NEWS WATCH

USDA BEGINS AMR SAMPLING PROGRAMtment of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has implemented a program designed to keep spinal-cord tissue and related matter out of meat products, as the agency boosts its efforts to protect consumers against mad cow disease. Under the new sampling protocol, AMR product will be routinely sampled, and detection of spinal cord tissue in final product will

USDA BEGINS AMR SAMPLING PROGRAM

tment of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has implemented a program designed to keep spinal-cord tissue and related matter out of meat products, as the agency boosts its efforts to protect consumers against mad cow disease. Under the new sampling protocol, AMR product will be routinely sampled, and detection of spinal cord tissue in final product will require relabeling held product or recalling distributed product from commerce. Inspection personnel also will conduct follow-up sampling to verify that the establishment has taken appropriate corrective action. USDA officials noted a 2002 survey of 34 establishments producing beef products from AMR systems showed that approximately 35% of the final product samples tested positive for spinal cord and central nervous system-associated tissues.

FIREFIGHTERS JOIN CHOLESTEROL PROMOTION

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. -- Firehouses across the nation will be gearing up to battle heart disease in a promotion sponsored by Lipton's Take Control spread. The Take Control Firefighters Heart-Healthy Challenge requires firefighters in four cities -- New York, Dallas, San Francisco and Tampa -- to begin a 14-day diet to reduce their LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. Each city that participates receives a donation to the firefighters' charity of choice. The winning firefighters will win a trip to Hawaii, the healthiest state in the union, according to statistics. The winner will be determined by compiling the average LDL cholesterol loss of each city's firefighting team. Lipton has contracted with Dr. Howard Shapiro, a noted author and weight-loss expert, to create the 14-day, cholesterol-lowering meal plan that includes two tablespoons daily of Take Control spread.

FROZEN FOODS GROUP TO CONDUCT DAIRY PROMOTION

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association will hold its first June Dairy Month promotion this year. Drawing upon 20 years of experience promoting March National Frozen Food Month, the NFRA this time intends to achieve results in the refrigerated dairy department. June Dairy Month will be announced to 14.5 million consumers around the country in ads in major newspapers breaking on June 1. The ad will feature the brand logos of the participating sponsors, and direct readers to the NFRA consumer Web site, www.easyhomemeals.com, where they can enter the $7,500 Cool Favorites Sweepstakes. The Web site also offers readers meal solution ideas, recipes, preparation and storage guidelines, and games for children. At store level, specially designed point-of-sale materials for June incorporate the "Bring Us To Your Table! Cool Favorites" logo and a new "cool" penguin mascot.

KROGER-ASMI EVENT KICKS OFF LENT WITH SEAFOOD

CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. kicked off the Lenten seafood sales season with a remote radio broadcast and cooking demo in its flagship store's seafood department last week. During the broadcast, local radio WGRR's announcer talked about Alaskan seafood at Kroger and urged people to come in -- right then. He also talked about how easy it is to cook some of the items. Right next to him, Melissa DiSalle, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Northeast/Midwest representative, showed Kroger customers how to saute Alaskan pollack fillets. The Lent demo was tied into an aggressive special on frozen, Alaskan pollack filets, in an attention-getting, buy-one-get-one-free offer. The filets, at $2.99 a pound, were packaged in-store, in random-weight tray packs and offered