FDA Proposal for Revamped Nutrition Label

New FDA LabelThe US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled in August 2014 a proposal to fundamentally change the nutrition label on the back of any packaged food product currently sold in the USA. In particular, the FDA calls for

More Nutrition Information

  • Require information about “added sugars.”
  • Update daily values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber
    and Vitamin D.
  • Declare the amount of potassium and Vitamin D
  • Remove “Calories from Fat”  (because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount).

Updated Serving Size Requirements

  • Change the serving size and corresponding nutrition information to reflect how people eat and drink today
  • Require that packaged foods, including drinks, that are typically eaten in one sitting be labeled as a single serving and that calorie and nutrient information be declared for the entire package.
  • Provide “dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calories and nutrient information for packages that are larger and could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings

Refreshed Design

  • Make calories and serving sizes more prominent
  • Shift the Percent Daily Value to the left of the label, so it would come first
  • Change the footnote to more clearly explain the meaning of the Percent Daily Value.

Here are examples of labels that the FDA would like to mandate within the next two to three years:

Proposed Label – Whats the Difference

Reality Check on Serving Size

The FDA is currently asking for comments from the public and the food industry. As can be expected, many food industry associations have pushed back due on the proposal, citing high costs and added complexity.

If and when the label changes will become law is yet to be determined. However, food companies are well advised to plan for label changes and proactively integrate some of the ideas into labels of new products or re-launches.

TTIP: Will chlorinated chicken derail free transatlantic trade?

For over a year now, officials from the US government and the European Union plus invited industry experts are meeting in regular intervals – the fifth round of negotiations just concluded in Arlington, VA, – to hash out a transatlantic free trade agreement, called TTIP or Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Are you aware of what has been achieved so far? Do you support or reject the negotiation positions? Do you care?

From my point of view …we all should care or at least have an opinion.

Because the “right kind” of free trade between the US and EU member states could tremendously benefit small and mid-size manufacturers, create jobs, improve political ties between the trading blocs, and increase the well-being for most of the 830 million people on both sides of the Atlantic and even around the globe.

Yes, Europeans and Americans cherish their cultural differences. Yes, some local farming communities and small industries need to be protected to prevent regional economic hardship. But, if we’re honest, most tariffs and technical or regulatory differences – especially pertaining to food and agriculture – were established many decades ago to keep competition out and could simply be abolished or harmonized without concerns for consumer safety or sanity.

Alas, right now, massive resistance to any kind of trade deal is already fermenting in Europe, most vocally in Germany, for the right and wrong reasons. Anti global trade groups like Campact, Attac, Greenpeace and other consumer advocacy groups have taken over the airwaves and public opinion and raise the specter that chlorinated chicken, hormone-treated beef and genetically modified muesli, along with fracking-induced earthquakes and unrestrained capitalism will doom European civilization.

Food, of course, is always at the center of international disputes. So, it’s time for the free trade advocates other than the Chamber of Commerce and Big Industry to stand up and perform a reality check on the issues.

In the following posts, I will provide my personal views and insights on some of the most burning issues related to TTIP (from the perspective of a life-long foodie and small business owner with some expertise in international trade):

Checks and Balances for Free Trade

  1. Culture vs. Commerce
  2. Reality Check on Chlorination and Genetic Modification
  3. Tariffs vs. Standards
  4. Intellectual Property and Investor Protection

Of course, any feedback is greatly appreciated. 🙂

German food – A Fresh Look at a Key Industry

German industrial output is known for fast cars and reliable machines, but not for a vibrant food or agricultural industry. And “lean cuisine” or “haute cuisine” would not come to mind when thinking about German meals. True? We’d like you to take another look.

Germany is almost identical in size to the US state of Montana. However, while 900,000 people live in Montana, over 82 million reside in Germany. So, it may surprise you to learn, that in such a highly populated country, nearly 80% of the land is used for agriculture and forestry. Food production alone is the fourth largest industry with over 500,000 employees and if you add agriculture, retail and restaurants, food accounts for the second largest industry in almost all 16 federal states.

