HealthBites - August/September 2007

What's happening in the world of nutrition and health.

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Food Science Gets an Encore

General Mills (www.generalmills.com)  Minneapolis, is advancing its ongoing open-innovation strategy with a new collaboration to develop a Food Science division within the Indianapolis-based YourEncore Inc. (www.yourencore.com) innovation-services company to help organizations accelerate innovation. The service leverages the expertise of retired scientists and engineers specializing in the life sciences, consumer sciences, food sciences as well as other technical fields. The new dedicated Food Science division will enable expert teams to be formed quickly to fuel innovation across the food industry. Potential projects and service offerings include new-product commercialization, product innovation and technical problem solving. YourEncore took a similar approach in developing its Life Science division to serve clients in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. This also follows on the heels of General Mills' Worldwide Innovation Network open-innovation initiative (see "General Seeks Troops," in the June issue of Wellness Foods). Prospective partners may contact General Mills online or at (763)-764-4946.


Health Savings House of Cards

Richard Hanneman, president of the Alexandria, Va.-based Salt Institute, issued the following official statement in response to a recent Canadian Journal of Cardiology publication of an estimate of health care-cost savings projected if Canadian citizens reduce their dietary salt intake by half: "The conclusion that there would be fewer cardiovascular events and health care savings to society rests on assumptions that, pieced together, are a 'house of cards.' Failure of any one of the assumptions and the whole structure falls. And most of those assumptions fail. There are multiple effects of salt reduction, cutting both ways, in terms of health risk, so focusing on blood pressure and ignoring threatening changes to insulin resistance, plasma renin activity and other factors that create risks just the opposite of blood pressure is indefensible. Choosing to define the impact of blood pressure-falls based on the only meta-analysis that incorporated low-quality, non-randomized trials that exaggerated that benefit is indefensible. Assuming that no other factor will change if the food supply is totally re-engineered is indefensible. This isn't reality; it's smoke and mirrors. Take away these unwarranted assumptions and there's nothing (in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology article) left to talk about." More information is available at www.saltinstitute.org/28.html and links to all studies of the health impacts of salt-reduced diets can be found at http://www.saltinstitute.org/healthrisk.html.


Short and Sweet

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has teamed up with Cargill Inc. to market a new calorie-free natural sweetener. The Company has filed 24 patent applications for the product, tentatively named rebiana, and would have exclusive rights to develop and sell rebiana in beverages. Neither company specified development costs for rebiana.


The Corn is Green

The Corn Refiners Assn. (www.corn.org), Washington, is publicly pleased with the results of a peer-reviewed study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study found "no evidence that regular carbonated soft drinks sweetened with either sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) have significantly different effects on hunger or fullness." According to the association, the new study on sweetened beverages supports previous research showing there is very little difference between high fructose corn syrup and sugar from the perspective of the human body. Be sure to check out "HFCS" in the July issue of Food Processing magazine (also available online at www.foodprocessing.com).


New Grain Facility to Meet Elevating Demands

Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods (www.bobsredmill.com), Milwaukie, Ore., will soon be able to offer three times the total whole grain-product output, thanks to a move of its manufacturing, packaging, warehouse and office space to a 320,000-square-foot building. Located a half mile east of the existing facility, the new location triples the current manufacturing capacity. The new facility - which includes 17 acres of land, with 7 acres under roof - allows for expansion of the company's manufacturing, packaging, and distribution capabilities for the more than 400 Bob's Red Mill products. The new plant includes a seperated 23,000-square-foot area dedicated gluten free manufacturing facility. This will allow the giant-facility to manufacture four-times the amount of gluten-free product previously possible in an effort to meet rapidly expanding demand.


House Allows CO Labels

The U.S. House Agricultural Committee voted to require country-of-origin labels for meat products beginning in 2008. A 2002 law passed in 2002 had been held up by forced delays in the previous congress. In a compromise with the food retailers and meat packers, who fought to keep the law from being enacted, the committee weakened penalties and certain requirements for maintaining records of country of origin.

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