Nutrition & Health
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Nutrition & Health
Curating articles on #food, #nutrition, #health including related topics such as #malnutrition #obesity #diabetes #foodlabeling #stunting #supplements. #biofortified, #omega-3s. Senior editor/curator - Margaret Carroll Boardman Ph.D.
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Are overweight children less able to handle advertising?

11 December 2013, Alpha Galileo, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien -- "Weight, body shape perception, self-esteem and dietary habits all contribute to how children handle food advertising. A new study suggests that overweight children, in particular, could benefit from special training, in order to increase their media skills in relation to the exposure to advertising.


“Advertising literacy”, which refers to the ability to recognise, evaluate and understand advertising, is one of the most important skills in the development of children into informed and competent consumers. Several international studies have already looked closely at the development of this ability. “Over the last 40 years, the age of a child has commonly been seen as the most critical factor in this regard”, the author of the study, Ralf Terlutter, explains.

However, significant differences frequently persisted within one age group. Terlutter describes the specific approach: “For this study, we used the influence of body weight and body shape perception, as well as the impact of dietary habits as criteria.”


There can be no question of the relevance of this study: The number of overweight or even obese children is increasing. In 2012, the WHO estimated the number at around 170 million overweight children worldwide. Most of these children consume advertising, particularly through the medium of television. Approximately 40 per cent of advertising focuses on food. Frequently, the advertised food is unhealthy, due to its high fat, salt or sugar content. ..."

GR2Food's insight:

Cited reference: Spielvogel J. & Terlutter R. (2013). Development of TV advertising literacy in children. Do physical appearance and eating habits matter? International Journal of Advertising (32/3), 343-368.

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A Global Policy Consultation on ‘Getting Nutritious Foods to People’, Why Now?

12 December 2013, IFPRI - Biofortification, dokello -- "HarvestPlus leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing and disseminating staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals. In recent years, several nutritious biofortified crops have been released in eight different countries with promising results.



The time has now come to scale up delivery of these crops and mainstream biofortification. A Global Consultation, entitled ‘Getting Nutritious Foods to People’ will be held from April 1-3, 2014 in Kigali, Rwanda, between invited key players from government, business and civil society organizations. This will provide an opportunity to build and enhance partnerships.


“We have to get all these different sectors talking to one another, understanding what their individual roles are, and seeing how we can best coordinate our activities,” says HarvestPlus Director, Howarth Bouis. “At the end of the conference we want people from all of these sectors to have specific ideas on activities that we can undertake to work together to mainstream biofortification.” ..."


see original for related video.

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Ramping Up Pterostilbene in Crops

Ramping Up Pterostilbene in Crops | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

25 November 2013, USDA ARS, Rosalie Marion Bliss -- "ARS scientists have developed a two-gene strategy that can boost production of the beneficial phytochemical pterostilbene in crops like blueberries that already produce it and also add it into crops that don't commonly produce it such as grapes. 


The discovery by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists enables crop species to produce or increase production of pterostilbene. Stilbenes are a subgroup of beneficial plant phytochemicals called "polyphenols." The approach could pave the way for ramping up levels of potentially healthful pterostilbene in crops that normally produce it, such as grapes and berries.


ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

ARS molecular biologists Scott R. Baerson and Zhiqiang Panand chemist Agnes Rimando headed the study. They and plant physiologist Franck Dayan, a coauthor, are with the ARSNatural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Miss. Another coauthor, ARS plant pathologist James Polashock, works with the agency's Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Lab in Beltsville, Md., but is based in Chatsworth, N.J. ..."


Photo credit: USDA ARS


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Microbiome Candy: Could A Probiotic Mint Help Prevent Cavities?

Microbiome Candy: Could A Probiotic Mint Help Prevent Cavities? | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

10 December 2013, NPR, The Salt, Michaeleen Doucleff -- "Lacing a candy with the right kind of bacteria may one day fight off tooth decay, a study suggests.


... a study involving a few dozen volunteers published in September suggests that the concept is promising: Sucking on the bacteria-laced mints lowered the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the saliva of volunteers, microbiologists reported in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins.


So how does the candy work?  Our mouths are microbial jungles. They're filled with more than 600 species of bacteria. Most of them are harmless. But in terms of tooth decay, one critter is the major culprit:Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria take sugars in our food and turn them into tooth-dissolving acids.


