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Study Finds That Gingko Biloba Extract Protects Cells From Radiation Damage

October 1, 2009: 08:14 PM EST
Extracts of the leaves of the Gingko biloba tree contain antioxidant compounds that are thought to protect the body’s cells from oxidation damage by free radicals. But now scientists in Korea have found that the extracts may also protect cells from radiation damage. White blood cells were treated either with Gingko biloba extract or with a saline solution, then exposed to radiation. Almost a third of the untreated cells died compared with only one in twenty of the treated cells. The findings suggest that the extracts may some day be used to reduce side effects in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy.
Jeong-hoon Shin, Young-jin Go, et al., "Protective effect of Gingko biloba against radiation-induced cellular damage in human peripheral lymphocytes and murine spleen cells", International Journal of Low Radiation, October 01, 2009, © Inderscience Enterprises Limited
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Trimming U.S. Healthcare Spending: Start By Tackling The Obesity Problem

October 2, 2009: 06:30 AM EST
America is spending $147 billion a year dealing with the medical impact of obesity, which is often the underlying cause of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and other health problems. A recent report found that more than 25 percent of adults in 31 states are obese. In fact, two-thirds of all adult Americans are obese or overweight, and that should be the starting point for healthcare cost cutting. How to tackle the problem? Experts in this article suggest increasing daily physical activity (not just purposeful exercise), designing communities to promote healthier lifestyles, and implementing policy initiatives like taxes on sugary beverages.
Joanna Cosgrove, "The Widening of America ", Nutraceuticals World, October 02, 2009, © Rodman Publishing
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Joint Venture Firm Building Cereal Innovation Center In Switzerland

October 2, 2009: 03:52 AM EST
A joint venture between Swiss food maker Nestlé S.A. and General Mills Inc., has begun construction of an innovation center in Orbe, Switzerland, to develop breakfast cereals that feature better nutrition along with freshness, taste and texture. The joint venture, known as Cereal Partners Worldwide S.A., is the second largest cereal manufacturer in the world, with US$2.8 billion in 2008 sales and is strategically focused on nutrition, health, and wellness. The new center, slated to be completed in mid-2010, is being built with sustainability and low environmental impact in mind.
"New Innovation Centre to accelerate research on breakfast cereal solutions ", Nestle, October 02, 2009, © Nestle
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Isoflavone-Based Menopause Treatments Found Safe

October 2, 2009: 10:11 AM EST
An Austrian meta-analysis of 92 clinical trials involving nearly 10,000 menopausal women found no serious side effects from treatments using phytoestrogens such as soy and red clover isoflavones. Researchers stressed that the findings, published in the American Journal of medicine, did not address the issue of therapy effectiveness, only safety. Isoflavone supplements have been shown to provide symptom relief when taken instead of hormone replacement drugs. Concern was raised when mouse studies suggested that isoflavones stimulated breast cancer cells. But human population studies have found lower breast cancer rates in women who consumed large amounts of soy isoflavones.
Stephen Daniells , "Meta-analysis supports safety of soy, red clover", Food Navigator.com, October 02, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Rosy Future Projected For Foods Enhanced With Prebiotics/Probiotics

October 2, 2009: 05:55 AM EST
New U.S. market research forecasts double-digit growth in the pre- and probiotic markets, thanks to improvements in formulation technology and more knowledgeable consumers. According to Packaged Facts, the pre- and probiotics market will grow by a compound annual rate of 12 percent to $22 billion by 2013. Two key factors fueling the growth: novel formulations increase the array of improvable foods; and consumers are more aware of the link between digestive health and wellness overall. The worldwide retail market for foods and beverages enhanced with pre- and probiotic ingredients was $15 billion in 2008, up 13 percent from 2007.
"Pre/Probiotic Market to Expand as Consumers Better Understand Link Between Digestive Health & Immunity", Nutraceuticals World, October 02, 2009, © Rodman Publishing
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EU Food Authority Rejects Health Claims Of Probiotic Food Products

October 2, 2009: 06:28 AM EST
The UK’s £220 million-a-year probiotics industry was dealt a severe blow by the European Food Safety Authority when EFSA denied 180 health claims of yogurt products as unproven. The Authority completely rejected ten claims while ruling that another 170 simply could not be evaluated due to a lack of evidence. Because of the ruling – which did not apply to the UK’s top-selling yogurt products from Actimel and Yakult – probiotic supplement, yogurt, and drink producers will have to stop claiming health benefits for their products. Altogether, EFSA disallowed two-thirds of 523 claims because of a lack of evidence.
DAILY MAIL REPORTER, "Probiotic yogurt health claims cannot be proven, say EU scientists", DAILY MAIL, October 02, 2009, © Associated Newspapers Ltd.
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Food Safety Authority Approves 175 “General Function” Health Claims

