Brattleboro, VT—More and more acreage in the United States is being used for growing organic cotton, according to research from the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The group believes the growth is tied to consumers wanting products made with organic cotton, price premiums and other factors.

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Oakland, CA—Fair trade products certifier Fair Trade USA has made some significant changes to its policies. These changes, part of the Fair Trade USA’s Multiple Ingredients Product Policy, were made after a two-month evaluation with several stakeholders.

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

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Silver Spring, MD—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on companies selling over-the-counter (OTC) HCG as weight-loss aids by making the product illegal, citing that fads and diets promising fast weight-loss often do so with unsupported claims and potentially unhealthy ways.

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Promotions, new hires, retirements and more.

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New York, NY—Shoppers may not consider natural health and beauty care (HBC) products discretionary purchases; rather, they’re essential. According to market research firm Packaged Facts, sales in the natural HBC market hit $8.5 billion in 2011. This marks a double-digit growth (11%) since 2005.

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Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Department of Defense announced it will not take any chances with supplements containing DMAA, as it has decided to pull such products from stores on its bases, according to Army Times. This ban included GNC shops on bases worldwide, and will stay in effect until an investigation is completed.

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Orlando, FL—The Southeast Natural Products Association (SENPA) held its annual SOHO Exhibition, here, in December. With over 300 exhibitors (including 100 new ones), the event was even bigger than last year. “Exhibits sold in [the 2011] show increased by 10% ending with a total of 320 companies participating,” stated Carylene Reed, executive director of SENPA. “The show sold out in October and we decided to add an additional eight booths to accommodate everyone.”

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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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Arlington Heights, IL—Carlson Laboratories is offering free red aprons to retailers to help raise awareness about women’s heart health.

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