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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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Pilgrim’s Pride CEO and COO resign

BY Melissa Valliant

PITTSBURG, Texas Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., one of the largest chicken producers in the United States, announced Tuesday that its CEO and COO have stepped down due to the bankruptcy process that it started earlier this month when it filed for bankruptcy.

President and CEO Clint Rivers, as well as chief operating officer Robert Wright, have resigned. Don Jackson, formerly president of Foster Farms’ poultry division, will be filling the role of president and chief executive, following approval by the bankruptcy court. In the meantime, Lonnie Ken Pilgrim, the company’s board chairman, will be interim president.

The company plans to restructure its operations but will be operating as usual while it determines its next steps out of bankruptcy.

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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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