Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health

The 2013 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health, commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation, is the seventh annual national quantitative study designed to gain insights from Americans on important food safety, nutrition, and health-related topics. The research provides the opportunity to gain insight on how Americans view their own diets, their efforts to improve them, how they balance diet and exercise, and their beliefs and behaviors when it comes to food safety.

Americans Experience “Control Gap” Regarding Their Weight, Diet, Activity Level; Rate Their Overall Diet a “B-Minus”; Would Also Far Prefer Losing $1,000 Vs. Gaining 20 Pounds

The vast majority of Americans believe it’s possible to have a great deal of control over their level of physical activity, the healthfulness of their diet and their weight, yet far fewer are actually taking that control.  Those are among the findings of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2013 Food & Health Survey.

According to the Survey, 90 percent of respondents say it’s possible to have “a great deal of control” or “complete control” over their level of physical activity, yet only 65 percent are actually trying to take that same amount of control in their own lives—a 25-point “control gap.”  In terms of the healthfulness of their diet, there is a 20-point gap (88 percent versus 68 percent), and regarding their weight, the gap is 16 points (81 percent versus 65 percent).  This indicates that there are barriers preventing people from taking more control of their physical activity, diet and weight.  A lack of willpower (64 percent), the dislike of exercise (60 percent), the perceived high cost of healthful food (54 percent), and slow progress (51 percent) are barriers that prevent Americans from taking greater control over their weight.

On the other hand, when asked about other factors such as their happiness, physical attractiveness, the amount of money they make, and the safety of the foods and beverages they consume, the gap vanishes, and Americans are taking at least as much or more control in their own lives than they believe is actually possible.

“This year, the Food & Health Survey examined the intersection between consumers’ beliefs and their actions, and some of the results are surprising,” said Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Senior Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety, IFIC Foundation. “Our findings clearly reveal a control gap when it comes to nutrition and health.  People think it’s quite possible to control their weight, diet and level of physical activity, yet many are falling short in their own lives and recognize that it’s easier said than done. It’s important for all of us to recognize the gap and work on countering the barriers.”

When asked to assign a letter grade from A to F to their own diet and physical activity, consumers gave their own level of physical activity an average grade of “C-plus,” while they grade their own diets slightly higher at an average grade of “B-minus.” While Americans acknowledge that there is room for improvement in their diet, they believe they are doing a full letter grade better than other Americans: They rated the diet of the average American at “C-minus.”  In order to improve the grade of their own diets, Americans think they should eat a more balanced diet in general, including eating more fruits and vegetables and fewer sweets and snacks.

The Survey was fielded by Mathew Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C., between April 11 and 19, 2013, and involved 1,006 Americans ages 18 to 80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region to be nationally reflective.

Additional Findings from the IFIC Foundation’s 2013 Food & Health Survey:
• More than half of Americans (56 percent to 35 percent) agree that they would rather lose $1,000 than gain an additional 20 pounds.  Women are more likely to prefer to lose the money than men (63 percent to 48 percent).  Not surprisingly, as an individual’s income increases, so too does their likelihood to agree with the statement (47 percent of individuals who make less than $35,000 per year versus 68 percent of those who make more than $75,000 per year).     
• Taste continues to be the most important factor driving consumers’ decisions to buy foods and beverages, with 89 percent rating the impact of taste as high, versus 71 percent who said “price,” 64 percent who said “healthfulness,” 56 percent who said “convenience” and 36 percent who said “sustainability.”  Those numbers are largely consistent with the findings in the 2012 Food & Health Survey; however, healthfulness and convenience have increased steadily since the initial Survey in 2006.   
• People’s willingness to believe new information about food and health is impacted most by their own research, with 91 percent saying it has at least some impact.  That number falls to 87 percent who are impacted by hearing the information from friends or family members, 84 percent who hear it from someone who has an advanced degree in health or nutrition, 70 percent who hear it in the news (TV, radio, newspaper or Internet), and just 29 percent who see the information on social media such as Facebook and Twitter.  The Survey also indicates that the majority of Americans (78 percent) agree that they would rather hear what they should eat than what they should not eat, preferring positive messages about how to have a healthful diet.   
• Seven in 10 Americans (70 percent) are somewhat or very confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, while 29 percent are not too confident or not at all confident.  While this is still a large majority of the US population, it indicates a significant decrease from the 2012 Food & Health Survey, when 78 percent were somewhat or very confident, while 18 percent were not too confident or not at all confident.   
Find out More

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

From the Vice-President: 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo

Steve Hill, longtime member and AOCS Vice President, provides his first installments as a guest blogger. Thank you Steve for writing and sharing your experiences. And, as always, thank you for reading!