So microbiologist Christine Lang at Organobalance — a German research and development firm that focuses on probiotics — thought, why not get the good bacteria to fight off the bad ones. ..."


Photo: A sweet way to avoid the dentist? Microbiologists are developing a probiotic mint that uses dead bacteria to fight off cavities. Credit: Morgan Walker/NPR

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Cut sugar intake to 5 teaspoons a day, scientists urge

Cut sugar intake to 5 teaspoons a day, scientists urge | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

10 December 2013, The Telegraph, Sarah Knapton -- "Newcastle University scientists are urging people to cut their sugar intake to just five teaspoons a day if they want their teeth to last a lifetime.


Sugar intake should be halved to just five teaspoons a day, after scientists warned that treats which have traditionally been saved for birthdays or Christmas have become everyday staples.


A study by Newcastle University into the effects of sugar on our oral health recommends cutting down sugar to reduce tooth decay.


Since 1990 the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that intake of “free sugars” should be less than 10 per cent of total energy (calorie) intake.


Free sugars are sugars that are added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer; plus those naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates.


Researchers recommend halving the threshold to less than 5 per cent of calories – around five teaspoons a day - would bring further benefits, minimising the risk of dental cavities throughout life. ..."


Photo: Newcastle University has suggseted that current guidelines for sugar intake our too high and should be halved to just five teaspoons per day. Credit: ALAMY

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Fighting the childhood obesity crisis

10 December 2013, Alpha Galileo via Youris.com -- "Scientists are studying the genetic, social and dietary factors influencing child obesity.


Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Now, an extensive and long-term research project aims at identifying the causes of this dramatic increase. In a study including 16.000 children from across Europe and spanning over several years, scientists are now trying to determine possible genetic and social factors influencing obesity in children. The study focuses on uncovering the reasons why some children eat unhealthy foods. It also investigates the underlying causes leading children to exercise too little.


In another independent study, nutritionists have shown that the diet of the mother during pregnancy and that of young infants could be the cause of obesity in children as they grow older. “It has long been known that fewer breastfed children are overweight and we believe that this is because breastfed infants gain weight more slowly during the first two years of life, compared to those who have not been breastfed,” says Berthold Koletzko, professor of paediatrics and an expert in metabolism and diet at the Haunersches Children's Hospital in Munich, Germany.


With one in five children considered overweight and 8% obese, these studies are expected to give new insights into the nutritional and health habits of our children. "


Watch video: http://commnet.eu/05_News/Fighting_The_Childhood_Obesity_Epidemics.kl

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World Bank, Nutrition at a glance in Bolivia

11 April 2011, World Bank -- "The World Bank is currently supporting the US$25 million Expanding Access to Reduce Health Inequities Project, the third phase of a series of operations geared towards reducing chronic malnutrition among children under two years of age; and promoting demand and access to maternal and infant health care services in areas with the most severe levels of food insecurity and highest undernutrition indicators. Through the Investment in Child and Youth Project the bank is also supporting the implementation of the conditional cash transfer program (CCT) Bono Juana Azurduy, as well as the strengthening of the implementing agency Ministry of Health and Sports (MOH) to carry out, monitor and supervise the program.  ..."

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World Bank, Nutrition at a glance in Ecuador

1 April 2011, World Bank -- "Low-birth weight infants and stunted children may be at greater risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease than children who start out well-nourished. Progress in improving community infrastructure and development of sound public health systems has been slow, thwarting efforts to reduce under nutrition; while rapid urbanization and the adoption of Western diets high in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and sugars, combined with a more sedentary lifestyle are commonly cited as the major contributors to the increase in overweight and chronic diseases. Cultural factors, perceptions and beliefs about different food types may also play a significant role. The World Bank is supporting the Government of Ecuador in its efforts to reduce malnutrition largely through its analytical and advisory work. The Bank, in collaboration with the ministry of social development, has also recently produced and disseminated a video to make chronic malnutrition more visible and promote the use of basic health and nutrition services. ..."

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Sugar-rich junk food coupled with poor oral health should be heart disease target

Sugar-rich junk food coupled with poor oral health should be heart disease target | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it
The high levels of sugar contained in fizzy sodas and 'junk food' - and the effect that this has on oral health - may be an important additional mechanism for increased risks of heart disease, warn researchers.
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Eating 'Wilder' Foods for a Healthier Diet

29 November 2013, NPR, Ira Flatow -- "In Eating on the Wild Side, author Jo Robinson reveals how the nutrition and flavor has been bred out of supermarket fruits and vegetables. Robinson tells us what we can do to reclaim our wild roots and the nutrition from our foods.


