Sweets make you popular, online ads tell kids

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The results of the study were published in the July issue of the International Journal of Cardiology.

Further information: http://www.foodconsumer.org/777/8/Eating_fish_may_cut_risk_of_hear_problems.shtml

Trans fat-free margarines lessen CHD risk



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A new research paper has confirmed that increasing consumption of polyunsaturated fats can assist in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

In particular, the researchers involved found that increasing intake of soft, trans fat-free margarines based on soybean and canola, had a greater impact on the risk of CHD than increasing the amount of fruit eaten or reducing smoking.

Focusing on Poland, the study was judged to be "consistent with epidemiological and clinical evidence indicating that mortality due to coronary heart disease can be reduced by partly replacing dietary saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats while maintaining a low intake of trans fatty acids."

It also suggested that an increase in the amount of polyunsaturated fats included in the diet was behind a trend of declining coronary mortalities in the US, UK and Australia over a number of decades.

The findings from the research were published in the British Medical Journal.

Earlier this year, the US's 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report increased its focus on liquid oils and margarine spreads, finding them to "help meet essential fatty acid needs and also contribute toward Vitamin E needs".

Further information: http://www.food-business-review.com/article_news.asp?guid=6B5967BD-308C-43D7-955B-95BDA3187810

Slow Food takes to Skye



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The Slow Food UK Foundling Congress begins today on the Scottish Isle of Skye

It marks the birth of Slow Food UK as a National Association, and a new dedicated UK office is planned for 2006.

There are currently approximately 35 Slow Food Conviva across Britain, which have attracted as many as 2,000 members who are concerned about the production and quality of the food they eat, as well as sustainable agriculture and the environment.

Some 150 delegates will make the journey to Scotland's only Gaelic college, Sabhal Mor Ostaig, this weekend, including the Slow Food movement's founder, Carlo Petrini.

Slow Food began as a movement in the Italian town of Bra in 1986, as a protest against the increasing dominance of fast-food in the marketplace, particularly the opening of a branch of McDonald's.

This was perceived as a threat to traditional cooking and locally sourced produce, and the movement has now expanded to encompass more than 83,000 members in 107 countries worldwide.

Particular achievements in the UK have included the establishment of a Slow Food Market in Bristol and the naming of the first CittaSlow "slow city" in Ludlow.

HRH The Prince of Wales is to send the meeting a goodwill message.

Further information: http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/sedotcom_home/news-se/news-fullarticle.htm?articleid=122953

Scottish farmers protest at Brazilian beef



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Scottish farmers are stationed outside selected Tesco and Asda outlets today, where they will be hoping to persuade shoppers to buy Scotch beef.

In particular, they will be comparing the meat to the imported Brazilian beef sold in the two chains, which a new report suggests is of poorer quality, coming as it does from a tropical cattle breed.

The NFU Scotland (NFUS) is challenging the supermarket chains' assertions that their meat meets the same production standards as Scottish beef, after fresh beef products from both were submitted for independent testing.

The report published by Quality Meat Scotland finds that the samples taken from Tesco, Asda, and also Co-op, all tested positive for Zebu genetics, confirmation that they came from the Bos Indicus cattle species.

Following similar NFUS protests last week, the Co-op chain removed Brazilian beef from sale at its Scottish stores.

NFUS president, John Kinnaird, explained: "Since our protests began last week over cheap Brazilian beef imports, the major supermarkets have been quick to claim they are not sourcing sub-standard imports.

"Now it is revealed that Scotland’s beef producers are being undermined by supermarkets buying meat which has a reputation for poorer eating quality, presumably just because it is cheaper."

Further information: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1844292005

New microcapsules optimise flavour release



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Scientists have developed a mechanism that prevents the release of flavour from frozen baked products until fully cooked.

In delaying the release of flavour, the convenience frozen goods are at their best at the point of consumption, says the report, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

US researchers have developed the new system by encapsulating flavoured oil in complex microcapsules made from gelatin and gum arabic, writes BakeryandSnacks.com.

The new design of the microcapsules means that flavour is released more efficiently than by univesicular microcapsules, the flavouring system currently used, the scientists claim.

The researchers added that the new system did not have an effect on the frozen shelf-life of the baked food, and the basic production method did not have to be changed when implementing the new mechanism.

The UK's frozen food market is currently worth around £3.4 billion according to Mintel, and food producers are increasingly searching for more sophisticated ways to keep food succulent and flavoursome once it has been reheated.

Further information: http://www.foodnavigator.com/news/news-ng.asp?n=62087-flavour-frozen-food-mechanism

Californian chips in cancer case



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A California Attorney-General is taking legal action in Los Angeles against a host of fast-food restaurants and shops, including McDonald's and Burger King.

His lawsuit, filed at the weekend, accuses a total of nine companies of failing to inform the public adequately about potentially dangerous levels of toxins in food served to customers.

In doing so, they are breaching Californian law under Proposition 65, which requires companies to provide warnings of potentially carcinogenic chemicals, Bill Lockyer said.

In particular, the claim concerns the level of the chemical acrylamide contained in potato-based products.

In 2002, it was found that potatoes cooked at high temperatures formed low amounts of this chemical, also used industrially to treat sewage.

Tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration subsequently found that high doses of acrylamide could lead to cancer developing in animals, although this finding has not been extended to humans as yet.

In accordance with Californian law, Mr Lockyer wants to see warning labels on products such as French fries and crisps, or at least on outlets' walls where these are served.

"I am not telling people to stop eating potato chips and french fries," Mr Lockyer said.

"But I and all consumers should have the information we need to make informed decisions about the food we eat."

