New test for iron deficiency

Nestlé has assisted in and helped fund the development of the first iron deficiency test that does not require taking a blood sample. The work could benefit millions of people by making it easier and cheaper to detect the condition.

Iron deficiency affects more people than any other health problem, according to the World Health Organization. Women and children are particularly at risk, and left untreated it can cause serious mental and physical harm.

Most iron-deficient individuals are unaware that they need more iron. This is because current tests require taking blood and laboratory facilities to analyse it.

The new test for iron deficiency, described in research published in Nature Communications, takes about a minute and provides immediate results.

It involves using a small optical fibre to shine a blue laser light onto the lower lip. If zinc protoporphyrin – a chemical compound found in the blood of iron deficient people – is present, then it gives off a fluorescent light in response.

Health Check: do we crave the food our bodies need?

Food craving is an intense desire to consume a particular food that is difficult to resist. This is different from hunger, as consumption of any number of foods satisfies hunger.

Food cravings are very common. One study of more than 1,000 people revealed 97% of women and 68% of men experienced cravings. Food cravings occur more commonly later in the day, with an average of two to four craving episodes per week.

Nutritional deficiencies

It has been long thought that food cravings were due to the body’s effort to correct nutritional deficiencies or food restrictions. Under this theory, a craving for a juicy steak might indicate the body’s need for iron or protein. A craving for chocolate may indicate that people lack phenylethylamine, a chemical that has been associated with romantic love. Phenylethylamine is found in significant amounts in chocolate.

Nutritional deficiencies are linked to food cravings in certain situations. Pica is an unusual behaviour where people crave non-food substances such as ice, clay or raw starch. Pica behaviour is sometimes found in conjunction with micronutrient deficiencies such as zinc.

Deficiencies in vitamins may potentially result in food cravings. A severe deficiency of vitamin C led to scurvy in maritime explorers who did not have ready access to fresh fruit and vegetables during their long sea voyages. A British chaplain who wrote about the accounts of sailors suffering from scurvy reported they had intense cravings for fruit and when they finally were able to eat it they experienced “emotions of the most voluptuous luxury”.

In general, however, there is no real evidence to link our common food cravings with nutritional deficiencies.

Firstly, food cravings have been shown to decrease during weight-loss diets rather than increase, as might be expected.

In one study, a group of obese people was restricted to a very low-calorie diet over a 12-week period. Only meat, fish or poultry was allowed and all other foods were forbidden. Their cravings for low-fat, high-protein foods and complex carbohydrates decreased markedly on the diet. There was no reported increased craving for forbidden foods.

Restriction of certain types of foods also appears to decrease food cravings rather than increase them. A study of low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets in obese adults found that restricting carbohydrates resulted in decreased food cravings and restriction of fats decreased their craving for high-fat foods.

If the nutritional deficiency theory were to be true, this does not explain why some foods that are richer in nutrients lead to generally less cravings than other foods. Cheddar cheese and salami, for example, have much higher levels of phenylethylamine than chocolate but not nearly the same intensity of craving.

What causes food cravings?

Food cravings are believed to come from a mix of social, cultural and psychological factors. In North America, chocolate is the most-craved food, but this is not the case elsewhere. In Egypt only 1% of young Egyptian men and 6% of young Egyptian women reported cravingchocolate. Japanese women are more likely to crave rice and sushi, reflecting the influence of traditional food products and culture.

The nature of the relationship between specific foods and cravings is important. Food cravings can develop from matching consumption of certain foods with hunger, suggesting a conditioning response. In one study, some participants were assigned to eat chocolate only when hungry (between meals). They developed greater cravings for chocolate after a two-week period than other participants who ate chocolate exclusively when full (just after meals).

A theory of food cravings that includes the biological, psychological and social aspects suggests they can arise from matching food intake with other conditions such as emotional states (“stress eating”). Food cravings have been shown to be linked to higher levels of stress.

There is also emerging evidence suggesting our gut microbes (the bacteria in our guts) influence our food cravings.

Controlling food cravings

As described earlier, restricting certain types of foods can decrease food cravings. In the study of obese patients with restriction of carbohydrates and high-sugar foods it was found that food preferences and to a lesser extent food cravings were suppressed during a two-year period, suggesting long-term benefits.

Committing to implementing change is not easy. Cognitive techniques such as mindfulness can help. Researchers gave 110 self-identified chocolate cravers each a bag of chocolates to carry around for a week. They instructed half the group in “cognitive restructuring”, a technique that involves challenging inaccurate thoughts and replacing these with more accurate ones.

