Washington, D.C.—The Food Safety Modernization Act, since WholeFoods last updated its status in January, has been signed into law by President Barack Obama. But, the new year has brought some challenges to the implementation of the new law’s measures. The Act, which broadens the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) power to regulate food safety, has an uncertain future in terms of funding.

Packaging for many ground or chopped meat and poultry products will now feature nutrition facts panels, according to a new rule established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Forty of the most common cuts of meat, as well as whole, raw meat and poultry products will be required to present this information on a label, or have the nutrition facts available at the point-of-purchase. The rule is to become effective on Jan. 1, 2012.

Pullman, WA—A recent study conducted at Washington State University shows that whey protein helps lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in young, pre-hypertension individuals. Often associated with physical fitness and muscle growth, whey protein appears to have additional applications for its effective abatement of hypertension in its early stages.

Staffordshire, U.K.—For the first time, a connection between changes in newborn babies’ DNA, prenatal folic acid supplementation and birth weight has been unearthed by a team of UK scientists.

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Baltimore, MD—New research, led by Sheila K. West, PhD, suggests age-related macular degeneration (AMD) may be affected by regularly eating fish and seafood with omega-3 fatty acids. 

A federal judge has deemed the continued planting of genetically modified (GM) sugar beets, supplied solely by Monsanto, to be in violation of a previous court order, and ruled that the current GM crop should be plowed under. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had permitted Monsanto to plant the beets despite a previous ruling by him requiring that USDA complete an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the beets before planting.

Brattleboro, VT—A jointly sponsored study by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) and KIWI magazine found that U.S. families are enjoying organic food in greater quantities and in a broader range of categories. Some 41% of parents reported buying more organic food than in the previous year, and over three-quarters of U.S. households were found to use some organic products.

Chico, CA—Natural fruit beverage manufacturer R.W. Knudsen will commemorate its 50th anniversary in business with consumer promotions throughout the year.

News from industry food companies.