Chicago, IL—Reusable tote bags are an eco-friendly way to shop, but many users are putting themselves at risk with the way they use them, according to a survey conducted by Home Food Safety program, a joint effort between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and ConAgra Foods. Apparently, one in six, or 15% of consumers do not regularly cleanse their reusable bags before bringing them back to the store. This practice creates fertile ground for harmful bacteria and can lead to food poisoning, the Academy says.

Washington, D.C.—For the first time, annual consumer purchases of organic products in the United States have topped $30 billion. At $31.5 billion, $29.22 billion of which went to organic foods and beverages with organic non-foods at $2.2 billion, the sector grew 9.5% in 2011 over the previous year.

Berkeley, CA—Maker of organic macaroni and cheese and other organic comfort foods, Annie’s, Inc., based here, has had a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Stock prices climbed 89% on its first day of trading to nearly $40/share, raising $95 million for the company.

In the fall of 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was petitioned by high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) manufacturers for the allowance to change the name from HFCS to corn sugar. Now, a cohort of consumer groups is urging FDA to reject this pending request.

The 2012 Natural Products Expo West tradeshow was the largest in its 30-year history. Some 60,000 industry members attended the event, which ran March 8–11 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Show organizers said attendance of retail buyers grew 13% this year, which made for a good show, say many exhibitors.

News from industry food companies.

Is it crunch time for your shoppers? Or maybe they’re looking for a sugary sweet deal? Regardless of their snack-time preferences, be sure your store has its bases covered for high-quality, healthy between-meal bites.

Blue Diamond Nut Thins now come in Pepper Jack flavor. Not only are these crackers perfectly seasoned, but they are also wheat and gluten free. Blue Diamond Nut Thins come in an assortment of other flavors including BBQ, Cheddar Cheese, Hazelnut and Pecan.

Nature’s Path Organic added three new flavors to its Love Crunch Granolas line: Apple Crumble, Carrot Cake and Aloha Blend. The company will donate the equivalent of cereal or cash to food banks for every bag of Love Crunch Granolas sold (up to $1 million).