News bites, February 2004 | PCC Sound Consumer | PCC Natural Markets

News bites
Sound Consumer | February 2004

TV and vegetables

A new study has found that for every extra hour of TV watched, children eat 0.16 fewer servings of fruits and vegetables. That doesn't sound like much, but it adds up to one less serving than recommended every six days. American children reportedly spend more time watching TV than any activity, except sleeping. (CoCoSnips/The Hollywood Reporter)

Nancy's Yogurt goes national

Nancy's Yogurt, from the Springfield Creamery, a staple in PCC's product offering, is now available in all 50 states. Nancy's brand has had a West Coast presence for more than 30 years. The product has found success among loyal East Coast customers, particularly in New York City. (The Seattle Times/Food Marketing Institute)

Egg prices skyrocket

The increase in high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets has pushed egg prices to 20-year highs, according to industry analysts. Eggs were long considered bad for arteries, although the increase in consumers following the Atkins diet has forced many to re-evaluate their notion of the nutrition in eggs. (Los Angeles Times/Associated Press)

Alcohol labels

A group of consumer advocacy organizations, is asking for a federal standard in alcohol labels, such as listing alcohol percentage and calories. The Beer Institute says it will analyze the proposal. (Washington Post/Associated Press)

Mercury advisory

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are drafting a health advisory designed to steer pregnant women, nursing women and women considering getting pregnant away from consuming large amounts of tuna and other fish or shellfish with elevated levels of mercury. Canned tuna contains mercury, which has been linked to brain and nervous system damage in fetuses and young children. (The Washington Post/CoCoSnips)

Elderberry for flu?

A new study from the University of Oslo School of Medicine found that black elderberry extract might reduce the duration of flus. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study followed 60 flu patients. On average, those who took the black elderberry extract recovered in 3.1 days, compared to 7.1 for the placebo group. The study was published in the Journal of International Medical Research. (Nutrition Business Journal)

Supplement benefit

A new study from the Cooper Institute found that multivitamin supplementation reduces the level of C-reactive protein, an indicator of future heart disease. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study followed an undefined number of patients for six months. Those taking the supplement had a 32 percent reduction in levels of the protein, with patients showing the highest levels receiving the greatest benefit. The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine. (Nutrition Business Journal)

Feedlots and fish

A new study has found that hormones leaking into streams from cattle feedlots are altering the sexual characteristics of wild fish, demasculinizing the males and defeminizing the females.

About 30 million head of cattle are raised in U.S. feedlots a year and most get implants of growth-promoting synthetic hormones.

A team of scientists from five institutions, led by the University of Florida, Gainesville, reported "significant alterations in the reproductive biology" of fish immediately downstream from a large Nebraska cattle feedlot.

The male fish had about one-third less testosterone and testes about half as big as unexposed fish upstream, according to the study published by the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The female fish had about 20 percent less estrogen and 45 percent more testosterone than females from the uncontaminated stream, the study found.

The discovery could fuel controversy over the safety of growth hormones in beef and increase pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to tighten rules for livestock operations.

Cattle-industry representatives, who have long maintained hormone treatments are safe, called the study an unsubstantiated attack. (Agribusiness Examiner)

Bioterror rules go into effect

Rules governing registration of all imported food products supposedly have gone into effect. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, says only one-third of the 400,000 affected businesses around the world have registered. That has prompted the agency to say it will not enforce the rules until sometime next year. (Atlanta Journal and Constitution/Miami Herald)