Aukland, New Zealand—Do the damaging effects of fast food go beyond obesity? Yes, according to new research published in Thorax. The large study headed by researchers from the University of Aukland found that fast food may also be linked to an increased severity of asthma, eczema and rhinitis in children.

The full implementation of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA ObamaCare or ACA) is set for 2014. Insurance companies, hospital systems, doctors’ groups and related health care stakeholders, including chain-store pharmacies and even conventional supermarkets, are scrambling for position in this new world of expanded coverage for millions more Americans.

Though it usually seems like something that takes place out there, in the world, sometimes the issue of sustainability can get right up in your face. Or perhaps "on your face" will be more appropriate, when major cosmetics firms and industry stakeholders meet up to discuss environmental issues surrounding their business. The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, taking place in New York City from May 16-18 2013 at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel, will examine how the environmental impact of cosmetic and personal care products can be addressed through the use of greener ingredients, and by taking a look at consumer behavior.

Cancun, Mexico—Those interested in xylitol research were in for a sweet treat at the 2013 Xlear Inc. Conference, held here in February.

Acquisitions, mergers, awards, charity, certifications, company news and more.

Tampa , FL—Ralf Jaeger, FISSN, CISSN, MBA, presented new data at the 2013 Natural Products Expo West that suggested rice protein is just as effective as whey protein in post-workout supplementation.

GAO supplements

Washington, D.C.—In mid-March, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report regarding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulation of adverse event reports (AERs) when it comes to dietary supplements. This report was developed at the request of Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). At their prodding, GAO examined the number and source of AERs FDA received since 2008; any actions FDA took to make sure companies complied with AER requirements; and what FDA has done to follow up on GAO’s 2009 recommendations for enhancing its oversight of dietary supplements.

Washington, D.C.—A set of policy principles regarding the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food was released by the Natural Products Association (NPA) on March 19.  The core of the position is a call for the issue of GMO labeling to be addressed at the federal level, and an affirmation of the consumer’s right to know what is in their food. The move coincided with the association’s annual group lobbying effort, Natural Products Day, allowing NPA members to speak with one voice on GMOs and labeling in their meetings on Capitol Hill.

Austin, TX—Products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) as ingredients will require special labeling in all Whole Foods Market stores by 2018, the company announced at Natural Products Expo West. It becomes the first national grocery chain to take such a step.