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Young entrepreneurs innovate in green energy with an in situ organic waste digester

Young Mexican entrepreneurs develop a bio-digestion plant capable of generating electricity from organic waste in the market of the Nopal Collection Center in Mexico City.

The company SUEMA, Sustainability in Energy and Environment, created by Jahir Mojica Hernández, Carlos Apipilhuasco Gonzalez Mejía and Nelly Rodriguez, designed a system for waste treatment and decided to implement it in the market sector due to the amount of waste they generate.

The plant will be located in Milpa Alta, a delegation in the south of Mexico City, and process three to five tons of waste per day operating 24 hours to generate its own electricity and illuminate the market. Thus benefiting from 65 tons of organic waste per month. The treatment plant will also nurish from sunlight.

Having an on-site plant will avoid transporting organic waste to the Bordo Poniente, city’s wasteland where it is processed, avoiding an extra expenditure of up to 640 pesos per tonne per day. With the capture of harmful greenhouse gases energy will be generated and an soil improver will be produced, which will be delivered to the farmers.

The soil improver, which is equivalent to a mixture of nutrients up to 600 kilograms per day, generates higher quality products, making the development attractive for traders, which will help in growing and marketing.

“The plant will improve competitiveness, image and increase the number of customers. It is intended to get people more interested in going to the market instead of a convenience store,” said the CEO of the company, Jahir Mojica.

“The public markets are entities of economy for the city and main supply centers for poor people; however, they have weakened against major foreign consortia, which often define the price of commodities,.”

SUEMA decided to use the Nopal Collection Center in Milpa Alta as host for the natural energy production plant, because the delegation has the first place in the waste separation program of the city; however, it is the one that receives less budget for infrastructure. “Tenants separate waste very well, it is a deeply rooted practice in this area,” said Carlos Apipilhuasco, director of Engineering.

Another achievement of the company is the construction of an innovation research center, with three research areas: soil improvement, thermal use of solar energy and bioenergy. (Agencia ID)

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers’ recipe: Cook farm waste into energy

It takes some cooking, but turning farm waste into biofuels is now possible and makes economic sense, according to preliminary research from the University of Guelph.

Guelph researchers are studying how to make biofuels from farm waste, especially “wet” waste that is typically difficult to use. They have developed a fairly simple procedure to transport waste and produce energy from it.

Scientists have struggled to find uses for wet and green waste, including corn husks, tomato vines and manure. Dry farm waste, such as wood chips or sawdust, is easier to use for generating power. Often, wet farm waste materials break down before reaching their destination.

Researchers led by engineering professor Animesh Dutta, director of the Bio-Renewable Innovation Lab (BRIL) at U of G, have found a solution: pressure cooking.

Cooking farm waste yields compact, easily transportable material that will not degrade and can be used in energy-producing plants.

Dutta said the research, which is published this week in the journal Applied Energy, shows that in a lab setting, biofuels can produce the same amount of energy as coal.

“What this means is that we have a resource in farm waste that is readily available, can produce energy at a similar level to burning coal, and does not require any significant start-up costs,” said Dutta.

“We are taking what is now a net-negative resource in farm waste, which farmers have to pay to remove, and providing an opportunity for them to make money and help the environment. It’s a closed-loop cycle, meaning we don’t have to worry about external costs.”

Using excess food, green and wet waste to reduce the carbon footprint is drawing a lot of interest in Europe, he said, but so far it has proven unfeasible in North America.

Coal is more readily available in North America. Biomass is highly rich in alkali and alkaline earth metals such as silicon, potassium, sodium and calcium. The presence of these metals in farm waste damages pipes at power plants during combustion.

The new biofuel product made by the BRIL researchers produces a product that has less alkali and alkaline earth metals, allowing them to be used at power plants.

“We’re able to produce small amounts of energy in our lab from these biofuels,” said Dutta.

“The next step is to take this outside of the lab. We have a number of industry partners and government ministries interested in this technology. Essentially, the agri-food sector could power the automotive industry.”

Dutta said large pressure cookers located near farms could accept and cook waste for transport to energy plants.

“We’re looking at a timeline of five to seven years, depending on the funding,” he said.

