May 11, 2011
The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued its first ever statement on triglyceride management that includes recommendations for omega-3 EPA/DHA intake. Elevated triglyceride levels have long been associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to the AHA, more than 31 percent of the U.S. population has borderline high triglyceride levels. Further, AHA’s 2006 statistical data estimates that 81,100,000 people in the U.S. have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, claiming 831,272 lives in that same year.
In conjunction with other important lifestyle changes, the AHA recommends 0.5 - 1g of omega-3 EPA and DHA for individuals with borderline fasting triglyceride levels (150-199mg/dL), 1 - 2g for individuals with high fasting triglyceride levels (200-499mg/dL), and 2 - 4g for individuals with very high fasting triglyceride levels (≥500mg/dL). The AHA has also previously recommended that normal healthy individuals consume a variety of fish (preferably oily), and a daily intake of 1g of omega-3 EPA and DHA for patients with documented coronary heart disease.
For more information, visit www.heart.org.
Richard’s Foodporium™ (Sarasota, FL) recently announced the acquisition of two Good Earth stores in Bradenton, FL. The two stores will be re-branded and remodeled over the summer. The new locations will bring the total number of Richard’s Foodporium corporate and franchised stores to 16. Most of the locations are in southwest Florida, with one also being located in Palm Coast on the east coast of Florida. As part of the transition, Mark Egan, owner of Good Earth, will be joining the Richard’s and first be focused on transitioning the Good Earth stores into the Richard’s organization.
“The Good Earth locations in Bradenton are an excellent addition to our brand and strengthen the value proposition to our franchise system. While there are substantial similarities between the two businesses, Richard’s Foodporium will bring many unique elements of its own brand to these new locations,” noted John Rorer, owner of Richard’s Foodporium.
The two new 3,500 to 4,500-square-foot locations are slightly larger than the typical Richard’s footprint (approximately 2,500 square feet), and include produce, which Richard’s stores typically have not pursued due to shrink and reduced margins. Richard’s plans on experimenting with produce in the stores, creating best practices and training manuals, and evaluating the potential for future stores with larger floorplans.
Both stores will be reset and remodeled with the Richard’s prototype décor package, greatly increasing the bulk foods selection, and adding the Richard’s lines of grocery and supplement private labels. The Richard’s team plans to implement more aggressive promotion programs especially in cooperation with key vendor partners. Preview and grand re-opening events will be scheduled later this year after the completion of remodeling.
For more information, visit www.richardswholefoods.com
Fair Trade USA (Oakland, CA), a third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S., recently released its 2010 Almanac.
The 2010 edition showcases record volumes of Fair Trade Certified™ imports, a dramatic increase in organic imports, expansion into popular new product categories, a surge in consumer demand and increased brand recognition for Fair Trade Certified goods.
While the world economy saw continued instability in 2010, Fair Trade USA bucked the trend and certified nearly 109 million pounds of Fair Trade coffee, 62 percent of which was also certified organic.
“As consumer demand for ethically produced goods increases, we’re able to chip away at the cycle of poverty that grips farming communities around the world,” said Paul Rice, president and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “Through their participation in Fair Trade, farming families have earned more than $220 million in additional income since 1998, $56 million of which will be invested specifically in community development programs that provide access to education and life-saving health care.”
Both new and existing product categories experienced growth, revealing increased demand in the U.S. market for Fair Trade items across the board. Just a few of these new products include apparel, green peppers, vodka and a wide array of herbs, spices and extracts. In 2010, more than eight million pounds of all-organic Fair Trade pineapples were also re-introduced to the market.
In response to the increased availability of Fair Trade goods, 2010 was witness to tremendous growth in several key product categories in addition to coffee. Cocoa experienced a 67 percent growth in imports since 2009, 88 percent (3,882,000 lbs) of which was also certified organic. Fair Trade citrus saw a 96 percent increase in growth in 2010, imports of sugar rose by 60 percent (89 percent also organic), and imported pounds of certified vanilla nearly quadrupled due to recent commitments from major U.S. buyers.
For more information, visit www.fairtradeusa.org.
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) announced it has awarded 314 grants totalling close to $2.7 million as it begins its 21st year.
OFRF most recently awarded seven new grants totalling $75,000 in California, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, Washington, and Ottawa, Canada as part of its spring 2011 grants cycle. Funded projects include breeding an “organic-ready” corn that resists GMO pollen and developing biological control for the apple flea weevil plaguing Michigan’s organic apple growers. OFRF funds both research and educational projects.
“OFRF grants are as vital today in developing research into cutting-edge topics of interest as they were in 1990 when OFRF was founded,” said Maureen Wilmot, OFRF’s new executive director.
While the organization’s grant program may appear small compared to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $18 million per year organic research program, it remains the only source of small grants to fund organic research on a nationwide basis open to all applicants, according to the Foundation.
OFRF awards grants through a competitive process and proposals are considered twice a year. Upcoming deadlines are May 16 and November 15, 2011.
For more information, visit www.ofrf.org.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced two new regulations that will help ensure the safety and security of foods in the U.S. The rules are the first to be issued by the FDA under the new authorities granted the agency by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Obama in January. Both rules will take effect July 3, 2011.
The first rule strengthens FDA’s ability to prevent potentially unsafe food from entering commerce. It allows the FDA to administratively detain food the agency believes has been produced under insanitary or unsafe conditions.
Beginning in July, the FDA will be able to detain food products that it has reason to believe are adulterated or misbranded for up to 30 days, if needed, to ensure they are kept out of the marketplace. The products will be kept out of the marketplace while the agency determines whether an enforcement action such as seizure or federal injunction against distribution of the product in commerce is necessary.
The second rule requires anyone importing food into the U.S. to inform the FDA if any country has refused entry to the same product, including food for animals. This new requirement will provide the agency with more information about foods that are being imported, which improves the FDA’s ability to target foods that may pose a significant risk to public health.
This new reporting requirement will be administered through the FDA’s prior notice system for incoming shipments of imported food established under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002.
With prior notice, in the event of a credible threat for a specific product or a specific manufacturer or processor, the FDA is able to mobilize and assist in the detention and removal of products that may pose a serious health threat to humans or animals.
For more information, visit www.fda.gov.
Bayer HealthCare LLC (Morristown, NJ) is facing a class-action lawsuit filed on April 22 in California alleging that the company’s Phillips Probiotics Colon Health (PPCH) dietary supplement makes unsupported claims for digestive and immune health.
According to the lawsuit, Bayer has not provided evidence supporting its advertising claims that its unique blend of probiotics aids digestion and immune health. The product contains Lactobacillus gasseri, which the company claims supports “nutrient absorption and lactose digestion,” Bifidobacterium longum, which it says “support digestive and immune health,” and Bifidobacterium bifidum, said to “guard against occasional intestinal disturbances.”
The lawsuit alleges that these claims are false and misleading because Bayer fails to cite any scientific study to demonstrate the health benefits from consumption of the PPCH products.
Other complaints point to Bayer not providing evidence that the probiotics in its product survive in the gastrointestinal tract, despite the company advising consumers to choose probiotics with a high rate of survivability, “like Phillips Colon Health.”
In the past, yogurts have been hit with probiotic claims lawsuits. In 2008, a class action lawsuit was filed against Dannon in regards to its claims that its yogurt regulated digestion and boosted the immune system. The case ended in a $35 million settlement. In 2009, the same lawyers that won the Dannon case sued General Mills on behalf of the residents of Florida, taking issue with digestive claims made on Yoplait’s Yo-Plus products.