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Food & Nutrition

Coke and Pepsi change recipe to avoid cancer warning

Food & NutritionMar 09 12

Coca-Cola and Pepsi are changing the way they make the caramel colouring used in their drinks as a result of a California law that mandates drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens bear a cancer warning label.

The companies said the changes will be expanded nationally to streamline their manufacturing processes. The changes have already been made for drinks sold in California.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi account for almost 90% of the soda market, according to industry tracker Beverage Digest.

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U.S. detains orange juice imports after finding fungicide

Food & NutritionJan 30 12

Health regulators on Friday detained nine shipments of orange juice from Brazil and Canada that contained traces of an illegal fungicide, and rejected industry calls to overhaul the way they test for the banned substance.

The Food and Drug Administration said carbendazim would remain illegal for citrus in any amount in the United States. Brazil and U.S. industry groups asked the FDA to reconsider its stance on the fungicide, widely used in Brazil to combat blight blossom and black spot, a type of mold that grows on orange trees.

The FDA started testing for the fungicide on January 4, after an alert from Coca-Cola, roiling orange juice futures to record highs as traders feared a prolonged disruption to supply.

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Breast milk courier helps Indonesian mums cope

Children's Health • • Food & NutritionJan 19 12

Febby Kemala Dewi returned to work at a Jakarta accounting firm after three months of maternity leave but struggled, like many new mums, to balance her home and work lives—especially keeping her infant daughter fed.

Unwilling to stop breastfeeding, unable to pump enough for a whole day in the morning before work and leery of giving her baby anything but the freshest milk, she finally turned to a unique Jakarta service—a breast milk motorbike courier.

“I have to work, but at the same time I can still feed my baby,” said Dewi, the wall by her desk plastered with pictures of her smiling daughter, eight-month-old Ashalina Putri.

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Soy is on top as a high-quality plant protein

Food & NutritionDec 06 11

The importance of protein in the human body is undeniable. However, the idea of what makes a protein a “quality protein” has not been as easy to determine. A new study from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry takes a closer look at the criteria for determining the quality of a protein.

Traditional methods for determining protein quality have shown animal proteins such as milk and eggs to be high in quality. However, those who are interested in a plant-based diet, or diversifying their proteins, have a more difficult time determining which of their choices are high in quality. Testing methods have shown most plant proteins, such as pea protein, are lower in quality than animal-based proteins.

“Accurate methods for determining protein quality are key to helping people plan a healthful diet,” said Glenna Hughes, MS, research scientist at Solae. “Due to the increasing interest in including plant-based proteins in the diet, accurate information on protein quality is needed in scientific literature to help educate consumers and healthcare professionals on this topic.”

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Laughter And Chocolate Can Boost Heart Health

Dieting • • Food & NutritionAug 31 11

Maybe laughter really is the best medicine—especially if it’s taken with a dose of chocolate.

Two practically-too-good-to-be-true studies presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s conference in Paris have found that chocolate and laughter are both good for the heart.

While previous studies have found that stress can cause blood vessels to constrict, the first team of researchers, from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, wanted to find out if positive emotions had the opposite effect, lead researcher Dr. Michael Miller said in a release.

When they aired the opening clip of the drama “Saving Private Ryan,” volunteers responded with a constriction of the blood vessel linings, causing a reduction in blood flow. But when those same people watched clips of the comedy, “There’s Something About Mary,” the linings actually expanded.

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Food safety programs suffer in budget battles

Food & Nutrition • • Public HealthJun 20 11

When a salmonella outbreak sickened at least 79 people and killed two this past spring in Rhode Island, the state had only seven food safety inspectors.

During the month it took health officials to track the outbreak to a small bakery in Johnston, Rhode Island, the state’s other 8,000 licensed food establishments remained virtually uninspected.

Though Rhode Island plans to hire one additional inspector soon, Health Department spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth said it won’t be enough to fully protect the state’s food supply.

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Grape tomato products recalled for salmonella risk

Food & Nutrition • • InfectionsMay 03 11

A supplier of grape tomatoes for Taylor Farms Pacific, Inc. has recalled the product for possible salmonella contamination, the government said late on Monday.

Products using the recalled tomatoes were sold in Albertsons, Raley’s, Safeway, Savemart, Sam’s Club and Walmart stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, according to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration.

The recalled tomatoes were used in a variety of products from prepared and packaged salads, to products sold at the stores’ deli counters. The products have sell-by dates between April 27 and May 9.

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Study of nutrition, Alzheimer’s links hampered by research approach

Brain • • Food & Nutrition • • NeurologyJan 24 11

Research is trying to determine whether Alzheimer’s disease might be slowed or prevented with nutritional approaches, but a new study suggests those efforts could be improved by use of nutrient “biomarkers” to objectively assess the nutrient status of elderly people at risk for dementia.

