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FDA Staff Recommends Approval Of GM Salmon For Human Consumption

September 6, 2010: 06:10 AM EST
FDA scientists have declared that genetically modified salmon produced by a Massachusetts company is safe to consume and poses no environmental threat. The controversial ruling seems to pave the way for the first government approval of a GM food product in the U.S. The company developed the AquAdvantage salmon by giving an Atlantic salmon a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon and a gene from the ocean pout that speeds up its growth rate. Consumer and environmental groups complained that the approval process is too secretive and expressed concern that the GM salmon could escape fish farms and threaten endangered wild salmon. FDA staff will present their findings on September 19 to an advisory panel that will also hear from the company, AquaBounty, and the public.
Lyndsey Layton, "FDA considers approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption", Washington Post, September 06, 2010, © Washington Post
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Iron Supplements Are Beneficial For Low Birth Weight Babies

September 6, 2010: 07:30 AM EST
Low birth weight infants (4.5 to 5.5 pounds) at risk for iron deficiency benefited significantly from iron supplementation in the first six months of their lives, a Swedish study has found. The placebo-controlled study involved 285 infants who were given either no iron supplements or one or two mg/kg a day from six weeks to six months. The researchers found that 36 percent of the placebo group was iron deficient at six months, while only 8.2 percent of the one mg/kg a day group and 3.8 percent of the two mg/kg a day group were iron deficient. Another finding was that breastfed babies were more likely to suffer from iron deficiency. The iron supplements did not affect growth rates or cause any infections or other health conditions.
Magnus Domellöf , et al. , "Iron Supplements Reduce the Risk of Iron Deficiency Anemia in Marginally Low Birth Weight Infants", Pediatrics, September 06, 2010, © American Academy of Pediatrics
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Research Explains How Some Harmful Bacteria Survive Harsh Digestive Environment

September 5, 2010: 08:28 AM EST
Food-borne bacteria that could cause food poisoning often don’t, thanks to the harsh acidic environment in the stomach and the intestines. But bacteria often survive to wreak havoc – Listeria, for example, can cause serious, even fatal infections in the elderly and pregnant women – because they use different tricks to help them endure inside the body. British research into Listeria bacteria found in soft cheese and chilled ready-to-eat products can overcome acidic conditions by exploiting key food ingredients. The amino acid glutamate in soft cheese and meat products can help bacteria neutralize acid, allowing the bacteria to pass through the stomach unscathed. Listeria can also take advantage of food processing and storage conditions to help them survive.
Colin Hill, "Talented bacteria make food poisoning unpredictable", Presentation, Society for General Microbiology autumn meeting, September 05, 2010, © Hill et al.
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Competition Heats Up In Krill And Functional Fish Oil Markets

September 3, 2010: 10:50 PM EST
New York private equity firm Lindsay Goldberg has purchased half of the outstanding shares of Norwegian krill supplier Aker BioMarine to form a joint venture, NewCo, which in turn bought fish oil supplier EPAX. Also a Norwegian company, EPAX provides fish oils with variable concentrations of omega-3s EPA and DHA, targeting specific health conditions. Industry observers hope the new market strength of Aker will spur it to greater investment in clinical trials for its fish oil supplements. Krill pioneer Neptune Technologies & Bioressources has had its fish oil tested successfully against competitive brands in studies of PMS and dysmenorrhea, arthritis inflammation and pain, and regulation of blood lipids. Meanwhile, Azantis, another major competitor, is broadening its R&D to create a water-soluble krill that might be useable in beverages.
Todd Runestad, "Industry analysis: Aker Lands Epax", Functional Ingredients, September 03, 2010, © Penton Media Inc
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Vending Machine Foods Are An Unhealthy Choice For Schoolchildren

September 3, 2010: 03:43 PM EST
Students who regularly eat snacks and beverages purchased from sources that compete with USDA lunch program offerings – vending machines, school stores, snack bars and other related outlets – are at greater risk for developing unhealthy diet habits that could lead to being overweight, obese or at risk for chronic health conditions like diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to new U.S. research. Researchers looked at food intake data from questionnaires provided by 2,309 el/sec schoolchildren. Twenty-two percent consumed “competitive” or vended food items in a school day. Usage was highest in high school, where 88 percent of schools had vending machines. Vending machine food and beverage consumers consumed much more sugar and much less dietary fiber, vitamin B and iron than non-consumers.
Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., et al., "Schoolchildren's Consumption of Competitive Foods and Beverages, Excluding à la Carte", Journal of School Health, September 03, 2010, © American School Health Association
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On Its 30th Birthday, Whole Foods Adds Health, Wellness Themes To Marketing Strategy

September 3, 2010: 10:10 PM EST
John Mackey, CEO of $8 billion Whole Foods, whose 300 stores are celebrating the company’s thirtieth anniversary, says the company is evolving toward health and wellness while it maintains its emphasis on organic and natural foods. The company is getting ready to launch three wellness-related programs at stores, including an animal welfare rating initiative that will debut in all stores early in 2011. Customers will be provided information on how meat animals are raised. This month, the company will take advantage of an informational partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Blue Ocean Institute to inform shoppers about seafood species sold in stores. The company is also launching Wellness Clubs in five prototype stores to teach consumers about the connection between healthy eating and disease prevention.
"Whole Foods CEO: Healthy food is affordable necessity", USA Today, September 03, 2010, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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Public Health Officials Did A Good Job Getting Word Out On Egg Recall

