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American Botanic Council asks for lift on stevia import ban

BY Melissa Valliant

AUSTIN, Texas The American Botanic Council is calling for a repeal of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 1991 import alert on steviol glycosides, which are used under the name of “stevia” as food and beverage sweeteners and dietary supplements.

In ABC’s HerbalGram publication, Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, calls the stevia alert “unreasonable and illogical” given the “current scientific and medical information supporting the safety of stevia when consumed in relatively small amounts in foods to give them a sweet taste.” Blumenthal notes that stevia importers would still have to conduct FDA GRAS reviews, thus further ensuring safety, in order to use their product. 

Currently, stevia’s low glycemic index allows it to be permitted solely as a dietary supplement in the U.S., and no food manufacturers have been able to gain FDA GRAS status for use in food and beverages. The American Herbal Products Association in 1992, as well as Lipton-Uniliver in 1994, petitioned to obtain GRAS status in order to use stevia in foods and beverage products, but the FDA refused both. 

Coburn & Coffman PLLC, a two-man law firm in Washington DC, disagrees with ABC, stating in a petition that stevia glycosides are drugs, since they have been studied for effects on blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Coburn & Coffman cite Sect. 301 (II) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) as grounds to “seize, and obtain injunctions against distribution of food other than dietary supplement to which have been added stevioside, rebaudioside A, or any other steviol glycoside.”

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Wakefern Food elects Capano to board of directors

BY Jenna Duncan

KEASBEY, N.J. Wakefern Food, which runs marketing and distribution for ShopRite supermarkets, had tapped Ken Capano to serve on its board of directors, the company announced Wednesday.

Capano is the president and owner of Five Star Supermarkets, Inc., which covers two Connecticut ShopRite.

“[Capano]’s dedication to Wakefern and to the community he serves has not only been recognized by us, but also by our industry,” Joe Colalillo, chairman and chief executive officer at Wakefern Food said in a statement. “Recently, [Capano] was recognized by the Connecticut Food Association when he received their 2008 Man of the Year award. I welcome Ken to the board with great pleasure and look forward to tapping into his insight and vision as we move the cooperative forward.”

Capano has been in business with Wakefern for more than 30 years. He joined the Wakefern team as store services supervisor in 1972 and later in 1996 purchased a ShopRite store in Norwich.

Capano was also awarded the 2006 Eastern Connecticut Citizen of the Year award in 2006 by the Chamber of Commerce, reports said.

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Kroger rolls out more fuel bonuses for holiday gift card shoppers

BY Alaric DeArment

CINCINNATI In recognition of the holiday season, Kroger will double fuel discounts on gift cards purchased at its stores starting Saturday and ending Dec. 31, the supermarket operator said Thursday.

Gift cards for restaurants, stores and entertainment outlets purchased at Kroger stores will accumulate fuel discounts at double their purchased value, earning 10 cents off for every $50 in gift cards. Customers at Kroger pharmacies will also earn fuel discounts on eligible prescriptions, earning 10 cents off per gallon of gasoline for every two prescriptions filled at a Kroger pharmacy.

The company is offering the program at several of its banners nationwide, including Kroger, Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Fry’s, Gerbes, Hilander, Jay C, King Soopers, Owen?s, Pay Less, QFC and Scott?s.

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