Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Weight Discrimination May Lead to More Weight Gain

Discriminating against people because of their weight may only increase their likelihood of gaining more weight, new study shows.

The researchers found that among people who were not obese, those who reported experiencing weight discrimination were 2.5 times more likely to have become obese four years later.

Among people who were obese at the start of the study, those who experienced discrimination were three times more likely to remain obese, compared with those who did not feel discriminated against, the study found.

The results suggest weight discrimination feeds a vicious cycle, in which people who are overweight or obese are likely to experience weight discrimination, which in turn leads to obesity and difficulties with weight management, according to the study, which was published July 24 in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Weight discrimination is relatively common," said study researcher Angelina Sutin, professor of psychology at Florida State University College of Medicine. "But the findings suggest that shaming has the opposite effect that people often think."

Previous research shows that experiencing weight bias may lead to depression, low self-esteem and other poor psychological outcomes. In the new study, the researchers didn't test the mechanisms that might be driving the link between discrimination and obesity, but they said they suspect that people who experience weight discrimination are more likely to develop unhealthy behaviors as coping strategies, including binge eating and avoiding physical activity. [11 Surprising Things That Make Us Gain Weight]

Nevertheless, weight bias is one of the most socially accepted forms of discrimination, the researchers said, perhaps justified by the misconception that such discrimination may motivate people to lose weight.

"What's really striking in the study is that not only does weight discrimination increase the risk of obesity, but it's also related to remaining obese over time," said Rebecca Puhl, deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. Puhl was not involved in the study.

"In our efforts to address obesity, we need to recognize that stigma poses legitimate barriers and challenges in those efforts," Puhl said.

In recent years, there have been hundreds of anti-obesity campaigns emerging from public health organizations, Puhl said. While many of them stem from positive intentions to improve public health, some are being criticized for shaming and blaming people who are affected by obesity.

"We need to recognize that that's not an effective way to communicate to the public about weight and health," Puhl said.

Puhl and her colleagues have previously studied public reactions to obesity campaigns. They found that campaigns that seemed to resonate the most with the public were those that focused on specific health behaviors that everyone, regardless of their body size, is encourage to follow — for example, eating more fruits and vegetables, and replacing sugar- and cream-based beverages with water.

"Interestingly, the campaigns that received the most favorable ratings were the ones that didn't even mention obesity," Puhl said.

In the new study, the researchers looked at the heights and weights of more than 6,000 participants, measured in 2006 and 2010.

Participants completed questionnaires that measured perceived discrimination — for example, whether they felt they were treated with less courtesy and respect than other people. Participants were also asked whether they thought those experiences happened to them because of characteristics including their gender, race and weight.

Discrimination based on other factors, such as sex or race, did not appear to have the same correlation with weight.

"There is a lot of evidence that experiencing weight discrimination is associated with increased risk of maladaptive eating patterns such as binge eating, emotional eating," Sutin said.

There may be direct physiological mechanisms too, she added. The stress caused by discrimination increases the cortisol hormone, which is associated with weight gain.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cuomo Signs Law Banning Shark Fin Sales

Following the lead of several other states, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill on Friday banning the possession, sale and — presumably — the ingestion of shark fins, signaling the death knell for a traditional Chinatown delicacy: shark fin soup.

Mr. Cuomo, an avid fisherman, said that he signed the legislation, which will take effect next year, to help safeguard the tens of millions of sharks that are killed each year for their fins.

“Not only is the process inhumane, but it also affects the natural balance of the oceanic ecosystem,” the governor said in a statement, adding that the state “will be doing its part to help preserve this important species and maintain a stable environment for them.”

New York is not a big shark-hunting state, but the law’s supporters say it will remove a major market for the fins and the soup they flavor, a salty broth often served at weddings and other banquets.

Patrick Kwan, the director of grass-roots organizing for the Humane Society of the United States, said he had eaten the soup as a child — “It’s almost like a rite of passage” — but hailed the governor’s decision.

“The situation with sharks is so dire and people see the cruelty that’s happened,” said Mr. Kwan, who likened the experience of the sharks to “having a limb cut off.”

Mr. Kwan added that while the process of “finning” — cutting off the shark’s fins and tossing the animal back in the water — was already illegal in waters off New York, those laws did not bar “the trade in shark fins within the state.”

New York is the second most populous state to ban the fins, after California, whose ban took effect earlier this month. All told, eight states have bans in effect. There is also international opposition: Last July, officials in China announced a ban on the soup at official banquets.

New York’s ban takes effect in July 2014, which should give restaurants and banquet halls enough time to use up their stockpiles of fins, which are dried and bleached for sale. Even so, some of the fins can be up to 30 inches tall, indicating that some very large sharks are being killed, Mr. Kwan said.

Tony Chen, a manager at Grand Harmony Palace, a restaurant on Mott Street, said the soup was usually only on the menu for expensive banquets, and not a staple of anyone’s diet. “We use less right now,” he said, “because not many people ask for it.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Fight Alzheimer's by staying mentally sharp

New research out this week boosts the theory that when it comes to staying mentally sharp – you either use it or lose it.

A study of nearly a half million people in France found that people who delay retirement have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

"There is increasing evidence that lifestyle factors may reduce the risk for developing Alzheimer's."

Keri Pollock is with the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. She says the French study corroborates other research that shows a link between lifestyle factors and dementia.

"There are no guarantees, but it definitely mirrors some other studies out there that show that staying mentally, physically and socially active over a lifetime have an important effect on our overall health."

The experts say the study results don’t mean everyone needs to keep punching the time clock. But, you should continue to do the things that are enjoyable to you.

"Volunteering, hiking, doing puzzles, visiting your loved ones, all of that has an impact."

The goal is to stay mentally, physically and socially active for as long as you can.  