September 3, 2010: 01:51 PM EST
A poll conducted during the height of the recent massive egg recall found that most Americans knew about the outbreak and many took measures to guard against salmonella-induced sickness. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, 84 percent had heard about the egg recall. Ninety-two percent said they eat eggs at least occasionally and about a third of these stopped eating eggs they believed had been recalled. About one in five of the 61 percent who said they sometimes eat eggs in restaurants had stopped doing so. One in four said they had started cooking eggs longer than usual. Other actions taken: checking the date stamp or identifying number on cartons (40 percent), throwing away eggs (10 percent), and warning family members (22 percent).
Robert J. Blendon, et al., "Harvard School of Public Health: Egg Recall Survey", Survey by SSRS, an independent research company, September 03, 2010, © HSPH
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Organic Strawberry Farms Have Better Soil Genetics, Yield Better Fruit

September 2, 2010: 01:36 PM EST
Organic strawberry farms analyzed in California, the home of 90 percent of U.S. strawberries, yielded more flavorful and nutritious berries without depleting or harming the soil, researchers have found. Soil scientists performed “side-by-side comparisons” of 13 organic and 13 conventional strawberry farms and their fruit for the comprehensive study, which examined 31 chemical and biological soil properties, as well as soil DNA. They also analyzed the taste, nutrition and quality of three strawberry varieties on the 26 commercial fields. The study found that organic strawberries had significantly higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds; longer shelf life; and overall better flavor and appearance. DNA analysis found the organically managed soils had many more total and unique genes and greater genetic diversity.
John P. Reganold, Preston K. Andrews, et al., "Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems", PLoS ONE, September 02, 2010, © Reganold et al.
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Researchers Discover Why Omega-3s Reduce Inflammation, Insulin Resistance

September 2, 2010: 12:25 PM EST
U.S. researchers have shed light on the molecular process that makes omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils so successful at reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. Working with mice, the team identified a key receptor on the specialized white blood cells that engulf and digest cellular debris and pathogens. Known as macrophages, the cells are abundant in obese body fat. The omega-3 fatty acids – specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – activate the macrophage receptor (GPR120), leading to extensive anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity. According to the researchers, the discovery could lead to development of a simple dietary remedy for the more than 23 million American diabetics. More research is needed to find out how much fish oil provides a safe, effective dose, they said.
Jerrold Olefsky, M.D., et al., "GPR120 Is an Omega-3 Fatty Acid Receptor Mediating Potent Anti-inflammatory and Insulin-Sensitizing Effects", Cell, September 02, 2010, © Elsevier Inc.
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American Dietetic Association Calls For Programs To Reduce “Food Insecurity”

September 1, 2010: 03:03 PM EST
In a newly published position paper, the American Dietetic Association urges greater funding for food and nutrition assistance programs, increased nutrition education and efforts to promote economic self-sufficiency for households and individuals. Calling access to food "a basic human need and fundamental right," the paper defines food insecurity as "limited or intermittent access to nutritionally adequate, safe and acceptable foods accessed in socially acceptable ways." According to the ADA, more than 49 million people living in the U.S. experienced food insecurity in 2008, while 17.3 million people, including 1.1 million children, had "very low food security." The USDA defines very low food security as "multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake." Food insecurity is linked to lower academic achievement, poor health and chronic disease.
David H. Holben, "Food Insecurity in the United States", Position paper, American Dietetic Association, September 01, 2010, © ADA
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Obesity Problem Offers Continuing Opportunities For Weight Management Industry

September 1, 2010: 10:23 PM EST
Market researcher Packaged Facts says the global weight loss and diet management market is now worth $26 billion as people try various “solutions” to their obesity problem. But the problem is not going away, despite increasing pressure from the government, nutrition advocates and health-conscious consumers. Experts say consumers need to be educated on the importance of nutritious foods and a healthy lifestyle in controlling weight. But Americans love pills and supplements, and this provides an opportunity for the supplement and functional foods industries to provide safe and effective weight management products. One hot trend, for example, is foods and beverages that provide satiety, or hunger satisfaction. Another trend: the subtle shift toward formulating low-, no- or reduced-calorie/fat/carbohydrates/sugar foods with functional ingredients that help people lose weight.
Rebecca Wright, "Fat Chance ", Nutraceuticals World, September 01, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Nutritionist Hopes Unhealthy Diet Experiment Will Disprove Weight Loss Fallacies

September 2, 2010: 09:42 AM EST
A U.S. nutritionist is determined to disprove some commonly-held beliefs about weight loss and health. Prof. Mark Haub says he will eat nothing but fatty, sugary snacks for a month – the experiment began August 25 – to shed light on obesity-related issues and health, including the lack of a strong definition of healthy weight loss. Haub hopes to prove that foods known to ruin diets may not actually do that. His diet includes breakfast pizza, donuts and sugared cereal. Haub lost seven pounds in four days by eating 1,800 calories worth of foods high in saturated fats and sugar a day. Acknowledging it’s a risky, unhealthy diet, Haub wants to prove that eating fewer calories than expended causes weight loss, no matter where the calories come from.
Mark Haub, "K-state Professor Using Snack Cake Diet to Counter Popular Health Beliefs", News release, Kansas State University, September 02, 2010, © KSU
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Scientific Evidence Supports Omega-3 Benefits, But Regulatory Roadblocks Remain

September 1, 2010: 10:30 PM EST
Science has reported on the health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, especially for cardiovascular health. And there is increasing evidence that omega-3s offer other health benefits, including the brain, infant development, breasts, eyes, etc. So the outlook for providers of omega-3 ingredients is generally rosy, if remaining regulatory hurdles can be overcome. Omega-3s have received a qualified heart health claim in the U.S., but experts would like to see full approval for the claim within a year. The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED) wants the FDA to set recommended daily intake levels. Draft U.S. dietary guidelines urge increases in omega-3 consumption, but lack consistency in recommended levels. Lastly, European regulators continue to debate appropriate dosages for blood pressure claims.
Sean Moloughney, "Omega 3s: Industry All-Stars", Nutraceuticals World, September 01, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Milk’s Vitamin D And Calcium Shown To Be Important To Losing Weight

September 1, 2010: 07:03 AM EST

A two-year study by Israeili, U.S. and German researchers has found that adults who drank up to two glasses of milk a day, and had high levels of vitamin D and calcium in their blood six months into the study, lost more weight by the end than those who drank no or very little milk. The weight loss averaged nearly 12 pounds among the milk drinkers. Each added 6-ounce serving of milk or milk products was associated with 10 pounds of weight loss above the average at six months. The study involved 300 overweight or at-risk men and women ages 40 – 65 who followed either a low-fat, Mediterranean or low-carb diet for two years. But the type of diet was less relevant than the amount of milk consumed.