The other half of the group was taught a mindfulness-based technique – “cognitive defusion”. Participants were asked not to change their thoughts but to simply notice their thoughts and to visualise themselves as different from their thoughts. At the end of the study participants in the defusion group were more than three times more likely to abstain from chocolate than participants in the restructuring group.

Defusion interventions work to resist food cravings by creating a sense of distance from them rather than trying to eradicate and replace them.


Vincent Ho is a lecturer and clinical academic gastroenterologist, Western Sydney University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Is Margarine dead?

The reign of margarine is almost over. Sales of margarine—a plant-based spread that was once immensely popular because of its purported health benefits—have been rapidly declining and is now a cause of huge concern for Unilever, the world’s largest margarine producer and the parent company of brands that include Promise, Imperial, and Country Crock. The butter-substitute has a long history at Unilever—the company was founded through a merger between a soap maker and a Dutch company that began making margarine in 1872.

But, the truth is that butter has made a comeback: new reports argue that it’s not as unhealthy and artery-clogging as once thought, which has pushed margarine into quick decline. In response, Unilever last year created a separate business unit for its margarine operations, a move that its chief executive compared to “putting a sick child in a separate room from siblings, and showering extra care on them.” But the results have remained the same.

Margarine never had it easy

The rise and fall of margarine has been dramatic. According to researcher George W. Ladd, who documented trends in the state legislation of margarine, between the last half of the 1920s and the first half of the 1950s, per capita consumption of butter halved, while per capita consumption of margarine tripled. Using 1956 prices, this led to a $240 million loss to dairy farmers, a $430 million loss in the retail sales of butter, and a $240 million gain for margarine. One of the reasons for this dramatic increase was the repeal of various state laws that actually restricted the sale of margarine.

Given margarine’s recent decline, it’s perhaps interesting to look at the history of the anti-margarine laws of the twentieth century. They were mostly spearheaded by Big Diary, especially in Midwestern states where the dairy industry is key and, of course, loathe to lose millions in income. Consequently, in April of 1960, two Midwestern states—Minnesota and Wisconsin—were still one of the last two states to continue prohibiting the dying of margarine yellow to look more like butter.

In New York, for example, a law required retailers to tell customers in writing that what they were buying was not butter. The federal government passed a two-cent-per-pound tax in the Margarine Act of 1886, and the tax was quintupled just a few years later.

But Wisconsin was and continues to be its most vicious critic. It passed its first anti-margarine law in 1881, quickly followed four years later by the color law (which restricted the dying of margarine to resemble butter). Wisconsin didn’t repeal the law until 1967, long after margarine had become a commercial success in the U.S. Today, margarine is still prohibited in restaurants in Wisconsin unless specifically requested by a patron. This law failed to be repealed in 2011.

This article first appeared on JSTOR Daily.


Jstor Citations

Trends in State Margarine Legislation

By: George W. Ladd

Journal of Marketing, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Apr., 1960), pp. 65-69

American Marketing Association

Cacao & Mint Protein Crunch

The union of irresistible cacao and cool mint with added protein crunch is genius. Our all-natural protein keeps you full for longer while activated buckinis keep things nice and crunchy.

Product Manufacturer  Pure Good Bars

Launch date (must be in the last 3 months to be eligible)               January 2016

Ingredients (as listed on the packaging)                


Raw Cashews


Organic Pea Protein

Organic Raw Cacao

Organic Activated Buckinis

Organic Mint Oil

Organic Coconut Oil

Himalayan Salt

Shelf Life             12 months

Packaging            Foil wrapper

Product Manager             Lindi Glass

Country of origin              Australia

Brand Website       

Contact Email

Cranberry market growing in Australia, albeit slowly

Ocean Spray was formed in 1930 and since then, the cranberry cooperative has grown to encompass more than 700 grower families all across North America.

While cranberries cannot be grown commercially in Australia, the US-sourced cranberries are still a ‘new’ product with the future for the little red fruits quite a bit brighter these days with their addition to a variety of snacking options.

According to Elissa Booth, General Manager of Ocean Spray Australia, Australia’s US-sourced cranberry stocks are used in a variety of Ocean Spray new products.

“Ocean Spray has been in Australia since 1995 and the variety of cranberry we use here is less sweet and more austere, which is why it goes well with fruit flavours.”

“The top-selling SKUs in the Ocean Spray portfolio are Cranberry Classic Juice Drink, Craisins Original Dried Cranberries, and Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce,” noted Ms. Booth.

“In 2015, Ocean Spray launched Craisins Reduced Sugar Dried Cranberries with 50 per cent less sugar than our Original Dried Cranberries, which is one of the leading new products in dried fruit.”

