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Coke asks regulators in Australia, New Zealand to approve use of phytosterols

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA Coca-Cola South Pacific recently applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand to add phytosterols at a level of 4.5 per liter to all fruit juice drinks with at least 20% juice. The application applied to both Australia and New Zealand, and Coke said it wants these drinks to target the over-40-year-old population, since data has shown phytosterol can lower cholesterol levels.

Scientific studies were included in the application, though FSANZ will be looking into a wider range of material. The European Food Safety Authority recently supported a submission for a plant sterol-based health claim from Unilever, saying, “Plant sterols have been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol. Blood cholesterol lowering may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.” FSANZ stated one of its concerns that consumers may exceed the Acceptable Daily Intake, created by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives, by consuming multiple products that contain phytosterol esters.

Currently, phytosterol esters from vegetable oils and non-esterified phyotsterols—derived from a tall-oil source—are permitted in oils spreads and margarines in Australia. And since November 2006, phytosterol esters have been permitted in breakfast cereals, low-fat milk and low-fat yogurt. Non-esterified phtosterols from vegetable oil have not yet been accepted.

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Danone to discontinue sales, bottling of Arvie brand bottled water

BY Jenna Duncan

PARIS Groupe Danone has announced that it will no longer make or distribute its Arvie brand mineral water after a slump in bottled water sales.

Danone is slated to close the Arvie bottling plant in early 2009. Employees at the Arvie plant will be moved to operations at Danone’s Volvic plant.

Reports have stated that sales of Arvie bottled water dropped from 65 million bottles sold per year to roughly 8 million between the years of 2000 and 2008.

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Mars announces winner of million-dollar Halloween contest prize

BY Jenna Duncan

PHOENIX Mars Snackfood on Thursday announced the grand-prize winner of its Halloween Million Contest as Michelle Willis of Ahwatukee, Ariz.

Willis received an oversized check written out in the amount of $1 million delivered to her by M&Ms characters.

Willis said that she would use part of her winnings for a surgery for her pet Chihuahua, Belle, to have a tumor removed.

“Belle is my best friend, and we were so worried about how we were going to cover the cost of the surgery,” Willis said.

“When we got home from meeting with the vet, there was a FedEx letter saying that I had won the contest,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was true, so I called my daughters into the room so they could read it, too. The operation was weighing so heavily on my mind that this news was perfect timing.”

Mars’ Halloween Million sweepstakes ran earlier this year online. Entrants 13 years of age and older were invited to sign in at HalloweenMillion.com where they could enter UPC codes from Mars candy packages such as Snickers, M&Ms, Milky Way bars, Skittles and others.

Mars said that the $1 million grand prize money will be paid to Willis as a 20-year annuity.

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