The traditional approach, which primarily relies on self-reported dietary surveys, asks people to remember what they have eaten. Such surveys don’t consider two common problems in elderly populations – the effect that memory impairment has on recall of their diet, or digestive issues that could affect the absorption of nutrients.

This issue is of particular concern, experts say, because age is the primary risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, and the upcoming wave of baby boomers and people 85 years and older will soon place many more people at risk for dementia.

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Scientists call for tighter regulations on food adverts during children’s TV viewing

Food & Nutrition • • Public HealthOct 29 10

The researchers, in partnership with the Cancer Council, Australia, studied 12,618 food advertisements from 11 countries and found that 67 per cent endorsed unhealthy food. The research builds on a previous study at Liverpool which revealed that children would consume twice as many calories from snacks after watching food adverts compared to after viewing advertising for toys and games.

The research reveals that Germany, Spain and Greece have the highest frequency of adverts promoting unhealthy foods during children’s peak viewing time, compared to other European countries and parts of the US, Canada and Australia. These adverts tend to feature child-orientated persuasive techniques, such as the use of popular animated characters and celebrities.

Although the US, Canada and Australia have a lower rate of unhealthy food advertising overall, broadcasters still air the adverts more frequently during a time when children are watching.

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Fish oil no help for mom’s mood, baby’s development

Childbirth • • Dieting • • Food & NutritionOct 20 10

Fish oil capsules are a cheap and easy way to get omega-3 fatty acids, but they don’t help pregnant women steer clear of postpartum depression.

Nor do they boost mental development in their babies, according to researchers from Australia who tested the effect of daily supplements during the second half of pregnancy—a period that spans the growth spurt in the fetus’ brain.

The researchers gave more than 2,000 women either vegetable oil or fish oil containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which earlier studies have hinted—but not proved—might improve pregnancy outcomes.

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Right foods aid memory and protect against disease

Dieting • • Food & NutritionOct 15 10

For the first time researchers have found out what effect multiple, rather than just single, foods with anti-inflammatory effects have on healthy individuals.

The results of a diet study show that bad cholesterol was reduced by 33 per cent, blood lipids by 14 per cent, blood pressure by 8 per cent and a risk marker for blood clots by 26 per cent. A marker of inflammation in the body was also greatly reduced, while memory and cognitive function were improved.

“The results have exceeded our expectations! I would like to claim that there has been no previous study with similar effects on healthy subjects”, says Inger Björck, professor of food-related nutrition at Lund University and head of the University’s Antidiabetic Food Centre.

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Industry has sway over food safety system: study

Food & NutritionSep 14 10

The food industry is jeopardizing U.S. public health by withholding information from food safety investigators or pressuring regulators to withdraw or alter policy designed to protect consumers, according to a survey of government scientists and inspectors.

A study released on Monday by the Union of Concerned Scientists found one in four of those surveyed have seen corporate interests forcing their agency to withdraw or modify a policy or action designed to protect consumers during the past year.

Pressure to overhaul the food safety system has grown following several high-profile outbreaks involving lettuce, peppers, eggs, peanuts, spinach and most recently eggs that have sickened thousands and shaken the public’s confidence in the safety of the food supply.

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USDA knew of problems at egg recall farm: report

Food & Nutrition • • Public HealthSep 11 10

U.S. Department of Agriculture experts knew about sanitary problems at one of the two Iowa farms at the center of a massive nationwide egg recall, but did not notify health authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Bacteria found in chicken feed used at the two Iowa farms was linked to a salmonella outbreak that prompted the recall of more than a half billion eggs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said last month.

The Journal said USDA daily sanitation reports viewed by it underscored the regulatory gaps that may have contributed to delays in discovering salmonella contamination.

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Children Who Eat Vended Foods Face Health Problems, Poor Diet

Children's Health • • Dieting • • Food & NutritionSep 06 10

School children who consume foods purchased in vending machines are more likely to develop poor diet quality – and that may be associated with being overweight, obese or at risk for chronic health problems such as diabetes and coronary artery disease, according to research from the University of Michigan Medical School.

The study also looked at foods sold in school stores, snack bars and other related sales that compete with USDA lunch program offerings and found that these pose the same health and diet risks in school-aged children.

“The foods that children are exposed to early on in life influence the pattern for their eating habits as adults,” says lead study author Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., clinical lecturer of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

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China says no evidence of contamination in milk

Food & Nutrition • • Public HealthAug 17 10

China’s health ministry said on Sunday that it had found no evidence of contamination in milk powder after an investigation into reports that it had caused baby girls to show signs of premature sexual development.

The ministry tested products made by Chinese baby-formula maker Synutra International as well as 20 other brands across the country to compare the level of estrogen in dairy products.

The probe focused on three cases in Wuhan, a populous city in central China’s Hubei province, as well as six cases in five other provinces.

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