Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, September 2013

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NewsWatch FDA Defnes "Gluten-Free" for Food Labels Te agency is giving manufacturers until August 5, 2014, to comply with the new rule, and manufacturers are encouraged to get an early start. In some cases where manufacturers are using common "gluten-free" labeling schemes, their products may already be within legal bounds. In providing details to the general public, FDA has gone ahead and answered a few important questions about how the new rule will affect commerce. When asked if the agency will seek out offenders (manufacturers using the label and not meeting gluten limits), FDA said it "may use the full range of its routine post-market monitoring activities to enforce the fnal rule…" but manufacturers are ultimately responsible for the accuracy of their own claims. When asked about marketing wheat products as "gluten-free," FDA noted that any product labeled as containing wheat, but Report Details U.S. Value of Wild American Ginseng also weighed the ginseng market alongside that of timber. Tey found that as timber production increases, so too does ginseng. "Te volume of ginseng root harvested from natural forests represents substantial extraction of biomass, and the associated value represents substantial income for people living in an economically marginalized region," wrote the authors of the study, which is now published in the Journal of Sustainable Forestry. "Co-management of eastern hardwood forests for timber and non-timber forest products could improve local economies and better conserve the biodiversity of these forests." Te report maps out the spatial distribution of ginseng harvests across each U.S. state, along with a state-by-state breakdown of wild ginseng production. Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia control roughly half of the market. Te ginseng report was made possible with fnancial support from Despite its harvest for more than 300 years, wild American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) was never backed by strong economic data—until now. Using state-reported ginseng harvest records from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the USDA and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) have estimated the economic size and impact of wild American ginseng harvest across 19 U.S. states. Considering the data, the two groups now believe that the wild American ginseng market is valued at $27 million per year. Because American ginseng grows in hardwood forests, USDA and AHPA 12 magenta cyan yellow black also labeled as "gluten-free," must include additional language clarifying that the wheat was processed in such a way as to meet the FDA's new threshold of 20 parts per million of gluten. the American Herbal Products Association Foundation on Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB). To donate and learn more about ongoing AHPA-ERB projects, visit http://www.ahpafoundation.org. FDA Approves Natural Blue Color from Spirulina FDA has approved spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) as a natural blue colorant for candies and chewing gums. Te decision is based on a color additive petition fled by Mars Inc. in January 2012. Spirulina is a cyanobacteria with long history as a food and, more recently, as a dietary supplement. Te ingredient gets its blue pigment from phycocyanins, which can be extracted from spirulina through a water extraction process. Because spirulina also contains high levels of chlorophyll, it may serve as a foundation for green color blends too. SeptemBer 2013 ■ Dem10/iStockphoto.co; WekWek/iStockphoto.com FDA has fnally established a defnition for "gluten-free" food labels. Te decision comes not a moment too soon, as gluten-free advocates have pressured FDA for years to make this decision. Gluten is a protein found in several grains, including wheat, barley, rye, and even some oats. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, their immune systems infict damage on villi in the small intestines, resulting in poor absorption of nutrients from food. Celiacs experience a variety of symptoms in response to consuming gluten, and non-celiacs who simply choose a gluten-free lifestyle will often claim their own personal health improvements. FDA's "gluten-free" defnition requires that a food labeled as such "must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten." Te defnition also applies to similar marketing terms, such as "no gluten," "free of gluten," and "without gluten." While the defnition is frm, using the "gluten-free" label is still voluntary. NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK ES314973_NO1309_012.pgs 08.31.2013 02:52 UBM

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