“Once we have a commercial system set up, we’ll be self-sufficient. It can reduce our energy costs and provide an environmental benefit. It’s going to change the paradigm of energy production in North America.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

LED lighting can significantly reduce energy consumption in greenhouse horticulture

With the exception of energy consumption, where there is still much to be done, the Dutch are global leaders in greenhouse horticulture. The quality is high, and nowhere else is the use of water and pesticides so low. Even so, demand for innovation, sustainable production and healthy fruit and vegetables and high-quality flowers remains high. One innovation that would really help in this is the introduction of LED lighting in the greenhouse horticulture sector, said Prof. Leo Marcelis, Professor in Horticulture and Product Physiology at Wageningen University.

The horticulture sector is important to the Dutch economy, as the export value of horticultural products currently totals about 16 billion Euros. The Dutch greenhouse horticultural sector in particular is a global leader; it is highly innovative and constantly searching for new, applicable knowledge.. Although production has remained more or less constant in the Netherlands, globally the demand for highly-controlled production will result in an increase in greenhouse cultivation, said Prof. Marcelis in his inaugural speech entitled Horticultural Science in the Spotlight. Exploring and exploiting the physiology of plants.

Prof. Marcelis believes that the sector needs to become more sustainable and aim to contribute to feeding the world population with high-quality, healthy products. Scientifically, the sector needs to focus primarily on the high-precision control of the growing process. This will require system innovations — to further reduce the use of resources such as water and minerals, to increase production per unit area, and to obtain the high-quality, healthy products that consumers want. The scientific focus of Marcelis and his group is on how physiological processes in crops, plants and plant organs respond to environmental conditions during plant cultivation and post-harvest, and how these affect crop production and product quality.

Marcelis believes it is important that the horticultural sector focuses not just on growing plants, but also on the handling of products following their harvest. Currently, about one third of all products are lost in this phase, a figure which he believes can be reduced by 50%.

Energy

With the exception of energy consumption, the Dutch greenhouse horticulture sector is highly efficient, said Leo Marcelis. Production levels are extremely high, most pests and diseases are controlled biologically and water and nutrients are largely recycled. For example, it takes 15 litres of water to produce a kilo of tomatoes in a Dutch greenhouse, compared with 60 litres in the open air in the Mediterranean region.

Unfortunately, energy consumption in the Dutch horticulture sector is still very high, and is in fact responsible for 10% of the national gas consumption. Energy costs account for 15-30% of the total costs for a horticultural farm, which is why the sector is trying so hard to achieve energy savings.

As Marcelis explained, it is not heat production that is the problem, ‘the problem is the energy needed for lighting, and light is the driving force behind plant growth.’ He and his group are strong advocates of LED lighting in greenhouse horticulture, and he estimates that the smart use of LEDs can achieve energy savings of up to 50%. LEDs also have other benefits compared with the lights currently used (high pressure sodium lights), such as the ability to change the colour of the light, the position of the light source in relation to the plant and the intensity of the light. This would enable lighting to be used much more efficiently, resulting in better plant growth and a higher quality product.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wageningen University and Research Centre. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Increasing Consumption Boosts Concerns About Energy Drinks

Many consumers are aware of the safety concerns surrounding energy drinks combined with alcohol, but energy drinks in their own right are an increasing cause for concern.

Dr. Stacy Fisher, a cardiologist who specializes in congenital heart disease and director of Complex Heart Disease on the faculty of the University Of Maryland School of Medicine, says she sees an increasing number of patients with problems such as palpitations, shortness of breath and nausea related to energy drinks. The problem is that they don’t make the connection; sometimes their doctors don’t either.

“Our standard questions are about alcohol, illicit substances and tobacco use. Sometimes we ask about caffeine use, but not specifically energy drink use,” Fisher says. “The medical community is just learning to start asking about these products.”

When they do ask, they find that patients are affected by products such as Monster Energy or Red Bull but never knew there was a risk in drinking them.

The Risks

Energy drinks have no official federal definition, but they are generally thought of as beverages with caffeine and other stimulants marketed for their energizing effect.

