getting fresh: Candy - the great conciliator
I always thought confections had the power to improve one’s mood, revitalize a person’s energy level, reward the senses after a trying day, even facilitate courting. Seemingly, they also have the power to bring politicians together for the greater good.
We’ve all heard the stories of how President Reagan used Jelly Belly jelly beans to break logjams in cabinet and administration meetings. Woe be the cabinet member that refused the treats from the Great Communicator.
Well, it seems that they (Jelly Belly jelly beans) – along with Starbursts – played a critical role in getting the Senate to pass the most recent food safety bill. According to an article written by Gardiner Harris and William Neuman of the New York Times yesterday, Republican and Democratic Senate staffers bonded while snacking on the candies, which were provided by Senator Mike Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, and Senator Richard Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois.
This bonding enabled the staffers to “mould” a food safety bill that received bipartisan support, as evidenced by the 73 to 25 vote yesterday.
I know that there are probably several of you who consider this bill another example of unnecessary government involvement, that self-policing by the food industry has - until recently - been enough.
Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? Until recently, most food manufacturers have been extraordinarily diligent about food safety. The recent salmonella egg scare, coupled with the earlier peanut butter paste disaster last year, has amplified the issue of food safety with the public, and hence politicians.
As it stands, the Senate bill would grant the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new powers to recall food products, gain expanded access to company records, increase inspections and require verification by importers. Oh yea, one more thing, it would probably increase paperwork for everyone involved in the food chain.
The House version, which was passed in 2009, is similar, but differs in the fact that it includes funding for more FDA inspections and limits exceptions more than the Senate bill does.
Typically, the two bills would be reconciled through a joint House and Senate committee, but there doesn’t appear to be enough time to do so before Congress adjourns for the year. Thus, the Senate bill would have to pass the House as is, which isn’t guaranteed.
In talking to many confectionery manufacturers during the Peanut Corp. of America fiasco, no one hesitated in complying with the FDA to eliminate any potentially harmful product involving contaminated peanut paste.
Several manufacturers lost hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result, despite their best efforts adhering to high safety standards within their plants. Today, as I visit facilities here and abroad, traceability and food safety remain a top priority for all confectionery companies.
Unfortunately, the confectionery companies are dependent upon others to create their products. And while many have increased the scrutiny for preferred suppliers, it does require constant vigilance.
I think this food safety bill, while not perfect, represents a good step in restoring public confidence toward the U.S. food industry. Moreover, I firmly believe that many confectioners have already imposed much more stringent food safety practices within their plants. It only makes sense.
Of course, they’ve been eating confections longer than the Senate staffers have.
Full Circle Exchange Team Ups with CARE to Fight Poverty
Full Circle Exchange, which focuses on selling Fair Trade chocolate, organic coffee and tea to "promote justice and cultivate good" will co-brand chocolate and coffee sales with CARE, a humanitarian agency that fights poverty, as a means of generating revenues for poverty-fighting programs.
As part of its "Wake Up to Justice – Dollar 4 Dollar" campaign, when chocolate and coffee items are purchased on www.FullCircleExchange.com/CARE, Full Circle Exchange and its philanthropic partners will donate the full purchase price to CARE, up to $1 million.
The new partnership, which was launched in time for Cyber Monday online holiday sales, will generate up to $1 million for programs empowering girls and women around the world. "This partnership is good news for the girls and women CARE works to empower in more than 70 countries around the world," says Dr. Helene D. Gayle, president and ceo of CARE USA. "Consumers have the power to improve the lives of people half a world away by simply buying coffee and chocolate."
"We can't think of a better way to wake up to justice than knowing we've helped unleash the potential of countless girls and women to change their world," states Mark Priddy, ceo and co-founder of Full Circle Exchange. "Our desire is to show that the world of business and philanthropy cannot only co-exist, but can thrive by working together to achieve profound social outcomes, and change lives by empowering girls and women around the globe."
Full Circle Exchange's organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified gourmet chocolate barks benefitting CARE are available in four varieties: Caramel Cream Latte, Dark Hot Mango Curry, Dark Coconut Almond, and Extreme Dark with cherries. Half-pound packages of each variety are available for $13.95.
Gift boxes combining coffee and chocolate are also available for consumers seeking socially conscious holiday gifts.
Green & Black's 'Ambassadors' to Help Cocoa Farmers
Green & Black's Organic Chocolate, now part of Kraft Foods, has launched a Global Ambassador program. The program will send ten Americans and U.K. residents on a 1- day expedition in the depths of the Dominican Republic.
