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FDA sets standards for ‘gluten-free’ food labeling

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Foods must carry gluten content of less than 20 parts per million in order to carry the label "gluten-free," according to a new regulation issued by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA announced the regulation Wednesday, saying the standard would provide consumers with the assurance that "gluten-free" claims on product labeling are consistent and reliable across the food industry; other labels, such as "no gluten" and "without gluten" also would be subject to the new standard.

According to the agency, 20 ppm is the smallest amount of gluten that can be reliably detected in foods, and most people with celiac disease can tolerate foods with very small quantities. Gluten is a protein that naturally occurs in wheat, rye and barley, but as many as 3 million Americans may have celiac disease, an auto-immune and inflammatory disorder that leaves the body unable to process gluten.

The FDA said many foods labeled as "gluten-free" already meet the federal definition, but those that have not yet complied have until August 2014 to do so.

 

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Suja Elements non-GMO smoothies hit store shelves at Whole Foods nationwide

BY Jason Owen

SAN DIEGO — Suja Co., known for its fresh fruit and vegetable juices, is extending into the fresh smoothie category with the introduction of Suja Elements.

Co-developed and sold exclusively in Whole Foods Markets nationwide, Suja Elements is a high-quality smoothie made with no GMOs and manufactured in a cold-press process. Using cold-pressed organic juice as a base, Suja Elements also incorporates blended fruits and some of the world’s best superfoods like camu camu, bao bab, and chia. Unlike all of the other smoothies on sale at the store, this drink is not heat pasteurized, the company stated. Each of the six fresh smoothies offers vital nutrients and refreshing taste with no added flavors, colors or preservatives.

Suja has added a social aspect to the new Suja Elements line, donating 20 cents for every bottle sold to nonprofits that are a part of the Suja Elements Cause Collective. The company’s goal is to raise $1 million annually on behalf of the Elements Cause Collective.

Six Suja Elements flavors, which are USDA Organic and verified non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project, will be rolled out nationwide this week:

  • 24 Karat — A blend of carrot, apple, orange, pineapple, peach and banana. For every 24 Karat purchased, 20 cents will be donated to New Eyes, empowering people in the United States and overseas with the improved vision they need to pursue a better quality of life (http://www.new-eyes.org).
  • Green Charge — Apple, pineapple, banana, mango, kiwi, kale and spinach combined with chia seed, flax seed, barley grass, spirulina, chlorella and alfalfa. For every bottle purchased, 20 cents will be donated to Teens Turning Green, a non-profit striving to educate and inspire young adults to promote environmentally conscious and socially responsible choices (http://www.teensturninggreen.org).
  • Berryoxidant — A combination of apple, orange, strawberry, banana, raspberry, tart cherry, chia seed, flax seed, baobab, camu camu and acai. For every bottle purchased, 20 cents will be donated to Citizens for GMO Labeling, a grassroots movement of parents, farmers and citizens dedicated to regaining people’s basic right to know what they are eating and feeding their families (http://citizensforgmolabeling.org).
  • Mango Fuego — Blends the tropical fruit sweetness of mango with the subtle heat of serrano chili. For every bottle purchased, 20 cents will be donated to Whole Planet Foundation, a non-profit that provides loans to microfinance institutions in Latin America, Africa and Asia who in turn offer micro loans to the self-employed poor (http://www.wholeplanetfoundation.org).
  • Blutrients — Organic blueberries, blackberries with chia and camu camu. For every bottle purchased, 20 cents will be donated to Whole Kids Foundation, an organization devoted to improving children’s nutrition and wellness with the goal of ending the childhood obesity epidemic (http://www.wholekidsfoundation.org).
  • Tropicaloe — A combination of electrolyte rich coconut water with soothing aloe vera and mint. For every bottle purchased, 20 cents will be donated to International Rescue Committee, a non-profit dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression or violent conflict (http://www.rescue.org).

Suja Elements carry a suggested retail price of $4.99 per 12-oz. bottle.


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Stop & Shop highlights sustainability efforts for Earth Day

BY Alaric DeArment

PURCHASE, N.Y. — Stop & Shop is marking Earth Day on Monday by emphasizing the measures it has taken to reduce its effects on the environment, the Ahold USA-owned supermarket banner said.

Stop & Shop highlighted its efforts to sell sustainably sourced seafood, reducing the environmental effects of its store operations — including adding environmentally friendly design features to stores — and helping customers reduce waste. The chain reiterated its intention to reduce its carbon footprint by 20% by 2015.

"From recycling initiatives to building sustainable stores, Stop & Shop continues to support meaningful, mutually beneficial partnerships that help bring green behavior into the workplace," Stop & Shop New York Metro Division president Don Sussman said. "We believe that the principles of Earth Day should be celebrated each and every day of the year."

By 2020, the company hopes to have "zero waste," defined as 90% of waste that would otherwise go to landfills and incinerators go instead to organic recycling, such as food donations and repurposing food that can’t be donated as livestock feed, compost or biomass for electricity.

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