14, the feature aired in at least 26 markets coast-to-coast.
One month earlier, Santerre, accompanied by IFT members Charles Sizer and Karen Huether of the National Center for Food Safety & Technology, was featured live on WGN-AM 720 in Chicago. The popular radio program Extension 720, hosted by Milt Rosenberg, dedicated its two-hour time period March 18 to the topic of food safety. Topics addressed extensively by Santerre, Sizer, and Huether ranged from acrylamide and toxicology, E. coli and pathogenicity, to food allergies, additives, and dietary supplements. The three IFTers also answered audience call-in questions that included interest in organic foods, sugar substitutes, and government regulatory actions. WGN-AM is Chicago’s top-rated radio station. Rosenberg’s show has aired there for 30 years.
by JAMES N. KLAPTHOR
Media Relations Manager