Danit R Shahar, Dan Schwarzfuchs, Drora Fraser, Hillel Vardi, Joachim Thiery, Georg Martin Fiedler, Matthias Blüher, Michael Stumvoll, Meir J Stampfer and Iris Shai, "Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 01, 2010, © American Society for Clinical Nutrition
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Adolescents Who Get Less Sleep Are At Greater Risk Of Obesity

September 1, 2010: 10:14 PM EST
A U.S. study of 240 teenagers aged 16-19 years old has found that insufficient sleep is associated with poor eating habits that could foster obesity. Researchers monitored food intake (total calories, calories from meals and snacks, and calories from fats and carbohydrates) using questionnaires. Sleep duration was measured using a special wrist device. In comparison to adolescents who slept at least eight hours a night, those who slept less than eight hours consumed more calories from fats (35.9% vs 33.2%) and fewer calories from carbohydrates (49.6% vs 53.3%). “Short sleep duration may increase obesity risk by causing small changes in eating patterns that cumulatively alter energy balance,” the researchers concluded.
Allison Weiss, Fang Xu, et al., "The Association of Sleep Duration with Adolescents’ Fat and Carbohydrate Consumption", Sleep, September 01, 2010, © Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC
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Vitamin D Supplementation May Help Improve Control Of Asthma

September 1, 2010: 07:34 AM EST

A U.S. study has found that prescribed asthma medications supplemented with vitamin D may reduce inflammation and aid in asthma control. Researchers noted that a vitamin D deficiency is associated with “increased airway hyper-responsiveness, lower pulmonary functions, worse asthma control, and possibly steroid resistance.” After analyzing six decades of literature on asthma and vitamin D, the researchers concluded that vitamin D supplementation could help improve asthma control by preventing the influx of inflammatory cytokines in the lung and increasing the secretion of interleukin 10 by T-regulatory cells and dendritic cells. They cautioned that vitamin D should not replace an asthma medication, but only supplement it.

Manbir S. Sandhu, MD, Thomas B. Casale, MD, "The role of vitamin D in asthma", The Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, September 01, 2010, © Elsevier Inc
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Following A Healthy Lifestyle Impacts Life – And Career Success

August 31, 2010: 01:29 PM EST
The founders of the U.S. Business School of Happiness emphasize the strong connection between a healthy diet and lifestyle and achieving career goals. Eating well, ingesting necessary nutrients and staying active not only promote long-term health, they also have a positive effect on workplace success. “If people would stop eating and drinking boxed, bagged and bottled products, I can guarantee that their quality of work would go up,” says Tom Griesel. Making a lifestyle shift, like eliminating processed foods from one’s diet, is “a critical way to strengthen your life and your career.”
Dian Griesel and Tom Griesel, "Healthy Eating: It’s a Bigger Issue Than Your Waistline", News release, Business School of Happiness, August 31, 2010, © Business School of Happiness
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High-Fat Diet During Puberty Is Associated With Higher Risk Of Breast Cancer

August 31, 2010: 11:25 AM EST
Pubescent girls whose diet is high in fats could have a greater risk of developing breast cancer later in life, whether or not they become obese or overweight, according to a U.S. study. The findings, which suggest that a high-fat diet may have harmful effects beyond those associated with gaining weight, are the latest in a long-term, multimillion-dollar project studying the impact of lifelong environmental exposures that may dispose women to breast cancer. "A high-fat diet during puberty can lead to the production of inflammatory products in the mammary glands of adults, which can promote cancer growth," a researcher said. Earlier research by the same scientists found that the hormone progesterone activates genes that trigger inflammation in the mammary gland that may increase breast cancer risk.
Sandra Haslam, et al., "High-fat diet during puberty linked to breast cancer risk later in life", News release, Mich. State Univ. Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Center, August 31, 2010, via EurekAlert, © MSU
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Permanent Injunction Sought Against Dairy For Selling Antibiotics-Tainted Cows

August 31, 2010: 11:41 AM EST
The U.S. Justice Department has asked for a permanent injunction against Michigan-based Scenic View Dairy and four top executives alleging that they sold dairy cows for human consumption that contained illegal drug residues in edible tissues. The complaint was filed on behalf of the FDA in a Michigan federal court. The defendants were also charged with selling for slaughter dairy cows that had been treated with drugs “contrary to the drugs’ FDA-approved labeling and without a valid veterinary prescription authorizing such use.” The company was warned numerous times about the violations by the FDA and the USDA. Drug traces allegedly found in the tainted meat included the antibiotics neomycin, penicillin, and sulfadimethoxine. Meat containing illegal levels of drugs can lead to development of bacteria that resist antibiotics, the FDA said.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "FDA seeks court order against Michigan dairy", News release, FDA, August 31, 2010, © FDA
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Healthy Vending Machines Are Beginning To Catch On

