USDA unveils new food pyramid
On April 19, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture unveiled MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system. The new symbol replaces the first Food Guide Pyramid, which was introduced in 1992. MyPyramid is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle. It incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which was released by the USDA and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in January. For more information, visit the www.MyPyramid.gov Web site.
CDC re-ranks deaths from obesity
Obesity is the seventh leading cause of preventable death, not the second, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A new study by researchers at CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that obesity kills 112,000 Americans each year—a dramatic decrease from an admittedly flawed study published last year by CDC. That study suggested that obesity killed 400,000 Americans a year. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/fs050419.htm.
Drop in foodborne infections
CDC also announced a report showing a substantial decline in overall foodborne infections due to bacterial pathogens in 2004. According to the report, only one type of foodborne pathogenic infection increased. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r050414.htm.
FSIS solicits research proposals
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is soliciting proposals for cooperative agreement projects to be funded in fiscal year 2005. Proposals should be made in one or more of the following areas: food animal production, transportation, and marketing; small and very small inspected meat, poultry, or egg product establishments; retail stores, foodservice establishments, and other inspection-exempt small businesses processing or handling meat, poultry, and egg products; new technologies for small meat, poultry, and egg product establishments; and testing for microbiological threat agents. FSIS expects to allocate approximately $2,500,000 to fund cooperative agreements in these areas this fiscal year. For more information, see the Federal Register of April 20, 2005 (70 FR 20517-20521).
FDA posts dietary supplement label guide
The Food and Drug Administration has posted a Dietary Supplement Labeling Guide. The guide represents FDA’s current thinking on labeling of dietary supplements. The guide is available at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Nutrition Web site, www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dslg-toc.html.
FDA responds to GRAS request
FDA has responded to an October 5, 2004, request from Novozymes NA, Inc. for GRAS status for a lipase preparation. Based on the information provided by the company, as well as other information available to FDA, the agency has no questions at this time regarding the company’s conclusion that the lipase preparation produced by Aspergillus niger expressing a gene encoding a lipase from Candida antarctica is generally recognized as safe under the intended conditions of use. The agency has not, however, made its own determination regarding the GRAS status of the subject use of this lipase preparation. For more information, visit www.cfsan.fda.gov/~rdb/opa-g158.html.
Resumption of beef trade to Japan and Korea
USDA has announced that a team of experts on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) will travel to South Korea and Japan as part of the continuing efforts to resume U.S. beef and beef product exports. The delegation, led by Deputy Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Charles Lambert, will review how United States BSE prevention programs ensure the safety of U.S. beef. In addition, members of the delegation will encourage both governments to adopt import regulations that are in closer compliance with guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
FDA seeks comment on food label changes
FDA is seeking public comment on two proposals to improve the appearance and content of the nutrition label. The proposals focus on providing practical serving size information and increasing the prominence of calories on the food label. The proposals are in response to the recommendations by FDA’s Obesity Working Group report titled "Calories Count," which offered recommendations based on the fact that weight control is a function of caloric balance. For more information, visit www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/news/2005/NEW01170.html.
by JAMES GIESE