Campaign Encourages FDA To Label GE Foods
The Just Label It (JLI) Campaign has announced that a record-breaking one million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to label genetically engineered (GE) foods, also referred to as genetically modified, or GMOs. The campaign also announced a new national survey revealing that Americans across the political spectrum stand united in support of labeling food that has been genetically engineered. This is a striking contrast to the partisan divisions plaguing our political system.
“Pink slime, deadly melons, tainted turkeys, and BPA in our soup have put us all on notice that what we eat and feed our families is critically important,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a JLI partner. “Americans overwhelmingly demand safety, transparency and labeling of genetically engineered foods. It’s time for the FDA to come clean and restore public confidence in our food system.”
Since October, JLI, the national campaign to require GE food labeling, and its more than 500 partner organizations have spearheaded a historic number of public comments for a GE foods labeling petition (Docket No. FDA 2011-P-0723-001/CP). Today, March 27, is when the FDA is required to respond to the petition. It took less than 180 days to accumulate the record number of comments.
“In recent years, Americans have shown a real interest in knowing more about our food and now there is a clear mandate for the labeling of genetically engineered foods. This petition asks the FDA to stand up for the rights of average Americans, and not just a handful of powerful chemical companies. It’s time for the FDA to give Americans the same rights held by citizens in 40 nations, including all of our major trade partners, to know whether our foods have been genetically modified. The FDA needs to restore confidence in our food and our right to know about the food we eat and feed our families,” said Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Stonyfield, a JLI partner.
New Survey Results: Motherhood, Apple Pie and GE Food Labeling
Consumer support for GE foods labeling in the U.S. is nearly unanimous, according to the political opinion survey on GE food labeling conducted by The Mellman Group on behalf of JLI. Explained pollster Mark Mellman, “Few topics other than motherhood and apple pie can muster over 90 percent support, but labeling GE foods is one of those few views held almost unanimously.”
The survey found nearly all Democrats (93 percent favor, 2 percent oppose), Independents (90 percent favor, 5 percent oppose) and Republicans (89 percent favor, 5 percent oppose) in favor of labeling. The study also revealed that support for labeling is robust and arguments against it have little sway.
Colorado mother and author Robyn O’Brien, who founded the AllergyKids Foundation, a JLI partner, after one of her children had an allergic reaction to breakfast, said: “Americans are responding to the call for GE foods labeling because they want more information for their families. Like allergen labeling, GE food labels would provide essential and possibly life-saving information for anyone with a food allergy. Being responsible for the health and safety of my children, I believe it’s my right to know about the food I feed my family…from allergens, to ‘pink slime’ to GE foods.”
“Genetically engineered foods,” “genetically modified organisms,” or GMOs, are organisms that have been created through application of transgenic, gene-splicing techniques that are part of biotechnology. This relatively new science allows DNA (genetic material) from one species to be transferred into another species, creating transgenic organisms with combinations of genes from plants, animals, bacteria, and even viral gene pools. The mixing of genes from different species that have never shared genes in the past is what makes GMOs and GE crops so unique. It is impossible to create such transgenic organisms through traditional crossbreeding methods, according to a JLI news release.
100 Percent Fruit Juice Linked To Improved Nutrient Intake In Youth
Consumption of 100 percent fruit juice is closely linked to improved nutrient adequacy among 2- to 18-year-olds, according to new research published in the current online issue of Public Health Nutrition, the Juice Products Association reports.
The new study from researchers at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and Baylor College of Medicine highlights the effect that consumption of fruit juice had on select nutrients (ones that have been identified as “nutrients of concern” and are most frequently under-consumed in children’s diets), namely: dietary fiber; vitamins A, C and E; magnesium; folate; phosphorus; calcium; and potassium.
According to the findings, with the exception of vitamin E and fiber, consumption of 100 percent juice was associated with higher usual intakes of all of the aforementioned nutrients. (Of note, although juice drinkers did not exhibit higher intakes of dietary fiber, their fiber intake was not lower than non-consumers, as experts have previously speculated may occur). These results underscore the role of 100 percent juice as a nutrient-dense beverage—a classification also noted in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
“One hundred percent fruit juice plays an important role in the diets of children and teens, supplying important nutrients during crucial years for growth and development,” says lead researcher Dr. Carol O’Neil. “Drinking 100 percent juice should be encouraged as part of an overall balanced diet.”
Additionally, this study is the first to show that fruit juice consumers were more likely to exceed the adequate intake for calcium than those not consuming juice. It is unclear if this is due to intake of calcium-fortified juices or if fruit juice was more likely to be consumed alongside calcium-rich foods and beverages.
In this study, the researchers used data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine the diets of a nationally representative sample of children and adolescents age 2 to 18.
For more information about the health benefits of 100 percent fruit juice, visit www.fruitjuicefacts.org.
Tropicana Pure Premium Sending One Family To Fla. Orange Grove
To celebrate its 100 percent Pure Florida orange juice, Tropicana Pure Premium is giving consumers a behind-the-scenes look at the Florida groves where their oranges are grown, and is sending one lucky family to Florida to experience the groves in person.
Consumers can visit Tropicana’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Tropicana to get an up close and personal look at some of the Florida groves where many of Tropicana Pure Premium’s oranges come from, with photos, stories, grower profiles and fun grove facts.
Through April 20, fans can visit Tropicana’s Facebook page and enter to win one of 100 prizes.
• 99 one-year supplies of orange juice in the form of 12 59-oz. Tropicana Pure Premium containers.