In the global trade of food and agriculture, Germany is one of the big players as the # 2 importer and # 3 exporter of agrifood products. The US is Number 1 in both categories. Germany’s food exports amounted to 48.4 billion Euro in 2011, growing 13.1% over 2010. Agrifood export to the US were 1.3 billon Euros, growing 17.3% over 2010, while the US exported food stuff worth 1.7 billion Euros, making Germany one of the few European countries with a trade deficit in agriculture in relation to the United States.

Food always played a big role in Germany, not just during Oktoberfest. The organic food movement, although “invented” by the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, had its birthplace near Berlin. Health food stores, called “Reformhäuser” have been around since the 1880s, primarily to offer medicinal and herbal foods that would counteract the effects of heavy air pollution in the coal mining area of Western Germany at the time. In fact, the recent wave of wellness, health, natural, organic, fresh foods is simply a reincarnation of previous waves.

It is true that France and the Southern European countries have a much greater emotional relationship to food than Germans. The culinary arts seem to emanate from warmer climates. However, the there’s also culinary craftsmanship and this is where Germans excels. It was in 1979, when the German master chef Eckhart Witzigmann was the first German speaker outside France to earn the coveted Michelin 3 star award for his restaurant Aubergine. Today, Germany boasts nine 3-stars restaurants, the most of any European country – besides France, of course. Chefs experiment with molecular cuisine (from Spain), New German cuisine (old favorites fused with new ingredients and presentations) and flavor sensations.

The following presentation provides the latest snapshot of German agriculture and food production, the system of food safety, the roots and current size of the German organic food market, the exports to and imports from the United States and many more interesting facts and figures.

