Food manufacturers make commitment to phase out trans fats

Eleven of the largest global food and beverage companies have pledged to phase out industrially produced trans fatty acids (TFAs) in their products by the end of 2018.

The members of the International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA) — which include Kellogg, Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez International and the Coca-Cola Company — announced that they are reducing TFAs in their products to nutritionally insignificant levels (less than 1 gram of trans fat per 100 grams of product) worldwide.

IFBA members have been voluntarily reformulating their products to remove partially hydrogenated oils, the major source of trans fat in processed foods, and increase the use of healthier fats, such as mono- or poly-unsaturated fatty acids. The food and beverage manufacturers have also been listing trans fat content on nutrition labels.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in June 2015 that it was banning artificial trans fats from processed foods in the U.S., with a three-year compliance period in which manufacturers must either reformulate products without PHOs or petition the FDA to permit specific uses of them. 

FDA releases new Nutrition Facts label

The FDA finalized a new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods on May 20. The new label seeks to better inform consumers in light of new scientific information.

“Added sugars” will now be listed, and more nutrients are required to be listed. Calories from fat is being removed due to research that shows the type of fat matters more than the amount. Daily values for certain nutrients are being updated based on new scientific reports. Serving sizes must now reflect what people eat more than what they should eat, which has increased since 1993.

The type size for “calories” and “servings per container,” amounts and not just percentages of daily value must declared for certain vitamins and minerals.

Manufacturers will be required to use the label by July 2018, but those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will have another year. 

Instant noodles found to contain more salt than 12 packets of potato chips

Campaigners are urging manufacturers of flavored instant noodles to reduce both the salt and sugar content after a study revealed that a serving of instant noodles can contain more salt than 12 packets of salted potato chips.

U.K.-based Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) found that six varieties of instant noodles contain 5 grams or more of salt per serving, which is above the World Health Organization recommended maximum daily intake for salt.

Overall, 14 percent of the products provide 50 percent or more of the daily maximum recommended intake for salt. The survey also uncovered hidden levels of sugar in instant noodles, with over a third (35 percent) of products surveyed containing more than 2 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

Machines allow mechanically butchered meat to be classed as fresh

Meat harvested using advanced mechanical butchery technologies can be classed as fresh meat rather than mechanically separated meat, according to a recent High Court ruling in the U.K.

Leatherhead Food Research was called to act as an expert witness in a case involving Newby Foods, a meat processing firm that argued its processing method did not fall under the European Commission’s definition of desinewed meat (DSM) or mechanically separated meat (MSM).

Leatherhead’s analysis demonstrated that the muscle fiber structure of chicken and pork harvested via Newby Foods’ process was consistent with “fresh meat.” As a result, the judge concluded that the meat was not mechanically separated meat, enabling it to contribute to the labelled meat content of end products. According to the company, the performance of butchery machines is improving and in some cases this enables residual meat to be harvested with little damage to the muscle structure.

Coke stops production in Venezuela

Due to a sugar shortage in the Venezuela, Coca-Cola has stopped its production in the country. Production of diet drinks is continuing.

Venezuela’s economy has suffered and inflation has risen as oil prices have dropped, and sugarcane production has been decreasing due to rising production costs and other factors. The country is experiencing other food shortages, and demonstrations and looting have become common as a result.