Caffeine levels vary between these drinks. An 8-oz. can of Red Bull might have 80 mg, while a 32-oz. Monster contains 320 mg. The Monster would probably be considered four servings, but the can is non-resealable, and many people tend to drink the whole thing like they would a soda.

In the U.S., 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day, and the average adult has a daily intake of 200 mg. Every person reacts differently to the drug, but the level where someone starts to have caffeine toxicity symptoms is usually about 400 mg.

A 12-oz. (tall) coffee from Starbucks will run you about 260 mg, while a 14-oz. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee contains 178 mg.

But even just 50 mg of caffeine has the potential to induce tachycardia and agitation. At higher levels, “caffeine toxicity can mimic amphetamine poisoning and lead to seizures, psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias and, potentially but rarely, death,” reads one 2012 study in the Medical Journal of Australia.

Another paper in Current Opinions in Pediatrics notes that the effects of chronic high caffeine intake in children and adolescents are unknown, but that it may “raise blood pressure, disrupt adolescent sleep patterns, exacerbate psychiatric disease, cause physiologic dependence, and increase the risk of subsequent addiction.”

Energy drink makers are required to tell the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about any adverse events related to their products. Data recently obtained by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) regarding these reports show that there have been 34 deaths linked to energy drinks since 2004, with half occurring since 2012. Of these, 22 deaths were linked to 5-Hour Energy, 11 to Monster and one to Rockstar.

Since the reports don’t prove causality, FDA is investigating these incidents to determine whether the deaths were caused in some way by consumption of energy drinks.

Between Jan. 1, 2004, and March 10, 2014, FDA was also informed about 241 non-fatal events where consumers experienced high blood pressure, convulsions, heart attacks and other problems. Of these cases, 115 resulted in hospitalization, 15 in disability and one in miscarriage.

recent report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental health Administration (SAMHSA) found that the number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks doubled from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011.

All of this is set against the backdrop of increased energy drink sales. In 2011, sales increased by 12.5 percent overall and by 15-30 percent for Red Bull and Rockstar.

What’s in There?

Federal law allows for caffeine in soda up to 71 mg per 12 ounces, but energy drinks aren’t categorized as such, even though consumer advocates think they should be because of how they’re marketed and where they’re placed in stores. In addition to no limits on the amount of caffeine in energy drinks, companies are not required to disclose the caffeine content on labels.

American Beverage Association member companies and some independent ones do disclose it voluntarily, but many do not.

And it’s not just the caffeine that has Fisher and other consumer advocates worried. They are also wary of other additives that are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS).

Guarana, which naturally contains caffeine, is commonly added to energy drinks on top of the synthetic caffeine but in unknown quantities. When caffeine levels are included on a drink label, Fisher says this additional stimulant is not usually included in the number.

And some products have mixtures of taurine, an amino acid which makes the heart pump harder and stronger.

“Can that help performance? Sure,” Fisher says. But there’s a catch. “When we take inotropes — the class of drugs [that make the heart beat harder like taurine does] — and give them to heart failure patients, they do better, but they don’t live as long.”

These, along with other ingredients such as glucuronolactone and ginseng, “have no nutritional value and may, individually or collectively, pose the apparent health risks from consuming energy drinks,” according to CSPI. “As far as we can tell, the FDA has not examined some of those ingredients for safety, effectiveness, purity, or interactions with other energy-drink ingredients.”

And, like any other sugar-sweetened beverage, there is also the concern that the amounts of added sugar in energy drinks can contribute to the development of obesity and diabetes.

Youth Problem

In addition to adults with underlying structural heart disease — like those whom Fisher treats — children are most at risk for adverse effects from energy drink consumption.

While adults might be able to handle 200 mg of caffeine without a problem, children and smaller people don’t have the same kind of metabolism. There is no tolerance level established for kids and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.”

In 2011, 14-year-old Anais Fournier from Maryland died from cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity after consuming two 24-oz. Monster drinks in a 24-hour period. Other cases linked to the energy drinks include the death of a 19-year-old in California, brain damage in a 16-year-old in Oklahoma, and the deaths of three teenage boys in Canada.

And, apart from direct injury, teens who consume energy drinks have been shown to seek out risky behavior and have higher rates of alcohol, cigarette, or drug use.

