Newsletter 13 June 2011

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 13 June 2011 | Your weekly food industry news and insights….
SmartStuff: “The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are.” Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian philosopher

Bidfood Solutions
Editor’s Stuff: It’s the sprouts! It’s the sprouts!
The biggest rolling news item in the food industry world for the past few weeks has been the deadly and tragic E coli outbreak in Germany that has now killed 33 people.
On FSproutsriday German authorities confirmed that bean sprouts were responsible – while they had been named as a possible source earlier in the week, public health authorities took back that indictment after lab tests came back negative. But now, thanks to old-fashioned epidemiological investigation, sprouts have been definitively named the culprit. Here are several angles on the outbreak:
After a month of searching and testing thousands of vegetables, simple detective work has trumped science in the hunt for the source of the world’s deadliest E coli outbreak.
The German outbreak is a wakeup call for this industry everywhere. Bean sprouts are marketed as health foods but say little about their potential risks if eaten raw.

Brenda Neall: publisher & editor

PS: Apologies for the late delivery of this newsletter. Friday’s attempted send was thwarted by an IT meltdown. Next newsletter will now be published on Friday June 24.

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Kerry Ingredients

 Local Food Industry Stuff
Kraft Foods South Africa will become the first major South African business to achieve Fairtrade certification for its popular chocolate brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain].
Graham MackaySABMiller has become the most successful multinational company to originate from the African continent. With sales of US$28bn last year and a fat operating margin of 17,8%, it has come a long way from the days of gold-rush Johannesburg when Castle’s competition as the drink of choice was raw potato spirit mixed with tobacco juice and pepper. This week’s Financial Mail looks at how CEO Graham Mackay turned a local brewery into a R400bn global empire.
In a boost for local packaging recycling, Tetra Pak South Africa reports it has inked an agreement with Gayatri Paper Mills to recycle carton waste in South Africa.
SA’s SurePure aims for US listing
UV sterilisation specialist SurePure reports it is turning to the US capital markets to fuel its growth ambitions, having gained the support of SAB South Africa earlier this year.
The BRC revises the requirements of its standards as well as audit protocols on a regular basis. ProCert Southern Africa is hosting two seminars on the latest changes, Issue 6, in Johannesburg and Paarl in late July.


 International Food Industry News
GefilusIn what may be the most contentious rejection yet, EFSA’s health claims panel has refused Valio’s gut health dossier based on the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) strain (used in products such as Valio’s Gefilus, the first clinically-backed probiotic consumer product on the European market), that included 45 human studies and 41 non-human studies for failing to demonstrate causality.
Reacting to the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, that replaces the Food Pyramid, Marion Nestle, prolific food industry commentator and critic, has reacted positively to the development, and had this to say….
Coca-Cola VitaminWater class action to go to mediation
A class action lawsuit brought against Coca-Cola by advocacy group The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) over Coke’s VitaminWater range is set to go to mediation. Pundits say this may, or may not, mean that Coca-Cola is likely to settle out of court.

 Verni Superflor

 Food Trends, Marketing and NPD
“The willingness – or perhaps the ability – to envision the new and then create it is all-too-rare in the food and beverage industries. Marketers, often highly risk-averse, fear doing anything that cannot be justified by consumer research….”
Burgeoning scientific evidence that dairy and saturated fat may not be as bad for us (and better for us) than we thought is undoubtedly good news for the dairy industry. But this is brand new science, and saturated fats and dairy aren’t going to become the good guys overnight in the mindsets of consumers and even much of the scientific and health professional community.
Protein is one of the growth ingredients of the future. But the sources of that growth may not be what we expect them to be, comment and insights from Julian Mellentin, founder of New Nutrition Business.
AcaiWestern consumer trends in health and wellness are at a crossroads, contends influential research company, The Hartman Group, in terms of the reactive, reductionist, overly medical perspectives of the past when compared to holistic, positive and experiential approaches of today’s most progressive consumers…
Stonyfield Farm CEO: Big isn’t necessarily bad in the world of organics
Gary Hirshberg disputes arguments within the organic food movement that only small organic is good organic. Hirshberg, the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s largest organic yoghurt company, outlined his views on the organic industry to Slow Living Summit participants last week.
In an industry first, Thames Water in the UK has designed its own sparkling tap water, which is being served free of charge to diners in celebrity chef Aldo Zilli’s (left) London restaurant.