Exporting Food to Canada

With a population of over 33 million and a per capita income of CD$ 26,000. Canada is a very attractive market for German food exporters. The Canadian economy remains robust even in current times, in part of the country’s large reserves of natural resources, including oil.
Canadians spend around CD$ 147 billion on foods and beverages, of which CD$ 89 billion goes towards in-home consumption (61%) and CD$ 58 billion for out-of home consumption (39%). The average household allocates approximately CD $6.000 per year for foods, which is 9% of the disposable income.
The grocery industry is not as dominated by large retail chains as other countries in North America or Europe. Roughly 40% of the stores are considered “independents.” In total, consumers shop and eat in 23,000 supermarkets and small neighborhood stores as well as 82,000 restaurants.
Canadian retailers boast a great variety of international foods. Imported specialties play an ever growing role in the diet of the average Canadian. As it is the case in all highly developed and hyper-competitive food markets, “the right” product positioning and marketing mix (product quality, packaging, price, channel strategies, consumer-oriented communication) are the most important factors for a successful market entry and sustained sales.
Food exporters have to follow the guidelines and rules of several governmental agencies to ensure uninterrupted trade:
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides all federal inspection services related to food safety, economic fraud, trade-related requirements, animal and plant disease and pest programs. This consolidation of responsibilities into a single agency is designed to enhance food safety systems by integrating the delivery of inspection and quarantine services that had previously been provided by other departments.
All those involved in the production of food or in the import or export of food, live animals or plants are now able to deal with a single agency for inspection and quarantine services. To meet its mandate, CFIA administers and/or enforces many Acts.
Canada Border Services Agency
Canada Border Services Agency assists other government departments in the administration and enforcement of their legislation as it applies to imported products. The Customs Act provides the legislative authority for Customs inspectors to detain goods that may be in contravention of the Customs Act, or any other act or regulation governing the import or export of goods.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade
The Export and Import Controls Bureau of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is responsible for the issuance of permits for goods on the Import Control List and Export Control List under the authority of the Export and Import Permits Act. The following agricultural products are or will be subject to controls:
• Agricultural Products Subject to Import Controls:
• Chicken
• Turkey
• Broiler Hatching Eggs and Chicks
• Shell Eggs and Egg Products
• Cheese
• Butter
• Margarine
• Ice Cream, Yogurt
• Other Dairy Products
• Barley and Barley Products
• Wheat and Wheat Products
• Beef and Veal from Non-NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries
• Agricultural Products Subject to Export Control
• Peanut Butter
• Sugar Containing Products
• Sugar
Health Canada
Although Health Canada is no longer directly involved in the inspection of food, it has responsibility for setting national health and safety policy with respect to food.
Measurement Canada
Measurement Canada, an agency of Industry Canada, enforces the Weights and Measures Act, which establishes net quantity requirements for commodities sold on the basis of measure. The Weights and Measures Act applies to foods destined for commercial or industrial enterprises or institutions, products sold in bulk and clerk-served products at retail.
The legislation does not apply to commodities subject to net quantity requirements set out in other federal legislation. Consequently, it does not apply to goods packaged for direct sale to the consumer as these are covered by the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act, the food provisions of which are enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Provincial and Territorial Governments
Provincial and territorial governments have jurisdiction over public health issues, which includes food prepared, sold and manufactured within their borders. Provincial and municipal inspection programs have focussed on the food service industry (including restaurants and caterers), and the food retail industry (including grocery stores, butcher shops and bakeries). Some provinces and territories have additional requirements for certain commodities such as dairy products, margarine, bottled water, and maple syrup.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has updated its website to provide an easy-to-understand overview of the requirements needed to be fulfilled by an IMPORTER, such as:
• Registering an Import Business
• Keeping accurate and up-to-date books and records
• Ensuring that products meet all requirements of Canadian legislation (federal, provincial and municipal).
The Website gives summaries of the General Requirements for Foods, which include:
• Labeling
• All ingredients must be listed in order of predominance by weight
• All mandatory declarations must be in English and in French
• Nutrition Labeling: It should be noted that there are significant differences between the US and Canadian Nutrition Facts Panels.
Currently US Nutrition Labels are not permitted on products imported into Canada.
• Net Quantity
In Canada, net quantity declarations on consumer packaged products must be expressed in metric units of weight (grams or kilograms), volume (milliliters, liters) or count (when applicable). The manner of declaring net quantity and the method of determining the accuracy of net quantity declarations for consumer packaged products, as well as commercial, industrial or institutional products, are based on the average system. The average system is prescribed in the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and Regulations, in the case of consumer packaged products, and the Weights and Measures Act and Regulations, in the case of commercial, industrial or institutional products.
• Food Allergens
Similar to the requirements in the US, the Canadian requirements have stated which allergens are of concern and how they should be declared
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has included summaries of the Import Requirements for Food Commodities, such as:
• Alcoholic Beverages
• Dairy Products
• Eggs and Processed Eggs
• Fish and Fish Products
• Processed Fruit and Vegetable Products
• Grains
• Honey
• Low Acid Foods in Hermetically Sealed Containers (Canned Foods)
• Magarine
• Meat and Poultry
• Sports Nutrition Products
• Other categories such as Novel Foods (Biotechnology), Wildlife, Maple Products, etc.
The Website of Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s “Guide to Importing Foods Commercially” can be found here: www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/imp/guide1e.shtml
For specific questions related to your product, please contact us at info@germanfoods.org

Export in die USA – Die zehn wichtigsten Schritte

Marketing-Model

Vielfalt und Transparenz

In keiner Region der Erde wird soviel Geld für Lebensmittel und Getränke ausgegeben wie in den USA. Derzeit sind es über 1.2 Billionen Dollar – das entspricht dem Bruttosozialprodukt von Australien. Im kanadische Markt mit einem Zehntel der US Bevölkerung, beträgt das Umsatzvolumen für Lebensmittel sogar $200 Milliarden

Dementsprechend vielfältig sind die Handelsformate, Distributionswege, und Verbrauchersegmente für Konsumgüter, speziell Lebensmittel und Getränke. Allerdings… es herrscht eine beinharter Verdrängungskampf um den Platz auf den Regalen, die Aufmerksamkeit der Verbraucher und den Marktanteil oder “share of stomach”.

Der Markt ist zwar transparent, aber die vielfältigen Vertriebsmöglichkeiten und Wettbewerber aus dem In-und Ausland sind besonders für Neueinsteiger schwer zu erfassen.

Zeit und Geld

Aufgrund des großen Angebots und dem relativ hohen Risiko einer Felhinvestition fragen Importeure, Großhändler oder Einzelhändler zuerst ummer nach dem Preis der ins Warenlager gelieferten Ware und daß die Exporteure ihre Produkte erst dann anbieten, wenn sie „markt- und lieferfertig” sind.