Teens and young adults make up the largest percentage of those who buy energy drinks, accounting for nearly $ 2.3 billion in sales.

It’s estimated that about 30 percent of adolescents report consuming energy drinks. According to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 percent of young people drink energy drinks weekly, 20 percent think that energy drinks are safe drinks for teens, and 13 percent think that energy drinks are a type of sports drink.

Fisher says that, in her own experience, she has seen half the kids on her 14-year-old son’s football team drink a large energy drink before practices.

According to CSPI, industry representatives at a Maryland legislative hearing earlier this year stated that energy drink companies define “minors” as younger than 12 years old for marketing purposes.

These drinks are frequently marketed on youth-targeted cable networks such as Adult Swim, MTV and Comedy Central. Energy drink brands also have a very strong presence on social media and will sponsor events such as extreme sports competitions and music festivals.

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University has found that teens saw an average of 124 TV ads for energy drinks in 2010 — more than other beverage categories, including sodas, sport drinks and fruit drinks.

“Despite the risks … these companies are really disproportionately targeting teens,” says Roberta Friedman, the Rudd Center’s director of public policy.

Regulation Requests

Along with release of the adverse event data, CSPI sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg on June 25 asking that the agency require energy drink containers to carry a warning label about the risks of heart attacks, convulsions and other adverse reactions.

The group also wants the caffeine in energy drinks limited to the same levels as “cola-type beverages” and for the common ingredients in energy drinks to be tested for safety in combination, as well as separately.

Additional regulations suggested by Fisher, the Rudd Center and others include limits on the size of energy drink containers, requiring containers to be re-sealable, and excise taxes. When it comes to marketing, it’s also been suggested that energy drink brands self-regulate like alcohol suppliers who agree not to advertise in media outlets with an audience comprising more than 30 percent minors.

A 2011 Rudd Center survey found that 74 percent of parents believe that energy drinks should not be sold to teenagers. Suffolk County, NY, and Mexico have already set the precedent of restricting the sale of these beverages to minors.

FDA does not regulate energy drinks as their own category, “but the products are indeed regulated, and should there be any sort of problem with a product that presents an ‘out-and-out’ demonstrated risk to consumers, we can take steps to get that particular product off the market,” an agency spokesperson tells Food Safety News.

In addition, FDA says it has no current plans for warning labels.

The agency has expressed concerns about caffeine added to foods and has asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a workshop on the potential health hazards of caffeine consumption. FDA is now waiting for a report from IOM to “determine next steps” in caffeine regulation.

“I honestly think that FDA needs to address this quickly,” Fisher says. “What I’m seeing in my everyday practice is a lot of illness, a lot of morbidity, and some mortality because of these products.”

Food Safety News

Village Farms breaks ground on quad-generation energy project

Village Farms breaks ground on quad-generation energy project

Village Farms in conjunction with Quadrogen and Fuel Cell Energy recently announced the kick off of a renewable energy quad-generation project that’s the first of its kind. The ground-breaking, which took place last week, marked the beginning of a project that promises thermal heat as well as carbon dioxide in the growing of greenhouse produce.

 
Stephen Ruffini of Village Farms on the left together with all other speakers during the event.

“One of the underlying principles for Village Farms is sustainability,” said Village Farm’s CFO, Stephen Ruffini, at the ground-breaking. “The greenhouse industry is already the highest form of sustainable agricultural growing.” Located in Delta, British Columbia and undertaken in cooperation with Quadrogen Power Systems, FuelCell Energy and the National Research Council of Canada, the facility will incorporate a co-generation power plant to trap heat and gas for use in the greenhouse. The potential effects include reduced landfill gas emissions by converting carbon dioxide from landfill gas, which currently is not possible, which in turn will reduce the need for natural gas by Village Farms which presently burns natural gas in order to produce carbon dioxide which crops need and is attributable for up to 25 percent of a plant’s yield.


Jonathon Bos of Villlage Farms (the host of the event) and Alakh Prasad Quadrogen president (one of the speakers)

“We’ll take landfill gas and use it to create electricity, thermal heat and trap carbon dioxide,” explained Ruffini. “This technology has the potential to reduce gas emissions and use them in the greenhouse, so it’s win-win.”


