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Mike

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Foodmakers Search for A New Fat . . . Again
Companies Want to Replace Oils Containing Trans Fatty Acids

By Margaret Webb Pressler
Washington Post Staff Writer


When major food companies began widely using partially hydrogenated oils in the 1970s, they thought they were making their products more healthful. Consumer groups and regulators applauded the industry's switch from heavily saturated fats, such as lard and palm oil.

But the evidence is growing that the trans fatty acids in partially hydrogenated oils are damaging to the heart too -- and more so than other kinds of fats. Once again, the food industry is looking for an alternative fat, only this time there doesn't seem to be an easy answer.

"It isn't simple, it isn't cheap, and it isn't going to happen overnight," said Robert M. Reeves, president of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, a Washington trade group.

The impetus for the change is a Food and Drug Administration ruling last year that by January 2006 all packaged food products have to list on their nutrition labels the amount of trans fatty acids, or trans fat, they contain. That ruling puts pressure on manufacturers to replace oils containing trans fatty acids before the deadline, company officials say, because no one wants to advertise another ingredient implicated in heart disease, along with the already required disclosures on saturated fat and cholesterol.

Though a few major players, such as Frito-Lay Inc. and Pepperidge Farm Inc., have already made the switch to other oils, industry officials said many other companies won't be able to make the change in time. They say that's because alternative oils have their own health problems, are too expensive, or can't be substituted without changing the taste, texture or shelf life of a product.

"The amount of trans fat will be labeled on the product by January 2006. Whether all the products are reformulated, that's unlikely," said Alison J. Kretser, director of scientific and nutrition policy for the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). "It's not for lack of trying."

Food companies are spending millions of dollars researching, evaluating and testing various fat alternatives, Kretser said, but experts in the food and oil industries say it still could be five to 10 years before trans fats can be effectively replaced.

"Trying to find that functionality and get it to the American consumer in a timely way is a very great challenge," Reeves said. "Some of the options that we have will take a while to develop."

The industry effort doesn't get a lot of sympathy from Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which first petitioned for the labeling of trans fats 10 years ago and has called for an outright ban on their use. Studies have shown trans fat prompts increases in levels of bad cholesterol and decreases in good cholesterol, Jacobson said, and "the short answer is that anything is better than trans fat."

Trans fatty acids are created when a liquid oil, such as vegetable or soybean oil, is put through a process called hydrogenation. That makes it more solid and gives it physical characteristics that are beneficial for commercial food operations, such as the ability to be spread, texture and a longer shelf life.
 

PORKER

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What they need is a Better Label like http://www.scoringsystem.com/content/pr_021706.htm

New Marketing Tool with ScoringAg Traceback Labels



Leading the food industry's interest in product traceability, ScoringAg, a division of ScoringSystem, Inc., has developed a product labeling system that provides access to complete product source and traceback records at the time of purchase by scanning the product's barcode label.

(PRWEB) February 17, 2006 -- Leading the food industry's interest in product traceability, ScoringAg, a division of ScoringSystem, Inc., has developed a product labeling system that provides access to complete product source and traceback records at the time of purchase by scanning the product's traceback barcode label, which can be designed as an exclusive micro-brand, boosting product recognition and consumer confidence.

ScoringAg provides the consumer with complete product source information at the time of purchase from the label code, creating consumer confidence and adding value to the product. ScoringAg accomplishes this by producing traceback barcodes for product labels (with or without RFID chips) to allow the buyer to access specific product traceback records in just seconds, using ScoringAg's web-based database.

This Point-to-Point Traceback™ information can be displayed at any point during food production and handling, right up to retail. The information in the barcode can be accessed in the field or at any point during the food handling process with a barcode scanner,even at retail with a ScoringSystem Traceback Terminal™, or with any PC with online access in the Public Search window of ScoringAg.com. Any of these methods access ScoringAg, which displays the product's complete traceback record.

Private product labeling has been raised to a new level of credibility with this new type of barcode labeling and database information access for food products, from field to fork for each individual product. This new labeling allows complete traceback and source verification for every handler in the food chain, increasing the product's value and building consumer confidence at all sales levels.

The SSI-EID traceback code and/or barcode can be incorporated into existing product label designs or can be designed to create a micro-branded product.

Since customer loyalty has been vanishing from the marketplace recently, this new marketing tool is essential to give the buyer and consumer reliable, verifiable knowledge and information. The direct labeling brings greater product visibility that is clear, honest, and simple.

ScoringAg.com and its traceback and traceup system for agriculture products, featuring Site-Specific RecordkeepingTM and PIDC location codes, is one of the many divisions of ScoringSystem, Inc. Located in Sarasota, Florida USA, the company specializes in providing solutions with mobile data, via wireless PDAs, laptops, and Semacode-programmed Nokia, Siemens, and Sony Ericsson cell phones. With the use of RFID and barcodes for traceup and traceback records of livestock, fish, poultry, crops, produce or tracking transport containers or perishable meats and other food consumer goods. www.ScoringAg.com makes managing data easier - and does it in an extremely cost effective manner from "Field-to-Fork."
 

PORKER

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You might want to read this story from Europe http://www.scoringsystem.com/content/pr_foodanddrink_en.htm
 

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