A roundtable of nutrition experts published a recommendation on a standard definition for whole grain foods in the March issue of Advances in Nutrition. The definition would require at least eight grams of whole grain per 30 gram serving.

On March 13, the Colorado State Supreme Court approved Ballot Initiative #48, which would require labeling for genetically modified (GM) foods sold in the state. Supporters must now collect over 86,000 petition signatures. If passed, the measure would require GM foods to be labeled “Produced With Genetic Engineering” starting on July 1, 2016.

The Organic Trade Association launched a new communication platform called The Organic Market Basket. It will be a twice-monthly e-newsletter offered free to retailers. The group says the newsletter will present information relevant to both those new to organic and industry veterans. It will be designed to be read quickly, and will include the following sections and themes: Organic 101, Retail Showcase, merchandising tips, marketplace update, legislative and regulatory updates, Digging Deeper (a more technical “Organic 301”) and NOSB Update to keep retailers up to date on the National Organic Standards Board.

OTA also added Nathaniel (Nate) Lewis to its staff as Senior Crops and Livestock Specialist. Lewis previously worked as the Organic Certification Coordinator at the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program.

Pittsfield, NH-based Rustic Crust is recovering from a fire that leveled the company’s only production facility. No one was injured but the building “is a total loss,” said CEO Brad Sterl. The company was back making pizza in April at a temporary site. Sterl told the company’s more than 100 employees that payroll workers would be paid as it worked to resume operations.

The National Park Foundation teamed up with Honest Tea, Bethesda, MD, for a month-long online campaign called #ParkYourThirst. It took place in April, and encouraged people to share their enthusiasm for the great outdoors. Honest Tea donated $25,000 to help the Foundation support its mission of connecting Americans to their 401 national parks and protecting those parks.

Stonyfield, Londonderry, NH, partnered with Happy Family, New York, NY to make Stonyfield’s yogurts for babies, toddlers and kids available in pouches that will be co-branded with Happy Family, starting this summer. The line debuted at Expo West in Anaheim.

Maker of low-sugar, organic fruit spreads Crofter’s Organic, Parry Sound, Ontario, CA, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founded in 1989 by Gerhard Latka and his wife Gabriele, the company credits its mission to bring high quality organic products  from “source to spread” for its success. Crofter’s is still family owned, and offers more than 20 certified organic, Non-GMO Project verified spreads.

The entire line of dry roasted, no shell pumpkin seeds from SuperSeedz, North Haven, CT, has been Non-GMO Project Verified, the company announced.

The finalists for the 2014 sofi Awards, given by the Specialty Food Association, have been announced. The list of finalists is available at www.specialtyfood.com/sofi/finalists, and winners will be announced June 30 during a red-carpet ceremony at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, May 2014