MyPlate replaces MyPyramid
The food pyramid, MyPyramid, is history, replaced by a dinner plate icon called MyPlate as part of the U.S. government’s efforts to encourage consumers to make healthier food choices.
The symbol, which suggests that consumers fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables and about one-quarter each of grains and protein, is a visual representation of the suggestions for healthy eating habits as presented in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin unveiled the MyPlate symbol at a press conference on June 2.
“MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Vilsack. “This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of helping people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”
Additionally, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has developed the website, www.ChooseMyPlate. gov, to provide resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly information.
FDA seeks comment on food safety
The Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comment on preventive control measures for food facilities as required by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law by President Obama in January 2011.
The law stipulates that registered food and feed facilities must evaluate the food safety hazards that could affect food and feed that the facilities manufacture, process, pack, or hold. They must also identify and implement preventive controls to address those hazards.
Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0238-00011 or in writing to The Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Visit www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/default.htm for more information.
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Organic acids reduce pathogens
Organic acids applied to organic red apples and lettuce showed antibacterial effects against three foodborne pathogens and did not cause significant color changes during storage, according to a study published in Journal of Food Science.
The study researchers inoculated apples and lettuce with a mixture of three strains each of Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes and treated the samples with 1% and 2% organic acids (propionic, acetic, lactic, malic, and citric) for 0, 0.5, 1, 5, and 10 minutes. Their results showed that organic acid treatments produced significant reduction (P < 0.05) in microbes as treatment time and acid concentration increased. They concluded that organic acids can be an alternative to chemical sanitizers for use on organic produce.
The study, “Use of Organic Acids to Inactivate Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Listeria monocytogenes on Organic Fresh Apples and Lettuce,” appeared online early in Journal of Food Science, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2011.02205.x.
Developing coatings from corn starch
A corn starch-based ingredient shows promise as a protective coating for fat-soluble vitamins and may provide a less expensive alternative to other encapsulating agents, reported researchers at Penn State University.
They used high-amylose maize starch and a fatty acid ester, which form a coil with an internal wall that repels water and an exterior wall that attracts water when it comes into contact with fatty esters of fat-soluble vitamins. The coil encapsulates the oil-soluble molecules that move into the center of it.
“There’s an ideal size, and the real work is to get the right balance of the hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties,” said Gregory Ziegler, Professor of Food Science. Starches are common, biodegradable, and easily absorbed by the body so they could be an inexpensive and more environmentally friendly option, but more research is needed, he added.
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Food exhibit debuts
The National Archives has opened a new exhibit that will highlight the federal government’s role in changing the eating habits of Americans.
Called What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam? The Government’s Effect on the American Diet, the exhibit features letters, diaries, photos, maps, petitions, films, patents, and proclamations from the food-related collection of the National Archives. The information will be organized into four themes (farm, factory, kitchen, and table) and will trace the origins of programs and legislation that have affected food safety, nutritional quality of food, and Americans’ food choices and preferences.
The exhibit is open until Jan. 3, 2012, at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.archives.gov/exhibits/whats-cooking/index.html.
Cornell renovates food science building
Cornell University recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a renovation project for 88-year-old Stocking Hall, which houses the university’s Dept. of Food Science.
Part of the renovation will include a new building that will replace the Cornell Dairy Bar and Plant. It will feature a pilot plant, an observation gallery, a wine library and teaching winery, research laboratories, a dairy store, and a sensory evaluation center. Visitors will have the chance to watch milk from the university’s dairy farm be made into ice cream, cheese, and yogurt at the dairy plant. These products will be sold at the facility’s dairy store.
Cornell researchers will expand training for state food and dairy inspectors, farmers, wine makers, and food processors at the new facility. Construction is expected to be complete in 2014.
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Reducing sodium, maintaining flavor
Potassium-based salt replacers and extra aroma compounds could replace significant amounts of sodium chloride without affecting the original flavor profile, reported scientists with Unilever.
They investigated the effects of complex savory flavorings and single aroma compounds on perceived saltiness of beef bouillon and chicken bouillon. The aroma compounds sotolon and abhexon impart a brothy flavor, furfuryl thiol imparts a roasted flavor, and 2-methyl-3-tetrahydrofuranthiol imparts a meaty flavor.
The results showed that adding extra beef flavor to the beef bouillon improved fullness and roasted character to the salt-reduced sample. When only a salt replacer was used in the chicken bouillon sample, panelists reported that saltiness was not fully restored and gave low scores to characteristics including umami, fullness, and chicken flavor. The panelists said that saltiness, umami, fullness, and chicken flavor were fully restored in the chicken bouillon sample with a lower amount of salt replacer and added chicken flavoring. The aroma compounds contributed to the salt enhancement, with sotolon being the most successful with the ability to compensate for 15% salt reduction.
The study, “Saltiness Enhancement by Savory Aroma Compounds,” appeared in the June/July 2011 issue of Journal of Food Science.
What’s new with food companies
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued GRAS status to Algatechnologies’ AstaPure® for use in foods and beverages.
• Fortune magazine has named Archer Daniels Midland Co. the “world’s most admired company” for the third year in a row.
• Beneo’s facility in Pemuco, Chili, has received an International Food Standard certification.
• Cherry Marketing Institute has launched a trade advertising campaign called “Go Red Instead” to promote tart cherries.
• Danisco has agreed to market Arboris’ pine-derived phytosterols.
• HPP Food Services will now offer postpackaging treatment on a contract services basis.
• Nordzucker and PureCircle have formed a joint venture, NP Sweet A/S.
• Organic Education Solutions and Silliker have partnered to provide training and consulting programs.
• SensoryEffects® has acquired Dietrich’s specialty processing business.
• Silliker has opened a laboratory in Lakeland, Fla.
• Tate & Lyle’s Enrich™ quince apple drink has won the best new functional ingredient concept award at the 2011 InnoBev Beverages Summit.
• The Wright Group has launched a product builder, trends, and other interactive features at its website, www.thewrightgroup.net.
• YottaMark has opened a sales and support office in Salinas, Calif., and has formed HarvestMark de México subsidiary in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.