• One trip to a Florida orange grove for a grand prize winner and three guests, which includes round-trip airfare for four to Florida; three night stay at a hotel in Sarasota; and a behind-the-scenes experience at one of the Florida orange groves with the opportunity to meet growers, tour groves and discover the origins of their favorite orange juice.
For official rules and regulations, fans can visit the “sweeps” tab on Tropicana’s Facebook page.
Tropicana is a PepsiCo product.
National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day Is March 24
There’s “Clean-Up Your Room Day” (May 10), “Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day” (April 18) and even “National Goof-Off Day” (March 22), but “National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day”? Yes, and it will be recognized March 24. While Nestle did not establish the holiday, the company is leading a national celebration in the name of Nestle Raisinets, which also happens to be celebrating its 85th anniversary this year.
Raisinets chocolate covered raisins were first introduced by a family-owned business in 1927, the Blumenthal Brothers Chocolate Co. of Philadelphia. The brand was sold over the years and, in 1984, Nestle acquired then owner Ward-Johnston, makers of Raisinets, Goobers, Chunky, Sno-Caps, Bit-O-Honey and Oh Henry. Raisinets are sun-ripened California raisins drenched in Nestle Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. They are a natural source of fruit antioxidants, and contain 30 percent less fat than the leading chocolate brands.
Raisinets are best known as the perfect movie treat, right up there with popcorn. In fact, movie-goers have been known to mix the two for the best of that sweet and salty taste. Early in movie making history when a box of Raisinets was sold to theaters for 1.25 cents, fans could buy a box of Raisinets for a nickel. Today, retailers sell Raisinets in single bags, stand-up bags and theater concession boxes, but they were originally sold by weight from jars in candy stores.
• Raisinets are actually polished to make each one shine. In earlier years, Raisinets were made by hand in small mixing and polishing pans. A load of 350 pounds took approximately 90 minutes to coat and an additional 60 minutes to polish. Today, Raisinets are made by machine in nearly 2,500 pound batches. That equals nearly one million Raisinets in a single batch, or more than 21 million each day;
• Raisinets are made with a special type of grape and proudly made in the U.S. Only one kind is chosen to become a Raisinet, Thompson Seedless grapes. All are grown and harvested in California’s Central Valley;
• If you lined-up the amount of Raisinets produced in one year end-to-end, the length would go around the earth 2.5 times;
• Every man, woman and child in the United States would receive 17 Raisinets if the amount made in a year was shared with all;
• Raisinets are gluten-free; and
• Raisinets are made in Burlington, Wisc. If a year’s supply of Raisinets was packed in theater concession boxes and lined up end-to-end, the boxes would reach from Burlington to Hollywood, Calif., two times over.
Nestle Raisinets are available in single serve pouches for on-the-go snacking, and in theater concession boxes and stand-up bags ideal for sharing. The treat is available at retailers nationwide in milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
Beer Giant Moving Latin American Headquarters To Miami
SAB Miller, the company that brings you Miller High Life, Coors and Corona, is moving its Latin America headquarters from Bogota, Colombia, to Miami, Fla., reports the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
The move only means a handful of new jobs for South Florida, but it is seen as a big win for city leaders who want Miami to be the corporate hub of the Americas, according to the Miami Herald.
Miller is expected to rent one floor of the new 35-story office tower at 1450 Brickell Ave.
IDDBA Scholarship Deadline is April 1
The next application deadline for the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) scholarship program is April 1.
The IDDBA offers scholarships to employees of IDDBA-member companies in amounts ranging from $100 to $1,000 for college or vocational/technical school students in business, marketing or food-related fields of study.
There are four application deadlines each year: Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1. More information and an online or printable application are available at www.iddba.org/scholarships.aspx.
Coca-Cola Testing PlantBottle Packaging in Southeast
The Coca-Cola Co. is conducting a limited-time pilot for its new PlantBottle packaging in Birmingham, Atlanta and Nashville.
Through the end of May, Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Fanta Orange and Mello Yello will be available in PlantBottle packaging in the 16- and 20-oz. sizes, along with the new 12.5-oz. bottle, the Birmingham Business Journal reports.
The packaging can be identified by the PlantBottle leaf logo on the label.
Diamond Foods Pays Up to Retain Senior Executives
Troubled San Francisco-based Diamond Foods has said it will pay a handful of executives a retention bonus equal to 250 percent of their annual salaries, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday.
Half of the retention benefit will be payable in cash and half in restricted stock. The company will pay 40 percent of the retention bonus in six months and the balance a year after the plan’s adoption if the eligible executives qualify for the retention payments, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The retention plan covers Lloyd Johnson, EVP and chief sales officer; Andrew Burke, EVP and CMO; Stephen Kim, SVP and general counsel and human resources; and Linda Segre, SVP and president of corporate strategy.
Acting CEO Rick Wolford is not covered by the plan.
The retention plan’s creation reflects the challenges Diamond Foods faces in holding onto talent after the stock plunged in the wake of an accounting scandal that resulted in the CEO and CFO being ousted from their jobs, the Times reports. A transformational deal to buy Pringles from Procter & Gamble was scrapped on Feb. 15 when P&G struck a deal to sell Pringles to Kellogg for $2.7 billion.
That deal will make Kellogg the nation’s second-largest snack food company and triggered speculation that the cereal maker could eventually acquire Diamond, with its Emerald nuts, Pop Secret popcorn and Kettle chip brands.