In Brief

Tomato-free tomatoes debut
Nomato, the world?s first tomato-free range of traditional products, has been launched in the UK by the co-founder of Green & Black?s chocolate, Craig Sams.

The range comprising organic ketchup, pasta sauce, baked beans, soup and vegetarian chilli has been formulated for people with arthritis, psoriasis or cystitis who need to avoid nightshade plants.

?We expect this to be a niche range targeted at customers of natural food stores and allergy-free mail-order customers,? said Sams.

Irish boost FF industry
The Irish government has announced an initiative to help small- and medium-sized functional foods producers compete internationally. The programme aims to help firms without the staff or budget to promote their products.

?Scientific knowledge of ingredient functionality and food structure is critical,? said Margaret O?Connor, functional foods adviser at Enterprise Ireland. ?Through this initiative, Enterprise Ireland will help fill communications and knowledge gaps identified by our clients.?

Fortification down under
A delegation of Australian, New Zealander and surrounding territories?ministers has agreed that vitamins and minerals may be added to food where there is demonstrated evidence of a potential health benefit. Ministers also agreed with the food regulatory body, Food Standards Australia New Zealand, that mandatory fortification of food with iodine and folate should be a priority.?Work on drawing up a standard will commence in the next two months.

Pet foods get functional
Pet foods marketers miffed at stagnant revenues amidst a growing pet population are turning toward value-added nutraceuticals. From glucosamine and chondroitin combinations to added fish oils, pet food packs many of the same popular nutrients consumed by pet owners. The overall pet foods market recorded sales of $13.1 billion in 2003, a 3 per cent increase over 2002, according to a Packaged Facts report, ?The U.S. Pet Food Market.? Despite the flat market as a whole, pet foods packaged as ?natural? nearly doubled from 2002 to 2003, with more than 350 new products hitting the market, and the number of new pet foods promoting ?high vitamin? content grew by 94 per cent in 2003.

Industry lobbies Washington
In a time of increased regulatory action, the US dietary supplements industry is banding together in new ways to increase advocacy in Washington, DC. The Coalition to Preserve DSHEA was formed on May 6 to work for favourable public policies. The coalition is being supported by more than a dozen industry groups, including FFN?s parent company, New Hope Natural Media. Also in May, the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance raised $50,000 to fund new DSEA projects, including a monthly education effort targeting members of Congress. In a related action, Citizens for Health teamed with NOW Foods Inc to organise Herbal Alternatives, an issue briefing for members of Congress.

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