...many of the most important phytonutrients are slightly bitter, and we've gone overboard. We have gotten rid of most of the bitterness from most of our plants and we're left with ones that have really diminished health benefits for us. ..."

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Amount of food recalled by FDA doubles in quarter

Amount of food recalled by FDA doubles in quarter | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

21 November 2013, Food Navigator, Joe Whitworth -- "More than double the units of food was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the previous quarter, according to Expert RECALL figures. ..."

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Study rekindles debate over widespread use of phosphorus additives in food

Study rekindles debate over widespread use of phosphorus additives in food | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

21 November 2013, Food Navigator, Maggie Hennessy -- "A new study showing a correlation between high dietary phosphorus intakes and increased all-cause mortality has reignited the debate over the extensive use of phosphorus additives in packaged foods. ..."

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False Flax Can Produce High Levels of Omega-3 Oils

20 November 2013, Crop Biotech Update by ISAAA via Rothamsted Research -- "Scientists from Rothamsted Research have successfully engineered the metabolic processes in the seed of false flax (Camelina sativa) to produce up to 12 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 14 percent docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are found in amounts very similar to those found in fish oil.  EPA and DHA are considered omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial for health. They modulate both metabolic and immune processes and confer the health benefits associated with cardiovascular heart disease (CHD) and neurodevelopment. ..."


For more see: Rothamsted Research's news release at http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/news/crop-plants-green-factories-fish-oils

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Picture of health: a selfie that may save your life

Picture of health: a selfie that may save your life | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

11 December 2013, Cornell Chronicle -- "With a new smartphone device, you can now take an accurate iPhone camera selfie that could save your life – it reads your cholesterol level in about a minute.


Forget those clumsy, complicated, home cholesterol-testing devices. Cornell engineers have created the Smartphone Cholesterol Application for Rapid Diagnostics, or “smartCARD,” which employs your smartphone’s camera to read your cholesterol level.


“Smartphones have the potential to address health issues by eliminating the need for specialized equipment,” said David Erickson, Cornell associate professor of mechanical engineering and senior author on a new peer-reviewed study. Thanks to advanced, sophisticated camera technology, Erickson and his colleagues have created a smartphone accessory that optically detects biomarkers in a drop of blood, sweat or saliva. The new application then discerns the results using color analysis. ..."

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Updating India’s Plan for Achieving Sustainable Nutrition Security

Updating India’s Plan for Achieving Sustainable Nutrition Security | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

December 2013, IFPRI South Asia -- "...The Coalition for Sustainable Nutrition Security in India, a group of nutritionists, policy and program leaders, and other experts, met on November 15, 2013 in New Delhi for the First Task Force Meeting. 


Key recommendations of the online discussion (organized from Oct 16-18, 2013) were shared between the task force members. The online discussion covered wide range of topics in the areas of environmental health, maternal mental health, nutrition in emergencies, urban nutrition strategy, nutrition education, complementary feeding among others. For details please see attached online discussion summary for more details on these topics. ..."


Photo: File photo (a newborn being weighed). Credit: Aishwarya Pillai

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Keeping malnutrition on radar after Typhoon Haiyan

Keeping malnutrition on radar after Typhoon Haiyan | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

5 December 2013, IRIN -- "Nearly one month after Typhoon Haiyanswept through the Philippines, displacing more than four million people, health experts are trying to lower the rising risk of malnutrition among 1.5 million children under five, and help hundreds of thousands of women continue breastfeeding. 
 
“What is easily seen in the aftermath of the typhoon is the destruction [of facilities, and] injuries that require emergency care… malnutrition is a silent threat, as people often do not recognize the symptoms and it is left untreated,” said Katrien Ghoos, the World Food Programme’s (WFP) nutrition officer for the Asia-Pacific. ..."
 
Before the typhoon struck, one out of every three children under the age of five in the regions of Tacloban, Central Visayas and Cebu in the central Philippines were chronically malnourished, 33.6 percent were stunted (having a low height for their age), and 7.8 percent were wasted (having a low weight for their height), according to the 2011 National Nutrition Survey, as cited in the recently released Multi-Cluster Initial Rapid Assessment (MIRA), produced by more than 40 agencies across nine provinces.
 


