Tetra Pak outlines environmental plans

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Red meat linked to arthritis

Date: Mon, 06 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Food researchers in Manchester are suggesting that eating lots of red meat can significantly increase the risks of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

In a study of 88 rheumatoid arthritis patients those eating the most red meat were found to have twice the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis than those with lower red meat intake.

Those consuming red meat as well as other types of meat had similar higher risk factors, but higher levels of dietary fats, including saturated fat, did not appear to have an effect, according to Medical News Today.

Though researchers are unsure as to exactly why red meat has this effect, it is thought that the high collagen content of meat may provoke an immune response in individuals with a predisposition for rheumatoid arthritis.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

GSK seeks green light for anti-obesity drug

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK-based pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline is planning to seek approval from US regulators for the first non-prescription anti-obesity treatment.

The president of the company's consumer healthcare division, Jack Ziegler, told the Financial Times that he was preparing an application to the Food and Drug Administration for an over-the-counter equivalent of the company's prescription-only Xenical.

Mr Ziegler said he was hopeful that FDA approval could be won within a year, with the possibility of launching the drug by early 2006.

Xenical, which GSK acquired last year under licence from Roche for sale in the US, was approved by the FDA in 1999. The drug works in the intestines by blocking the body's absorption of about one-third of the fat of digested food.

Sales of the prescription drug generated around $120 million last year and it is not advised for pregnant women or anyone with gallbladder problems. GSK is optimistic that lower doses in the non-prescription equivalent will reduce side effects and increase the drug's popularity in the United States, when combined with diet and exercise.

Mr Ziegler said: "This is an extraordinarily safe drug and appears to also have an effect in easing cardiovascular disease and diabetes."

The anti-obesity market is estimated to be worth $400 million (£205 million) a year.

Further information: www.gsk.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Phytopharm in talks over hoodia appetite-suppressant

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK firm Phytopharm is reportedly in talks to licence an appetite-suppressing compound to a food industry partner.

Phytopharm has invested more than $18 million in isolating the appetite-suppressing ingredients in the desert plant hoodia, a rare cactus native to the Kalahari desert.

The P57 molecule in the core of the Hoodia plant convinces the brain the body is full. In clinical trials, Phytopharm claims that obese patients who took Hoodia ate an average of 1,000 calories less than their counterparts who took a placebo.

Phytopharm initially struck a deal with drug company Pfizer to bring the product to market. However, the deal fell through and the company turned its attention to the booming meal replacement market, Nutra Ingredients reports.

The pharmaceutical firm reported growing losses last week, but analysts predict that a deal with a major food company could be worth more than $50 million a year in royalties as interest continues to grow in anti-obesity products.

The Hoodia Gordonii diet pills are available on the internet and are organic and completely free of ephedra, ephedrine and caffeine, with no known side effects.

Further information: www.phytopharm.co.uk

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

British cookbook released in France

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The wife of the British ambassador to Paris has written a new cookbook in French designed to lay French misconceptions about UK cuisine to rest.

Lady Penny Holmes and her co-author, Susan Mallet, are taking French disdain for Britain's culinary standards head on.

"Simply British!" gives simple instructions on how to prepare traditional dishes like bubble and squeak, mash de pommes de terre, trifle and poulet tikka masala. The French-language cookbook also includes British classics such as fish and chips, scones and trifle.

"We want to change the general opinion held by people in France that British food is dire; that 'nice country, shame about the food' attitude," Ms Holmes told Reuters.

"For a long period British food was a bit dull and unadventurous, but recently there has been a real renaissance," she insists.

Lady Penny's cookbook has reportedly been largely welcomed by France's food community.

(no further information)

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Calls to reform European legislation

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


A new UK report urges the European Union to take immediate action in order to get plans for regulatory reform back on track.

Concentrating on laws relating to food labelling, pollution and data protection, the Better Regulation Task Force calls on the EU to create an ad hoc body that can simplify legislation where regulations are shown to be unworkable, conflicting or overly complex.

The UK lobby group attacked the "over-complex and unnecessary EU red tape", claiming that the cost of European red tape has been estimated at €1.3 trillion (£700 billion), or 12 per cent of European GDP.

The report states that food labelling legislation has burgeoned so that information on labels is in microscopic print and calls for clearer labelling, using graphics and giving priority to key information such as allergens.

The taskforce suggests setting up an informal body made up from the EU's three institutions to fast-track simplification proposals that do not alter the underlying policy behind directives.

David Arculus, the chairman of MmO2, and the head of the task force is currently in Brussels. He said: "We expect our report, with its practical guidance, to be welcomed with open arms." Mr Arculus insists that half of all key legislation in the UK now originates in Brussels.

The report has been welcomed by EU officials. Gunter Verheugen, the EU commissioner for enterprise and industry, praised it for its "constructive and thorough recommendations".

Further information: www.brtf.gov.uk

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Nestle moves into frozen pizza market

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Frankfurt-based Nestle Deutschland AG, has announced it is to acquire 49 per cent of frozen pizza producer Wagner Tiefk hlprodukte GmbH.

It will give Nestle access to roughly 33 per cent of the German frozen pizza market and a turnover of around 200 million euros.

"We are delighted to be able to contribute from now on to the unique Wagner business success story," Patrice Bula, chairman of the Nestle Deutschland AG board, stated.

"We see together great opportunities to develop the business further, combining the Wagner management strengths, their strong brand equity and their product quality with Nestle Group's global sales reach, our marketing know-how and research & development competences."