  1. Segmentspezifische Markt- und Konkurrenzanalyse
  2. Analyse der Lieferwege und Handelsformate
  3. Positionierung der Produkte innerhalb einer Kategorie, eines Marktsegments oder eines Handelsformats
  4. Recherche der Kosten für Transport, Versicherungen, Einfuhr, Lagerung, Inlandstransport
  5. Recherche der Kosten für Vermarktung und Listung
  6. Erstellung einer marktgerechten Verpackung und Ettiketierung unter Einhaltung der gesetzlichen Vorschriften (Siehe auch FDA Webseite)
  7. FDA Registrierung gemäß den Bioterrorgesetzen. (Siehe auch FDA Webseite)
  8. Ernennung eines FDA US Agenten.
    Wir stehen europäischen Firmen als FDA US Agent zur Verfügung.
  9. Erste Besuche bei relevanten Fachmessen, unverbindliche Gespräche mit Importeuren oder Brokern, reichliche Storechecks,Umfrage und Test der Produkte mit marktgerechter Verpackung (unterschiedlich für USA und Kanada) bei potentiellen Handelspartnern und Verbrauchern
  10. Ausstellung bei einer oder mehreren Fachmesse, Verhandlungen und Vertragsabschluss mit dem passenden Importeur, Handelvertreter oder Repräsentanten.

Die Kosten eines Markteintritts

 

CMA German Foods Services


 

Fragenkatalog für den Markteintritt

Categorie

  • Zu welcher Kategorie oder welchem Segment gehören Ihre Produkte in den USA oder Kanada?
  • Was sind die Trends dieser Kategorie über die letzten 5 Jahre?
  • Welche anderen Kategorien konkurrieren mit dieser Kategorie, welche Überlappungen gibt es?

Consumer

  • Wer soll Ihre Produkte kaufen und warum?
  • Was sind die Geschmacksstandards und welche Verzehrgewohnheiten beeinflussen die Kaufentscheidungen der Zielgruppen?
  • Wie erreichen Sie Ihre Zielgruppen am besten?

Channels

  • Welche Handelsformen und Vertriebsstrukturen gibt es?
  • Wer sind die passenden Handelspartner für Sie?
  • In welchen Handelskanälen kaufen Ihre Zielgruppen ein?

Competition

  • Welche Marken (einschliesslich Eigenmarken des Handels) konkurrieren mit Ihnen im jeweiligen Handelskanal
  • Welches Unternehmen steht hinter den Marken
  • Was versprechen diese Marken, welche Produktlinien gehören zu den Marken
  • Was sind die Marktanteile und Verkaufstrends der konkurrierenden Marken?

Costs/Risks

  • Welche Markteintrittsstrategie ist die Beste für Sie?
  • Bevorzugen or Benötigen Sie einen exklusiven Importeur, mehrere Importeure, einen Repräsentanten in den USA, oder geht es über den Direktverkauf aus Deutschland?
  • Wieviel Budget müssen Sie für die Vorbereitungen und Durchführung der Markteinführung einkalkulieren?

Product

  • Was sind die spezifischen Funktionen, Eigenschaften, und Vorteile Ihrer Produkte gegenüber der Konkurrenz?
  • Welche Funktionen, Eigenschaften, Vorteile sind für Verbraucher jetzt relevant?
  • Wie unterscheidet sich die Verpackung Ihrer Produkte von der Konkurrenz?

Policies/Politics

  • Was sind die derzeitigen gesetzlichen Vorschriften bezüglich Lebensmittelrecht, Ettikettierung, Einfuhr und Sicherheit?
  • Welche gesetzlichen Änderungen sind zu erwarten?
  • Was tun Sie in Notfällen (Rückruf, Beschlagnahmung Container, Strafgebühren)

Price

  • Top –Down Kalkulation: mit welchem Einzelhandelspreis sind Sie konkurrenzfähig?
  • Welcher Abgabepreis ist für Sie vertretbar? Welche Kosten müssen Sie einkalkulieren?
  • Welche Margen sind handelsüblich?

