Consumer concerns about a synthetic growth hormone used in milk production have prompted two leading food producers in the United States – General Mills and Dannon – to reformulate their dairy product lines. It is a decision that will have immediate implications on the dairy market as a whole, but could also mark a turning point in the use of new technologies in food production in general.
The GM debate at times seems much like the Hokey Cokey (or Pokey, if you’re US-based). There’s been a lot of putting in, some putting out, and quite a lot of shaking things all about, but as of yet, there hasn’t really been a turnaround and definitely no ra, ra, ra!
Last week’s withdrawal of a high-profile functional food in France is disappointing for the company concerned and maybe for the healthy/functional foods industry, but you may be led to think differently if you happen to be a reader of the UK broadsheet, The Financial Times.
E. coli in ground beef, melamine in infant formula, and salmonella in peanut butter - what is next? Isn’t it about time the slices of the US food safety pie were taken back from the multiple federal agencies involved and surveillance placed under one roof?
Everyone from government to grocers seems to have their own idea of how best to inform consumers about foods’ nutritional content, but a labeling free-for-all has resulted in a clamor of nutrition labels which are actually getting in the way of comprehension.
Rumour, according to the Romans, is a feathered beast with a myriad eyes and tongues. Last week she went bristling through the Danish business pages, spreading the news that Danisco could be bought by a private equity firm.
The news that all-American brewer Anheuser-Busch is to be sold to Belgium’s InBev for $52bn has made sports bar patrons across the US weep into their Budweisers. But the idea that an American firm must remain American for all time runs counter to the world of global commerce.
The prescribing of statins for eight years-olds is tantamount to saying that food and diet have failed, and that children are incapable of changing their eating habits and lifestyle.
In the face of another rejection of a European Union treaty, the bloc's food industry has one glaring path ahead: business as normal.
Food industry voices are joining those of politicians in the GM debate, hailing the controversial technology as the answer to the food supply crisis. But the hearts and minds of consumers must still be won.
For a little yellow flower, it's ignited a huge debate. Believe the headlines and St John's wort won't help hyperactive kids, but last week's study asks more questions than it answers. It's time to put funding disclosures in the dock.
Bickering gets you nowhere. It's a lesson to be learned early in life, but which seems easily forgotten when it comes to tough political issues like measures to curb the food crisis.
For too long, the developed world has taken food for granted. For years, ample food stocks, a well-supplied export trade and rapidly rising agricultural productivity have confined food fears, in the west at least, to history and the memories of older generations.
GlaxoSmithKline's petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban dietary supplements from making weight loss claims, has opened a cupboard and only the deluded would deny the presence of one or two skeletons rattling around in there.
The war between the GM and organic movements has been bitterly fought. However in the midst of a global food crisis the time has come for these old enemies to bury their differences and concentrate on the benefits an alliance may bring.
Last week's Vitafoods trade show highlighted a drop in ingredient innovation with many companies placing the blame at the door of Europe's evolving health claims legislation.
While in the Hollywood stratosphere, it seems that you are not anyone these days unless you're a duo, in the glamorous world of food manufacture, the team-up route to success may not be quite as simple.
The food crisis is neither new nor sudden. The several underlying causes have been independently, steadily gathering speed and have collided in a perfect storm not seen for generations. It is going to take a coordinated, long-term effort to untangle them.
Antioxidants are back under the microscope for all the wrong reasons. But the use of meta-analyses to pool data is controversial, and scientists need to keep perspective before publishing conclusions.
It is hard for food companies not to get drawn into the temptation of using attractive label claims that may be shrouded by a veil of doubt. But the real risk comes when the 'if you don't know, don't ask' question is finally answered.
As ever more food companies find themselves in the position of having employed migrants who were mistreated by illegal labour providers, it may be time for firms to start taking more responsibility for the temporary workers many of them rely on.
Energy drinks are a runaway success but extreme marketing and product formulation has the potential to cast a shadow over the multi-billion dollar global industry.
Claiming 'free from' is not a light statement to make. Lives depend on it. As scientific progress questions the validity of such claims, it is time to establish exact guidelines and communicate these to people for whom ingredients are a matter of life and death.
Here's a possible new marketing angle for food and beverage manufacturers: "Food can kill".
While the world's media is bemoaning rising food prices, the French government is sniffing around the food industry for signs of gleeful profiteering. If it is right, the long-term losses of the nouveau cher will be far greater than the handful of centimes gained.