“We have also launched a new line of Ocean Spray Low Sugar Juice Drinks that are naturally sweetened primarily with stevia, and contain only 10 calories per serve.”

Craisin market growing down under

Australians’ appreciation for this iconic North American fruit is expanding, if the latest figures are to be believed.

“We have a growing market here in Australia, with a growth rate of about 5-10 per cent per annum,” said Ms. Booth.

“At the moment, the main area where cranberries are used is in baked goods, juices, yoghurts and in cereals.”

As for Ocean Spray, their recent release of a number of dried cranberry combinations has been used in snacking options like Greek Yoghurt, Milk Chocolate and Trail Mix ready-to-eat packets.

This is a sector where Ms. Booth sees the biggest growth potential.

“The snack pack size of Ocean Spray Craisins Dried Cranberries is available in Coles stores nationally.  We are exploring other opportunities for distribution.”

Over the past 12 months, according to Ocean Spray figures, retail grocery dried cranberry segment sales are growing at +5.2 per cent for the latest 52-weeks ending 29.11.15 (Value Sales, Coles & Woolworths Grocery Sales). 

“Ocean Spray Craisins Dried Cranberries are the dried cranberry brand leader with 72 per cent value share and are driving the majority of the Dried Cranberry Segment growth.”

While Craisins used are often enjoyed on their own as a delicious snack right out of the bag, their versatility, vibrant taste and colour makes them suitable as a topping or ingredient in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. 

“Craisins are often used as a topping on yoghurt, muesli, and fruit salads, blended into smoothie, and green or grain salads, or used in baked goods such as muffins, breads and biscuits for a little extra burst of colour and flavour.  Craisins dried cranberries are a good source of fibre and a convenient serving of fruit,” noted Ms. Booth.

Craisin health benefits coming to the fore

“Not only are cranberry products great for the taste buds, but they can also be part of a healthy balanced lifestyle to help promote good health,” said Ms. Booth.

“There is more than 50 years of evidence supporting the role of cranberries in helping to fight reduce the risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).”

“Research suggests that reducing the risk of recurrent UTIs with cranberry juice can be a nutritional approach to reduce the use of antibiotics and prevent increased resistance – a phenomenon whereby viruses and bacteria are able to resist the effects of antibiotics.”

“Additionally, studies reveal that drinking low–calorie cranberry juice twice a day can assist in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke when consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet, while there is also new evidence that reduced sugar dried cranberries could improve sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes compared to other commonly consumed fruits like bananas.”

Raw Paleo Bar

Product Name: Raw Paleo Bar

Product Manufacturer: At One

Launch date: 30 November 2015

Ingredients: Cacao mint raw paleo bar – dates, cashews, cacao solids (9%), coconut, mesquite powder, sea salt, peppermint oil (0.05%)

Coconut goji raw paleo bar – dates, cashews, coconut (12%), goji berries (8%), coconut oil (2%), cinnamon

Shelf Life: 18 months

Packaging: single serve 40g bars

Product Manager: Andrew Terlich

Country of origin: Australia

Brand Website:

Describe the product: On a stifling hot day in the midst of a 250km marathon in the Sahara Desert, our co-founder Andrew finally woke up to the truth about regular so-called 'nutrition' bars. Armed with a vision to create a truly nutritious and delicious snack bar, a vision to empower us all to be our best, At One bars were born!

The At One raw paleo bar range is made from fruits, nuts, seeds and nothing else. They won't crumble, break or melt, so they're the perfect addition to your carry bag for an anytime healthy snack. And being paleo, vegan and gluten-free, these bars won't mess with your tummy!

Contact Email

FSANZ detects ‘potentially concerning’ amounts of phthalates in food from packaging

Food Standards Australia New Zealand has found worrying levels of plastic softeners in samples of popular foods.

Fresh bread, takeaway hamburgers and meat pizzas are some of the foods in which chemicals may have migrated from packaging into food are a low risk to public health and safety.

Out of the six takeaway hamburgers tested for the phthalate DEHP, four contained between 67 and 180 per cent more than the amount permitted under European Union laws to be released from packaging into food, which is 1.5 milligrams a kilogram.

In samples tested for the phthalate DINP, Food Standards found a takeaway hamburger sample had 14mg a kilo and a pizza topped with meat and vegetables had 16mg a kilo –both exceeding “tolerable daily intake” levels.

According to Food Standards chief executive Steve McCutcheon, the Australian Total Diet Study into chemical migration from packaging into food detected very low residues of some chemicals in a small number of samples.

“After undertaking a very conservative safety assessment on these very low levels, FSANZ has concluded there are no safety concerns,” McCutcheon said.