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Nielsen Profiles 14 "Breakthrough Brands"

As most marketers know, product launches don't prove their worth in the first year. It's year two that really counts, as consumers either make repeat purchases or move on to the next shiny object. And the truth is, most new products fail to clear this hurdle.

But who has made it? And what can be learned? Nielsen gives some clues in its 2013 "breakthrough innovation report," which singles out 14 winners after examining more than 3,400 consumer packaged-goods that hit shelves in 2011. All of the winners achieved at least 90% of year-one sales in year two.

Some of them come from some pretty staid categories – like dinner kits and oral care. But they all relied on what Nielsen describes as "demand-driven insight," or identifying the "unarticulated desires, partially expressed needs and recurring frustrations in consumers' lives" – which is a lot easier said than done.

Here are the winners, including two-year sales results for each one from Nielsen:


Two-year revenue: $680 million to $690 million

The Sanofi/Chattem-owned brand was late to the over-the-counter allergy relief category. But Nielsen says the brand was able to stand out by filling a need to provide fast and non-drowsy relief.

Reese's Minis

Two-year revenue: $230 million to $240 million

The Hershey brand plays in the flourishing "mini" segment by shrinking its iconic Reese's cups and removing the individual wrapper to give consumers an easier way to eat the candy on the go.

Milo's Kitchen Home-Style Dog Treats

Two-year revenue: $175 million to $185 million

The insight for this Del Monte brand was that while the pet-food category has plenty of "human-quality food" pet food, there was a lack of premium treats, Nielsen said. Milo's Kitchen fills that bill with flavors like beef sausage slices with rice.

Skinny Cow Candy

Two-year revenue: $115 million to $125 million

Candy next to Lean Cuisine? That's how this Nestle-owned brand sold this lower-calorie candy line in grocery stores in what Nielsen called a "gutsy" move that paid off.

Mio Liquid Water Enhancer

Two-year revenue: $265 million to $275 million

Part of Kraft Food Group's plan of "fewer, bigger, better" launches, Mio capitalized on the customization trend, drawing copycat launches from the likes of Coca-Cola's Dasani.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets

Two-year revenue: $170 million to $180 million

The Kraft-owned cheese brand moved into the dinner-kit category with such success that it forced long-time leader Hamburger Helper by General Mills to relaunch with new products and marketing in order to keep pace.

Colgate Optic White

Two-year revenue: $250 million to $260 million

Colgate-Palmolive proved that there was a sizeable group of consumers who want professional-grade teeth whitening at the price and convenience of toothpaste, according to Nielsen.

Magnum Ice Cream

Two-year revenue $225 million to $235 million

The Unilever brand brought "sophisticated elegance and high style" to the U.S. ice cream market, which had been lacking it, according to Nielsen.

Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt

Two-year revenue: $735 million to $745 million

While Fage and Chobani got a head start on the Greek yogurt market, Dannon has caught up quickly with Oikos, and blown by Yoplait in the process.

Monster Rehab

Two-year revenue: $535 million to $545 million

According to Nielsen, this product was launched after researchers at Monster Beverage Co. found that people liked pouring energy drinks into their workout bottles. Marketing includes a tie-in with Vegas pool parties, suggesting that it is also being positioned as a hangover cure.

Downy Unstopables In-Wash Scent Booster

Two-year revenue: $535 million to $545 million

This Procter & Gamble brand drew in a "neglected pool of consumers seeking long-lasting fragrance," according to Nielsen

Sparkling Ice

Two-year revenue: $215 to $225 million

Beverage marketer TalkingRain proved that big launches are possible from small companies with this lightly carbonated drink that comes in flavors like pomegranate berry and coconut pineapple.

Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownies

Two-year revenue: $210 million to $220 million

General Mills turned to Cheech and Chong to help market this lower-calorie chocolate treat aimed at baby boomers

Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownies

Two-year revenue: $210 million to $220 million

General Mills turned to Cheech and Chong to help market this lower-calorie chocolate treat aimed at baby boomers



Saturday, July 27, 2013

Trader Joe's shoppers want chain to stop selling antibiotic-fed meat

A poll published Thursday by a consumer advocacy group found that a majority of shoppers want Trader Joe's to stop selling meat and poultry from animals that were fed antibiotics.

The Monrovia-based grocery chain has been under pressure by Consumer Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports magazine.

The poll found that 69% of shoppers who have bought meat at Trader Joe's think the company should pull from its shelves meat raised on antibiotics.

The poll also found that most shoppers, nearly 80%, were unaware that some meat sold at the chain had been raised on the drugs.

“Trader Joe’s is clearly not living up to its customers' expectations when it comes to antibiotics and meat,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union. “Trader Joe’s customers want the company to take a stand on this critical public health issue by refusing to sell meat from animals routinely fed antibiotics.”

The poll surveyed 1,120 California residents in May and early June who bought meat or poultry at Trader Joe's and other supermarkets.

In May, Consumer Union ran a full-page advertisement in The Times urging Trader Joe's to change its practices. Consumer Union says that while several other supermarket chains sell antibiotic-fed meat, it is singling out Trader Joe's because a majority of the company's sales come from private-label products and Trader Joe's has more control over its supply chain.

The company has defended itself, saying that it sells a selection of antibiotic-free chicken, beef, turkey, ham and lamb. It also offers private-label goods that shun genetically engineered ingredients, or GMOs.

"We understand the importance of our customers’ decisions when it comes to their grocery shopping and do not presume to make choices for them," the company said in a statement. "We work hard to offer products we think fit our customers’ needs — covering a range of considerations."


Friday, July 26, 2013

Imported hot sauces contain high levels of lead, study says

So you like your hot sauce south-of-the-border spicy, with that extra punch?