September 1, 2010: 07:21 AM EST
Vending machines have entered a new era, veering from junk food to healthier snacks and beverages. It’s taken awhile, because healthy snacks were scarce and not particularly in demand. But schools and offices can now install vending machines stocked with foods that are nutritious, organic — or at least slightly healthier than conventional snacks. Canadian firm Brokerhouse Distributors has provided about 100 machines in the country since 2007 that are very different from the drab vending stations of the past: they feature pictures of blue sky, green grass and happy children. The machines offer V8 Splash, 2 percent milk, bottled water, carrots and dip. In the U.S., All Brands Vending Resource machines sell foods low in fat, sugar and carbohydrates, and without synthetic ingredients, trans fats, or artificial colors and flavors.
Jennifer Bain, "Goodbye junk food, hello healthier snacks?", Toronto Star, September 01, 2010, © Toronto Star
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U.S. Restaurant Industry Remains Sluggish, Uncertain, In July

August 31, 2010: 12:21 PM EST
The National Restaurant Association says that July restaurant activity “remained essentially flat,” thanks to weak sales, depressed traffic levels and “a deteriorating outlook among restaurant operators.” The NRA’s index, which tracks restaurant industry health, was down 0.1 percent from June to 99.4, the fourth consecutive drop. The index, whose “steady-state” level is 100 points, was below 100 for three straight months, indicating “contraction of key industry indicators,” despite some recent signs of improvement in short-term outlook. “Restaurant operators continued to report declines in same-store sales and customer traffic in July, and their previously-optimistic outlook for sales growth and the economy softened in recent months,” NRA said. Only 38 percent of restaurateurs expect higher sales in six months, down from 42 percent last month.
National Restaurant Association, "Restaurant Performance Index: July 2010", Report, National Restaurant Association (July 2010), August 31, 2010, © NRA
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NIH Awards $38 Million Over Five Years To New Herbal Supplement Research Centers

August 31, 2010: 12:01 PM EST
With Americans spending $15 billion a year on non-vitamin, non-mineral, natural dietary supplements containing herbs or herbal mixtures, the U.S. National Institutes of Health has decided it’s time to take a closer look at the products to help consumers make better informed purchase decisions. NIH is allocating nearly $38 million to study the safety, effectiveness and biological action of botanical products at five new dietary supplement research centers. Funding will flow through two NIH offices and the National Cancer Institute. The awards of about $1.5 million each per year for five years were made to institutions in Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina. Botanicals to be studied include plant oils, garlic, soy, elderberry, licorice, black cohosh, St. John's wort and dong quai.
National Institutes of Health, "NIH announces five Botanical Research Centers", News release, NIH, August 31, 2010, © NIH
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Time And Money Cited As Major Obstacles To Healthy Eating In Global Poll

August 30, 2010: 07:46 AM EST
A Nielsen Company poll of more than 27,000 consumers in 55 markets around the globe has found that most people have healthy eating as a goal but often find it difficult to achieve. The time crunch associated with work and family responsibilities was the main barrier to healthy eating for 35 percent of respondents (40 percent in Latin America). The lack of time meant that people found it easier to dine out or prepare ready-made meals. Recession-era financial concerns were also a major obstacle for 33 percent (44 percent in N. America). Healthy options such as organic produce were often bypassed because of perceived higher costs. Availability (26%), confusion about which foods are healthy (24%), substandard taste (25%) and the desire to treat oneself (41%) were the other obstacles.
"Global Trends in Healthy Eating", Nielsen Wire, August 30, 2010, © The Nielsen Company
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Food Safety Problems Fuel Growth In Chinese Organic Sales

August 30, 2010: 01:24 AM EST
The $1.5 billion Chinese organic food market is surging, thanks to a string of food safety scares involving toxic beans, tainted milk and pork, and dumplings contaminated with pesticides. The latest disclosure – investigators discovered that as much as ten percent of meals are cooked in discarded restaurant oil scoured from sewers – served as an additional shot in the arm for organic foods. According to reports, Chinese consumption of organic foods is double that of Japan, with sales quadrupling over the last five years. There are no laws to prevent the dredging and reselling of discarded restaurant oil, though the Chinese government promises action. Up to 20 percent of recovered oil is sold to biofuel makers, but the rest is apparently recycled back into the food chain.
Malcolm Moore, Nanhui, "China goes organic after scandal of cooking oil from sewers", Telegraph, UK, August 30, 2010, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Baby Carrots Take On Cheetos In Battle For School Lunch Box Space

August 30, 2010: 01:32 AM EST
Bolthouse Farms and 50 confrère carrot growers are launching a quirky $25 million marketing campaign to get parents and school kids interested in replacing salty junk food snacks with baby carrots in lunch boxes this fall. A $1 billion market, baby carrots have suffered lately from the effects of the economic downturn, but growers hope to reverse that by tackling the $18 billion salty snack food industry. The campaign features a number of carrot-marketing innovations, including small colorful snack bags, hip school vending machines, clever new slogans, and TV ads that show baby carrots as “extreme, futuristic and even, yes, sexy.” Frito-Lay says it doesn’t feel threatened by the new campaign, and in fact welcomes it: "We applaud any effort to provide consumers with a wider range of snacking options."
Bruce Horovitz, "Baby carrots take on junk food with hip marketing campaign", USA TODAY, August 30, 2010, © USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
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Antimicrobial Use In U.S. Livestock Poses Threat To Human Health, Environment

August 28, 2010: 01:03 PM EST
Human health and the environment are in jeopardy because of routine and widespread use of antimicrobial drugs in livestock, the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said in regulatory comments filed with the FDA. According to the group, the FDA’s recently proposed guidelines are “a limited voluntary approach that will not stem growing antibacterial resistance (in the form of drug resistant “super bugs”) created by overuse of the drugs.” The FDA’s proposals acknowledge that antimicrobial misuse and overuse pose a “serious public health threat” of “global significance.” Unfortunately, the FDA’s guidance is “remarkably timid [and] non-enforceable … riddled with loopholes.” PEER seeks a broader ban on antimicrobials for “routine disease prevention,” strict limits on what veterinarians can approve, and analysis of the environmental impact.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, "Antimicrobial Drugs In Livestock Threaten Human Health", News release, PEER, August 28, 2010, © PEER
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U.S. Needs A Comprehensive Food Traceability System To Prevent Illnesses