Successful applicants from both the U.S. and U.K. will serve as Global Ambassadors on behalf of Green & Black's Organic Chocolate and will become an integral part of a local cocoa farming community in the Dominican Republic. While there, Ambassadors will help build a gravity-fed water system to ensure that the residents of the community have consistent access to fresh, drinkable water.
Qualifying Green & Black's Global Ambassadors will be those who have made a difference in their own local communities and are interested in expanding their aid to help Green & Black's improve the Dominican cocoa farming community.
From Nov. 19, 2010 through Jan. 3, 2011, interested individuals can visit the Green & Black's U.S. Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GreenandBlacks.US) to complete two essay questions and submit a picture showcasing support for their local cause. Winners will be announced Jan. 21, 2011, and the Dominican Republic experience will take place later that year, from March 26 to April 9. Additionally, each of the winning applicants will receive $1,000 for a local-community building cause of their choice.
"Green & Black's is a Fair Trade Certified brand dedicated to empowering our cocoa growing partners to establish sustainable livelihoods and communities through agricultural and social programs," says Nicole McLaughlin, marketing director, U.S. Chocolate, Kraft Foods.
"Our goal is to find likeminded people who are not only dedicated to helping their own local communities, but communities across the globe,” she adds. “The work they'll do and the impact they'll make will be an experience the Ambassadors and the Dominican cocoa farming community will never forget."
For more information, visit www.greenandblacks.com.
Star Football Players Endorse Detour Protein Bars
Nutrition bar company Forward Foods, LLC, looks to score points with consumers with the endorsement of several star professional football players.
Steve Smith, Pro Bowl wide receiver for the New York Giants; LaMarr Woodley, Pro Bowl outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers; Eddie Royal, wide receiver/punt returner for the Denver Broncos and Mike Thomas, wide receiver/punt returner for the Jacksonville Jaguars, all signed multi-season endorsement agreements today with Carson City, Nev.-based Forward Foods, espousing the company's award-winning Detour protein bars.
All four players maintain an aggressive, year-round training and nutritional program, the company points out. To help meet athletes’ nutritional needs, Detour provides a high quality protein source to support muscle development and recovery.
"We were excited and proud to be approached by Steve, LaMarr, Eddie and Mike to support the Detour brand," says Pat Muldoon, Forward Foods’ ceo. “All four of these players are among the best of the best – they've put in a lifetime of preparation and dedication, both to their physical capabilities and to their mastery of professional football. That's exactly the type of achiever and athlete we want endorsing Detour.”
"Detour protein bars actually taste great, which is rare in the industry,” adds Smith. “Growing up playing sports, I've tried a ton of protein products over the years, but when I found Detour, it instantly became my favorite. I feel privileged to partner with a product I personally use on a regular basis and truly believe in."
Fans can see first-hand how each player goes about preparing himself for playing football as well as information about Detour protein bars, the players’ favorite flavors and more on www.facebook.com/DetourBars.
For more information, visit www.detourbar.com.
Calling all chocolatiers!
Doron Ofir Casting, a division of Popular Productions, Inc. that’s inspired by and directly contributes to the world of pop culture, has announced a search for “the new face of the confectionery world that makes creative candy and/or chocolate creations.”
The Hollywood, Calif.-based casting company is looking for a professional confectionery artist that either owns his/her own family business or works with a dedicated team to create sugary fantasies and/or chocolate treasures.
The new docu-series will offer one confectionery family and its colleagues “the unprecedented opportunity to have their business, their creations, endeavors and their passion for confections shared with the world.”
To apply for this exciting new docu-series, the company asks all interested candidates to visit its website: www.SweetLifeCasting.com.
Sweet of the Week: Caltrate Soft Chews
On the heels of the Institute of Medicine’s most recent recommendation for Americans to increase the daily recommended intake of vitamin D as a means of maintaining bone health, Madison, N.J.-based Pfizer Consumer Healthcare has launched Caltrate Soft Chews, a tasty and convenient way to help reach the new, higher daily vitamin D goals.
Caltrate Soft Chews are available in Chocolate Truffle and Vanilla Creme flavors and can be taken with or without food, offering a portable, nutritious and delicious solution to help get the daily calcium and vitamin D3 needed to stay healthy, active and moving.
Two daily Caltrate Soft Chews provide 1200 mg of calcium, roughly the same amount found in 17 servings of broccoli, and 800 IU of vitamin D3, roughly the same amount found in more than 6 servings of vitamin-D-fortified, 2% milk or roughly the same amount of 134 half-cup servings of vanilla ice cream.
For more information, please visit www.caltrate.com.