HEALTH

OHA: Organic industry experienced strong growth in 2010

BY Allison Cerra

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The organic industry grew at a rate of nearly 8% to more than $28.6 billion, according to a recent survey conducted by the Organic Trade Association.

"While total U.S. food sales grew by less than 1% in 2010, the organic food industry grew by 7.7%," said Christine Bushway, OTA’s CEO and executive director. "Consumers continue to vote with their dollars in favor of the organic choice. These results illustrate the positive contribution organic agriculture and trade make to our economy, and particularly to rural livelihoods."

Bushway added that big winners were organic fruits and vegetables, which increase nearly 12% to $10.6 billion in 2010, followed by organic dairy, which experienced a value of $3.9 billion, and captured almost 6% of the total U.S. market for dairy products. For the organic non-food sector, organic supplements led with a value of $681 million, representing 7.4% growth over 2009 figures.

The OTA, the membership-based business association for organic agriculture and products in North America, said that its 63-page 2011 organic industry survey report now is available for purchase. For more information, click here.

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FDA warns companies to stop making MRSA claims for over-the-counter products

BY Michael Johnsen

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued four warning letters to companies that manufacture and market over-the-counter drug products, including hand sanitizers, that claim to prevent infection from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA.

Labeling and marketing materials for the affected products also claim that they can prevent infection from other disease-causing agents. In addition, the labeling of some of the firms’ hand-sanitizing drug products make claims related to preventing infection from E.coli and/or H1N1 flu virus. The FDA does not have sufficient evidence demonstrating that these products are safe and effective for these purposes.

"MRSA is a serious public health threat," stated Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims."

The FDA warning letters were sent to the following firms:

  • Tec Labs for StaphAseptic first-aid antiseptic/pain-relieving gel;

  • JD Nelson and Associates for Safe4Hours hand-sanitizing lotion and Safe4Hours first-aid antiseptic skin protectant;

  • Dr. G.H. Tichenor Antiseptic Co. for Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic gel; and

  • Oh So Clean, doing business as CleanWell Co., for CleanWell all-natural foaming hand sanitizer, CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizer, CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizing wipes and CleanWell all-natural antibacterial foaming hand soap.

The warning letters explain that the companies are marketing these products in violation of federal law.

The companies have 15 days to correct the violations cited in the warning letters. Failure to do so may result in legal action, including seizure and injunction, the agency stated.

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Performance Health receives APMA seal of acceptance for heel pain treatment

BY Michael Johnsen

AKRON, Ohio — The American Podiatric Medical Association has awarded the APMA seal of acceptance to Performance Health’s Thera-Band First Step to Foot Relief, a first-line treatment plan for heel pain.

The seal is awarded to a product after the Committee on Podiatric Seals, a standing committee of the American Podiatric Medical Association, scientifically evaluates and determines whether the product allows normal foot function and promotes quality foot health.

The First Step to Foot Relief provides the podiatrist with an at-home treatment plan that enhances his or her in-clinic service with professional tools and an easy-to-follow program. The product was developed under the direction of practicing podiatrists, physical therapists and chiropractors to address heel pain.

“[More than] 2 million Americans suffer from heel pain, the most common ailment seen in podiatry today,” stated Elizabeth DeFranco, podiatry marketing manager at Performance Health. “Our new First Step to Foot Relief provides a podiatrist with guided options to improve [his or her] patient’s well-being and to enhance [his or her] level of service for patients with heel pain."

Performance Health also announced that its Biofreeze pain reliever external analgesic was recognized by the APMA seal of approval.

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