Savannah Fine Chemicals

 Health and Nutrition Stuff
Paleo dietFrom the paleolithic diet to the raw food diet, many health-conscious people now want to eat the way they believe our ancient ancestors ate. But some of these dietary prescriptions make little sense for modern humans, according to a new book on the evolution of the use of food and eating habits among prehistoric people.

SupplementsMost people are wasting money on vitamin pills and other health supplements that do them no good, an NHS report has warned.
Under pressure recently to retire clown Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner responded by saying the company provides “many choices that fit within the balanced active lifestyle”. He added: “It is up to their parents to choose, and it is their responsibility to do so.” Of course it’s a parent’s responsibility to make good choices, says Dr Yoni Freedhoff, a Canadian obesity and nutritional expert, but he questions if they really can.

 Food Science, Safety and Ingredients
Nutrition is being politicised, with food authorities bowing to pressure from minority interests and lobbyists in areas such as salt reduction at significant risk to consumer health, according to one expert. 
Speaking Saturday night, June 11, at the Awards Celebration at the annual IFT congress and expo, IFT President-Elect Roger Clemens called on food scientists to help build a better, more nutritious food supply — for consumers in the United States and throughout the world.
Malcolm Bourne, Emeritus Professor of Food Science, Cornell University, was honoured as the recipient of the 2011 Nicholas Appert Award at the IFT Awards Celebration. This is the IFT’s highest honour and is given annually to an IFT member for preeminence in and contributions to the field of food science and technology. 
Don’t believe all you read about pomegranates
Media claims about pomegranates show how corrosive the practice of ‘science by press release’ is. Peer review is essential.
Kerry Ingredients & Flavours has launched a range of six new natural citrus flavourings for beverages, known as ‘taste twists’. Forming part of its comprehensive Citrus Collection, these can be used individually and mixed with other flavours to help create innovative, refreshing new products with exotic varietal citrus notes.
RFID tags are already used to trace everything from poker chips to hotel towels, but what if these little pellets were embedded directly within your lunch, providing everything you’d ever wanna know about that ham sandwich you’re about to beast? That’s the idea behind NutriSmart – a food tracking system that revolves around edible RFID tags.
The legacy of food-borne illnesses
The outbreak of the virulent strain of E coli that is killing and sickening people in Germany and other parts of Europe is only the latest in a long history of food-borne illnesses. Here are the most significant cases in recent memory, including those that spurred better industry regulation and public-health safeguards.
COMMENT: Fifth generation warfare: Follow the food!
Everybody thinks that the future is going to see fights over energy, when it’s far more likely to be primarily over food.
   My point: if you’re a terrorist looking to sow fear and confusion, disrupt supply chains and ruin crucial industries, you can’t do much better than to work some biological mischief on food networks. Make that one cow happen from Canada. Make that one batch of messed-up veggies go into Germany – whatever. If you think people are afraid of radiation, that’s nothing compared to their fear of tainted food.

 Weird, Whacky and Wonderful Stuff
A new dining experience, bringing Japan’s most notorious and deadliest fish delicacy, the tiger blowfish, to the UK launches at the end of this month.

Learning to cook is important, but can be intimidating if you’ve never done more than boil water, open cans and zap ready meals. But navigating the kitchen is much easier if you know a few simple tricks that seasoned chefs take for granted.

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Food bites… Time to rethink anti-corporate sentiment

“You see, it’s easy to hate a big company, with a big brand name. McDonald’s makes you fat. Walmart makes you stupid. Pfizer makes you addicted to uppers, of all sorts. Shell makes you have three-headed double-gendered babies. If you’re looking for bogeymen, just pick one from a billboard.
   Big companies with big brands to protect catch a lot of flak. But in casting big companies as evil pillagers and exploiters, critics fail to recognise that they’re generally staffed by people. Ordinary people like you and me. People with the same passions and concerns and emotional investment in the welfare of the planet and the prosperity of its people.”
Ivo Vegter, Daily Maverick columnist. Read more

Published every Friday as part of, this newsletter is a cherry-picking, agglomerating service for all food and beverage industrialists. It aims to be topical, insightful, provocative… fast, fresh and full of additives!


Brenda NeallFOODStuff SA is published and edited by Brenda Neall.

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