October 1, 2009: 03:16 AM EST
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published favorable opinions on about a third of the 523 health claims submitted for 200 foods and food components. Favorable opinions are issued when there is enough scientific data to back up the claims. The foods and components include vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats, carbohydrates, probiotics, and botanicals. The EFSA said about half of the unfavorable evaluations lacked sufficient data about the claims made. The purpose of the opinions is to ensure that consumers have accurate and healthful dietary information prior to purchasing, the authority stressed.
"EFSA delivers its first series of opinions on ‘general function’ health claims", European Food and Safety Authority, October 01, 2009, © EFSA
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Spanish, French Firms Merge Their Ingredients Activities

October 1, 2009: 10:24 AM EST
Two large European natural ingredients companies have agreed to merge their product lines. Natraceuticals of Spain will become an operating unit of French food ingredients company Naturex. As part of the deal, Natraceuticals will gain a 39 percent stake in Naturex plus €38 million (US$57 million) for Natraceutical, debt or cash. According to a press release, after the merger is closed, Natraceutical Group will develop its nutritional supplements division in Europe, where products such as natural colors, fruit and vegetable powders, pectins, etc., are marketed exclusively in pharmacies under the Forté Pharma brand name.
"Naturex and Natraceutical Group sign their merge in ingredients", Naturex, October 01, 2009, © Naturex
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Research Confirms Omega-3 Fats From Fish Oil Are Effective For Heart Health

October 1, 2009: 08:54 AM EST
Research conducted around the world continues to find significant cardiac benefits from eating oily fish like salmon and taking fish oil supplements. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are not produced by the human body but are good for the heart. A key benefit is their ability to reduce fatty particles in the blood called triglycerides. In fact, a 2008 study of 4,500 heart failure patients found that a daily fish oil supplement decreased the risk of dying by seven percent over four years, the Forbes article notes.
Cognis Nutrition and Health, "Forbes Magazine Names Omega-3 Fish Oil 'One Supplement That Works'", NPI Center, October 01, 2009, © NPI Center
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Cellulose Enzyme Product Deemed Safe For Use In Wine, Beer, Juices

October 1, 2009: 03:02 AM EST
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has informed biofuels manufacturer Dyadic International that a cellulose enzyme preparation derived from a genetically modified strain of its proprietary C1 organism is safe to use in producing wine, beer and fruit juices. The Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) designation basically means the FDA, at the recommendation of an expert panel, finds no reason to believe a product is unsafe. Dyadic said the new liquid enzyme product, dubbed CeluStar CL, will be marketed immediately. Without offering specifics, the company said the enzyme product “provides enhanced performance over a wide range of application conditions.”
"Dyadic International Completes FDA GRAS Notification Process for C1-Derived Cellulase Enzyme", Dyadic International, Inc., October 01, 2009, © Dyadic
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Baby Formulas Reconstituted With Low-Fluoride Water Are Within Tolerable Range

October 1, 2009: 06:14 AM EST
Scientists who compared fluoride levels of various infant formulas with the upper limits recommended by the U.S. Institute of Medicine found that fluoride content was generally low in both dry and liquid formulas themselves. Moreover, levels remained low (less than 1.0 part per million) if reconstituted with low-fluoride water. If reconstituted with water that contained greater than 1.0 ppm of fluoride, infants were likely to be at greater risk for exposure to intolerable fluoride levels as defined by the IOM. An anti-fluoride group issued a press release about the study saying babies don’t need fluoride, which can discolor young teeth.
Chakwan Siew, PhD, Sheila Strock, DMD, MPH, et al., "Assessing a Potential Risk Factor for Enamel Fluorosis", Journal of the American Dental Association, October 01, 2009, © American Dental Association
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Obese Dieters Benefit From Alternate-Day Fasting Program

September 30, 2009: 08:11 PM EST
A 10-week clinical trial involving 16 obese people found that a modified version of the “alternate-day fasting” plan was easy to endure and had substantial benefits for the cardiovascular system. The participants were all between the ages of 35 and 65 and weighed more than 210 pounds. The first two weeks they ate and exercised normally. The next four weeks they fasted on alternate days. They then, with counseling, chose their own meals in the last four weeks. Weight loss ranged from 10 to 30 pounds, while blood pressure, heart rate, total cholesterol and circulating fat levels were all lowered.
Krista A Varady, Surabhi Bhutani, et al., "Short-term modified alternate-day fasting: a novel dietary strategy for weight loss and cardioprotection in obese adults", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 30, 2009, © American Society for Clinical Nutrition
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People Over 65 Could Prevent Falls By Taking High Doses Of Vitamin D

