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Several food producers to adopt front-of-pack nutrition labeling

BY Jenna Duncan

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., and MINNEAPOLIS Unilever and General Mills today announced positive actions towards adding front-of-pack nutrition labels to their products.

General Mills and Unilever both signed on as “likely implementers” of the program which advocates adding food nutrition information, such as calorie content and other details of additives and ingredients, to front-facing labels. The labels are part of the Smart Choices Program, a system of nutrition labeling developed by academics, food and beverage manufacturers, health organizations, retailers and scientists.

Unilever has been a participant in the Keystone Food and Nutrition Roundtable which launched its “Eat Smart/Drink Smart” initiative in the United States and globally with the Choices Programme.

The Smart Choices Program symbol will be added to packaging by participating food companies in 2009.

More information is available at www.smartchoicesprogram.com.

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Coke to place calorie details on front of products

BY Melissa Valliant

ATLANTA In an effort to help consumers control their calorie intake, Coca-Cola North America announced today it will be placing calories-per-serving and servings-per-container details on the front of all of their products’ packages beginning next year.

This is the same information that has always been available on the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of Coke, Sprite, Minute Maid, etc. However, now the facts are to be placed front-and-center, allowing consumers to quicklyview the information and make an informed decision about their daily total calorie intake.

“We listen to what consumers tell us they want, respond creatively and encourage everyone to make informed decisions about what they drink, choices that reflect a sense of balance and moderation,” said Celeste Bottorff, vice president of Living Well. “It’s part of our Live Positively philosophy.”

Coca-Cola’s labeling efforts mark another step in its “Live Positively” plan, a consumer-focused program that improves products and packaging in an environmentally friendly and healthy way.

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White wine discovered to be just as heart-healthy as red

BY Melissa Valliant

STORRS, Conn. When it comes to red wine, we already knew a glass or two a day helps keep the doctor away. But now a new study at the University of Connecticut has found white wine to have just as many healthbenefits. Both contain types of antioxidants that contribute to a healthy heart.

The researchers gave one group of rats white wine, another red, another water and yet another straight grain alcohol. Both the white and red wine-drinking groups suffered less damage from induced heart attacks than the other groups.

The antioxidant resveratrol, found in grape-skin, is responsible for the health benefits of red wine. Because white wine is made from the grape’s pulp, which does not contain resveratrol, it was originally thought white wine did not possess the health benefit of protecting against heart disease and cancer. However, other chemicals in white wine protect mitochondria, the part of cells that supplies energy. The groups of rats given wine were discovered to have healthier mitochondria.

According to molecular biologist Dipak Das, “We can safely say that one or two glasses of white wine per day acts exactly like red wine.”

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