NEWS WATCH: FOOD INDUSTRY, NUTRITION ORGANIZATIONS WEIGH IN ON UPDATED FOOD PYRAMID...SCIENTISTS FIND FLAME RETARDANTS IN MEAT, DAIRY, FISH PRODUCTS CONTAINING FAT

FOOD INDUSTRY, NUTRITION ORGANIZATIONS WEIGH IN ON UPDATED FOOD PYRAMIDs last month submitted comments and requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion regarding its planned 2005 update of the Food Guide Pyramid. The American Dietetic Association said consumers have a fundamental misunderstanding of serving sizes described by the pyramid, while the Partnership

FOOD INDUSTRY, NUTRITION ORGANIZATIONS WEIGH IN ON UPDATED FOOD PYRAMID

s last month submitted comments and requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion regarding its planned 2005 update of the Food Guide Pyramid. The American Dietetic Association said consumers have a fundamental misunderstanding of serving sizes described by the pyramid, while the Partnership for Essential Nutrition said it failed to illustrate how Americans should prioritize foods in a balanced diet. One solution, proposed by the Produce Marketing Association, was to replace the pyramid's base -- currently occupied by breads, cereals, rice and pasta -- with fruits and vegetables, and recommend that Americans eat five to 13 servings of produce per day. The National Food Processors Association said that, whatever decisions were made, graphics used in the new pyramid should "reflect the reality of how consumers purchase and consume foods" by allowing, for example, a graphic of a juice carton to depict a serving of fruit.

SCIENTISTS FIND FLAME RETARDANTS IN MEAT, DAIRY, FISH PRODUCTS CONTAINING FAT

DALLAS -- Larger-than-expected amounts of chemicals used to reduce the flammability of textiles, plastics and furniture foam were found in fresh foods at three area supermarkets, according to a scientific report. The retardants, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are easily absorbed by fatty tissues, and were found in all tested foods containing animal fats. The highest levels were found in fish, followed by meats and then milk. Nonfat milk at the stores was uncontaminated. Researchers expressed concern, since studies using rodents have associated the chemicals with cancer, brain impairment and endocrine disruption, yet it remains unclear how the chemicals are being released into the air or water, or how fish and farm animals are otherwise coming into contact with them. An industry group, the Bromine Science and Environmental Forum, said the highest levels found -- in a salmon filet -- were negligible. The findings were published in Environmental Science & Technology, the official journal of the American Chemical Society.