October 1, 2009: 12:54 AM EST
International researchers who looked at the results of eight fall prevention trials found that a daily supplemental dose of 700-1000 international units (IU) of vitamin D lowers the risk of falling among people over 65 by 19 percent, about as much as active vitamin D. A dose of less than 700 IU a day, however, had no effect at all. Higher doses may be even more effective in fall prevention, researchers suggested. With a third of people over 65 falling at least once – six percent result in a fracture – fall prevention has become a public health goal.
H A Bischoff-Ferrari, B Dawson-Hughes, H B Staehelin, J E Orav, A E Stuck, R Theiler, J B Wong, A Egli, D P Kiel,J Henschkowski, "Research - Fall prevention with supplemental and active forms of vitamin D: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials", BMJ 2009, October 01, 2009, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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French Grape Extract Improves Physical Performance In Study Of Top Athletes

October 1, 2009: 03:26 AM EST
A study of 20 top athletes in handball, basketball, sprinting, and volleyball found that a daily dose of Bordeaux grape extract improved antioxidant status and reduced oxidative stress. The study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine tested the impact of 400 mg of Powergrape, an extract supplied by the French company Naturex, taken every day for a month. During exercise the tested athletes experienced a drop in creatine phosphokinase (CpK) and a boost in hemoglobin concentrations in plasma, suggesting a decrease in cell damage in the muscle and plasma.
Guy Montague-Jones, "Naturex builds sports case for Powergrape", Nutra Ingredients.com, October 01, 2009, © Decision News Media SAS
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Foods Made With Yellow Pea Flour May Help Diabetics Manage Their Disease

September 30, 2009: 07:00 AM EST
Cheap, readily available whole yellow pea flour can be used to make functional low-glycemic foods that may help diabetics, according to a study by Canadian researchers. Managing glycemic responses – changes in blood sugar levels after eating – has become an important research issue with diabetes on the rise. In the study, the glycemic responses of 19 healthy people were monitored after eating banana bread, biscotti, and pasta made with pea flour or whole wheat flour. The foods made with pea flour uniformly reduced glycemic responses more than the whole wheat foods, and were found to have satisfactory taste and texture.
Christopher P.F. Marinangeli , Amira N. Kassis, et al., "Glycemic Responses and Sensory Characteristics of Whole Yellow Pea Flour Added to Novel Functional Foods", Journal of Food Science, September 30, 2009, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Swedish Study Finds Surprising Correlation Between Drinking Whole Milk And Lower BMI

September 30, 2009: 02:25 AM EST
A researcher studying 92 eight-year-olds in Sweden was surprised to find that those whose diet included whole milk had a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who drank skim milk. The researcher suggested two reasons in the unpublished study for the unexpected results: children who drank whole milk might also eat fewer high-calorie snacks and sweet drinks; or, their eating habits might just be generally healthier. The U.K.’s NHS Knowledge Service said more research is necessary and “people should not give their children full-fat milk to reduce their BMI on the basis of this research.”
Susanne Eriksson, "Studies on nutrition, body composition and bone mineralization in healthy 8-yr-olds", Ph.D. thesis (not yet published), September 30, 2009, © Göteborgs University (Sweden)
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Women Overweight At 50 Have Much Greater Chance Of Unhealthy Old Age

September 29, 2009: 11:13 AM EST
A study of 17,000 U.S. women who lived at least to age 70 found that being overweight at age 50 correlated with a greater chance of health problems later in life, including multiple chronic diseases, and impaired cognitive function, physical function and mental health. The study found that obese women (with a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or higher) at age 50 had a 79 percent lower chance of healthy survival than lean women. Women who were overweight at age 18 and gained more than 22 pounds by mid-life had the worst odds of healthy survival.
Qi Sun, Mary K. Townsend, et al., "Adiposity and weight change in mid-life in relation to healthy survival after age 70 in women: prospective cohort study", British Medical Journal, September 29, 2009, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd.
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FDA Approval Of Antioxidant-Rich Baobab Expected To Fuel Demand As Food Ingredient

September 28, 2009: 11:40 PM EST
Industry experts believe the U.S. FDA’s letter affirming baobab dried fruit pulp as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) will spur demand for the product among food processors and ingredient makers. Harvested in Africa, baobab is said to be much richer in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than pomegranates, blueberries, and other fruits. The trade organization PhyloTrade Africa sees the product as an ingredient in fruit drinks, fruit cereal bars, jams, and sauces that will appeal to health-conscious consumers and the general public. The organization says 12 companies have already indicated interest, according to this Prepared Foods report.
"Baobab Approved as U.S. Food Ingredient ", Prepared Foods, September 28, 2009, © BNP Media
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U.S. Government, General Mills Collaborate To Boost Small African Agribusinesses

September 28, 2009: 08:33 AM EST
A public-private partnership spearheaded by the U.S. government will attempt to enhance the ability of about 200 small and medium-sized mills and food processors in 15 sub-Saharan African countries to produce affordable, good-quality, nutritious, and safe food. With a potential value of $21 million, the partnership of General Mills, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Pres. Obama’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) could also benefit an estimated 1.6 million smallholder farmers who supply these businesses. Food scientists, process engineers, and operations managers from project partners will work to make the African agribusiness operations more efficient.
"PEPFAR, USAID and General Mills Partner to Improve Food Processing in Africa ", USAID, September 28, 2009, © USAID
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General Mills Program Encourages Healthy Eating In Hispanic Communities

