Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Products News Beat

Denmark bans saw palmetto
Denmark has withdrawn the herbal supplement saw palmetto because it believes it to be in violation of Europe's novel foods and food ingredients laws.

Danish authorities notified the European Union of its action, stating saw palmetto was a novel ingredient and therefore had to gain authorization under the EU's complex novel foods laws.

Those laws require foods and ingredients that were not on the European market before May 1997 to seek approval via a lengthy process involving European food agencies. Without such approval foods and ingredients cannot legally be sold within the EU.

But Lorene Courrege, director of regulatory affairs at the European Health Product Manufacturers Association, questioned the Danish decision. "Saw palmetto has been reported by EHPM members as being on the market prior to May 1997, and therefore appears not to be a novel food ingredient," she said in an e-mail to industry members.

A call for those with information that may refute the Danish position to come forward was issued by EHPM as well as influential U.S. industry leader Loren Israelson.

"In order to build our case, we urgently need to know whether any national association member has any proof of marketing of food supplements containing saw palmetto prior to May 1997 in any EU member state," Courrege said.

For more information: [email protected],

—Shane Starling

Hansen, A-B may partner
Hansen Natural Corp. is in talks with Anheuser-Busch to develop an alcoholic energy drink, and an outright acquisition by A-B is "not completely out of the question," according to a beverage industry newsletter. The collaboration, as reported by Beverage Business Insights, would enable each company to enter a niche where it has little experience.

Hansen is widely known for its all-natural sodas and fruit juices, but also has a burgeoning energy drink business with its convenience-store favorite, Monster. But Corona, Calif.-based Hansen also makes energy juices and flavored waters for the naturals set under the names Rumba, Energy Formula, Energade and E2O Energy Water. St. Louis-based A-B, on the other hand, has had limited success with its B(e) and Tilt brands.

Forbes put Hansen at the top of its list of 200 Best Small Companies in 2005. Since the partnership was reported March 31, Hansen's stock price has been up 5 percent to 7 percent.


Nutrigenomics field gets financial shot in the arm
DSM Venturing, the venture capital arm of Dutch company Royal DSM, has invested $6.5 million of additional funding in Sciona Inc., a nutrigenomics company. The Boulder, Colo.-based company makes Cellf genetic assessment kits, which provide "personalized health and nutrition recommendations based on an individual's diet, lifestyle and unique genetic profile," according to the company. Nutrigenomics is the emerging field of nutritional genomics, which studies how diet and genetics influence health.

Previous investors included BASF Venture Capital Gmbh, a division of German chemical company BASF; Cambridge, Mass-based BioVentures Investors; and Cambridge, England-based Prelude Trust Plc.

The company's kits test for heart health, insulin resistance, bone health and inflammation health.


Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVII/number 5/p. 9

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