A Controversial Chemical Has Been Found in Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Indian Food and Beverages News

July 31, 2017

Traces of a controversial chemical have been found in several varieties of Ben & Jerrys ice cream. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in the popular Roundup brand weed killer, and The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) confirmed yesterday that it was found in 10 out of 11 Ben & Jerrys flavor samples.


The flavors that tested positive were as follows: Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter Cookie, Vanilla (two flavors), Phish Food, The Tonight Dough, Half Baked, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Americone Dream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. The only flavor that tested negative? Old reliable Cherry Garcia.


But dont start panic-purging your refrigerator just yetthe levels of glyphosate found were way below the safe ceiling as set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Per The New York Times, an average adult would have to eat 290,000 servings of ice cream a day to hit the unsafe zone.


So how concerned do you need to be? The OCA is one of several consumer groups that has been working to raise awareness of glyphosate in food recently, after some research linked it to an increased risk of disease. An agency of the World Health Organization concluded earlier this year that the chemical probably could cause cancer, contradicting earlier studies which had declared glyphosate to be safe.


Glyphosate is often used in genetically engineered crops like corn and soy, and according to a Ben & Jerrys spokesman the company is working to ensure that its ingredients do not come from GMO sources. None of its plant-based ingredients come from genetically engineered crops, and the company is reportedly working on a cost-effective way for its dairy suppliers to use non-GMO feed.


Were working to transition away from GMO as far away as we can get, said Rob Michalak, global director of social mission at Ben & Jerrys. But then these tests come along, and we need to better understand where the glyphosate theyre finding is coming from. Maybe its from something thats not even in our supply chain, and so were missing it.


So while the occasional bowl of Ben & Jerrys probably isnt going to harm you, maybe stick to Cherry Garcia if youre nervous.


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U.S. FDA Seeks to Lower Nicotine in Cigarettes to Nonaddictive Levels

Xinhua General News Service

July 31, 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Friday that it will seek to lower nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels as part of a comprehensive regulatory plan aimed at significantly reducing tobacco-related disease and death.


In a statement, the FDA also said it will begin a public dialogue about lowering nicotine levels in combustible cigarettes to nonaddictive levels through achievable product standards.


Because almost 90% of adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18 and nearly 2,500 youth smoke their first cigarette every day in the U.S., lowering nicotine levels could decrease the likelihood that future generations become addicted to cigarettes and allow more currently addicted smokers to quit, the U.S. agency said.


According to the FDA, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, as well as an estimated 300 billion U.S. dollars in direct health care and lost productivity costs.


The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettesthe only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users, said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.


Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use.


The U.S. agency also said it tries to reach an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging development of innovative tobacco products that may be less dangerous than cigarettes.


As a result, it will give manufacturers of the controversial e-cigarettes and several other previously unregulated tobacco products more time to comply with an FDA final rule taking effect on Aug. 8 last year that extended the agencys authority to these tobacco products.


Under expected revised timelines, applications for newly-regulated combustible products, such as cigars, pipe tobacco and hookah tobacco, would be submitted by Aug. 8, 2021, and applications for non-combustible products such as … e-cigarettes would be submitted by Aug. 8, 2022, the FDA said.


Under the final rule issued last year, manufacturers were only given about three years to get FDA approval for their products.


Fridays announcement will not affect other requirements, such as mandatory age and photo-ID checks to prevent illegal sales to minors.


In addition, the U.S. agency said it will consider whether and how to exempt premium cigars from regulation and whether to ban menthol and other flavors in cigarettes, factors known as a leading driver of youth smoking.


Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement the new tobacco regulatory agenda proposed by Gottlieb represents a bold and comprehensive vision with the potential to accelerate progress in reducing tobacco use and the death and disease it causes in the United States.


However, Myers criticized it as a serious error for the FDA to significantly delay critical deadlines for complying with the agencys 2016 rule establishing oversight of electronic cigarettes, cigars and other previously unregulated tobacco products.


