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«PFNDAI Bulletin April 2009 Editorial Staying healthy is extremely important in today’s context as medical care has become very expensive and is ...»

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Proteins, along with their benefits also have certain limitations that need to be taken into consideration and managed carefully. Some of the problems include unpleasant flavours, changes during shelf life and bar hardening. There are many protein-enhanced products that are bought by niche customers who are okay with giving up their enjoyment to receive the nutritional advantages. But, to fulfill the needs of the mainstream consumers it is necessary that the products be good for health as well as good to taste.

There are many protein-fortification ingredients that can be used, which makes it difficult to decide which one to choose. All ingredients have a different composition, as a result of which their functionality differs.

Bar formulators usually use protein blends to cope with the problems arising from individual elements. Trade-offs are made in order to obtain the best compromise in terms of processability, shelf life, flavour, colour and formulation cost. As the level of protein increases, trade-offs become more difficult. Dairy products are often blended with vegetable proteins like soy, to enjoy cost benefits. However, not much can be done about the flavour with vegetable proteins. Some of the other blend components used are Calcium caseinate, whey protein hydrolysate and soy protein isolate.

With dairy producers developing new ways of processing protein, ingredients are getting better. Products such as milk-protein concentrates (MPC), whey-protein concentrates (WPC), which were not favoured previously in bar manufacturing, can now be altered to work well in bar formulations and also to improve the flavour.

Recently Fonterra introduced three new functionalised ingredients, which were designed specially for bars. Studies done at the Fonterra research center showed that PowerProtein 4857 (MPC 48457) and PowerProtein 515 (WPC 515) have similar functional performance to calcium caseinate and whey-protein hydrolysate, respectively. They have also been showed to have a cleaner flavour and reduced rates of bar hardening as compared to formerly used ingredients. Analysis of their texture showed that the rate of hardening of 30% protein per gram is much lower for these functionalised ingredients.

It should be noted that all milk-protein concentrates and whey-protein concentrates are not same in their functional performance. They can be altered to produce different results in the end product.

Whey ingredients can sometimes be difficult to process and consume, as they are highly sticky and cohesive. They usually cause problems in shelf life of the product due to hardening of the bar. The new WPC developed by Fonterra permits high levels of whey incorporation because the dough made with WPC is less cohesive and sticky as compared to dough made with a typical whey-protein concentrate.

WPC is quite similar to whey-protein hydrolysate (WPH) in its bar-softening and shelf life improving properties. However, WPC has a very clean flavour, unlike WPH and is also cost-effective.

The effect of every ingredient, on the texture of the final protein blend is different. A mixture study was carried out to find out the effect of each PowerProtein on the bar texture. This study showed that PowerProtein 4857 gives a shorter texture with a shorter bite, whereas PowerProtein 515 has a soft texture but has greater cohesiveness (not excessive).

PowerProtein 4861 (MPC 4861) is used to build texture in bar formulations like in energy bars with high carbohydrate content.

A variety of textures can be obtained, when these ingredients are blended together, having better taste and improved shelf life. This will allow formulators to make proteincontaining bars that appeal to a larger audience. These new ingredients have replaced the traditionally used ingredients, as they don’t have any limitations.

Now consumers who are conscious of their health can enjoy indulgent food without affecting their health.

Extracted from an article by Rachel Marshall from Functional Ingredients February 09 by Sonia Khudanpur Regulatory News Claims regime threatens functional sector Companies must improve EFSA dossiers, expert warns The European Commission risks putting legions of small- and medium-sized companies out of business if it doesn't relax its hard-line stance on health claims, a leading expert has warned.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is in the process of evaluating the scientific evidence for thousands of claims under the Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, which will make it illegal to make a claim for a product unless it has been authorised.

But Nigel Baldwin, senior scientific and regulatory consultant at Cantox Health Sciences International, believes such a black-and-white approach — coupled with the credit crunch — will make life hard for those marketing functional products for which the evidence is promising but not conclusive.

"There are many small- and medium-sized enterprises out there that have some pretty good evidence to back their claims, but the evidence is only sufficient to say 'may' or 'might'," he said. "As things are, however, this isn't enough, because the EFSA's brief from the European Commission is simply to look at each dossier to see if there is a causeand-effect relationship, not to state whether there may be a relationship. The problem is that in order to get the money to do more studies, companies need to borrow money. But where is that money going to come from?" The nature and scale of the problem is illustrated by the fact that the EFSA has issued negative opinions on about 80 per cent of the applications it has evaluated so far, he said, and this could have far-reaching consequences for the health food industry.

"There has to be a discussion at some point on the levels of evidence required because if there isn't, the realistic outcome is that a high percentage of the industry will fail in the next year."

Baldwin doesn't blame the EFSA. "They have been asked by the commission to say yes or no, and if they can't say yes, they have to say no," he said. Instead, he believes the commission must relax its attitude to claims by allowing them to be made with caveats where the evidence is good but not yet 100 per cent conclusive.

"You don't want to mislead consumers, but there has to be some sort of halfway house.

… The industry has to put pressure on the politicians to say, we need something with a bit more flexibility, otherwise we are going to kill R&D and all the SMEs. If that happens, then all the research in universities, and all the other positive things about the health-food industry will just die."

Despite this pessimistic view of the claims regime, Baldwin said companies should not be deterred from submitting applications. But he warns that they must do so correctly to increase their chances of success. Many, however, are making fundamental mistakes in their dossiers, he said.