Photo: Both of them could use a nutrition boose right about now. Credit: Joey Reyna, OCHA

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To Get Kids Exercising, Schools Are Becoming Creative

To Get Kids Exercising, Schools Are Becoming Creative | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

10 December 2013, NPR, Maanvi Singh -- " ...Fifty-six percent of parents say their elementary school kids are getting just one or two days of physical education a week, according to a poll NPR conducted in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.


Fewer than 1 in 5 parents with children in kindergarten through fifth grade said their kids were getting physical education daily.

Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that K-5 students get at least 150 minutes a week. Physical activity has a lot of benefits, from reducing obesity to helping kids do better academically.


... Louisiana State University's Russ Carson, an exercise researcher, tells Shots the poll results don't surprise him. "This has been going on for years, unfortunately," he says. School administrators can only fit so many things into a day, and often, he says, "testing and other aspects of education take precedence over physical education."


More and more, Carson says parents and educators are starting to "think beyond the gym walls," and come up with ways to fit in exercise before or after school. One idea is to have teachers integrate physical activity into match and reading lessons. ..."

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EU food safety agency says aspartame poses no risk for consumers

EU food safety agency says aspartame poses no risk for consumers | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

10 December 2013, EurActiv -- "Aspartame, the artificial sweetener used in light food products and soft drinks, does not pose risks to the general population, the European food safety agency (EFSA) said on Tuesday (10 December). It urged the Commission to strengthen the confidence of consumers, hoping to overcome the mistrust of citizens towards the additive.


After considering the results of hundreds of studies, EFSA concluded “that aspartame and its breakdown products are safe for consumption,” the chair of its panel on food additives, Alicja Mortensen, announced on Tuesday.


The amount of aspartame one person can consume per day, or ‘acceptable daily intake’ (ADI), is currently at 40 milligrams per kilogram (of food). “There was no reason to revise this ADI,” EFSA argued.

The agency flagged that people suffering from phenylketonuria (PKU) do not fall under this recommendation: PKU patients are unable to metabolise a certain type of amino acid found in aspartame and, EFSA advised, “should avoid all food items containing aspartame”.


Aspartame is primarily known as an artificial sweetener that is used as an alternative to sugar substances in many soft drinks and ‘light’ food products on the European market. The sweetener has been re-assessed six times since it was authorised for use in the EU in 1994.


The agency added that the European Commission can now work towards strengthening the confidence of European consumers in products containing aspartame.


Wave of public concerns

In 2010, public mistrust towards the artificial sweetener peaked after two studieslinked aspartame to the development of cancers in mice and to premature childbirth. As a result, the European Commission asked EFSA to fast-track its re-evaluation of aspartame, which was originally up for scrutiny only by 2020.


The agency’s final opinion paper was supposed to come out last May. But when the agency opened up the process to public consultation last January, it received more than 200 comments, the majority of which were submitted by NGOs, members of the food industry and journalists.

“We wanted to take the time to answer all of the criticisms,” said Mortensen, acknowledging that there were many important aspects in the earlier draft opinion document that needed clarification.


The opinion claimed that more recent scientific research has discredited the studies of 2010, referring to research that demonstrated the levels of aspartame detected in the blood during similar tests are low and show no cause for concern. ..."

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Nutrition for Growth - Will a U.S. $4.15 Billion Landmark Pledge Lead to Landmark Changes?

9 December 2013, AllAfrica via Think Africa Press, James Bullock -- "Big challenges remain to ensure the biggest ever pledge for nutrition specific interventions is not a wasted opportunity.


This June, the G8 Nutrition for Growth Summit pledged a landmark $4.15 billion to combat malnutrition in the developing world. This is the largest sum ever pledged to support nutrition, and could help save millions of lives.


Around the world, there are estimated to be 55 million people currently suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and every year 3.1 million children die from lack of food - that's an average of nearly 8,500 deaths every day.


Meanwhile, 165 million children are affected stunted growth, 19 million under-5s are experiencing severe wasting, and insufficient nutrition amongst pregnant mothers contributes to 800,000 neonatal deaths each year.


The goals for $4.15 billion pledged include ensuring that 500 million pregnant women and children are sufficiently nourished, preventing 20 million children from being stunted, and saving at least 1.7 million lives by 2020 through effective nutrition interventions.