September 28, 2009: 07:34 AM EST
A three-year community-relations initiative designed by General Mills, Inc., last year to encourage Hispanics to eat tasty and nutritious foods has grown into an important resource for the communities it serves in California, Illinois, and Texas, according to the company, which launched the second year of Mente Sana en Cuerpo Sano (Sound Mind, Sound Body) with an awards dinner for community-based partners. The company's broader Hispanic platform, Que Rica Vida, creates materials in Spanish and English that help Hispanics combine their healthy food traditions with “the realties of life in the U.S.”
"General Mills Renews Commitment To Help Latino Families Eat Right", PR Newswire, September 28, 2009, © PR Newswire Association LLC.
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Freeze-Dried Strawberry Powder Lowers Cholesterol Levels In Obese Women – Study

September 28, 2009: 02:36 AM EST
The novel dietary supplement freeze-dried strawberry powder (FSP), which provides a concentrated source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, seems to lower cholesterol – including the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol – in women with signs of metabolic syndrome such as hypertension and high trigyceride levels. According to the U.S. study in Nutrition Journal, participants aged 39 to 71 years drank two cups of a 25-gram FSP-water mixture daily. After four weeks, total cholesterol levels dropped by five percent, while LDL-cholesterol levels declined six percent. The researchers say their findings warrant larger controlled studies.
Arpita Basu, Marci Wilkinson, Kavitha Penugonda, Brandi Simmons, Nancy M Betts, and Timothy J Lyons , "Freeze-dried strawberry powder improves lipid profile and lipid peroxidation in women with metabolic syndrome: baseline and post intervention effects", Nutrition Journal 2009, September 28, 2009, © BioMed Central Ltd
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Blood Tests For Cholesterol Levels Give Women More Heart Disease Treatment Options

September 28, 2009: 01:37 PM EST
With heart disease now the leading cause of death in American women, experts are urging them to get the appropriate blood tests to determine “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels. As reported by CNN, early awareness of levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL, the “good” cholesterol) and low density lipoproteins (LDL) gives women better options than open heart surgery for dealing with heart disease. These options can include weight control, eating a healthier diet (i.e., fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy), getting more exercise, and taking medication.
Val Willingham, CNN Medical Producer, "Knowing cholesterol numbers could ward off heart disease", CNN, September 28, 2009, © Cable News Network
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Despite Technical Problems, Probiotics Formulators See Many New Applications On The Horizon

September 28, 2009: 02:49 AM EST
Research into the potential health benefits of numerous probiotic formulations shows great promise. Already being marketed and used successfully to regulate digestion and to promote oral health, probiotics, or "good" bacteria, are being tested for applications ranging from allergies, autism, and arthritis, to inflammatory diseases, cholesterol reduction, stress management, gene expression, and immune system strengthening. This Natural Products Insider report outlines the research into potential new probiotics applications and discusses the technical problems facing formulators and marketers whose goal is to deliver the correct amount of beneficial bacterial strains in stable foods and drink appealing to consumers.
Steve Myers, "Probiotics Populate New Markets", Natural Products Insider, September 28, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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UK Study To Examine Issue Of Aspartame Sensitivity

September 25, 2009: 03:33 AM EST
European food safety authorities ruled long ago that the aspartame is safe for use in diet beverages and other food products. But an ongoing concern about whether some people are overly sensitive to the artificial sweetener has prompted a scientific study by researchers at the University of Hull. According to this BBC News report, some people have reported headaches, dizziness, and vomiting after ingesting the sweetener. One hundred people, half of whom have voiced complaints about aspartame, will participate in the 18-month study.
"Sensitivity to aspartame probed", BBC News, September 25, 2009, © BBC
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Folate-Rich Diet Seems To Protect Women, But Not Men, From Colorectal Cancer

September 24, 2009: 11:27 AM EST
Women participants in a South Korean study who ate the most folate-rich diet lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by two-thirds. Folate is a B vitamin found in green, leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. The study, which involved both colorectal patients and healthy individuals, did not find the same correlation between folate intake and colorectal cancer in men. Researchers guessed that low folate intake may increase the chance of genetic mutations that lead to colorectal cancer. From a broader perspective, the findings are important because they link diet to cancer risk.
"Folate-rich diet cuts women's colon cancer risk", Reuters, September 24, 2009, © Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.
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Consumers, Regulators Seek The Truth In Functional Food Claims