August 27, 2010: 01:16 PM EST
An effective product tracing system would make it easier to identify food-borne illnesses earlier and control problems such as the egg salmonella outbreak faster, according to the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In a report submitted to the FDA, the organization suggests guidelines for creating a comprehensive product tracing system to track food products from farm to point of sale or service. The report recommends, for example, creating a standard list of key information to be collected; identifying points along the supply chain, internally and between partners, where information needs to be captured; keeping comprehensive records; using electronic systems for data transfer; and including traceability as a requirement within audits. The report says the system should be simple, user friendly, globally accepted and compatible with existing industry systems.
Jennifer C. McEntire, et al., "Traceability (Product Tracing) in Food Systems: An IFT Report Submitted to the FDA", Report by the Institute of Food Technologists to the FDA, August 27, 2010, © Institute of Food Technologists
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Many U.K. Commercial Salads Found To Be Loaded With Salt

August 27, 2010: 06:52 AM EST
The U.K. consumer watchdog Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) reports that salads served in supermarkets, street cafes and fast food chains contain “surprisingly high levels of salt.” The group analyzed 270 salad and pasta bowls, finding that salads can unexpectedly contain more than half of the recommended daily maximum intake of six grams of salt. Ten percent of the salads tested contained more salt than a McDonald’s Big Mac. The saltiest was the Spicy Crayfish Noodle salad from EAT, with 3.51 grams of salt. Other salty salads included the KFC Zinger Salad with Caesar dressing or low fat vinaigrette dressing (3.1 grams) and the McDonald’s Crispy Chicken and Bacon Salad with low fat Caesar salad dressing or low fat balsamic dressing (2.6 grams).
"Feeling Bloated After A Salad Lunch? Hidden Salt May Be To Blame", Cash, August 27, 2010, © CASH
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Broccoli Sprouts Found To Have No Therapeutic Effect On Hypertension

August 27, 2010: 06:56 AM EST
A Danish clinical study has found that, contrary to earlier research, eating broccoli sprouts does not improve cardiovascular performance or lower blood pressure. Forty participants, all of whom had hypertension, either ingested 10 grams daily of dried broccoli sprouts rich in the antioxidant glucosinolate, or continued their normal diet for four weeks. No significant differences in blood pressure or other measurements of cardiovascular health, including cholesterol levels, were found among the participants, even though the glucosinolate dosage of the dried sprouts was twice that used in earlier Japanese research. In that study, scientists had found a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol after only a week of daily ingestion of fresh broccoli sprouts.
Buris Christiansen, Natalia Bellostas Muguerza, Atheline Major Petersen, Britt Kveiborg, Christian Rask Madsen, Hermann Thomas, Nikolaj Ihlemann, Jens Christian Sørensen, Lars Køber, Hilmer Sørensen, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Helena Domínguez, "Ingestion of Broccoli Sprouts Does Not Improve Endothelial Function in Humans with Hypertension", PlosOne, August 27, 2010, © Creative Commons Attribution License.
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Chocolate Sales Picture Is Rosy As Manufacturers Continue To Innovate

August 26, 2010: 11:11 AM EST
Retail sales of chocolate products in the U.S. rose three percent in 2009 to $17 billion and is expected to reach $19 billion within the next four years, according to a report from Packaged Facts. The increase was due mainly to two factors: three fourths of Americans bought chocolate and manufacturers raised prices. Demand for chocolate is also expected to rise globally, thanks to increasing use in the confectionery, beverage, restaurant, hospitality and personal care industries. The researcher sees growing demand for premium chocolate, especially in healthy formats that offer "better-for-you" ingredients like lavender and blueberry. "This may be a mature market, but it's a market that isn't afraid to innovate, whether that means using savory influences such as bacon and cheese or ethnic flavors such as curry and chipotle."
"Recession-Resilient U.S. Chocolate Market Reaches Record Sales in 2009 as Premium and Innovative Ingredients Pique Consumer Interest", Report, Packaged Facts, August 26, 2010, © Packaged Facts
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Healthy Children’s Foods Are On A Solid Growth Track

August 26, 2010: 10:02 AM EST
Organic, natural and fortified foods and beverages are fueling the growth of global children’s food sales, according to market reports that forecast a rise to nearly $90 billion in sales by 2015. The robust growth is due mainly to demand from health-conscious and knowledgeable parents who are in charge of their children’s nutrition during the preschool years. Organic baby food accounts for nearly $77 million of children’s food sales in the U.S. Foods fortified with pre- and probiotics, DHA, ARA, calcium and vitamin D are experiencing even stronger growth, as long as the health claims are believable and inherent in the products themselves. The market for healthy foods and beverages for children will probably become saturated, experts warn. That’s when unique packaging will become vital to marketers.
Amanda Baltazar, "The number of children’s foods continues to grow, with many fortified and organic foods", Nutraceuticals World, August 26, 2010, © Rodman Publishing
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Thai Licensee Launches Heinz-Branded Ketchup With Omega-3