But while these funds could prove crucial in the struggle against malnutrition, a number of hurdles remain.


The pledge remains a pledge, rather than secured funds, for now. There are concerns that a demand for results will privilege quick-fire outcomes over sustainable structural change.


And making a global fund relevant to myriad diverse and specific problems in a variety of different cultural contexts presents some major challenges. ..."

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World Bank, Nutrition at a glance in Guatemala

1 April 2011, World Bank -- "Annually, Guatemala loses over US dollar 300 million in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Scaling up core micronutrient nutrition interventions would cost less than US dollar 16 million per year. Guatemala has higher rates of stunting than other countries in its region and income group, and has the third highest rate of stunting in the world. Countries with similar per capita incomes in other regions, such as Iraq and Swaziland, also exhibit lower rates of child stunting. Indigenous groups have disproportionately high rates of malnutrition. Nearly 8 out of 10 indigenous children are stunted compared to 4 of 10 non-indigenous children. Large differentials in chronic malnutrition by ethnicity may reflect social exclusion or other forms of differential access to services. Indeed, supply side barriers have been shown to be particularly important for the indigenous population.  ..."

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Researchers develop cheaper, faster method for acrylamide detection

Researchers develop cheaper, faster method for acrylamide detection | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it
Fluorescent sensors hold great potential for manufacturers looking to detect acrylamide rapidly in potato chips and cookies on the processing line, researchers say.
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Seeing red? Industry poll reveals natural red color challenge in meat, dairy, bakery applications

Seeing red? Industry poll reveals natural red color challenge in meat, dairy, bakery applications | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it
The quality and range of natural colors has increased significantly in recent years, but getting a vibrant natural red shade in some bakery, meat and dairy applications - especially if you want to avoid carmine - remains a big challenge, according...
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Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update

Remember 'French Fries Cause Cancer'? Here's The Acrylamide Update | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

21 November 2013, NPR, Maria Godoy -- "The FDA warns consumers to avoid acrylamide in foods. But studies so far should dampen cancer fears.


Back in 2002, french fry lovers around the world received a nasty bit of news: Those crunchy, fried strips of potato contained a known carcinogen. Now, all these years later, a new warning from the Food and Drug Administration has consumers once again puzzling over whether to fear the chemical acrylamide.


... The news set off a bit of a panic and even some lawsuits. A panel convened by the World Health Organization concluded that acrylamide in food was indeed a major concern, and the FDA issued an action plan.  Fast forward to last week, when the FDA issued its first draft guidance for industry on how to minimize acrylamide in food products.


But here's the real head scratcher: In the years since that first scare, researchers have studied acrylamide in humans, and they haven't confirmed those initial cancer concerns. So why is the FDA acting now? ... "


Photo: French fries: There are probably other reasons besides acrylamide to avoid these tasty snacks.  Credit: iStockphoto



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The next 2-3 years will see a huge shift towards DNA barcoding for botanicals: AuthenTechnologies CEO

The next 2-3 years will see a huge shift towards DNA barcoding for botanicals: AuthenTechnologies CEO | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

21 November 2013, NutraIngredients, Stephen Daniells --"DNA barcoding for botanicals has a bright future, despite comments that it may not yet be fit for purpose, and the next 2-3 years will see a ‘huge shift’ towards the ‘robust and reliable technology’, says the CEO of Authen Technologies. ..."

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China's one-child changes to drive up dairy demand

China's one-child changes to drive up dairy demand | Nutrition & Health | Scoop.it

19 November 2013, ABC Rural (Australia) -- "Changes to China's one child policy are expected to increase demand for dairy products.


Dairy industry analysts say changes to China's one child policy should lead to even greater demand for Australian dairy products.

The ruling Communist Party's latest reforms include allowing more families to have a second child.


China is already the world's largest importer of dairy products.

Dairy Australia's group manager of trade and industry strategy, Charlie McElhone, says there's a huge demand there for Australian-made infant milk formula in China.  


"There were about 16 or 17 million babies in born in China last year, that's with the one child policy," Mr McElhone said.


"So that's a lot of mouths to feed, that's a lot of infant formula, particularly driven by the demand for imported, clean foodstuffs from trusted suppliers like Australia."


Rabobank dairy analyst Michael Harvey says any changes to China's population would be significant for Australia's dairy sector. ..."


Photo: There is already huge and growing demand in China for infant milk formula.  Credit: Jason-Morrison on flickr

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