News from industry food companies.

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Savannah, GA—The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), the policy recommendation body for the National Organic Program (NOP), decided on several organic food issues at its most recent meeting, including sulfites in wine, outdoor access for poultry and, controversially, DHA algal oil and ARA fungal oil as organic additives. The move to allow Martek Biosciences Corporation’s branded life’sDHA ingredient, derived from algae, and life’sARA, from a species of fungus, in certified organic food products was met with some criticism.

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Harvests of maize, rice and wheat, the three leading grain crops in the world, last year came in at levels below those of 2008, marking an overall dip in production. While both maize and rice set record production highs, the dramatic drop-off in wheat production left the total for all three lower, according to research found in Vital Signs Online, a publication of the Worldwatch Institute.

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The organic food industry should be on alert for five fraudulent organic certificates circulating in the market, according to the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). The certificates falsely represent a slew of products from producers in various countries, including blueberries, cranberries and other berries from Russia; green coffee, green tea and hot chocolate from China; bell peppers and tomatoes from the Dominican Republic; several products including honey, teas, seeds and spices from Kuwait; and various other vegetables from another Chinese company.

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The Conspiracy of Silence is not just limited to the political arena. At the 33rd session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU), which ended its week-long meeting on Friday, November 18, its new Chairwoman, Pia Noble, had a definite problem in allowing the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) such as the National Health Federation (NHF) to speak.

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Black Beans and Spicy Refried Black Beans, two products from Eden Foods, Clinton, MI, were cited in Men’s Health magazine’s “The 125 Best Foods for Men,” in its November 2011 issue. The black beans were named best “Canned Bean,” and the refried beans were tops in the “Best Refried Bean” category. This marks the sixth time Eden products have been similarly honored in Men’s Health.

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East Lansing, MI—Heart disease and diabetes risk can be reduced in teens by sticking to a diet rich in fiber, new research shows. While consuming certain vegetables and whole grains was correlated with avoiding these conditions, the study also found, perhaps surprisingly, saturated fat or cholesterol intake was not linked to a risk of metabolic syndrome in young people.

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A recently released study highlights the accessibility of organic food in the Southeastern portion of the United States, where investigations found price points lower, on average, at farmers’ markets than in chain stores. SCALE, Inc.’s Is Local Food Affordable for Ordinary Folks? report noted that organic was 16% less expensive at farmers markets in 88% of the studied communities in Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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Melbourne, Australia—A recent study by researchers from St. Vincent Hospital, Melbourne demonstrated that the merits of the Mediterranean Diet can extend beyond just weight loss.

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Washington, D.C.—Pizza is a vegetable, right? According to Congress, it should be. Congress’ proposed changes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-mandated school lunch programs have some people questioning whether the government has our children’s or our corporations’ best interests in mind.

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