September 24, 2009: 08:49 AM EST
Food manufacturers who have been jumping on the $78 billion functional foods bandwagon with products promising an array of healthy ingredients and benefits are now being stung by two kinds of backlash: consumer skepticism and regulatory disapproval. Consumer groups sued food giants Coca-Cola (over vitamin water health claims) and Danone (over yogurt claims). The USFDA acted against General Mills for a claim that breakfast cereal Cheerios reduces cholesterol. But, this Economist article indicates, with the global market expected to hit $128 billion by 2013, the rush to add – and trumpet – miracle food ingredients is not likely to subside soon.
"The fad for functional foods", The Economist, September 24, 2009, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Experts Say Food Ads Targeting Kids Need To Improve Along With The Foods Themselves

September 23, 2009: 07:47 AM EST
With nearly 17 percent of American children aged two to 19 obese, food manufacturers are not only working to make their products healthier for children – a $10 billion market in the U.S.- they are also trying to improve ad messages, a major part of the problem, according to this report. One recent study found that 34 percent of kids' food ads tout candy and snacks, 28 percent push cereal, and 10 percent fast foods. Of the 8,854 ads reviewed, none was for fruits or vegetables. Other advertising challenges for food makers: "redefining" breakfast and addressing portion control.
Joysa Winter, "Marketing to kids ", Functional Ingredients, September 23, 2009, © Penton Media, Inc.
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Americans Becoming Cagier Grocery Shoppers, A Trend Not Likely To End Soon

September 24, 2009: 02:25 AM EST
Nearly three-fourths of 4,000 Americans across all income levels polled in a recent IBM survey said quality was more important than price when it came to grocery shopping. More than two-thirds said nutrition was the most important consideration. The findings are significant because Americans buffeted financially by the recession say they are not forgoing health, value, or quality, they are simply getting cagier about their purchases. Moreover, the trend will continue into the future: 90 percent of those polled said they would still focus on value and nutrition after the recession ends.
"IBM Survey: Three in Four Americans Choose Quality over Lowest Price in Food Aisles", IBM, September 24, 2009, © IBM
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Researcher Discovers Cellular Mechanism That Permits Spread Of Food-Borne Bacteria

September 20, 2009: 11:25 AM EST
New research has uncovered a cellular mechanism that plays a key role in spreading a deadly food-borne bacterium linked to outbreaks of listeriosis traced to food processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can cause pregnant women to lose their fetuses. It also has triggered fatal cases of meningitis in people with weak immune systems and in the elderly. The previously unknown process involves the bacterium spreading from a host cell to a second cell, where it overwhelms that cell's ability to defend against infection. The discovery may be relevant for other similar bacterial pathogens.
Tina Rajabian, Balramakrishna Gavicherla, et al., "The bacterial virulence factor InlC perturbs apical cell junctions and promotes cell-to-cell spread of Listeria", Nature Cell Biology, September 20, 2009, © Nature Publishing Group
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Packing Fiber Into Pasta Products Is Doable, But A Little Tricky

September 20, 2009: 11:13 AM EST
Pasta manufacturers have a number of good options for adding healthy fiber to their offerings, beyond the traditional use of whole-grain flours, which tend to result in coarser, darker colored products - although adding lighter-colored wheat fiber can lighten the result. Pasta formulators are experimenting with digestion-resistant maltodextrin, resistant starch, polydextrose, and the chicory fiber extracts inulin and oligofructose. Each of these ingredients, of course, adds different flavors and textures, and requires different processing and cooking procedures. Also, by adding fiber, “the protein content of the formulation will be reduced,” a fiber company executive says.
Cindy Hazen, "High-Fiber Pasta Solutions", Food Product Design, September 20, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC
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Some Organic Purists Resist Lure Of Selling Out To The Food Industry Biggies

September 19, 2009: 11:06 AM EST
The lure may be strong and persistent, but some die-hards in the organic/natural foods industry are resisting the temptation to be gobbled up by food industry giants. Eden Foods and Nature’s Path, two prominent examples, prefer to stick to their original mission of staying small and delivering genuinely organic foods. By doing so, consumers can rest assured they are getting natural when they buy natural, they argue. That’s not as certain when consumers unwittingly buy products sold under trusted brand names absorbed quietly by industry heavyweights like Kellogg’s and General Mills.
Steve Mills, "Organic foods: Big companies swoop in to capitalize on lucrative market", Chicago Tribune , September 19, 2009, © Chicago Tribune
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Campbell’s Builds On Success Of Natural Soups

September 18, 2009: 11:27 AM EST
With the addition of 12 new varieties to its Select Harvest soup line, Campbell Soup Company (Camden, N.J.) now has 50 all-natural soups that contain lower-sodium sea salt, natural chicken and chicken stock, no MSG, and no artificial flavors. Touting the new line as its most successful soup intro in years, Campbell's says its new marketing campaign features print, television and online ads touting wholesome ingredients, great taste and a simpler label. An exec says the soup line is successful because it offers women consumers “ingredients they would find in their own kitchens.”
"Campbell Builds on Success of Select Harvest® Soups with New 100 Percent Natural Varieties", WEBWIRE , September 18, 2009, © WebWire
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Natural Ingredient Supplier Creates Breakthrough White Food Color