Well, Nevada researchers have found that little added twang might not be an intended result of the recipe: Many imported hot sauces sold in the U.S. contain dangerous levels of lead, according to what is billed as a first-of-its-kind environment and food study.

Shawn Gerstenberger, lead researcher for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) study, told the Los Angeles Times that there are no U.S. government standards for the amounts of lead in hot-sauce brands.

UNLV researchers tested 25 bottles of hot sauce imported from Mexico and South America. The products were bought in U.S. ethnic markets and grocery stores. Four bottles, or 16 percent of the sample, exceeded U.S. Food and Drug Administration standard for safe levels of lead. The product packaging was also tested because lead in packaging has been known to leach into food.

The results were published earlier this year in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health and recently publicized by the university.

Gerstenberger said the study took place almost by accident: The UNLV researcher found in 2006 that Mexican-style candies containing chili peppers and salt also contained high lead levels. That study helped bring about the removal of some imported candies from grocery shelves.

“Candies from Mexico often contain high amounts of lead from their peppers and salt, which are the same ingredients in hot sauce,” he told The Times. “Since the two products often sit next to each other on the shelves, we figured we should take a look at the hot sauce.”

Gerstenberger said Mexican companies were urged to make changes to the hot-sauce industry like they did with candy.

“All it takes is washing the chilies and using sea salt instead of mine salt, which is known to be high in lead,” Gerstenberger said.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hiring outlook: Small and midsized businesses cautiously optimistic

As America’s small and midsize businesses continue to weather economic uncertainty and rising business costs, many are keeping tight reins on hiring.

Only a quarter of businesses with one to 500 employees surveyed recently by Sage North America have increased or plan to increase the size of their workforce in 2013, and nearly half plan to keep it the same.

The results of the snapshot survey of hiring plans, conducted among 973 executives of small and midsize businesses in the U.S., appear to reflect recent unemployment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As reported in April, the country’s unemployment rate was little changed at 7.5 percent, with an estimated 11.7 million people unemployed. Employment did increase slightly in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care — many of which are small and midsize companies. The survey was conducted by Sage in May 2013, and the margin of error is +/- 3 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent.

According to Sage’s survey, the hiring outlook is best in companies with more than 100 employees, with half planning to increase the size of their workforce this year. A third of companies with 20-99 employees plan to add to their workforce, and just 18 percent of companies with one to 19 employees plan to expand.

Fortunately, layoffs are not in the works for most; less than 10 percent of all small and medium businesses surveyed plan to decrease workforce size in 2013. Moreover, across the board, small and medium businesses that plan to hire will offer permanent positions, with 82 percent looking for full-time help.

This year’s outlook may be only slightly better than last year’s as small and midsize businesses continue to proceed with caution. Among companies that hired in 2012, 43 percent of those with 20-99 employees plan to increase hiring compared to 2012, and 47 percent plan to stay the course. More than 40 percent of companies with fewer than 20 employee plan to add more to their workforce this year than last; 46 percent plan to keep it the same.

The outlook is better in larger companies —more than half of those with 100 or more employees plan to hire more people this year than last, while 30 percent plan to keep hiring levels the same.

While the government’s report showed that manufacturing employment was unchanged in April, nearly a third of small to midsize manufacturing firms surveyed expect to increase the size of their workforce in 2013. About half plan to keep it the same. More than one in three Americans who work in manufacturing work at a small to midsize business.

When respondents who planned to increase the size of their workforce in 2013 were asked about the factors influencing their hiring decisions, more than 83 percent of all businesses surveyed cited a stronger demand for their company’s products and services. About a third said an improved economic outlook helped drive the decision.

The outlook was less favorable for respondents who planned to decrease their workforce size or keep it the same.

Forty percent said demand for their products or services was steady or weakened, and expressed uncertainty about the economy. Health care costs and the Affordable Care Act were cited by more than a third of businesses with more than 100 employees, and nearly a quarter with 20-99. The costs of doing business (other than health care) were an issue for 31 percent of the 20-99 group, and 26 percent of the smallest businesses.

Until small and midsize businesses feel more confident about the future, hiring is likely to be slow. Economic uncertainty and the costs of doing business are making it more important than ever for small and midsize business manufacturers to streamline their operations and take advantage of technology and tools that help them run smarter, more cost-effective businesses. That may mean finding ways to cut costs, such as reducing fees, automating manual tasks where possible, and taking advantage of new technology that streamlines time-consuming functions such as payment processing and accounting integration.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NASA develops space-proof coffee cup

HAVING a relaxing cup of coffee - with out of this world views - is now possible for astronauts on the international space station, after scientists worked out how to make coffee move in zero gravity.

Liquid behaves differently in space - with challenges involved in basic human activity, such as washing, and going to the bathroom.

But some would argue that a regular cuppa is almost as important as those other functions - so of course NASA physicists spent plenty of time trying to work out how to make that perfect cup of coffee work in space.

Amazingly, it has little to do with changing the type of coffee, but much more about the shape of the cup it is held in.

NASA has produced a video to explain the phenomenon - and say the cup has many uses - including celebratory toasts.

Let's hope they limit the amount of alcohol on board. We can't imagine a space hangover being fun.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Single-Cup Coffee Brewers Gain Rapid Following

Sales of single-cup coffee brewers have increased 82 percent over the past year, with many being bought within a six-month period

Since the introduction of the Keurig, Nespresso, and other single-cup coffee makers, many of us cannot imagine our lives without the gadgets, and that has shown in their sales.

Single-cup brew coffee sales have been increasingly rapidly, according to Media Post. The brewers had immense growth last year, with dollar sales increasing 82 percent, to more than $1.8 billion, from $1 billion in 2011, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.

And much of the growth has been rapid, according to Media Post. In 2012, 36 percent of people surveyed by the National Coffee Association who had a single-serve brewing system reported having purchased them within the last six months.