Adrian Simkins of Village Farms

For more detailed information about Quadrogen, please read the latest press release from Village Farms.
 
For more information:
Helen L. Aquino
Village Farms International
Tel: +1 407-936-1190 x312
Email: [email protected]
www.villagefarms.com
 

Publication date: 4/10/2014
Author: Carlos Nunez / Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Village Farms announces first ever $7.5M quad-generation energy project

Village Farms announces first ever $ 7.5M quad-generation energy project

Village Farms International Inc. has announced that it is part of the first renewable energy quad-generation project ever to be realized for a greenhouse operation from fuel cell technology. This project enables the commercial production of renewable heat and food grade carbon dioxide (CO(2) ) that would benefit the Village Farms greenhouse, along with electricity and hydrogen for additional commercial markets.

A ground breaking event is scheduled on April 2, 2014 at the Company’s Delta, British Columbia greenhouse to celebrate the collaboration with Quadrogen Power Systems Inc., FuelCell Energy Inc., and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). This will be the most advanced greenhouse technology ever achieved using cutting edge fuel cell technology.

“Village Farms clearly leads the industry and its competition at large in technological advancements, environmental sustainability, and clean agricultural technologies”, Michael A. DeGiglio, President and CEO of Village Farms said. DeGiglio went on to say, “As a Company we are the most advanced in leading edge, highly efficient sustainable greenhouse growing technology in the world, and this project is yet another testimony of our focus in maintaining this commitment. And further, this is another example demonstrating Village Farms position as the leading choice among technology companies. Considering the numerous research developments and advancements that have occurred within the greenhouse industry over the past several years, Village Farms has been at the forefront of commercializing the majority, making us the go-to partner in complimentary technologies.”

Village Farms is no novice when it comes to utilizing renewable energy, and for the last 10 years the Company’s Canadian Greenhouse Facilities have been using renewable landfill gas as an additional heat source alternatively to natural gas. The heat is supplied from a co-generation power plant that is owned and operated by Maxim Power Inc. located on the Village Farms property. According to Village Farms Development Director, Jonathan Bos, who has been instrumental in the growth and development of co-generation projects for the Company, “Co-generation is a feel-good success story because it takes landfill methane gas that would have been burned on site at the landfill and instead turns a waste product into a viable heat source that is safe for people and plants. This new project is even more advanced and cutting edge as it will be the first demonstration of not only heat supply for the greenhouse but also food grade CO(2) that is generated from the landfill gas via a fuel cell”. The landfill gas will be cleaned by an innovative system designed and built by Quadrogen Power Systems and then used by the stationary fuel cell power plant built by FuelCell Energy to generate the multiple value streams including electricity, heat, and hydrogen. The fuel cell utilizes a highly efficient electro-chemical process to generate power that avoids the emission of virtually any pollutants due to the absence of combustion. Village Farms will be the sole user to benefit from the CO(2) renewable energy stream and hot water that is coming directly from the fuel cell. Once operational, Village Farms will seek to increase the output of renewable CO(2) and in addition, seek to further utilize the technology in future Company developments at new locations or in other markets.

The potential benefits of this new technology are numerous; not only for Village Farms but for the environment at large. First, landfill gas will be eliminated from the waste stream helping reduce the City of Vancouver’s overall carbon footprint. The reduction in carbon footprint will be mirrored by Village Farms as the end user of this waste stream, helping the Company reduce their need for fossil fuels. Further, since the food grade CO(2) is actually used by the plants as a nutrient in the process of photosynthesis, the plant then converts the CO(2) to oxygen (O(2) ), which creates another primary benefit for the environment. Additionally, this will allow further efficiencies for Village Farms by reducing overall costs, and enhancing use of CO(2) ,which is attributable for approximately 25% of a plant’s yield. According to Alakh Prasad, President and CEO of Quadrogen, who worked relentlessly with the Company over the last 5 years to see this project to fruition, “The quad-generation project will be a game changer in the existing arena for the renewable landfill gas market at large, and we are pleased Village Farms will be at the forefront of this grounding breaking technological advancement in green technology as the first demonstrated user for quad-generation fuel cell technology.”