September 17, 2009: 12:27 PM EST
Denmark’s Chr. Hansen says it has plugged a big gap in the food coloring market created by consumer aversion to products tainted by synthetic dyes. The company has unveiled a natural white food color based on calcium carbonate, rather than the synthetic titanium dioxide. Consumers are wary of synthetic food dyes because of scientific studies associating them with childhood hyperactivity disorders. A Chr. Hansen exec says the creation of the natural white food color is evidence the company is powering a major trend: “converting the food color market from synthetic to natural solutions.”
"Chr. Hansen launches groundbreaking natural white food color", Chr. Hansen, September 17, 2009, © Chr. Hansen A/S
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Scientists Find 'Modestly Increased' Risk Of Death From Gluten-Induced Disease

September 16, 2009: 11:53 AM EST
A new study in Sweden has found that celiac disease, an intestine-damaging ailment that restricts intake of nutrients, is associated with a higher risk of mortality, perhaps because of that nutrient restriction. The authors found that those with small intestine inflammation who had not been diagnosed with celiac disease likely had a worse prognosis because following a gluten-free diet often normalizes the condition. Compared to a control group the study found that patients with inflammation had a 72 percent increased risk of death; patients with celiac disease had a 39 percent increased risk. Celiac disease is induced by exposure to the wheat protein gluten. Because the disease often occurs with other disorders that assault the immune system, such as diabetes and arthritis, it can go undiagnosed and untreated, according to the study reported by Agence France-Presse. "The study … reinforces the importance of celiac disease as a diagnosis that should be sought by physicians,” says an American expert.
Jonas Ludvigsson, Scott Montgomery, Anders Ekbom, Lena Brandt, Fredrik Granath, "Small-Intestinal Histopathology and Mortality Risk in Celiac Disease", The Journal of the American Medical Association, September 16, 2009, © American Medical Association
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Food Manufacturers Have Time-Saving Resource For Researching Healthy Ingredients

September 16, 2009: 12:48 PM EST
Food, drink, and supplement makers looking for healthy ingredients for their products will have an easier search, thanks to a Danish company’s subscription database of 200 antioxidants, fibers, omega fatty acids, phospholipids, etc. Screened across various benchmarks, the database is searchable by product type, as well as by health categories. A subscription to the database can cost as much as US$3,300, and there are no customers yet, but Bio2com believes it’s only a matter of time: "We have a lot of data … which can save companies a lot of time and resources," says a company exec.
"Danes debut healthy ingredients database", 21food.com , September 16, 2009, © Food & Beverage Online
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Nano-capsules Boost Potential Of Spice Ingredient As Disease Treatment

September 16, 2009: 06:08 AM EST
The potent antioxidant known as curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, is being tested for safety and effectiveness in treating colon cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s disease. A key problem, however, is the fact that digestive juices in the gastrointestinal tract quickly destroy curcumin, allowing very little into the blood. Now researchers in Japan say they have developed nano-size capsules, called liposomes, that can boost the body’s uptake of curcumin. The scientists fed the encapsulated curcumin laboratory rats and more than quadrupled curcumin absorption. Antioxidant levels in the blood were also raised significantly.
Makoto Takahashi, et al., "Evaluation of an Oral Carrier System in Rats: Bioavailability and Antioxidant Properties of Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin", Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, September 16, 2009, © American Chemical Society
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UK Government Should Provide Guidance To Food Industry On Healthy, Sustainable Diet

September 15, 2009: 11:21 AM EST
The first report of the UK’s new Council of Food Policy Advisors recommends that the government provide consumers information on a healthy diet as well as offer guidance to the food industry on how it can help create a more sustainable food system. In what is seen as a worrying trend, Government figures reveal that UK self-sufficiency in fresh fruit halved between 1988 and 2007 to just above 10 per cent. At the same time, self-sufficiency in fresh vegetable production fell by 20 per cent to 55 per cent and continues to fall. The panel called on the government to create an “overarching vision” and cross-government strategy whose priorities would include an environmentally sustainable diet and a strategy for increasing the country’s production of fruits and vegetables. Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium, Nigel Jenney, said UK growers had a ‘significant opportunity’ to increase the sustainable production of indigenous crops.
William Surman, "Benn’s food policy advisers target fruit and veg", Farmers Guardian, September 15, 2009, © UBM Information Ltd.
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Food Processors Face Major Challenges As Demands For Lower Sodium Foods Grow