This is first of what I hope will be an every-few-months blog posting from the AOCS Vice President.  This first installment is focused on the 2013 AOCS Annual Meeting in Montréal.

How I spent my time at the 2013 Annual Meeting. ..
Steve Hill- AOCS VP

The weather was beautiful, the location charming and the Palais des congrès a perfect host for the meeting, although my legs and feet got a work out with the walking between hotel and meeting rooms.  But that just helped offset the wonderful meals I had in the great Montréal restaurants. I thought the 2013 meeting was excellent.  The talks I attended were well organized, delivered in the allotted time (a chair’s delight!) and attendance was high, even at 4:00 Wednesday! 

Monday highlights for me included the extremely engaging Forum discussion on new US patent laws (delivered with expertise by Paul Tully).  Then I was off to the Business Lunch, which I think is a wonderful improvement over the Breakfast version.  The President’s address was the right length, and how about those acrobats?  Not something I expected, but really amazing.  I saw some well delivered honored student award presentations (you all did great!!).  The reception in the Expo Hall was great, we just need more attendees to walk the floor and check out the great products and services from the exhibitors. I ended the day socializing at the joint EAT/Phospholipid Division reception followed by the Health and Nutrition Dinner. At the H&N dinner, we heard the very interesting talk from Dr.  Michael Lewis, Founder and President, Brain Health Education and Research Institute, titled "Severe Head Injury: Is There a Role for Omega-3s?". In addition to several well-deserved student awards, Dr Emkin was awarded the Ralph Holman Award.  Well-deserved Ed!  Somehow, I ended up everyday spending time with Dr Emkin.  Our talks ranged from DHA fortified cheese to shooting clay pigeons (very diverse interests).

Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hearing “the ramblings of an old chemist” (his title not my commentary) from Dr. Michael Eskin, the 2013 Alton E. Baily award winner.  My only question is where were all the no-shows for the USA section luncheon?  Not only did you miss the great talk from Dr. Eskins, but also an address from Honored Student and Kaunitz award winner Leann Barden from UMass.  Speaking of award winners, congratulations to all of you!  At the Awards session, Dr Marengoi delivered passionate talk on fat crystallization and Dr Garti spoke to some very innovative approaches to deliver novel compounds.  Again, I saw some honored student award presentations and was impressed.  Being a Kraft employee, I am always interested in seeing some applications in products like Cream Cheese – DHA fortification…hmmm sounds like a winner. I attended a Governing Board alumni reception in the President’s hotel room.  Something to look forward to hosting in a few years.  Great to see some folks I haven’t seen in 10+ years – Ed Campbell, you looked great!

Wednesday we had sessions, poster viewing and a few division/ section luncheons as well as the student meeting and luncheon. My day started off early with a Business Committee meeting at 7:00.  This is an AOCS committee that looks at all the financial aspects of the society.  I am happy to report everything looked in order.  Phil Bolheimer chairs the committee with the president and treasurer on the team.  After attending a few talks, I had lunch with the future of AOCS – the Student Common Interest Group (CIG).  At this lunch, the Student CIG conducted a business meeting, led by Utkarsh Shah from the University of Arkansas.  Following some comments from several AOCS members, each table was able to have a group mentoring discussion between students and AOCS members.  This is an annual event and I encourage all students to take advantage of the lunch session.  But, you don’t need to have a scheduled event to connect with AOCS members – this is one of the great aspects of AOCS, connections between people from around the world, representing many disciplines.  Just introduce yourself to others at the annual meeting and you will be surprised at the benefits this approach will bring.

Later in the day, I attended the the Governing Board meeting.  At this meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Tsumadori from Kao Corp.  One of my new connections among people near and far.   That was the way the meeting ended for me.  Once again, I had a great experience at the AOCS annual meeting.  The staff did a great job organizing and running a world-class meeting and from what I heard, everyone received value from the event.

In my next blog post, I will describe my experiences being taught the AOCS VP responsibilities.

Membership Survey (Part 4)

This is the final post on the 2012 Membership Survey. “Publications and Media Use” was the section’s title. Think the AOCS website for “media use”.

AOCS Website
The general take-away on why members visit the AOCS website is to access the free Inform articles or the AOCS journals – basically to access information. And this included views to our meeting webpages (meeting information and registration pages). But the AOCS Store was not a common source of traffic.

We have heard that the online store is not user-friendly, that the search capabilities are limited and results page cumbersome. In response, we are building a new online store as part of our overall information management platform (think database, a database that "runs" our website, financial transactions, member programs, and so much more) upgrade. Perhaps you heard about this upgrade while at the 104th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo? But just in case you haven’t heard – (from the May 2013 AOCS enewsletter)-

     AOCS CEO, Patrick Donnelly, took the podium during the AOCS Annual Business Meeting and   Luncheon to discuss the need for member support to help fund the installation of new software to manage all aspects of AOCS members’ and constituents’ information. His presentation centered on the fact that the last time AOCS had updated its information management platform was 1999.