“The screening study identified that further work was required for two of the chemicals tested for [phthalates] and FSANZ will be sampling a wider range of foods for these chemicals so a full dietary exposure assessment can be undertaken.”

Phthalates are plasticisers that can be found in PVC tubing, gaskets, cling wraps, printing inks, paper and cardboard packaging and laminated aluminium foil.

A University of Michigan study published in the medical journal JAMA Paediatrics found increased levels of some phthalates in urine during pregnancy correlated with higher odds of premature birth.

Catherine Itman, a research lecturer in physiology at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said Food Standards' results were "potentially concerning", considering the conclusions of various animal studies.

"However, we must recognise firstly that we are exposed to phthalates from many different sources, so it must be considered whether the phthalates present in some foods do substantially contribute to our overall phthalate exposure," Itman said.

"Secondly, we actually have very little direct information about the human health impacts of phthalates, as most toxicology studies have been performed using concentrations that do not reflect typical exposure levels and our knowledge of the effects of exposure to combinations of phthalates or phthalates plus other chemicals is wholly inadequate," Itman said.

"Until more is known, we should be cautious with regard to how much phthalate exposure we consider to be acceptable."

Overall poor industry performance on global food issues

A report ranking multinational companies for their performance in marketing, labelling and nutrition says the world’s biggest food companies are too slow in reacting to the double burdens of obesity and undernutrition.

Companies were put under the microscope for their performance on corporate strategy, management and governance related to nutrition; formulation and delivery of appropriate affordable and accessible products; and having a positive influence on consumer choice and behaviour, through nutrition information, food marketing and labelling.

In the index compiled by Dutch not-for profit organisation Access to Nutrition Foundation, no company scored higher than Unilever’s fairly modest 6.4 out of 10 and Nestlé’s 5.9 –and not a single other food and beverage firm scored above five for overall ranking.

According to ANF executive director Inge Kaur, industry should view the poor results as a new opportunity.

“Given the global reach of their products, food and beverage companies have a critical role to play in helping to tackle the growing global health crisis caused by poor nutrition. While companies have a social responsibility to tackle global nutrition challenges, doing so also presents a business opportunity as consumers worldwide demand healthier foods,” Kaur said.

Nestle scored especially high for governance with 8.7 and was praised by the foundation for extending its previous definition of a child audience to include new media.

Despite this, the report says that the company has failed to address other key issues raised in the 2013 index, such as raising the definition of the age of a child to 16. It also failed to improve its approach to developing independent consumer-orientated healthy eating programs. 

Do we really have to wash fruit and vegetables?

There is a growing demand for fruit and vegetables across the Western world, thanks to increased awareness of their nutritional and health benefits. But we’ve always been taught they might not be safe to eat straight out of the supermarket, and they have to be washed first. Is this the case? And what might happen if we don’t?

What’s in a veggie?

Fruits and some vegetables are often consumed raw, fresh-cut or minimally processed, which is often why there are concerns about their safety. Fresh fruits and vegetables and unpasteurised juices can harbour disease-causing bugs (knows as pathogens) such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (strains of E.coli). They can also contain pesticide residues and toxic compounds produced by moulds on the surface or even inside tissues of these foods.

Fresh fruits and vegetables may also contain allergens, which may be naturally occurring or contaminated, that can cause severe discomfort to people suffering from an intolerance. Of the potential risks, contamination with tiny bugs or organisms called microbes is the most prevalent.

The ingestion of very small numbers of dangerous bugs may not be harmful as our immune system can fight them off. But problems begin when the body’s defences fail, causing these “bad bugs” to multiply and spread throughout the body.

In recent years, fruits and vegetables such as sprouts, celery and rockmelons were identified as potential sources of food-borne pathogens. They are more susceptible to being contaminated. This has caused a number of health and social issues and major economic losses worldwide.

Last year there was an outbreak of listeriosis in the US, a disease caused by the ingestion of bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, linked to commercially produced, prepacked whole caramel apples. Thirty-five people from 12 states were infected with the disease, and three people died.


There could be more than caramel lurking in there. from


In May 2011, Germany experienced the largest epidemic of hemolytic–uremic syndrome (a disease characterized by anemia, acute kidney failure and low platelet counts), caused by Shiga-toxin–producing E.coli associated with fresh produce such as fenugreek sprouts. Over a period of about three months nearly 4000 fell ill with symptoms such as headache and diarrhoea, and a further 800 contracted hemolytic–uremic syndrome. Authorities reported 53 deaths.

In the US in 2011, cantaloupes become contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. One-hundred and forty-six people in 28 states were sick and 30 died.