Gottfried Hares, spokesman for Wagner described Nestle as the "ideal partner" for developing Wagner's business in new European markets.

Pending approval by the appropriate authorities, the transaction will go ahead on 1 January 2005.

The German frozen pizza market was worth more than 700 million euros in 2003 with average growth rates of around eight per cent.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

British pig industry will not be ham-handed

Date: Tue, 07 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Guidelines on antibiotics launched by the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) alliance show the British pig industry is committed to the highest standards.

British Pig Executive (BPEX) chairman Stewart Houston, a pig producer in North Yorkshire, said: "The industry is committed to producing top quality, safe food and this is an integral part of that.

"It is, however, important to remember that antibiotics have an important role to play in treating disease in animals so there is a large welfare component there.

"Antibiotics can only be administered to pigs under the supervision of the vet and there are many other controls to ensure safety.

"The industry has also responded positively to the challenge of removing antibiotic growth promoters from feed in January 2006.

"BPEX has an extensive research and farm advice programme on achieving this change while maintaining high standards of pig health and welfare," Mr Houston added.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Real Good results reported at food company

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


UK food manufacturer The Real Good Food Company has announced that it is "very pleased" with the performance of all its businesses

The company said its Five Star Fish business, which was acquired in May this year, has performed in line with expectations, despite increasing raw material costs.

The Real Good Food Company reported that increased sales, currently 17 per cent higher than the same period last year, and operating efficiencies have offset the impact of higher input costs, according to just-food.com.

The group is currently undergoing a major period of restructuring and, having announced "substantial strategic and financial progress" with its interim results at the end of August, predicts that strong growth will continue over the remainder of 2004 and the early part of 2005.

"We are confident that robust foundations are now in place in all the businesses which will enable us to drive growth both organically and through further acquisition to achieve the full potential of the significant opportunities we see in our market. We are confident about the group's ability to broadly meet market expectations in the current year and 2005," the company said.

Real Good Food makes chilled and ambient products for food retailers.

Further information: www.realgoodfood.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Tate & Lyle on the up

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Tate & Lyle is reportedly expected to return to the FTSE 100 following a seven year absence.

At the close of trading on Tuesday, Tate & Lyle was ranked as Britain's 90th biggest company.

Experts predict the company will now re-enter the top flight when the quarterly reshuffle comes into effect on December 20th, replacing engineering firm Tomkins, which has seen its market value decline.

Tate's shares have leapt by 55 per cent this year, boosted by strengthening sugar prices and solid sales of its artificial sweeteners.

An original member of the historic FT-30 index in 1935, Tate & Lyle dropped out of the FTSE 100 in September 1997.

The FTSE index revises its membership list four times a year, with changes based on the market capitalisation of eligible stocks. Inclusion in the FTSE 100 raises a company's profile among investors.

Further information: www.tateandlyle.co.uk

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Coca-Cola stops UK drinks launch

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Drinks giant Coca-Cola has decided that it will not launch its C2 brand in the UK.

The mid-calorie soft drink was unveiled in North America and Japan six months ago. C2 has half the calories and carbohydrates of regular Coca-Cola and is targeted at health-conscious consumers.

Britain forms one of the company's biggest markets and the decision not to launch it in the UK has led analysts to question the future of the C2 brand.

Sales of C2 in the US and Canada have been disappointing and rival mid-calorie brand Pepsi Edge has also struggled to establish itself.

Coca-Cola said it remained committed to C2 in North America and Japan and would consider its expansion into other markets on a case-by-case basis. A spokeswoman for Coca-Cola in the UK said the company had decided to focus on the no-calorie Diet Coke brand, which outsold regular Coca-Cola in British supermarkets for the first time last year.

The world's biggest soft drinks producer has seen sluggish sales this year and a number of management upheavals.

Further information: www.coca-cola.com

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

Campina Arla decision planned in Spring 2005

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


Dairy companies Arla and Campina have released an update on their intentions to merge and create the largest farmer-owned dairy company in the world.

The newly created company would be called Campina Arla and would include strong leading brands in consumer and business-to-business markets.

According to both companies, the General Assemblies of their companies have now both been informed of plans and a decision on the merger will be made in Spring 2005.

Justinus Sanders, the new CEO of Campina Arla, commented: "This merger will unite the best of both companies and is a crystal clear example of the power of synergy.

"With Campina Arla, we will establish a dairy co-operative with even more competitive and innovative power for the benefit of our member-farmers, customers, consumers and our employees."

The businesses believe that the new firm will experience turnover of around €10 billion and will have a workforce of around 28,000 employees.

It is thought both company's key principles and product categories will be used as the basis for Campina Arla.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

NFU appoints new horticulture adviser

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 04 Type: DirectNews Item


The NFU has announced that it has appointed a new horticulture adviser.

Formerly working at Defra, Dr Chris Hartfield has been selected for the position, which will include advising on fruit and protected crops.

Dr Hartfield said: "It's good to be back in the horticultural sector and I'm looking forward to working with NFU members and industry stakeholders."

With a background in horticulture research, Dr Hartfield has worked at Defra for the last four and half years.

"We are delighted to have Chris joining the team. He has a strong background in horticulture and a good knowledge of the farming industry in general. He'll be a real asset to the food and farming advisory team at the NFU," Phil Hudson, chief horticulture advisor, added.

(C) DeHavilland Information Services plc, 1998-2003.

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