But, the growth has been happening for a while, according to Food Product Design. The single-serve coffee market had an annual growth rate of more than 75 percent between 2007 and 2012.

Despite simply being convenient, the report also cited “innovations in brewer technology supporting enhanced beverage quality” and “the large and growing selection of brewers, many of which are aggressively marketed and attractively priced” for the growth, according to Media Post.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Calorie-Labeled Menus Do Not Help Consumers Eat Healthier

Menu labeling does not help consumers make better food choices, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Menu labels have become a popular tool for policymakers in the fight against obesity, despite the lack of evidence to show that they're effective in helping consumers make healthier food choices. In a recent study, Carnegie Mellon University researchers investigated whether providing diners with recommended calorie intake information along with the menu items caloric intake would improve their food choices. Although other studies have shown menu labeling to be slightly effective in reducing women's caloric intake, results showed that the recommended calorie intake information did not help consumers use menu labeling more effectively.

In the study, researchers analyzed the purchase behaviors of 1,121 adult lunchtime diners at two McDonald's restaurants in New York City. In order to explore the potential interaction between pre-existing menu labeling and the addition of recommended calorie intake information, three groups of diners received different information. The information provided was either recommended daily calorie intake, recommended per-meal calorie intake or no additional information. Also, survey data was collected to grasp the diners' understanding of calorie consumption.

Results showed no interaction between the use of calorie recommendations and the pre-existing menu labels which suggests that incorporating calorie recommendations did not help customers make better use of the information on calorie-labeled menus. Further, it was found that calorie recommendations, either calories per-day or per-meal, did not show a reduction in the number of calories purchases. "People who count calories know that this is pretty labor-intensive exercise," said Julie Downs, associate research professor of social decision sciences in the CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "Making information available on menus may have other beneficial effects such as motivating restaurants to change their information. But it may be unrealistic to expect many consumers to keep such close, numeric track of their food intake by using labels directly."

Vietnamese Coffee Production Weakens in 2012–13

Vietnam's coffee production is estimated in marketing year 2012–13 to be about 25 million 60-kilogram bags of green coffee, about a 4 percent drop from MY 2011–12 due to pre-seasonal rains during the coffee flower blossoming period in main coffee growing areas. The total export estimate in MY 2012–13 is up to 23.8 million bags due to the pace of green bean exports MY-to-date.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

'Senior moments' may have real link to Alzheimer's disease

The “senior moments” of unreliable memory may be a scientifically valid way to predict Alzheimer’s disease, after all.

Alzheimer’s disease experts gathered at an international conference in Boston this week have a fancy name for that sense that your noggin’ is just not ticking like the old days – subjective cognitive impairment.

Studies in the last few years have been trying to bridge a divide between the anecdotal evidence of memory decline and objective, measureable signs, such as atrophy of certain brain regions evident through imaging devices, genetic anomalies on a cellular level, and other clinical tests. Studies suggest that these measurable cognitive declines can lead to Alzheimer’s, and possibly to early dementia.

Now, the same researchers are turning to “senior moments” as a potential precursor to a precursor.

There are still some serious hurdles to these connections, among them the recognition that some people with measurable cognitive declines don’t develop Alzheimer’s, and sometimes recover.

Senior moments could also be related to stress, depression and cardiovascular disease. A consortium of researchers has been trying to come up with a framework that would negotiate those pitfalls and come up with workable data.

Meanwhile, researchers at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston gave the conference an early look at research that suggests subjective reports of cognitive decline correlate with increased levels of a piece of protein known to form plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These beta-amyloid peptides clump up and interfere with signaling in the brain.

The 131 people scanned, all in their 70s, had no other neurological or psychiatric illness, and reported they had worse memory than their peers, the authors noted.

Other researchers at the convention reported results of a long-term study using a national database of elderly nurses who had been assessed for a genetic risk factor associated with the disease. Those nurses had been asked about memory concerns and given frequent memory tests for six years. A comparison of their subjective answers and the test results suggested stronger correlation for the nurses with the bio-marker, compared with their peers.

A study published earlier this year also turned up some connections with senior moments. The University of Bonn, Germany, team studied nearly 3,000 people who had not been diagnosed with dementia. Their data suggest that the strongest correlation with Alzheimer’s disease came from those with late mild cognitive impairment. But even those who reported early memory concerns appeared more likely to progress to measurable signs of Alzheimer’s disease than those who reported no such concerns, the researchers found.


Friday, July 19, 2013

New Strawberry Species Found in Oregon

A recently discovered wild strawberry provides new genetic material for plant research and may lead to a new class of commercial strawberries, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist. Genes from the newly created strawberries may yield new flavors or disease resistance.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Kim Hummer, with the National Clonal Germplasm Repository at Corvallis, Ore., found the new species during several plant collection expeditions in the high peaks of Oregon's Cascade Mountains. She named it Fragaria cascadensis.

ARS is USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

The new strawberry is a perennial plant with white flowers and green leaves, and it differs from other strawberry species of the region by having hairs on the upper side of its leaves, comma-shaped, small brown fruits called "achenes" on the strawberry surface, and 10 sets of chromosomes, unlike the eight sets in commercial strawberries.

The strawberry's distribution in the Oregon Cascades stretches from the Columbia River in the north to the vicinity of Crater Lake in the south, at elevations from about 3,000 feet up to the tree line. The northern distribution range of F. cascadensis has an average annual precipitation of 12 to 15 inches, but the southern range receives only about six inches of precipitation annually.

F. cascadensis is now included in the living collections of the Corvallis germplasm repository, which preserves plant genetic resources of temperate fruit, nut, and other crops.

