Brazilian-styled cheese bread wins DMI contest
A student team from the University of Minnesota took top honors at Dairy Management Inc.’s™ Fifth Annual Discoveries in Dairy Ingredients Contest with a Hispanic-influenced product called Fiesta Rolls.

The product, consisting of premium frozen Parmesan cheese rolls influenced by traditional Brazilian bread, was named Best Overall by a judging panel from various food companies. Judges praised the product for its nontraditional approach to dough that reminded one judge more of cheese than bread. Fiesta Rolls also gained kudos for effectively using its packaging space to convey nutritional, promotional, and instructional messages.

The students received a $5,000 award. Team Captain Kristen Schmitz said the product she and her teammate Dana Dronen developed is more than just tasty. 

“Dairy ingredients can provide a lot of flavor,” Schmitz said. “In addition, they can provide superior nutritional qualities. In our case, Fiesta Rolls provide substantive amounts of the RDA for calcium—25% of the RDA in just one serving. Considering the fact that dairy ingredients in Fiesta Rolls account for 37% of the total formula and contribute extensively to the main flavor development, they really are essential to the success of the product.” 

Other winners of the contest, held in February, include Washington State University with a Most Creative award (and $3,000) for its Cheezzlers fruit-flavored string cheese, and Cornell University with a Most Marketable award (and $3,000) for its FroYum! freeze-dried yogurt cereal. A panel of top food industry representatives, including food technologists, judged entries on use of dairy ingredients, originality, product appeal, marketability, and feasibility. The contest is designed to demonstrate the versatility and functionality of dairy ingredients and provide future food technologists with practical experience. 

Winning entries of the U.S. dairy farmer-funded competition will be on display at the DMI booth (1558), at IFT’s 2003 Annual Meeting & Food Expo® in Chicago July 12–16. 

For information on the Discoveries in Dairy Ingredients Contest winners and how to enter the next contest, visit DMI is based in Rosemont, Ill.

Meta-analysis of diet studies says calories count most
A new meta-analysis of 107 diet studies released in April concludes that reduction of calories and longer diet duration is the reason people on low-carbohydrate diets lose weight.

The study, released by Stanford University Medical Center and collaborators at Yale University, analyzed 107 diet studies involving 3,268 people from around the world. The findings indicate that the most important weight reduction factor is calorie restriction. The report, published in the April 9, 2003, issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, is a review of all the scientific literature published on low-carbohydrate diets from 1996 to 2003. 

People who go on low-carbohydrate diets typically lose weight, but restricted caloric intake and longer diet duration are the biggest reasons why, according to the study. No short-term adverse effects of the diet were found, but there is insufficient evidence on the diet’s long-term effects and impact on people over the age of 53. 

“Low-carbohydrate diets have been extremely popular as of late, and the lay press has suggested they’re a safe and effective means of weight loss,” said lead author Dena Bravata of Stanford’s Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research. “While these diets are effective in the short term, weight loss results from reduced calories, not carbohydrate restriction.” 

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Link found between cranberry juice and heart health
A new study finds more reasons to drink cranberry juice. 

Research presented at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in March indicates that drinking three glasses a day significantly raises levels of “good cholesterol” in the blood and increases plasma antioxidant levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. The research was based on human studies. 

Although researchers have long suspected that the antioxidant-rich juice may help lower risk factors for heart disease, no human studies had established such a link until now. The findings are the results of the first long-term study of the effect on cranberry juice on cholesterol levels. Besides heart benefits, previous studies have shown that cranberries can help prevent urinary tract infections and may reduce the risk of gum disease, stomach ulcers, and cancer. 

The study’s lead author, Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in Scranton, Penn., presented the findings at the meeting. 

FAO spearheads new food safety system
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is advocating a new approach to food safety called the “Food Chain Approach” that urges prevention as well as cure. “There are already good standards of safety and hygiene in the meat and dairy processing industries,” FAO Assistant Director-General Hartwig de Haen said. “But we need to give more consideration to hygiene on the farm and the health of the animal, including what it is fed and how it is managed, to avoid contamination of animal products and risks to human health from diseases that can be transmitted to humans.”FAO’s approach includes the adoption of Good Agricultural Practices which establish basic principles for farming, including soil and water management, crop and animal production, storage, processing, and waste disposal. The aim of the food chain approach, which incorporates these improved farming practices, is to ensure that the food chain becomes more transparent so national and global food crises can be prevented rather than treated.

Assistant Editor