August 26, 2010: 10:07 AM EST
Win Chance of Thailand, a licensee of H.J. Heinz Co, has launched a ketchup targeted at children and an oyster sauce, both containing Omega-360, a taste-free, odor-free fish oil omega-3 ingredient provided by Denomega Nutritional Oils. Win Chance says its marketing strategy is to provide natural and healthy nutrition that tastes good, and clinical studies support the benefits of EPA and DHA omega-3, including heart and brain health. Win Chance produces Heinz-branded tomato ketchup, chili sauce and oyster sauce in Thailand, exporting 70 percent to countries in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to making products under the Heinz brand, the company provides them under private labels. Products are available in major supermarkets and retail stores.
"Heinz Sauce Fortified with Omega 3 Ingredient Launched in Asia", Nutrition Horizon, August 26, 2010, © CNS Media BV
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Enzyme Found In Body Fluids Destroys Anthrax Bacteria

August 26, 2010: 12:03 PM EST
An antibacterial enzyme known as lysozyme applied to food could protect people from intentional contamination with anthrax, U.S. scientists report. Lysozome, which is found in human tears and other body fluids, destroys protective cell walls of bacteria. Lysozyme in breast milk protects infants from certain infections and in the whites of hens’ eggs protects developing chicks. In their study, the researchers used a surrogate bacterial strain considered a stand-in for anthrax in hens’ egg white, and found that the lysozyme in egg white effectively killed the bacterial spores. It also showed some activity in killing spores added to ground beef and milk. The scientists say more research is needed on the effect of lysozome on bacteria in other types of foods, such as ground beef, milk, fruit juices, and vegetables.
Saeed A. Khan, Ph.D., et al., "Toward Safer Foods for Human Consumption with Anthrax Protection", Presentation, national meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 26, 2010, © American Chemical Society
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Which? Warns Consumers To Be Wary Of Certain Words And Phrases On Food Product Labels

August 25, 2010: 07:54 PM EST
British consumer watchdog Which? warns that some words and phrases commonly used by food manufacturers on product labels mislead and confuse grocery shoppers. Particularly bothersome are words like “pure,” “fresh,” “natural” and “real,” which are not strictly defined by law – like “organic” and “free range” – but are subject only to guidance from the Food Standards Agency (now from the Dept. of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). A survey of 1,023 adults conducted by Which? in July found that 43 percent believed beverages labeled “juice drink” must have 25 percent fruit juice. But, Which? notes, only five percent of Rubicon Sparkling Passion Juice drink is juice concentrate. The product “actually has more sugar than concentrate.” Nevertheless, it is legal for Rubicon to label the beverage a “real fruit juice drink.”
"Food labels to take with a pinch of salt", Which?, August 25, 2010, via Which?, © Which?
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Italian Chocolate Maker To Add Probiotics To Premium Candies

August 25, 2010: 07:24 PM EST
Premium candy maker Agostoni Chocolate will add a probiotic strain made by Ganeden Biotech to some of its chocolate products to create the Chocolate Plus Private Label. The store brand functional snacks are designed to fit into the retail confectionery and wellness supplement categories by offering a mix-and-match approach for product feature and pricing flexibility, according to the companies. Starting with the health benefits of premium high-cocoa-content Italian dark chocolate, retailers can sell the chocolate with the probiotic alone, or offer a bar that includes the probiotic with omega-3 fatty acid-rich toasted flax seed. Two bar sizes are available: a 0.5 ounce mini-bar or 1.1 ounce snack bar.
"Ganeden Biotech and Agostoni Chocolate Announce Private Label Probiotic Chocolates", PRNewswire, August 25, 2010, © PRNewswire
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Plantain, Broccoli Fiber Blocks Development Of Inflammatory Bowel Disorder

August 26, 2010: 10:05 AM EST

Diet is thought to be an important environmental factor in causing Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder that is rare in countries where fibrous fruits and vegetables are dietary staples. Now a study by British researchers has found evidence that soluble fibers in plantains and broccoli block a key developmental stage of Crohn’s disease when bacteria such as E. coli invade the epithelial cells lining the bowel. The scientists tested preparations of soluble plant fibers from leeks, apples, broccoli, and plantains, and the common fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80, and found that fibers from plantain and broccoli reduced translocation of the bacteria by between 45% and 82%, while leek and apple fibers had no noticeable impact. The emulsifier polysorbate 80, however, substantially increased translocation.

Jon Rhodes, Barry Campbell, et al., "Translocation of Crohn's disease Escherichia coli across M-cells: Contrasting effects of soluble plant fibers and emulsifiers", Gut, August 26, 2010, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & British Society of Gastroenterology
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Compound Derived From Larch Tree Bark Boosts Immune Response To Pneumonia Vaccine

August 26, 2010: 06:35 AM EST
A placebo-controlled study among healthy adults has found that an extract of the water-soluble polysaccharide arabinogalactan – derived from larch tree bark and commercially known as ResistAid – significantly boosts the ability of pneumonia vaccine to strengthen the immune system. Forty-five adults ingested either a 4.5 mg dose of ResistAid or a placebo for 72 days. Thirty days into the study all participants were given a pneumonia vaccine. The researchers then measured various indicators of immune system response (e.g., white blood cell counts, inflammatory cytokines, etc.) and found that pneumococcal antibody response in the arabinogalactan group was significantly higher than in the placebo group, indicating that the immune system was enhanced by the vaccine plus the arabinogalactan supplement.
Jay K Udani, Betsy B Singh, Marilyn L Barrett and Vijay J Singh, "Proprietary arabinogalactan extract increases antibody response to the pneumonia vaccine: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study in healthy volunteers", Nutrition Journal , August 26, 2010, © BioMed Central Ltd
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Asian Rice Variety Offers Healthier, Cheaper Alternative To Blueberries