According to Hummer, the new strawberry's biggest impact could come by crossing it with other strawberries having the same number of chromosomes, such as the cultivated F. vescana or the wild Russian species F. iturpensis. Those crosses could produce hybrids with disease resistance, improved flavor, or other important traits.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Protein and Weight Management

Nutritionists generally agree that "dieting" is a temporary mindset and, for lasting change, a lifestyle that promotes weight management is the healthiest and most sensible option. Protein plays an important role in healthy weight management by contributing to long-term satiety, a vital component in the regulation of food intake. Download "Protein and Weight Management," a free Digital Issue, to learn how different types of protein impact satiety and weight management.

 This is a very good read

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Global warming may raise sea levels by more than 2 meters

Each degree Celsius rise in global temperatures is likely to raise world’s sea levels by more than 2 meters within the next 2,000 years, a new study has warned.

While thermal expansion of the ocean and melting mountain glaciers are the most important factors causing sea-level change today, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets will be the dominant contributors within the next two millennia, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Half of that rise might come from ice-loss in Antarctica which is currently contributing less than 10 per cent to global sea-level rise.

“CO2, once emitted by burning fossil fuels, stays an awful long time in the atmosphere. Consequently, the warming it causes also persists,” said Anders Levermann, lead author of the study and research domain co-chair at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The oceans and ice sheets are slow in responding, simply because of their enormous mass, which is why observed sea-level rise is now measured in millimeters per year.

“The problem is: once heated out of balance, they simply don’t stop. We’re confident that our estimate is robust because of the combination of physics and data that we use,” Levermann said in a statement.

The study is the first to combine evidence from early Earth’s climate history with comprehensive computer simulations using physical models of all four major contributors to long-term global sea-level rise.

During the 20th century, sea level rose by about 0.2 meters, and it is projected to rise by significantly less than two meters by 2100 even for the strongest scenarios considered.

At the same time, past climate records, which average sea-level and temperature changes over a long time, suggest much higher sea levels during periods of Earth history that were warmer than present.

For the new study, the international team of scientists used data from sediments from the bottom of the sea and ancient raised shorelines found on various coastlines around the world.

If global mean temperature rises by 4 degrees compared to pre-industrial times, which in a business-as-usual scenario is projected to happen within less than a century, the Antarctic ice sheet will contribute about 50 per cent of sea-level rise over the next two millennia, researchers said.

Greenland will add another 25 per cent to the total sea-level rise, while the thermal expansion of the oceans’ water, currently the largest component of sea-level rise, will contribute about 20 per cent, and the contribution from mountain glaciers will decline to less than 5 per cent, mostly because many of them will shrink to a minimum, the study found.



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Goya Foods Moves Into Baby Aisle

For lessons in how to appeal to an increasingly diverse America's changing tastes, just look at Goya Foods. The biggest Hispanic-owned food business goes everywhere Hispanic America does, from baseball stadiums to the baby food aisle. One of Goya's biggest bets is a partnership with Beech-Nut Nutrition to create Beech-Nut Goya, a baby food range being promoted as "Authentic Hispanic flavors made especially for your baby" as it rolls out to stores now. With Hispanics accounting for one-fourth of all U.S. births, Goya teamed up with Beech-Nut to extend its brand to America's youngest appetites, reports Advertising Age.

Monday, July 15, 2013

North American Food-Safety Testing Market to Hit $5.4B by 2018

The North American food-safety testing market is projected to grow from $3.7 billion in 2012 to $5.46 billion in 2018, according to a new report from MarketsandMarkets. In 2012, the United States was the largest food-safety testing market with 70% of share followed by Canada and Mexico.

In North America, the government, regulatory bodies and food industries together are responsible to assure the safety of manufactured food. GMP, GAP and HACCP are been practiced by the food companies to manufacture safe and standard quality food products. The food safety testing has been conducted at every stage of food production and supply. Increasing outbreak in foodborne illnesses, food recalls and increasing consumer demand for safe food, and implementation of food-safety regulations has been driving the market for food-safety market.

According to the report, in 2012, pathogens testing in food samples dominated the safety testing market, as pathogen contamination has been responsible for maximum cases of food poisoning and food recalls in North America. Salmonella contamination was responsible for most of the registered food recalls by FDA in United States during the same period. Testing of processed food has dominated the market in North America. Adoption of new advanced technology market players has been focusing on application of rapid testing methods that provide quick and accurate qualitative and quantitative results on contaminants.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Salmonella Prompts Pistachio Recall in 4 States

Western Mixers Produce & Nut Company based in Los Angeles is recalling ARO and/or Treasured Harvest Pistachios sold at retailers in four states because they may be contaminated with Salmonella, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced July 10.

The recalled products include Treasured Harvest Roasted & Salted Pistachios sold in 6-ounce plastic cups, 12-ounce clear bags, and 28-ounce clear plastic trays that were sold at retails stores in California, Nevada, Ohio and Utah. The pistachios also were sold through mail order and various distributors between Oct. 17, 2012 and April 29, 2013.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

House passes controversial farm bill without food stamps

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives defied a White House veto threat and passed a controversial farm bill on Thursday that expands the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance system but omitted food stamps for the poor.

Lawmakers passed the 608-page bill, unveiled by Republican leaders late on Wednesday, on a 216-208, party-line vote after two hours of debate in which no amendments were allowed. Twelve Republicans opposed the bill; no Democrat voted for it.

Republican leaders said food stamps, traditionally part of the farm bill, would be handled later and that, for now, they needed a way to start negotiations with the Senate over a compromise bill.

Democrats said the real intent of the action was to isolate food stamps for large cuts in funding. There is no timetable, so far, for a separate food stamp bill.

The bill was drafted to attract the support of fiscally conservative Republicans who helped defeat an earlier version on June 20, putting the measure in limbo and embarrassing the leaders who had backed it. But most major farm organizations as well as food stamp advocates opposed the strategy.