Placement

  • Wieviele Produkte sind im Verschiffungskarton, wieviele Kartons pro Pallette?
  • Sind die Kartons einfach auszupacken oder„display ready”?
  • Welche Beschriftung ist auf den Kartons vorgeschrieben?
  • Wie passen Ihre Produkte in das Plan-o-gram des Einzelhändlers?
  • Zu welchem Zeitpunkt wird das Plan-o-gram gändert?

Promotion (Werbung/Aktionen)

  • Was wird üblicherweise als Listungsgebühr verlangt?
  • Welche und wieviele Verkaufsaktionen müssen Sie einkalkulieren?
  • Wie schaffen Sie Aufmerksamkeit und Interesse bei Ihren Zielgruppen in kosteneffizienter Weise

Unser Team bei German Foods North America steht Ihnen als Berater, Vermittler, Werbeagentur und Handelsagent zur Verfügung. Wir bieten sehr kostengünstige Erstberatung und auch Online Seminare für neue und erfahrende Exporteure aus aller Welt an. Bitte senden Sie Ihre Anfrage an info@germanfoods.org oder rufen Sie uns einfach an unter +1 (301) 365 5043. Darüber hinaus helfen wir Klienten aus aller Welt, die folgenden Vorbereitungen für einen Markteintritt zu treffen, bevor sie sich auf die Suche nach Abnehmern oder Handelspartnern machen:

 

Exporting food to the US

The US is the world’s largest food market, with a retail turnover of over $1.2 trillion, with more than 150,000 stores that sell primarily food, with a high degree of transparency, and with retail shelves stuffed to the brim.

Every product or brand has a chance to make it here … and an equal chance to fail. The difference between success and failure is marketing: product and packaging choices, positioning, pricing, and promotion are all equally important. Creativity is key.

Exporting to the United States is a strategic not a tactical decision. It requires substantial investments in time, energy and money.

Our team at German Foods North America assists exporters around the world with expert advice, cost saving market intelligence and a network of industry contacts. We provide online courses and one-to-one telephone conversations to train and guide new and experienced exporters from abroad. We can help you determining the optimal budget for a market entry and expansion.

Here is a check list of what to know, prior to looking for trade partners in the US and Canada, some category-specific facts, and sources of further information.

  1. Knowledge of the category, market segments and retail channels, respectively, is key. We conduct store checks in various channels, analyze competitive products, and assist you in choosing the right products for this market. This saves you a great amount of travel costs and hassles
  2. Check if your product requires any permit or is subject to any export restrictions (quotas, tariffs, licenses).
  3. Make sure your outer packaging (for transport from the factory to the store) is sturdy and withstands lots of handling and dusty warehouses. The distribution system in United States is vast and requires many intermittent distribution points.
  4. Create and produce a US-ready label, including ingredient statement, nutrition statement (may require laboratory analysis), country of origin statement etc. all with the right font size and space. We will assist you in this process
  5. Register your production and warehouse facilities at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) according to the Bioterrorism and Food Safety Modernization Acts. We offer the service of FDA US Agent for qualifying clients
  6. Finding the right importer is one of the hardest tasks in the process. This will require visiting various trade fairs and making a lot of calls. The choice of importer should be based on your choice of target consumers, retail channels, product positioning and revenue expectations. We can help with the search for the right trade partners
  7. Make sure that your first shipments are all correctly labeled and documented. Officials of the FDA and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can and will detain containers with products not properly labeled.
  8. According to the Food Safety Modernization Act, it is now required that you and the importer provide the FDA upon request with proof of the safety procedures during the production, specifically Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) procedures, recall plans and food defense procedures.
  9. Gaining retail distribution and retaining shelf space requires a continuous investment into consumer and trade communication. Do not underestimate this expense, which over the long term will become one of your biggest financial investments. We provide qualifying customers with comprehensive communication services, including advertising on our website, advertorials, public relations, media outreach, social media campaigns and more. Efficient and effective trade and consumer promotions are the key to stay in business in North America.