This long delay will allow egregious, kid-friendly e-cigarettes and cigars, in flavors like gummy bear, cherry crush and banana smash, to stay on the market with little public health oversight, Myers said.


There is no reason to allow these products to stay on the market while developing and implementing the comprehensive strategy Dr. Gottlieb outlined today.


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Ford Recalling 117,000 Vehicles Due to Faulty Bolts

Canadian Press

July 28, 2017

Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 117,000 vehicles because the bolts in the seat, seat belt or seat belt buckle may fracture.


The recall involves the 2014 F-Series pickup, 2014 E-Series van, 2014-2015 Ford Escape and the 2015 Lincoln MKC SUV. Most of the affected vehicles are in the United States, but there are 20,681 in Canada and 1,510 in Mexico.


Ford says if the bolt fractures, the seat or the seat belts performance could be compromised in a sudden stop or crash.


The company says its not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the defect.


Customers will be notified and dealers will replace the affected bolts for free.


Original headline: Ford recalling 117,000 vehicles for safety defect


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Managers Often Fail to Use or Understand Their Own Data on Customer Satisfaction

Targeted News Service

July 28, 2017

Indiana University issued the following news release:


Despite the millions of dollars companies spend to gather information about customer satisfaction, senior managers often fail to understand those customers expectations.


Neil A. Morgan, professor and PetSmart Distinguished Chair of Marketing at Indiana Universitys Kelley School of Business, and four coauthors of a recent journal article present a huge disconnect between managers and customers in terms of understanding what drives customer satisfaction and loyalty.


The researchers used data from 70,000 American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys and compared it with responses to the same questions posed to 1,068 marketing managers and those in customer-facing roles at the American Customer Satisfaction Index-measured companies, predominately Fortune 500 firms.


Their results show that managers in a wide cross-section of industries often overestimate their customers satisfaction. This leads them to rely on unrealistic expectations when making marketing decisions and allocating resources to address marketplace issues.


Clearly theres been a communication breakdown, Morgan said. Either the messages arent being disseminated, or they arent being understood within organizations. Otherwise, managers would have a better understanding of both the level and drivers of dissatisfaction among customers.


That means that there are customer satisfaction problems that are not being solved, because managers dont know or dont believe that they exist, he added. Even if they did, they try fixing the wrong things.


The paper, Do Managers Know What Their Customers Think and Why, appears in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science.


Most of the large consumer-focused firms in the study sample have customer-satisfaction monitoring and feedback systems in place and invest heavily in them. Morgan believes that managers arent being exposed to the customer feedback data or they arent understanding it accurately.


These overly optimistic managers are likely to miss trouble signs when they appear, the researchers wrote. This is compounded by managers significantly underestimating the proportion of customers who have complained about the firms products or services in the recent past.


Inaccurate understanding of what drives customers perceptions of products and services hampers a companys ability to react to an issue. Even when managers recognize a need to improve customers perceptions, they may fail to do so in a way that leads to the desired outcomes.


For example, the survey results indicate that managers are more likely to underinvest in raising customer quality perceptions as a way to enhance customer satisfaction.


Our findings may also provide an explanation for overemphasis on cost-cutting and efficiency observed in firms strategies relative to that on quality improvements or achieving differentiation, the study said. Where managers overestimate their own customer perception of the firms performance, cutbacks that undermine the quality of service, for example, may seem less dangerous than they really are.


There seems to be a belief in lots of companiesand its kind of an urban myththat most people who are unhappy wont complain, Morgan added. This data suggests that they shouldnt be treating complaints as something different. They should be used as part of an overall customer feedback system.


Customer satisfaction is a significant factor on the bottom line, and previous studies have found that customer complaints impact stock returns.


For managers, the results of our study should serve as a wake-up call that all is not well with most firms customer satisfaction and complaint monitoring systems, the researchers wrote. Despite often being the single biggest line-item of most firms market research expenditures, existing customer feedback systems are not performing an effective management control role.


Other authors of the research paper are G. Tomas Hult of Michigan State University, Forrest Morgeson III of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Robert Smith of the University of Maryland and Sunil Mithas of CFI Group.


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