FDA Finds Minimal Risk of Melamine Here

FDA Finds Minimal Risk of Melamine Here

FDA said last month that the risk of melamine contamination to U.S. consumers is extremely small, and that trace amounts of the industrial chemical are not a threat to adults.

As a result of this risk assessment, FDA indicated that, in food products other than infant formula, levels of melamine and melamine-related compounds below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) do not raise public health concerns. For infant formula, FDA had not established a threshold level.

The concern over Melamine is related to the tragic scandal in China wherein the contaminant appears to have been purposefully added to milk products to falsify protein level measurements.

FDA says it will continue to screen products and monitor reports of contamination from international sources to help ensure that potentially contaminated dairy products from foreign sources are examined if imported into the U.S.

If products are adulterated because they contain melamine and/or a melamine-related compound, the agency says it is ready to take appropriate actions to prevent the products from entering the marketplace.

Dean Foods Moves Purity’s Ice Cream

Ice cream production at Purity Dairies, Nashville, will shift to other Dean Foods plants beginning Dec. 5, according to local news reports.

Purity ice cream operations will move to other locations of parent company Dean Foods in Tennessee and Alabama. About 20 jobs in Nashville will be affected.

Dean Foods is attempting to leverage its national scale, reduce costs and make the company more competitive in the marketplace, said Ellen Barry, spokeswoman for the Dallas-based company.

Employees affected by the production shift will be offered severance pay and benefits extensions as well as professional assistance for those seeking jobs, Barry said.

“Purity has been blessed by the long-standing support of Middle Tennesseans, and we remain deeply committed to supporting our community,” said Mark Ezell, president of Purity Dairies.

Wells Reaches Deal with Workers 

After more than six months of negotiations, Wells Dairy has reached an accord with its hourly workers. On Oct. 24, both sides approved a two-year contract that includes a 2.5% pay raise and a freeze on the employees’ share of insurance premiums.

Hourly workers approved the pact by a narrow margin according to local news reports. Of the roughly 1,400 eligible voters, 1,148 cast ballots.

The new agreement-which runs from Jan. 1 through the end of 2010-came after Le Mars workers rejected a proposal earlier in the month by just nine votes.

In February, the maker of Blue Bunny said it was looking to stay competitive when it asked the employee committee to reopen the final year of the existing contract. By a margin of 56%, hourly workers tossed the original deal that would have trimmed a total of $5 million in pay and perks.

Wells has reportedly fallen short in creating 475 new jobs through recent expansions. As a result it will need to pay back $1.25 million of a $2.9 million grant from the state of Iowa.

Milk PEP Paints a Sunny Picture with Vitamin D Promo

WASHINGTON, D.C.-A burst of sunshine is sure to brighten milk sales this spring when the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) launches the new Liquid Sunshine feature incentive program. Vitamin D is getting a lot of buzz as the sunshine vitamin and this new promotion alerts Moms that milk is the leading food source of Vitamin D.  The Liquid Sunshine promotion runs through Jan. 15 for the promotion period running March 8-April 4.

“Processors should definitely take advantage of this timely, exciting promotion to help drive up milk sales by getting their retail accounts to sign up,” said Julia Kadison, vice president of marketing for MilkPEP. “Participation is easy and the rewards are great.” 

This latest promotion capitalizes on the fact that Vitamin D has gotten a lot of press recently as a super vitamin.  Participation in MilkPEP promotions is easy and free. A toolkit containing materials ready for download is available at www.milkpep.org for processors to use and share with retail accounts. Processors can sign-up by calling the Milk Hotline at 800-945-MILK through January 15. Additionally, processors can use activity for this promotion as an entry for the 2009 MilkPEP Awards.

Study: Yogurt May Prevent Bladder Cancer

Scientists in Sweden have found that eating yogurt may cut the risk of developing bladder cancer by up to 40%.

In a recent study, subjects who ate two servings of yogurt a day were significantly less likely to develop bladder cancer than those who ate yogurt only occasionally or not at all.

No benefit was found from regularly eating other dairy products, the study found.

The scientists behind the research believe that bacteria in yogurt could help to fight disease.

The study, by researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm followed 80,000 patients over nine years.

Asked about their diet, those who went on to develop bladder cancer were less likely to have eaten yogurt regularly than those who remained cancer free, the scientists said.

According to the findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a couple of yogurts a day reduced the risk of developing the disease in women by 45% and in men by 36%.

Wisconsin Cheese Masters Help Create Brand

Dierbergs Markets and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB) have launched a new private label program-Diebergs Signature Selections-that brands a collection of 18 premium, handcrafted cheeses from Wisconsin.

Dierbergs, a leading St. Louis area supermarket company with 23 stores, recently rolled out the program with promotional support from WMMB.  The exclusive line includes 12 cheeses from Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers, a designation that requires 10 years of cheesemaking experience, an apprenticeship and academic study. For easy identification, each of these cheeses displays the Master’s Mark seal in the deli case. Wisconsin is the only location outside of Europe that offers such a master’s designation.

“Dierbergs was eager to offer an exclusive selection of our own cheeses and conducted an exhaustive search to find the right partnership,” said David Calandro, Dierbergs director of Food Service. “We found it in Wisconsin with its award-winning cheeses and support programs from WMMB.  This fresh cut deli collection sets us apart in the very important specialty cheese category.”

Smith’s Eggnog Makes Seasonal Appearance

Smith Dairy Products Company, rolled out its line of SMITH’S eggnog in mid-October for the fall and winter holiday season.

“Drinking eggnog during the holidays is an age-old tradition that today’s consumers can also enjoy,” said Penny Baker, director of marketing at Smith Dairy. “They’ll find that our eggnog’s indulgent, rich, and creamy taste adds a special touch to seasonal favorite recipes like spice cake, too.”

SMITH’S eggnog is ultra-pasteurized for an extended shelf life and is packaged in a quart container with a convenient and re-sealable pour spout. The company’s traditional package graphics feature delightful caricatures of Santa and Mrs. Claus.