New guides help shoppers avoid GMOs
The Institute for Responsible Technology is working with a broad coalition of natural products retailers, manufacturers and distributors as well as medical, media and environmental organizations to push genetically modified organisms out of the food supply. Its latest weapon: a series of free non-GMO shopping guides, part of its Campaign for Healthier Eating in America. The campaign is designed to create a tipping point of consumer rejection of GM foods in the United States, explains Sarah Sullivan, outreach coordinator for the Fairfield, Iowa-based organization. “When Europe reached its tipping point in 1999, most major food companies committed to reject GMOs within a single week,” she says. The group hopes educational efforts like the shopping guides will help American consumers reach their rejection critical mass, which IRT believes to be 5 percent of the population, before the end of 2009. For more information, visit responsibletechnology.org.
Stop, (cheese) thief!
People pocketing pricey Parmesan and other expensive cheeses and meats won’t make it out of the store, thanks to a new anti-theft tag developed to be inserted into the packaging of moist, fresh products. SmartPak tags use radio-frequency electronic article surveillance, and are certified for direct food contact. The manufacturer integrates the tags into the vacuum-shrink bag, making tampering difficult because the tag cannot be removed without destroying the entire pack. Engineers at Cryovac, a food-packaging producer based in Elmwood Park, N.J., and at Checkpoint Systems Inc., a product-identification and inventory-shrinkage tools manufacturer headquartered in Thorofare, N.J., developed the product together. “The Global Theft Barometer has highlighted an increased amount of theft of certain food products,” says Rob van der Merwe, president and CEO of Checkpoint. “In Italy, for instance, Parmigiano Reggiano has a shrink rate of about 9 percent.” The tag triggers alarms at store exits if not deactivated at checkout. No word as to what happens if the tags are consumed by hungry thieves.
Latte good protection for your aging brain
Daily caffeine consumption may cut the risk of dementia by blocking the damage that cholesterol can inflict on the blood-brain barrier, an important filter for the central nervous system, according to the authors of a study reported in the April 3 edition of the Journal of Neuroinflammation. The effect of cholesterol and caffeine on cells is not completely understood; however, this study may lead to strategies to prevent or slow the progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. —S.R.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 7/p. 26