Some 23,000 natural products industry members convened at the 29th annual Natural Products Expo East, held September 17–20 at the Baltimore Convention Center. More than 1,275 exhibitors attended the show, and many product trends were evident at this year’s event. Gluten-free foods, for instance, continue to be a hot commodity.

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Sacramento, CA—The first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags has been signed into law in California. By July 2015, grocery stores and supermarkets will no longer be allowed to offer plastic bags to customers. Convenience stores face the same ban starting in July 2016.

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Monrovia, Liberia—While health officials worldwide are consumed with containing the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has killed more 3,000 people as of press time, some individuals are looking into whether supplements like selenium can have any effect.

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Washington, D.C.—In a move that has riled up critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and synthetic pesticides, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved modified corn and soybean seeds that are resistant to the pesticides 2,4-D and glyphosate.

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Promotions, new hires, retirements and more.

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

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Princeton, NJ—As part of a new strategy to reclaim some market share from competitors, Whole Foods Market is testing out a customer loyalty program in its Princeton, NJ, store. Shoppers can use a mobile-phone application to earn points for discounts and promotions. The test program is slated to last for six to eight months, with plans to expand to Philadelphia if all goes well. The program could roll out nationally in 2015.

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Sugar Land, TX— Dietary supplement manufacturer Bluebonnet Nutrition Corporation hosted Congressman Pete Olson of Texas’s 22nd District on a tour of its headquarters to show the growth and sophistication that has taken place in the natural products industry.

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Washington, D.C.—The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA), an act designed to give the DEA added authority to act when designer anabolic steroids are mismarketed as dietary supplements.

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Ronkonkoma, NY—Supplement manufacturer and distributor NBTY has received two Gold level national awards at a ceremony hosted by the Golden Bridge Awards, one for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year and another for Employee Communications Campaign of the Year.

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