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Period: February 12, 2011 to February 26, 2011
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Comment & Opinion  

Fonterra Expands Outside New Zealand, Builds Dairy Farms in China

Fonterra Co-Operative Group Ltd. CEO Andrew Ferrier has said his company plans to expand outside New Zealand, particularly in China. Fonterra, which has sales near $13 billion and produces about a third of the internationally traded dairy products globally, is building dairy farms in China; this follows the 2008 contaminated milk scandal involving Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., which was 43-percent owned by Fonterra and prompted it to take control of all aspects of its operations in China. Ferrier sees growing wealth and population growth increasing demand, even as climate change and increasing costs of production push up milk prices worldwide. He added that Fonterra will not sell genetically modified milk products in countries where consumers do not want them, and is instead focusing on selective breeding of cows to improve milk quality and production.

"Dairy Producer Eyes Expansion in China", The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2011

Nutiva Contributes To Legal Efforts To Rescind USDA Monsanto Decision

Nutiva, a maker of organic hemp, coconut and chia foods, has contributed $25,000 to an effort by the Center for Food Safety to reverse a decision by the USDA to deregulate Monsanto’s genetically engineered, Roundup-Ready alfalfa. According to Nutiva,the USDA’s ruling is “ profoundly disappointing to the organic community.” The CFS says it is pursuing all legal remedies to oppose the decision, primarily because biotech industry market dominance in crops will mean “the majority of organic foods will be genetically contaminated with foreign genetic material through pollen drift and accidental co-mingling.”

"Nutiva Pledges $25,000 to CFS for Challenging USDA’s Approval of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Alfalfa", News release, Nutiva, February 17, 2011

USP Seeks Industry Input

Nutraceutical World, February 10, 2011

Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy  

Safer Food Is More Important To Americans Than Government Analyses Suggest

A national survey of 3,511 people has found that Americans would be willing to pay a dollar per person each year – a total of $305 million – to achieve a ten percent reduction in the risk of buying, for example, hamburger tainted with E. coli bacteria. The researchers acted on the assumption that government regulators could better assess the value of improving food safety if they took into account the fact that consumers generally want to avoid sickness, even if it costs a little more. The USDA uses a “cost-of-illness approach to value reductions in morbidity,” the researchers note. But that understates the benefits of improved food safety measures by ignoring hidden costs such as pain, suffering and worry. The survey used a hypothetical food-choice scheme to measure consumer willingness to pay for food safety improvements.

"Consumer willingness to pay to reduce the probability of retail foodborne pathogen contamination", Food Policy, February 08, 2011

Advanced Technology Should Supplement, Not Replace, Foods Allergen Warnings On Labels

A survey of 287 people with allergies or with allergic children Germany, Greece and The Netherlands has found that advanced communication technologies like hand-held scanners could be used with, but not in place of, warning labels. European food manufacturers are required to list potential allergenic ingredients on food labels, and often use wording like “may contain [an allergen]” in case of accidental trace allergens. But is that enough? researchers wondered. They showed participants different warning options, such as a standardized label with symbols, an allergen information booklet, advanced technology such as a device that scans barcodes and warns of allergens, etc. The researchers found that while advanced technology should not replace labels, it may be useful as a supplementary warning method.

"Preferred information strategies for food allergic consumers. A study in Germany, Greece, and The Netherlands", Food Quality and Preference, January 31, 2011

Research, Studies, Advice  

Easy-To-Use Technology Uses Ultrasound, Organic Acids To Sanitize Organic Produce

U.S. researchers have developed a technology using ultrasound and organic acids to reduce E. coli and two other strains of foodborne bacteria (Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes) on organic fresh lettuce. The treatment involves submersion of the lettuce – and potentially other types of produce – in an ultrasound tank that contains small amounts of malic, lactic and citric acids. The researchers believe the easy-to-use technique could be adapted for use by food processors to sanitize most types of fresh produce. They hope to ramp up the technology for applicability on a larger scale for industrial organic food applications.

"WSU Researchers Find Better Way to Protect Organic Produce Consumers", News release, Washington State University, February 14, 2011

Folic Acid Supplementation Doubles Risk Of Breast Cancer In Rat Study

A study by Canadian researchers has found that the female offspring of rats given folic acid supplements prior to conception, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding had twice the risk of breast cancer, as well as more and faster-developing tumors than other rats. Researchers cautioned that the findings from the study may not apply to humans, so clinical research is recommended: despite breast cancer similarities, rats and humans metabolize folic acid differently. Doctors routinely urge female patients to take folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy as a way to prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. A diet rich in natural folate may help prevent cancer, but recent studies suggest that supplemental folate intake may promote some cancers, while preventing others.

"Effect of Maternal and Postweaning Folic Acid Supplementation on Mammary Tumor Risk in the Offspring", Cancer Research, February 01, 2011

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