While Australia is considered one of the safest food suppliers in the world, a significant number of foodborne illnesses are still reported every year. The government-funded organisation OzFoodNet reported 674 outbreaks of enteric illness, including those transmitted by contaminated foods, in the last quarter of 2013 alone.

Does washing help?

The washing of fruits and vegetables is one of the most important processing steps at the industrial level. Washing is designed to remove dirt and dust and some pesticides, and to detach bugs. Washing improves not only the safety and quality, but also the product’s shelf-life.

However, the quality of water used for washing is crucial. Washing water can serve as a source of cross-contamination as it may be re-used during harvesting and processing stages. Washing with sanitising agents is much better; washing removes microorganisms by detaching them from the products, and sanitising kills them.


Washed and ready to use? Safer to wash it again. Screenshot from Woolworths website, CC BY


Although this first stage of washing can significantly reduce the level of pathogens, infiltration of pathogens into cracks, crevices, and between the cells of fruits and vegetables has been shown to be possible.

Once positioned in these niches, pathogens may survive and multiply by the time the infected produce is consumed. Therefore pre-washed produce may not be 100% safe. Peeling can help to get rid of bugs on the surface, but it also risks cross-contaminating the inner part of the product.

Cooking temperatures kill most of the pathogenic bugs, but the compounds produced by them (metabolites) may be heat-tolerant and can cause serious health issues. Washing may help to remove some of these compounds, but not necessarily all.

What to do

The risk of eating contaminated produce is much greater now than it has been in previous centuries because primary production, processing and trade of fruits and vegetables occur in diverse climates and within different countries' rules and regulations and food processing systems.

Most of these foodborne illnesses are preventable. Washing in clean running tap water significantly reduces the level of E. coli bacteria on broccoli and lettuce, although it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Therefore washing fruits and vegetables using clean water at home – including pre-washed products – before consumption may help minimise the risk of foodborne infections.

Never eat or buy produce that looks spoiled, however be aware produce that is contaminated may look, taste and smell similar to the produce that is safe to eat. Make sure kitchen surfaces are clean and use the correct temperature and time for cooking.

Washing fresh produce is an important part of ensuring your favourite fruits and veggies are safe to consume, but also be sure to pay regular attention to the media for any outbreaks or updates related to fresh produce safety.

The Conversation

Senaka Ranadheera, Early Career Research Fellow, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit, College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Global public health organisation NSF International acquires New Zealand food safety company

Global food safety organisation NSF International has acquired the Burwater Pacific Group, a leading food safety training, auditing and consulting business based in New Zealand.

With hopes to expand food safety and quality services to a broader New Zealand and Australia food manufacturer and retail market, NSF International will work closely with the Burwater Pacific Group to provide its services for clients in New Zealand.

According to NSF International Senior Vice President, Tom Chestnut, the NSF Burwater team will utilise their 100 years of combined food safety experience to continue to lead food safety operations throughout New Zealand and Australia with assistance from technical experts around the globe.

“The addition of the Burwater Pacific Group to the NSF International Global Food Safety and Quality Division enables us to provide global auditing, certification, training and consulting services to the New Zealand and Australian food industry for our multinational retail customers and complements our current operations in the Asia-Pacific region, where we have offices in Korea, China, Thailand and India,” Chestnut said.

Regional Director for NSF International in New Zealand and Australia, Nigel Burrows, says that NSF welcomes the expertise, strong reputation and shared commitment to food safety that the Burwater Pacific Group brings to NSF International’s food safety and quality business.

“The opportunity to have access to the technical expertise of NSF’s Food Safety and Quality services will benefit New Zealand and Australian Food businesses on a local and global level. We are extremely excited to be part of NSF International as their global leadership in Food Safety and Quality will benefit our existing and new clients,” Burrows said.

As a result of the acquisition, multinational food businesses will have their food safety auditing, certification, training and consulting needs supported throughout New Zealand and Australia. 

Services offered via NSF Burwater include:

·        Technical Consulting – Services for new product launches including product development, label review and development, food control plans and HACCP development, micro and chemical sampling, internal auditing, training and product development.

·        Auditing services – Franchise compliance and operational standards review and audits as well as global standards and third-party regulatory audits including high risk food categories.

·        Training and development – Consultation, coaching and formal training in all areas from basic food handling to food safety program development and allergen management. 

Food standards body close to finalising labelling review work

An independent review into food labelling has received hundreds of submissions and involved several rounds of consultation, including public meetings with the food industry.

Food Standards Australia & New Zealand (FSANZ) concluded that the dietary intakes of trans fats in Australia and New Zealand were likely to remain below World Health Organization limits and that mandatory labelling was not warranted.