August 26, 2010: 11:43 AM EST
U.S. researchers report that Chinese black rice bran is much richer in heart disease-fighting anthocyanin antioxidants than fresh blueberries and blackberries, and are much cheaper. A spoonful of black rice bran contains more antioxidants - including vitamin E - less sugar and more fiber than a spoonful of blueberries, researchers say. Food manufacturers could use black rice bran to enhance the health value of breakfast cereals, beverages, cakes, cookies, and other foods. The lipid soluble antioxidants found in black rice bran contain higher levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants than brown rice bran, which is considered much healthier than white rice. Black rice is used mainly in Asia for food decoration, noodles, sushi, and pudding.
Zhimin Xu, "Black Rice Rivals Pricey Blueberries as Source of Healthful Antioxidants", Presentation, national meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 26, 2010, © American Chemical Society
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Grapefruit Compound Induces Metabolism Of Fatty Acids In The Liver

August 25, 2010: 07:21 PM EST
U.S. and Israeli researchers have found that the antioxidant naringenin that is derived from the bitter flavor of grapefruits and other citrus fruits may help the liver metabolize fat while boosting insulin sensitivity. Naringenin activates small proteins called nuclear receptors that prompt the liver to break down fatty acids, a process that happens naturally during extended periods of fasting. The researchers say the compound offers the same benefits as the lipid-lowering drug Fenofibrate and the anti-diabetic drug Rosiglitazone. If the findings can be repeated in human trials, the compound could become a treatment for hyperlipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The process induced by naringenin – breaking down fatty acids in the liver – “is similar to the Atkins diet, without many of the side effects," one researcher says.
Jonathan Goldwasser, Pazit Y. Cohen, Eric Yang, Patrick Balaguer, Martin L. Yarmush, Yaakov Nahmias, "Transcriptional Regulation of Human and Rat Hepatic Lipid Metabolism by the Grapefruit Flavonoid Naringenin: Role of PPARa, PPAR? and LXRa", PlosOne, August 25, 2010, © Open Access
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Europe’s Infant Nutrition Market Is Strong, Despite At Least One Feeble Segment

August 25, 2010: 07:33 PM EST
Market research from Business Insights finds that the European infant nutrition industry is healthy, despite a key segment being buffeted by adverse market forces. An increase in the rate of premature births, for example, is pushing up demand for clinical nutrition products, while baby milk products are suffering thanks to heightened pressure on mothers to breast feed. However, the baby food market is robust, awash with new products, especially ones making organic, natural and healthy claims. Overall, infant nutrition is expected to grow 4.8 percent annually through 2013; infant clinical nutrition will grow 5.9 percent a year; and new baby foods that incorporate advanced technologies and organic ingredients will grow 5.1 percent through 2013.
"Infant Nutrition Category Grows Up", Nutraceuticals World, August 25, 2010
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Mars U.K. Chocolate Bars Will Have 15% Less Sat-Fat Beginning Next Month

August 25, 2010: 08:39 PM EST
Beginning in September, Mars Chocolate U.K. chocolate bars will contain 15 percent less saturated fat. The move is part of its “Raising the Bar” commitment to enhance the nutritional value of products like Mars, Snickers, Milky Way and Topic bars without affecting the flavor. Saturated fat content will be reduced from five grams to 4.8 grams, a change that has cost the company nearly $14 million in R&D over five years. A $2 million television and print ad campaign will launch the new “lower sat-fats, same taste” theme. The U.K.’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has asked confectioners to reduce saturated fat in chocolate candy by at least 10 percent by 2013. Mars says its Mars bar now has less sat fats than any Top 10 U.K chocolate product.
Rosie Baker, "Mars cuts sat-fats by 15%", Marketing Week, August 25, 2010, © Marketing Week
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HIV-Positive Women Should Avoid Vitamin A, Beta-carotene Supplements During Pregnancy

August 25, 2010: 11:53 AM EST
HIV-positive women who breastfeed should avoid vitamin A (retinol) and beta-carotene supplements because they could increase the flow of the virus in breast milk and dangerously boost the risk of the child acquiring the infection, two placebo-controlled U.S. studies suggest. Transmission of HIV through breastfeeding occurs because breast milk contains viral particles that are ingested by the infant, researchers said. Vitamin A and beta-carotene seem to increase virus levels in the milk. In a second study, the researchers found that the same nutrients increase the risk of developing subclinical mastitis, an inflammation that causes blood plasma to leak into mammary glands and viral particles to then leak into the milk.
Eduardo Villamor, et al., "Effect of Vitamin Supplements on HIV Shedding in Breast Milk", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 25, 2010, © American Society for Nutirion
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FDA Offers Guidance For Restaurants On Complying With New Nutrition Labeling Law

August 25, 2010: 01:10 PM EST
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published drafts of guidelines that tell chain and other restaurants how to comply with the new federal nutrition labeling law, which requires that basic nutrition information on menu items be provided to restaurant diners. The restaurant and retail food establishment section of the law, which was enacted in March 2010, requires posting the number of calories for standard menu items on menus and menu boards, providing additional nutrition information in writing, and posting clearly that nutrition information is available on request. Restaurants also must post calorie information for self-serve items and foods on display. The agency, which is seeking public comment on the proposed guidelines, said it will hold off enforcing final regulations until restaurants have had time to comply.
U.S. FOod and Drug Administration, "Draft Guidance for Industry: Questions and Answers Regarding Implementation of the Menu Labeling Provisions of Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 ", Federal Register, August 25, 2010, © FDA
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Salmonella Scare Means Boom Time For Organic Egg Producers

August 24, 2010: 07:27 PM EST
Organic egg producers in the U.S. are experiencing a sales boom, thanks to the massive egg recall due to salmonella contamination. Many American consumers worried about the half-billion egg recall have apparently overcome their reluctance to pay higher prices for organic eggs. Among the companies benefiting from the salmonella scare are the two biggest organic egg producers, Organic Valley Cooperative and Eggland's Best, although small organic producers also report higher demand. According to reports, anxious consumers have bombarded the companies with calls about the safety of their eggs and have been assured that their eggs are rigorously tested. Organic eggs comprise only a small share of the egg market, according to the USDA, whose 2008 data show that certified organic layer hens make up 1.5% of the total.
JONATHAN BERR, "Organic Egg Sellers Scramble to Keep Up With Fresh Interest After Recall", Daily Finance, August 24, 2010, © AOL Inc.
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Parents, Schools, Dairy Industry Debate Nutritional Pros And Cons Of Flavored Milk

