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NRF to Congress: Retailers committed to protecting consumer data

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation on Wednesday told a congressional panel that the retail industry is committed to safeguarding and protecting consumer data and information from cybercriminals and hackers.

NRF VP for retail technologies, Tom Litchford, testified before a field hearing of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Security Technologies, where he outlined specific steps that the nation’s retailers are pursuing and implementing to identify, prevent and combat cyberattacks.

“Retailers make significant investments every year in order to protect [consumer] data,” Litchford testified. “Collectively, retailers spend billions of dollars annually to safeguard data and fight fraud, as well as hundreds of millions annually on [credit card security] compliance.”
He described NRF’s support for immediately transitioning away from fraud-prone credit cards that utilize 1960s technology (i.e., magnetic stripe and signature) to more advanced and secure cards that incorporate a Personal Identification Number, or PIN, or Chip and PIN cards that include a computer microchip.

PIN-based cards, along with data encryption and tokenization, would help prevent cybercriminals from monetizing consumer financial information and provide better fraud protection for retailers, banks and consumers than proprietary Europay, MasterCard and Visa or EMV technology that does not require the use of a PIN, according to NRF.

“Chip and PIN technology dramatically reduces the value of any stolen ‘breached’ data for in-store purchases because the payment card data is essentially rendered worthless to criminals,” Litchford said. “The failure of U.S. card networks and banks to adopt such a system in the United States is one reason why cyberattacks on brick-and-mortar retailers have increased.”

Litchford went on to state that the nation’s retailers are pursuing the establishment of a Retail Information Sharing and Analysis Center, or Retail ISAC, that would provide retailers and merchants with actionable and timely threat intelligence to help identify and mitigate cyber risks.

“The retail industry is in a particularly good position to both benefit from and bring value to information sharing with outside organizations and entities,” Litchford said as he described NRF’s recent interaction with the United States Secret Service, United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, iSightPartners and the Financial Services ISAC on cyber threats.

“NRF is currently in the planning stages with respect to a final step in the development of the Retail ISAC: the establishment of the technological and operational infrastructure to support a secure portal through which members can share information,” Litchford said. “NRF’s goal is to allow credentialed [Retail ISAC] members to share information of varying levels of sensitivity anonymously, thus allowing the Retail ISAC to act as a repository of critical threat, vulnerability and incident information that is sourced from various members and outside organizations, and to facilitate peer-to-peer collaboration with the sharing of risk mitigation best practices and cybersecurity research papers.”

Acknowledging that there is no silver bullet to combating cybercrime, NRF called on Congress to support the retail industry’s efforts on data security and cybersecurity by passing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 624) or CISPA, which would further encourage businesses and retailers to share information across sectors on cyber threats in real time.

 

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Polaner All Fruit relaunches line of fruit spreads

BY Ryan Chavis

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Polaner All Fruit, a brand from B&G Foods, announced that it is now Non-GMO Project Verified. To recognize its new verification, the company is reviving the "Don’t Dare Call it Jelly!" campaign, complete with an interactive digital initiative which encourages consumers to vote for their favorite commercial.

The new Non-GMO Project Verified line of Polaner All Fruit contains 11 varieties of spreadable fruit: strawberry, apricot, blueberry, cherry, grape, peach, orange, raspberry, seedless raspberry, seedless blackberry and seedless strawberry. Each jar now features the Non-GMO Project Verified Seal, which further illustrates the brand’s interest in giving consumers a premium product. 

“Consumers are becoming increasingly selective in the products they buy and feed their families, which is why we are excited to announce that the Polaner All Fruit line now meets the strict standards of the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program, without compromising our delicious fruit flavor,” said Sandra Paige, Brand Manager B&G Foods. “By bringing the brand back to its roots with Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients, consumers can feel confident in choosing Polaner All Fruit as a trusted family favorite fruit spread.”

Polaner All Fruit is available in 10-oz. and 15.25-oz. jars at grocery stores across the country for a standard retail price of $2.49 and $3.49.

 

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Study: Vitamin D the difference between more active and less active in severely obese people

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — Among severely obese people, vitamin D may make the difference between an active and a more sedentary lifestyle, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism on Tuesday.

The study found severely obese people who also were vitamin D-deficient walked slower and were less active overall than their counterparts who had healthy vitamin D levels. Poor physical functioning can reduce quality of life and even shorten lifespans.

“People with severe obesity already are eight times more likely to have poor physical function than people with a healthy BMI,” stated one of the study’s authors, Tomás Ahern of St. Columcille’s Hospital and St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. “Poor vitamin D status contributes to the deterioration of physical function in this population. Among those with severe obesity, 43% are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.”

The cross-sectional study examined physical functioning and vitamin D levels in 252 severely obese people. Participants were timed as they walked 500 meters and climbed up and down a single step 50 times. They also provided estimates of their physical activity.

Researchers took a blood sample to measure each participant’s vitamin D levels. For analysis, the study population was divided into three groups based on vitamin D levels.

The study found the group with the highest vitamin D levels had the fastest walking times and highest amount of self-reported physical activity. This group also had the lowest average BMI of the study participants.

“Improving vitamin D status should improve quality of life and may decrease the risk of early death in people with severe obesity,” Ahern said. “This could be a simple matter of spending more time outside, since sun exposure can boost the body’s natural vitamin D production.”

 

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