Category-specific facts:

  1. Currently, no meat products (beef, poultry or pork) may be imported from Germany, due to animal diseases. However, the import of life animals is possible.
  2. Eggs may not be imported due to the Avian flue virus.
  3. Milk and related products require a ‘Grade A’ permit which is almost impossible to obtain.
  4. There are only a small number of importers holding a license to import cheeses with low custom duties. Otherwise, a stringent cheese quota requires enormous customs duties on cheeses out-of-quota.
  5. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates fresh products (meat, vegetables, dairy etc) while the Food & Drug Administration regulates most package goods and cheeses.
  6. Low acid canned goods require a permit.
  7. Due to the equivalency agreement in 2012, organic seals from Europe are now accepted in North America, and vice versa
  8. Alcoholic beverages are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Labels must be approved by the Bureau prior to import.

Sources of Further Information

Food and Drug Administration
US Department of Agriculture
Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Moderate alcohol consumption benefits your health

Two-wine-glasses-full

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that drinking too much alcohol is dangerous to your health, to the health of others and to society as a whole. For some people, even very few drinks of beer, wine or spirits per week can be harmful. And we wholeheartedly recommend to all of our readers, young and old, to drink and eat responsibly and with a conscious mind.

That said, we also want to point out the solid scientific evidence, that moderate alcohol consumption is actually beneficial to the health of most people.

Moderate means about 1 to 2 drinks for women and 3 to 4 drinks for men. A drink is defined as 12 – 14 g alcohol, which corresponds to about 1 to 2 glasses of white or red wine, 1 to 2 bottles of beer or one glass of hard liquor.

According to the Mayo Clinic, moderate consumption of alcohol in any form reduces the risk of developing heart disease, of dying of a heart attack or stroke, developing gallstones or diabetes

And, not surprisingly, a review of numerous scientific studies, as reported in Science Direct indicates that light and moderate alcohol consumption reduces stress, increases overall affective expression, happiness, euphoria, conviviality and pleasant and carefree feelings, decreases depression, and improves certain types of cognitive performance, such as problem-solving and short-term memory. Moreover, alcohol in low and moderate doses has been effective in the treatment of geropsychiatric problems.

Resistance against GMOs grows in US

Consumer groups, retailers and farmers look for alternatives

Since the early 1990s, genetically modified organisms (GMO) have been part of the American diet.  GMO corn, soybeans or canola are used in many forms as ingredients in a majority of food staples, from snack bars, to cereals, to ready to eat meals. But now, resistance to GMOs seems to be growing. From retail executives like Whole Foods Co-CEO John Mackey (picture) to Representatives in the US Congress, to consumer and environmental advocates in many US states,  calls for laws mandating the  declaration of GMOs on food labels become louder.

Of course, the agricultural community and food producers would like to avoid the added costs and  fear that consumers will ultimately reject GMO foods. Moreover, there are many prominent advocates in favor of the technology, such as Bill Gates who stated that crops resistant to herbicides and pesticides will alleviate world hunger. It is unclear at this time, whether GMO labeling initiatives will prevail in the US, but, in any case, it’s a trend worth watching.

The practice of splicing different genes into plants and vegetables to make them resistant to herbicides and pesticides started in California with tomatoes (remember the Flavr Savr)?.  By the mid nineties, the use of genetic modification was common for corn and soybeans, which are base ingredients for cattle feed as well as human food. It is safe to say that today, over 90% of all food consumed in the US and Canada contains GMO ingredients. Other GMO crops include cotton, canola, alfalfa and papayas and, in a few years, we’ll have GMO rice, potatoes, wheat and even salmon (the application to legalize genetically modified salmon is currently under review by the FDA).

While there is no scientific evidence that GMO foods have any negative effects on health and well-being, it is not a secret that European farmers, consumers, and EU Commission have rejected the use of GMOs in agriculture from the start. In fact, over 60 countries around the world require GMO labeling.

Until recently, consumers in the US and Canada were either indifferent towards GMOs in their food or not at all interested in this topic. That seems to have changed over the past year.  Now, one news article after another reports on initiatives to legislate mandatory declaration of GMOs in food.  In California, voter blocks put up Prop 37 for election, which would have mandated the labeling of GMO ingredients in that state.  The measure was narrowly defeated, but may come up again with slightly different wording at the next election cycle.  Meanwhile, in Washington State, Initiative I-522 tries mandate GMO labeling in that state. A hearing was scheduled at the State Legislature on February 14, 2013. Similar initiatives are on the way in Iowa and New Jersey.

