Blue Smarties are back, thanks to natural color additive
YORK, United Kingdom An all-natural coloring derived from seaweed has put blue Smarties back on the shelves following their removal two years ago in response to concerns over artificial additives.
Nestle Rowntree stopped producing blue Smarties when it promised to remove all artificial colorings from the confectionery amid concerns that they are linked to hyperactivity and may pose other health risks. The blue Smartie was replaced by a white one, while a suitable natural alternative was found to the coloring Brilliant Blue (E133).
“There were a lot of disappointed consumers when blue Smarties were taken out of the range but I am delighted to announce that they are back,” said Graham Walker, Nestle Rowntree UK Trade Communications Manager.
After an extended period of development, Nestle now appears to have found the solution in spirulina, which is produced from two species of cyanobacteria (blue-green lake algae). It is commonly used as a dietary supplement as it contains unusually high levels of protein, between 55 and 77 percent by dry weight. It also is rich in essential fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, D and E, and contains potassium and other minerals.
It is not clear if the blue Smarties will maintain any of Spirulina’s health benefits.
A study had concluded that cocktails of food colourings commonly used in confectionery and beverages, and sodium benzoate, can aggravate hyperactivity in children. However, Brilliant Blue was not included in this. Manufacturers have been responding to consumer demand to reduce artificial additives on the back of health concerns and a growing trend to choose natural and organic.
Mintel’s Global New Products Database found that more than 1,000 new food products claiming to be additive- and preservative-free were launched in the United Kingdom last year, according to Mintel, representing almost a quarter of all launches and nearly three times as many as any other European country.
Chattem issues recall of Icy Hot Heat Therapy products
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. In what will quite possibly chill sales for the company, Chattem late Friday evening initiated a voluntary nationwide recall of its Icy Hot Heat Therapy products, including consumer “samples” that were included on a limited promotional basis in cartons of its 3 oz. Aspercreme product.
Chattem is recalling these products because it has received some consumer reports of first-, second- and third-degree burns as well as skin irritation resulting from consumer use, or possible misuse, of these products.
The number of adverse events reported to date represents less than one-tenth of one percent of the approximately 1.8 million units of product sold at retail, the company advised.
All lots and all sizes of the following Icy Hot Heat Therapy products are affected by this recall:
• Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat- Back
• Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat- Arm, Neck, and Leg
• Icy Hot Heat Therapy Air Activated Heat- Arm, Neck, and Leg single consumer use “samples” included on a limited promotional basis in cartons of 3 oz. Aspercreme Pain Relieving Creme.
The news comes only one week after Chattem chairman and chief executive officer Zan Guerry declared that Chattem “experienced the most successful year in its 128 year history” based on year-ending results for the period ending Nov. 30 reported Jan. 29.
Icy Hot is one of six brands that was expected to draw considerable advertising support in the coming year, Guerry had reported. The company’s total pain care products sales, which included Icy Hot, totaled $95.9 million for the fiscal year 2007, down 5 percent as compared to 2006. While sales behind the core Icy Hot brand had been strong, the company reported, sales of Icy Hot Pro-Therapy were disappointing. The recall impacts Chattem’s core icy Hot brand.
“If consumer sales are strong and growing, profits are going to follow,” Guerry told analysts last week. “Total Nielsen sales, excluding Pro-Therapy, were up 7.5 percent [for the month of December] and our big six brands [were] up double-digits as a group led by Gold Bond and Icy Hot, our two biggest brands, Gold Bond up 22 percent for December and Icy Hot up 30-percent-plus.”
Consequently, a drop in Icy Hot sales may negatively impact Chattem profits.
However, sales of Icy Hot Heat Therapy in fiscal 2007 represented only 2.3 percent of the company’s total revenues of $423 million and less than 1 percent of its total EBITDA, the company stated in a press release explaining the recall. For fiscal 2008, Icy Hot Heat Therapy was forecasted to represent less than 2 percent of total revenues and less than 1 percent of EBITDA. In the first quarter of fiscal 2008, Chattem expects to record a charge for the Icy Hot Heat Therapy recall related costs and expenses of approximately $6 million to $9 million, or $0.20 to $0.30 per share. The charge encompasses the return of products from the company’s distributors, retail customers and end-user consumers, impairment of the affected in-house inventory and other recall-related costs.
Chattem reiterated its previously forecasted earnings per share for fiscal 2008 of $4 to $4.20 and trend toward the upper end of this range, excluding the impact of the Icy Hot Heat Therapy recall charge, stock option expense and any loss on debt extinguishment.
Consumers who have the Icy Hot Heat Therapy products under recall should immediately stop using the products, discard them and/or return them to Chattem, the company stated.
Registration available for new CRN Workshop
WASHINGTON On Thursday, May 8th, The Council for Responsible Nutrition will be conducting a one-day symposium entitled The Workshop: CRN’s Day of Science. The workshop will take place at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Hotel, just outside of Washington, D.C., and will be divided in three sessions, featuring Tieraona Low Dog, from the University of Arizona, who will be the keynote speaker.
The first session will feature speakers David Perlmutter, of the Perlmutter Health Center, Jim LaValle, from the LaValle Metabolic Institute and the University of Cincinnati’s College of Pharmacy, and Aviad Haramati, from Georgetown University’s School of Medicine. All will be focusing on specifics in their field, but the overall purpose of the session is to explore and discuss the relationship between dietary supplements and chronic disease management.
The second session will be a discussion on the value of other types of scientific research for dietary supplements, as opposed to the reductionist approach. This session will feature the following speakers: Jeffrey Blumberg, from Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Cheryl Ritenbaugh, at the University of Arizona; and Jonathan Berman, with the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s Office of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs.
The third and final session will be focused on the processes to use in order to evaluate the identity of raw materials and, according to published reports, the role of industry facilitating method validation. Featured speakers include, Joseph Betz, in the Office of Dietary Supplements’ Dietary Supplements Methods and Reference Materials Program; Edward Kennelly, at Lehman College, the City University of New York’s Department of Biological Sciences; Paula Brown, from the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Natural Health Product Research Group; Mark Roman, at Tampa Bay Analytical Research; and John Cardellina II, from the ReevesGroup.
Registration for the workshop is on a first-come-first-served basis. The fees for registration are $495 for CRN members and $595 for non-CRN members, and there is a rate of $295 for academic and government representatives. To register online—and review the full list of details—visit www.crnusa.org/TheWorkshop.