A federal judge put the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the spot recently, asking the agency to decide whether genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be present in food products labeled “natural.” The request from U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers put on hold a class action suit against Gruma Corp., which markets tortillas and other products under the Mission brand name.

arthur rudolph

Arthur Rudolph passed away on July 24 at the age of 85 after a brief illness. “The nutritional supplement industry just lost its pioneer,” states Harvey Kamil, vice chairman of NBTY, Inc.

Green Zebra Portland

Portland, OR—Portland Business Journal is reporting that a new natural products convenience store chain could take Portland by storm this fall.

Phoenix, AZ—Sprouts Farmers Market, which operates over 150 stores and was the 2013 WholeFoods Retailer of the Year, officially set the terms of its initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The company seeks to pay down $247.6 million in debt and other costs through the sale of 18.5 million shares, at prices ranging from $14–$16. The fully diluted market capitalization of the company at the midpoint of this price range would be $2.3 billion, according to the NASDAQ Web site.

A new study published in Environmental Research Letters examines the relationship between attempts to improve global food security and to mitigate climate change. The findings revealed that these two efforts can potentially form a virtuous circle, where improvements in agricultural yields may cut down greenhouse gas emissions, on top of providing more food.

depression curcumin

Chester, NJ—A recent clinical trial published in Phytotherapy Research indicated that a high-absorption curcumin (BCM-95 from Dolcas Biotech, based here) had similar effects as a generic form of Prozac (fluoxetine) on depression, sans the adverse effects.

natural social media

Chicago, IL—Experts believe promotional posts should comprise only 20% or less of a business’s social media content. What about the remaining 80%? To help create informative, balanced content for natural products retailers, The Shelton Group (a public relations firm, based here) is now offering a social media service called The Organic Social Club.

News and notes from industry suppliers.

diabetes supplement

Silver Spring, MD—On July 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is taking steps to remove dietary supplements from the market that it says are associated with illegal health claims. The agency sent warning letters to 15 companies it feels are making illegally marketed diabetes products, insisting the firms respond sufficiently and correct violations within 15 days. Otherwise, FDA may seize products or file for criminal prosecution.