"If you look at every negative opinion that has come out of the EFSA you can see why they have issued that negative opinion. There is quite a lot of basic stuff: the studies involve the wrong kind of subjects; the studies are poorly designed; many of the studies submitted actually don't show a positive effect — they are either neutral or negative.

"Some companies are not being tough enough on themselves beforehand. You really do have to do it very objectively and look at the totality of the evidence. Be hard on yourself, rather than taking the list of studies your marketing people have always talked about in seminars and dress them up nicely."

Toronto-based Cantox which has offices worldwide, has analysed all unsuccessful healthclaims applications so far and will present its findings at a seminar in March. "We'll help companies understand what they need to do to make submissions that can at least be reviewed with a view to success," Baldwin said.

European Health Claim Submissions: Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned takes place on 24 March in Geneva, Switzerland.

From: Functional Ingredients March 2009

Many Consumers Ignore Food Product Recalls According To Rutgers Study Rutgers' Food Policy Institute (FPI) has released a study showing that many Americans fail to check their homes for recalled food products. Only about 60 percent of the studied sample reported ever having looked for recalled food in their homes, and only 10 percent said they had ever found a recalled food product. The study was based on a survey of 1,101 Americans interviewed by telephone from Aug. 4 to Sept. 24, 2008. The study can be downloaded at http://www.foodpolicy.rutgers.edu.

Most respondents said they pay a great deal of attention to food recalls and, when they learn about them, tell many other people. But 40 percent of these consumers think that the foods they purchase are less likely to be recalled than those purchased by others, appearing to believe that food recalls just don't apply to them.

Despite widespread awareness of recent foodborne illness outbreaks and a sense that the number of food recalls is increasing, about half of Americans say that food recalls have had no impact on their lives, said psychologist William K. Hallman, a professor of human ecology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "Getting consumers to pay attention to news about recalls isn't the hard part," he said. "It's getting them to take the step of actually looking for recalled food products in their homes." Hallman is also the director of FPI and lead author of the study report.

The Rutgers researchers also offered suggestions about how to improve communications about food recalls. Nearly 75 percent of those surveyed said they would like to receive personalized information about recalls on their receipt at the grocery store, and more than 60 percent said they also would also like to receive such information through a letter or an e-mail.

Hallman said that personalizing communications about food recalls may be the way to overcome the sense that the messages are meant for someone else. Providing consumers with recall information about specific products they have purchased makes it harder for them to ignore the advice to look for the recalled items.

But even when people find recalled food, not all do what they are told. Approximately 12 percent reported eating a food they thought had been recalled. At the other extreme, some consumers take a "better safe than sorry" attitude. More than 25 percent reported that they had simply discarded food products after hearing about a recall, potentially wasting safe, nutritious food. Many consumers also avoid purchasing products not included in the recall but which are similar, or are from the same manufacturer.

"Our research also points out that instructions to consumers must be clear and comprehensible if you want them to act appropriately after a food recall," Hallman said. He cites the Food and Drug Administration's recent advice to consumers not to eat pistachios, but to hold onto them and not throw them away as confusing to consumers.

"We found that clear, direct messages such as 'throw the food in the garbage' or 'return the food to the store for a refund,' should motivate action. Keeping people in a holding pattern is more likely to result in inaction, and it certainly increases the likelihood that someone might eat the food by accident."

From: Medical News Today 16 Apr 2009

Food & Nutrition News ADA Releases Position Paper on Obesity, Reproduction and Pregnancy Outcomes Diet and nutrition counseling for virtually all overweight and obese women of childbearing age can reduce health risks associated with excess weight for mothers and children alike, according to a newly released position paper from the American Dietetic Association and the American Society of Nutrition.

The position, published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the associations’ official stance on obesity, reproduction and

pregnancy outcomes:

Given the detrimental influence of maternal overweight and obesity on reproductive and pregnancy outcomes for the mother and child, it is the position of the American Dietetic Association and the American Society for Nutrition that all overweight and obese women of reproductive age should receive counseling prior to pregnancy, during pregnancy and in the interconceptional period on the roles of diet and physical activity in reproductive health, in order to ameliorate these adverse outcomes.

The joint ADA/ASN position and accompanying paper were written by Anna Maria Siega-Riz, PhD, RD, LDN, assistant professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina; and Janet C. King, PhD, senior scientist at Children’s Hospital and Research Center, Oakland, Calif.

An estimated 33 percent of U.S. women are obese, according to the authors, who write that a long-term goal of health professionals must be to reduce the number of women who become pregnant while obese. They add that the effect of a woman’s nutritional status prior to pregnancy is an issue of great public health importance.

“Among obese women, who already have aberrations in glucose and lipid metabolism, the further adjustments induced by hormonal changes in pregnancy create a metabolic milieu that enhances the risk for metabolic disorders such as gestational diabetes mellitus and preeclampsia,” according to the position paper.

Infants born to obese mothers have “a higher prevalence of congenital anomalies than do offspring of normal-weight women, suggesting that maternal (obesity) alters development in the sensitive embryonic period.” The authors note neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly are about twice as common among children of obese women.

“Other birth defects more frequent in offspring of obese women include oral clefts, heart anomalies, hydrocephaly and abdominal wall abnormalities.” Objectives of the new ADA/ASN position are to provide guidance to nutrition professionals in becoming aware of risks and possible complications of excess weight and obesity for fertility, course of pregnancy, birth outcomes and short and long-term maternal and child health; and to commit ADA and ASN to identifying gaps in scientific research needed to improve knowledge of risks and complications and develop effective strategies “that can be implemented before and during pregnancy as well as during the interconceptional period,” the authors write.

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