     Donnelly reported that the participants he has interacted with over his first year as CEO were quick to tell him of the value AOCS brings to their professional careers and personal life and how it has helped support their research or business. Donnelly urged them to consider supporting AOCS now in this endeavor to give AOCS the opportunity to serve them even better.

This new software should allow our members to easily manage their member accounts (including changing usernames and passwords), access previous orders (along with printing receipts/invoices), and offer a better user experience when viewing our online store.
Over the summer months, AOCS staff will be customizing this database for our membership and training on how to use it. Look for additional mailings, email notices, announcements, and blog posts on how we are progressing with the software installation.
Publications Quality and Relevance to Work
Most members think highly of Inform magazine, as well as AOCS journals, along with technical resources; such as, Official Methods and Recommended Practices of the AOCS, Laboratory Proficiency Program, and Official Samples. Each were rated an average of 4.2 on a 5-point scale, while AOCS books (4.1) and AOCS Lipid Library (4.0) were also rated very highly.
Well, that is the majority of the survey responses and findings (if you read all 4 parts). I do thank everyone who participated in the survey. And since all replies were confidential, I am sorry that I can’t personally contact those individuals who asked specific questions in the comments section.
As always, let me know if you want to discuss the report more fully. Or just want to talk about AOCS. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

AOCS -the Documentary!

These video profiles are designed to create awareness of how AOCS advances the science and technology of oils, fats, surfactants and related materials, enriching the lives of people everywhere.  The videos discuss healthy fats and oils by showcasing the variety of sources from around the world and how oil chemistry improves food quality and food safety.  Oil chemistry is also responsible for improving personal hygiene, aiding in disease prevention, helping to ensure future generations have enough food, identifying new energy solutions, and developing products that achieve desired cleaning goals while eliminating pollution and minimizing resource consumption.  

AOCS advances the science and technology of oils, fats, surfactants. 
(7 Minute Documentary)

AOCS Profile (1 Minute Short)

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FDA Releases New Tool to Help Prevent Intentional Food Contamination

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a new tool to help bolster the food industry’s defense measures against an act of intentional food contamination. The Food Defense Plan Builder is a comprehensive, easy-to-use software program designed to help owners and operators of food facilities—ranging from primary production and manufacturing to retail and transportation—develop customized plans to minimize the risk of intentional contamination at their individual food facilities.

The FDA does not require food facilities to implement food defense plans, but many facilities have voluntarily put such plans into place to safeguard their products.

The Food Defense Plan Builder guides users through a series of substantive questions about the user’s food facility and the food manufactured, processed, packed or held there to develop a comprehensive food defense plan for the facility, which includes a vulnerability assessment, broad and focused mitigation strategies, and an action plan.

To download the tool free of charge, visit:

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anti Modern Agricultural Biotechnology Activist Organizations Set May 25, 2013 for Worldwide Protests against Monsanto

Yesterday we posted "Patent Infringement by Farmers Planting the Progeny of Genetically Altered Seeds Covered by U.S. Patents", where Monsanto was the victor in Bowman vs Monsanto et al (a supreme court case regarding patented seeds).

Today activist groups, such as Occupy Monsanto, are calling for a 'March Against Monsanto' on May 25th in order to:
"take action against Monsanto & it's enablers like the FDA, USDA, EPA, GMA, BIO, and the processed food companies that use Monsanto's products."

Find Out More About Plant Biotechnology

What do you think? Will you be 'marching' on May 25?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Update - Patent Infringement by Farmers Planting the Progeny of Genetically Altered Seeds Covered by U.S. Patents

The US Supreme Court in a unanimous decision in the case, titled "Bowman vs. Monsanto et al," ruled  that  Patent exhaustion does not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission.

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The text of the summary of the unanimous Supreme Court decision follows :

No. 11–796. Argued February 19, 2013—Decided May 13, 2013

Respondent Monsanto invented and patented Roundup Ready soybean seeds, which contain a genetic alteration that allows them to survive exposure to the herbicide glyphosate. It sells the seeds subject to a licensing agreement that permits farmers to plant the purchased seed in one, and only one, growing season. Growers may consume or sell the resulting crops, but may not save any of the harvested soybeans for replanting. Petitioner Bowman purchased Roundup Ready soybean seed for his first crop of each growing season from a company associated with Monsanto and followed the terms of the licensing agreement. But to reduce costs for his riskier late-season planting, Bowman purchased soybeans intended for consumption from a grain elevator; planted them; treated the plants with glyphosate, killing all plants without the Roundup Ready trait; harvested the resulting soybeans that contained that trait; and saved some of these harvested seeds to use in his late-season planting the next season. After discovering this practice, Monsanto sued Bowman for patent infringement. Bowman raised the defense of patent exhaustion, which gives the purchaser of a patented article, or any subsequent owner, the right to use or resell that article. The District Court rejected Bowman’s defense and the Federal Circuit affirmed.