After passage by the House, the next step would be House-Senate negotiations over a compromise bill - a possible stumbling block.
Analyst Vincent Smith of Montana State University said fundamental differences between the House and Senate could prevent agreement on a bill that both chambers would support.

"You don't have a majority for anything you can put together," Smith said.
Food stamps were the headline issue, but there are disagreements on crop supports too.

The Senate proposed $4 billion in food stamp reforms while House Republicans were asking for at least $20 billion in cuts, the largest in a generation.

Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said the House legislation "is not a real farm bill" but she would negotiate for a compromise. The Senate farm bill, which includes food stamps, saves $24 billion, compared with $13 billion in the House bill.

Frank Lucas, the House Agriculture Committee chairman, who pledged he would try to write a food stamp bill, said the vote on Thursday would put the farm bill back on track. "Give us a chance. Let the place work," said Lucas.

Senate Agriculture chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, said the House bill "is not a real farm bill" but she would negotiate with the House for a compromise bill. The Senate farm bill, which includes food stamps, saves $24 billion.

House Speaker John Boehner declined to say if leaders would allow a vote on a farm bill with larger food stamp spending than his party liked. "We'll get to that later," he told reporters.

Food stamps would remain in operation even if left out of the farm bill because the program is permanently authorized. But Bob Greenstein of the think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said the House action showed the program was in danger of more spending cuts.

Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern said he believed conservatives were promised a chance to strive for deeper cuts to food stamps in upcoming legislation. The defeated earlier version of the farm bill would have ended benefits for 2 million people, or about 4 percent of recipients.
"A vote for this bill is a vote to end nutrition programs in America," said Rose DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said: "You are taking food out of the mouths of your own poor constituents. What are you thinking?"
At latest count, 47.6 million people, or nearly one in seven Americans, received food stamps at an average of $132 a month, equal to $4.25 a day.
"Splitting the farm bill will hurt hungry and poor people," said David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, a charitable organization devoted to ending hunger.

Enrollment has doubled since 2004 and the cost of the program, $74 billion last year, has tripled. Fiscally conservative lawmakers say the price tag is unbearable when the federal deficit must be reduced. Defenders say high enrollment reflects continued high jobless rates and slow economic growth.
In a statement late on Wednesday, the White House threatened to veto the House bill because it "does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms" and omitted food stamps, formally named the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

"The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a cornerstone of our Nation's food assistance safety net, and should not be left behind as the rest of the Farm Bill advances," said the White House.

The House bill creates new programs to shield growers from downturns in crop revenue and expands the subsidized crop insurance program by 10 percent, or $9 billion over 10 years.

There was no expiration date on its crop supports so they could remain in effect for years to come.

The American Soybean Association said other important parts of the farm bill, such as soil conservation and farm export promotion, might be allowed to expire in five years because there would be no impetus to write a new comprehensive farm law.

The bill also includes a provision to delay implementation of a 2011 law that broadens food safety rules until the government carries out a study of the cost of compliance.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Increased Choline Consumption Improves Memory

Consuming choline, a vitamin B group nutrient found in eggs, meat, soy and wheat germ, has been shown to improve long-term memory and attention holding capacity, according to a study conducted at the University of Granada, Spain, Simon Bolivar University, Venezuela and the University of York, United Kingdom.
Researchers studied supplements in two experiments aimed at analyzing the influence of vitamin B intake on memory and attention during gestation and in adults.

During the first experiment, rats received choline during the third term of gestation. Three groups were fed choline-rich foods. When the offspring reached an adult age, a sample of 30 were selected consisting of 10 female offspring who were fed a choline supplement, 10 who followed a choline-deficient diet and 10 who followed a regular diet.

Measurement of memory retention were taken 24 hours after being shown an object to all of the offspring. After 48 hours, the rats of dams fed a prenatal choline-rich diet recognized the object better than those in a standard group while those with a choline-deficient group didn't recognize the object at all.

The second experiment measured change in attention that occurred in adult rats fed choline supplement for 12 weeks versus those with no choline intake. The rats that consumed choline had better attention then others when presented with a familiar stimulus. Those fed a standard diet showed normal learning delay but those with choline-rich intake showed a fall in attention to the familiar stimulus, learning its new meaning.

A recent study showing an increased choline consumption during pregnancy also demonstrated a decrease in an infant's vulnerability to stress-related illnesses, such as mental health disturbances and chronic conditions like hypertension.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Radio Frequency, Convection Cooking Reduces Pathogens in Beef

A combination of radio frequency (RF) energy and convection cooking results in similar or better reductions of foodborne pathogens in beef compared to convection only, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology investigated safety concerns associated with cooking foods using convection and RF energy techniques. The main goal involved studying the inactivation efficacy of this cooking method against pathogens in ground meat compared to standard convection cooking.

A recent report from the Center for Science and Public Interest (CSPI) indicates ground beef is one of the riskiest meat products in the U.S. food supply, posing a high likelihood of hospitalization from foodborne illness. Ground beef had the highest severity index of 12 meat and poultry categories, and it is also connected to illnesses caused by Clostridium perfringens and Salmonella.

In the Israeli study, researchers used meatballs that were artificially inoculated with Escherichia coli, Salmonella Typhimurium and Listeria monocytogenes, as well as spores of Bacillus cereus and Bacillus thuringiensis. The meatballs were cooked by convection heating for 40 minutes (at 220 degrees Celsius) using energy generated from frequencies in the RF bandwidth (RF cooking, 7.5 minutes) or by combined heating (5.5 minutes), until the center temperature of each sample reached 73 degrees Celsius.