Another review recommendation was that total and naturally occurring dietary fibre content should be shown on NIPs. FSANZ looked into this recommendation by reviewing the science on ‘naturally occurring’ dietary fibre.

Consumers were also asked how they understand dietary fibre content and estimated how much it would cost consumers and industry to have dietary fibre information on all foods.

New review standards were also introduced, as FSANZ was able to implement the ability to allow voluntary potassium claims to be made on food labels.

The review recommended that Australia’s existing mandatory country of origin labelling requirements for food be extended to cover all primary foods. FSANZ examined the requirements and extended country of origin labelling to unpackaged beef, veal, lamb, hogget, mutton and chicken in July 2013.

FSANZ also looked at the remaining primary produce that didn’t need to display country of origin information on the label, for example goat meat.

By the end of 2016, FSANZ expects to complete work on its final two recommendations.

These include expanding the ingredient list on food labels so that the terms ‘added sugars’, ‘added fats’ and/or ‘added vegetable oils’ are used followed by a bracketed list with the names in addition to reviewing the requirement that a food has been irradiated. 

Paleo Diet surges in global popularity

Recent data from Innova Market Insights has seen a surge in the use of the word paleo as interest in the diet spreads out across the globe. 

The share of the USA in paleo launch activity fell from over 80% of the tracked launch total in the 12 months to the end of September 2014 to less than two-thirds in the same period in 2015, despite strong growth in total introductions.

This indicated the emergence of activity in other parts of the world, perhaps most notably Australia, where activity came from virtually zero in 2014 to account for nearly 16% of the 2015 total, putting it ahead of Europe with 10%.

According to Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, Lu Ann Williams, natural ingredients are becoming increasingly in demand.

“Interest in naturally nutritious ingredients and a return to basics has led to increasing consumption of ingredients such as ancient grains and green foods,” Williams said.

“It has also led to a surge in interest in alternative diets and eating habits, bringing awareness of the Paleo Diet to a much wider range of consumers.”

Paleo-friendly products are increasingly being marketed as high-profile lines feature ‘paleo’ in the product name or brand. 

Science sells a sweet deal to sober up on sugar

Researchers have identified a hormone that can suppress sugar and alcohol cravings in mice.

According to a study recently published in the journal Cell Metabolism, the hormone can send a signal to the brain to reduce the appetite for sugar.

Scientists tested the theory by injecting the hormone into mice then giving them a choice between a balanced diet and a sugar-enriched diet.

By genetically modifying the two sets of mice, distinct differences were observed between a group that did not produce FGF21 and those that had over 500 times the normal levels of the hormone.

According to report co-senior author Dr Steven Kliewer, “The findings raise the possibility that FGF21 administration could affect nutrient preference and other reward behaviours in humans.”

Results were also consistent when applied to alcohol-laced water, indicating that the hormone could be used to treat alcoholism.

“These findings suggest that additional studies are warranted to assess the effects of FGF21 on sweet and alcohol preference and other reward behaviour in humans,” Kliewer said.

Whilst the hormone does not supress the craving for complex carbohydrates such as cake or pastries, it could assist diabetics and obese people with controlling their sugar levels.

New solution for iron deficiency in vegetarians

Frutarom Health BU offers a new approach to tackle iron deficiency in vegan and vegetarian diets.

AB-Fortis, a patented encapsulated iron system, supports vegans/vegetarians, as well as women of childbearing years, who commonly suffer from iron deficiency. 

AB-Fortis, a clean label, GMO-free, all-natural ingredient has a high iron content and can be formulated into a full range of food and beverage applications.

Studies performed in young women and adults have shown that vegetarian (including vegan) men and women have lower iron stores than meat eaters. 

“Because iron isn't as easily absorbed from plant sources, the recommended intake of iron for vegetarians is almost double that of non-vegetarians,” explained Wouter Haazen, Product Manager for Frutarom Health. “It’s hard to increase iron intake from food alone.”

Iron is commonly recognized as a necessary nutrient for human diet. As a crucial component of red blood cells, it is vital to oxygen transport. A thorough scientific evaluation by EFSA led to the recognition that iron is a necessary nutrient that impacts energy metabolism, cognition and the immune system, among other body functions. Scientific studies demonstrate that iron deficiency leads to anemia, causing sufferers to feel chronically tired and out of breath (even after mild exertion), as well as having heart palpitations and a pale complexion.

Traditional iron supplements have a strong metallic taste and powerful oxidative properties—both undesirable for foods. They also are hard to digest, and sometimes cause nausea, constipation, gastric distress, and headaches. 