Held: Patent exhaustion does not permit a farmer to reproduce patented seeds through planting and harvesting without the patent holder’s permission. Pp. 4–10.

(a) Under the patent exhaustion doctrine, “the initial authorized sale of a patented article terminates all patent rights to that item,” Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., 553 U. S. 617, 625, and confers on the purchaser, or any subsequent owner, “the right to use [or] sell” the thing as he sees fit, United States v. Univis Lens Co 316 U. S. 241, 249–250. However, the doctrine restricts the patentee’s rights only as to the “particular article” sold, id., at 251; it leaves untouched the patentee’s ability to prevent a buyer from making new copies of the patented item. By planting and harvesting Monsanto’s patented seeds, Bowman made additional copies of Monsanto’s patented invention, and his conduct thus falls outside the protections of patent exhaustion. Were this otherwise, Monsanto’s patent would provide scant benefit. After Monsanto sold its first seed, other seed companies could produce the patented seed to compete with Monsanto, and farmers would need to buy seed only once. Pp. 4–7.

(b) Bowman argues that exhaustion should apply here because he is using seeds in the normal way farmers do, and thus allowing Monsanto to interfere with that use would create an impermissible exception to the exhaustion doctrine for patented seeds. But it is really Bowman who is asking for an exception to the well-settled rule that exhaustion does not extend to the right to make new copies of the patented item. If Bowman was granted that exception, patents on seeds would retain little value. Further, applying the normal rule will allow farmers to make effective use of patented seeds. Bowman, who purchased seeds intended for consumption, stands in a peculiarly poor position to argue that he cannot make effective use of his soybeans. Bowman conceded that he knew of no other farmer who planted soybeans bought from a grain elevator. In the more ordinary case, when a farmer purchases Roundup Ready seed from Monsanto or an affiliate, he will be able to plant it in accordance with Monsanto’s license to make one crop. Pp. 7–10.

657 F. 3d 1341, affirmed.

KAGAN, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Friday, May 10, 2013

USDA Effort to Significantly Increase Canola Crop Production/Acreage -Grants Available!

The Supplemental and Alternative Crops Competitive (SACC) Grants Program will support the development of canola as a viable supplemental and alternative crop in the United States. The goal of the SACC program is to significantly increase crop production and/or acreage by developing and testing of superior germplasm, improving methods of planting, cultivation, and harvesting, and transferring new knowledge to producers (via Extension) as soon as practicable. Extension, education, and communication activities related to the research areas above must be addressed in the proposal.

Applications Due By: June 14, 2013

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AAOCS Meeting • Omega-3 Symposium • Frying Workshop

Australasian Section of AOCS - 2013 Fuel vs Food Debate & Omega 3 Symposium
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - Friday, November 08, 2013
Noah's on the Beach | Newcastle,  Australia

Learn, share, and discuss science and industry progress related to all aspects of fats and oils. The meeting will focus on the debate over oils produced for food versus biofuels. There will be a full-day Frying Workshop as well as a joint full-day Omega-3 Symposium with the Omega-3 Centre, highlighting the latest research on Omega-3 Oils.

Register Now!

Call for Papers
Interested in submitting an abstract? Abstracts must be submitted by Friday, 20 September.

AAOCS Award for Scientific Excellence in Lipid Research
Submit a nomination for a scientist/industry leader from within the Australasian region that has made a significant research contribution toward fats and oils research. The nomination deadline is Friday, 17 May.


Wednesday, 6 November Frying Workshop — Full Day Presentation
Welcome Mixer including the presentation of the inaugural AAOCS Award for Scientific Excellence in Lipid Research — Following Frying Workshop

Thursday, 7 November
Joint AAOCS and Omega-3 Centre SymposiumO3C Logo
& Conference Dinner
Friday, 8 November AAOCS meeting

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's a wrap! Thank you for attending the 104th AOCS Annual Meeting and Expo

Thank you for attending the 104th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo. We appreciate those who attended the meeting and we hope you enjoyed your visit to Montréal.

Please visit Facebook ( to see photos from the 2013 meeting.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone May 4-7, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Dates to Remember
105th AOCS Annual Meeting & Expo
May 4-7, 2014 | San Antonio, Texas, USA
  • Call for Papers Opens: August 5, 2013
  • Preliminary Abstracts Due: October 21, 2013
  • Registration Opens: January 2014

See you in San Antonio!