The combined RF and convection cooking resulted in similar or even better effects on selected foodborne pathogens compared to convection only, while the time required for safe cooking was cut down by up to 86%. Results suggest this technology looks promising and safe for ground beef cooking, researchers said

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Genes May Reveal When Aspirin Won't Reduce Heart Risk

People are often told to take low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. But that preventive remedy doesn't work for a lot of people.

Researchers say they've found genetic variations that might be used to identify people who don't respond well to aspirin. If the results prove out, there could soon be a blood test to tell who benefits from aspirin, and who needs to look for other treatments to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Aspirin is prescribed because it makes the blood's platelets less sticky, and less apt to clump together and form blood clots. Clots are a key cause of both heart attacks and strokes.

But it's become clear that that remedy doesn't work for everyone. Anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of people may not get any protective benefit from aspirin, according to studies.

There are tests to tell how aspirin affects platelets, but they need to be done within a few hours after blood is drawn, and involve some tricky lab work. So they're not practical as a screening test for the millions of people who take aspirin to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

To find out if there's a better way to identify those people, researchers at Duke University Medical Center gathered up two groups — healthy volunteers who took 325 milligrams of aspirin every day for up to a month, and people with heart disease who already were taking low-dose aspirin (81 mg) as part of their treatment.

They then tested how well the people's blood platelets responded to the aspirin, and tested the people's genes.

They found 60 genes that were active in people, healthy and not, who didn't respond well to the aspirin. Their platelets stayed sticky.

The researchers then looked for those 60 genes in people who had had cardiac testing at the Duke hospital. They found that same genetic signature in patients who later had heart attacks or died, even if they were taking aspirin.

"Potentially you could take this 60 gene-set signature and develop some sort of diagnostic test, without all the time constraints current tests have," says Dr. Deepak Voora, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke and lead author of the study.

It's not clear what could help people who don't respond to aspirin, Voora says. It may be a question of figuring out different doses of aspirin for different people. Or it could be that they would need a different drug that inhibits platelet clotting, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or similar medications.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

New proof sunscreen fights aging — but it's a major commitment

New research offers convincing proof that daily sunscreen use can slow the signs of aging and protect against cancer to boot. Wait. Daily?

Yes, every day, the whole year round. Of those who took part in the years-long research and were assigned to use sunscreen daily -- and presumably said in earnest, "Yes, we'll rub this on every single day" -- most of them cheated.

The researchers knew that because they periodically weighed the bottles of sunscreen. The team said that about three-quarters of those assigned to use sunscreen daily actually applied it three to four days a week, according to the Associated Press.

The research was done in Australia, skin cancer capital of the world. According to Australian government stats, the continent has the highest rate of skin cancer on the planet, with two out of three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

Even with those kinds of odds, it's apparently hard to get into the sunscreen habit. But the research shows it's worth it.

As the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, scientists from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and other institutions divided 903 Australians 55 years old and younger into groups who used sunscreen daily -- rubbing it on face, neck, arms and hands -- and those who used sunscreen when they felt they needed it. The first group (theoretically) put on sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every morning, as well as after swimming or sweating heavily and after a few hours in the sun.

After 4½ years, members of the first group were 24% less likely to show signs of increased aging, the scientists wrote. Just think what the results would have been if all participants had been religious in their sunscreen application.

"These are meaningful cosmetic benefits," lead scientist Dr. Adele Green told the AP.

And even the middle-aged and those with moderate skin aging benefited from sunscreen use, the scientists said. It didn't matter how much aging had already occurred, the researchers said, but whether a liberal dose of sunscreen was used.

So now we have new incentive to get out that sunscreen and slather it on. Spring, summer, winter and fall.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Pepsi Plans to Reduce Amount of Cancer Chemical in Soda

The Center for Environmental Health revealed in the public on July 4 that Pepsi products still contain a cancer-causing chemical called 4-methylimidazole, or 4-MEI. This chemical was banned in Calif. since last year.

While the Pepsi sold in Calif. had been modified in compliance to the state provisions, those sold outside the state still have high amounts of 4-MEI. Coca-Cola has removed the chemical in their sodas and used a different substance instead to color there drinks.

epsi responded to the allegations and said that they were already working on modifying their manufacturing process by coordinating with their coloring suppliers. The soda maker promised that by 2014, all their products sold in the U.S will have a reduced amount of 4-MEI.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon as stated in Bloomberg, the company explained, “We strongly refute any claim that any product we sell anywhere is unsafe. The safety of our products is PepsiCo’s top priority, and we abide by the regulatory guidelines everywhere we do business. While we meet the strict FDA guidelines, when the regulatory requirements changed in California PepsiCo moved immediately to meet the new requirements and, in order to maintain a harmonized supply chain, globally committed to rolling out the changes across the rest of the U.S. and internationally.”

4-MEI is a chemical that produces the caramel coloring found in colas, soy sauces, beers, breads, and coffee. Last year, Calif. passed a state law called Proposition 65 requiring manufacturers to label any toxic substances present in their product. A study published in 2007 funded by the National Toxicology Program confirmed that constant exposure to 4-MEI may cause lung cancer based on an experiment conducted on female mice.

The U.S Food and Drug Administration did not immediately supported the provision because a person may need to drink a thousand cans of sodas a day in order reach the doses given to the female mice. The American Beverage Association also conducted their test and showed that 4-MEI was not a harmful substance. However, the FDA is reviewing whether this substance needs to be regulated.


Sunday, July 07, 2013

U.S. approves a horse slaughterhouse, sees two more plants

Animal welfare groups say they will sue to prevent slaughter

* Congress may vote soon on whether to reinstate slaughter ban

A New Mexico meat plant received federal approval on Friday to slaughter horses for meat, a move that drew immediate opposition from animal rights group and will likely be opposed by the White House.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a "grant of inspection" to Valley Meat Co, Roswell, NewMexico, because it had met all federal requirements. Now, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.