AB-Fortis is produced by a patented process to provide stable encapsulation with minimal release of free iron into the food matrix. The spherical gelation of ferric saccharate by calcium alginate results in an encapsulated iron salt with a high (40 per cent) iron content. 

Its suitability for food matrices and consumer acceptability was recently demonstrated in a successful bakery product targeted to children and launched in Spain by a market leader in this segment.

Buderim Ginger gets new packaging

Well-known Australian producer of all things ginger has just introduced new packaging for two popular snacking and cooking products: Buderim Ginger’s Naked Ginger (Uncrystallised) 200g pack and Crystallised Ginger 250g pack.

Embracing a more contemporary design, Buderim Ginger has revealed fresh new packaging for its smooth and velvety ginger pieces – with the added benefits of functionality. These two classics are now available to consumers in an easy-to-open and resealable stand up pouch.

Maintaining their strong brand heritage and continuing to embrace their vibrant orange and retro trademark, Buderim has opted for a more functional design that consumers will love. Moving away from a shapeless, pillow-packet format that gets lost in the cupboard and can’t be re-sealed, Buderim’s new stand-alone pouch locks in freshness while still delivering the same great taste.

“In a recent national study of over 1000 people earlier this year we found the majority of our customers either purchased Naked and Crystallised Ginger as a snack or for cooking,” said Buderim Ginger Marketing Manager Jacqui Price.

“However the previous packaging format wasn’t conducive to snacking and cooking usages, whereas the new stand up pack has a lot better presence in cupboards making it easier to store and is completely resealable.”

Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat win big at the 2015 Australian Organic Awards

 Arcadian Organic & Natural Meat Company has won gold twice at the 2015 Australian Organic Annual Awards.  The ceremony was held in the Lockyer Valley, Queensland, on 27 November. The awards received were ‘Best Organic Food Product’ (for the new Paleo beef sausage under their Cleaver’s brand) and ‘Export Market Leader.’
The organic food sector is one of the fastest growing categories in Australia.  The estimated value of the certified organic industry is $AUD1.72B per annum. 

Australian organic exports alone are now worth $AUD340 million. With so much opportunity at home and abroad, Arcadian is staying focused on developing new and innovative products.   The company goal is to remain a leader in the Australian organic food industry and a leading organic exporter.
“Our Cleaver’s brand Paleo beef sausages have only been on shelves since July of this year. Its success, so soon after launching the product, has lead us to develop a family of other Paleo products to offer alongside this award-winning beef sausage,” said Mick Dorahy, Chief Operating Officer and head of the Cleaver’s business.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about the quality of their diet and their desire to source quality organic products. The awards help to validate how important it is to maintain the high standards of our industry and continually innovate in the development of new products to meet the needs of our customers”, said Dorahy.
On receiving the Export Market Leader award, CEO of Arcadian Organic, Alister Ferguson, said, “We are so delighted to be the recipient of this award. We have worked particularly hard to build our export business. Over 75 per cent of our product is exported and we continue to drive new opportunities across Asia and the United States.”

“We feel humbled by the recognition of this award and excited about the growth of our business from increasing overseas demand for quality organic Australian beef and lamb.

Gluten Free Muesli with Dates & Toasted Coconut

Product Name: Thankyou Gluten Free Muesli with Dates & Toasted Coconut

Product Manufacturer: N/A

Launch date: Monday 7th September

Ingredients:    Seeds (32%) (Sunflower Kernels, Linseeds, Pepitas, Buckwheat, Chia), Fruits (Dates (7%) (Dates, Rice Flour), Raisins, Coconut (4%) (SO2 free)), Nuts (Cashews, Almonds), Puffed Rice (Rice Flour, Rice Bran), Rice Flakes (Rice Flour, Fructose, Salt Emulsifier (471)), Brown Sugar, Honey, Sunflower Oil, Puffed Millet, Cinnamon, Natural Flavours, Natural Antioxidant (Mixed Tocopherols (307b) (Contains Soy)).

Shelf Life: 1 year

Packaging: N/A

Brand Website:

Describe the product: This gluten free muesli actually tastes amazing. It’s packed full of all your fave wholesome ingredients− dates and toasted coconut, mixed together with roasted (and perfectly crunchy) nuts, sunflower seeds, linseeds, pepitas, and chia.

Contact Email:

Fonterra wins first FSSC2200-Q certification

Fonterra Te Awamutu has become the first site in the world to be awarded the newly created Food Safety System Certification 22000 – Quality, an internationally recognised food safety accreditation.

Where previously food safety and food quality have been audited and assessed separately, the new certification gives companies the option of combining their food safety and quality management systems into one certification. This provides customers with the assurances of international best practice in both food safety and quality.