August 24, 2010: 07:30 PM EST
Despite the fact that 71 percent of the milk served in America’s school cafeterias is flavored, it is falling out of favor because of added sweetness in the form of cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup. But the dairy industry, seven percent of whose milk sales occur in schools, and many school nutrition advocates say adding flavors like chocolate is the only way to get many kids to drink milk, which is rich in nutrients like calcium, protein and vitamin D. A dairy industry-funded study in seven school districts found that kids drank 35 percent less milk at school on average when flavored milk wasn’t available. But child nutrition advocates say it is “outrageous” to call an eight-ounce beverage packed with more than five teaspoons of sugar healthy.
KIM SEVERSON, "A School Fight Over Chocolate Milk", NYTimes, August 24, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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Opportunities Exist For U.S. Exporters Of Unprocessed Organic Products In The EU

August 23, 2010: 09:36 PM EST
Demand for organic food in the EU – a $27 billion market – is on the rise thanks to several negative food-related incidents plus a growing interest in health, environmental issues, and animal welfare. That, plus the fact that European rules require organic foods and beverages to be processed locally by manufacturers who import ingredients from around the globe, should encourage U.S exporters of organic food ingredients and unprocessed products. Other reasons for optimism: the paperwork requirements for importing such products are less of a burden than for processed products; and the EU is considering legislation that would for the first time cover EU-wide classification and trade in organic products. If enacted, arduous negotiations with individual Member States would no longer be necessary.
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, "USDA GAIN Report - EU- 27: Organic Products Market Report August 2010", Flex News, August 23, 2010, © USDA
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“Wellness” Trend Is Making A Big Impact On Consumer Food Purchases

August 24, 2010: 02:04 AM EST
"Wellness" has become a mainstream preoccupation that influences food purchasing, according to The Hartman Group. A recent survey by the consultancy/research firm found that consumers look to markers of quality of life on a category-by-category basis to determine if food products are authentic and will help them achieve or maintain wellness. According to the report, consumers are less interested in “organic” food than in “fresh, real and clean food as the foundation for [health and wellness]." They try to avoid harmful ingredients related to cardiovascular health, especially cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat and salt. And they view food as useful in preventing rather than treating health problems. For example, 56 percent use foods to prevent high cholesterol, while only 30 percent use foods to treat it.
Mark Dolliver, "'Wellness' Goes Mainstream", Adweek, August 24, 2010, © Adweek
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Top Ten Snack Trends Spotlights Healthy, Boldly Flavored – But There’s Room For Twinkies

August 23, 2010: 09:16 PM EST
The Food Channel has formulated a “Top Ten” list of snack trends for 2010. At the top are new variations on the “chip and dip” theme, healthier and spicier dips served with Popchips (popped instead of fried or baked) and herb-infused pretzels. Number two is an homage to the fact that snacking has become meal replacement: snacks packed with protein, like a Steak ‘n Shake slider or a McDonald’s Big Mac Wrap. Rounding out the top ten are drinks made with fruit and antioxidants; nuts of all kinds, even chocolate-flavored; locally-sourced new fruits, like goji berries and white cherries; snack bars that are dairy free, gluten free, non GMO, etc.; snacks that straddle the sweet and salty barrier; exotic yogurts; snacks with bold flavors; and enduring favorites like Hostess Twinkies.
The Editor , "Top Ten Snack Trends 2010", The Food Channel, August 23, 2010, © The Food Channel
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Quaker Oats Launches New Products, Ad Campaign, Based On Healthy Breakfasts

August 24, 2010: 02:10 AM EST
Proclaiming a growth plan based on products that “help people lead healthier lifestyles,” Quaker Oats Company said it will introduce two hot cereal varieties for its instant oatmeal line. The products targeted at adults and children include Quaker Hearty Medleys Instant Multigrain Hot Cereal and Mix-Up Creations, an instant oatmeal product that allows kids to create a breakfast by mixing “fun oatmeal flavors.” The company said the theme of its new advertising campaign, launching on September 1, will be the question: "Does Your Breakfast Make You Amazing?" According to Quaker Oats President Jaya Kumar, “We see a universal need for education and motivation to help Americans make breakfast a daily, healthy habit." Toronto-based ad agency Juniper Park created the "Amazing Mornings" campaign.
"Quaker Oats Sets New Direction for Growth, Reclaims 'Morning' Leadership", PepsiCo, August 24, 2010, © PepsiCo
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Revolution Foods And Plum Organics Partner With Kia Motors For Yo Gabba Gabba LiveTour

August 24, 2010: 02:14 AM EST
The Nest Collective, maker of baby, toddler and kids foods under the brands Plum Organics and Revolution Foods, is providing healthy and organic snacks for the Kia Motors Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!: There's a Party in My City! tour, which launched on August 27 in Bethel, N.Y. Attendees at the live version of the Nick Jr. children’s TV show in 60 cities will be able to sample products like organic fruit Mashups and Plum Organics fruit and vegetable baby food purees. "Party in My Lunchbox" stations at each venue will offer food sample, lessons in healthy eating and photo opportunities with Mr. Mashup, a life size version of the organic snack Mashups.
"Revolution Foods and Plum Organics Partner With Kia Motors Presents YO GABBA GABBA! LIVE!: THERE'S A PARTY IN MY CITY!", PRNewswire, August 24, 2010, © PRNewswire
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