September 14, 2009: 12:51 PM EST
Feeling pressure from both sides – nutritionists urging lower, healthier levels of sodium in processed foods and consumers who crave it (the average American consumers nearly 50% more than the 2005 recommended level) – U.S. food processors are trying to find a solution that keeps everyone happy. But it’s not an easy task: simply eliminating salt doesn’t work, and there isn’t one all-purpose substitute for salt. Morton Salt has been working to lower sodium content for over 30 years, with limited results. Sea salt and other formulas are functional in one manufacturing application, but not others. Some are expensive or don’t taste good. Ultimately, some observers say, a solution may have to be worked out among processors, the government, and consumers.
Diane Toops, "Demonizing Salt: America’s Assault on Salt", Food Processing, September 14, 2009, © Food Processing
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Signals From Fat May Be Telling Body Cells To Ignore Appetite Suppressors

September 14, 2009: 08:55 AM EST
Researchers at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found in a rat study that fat, notably the saturated fat palmitic acid in dairy products and beef, may send messages to the body’s cells telling them to ignore the normal appetite-suppressant signals of leptin and insulin. The scientists believe saturated fat actually lowers the body’s own natural defenses against overeating. The results may strengthen the case that consumers reduce sat fat content in their diets, and that producers reformulate food products with less saturated fat. Their findings were reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Christopher Kemp, Stephen Benoit et al, "Palmitic acid mediates hypothalamic insulin resistance by altering PKC-? subcellular localization in rodents", The Journal of Clinical Investigation, September 14, 2009, © American Society for Clinical Investigation
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Study Finds Chocolate Eaters Have Better Heart Attack Survival Rates

September 14, 2009: 10:29 AM EST
Chocolate makers can add another marketing arrow to their quiver, thanks to a new study by Swedish researchers who found that chocolate eaters have higher survival rates after a heart attack. The somewhat flawed study – it controlled for various factors like age and smoking but was observational rather than clinical – followed heart attack patients for eight years. It reinforced other studies that found that chocolate’s flavonoid antioxidants reduce blood pressure and in turn the risk of further heart disease. The good news for the chocolate industry? Researchers found that the more chocolate consumed, the higher the survival rates.
NICHOLAS BAKALAR, "In One Study, a Heart Benefit for Chocolate ", NY Times, September 14, 2009, © The New York Times Company
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Researchers Taking A Closer Look At Potential Health Benefits Of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

September 14, 2009: 02:26 AM EST
Already proven to cut the risk of heart disease, the unsaturated fatty acids known as omega 3s, found in some fish and seeds, and sold as supplements, are being examined by scientists in several countries to uncover possible beneficial effects on other ailments. While research into heart-related benefits of omega 3s continues, scientists are also exploring potential treatments for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and inflammation-related disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and coronary artery disease. According to this Wall Street Journal article, omega 3s are also being tested for their ability to reduce harmful triglyceride levels, a contributory factor in heart disease.
Jeanne Whalen, "Probing Health Benefits From Eating Omega 3s", Wall Street Journal, September 14, 2009, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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ZICO Sees Investor Interest A Sign That Its Coconut Water Is On Right Track

September 14, 2009: 12:30 PM EST
The California maker of a coconut-water sports drink says the recent $15 million investment from a group that includes Coca-Cola “validates the broad potential” of its product, which has gained favor among runners, cyclists, etc. ZICO Beverages plans to use the cash to introduce the electrolyte-rich drink to a wider consumer audience. According to this Beverage World report, the Venturing and Emerging Brands unit of Coca-Cola will provide brand building expertise as ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water seeks to push beyond its current marketing base of major grocery and natural foods stores, gyms, yoga studios, and online.
"Coca-Cola Among Companies to Invest $15M in ZICO Beverages", Beverage World, September 14, 2009, © Beverage World Publications Group
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Kids Don’t Need What Sports Drinks Offer

September 13, 2009: 04:22 AM EST
Dietitians in the U.S. are warning schools and parents that sports drinks, which are mostly sugar water and some electrolytes, contribute significantly to childhood obesity and are not a healthy substitute for sweet sodas. Replenishment of electrolytes is important after strenuous exercise that lasts more than an hour. But most children don’t need to replenish electrolytes, which are already plentiful in food. So kids end up consuming massive amounts of sugar, contributing to obesity. "Unless they're running marathons, which we do not recommend for kids, water is the best choice for quenching their thirst," a Harvard sociologist says in this report.
Julie Deardorff, "Sports drinks: For kids, they're not a healthful alternative to soda", Chicago Tribune, September 13, 2009, © Chicago Tribune
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WILD Boosts Health Ingredient Line With New Product Platforms