The USDA also said it may soon issue similar grants for plants in Missouri and Iowa.

Horse meat cannot be sold as food in the United States, but it can be exported. Attempts to reach Valley Meat Co via a number listed online were unsuccessful.

Valley Meat would be the first meat plant to be allowed to slaughter horses since Congress banned it in 2006.

It is not known when the plant will start production, but two bills in Congress want to ban horse slaughter and President Obama has asked Congress to ban it.

The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue threatened on Friday to sue the USDA, saying horses are raised as pets and as working animals. Because they are not intended as food animals, horses are given medications banned from other livestock, the groups said, questioning if the meat would be safe.

The USDA says it can test for residues of 130 pesticide and veterinary drugs. It also has safeguards to keep horse meat out of the food supply.
Congress effectively banned horse slaughter in 2006 by saying the USDA could not spend any money to inspect horse plants. Without USDA inspection, meat plants cannot operate.

The ban was part of the annual USDA funding bill and was renewed a year at a time through 2011. The prohibition expired in October 2011.

Lawmakers could vote on reinstating the ban in coming weeks when the USDA appropriations bills are debated in the House and Senate. But no date has been set to consider the bills and it could be months before work is completed.

The USDA said it was required by law to issue the grant of inspection because Valley Meat met all federal requirements. At one point, the company sued the USDA for an overly long review of its application. Once it issues a grant of inspection, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to a meat plant.

"Until Congress acts, the department must comply with current law," said a USDA spokeswoman.

Valley Meat retrofitted its plant for horses after drought weakened its cattle slaughter business.

Horse meat is sold for human consumption in China, Russia, Mexico and other foreign nations and is sometimes used as feed for zoo animals.
But in the United States, horses enjoy a higher stature, more akin to house pets, than to hogs, cattle and chickens.

An estimated 130,000 U.S. horses are shipped annually to slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Groups have quarreled for a decade whether a ban on slaughter will save horses from a cruel death or lead to abandonment by owners of animals they cannot afford to feed or treat for illness.

Early this year, regulators discovered that horse meat was being sold as beef in Ireland. The mislabeled meat was found in meatballs sold by Swedish retailer IKEA in much of Europe and in other outlets.

USDA conducts tests on domestic and imported products to identify the species that yielded the meat. The tests can distinguish beef, sheep, swine, poultry, deer and horse.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Salt Lake City Ranked 12th Fittest City in the United States

How fit is our city? The American College of Sports Medicine release its annual list of “Most In-Shape Major Cities” across the United States –and Salt Lake City was ranked number 12.

The ACSM gives each location a checkup of sorts, looking at preventative health behaviors, levels of chronic disease, health care access, and programs in the community aimed at encouraging healthy lifestyles.

Things like funding for park and bike trails, as well as smoking bans, will increase the ranking.

The ACSM uses health care experts and data from the US Census and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for some of its research.

The group says the goal of the list is to give health care workers and advocates a starting point for creating effective programs to get Americans on track for healthy lifestyles.

Minneapolis-St. Paul nabbed the top spot for the third year running. Washington, D.C.; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco and Denver round out the top five fittest metropolitan areas.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Food Emulsifiers Market By Types

The food emulsifiers market will grow from estimated $2,108.9 million in 2012 to $2,858.6 million by 2018

According to a new market research report, the food emulsifiers market will grow from estimated $2,108.9 million in 2012 to $2,858.6 million by 2018 with a CAGR of 5.2% from 2013 to 2018. Europe led the global market followed by North America and Asia-Pacific in terms of revenue in the year 2012.

An emulsifier is a substance that stabilizes an emulsion. Emulsifiers can be used in variety of food segments such as bakery & confectionery, dairy, beverages, convenience foods, and in meat products to manufacture low calorific products. Emulsifiers are used by major food & beverage manufacturers as a food additive for reducing the fat content.

The deskbound lifestyles have resulted in rising needs for convenience foods. However, the alarming rises in health issues faced by consumers have also made them aware about the need to focus on healthy and nutritive convenience food products. The need to minimize the intake of fats and calories influences the demand for specific functional food variants. Emulsifiers are considered to be one of the additives that are gradually replacing many for reducing the fat content in foodstuffs.

Di-glycerides & derivatives: Major type of food emulsifier

In 2012, natural emulsifiers accounted for about one-third of the total emulsifier market, whereas synthetic emulsifiers held the rest. Among the synthetic segment, Di-glycerides & derivatives constitute the largest share and are expected to grow at a modest pace. Lecithin held a major market in natural emulsifiers and is expected to grow at modest CAGR. Other synthetic emulsifier's which comprises of polyglycerol esters, sucrose esters and Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR), is expected to drive the market for emulsifiers. However, palm oil & other vegetable oil prices are highly volatile and ascertaining accurate future prices would be difficult.

Europe: Largest market for food emulsifiers

Europe generated maximum revenue in global food emulsifier market. U.S., however, is the leader in the segment in the global market. North America, hence, is the second largest market of the segment. China drives the Asia-Pacific market with highest CAGR globally. Germany generated maximum revenue in European market, followed by Italy. ROW emulsifier market, led by Brazil, is also given a boost by the promising growth in South Africa and Middle East.

Bakery & confectionery: Biggest market by applications

Further, the application of modern food processing techniques is driving the expansion of food production and new product development in diverse segments such as dairy, bakery, confectionery, processed foods, fats, as well as oils; and this is likely to spur the growth of the food emulsifiers markets. Governments worldwide are developing policies and regulations to penalize unhealthy diets and support healthy ones.

The report also touches on various other important aspects of the market. It includes Porter's analysis, the competitive landscape, a price analysis and the patent analysis. In addition, 19 key players of this market have also been profiled.