Further information: http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=1862472005

Coffee tops US antioxidant consumption



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A new study carried out in the US has revealed coffee, both caffeinated and decaf, to be the top source of health-boosting antioxidants.

Antioxidants occur naturally in a number of foods and drinks, and aid the fight against diseases such as cancer and heart disease by acting against the free radicals that damage cells.

Researchers from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania have calculated America's top 10 sources of the chemicals based on the antioxidant content per average serving and the frequency of consumption among consumers.

Coffee came first out of 100 different foodstuffs, beating the well-documented richest source, fruit and vegetables, as well as chocolate and tea.

While dates have the greatest density of antioxidants, unsurprisingly they are not consumed at anywhere near the rate of coffee.

Coffee was followed in the rankings by black tea, bananas, dried beans, corn, red wine, lager, apples, tomatoes and potatoes.

Chemistry professor and leader of the study, Joe Vinson, remarked: "Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Nothing else comes close."

Funded by the American Cocoa Research Institute, the results were presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington.

Further information: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=12784

Wal-Mart calls for Tesco check



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The president and chief executive of the US supermarket chain Wal-Mart, has called on the UK government to assess the sector's dominance by Tesco in the interests of healthy competition.

Lee Scott's remarks in an interview with the Sunday Times yesterday come in the wake of the announcement that Tesco's share in the grocery market has risen to the all-time high of 30.5 per cent within three months, up from 28.1 per cent a year ago.

The figures, published as the Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) report last week, found that Wal-Mart-owned Asda's market share also rose by 0.1 per cent, reaching 16.7 per cent for the 12 weeks to August 14th.

This makes Asda Britain's number two ranking supermarket, whereas Sainsbury's share slipped from 15.9 per cent to 15.7 per cent in the last three months, but had still increased its grip from 15.4 per cent last year.

Mr Lee Scott told the Times: "As you get over 30 per cent and higher I am sure there is a point where government is compelled to intervene, particularly in the UK, where you have the planning laws that make it difficult to compete.

"At some point the government has to look at it."

His comments also follow Tesco's complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) concerning Adsa's campaign labelling itself as the UK's cheapest store.

The ASA said that the claim, based on a poll of 33 products by the magazine, The Grocer, was unrepresentative.

Further information: http://www.abcmoney.co.uk/news/292005788.htm

Kerry profits from healthy convenience foods



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Ireland-based Kerry Group has seen its first half sales rise by 8.3 per cent to €2.1 billion, three weeks after it bought the Indian ready meals firm, Noon Group, for £124 million.

This rise took profits to €160 million for the six months to June 30th, an increase of 6.2 per cent.

Food ingredients accounted for 69 per cent of the sales, with consumer foods making up the rest, including the key brands Mattesons and Walls.

The success was mainly attributed to UK consumers' demand for healthier convenience foods, including premium ready meals, as well as the popularity of the "food on the go" concept.

For example, the launch of the cheese-based snack "Brunchettas" at the end of 2004 had contributed, and "Cheesestrings" continued to grow in popularity and market share.

Company chairman, Denis Buckley, said: "Our Irish and UK foods brands and customer-branded offerings are well positioned in industry growth segments.

"The group expects further business improvement in the second half, with an outcome for the full year in line with market expectations."

In spite of the post-Atkins challenging trading environment in Europe and the US, Mr Buckley said ongoing consolidation would provide opportunities for further acquisitions in the future.

Further information: http://u.tv/newsroom/indepth.asp?pt=n&id=64363#comments

Cobra launches Belgium brewed brand



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Cobra beer has launched a new bottle-conditioned lager, brewed in Rodenbach, Belgium.

Packaged in 750 ml champagne-style bottles, King Cobra targets "the discerning lager drinker", says business development director, Chris Rendle, according to the Publican.

Priced at approximately £6 in the on-trade and at Indian restaurants, it is designed for sharing, similar to a bottle of wine, and is targeted at the clients of the emerging generation of gastropubs.

Mr Rendle explained: "Our first entry point into the on-trade will be gastropubs and some style bars.

We definitely see it as being drunk with food and being shareable - you could even put the bottle in an ice bucket."

Initially intended to be packaged in a black bottle, Cobra settled for dark brown glass when Spanish cava Freixenet objected, claiming rights to the black champagne-style bottle.

With an ABV of eight per cent, it is refermented in the bottle for two weeks as with speciality Belgian Trappist beers.

The bottle is also available in retail outlets priced at £3.99.

Further information: http://www.just-drinks.com/news_detail.asp?art=28326

Asda store launches chicken probe



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The supermarket chain Asda is in the process of investigating a claim that out-of-date chicken was cooked and prepared for sale at a branch in the Greater Manchester area.

Four workers, including two managers, have been temporarily suspended, and the chain has confirmed that portions of cooked chicken quarters were found to be out of date last week.

However, these products were removed from sale at the Trafford Park store immediately, a company spokesman said.

Asda also rejected the claim of former rotisserie operator, Simon Daw, who said that workers were ordered to cook out-of-date chicken when a stock rotation system failed.

Mr Daw suggested that "chicken kept for roasting must have been left in the fridge too long, sometimes more than a week", according to the Manchester Evening News.

The Asda spokesman insisted: "This is something we take very seriously.

"We pride ourselves on hygiene. All staff are fully trained in health and safety.

"If any customers have any concerns about chicken they have bought, they can contact the store or visit the customer service desk."

Further information: http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/men/news/s/171/171750_poultry_probe_at_asda_store.html

Software enables mobile microbe alerts



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New software has been developed that enables food safety authorities to be alerted by phone if testing equipment registers microbial contamination on the production line or in the lab.
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