Fonterra Director New Zealand Manufacturing Mark Leslie said this highlights the Co-operative’s commitment to producing the highest quality dairy nutrition and world-leading service.

“At Fonterra safe food, safe people and world class quality underpins everything we do. We do not compromise on any of these and one does not take precedence over the other. This certification is in keeping with the importance we place on each of these critical aspects of our business and a vital step in continuing our journey in becoming the world’s most trusted source of dairy nutrition.

“This certification is testament to the hard work of our teams and reassures our customers of our strong commitment, team at Fonterra Te Awamutu have done a great job in achieving this world first,” said Leslie.

All Fonterra New Zealand-based ingredient sites already hold the baseline certification – and several sites, including Eltham, Kapuni and Pahiatua are on track to join Te Awamutu soon in achieving the gold standard FSSC2200-Q certification.


Australians making the switch to gluten as gluten-free labelling increases

A nationwide survey conducted by the CSIRO has found that a greater number of people are making the choice to go gluten or wheat-free as consumer foods are increasingly labelled as either gluten or lactose free. 

In recent decades, the focus on ‘bad’ dietary factors has shifted to gluten: a protein found in cereal grains such as rye, barley and oats. For consumers diagnosed with a wheat allergy, the avoidance of wheat and other gluten-containing foods is essential. 

Food billed as “gluten-free” isn’t necessarily healthier. Gluten-free products can be high in calories, fat and carbohydrates, leading some people to gain weight when going gluten free. 
With coeliac disease, the body’s immune system reacts to consuming gluten by damaging the lining of the small intestine, which interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Gluten intolerant or sensitive people experience negative reactions to gluten, but do not actually have coeliac disease. 

To add to the confusion, you can also have a wheat allergy, which is an aversion to wheat itself, so a gluten-free product may not necessarily be OK for those with a wheat allergy. With so many different causes, conditions and symptoms, diagnosis is extremely hard, and there is a lot of misinformation about gluten.

The data collected revealed that as many as 1 in 10 Australian adults, or approximately 1.8 million people, were currently avoiding or limiting their consumption of wheat-based products –with women more likely to be avoiding wheat on average than men. 

According to current Australian Dietary Guidelines, both grain and dairy based foods are an important part of a balanced diet through contributing to the daily dietary fibre and calcium intake of both adults and children.

“Our findings, plus the extraordinary rise in popularity of the gluten-free diet in Australia and elsewhere, suggest that, apart from the coeliac disease and wheat allergy, other conditions associated with the ingestion of wheat are emerging as health care concerns. Currently, the driver of most of the research activity in this area is the concept of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS),” CSIRO said on it’s blog website.

CSIRO believes that the significant proportion of Australians undertaking restrictive diets may pose the potential danger of associated nutritional imbalances. A majority of symptomatic respondents appeared to be bypassing conventional medical advice in their decision to go wheat-free, raising the potential risk of a clinical condition going undetected. 


New salt-reducing ingredient introduced in Hamburgers and Processed Meats

A new Salt of the Earth ingredient for Fi Europe hamburgers and processed meat has been launched to significantly reduce the amount of salt and MSG.

Derived from tomato, shiitake mushroom and kombu seaweed, Umamix aims to enhance flavour while reducing sodium in processed meat applications by up to 45 per cent.

Salt is widely used in meat processing as a flavour enhancer as well as a functional ingredient. Hamburgers or meatballs typically contain 1.2-2 per cent salt.

Marketing Manager for Salt of the Earth, Revital Ben Shachar said Umamix had the potential to help decrease sodium by 45 per cent in hamburgers and meatballs without affecting the taste of the final product.

“Our sodium reduction ingredient is designed to address these needs and keep the consumer-craved salty, savoury flavour. This highly cost-effective ingredient thus allows processors to meet all consumer demand targets,” Shachar said.

Creating sustainable solutions involving sea salt has been a challenge for the global food industry since 1922.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has set an ‘Adequate Intake’ of 20–40 mmol (460–920 mg) of sodium per day. This corresponds to 1.15–2.3 grams of salt.

Most Australian adults have a daily salt intake of about 10 grams, i.e. many times the maximum value of the Adequate Intake range.

 A ‘Suggested Dietary Target’ of 1600 mg of sodium (equivalent to about 4 grams of salt) has been set for Australian adults. This is about half the average Australian adult’s current salt intake.

Marketing sodium-reduction solutions made from Red Sea salts, Salt of the Earth controls and tracks salt resources in order to promote balanced salt consumption through sodium reduction solutions.