Nationally, over 90% of consumers seem to favor GMO labeleing, according to polls by Thompson Reuter in 2010 and the Mellmann Group. A petition by www.justlabelit.org for a federal labeling law garnered 1.5 million signatures and US Congressmen Peter de Fazio (D-OR) and Jared Polis (D-CO) will soon introduce a  respective federal bill.

Some major retailers and manufacturers have already moved in this direction. At a conference in February 2013 in Washington DC, John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods announced a that within 2 years all products sold at Whole Foods will either be GMO-free or labeled, repsectiviely. The store chain already works with suppliers to move towards non-GMO ingredients and the 300 store chain sells currenlty 3,300 products from 250 brands certified by the “Non-GMO Project.” Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s announced a complete phase-out of any GMO ingredients to their ice creams by the end of 2013.

Finally, the US Supreme Court will soon decide a case of one farmer against the agricultural industry giant Monsanto. The court needs to decide, whether GMO seeds that were designated and sold as cattle feed loose their GMO patent protection. If yes, farmers could use these seeds planting crops again without paying a license fee to Monsanto.  Intellectual property lawyers and companies who spend billions in research and development will watch this case very closely.

It remains to be seen, whether the GMO labeling initiatives will gather enough public support to become federal law. So far, GMO seed producers like Monsanto, Cargill, Bayer or Bunge and the pro GMO lobby prevailed in California and the national fight has just begun.

“Good” versus “bad” foods?

Food_Processing_iStock_000018272872sm

Not an issue for a healthy diet.

It’s not a secret that your overall well-being depends on a healthy diet. And that your weight gains or losses are solely based on the amount of calories you take in every day. But does that mean you should not eat chocolate or burgers anymore and switch instead to quinoa, steamed Brussels sprouts and tofu? Is any type of food “good” or “bad”?

Not so, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (and we agree). In a new position paper published in February 2013, the Academy emphasizes, “that the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. All foods can fit within this pattern if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity.” A healthy diet balances the consumption of food and beverages with personal energy needs, rather than a focus on or avoidance of any one food or meal.

Most scientists and experts in Germany agree. More and more studies on both sides of the Atlantic show how much health depends on eating right and how much eating right depends on psychological factors and individual choices, rather than “good” or “bad” foods. (Read more on the latest research on food, nutrition and health in upcoming blog entries).

Our recommendation: save your money and don’t spend it on useless diets (most of which have a failure rate of over 90%), gastric bypasses or expensive medicine because you suffer diet related problems. Rather, spend some time to figure out what you really like to eat, how often and how much you should eat and when you should eat. If necessary, get some help to figure that out. Then monitor your own behavior and adjust your lifestyle to keep your optimal weight and health. Finally: spend your money on quality, good tasting food that provides the right mix of nutrients for your body and soul.

Erneute FDA Registrierung notwendig

All Exporteure müssen sich ab dem 1. Oktober 2012 neu anmelden

Jetzt wird es ernst: die US Food & Drug Administration verlangt im Rahmen des Food Safety Modernization Acts (FSMA) eine erneute Registrierung aller Betriebe, die Lebensmittel produzieren, lagern oder transportieren. Das betrifft alle Firmen im In-und Ausland – egal wann die letzte Registrierung erfolgte.

Zwischen dem 1. Oktober und 31. Dezember 2012 müssen auf Webseite der Food & Drug Administration Adresse, Produktgruppen und Kontaktpartner eingegeben werden, was an sich nicht sehr schwierig ist oder lange dauert. Sie erhalten eine neue Registrierungsnummer, die alle zwei Jahre erneuert werden muß.

Container mit Lebensmitteln, die ab dem 1. Januar ohne gültige Registrierungsnummer in die USA verschifft werden, können an der Grenze aufgehalten, kostenpflichtig in Aufbewahrung gegeben und unter Umständen vernichtet werden. Gerne beraten wir Sie über die Details der neuen FDA Auflagen und Vorschriften für Lebensmittelexporteure.