September 11, 2009: 05:48 AM EST
Natural ingredients producer WILD Flavors has strengthened its product platforms with ingredients containing antioxidants and two types of vitamin microemulsions. The lingonberry platform is an antioxidant offering an array of benefits for the skin. The U.S. company also offers a water-soluble CLA microemulsion that may aid in weight loss and weight maintenance. A second new microemulsion contains vitamins D3 and K2, which have been shown to promote healthier bones. WILD’s line of health ingredients also includes antioxidant-rich grape seed extract, theaflavins, omega-3 fatty acids, tea polyphenols and chlorogenic acid.
"Wild Flavors Expands Health Ingredient Technology & Solutions Platform", Nutrition Horizon, September 11, 2009
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Food Manufacturers Hope To Cash In On Probiotics Craze With Wider Array Of Offerings

September 11, 2009: 09:42 AM EST
Food manufacturers are catching on to the fact that young and middle-aged health conscious women are driving demand for foods containing pre- and probiotics, such as yogurt and juices. Look for the healthy “good for you” bacteria to show up in a range of foods enjoyed by women, including fruit and vegetable juices, cottage cheese, gum, mints, chew, and snack bars. New market possibilities include pregnant and nursing women. Men will also be courted, though they’re harder to nail down. Marketers might try probiotic sports bars and chewing gum to attract the guys.
Ewa Hudson, "Trends in Probiotics and Prebiotics", Food Product Design, September 11, 2009, © Virgo Publishing, LLC.
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Work Conditions, Time Demands, Affect Food Choices Of Working Parents

September 9, 2009: 11:34 AM EST
Work conditions coupled with competing demands on the time of employed American parents exert a major impact on the food choices made for themselves and their families, according to a study of 50 parents in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. For example, fathers who work long or nonstandard hours are more likely to use take-out meals, miss family meals, purchase prepared entrees, and eat while working. Better work conditions may lead to better strategies for feeding families, including less meal skipping, preparing more meals in the home, eating with the family, and keeping healthful food at work, researchers said.
Carol M. Devine, Ph.D., R.D., Tracy J. Farrell, M.S., et al., "Work Conditions and the Food Choice Coping Strategies of Employed Parents", Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, September 09, 2009, © Elsevier, Inc.
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New Version Of Wheaties “Fuels” Athletic Performance

September 9, 2009: 01:27 AM EST
Eighty five years after a serendipitous accident led to the creation of the original Wheaties breakfast cereal, General Mills says it has blended advanced nutritional science with the developmental help of several top athletes to create a new version “designed specifically to help fuel athletic performance.” Wheaties FUEL, consumer tested for three months, is a 200-calorie-per-serving sweetened whole wheat flake with granola and rice that provides all of the RDV of five B-vitamins, five grams of fiber, plus calcium and vitamin D, according to the company. Listed among the co-creators were football’s Peyton Manning, basketball’s Kevin Garnett, and baseball’s Albert Pujols.
"General Mills Unveils Wheaties Fuel – The New Breakfast of Champions", General Mills, September 09, 2009, © General Mills, Inc.
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Germany’s METRO Finds Success With Wholesale Formula In China

September 7, 2009: 04:30 AM EST

German grocery wholesaler METRO Cash & Carry continues to successfully expand in China, adding four new business-to-business stores this year in two provinces for a total of 42 nationwide. The outlets serve the needs of hotels, restaurants, caterers, other companies and institutions, and small- and medium-sized retailers. China is a lucrative market, ripe for expansion, according to this China Daily report, with METRO already experiencing 15 percent annual growth in turnover. Hoping to further entrench itself in the region, METRO plans to launch five new brands exclusively in the Chinese market.

Tuo Yannan , "METRO to open four new stores", China Daily, September 07, 2009, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Consumer Product Makers And Retailers Adapt To More Prudent Grocery Shoppers

September 5, 2009: 04:44 AM EST
Though the word out of Washington is that the recession is easing, cautious consumers – battered daily by news of layoffs, pay cuts, and continuing financial industry woes – continue to search for ways to trim their grocery bill. The attitude shift toward smarter shopping is a trend experts believe will endure, even after the crisis has passed. In the meantime, consumer products makers like Procter & Gamble and retailers like Krogers are adapting to the new reality. P&G is cutting prices in various ways, like couponing, while Krogers is enhancing and emphasizing the value of its private-label brands.
David Holthaus , "P&G, Kroger aim at choosy buyers ", The Cincinnati Enquirer, September 05, 2009, © The Enquirer
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Will Crowd-Sourcing Provide The Fresh Ad Ideas Peperami’s Ad Agency Could Not?

September 4, 2009: 04:52 AM EST
Looking for a different advertising approach for its Peperami snack food brand, Unilever canned advertising agency Lowe after 15 years and turned to crowd-sourcing, in which a company asks the general public to submit ideas for a new TV ad. Unilever is willing to pay $10,000 to the winner of the competition. At that price it’s a cost-saving scheme for sure, but the creative community is wondering how a company could so easily ditch the agency that created the campaign that originally defined the brand in the public’s mind.
"Close-Up: Should Peperami go crowd-sourcing? ", Campaign, September 04, 2009, © Haymarket Media
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