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General Mills to remove artificial flavors, colors from artificial sources

BY Lesley Thulin

MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills Cereals announced Monday that it will remove artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources in all of its cereals. 
 
The latest push comes after a survey conducted on behalf of the company indicated that 49% of households prefer to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. 
 
“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people's needs and desires,” Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division, said. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”
 
Although the change will apply to more than 90% of the company’s portfolio by the end of 2016, more than 60% of the company’s cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios, already reflect this move. 
 
Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be some of the first products to change, hitting store shelves this winter. Trix will use fruit and vegetable juices, and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto, in order to produce red, yellow, orange and purple colors.  
 
But some cereals will be more challenging to adjust.
 
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer, said. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”
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Mondelez announces birthday cake–flavored Teddy Grahams

BY Lesley Thulin

EAST HANOVER, N.J. — Mondelez International announced new, birthday-cake-flavored Teddy Grahams on Thursday. 

Infused with birthday cake flavor and sprinkles, Honey Maid Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams contain 8g of whole grain per 30g serving, real honey  and no high fructose corn syrup.

"With the addition of the Birthday Cake flavor to the Teddy Grahams portfolio, we are continuing the tradition of providing parents with wholesome and fun snack options for their families," said Mikhail Chapnik, US Marketing Lead of Wholesome Sweet Portfolio at Mondelez International.

The portfolio also includes honey, cinnamon, chocolate and “chocolatey chip” flavors.

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FDA to ban trans fats within three years

BY Lesley Thulin

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The FDA announced on Tuesday that it determined that partially hydrogenated oils, the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods, are not generally recognized as safe for use in human food, according to a statement. The FDA is mandating that food manufacturers remove PHOs from products within the next three years.

“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” FDA's Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, M.D, said. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”

The announcement comes after a 2013 conclusion that PHOs could no longer be considered GRAS.

Although consumption of trans fat has decreased by 78% between 2003 and 2012 — progress that the FDA attributes to the labeling rule for trans fat and industry reformulation of foods — the FDA still considers current consumption a public health concern.

The FDA currently allows foods lowed to be labeled as having 0 g of trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 g of trans fat per serving. These servings include PHOs, which contain artificial trans fat in processed foods.

“Studies show that diet and nutrition play a key role in preventing chronic health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and today’s action goes hand in hand with other FDA initiatives to improve the health of Americans, including updating the nutrition facts label,” Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said. “This determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from all stakeholders received during the public comment period.”

The FDA-issued, three-year compliance period will allow companies to reformulate products and/or petition the FDA to use PHOs in products, according to the statement. After the three-year period, PHOs can only be added to human food with the permission of the FDA.

The FDA predicts that many companies will remove PHOs before the three-year deadline.

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