Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2013 11:17 AM
In December, the Australian government began requiring tobacco manufacturers to place horrific warnings and images on packs of cigarettes. Now, the nation's health community is mirroring efforts in New York, turning its energy toward the soda business.
Three of the nation’s largest health organizations – the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation – want Australians to put down their sodas and start drinking water or milk, B&T reports. The group has purchased television time for the "Rethink Sugary Drink" campaign, and are also encouraging the government to tax sugar-heavy beverages. Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 06:07 PM
Makers of energy drinks may face mounting scrutiny after federal data revealed more American youths are landing in the emergency room due to complications doctors tie to overuse of the beverages.
From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency hospital visits involving the highly caffeinated energy drinks doubled — from 10,068 to 20,783, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Marketers have succeeded wildly in recent years at selling the drinks to teenagers as physical and mental boosters. Red Bull claims to "give you wings," while Monster Energy boasts of a "killer energy brew." All told, the drinks — which comprise the fastest-growing sector in the beverage industry — brought $10 billion in sales in 2012.
While the number of young patients increased the most, the highest percentage of increase in emergency room visits attributed to the beverages was found in patients age 40 and over. The older patients went from 1,382 related visits in 2007 to 5,233 visits in 2011 — a 279 percent increase, the study said.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2013 05:29 PM
One of the more buzz-worthy exhibits at International CES in Las Vegas this week has proven to be HAPIlabs' booth. One of a glut of new health-centric gadget makers at CES vowing to track consumers' every blip and move, the developers of the device promise that its battery-operated, digitally connected HAPIfork can help you eat less and save weight by reminding you to ingest more slowly. Mom would be so proud.
"It tracks the time you start eating, the length of your meal and the number of times you bring your fork to your mouth," HAPIlabs CEO and Founder Patrice Boutain explained to ABC News in an interview at CES. If you go for too many of what he called "fork servings," HAPIfork lightly vibrates in objection and lights up an LED warning on the fork handle — sort of like the gentle reminders that occur these days in high-end, wired automobiles when you stray out of your lane.
A video for HAPIfork shown at CES promises that the device can help monitor your eating behavior, encouraging healthier habits and weight loss. It's CES, so it's touting its a Bluetooth connection, USB connector, mobile app, virtual coach and "fun social game." It'll be $99 when it becomes available at retail this year.Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 8, 2013 10:31 AM
In case you missed it, here's the pre-CES keynote by Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs on January 7th. The theme: What does it mean to be born mobile? Highlights, as you can watch below, include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (who has given the pre-CES keynote in previous years) plus Big Bird, Star Trek actress Alice Eve and Rolls Royce.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 03:06 PM
Public apologies by high-profile experts are rare, making this week's anti-GMO reversal — call it a GMea Culpa — by British environmentalist, author and Oxford University visiting research associate Mark Lynas particularly stunning.
Lynas spurred the anti-GMO movement in the mid-‘90s, continuing to argue as recently as 2008 that corporate greed was threatening Mother Earth and her inhabitants; but at this week's Oxford Farming Conference, he recanted his position in a very public way.
“I want to start with some apologies," he stated. "For the record, here and upfront, I apologise for having spent several years ripping up GM crops. I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonising an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.”
“As an environmentalist, and someone who believes that everyone in this world has a right to a healthy and nutritious diet of their choosing, I could not have chosen a more counter-productive path. I now regret it completely. So I guess you’ll be wondering—what happened between 1995 and now that made me not only change my mind but come here and admit it?"Continue reading...
truth in packaging
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 17, 2012 05:00 PM
Kellogg's Kashi brand has just introduced two new USDA Certified organic cereals, touting that it's using real organic fruit and whole grains in the wake of its Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) flap earlier this year. "We've always believed that nature makes the best-tasting ingredients, like the hearty whole grains and luscious organic fruit you can see and taste in our Berry Fruitful and Blackberry Hills cereals," states Keegan Sheridan, natural food and lifestyle expert at Kashi, in a press release.
Each serving of Berry Fruitful provides 6g of fiber and 46g of whole grains, nearly 100% of the recommended daily value, while Blackberry Hills offers 3g of fiber and 16g of whole grains per serving – and like all Kashi foods, both are free of preservatives, artificial flavors, colors and high fructose corn syrup. Equally important, both cereals carry the official Non-GMO Project Verified seal. But that still won't convince its GMO foes to re-embrace the brand.
Kashi doesn't broadcast the fact that it's owned by Kellogg, nor that it has used GMOs, because it's trying to be perceived as an independent brand to win a bigger share of the natural and organic food category, which grew 9.5% in 2011 to $31.5 billion in US sales. The brand's still recovering from being engulfed in a social media firestorm back in April, when a New England store boycotted it after discovering "that 100% of the soy used in Kashi products is genetically modified, and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors."
Kashi's Keegan Sheridan defended the company's GMO usage with a YouTube video, but it's still getting flack from consumers opposed to GMOs on its Facebook page, as you can see at top.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 14, 2012 03:01 PM
It has been more than a year and a half since pretty much any new cigarettes or tobacco products have hit store shelves in the United States. So Big Tobacco must be finally caving to the growing drumbeat against them from lawmakers and health advocates, right? Well, no.
The lack of new product is actually due to those dang lawmakers. America's tobacco watchdogs at the Food and Drug Administration are “taking extra care in reviewing new product applications for public health risks,” according to WWLP Massachusetts.
And it isn’t just new product that’s been affected, either. The slowdown has also affected such things as brand-name changes as well as shifts in packaging or filters. But don’t feel too bad for Big Tobacco. They are still making a boatload of cash annually and they also just won a big case before the federal appeals court on Wednesday. In that case, the tobacco companies won the right to not sell their products in packaging that would feature graphic warning images, such as diseased lungs, a man with a tracheotomy smoking, and the cadaver of a (former) smoker.Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 3, 2012 01:27 PM
America's FDA keeps working toward forcing cigarette makers to encase their product in packaging with some incredibly nasty images in order to help consumers understand what could happen to them if they continue smoking. Australian health officials don’t have to wait anymore.
Thanks to a world-first law that went into effect on Dec. 1st, nicotine lovers (and haters) in the land Down Under are now faced with images a gangrene-mangled limb and a skeletal cancer victim when they buy their cigarettes. The images, which caused an uproar when revealed last year, take up most of the pack’s packaging with the cigarette’s brand name (no logo) printed on the bottom quarter of the packaging, in plain text on an olive-toned blah background.
“They’re so horrifingly ugly that they are magnificent,” Fiona Sharkie, executive director of anti-smoking campaigner Quit Victoria, told Bloomberg. How horrifyingly ugly? Check out the grotesque warning images below.Continue reading...