And according to Helen L. Aquino, Marketing Manager for Village Farms, “This project is analogous to our water conservation, land preservation, and soilless growing methods that are highly resource efficient and environmentally sustainable. The conversion of landfill gas to clean food grade CO(2) for the plants, who then convert the gas to oxygen is creating what amounts to a carbon negative waste stream. This project is just one of the many examples of Village Farms state-of-the-art growing methods and technological innovations which make us as a Company the most sustainable greenhouse operation in the industry today, and the most responsible choice for food production the world over.”

For more information about FuelCell Energy, please visit www.fuelcellenergy.com

For more information
Village Farms International
Helen L. Aquino, Marketing Manager
99 Corbett Way
Suite 100
Eatontown, NJ 07724, USA
T: 407-936-1190 x312
[email protected]
www.villagefarms.com

Publication date: 3/25/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Plants convert energy at lightning speed

A new way of measuring how much light a plant can tolerate could be useful in growing crops resilient to a changing climate, according to scientists from Queen Mary University of London.

“This is the first time we have been able to quantify a plant’s ability to protect itself against high light intensity,” said Professor Alexander Ruban, co-author of the study and Head of the Cell and Molecular Biology Division at Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Science.

Professor Ruban added: “A changing climate will lead to fluctuations in temperature, humidity, drought and light. Knowing the limits of how much sunlight a crop can happily tolerate could be valuable information for farmers or people who breed new plants.”

Publishing in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B today (Monday 3 March) the scientists demonstrate a novel method that enables them to relate the photoprotective capacity of a plant to the intensity of environmental light by measuring the fluorescence of the pigment chlorophyll, which is responsible for absorbing sunlight.

Co-author Erica Belgio, also at Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Science said: “The plants we used to measure the light varied in their capacity to protect themselves against high levels of intensity. We exposed them to gradually increasing levels of light, from the sunlight more common on a rainy day to the light you would find at noon on summer’s day in the south of France and recorded the responses.”

The researchers found the plants grown without the ability to respond quickly to high light intensity had a reduced capacity to protect themselves from damage.

“The photosynthetic apparatus in the plants is like the retina in human eyes — it is sensitive to how much light can be soaked up,” commented Professor Ruban.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Energy and Store Development Conference

September 7th – 10th, 2014 • St. Louis, MO

+ to calendar

FMI’s Energy & Store Development Conference is your chance to learn from the best in the food retail industry about energy-efficiency and conservation, as well as store design and merchandising. You will have the opportunity to:

  • Enhance your knowledge and skills in your area of expertise to take your business to the next level.
  • Connect with other professionals and potential business partners who have similar responsibilities and challenges.
  • Invest in cost-saving solutions while creating customer-focused, environmentally friendly stores.

Our education program will include inspiring presentations, comprehensive workshops and off-site events including store and facility tours.

  • Discover new and emerging trends in design, merchandising and energy conservation.
  • Gain new ideas to help reduce costs, improve sustainability and build a shopping experience that meets your customer’s evolving needs.

Location Details

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St. Louis Union Station Hotel

1820 Market St
St. Louis, Missouri 63103
United States

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Supermarket News

Energy Drink Makers Get ‘Guidance’ But No Investigation Into Deaths

A couple of years ago after reports surfaced about deaths that might be attributable to popular energy drinks, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) demanded that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigate the potentially dangerous levels of caffeine that may be involved. Instead of an investigation, FDA is now sharing the agency’s “current thinking” about whether a beverage might not be a food or a drug, but a liquid dietary supplement. FDA calls it “guidance” for the largely unregulated dietary supplements industry.

Writing on her popular Food Politics blog, nutrition expert Marion Nestle speculates that FDA likely published the new guidance documents because “weird ingredients” and excessive caffeine are showing up in popular energy drinks that largely escape regulation.

In addition to a handful of deaths occurring shortly after taking so-called energy shots, the government’s own Drug Abuse Warning Network has logged thousands of hospital visits going back several years from their consumption.

“Energy drinks are flavored beverages containing high amounts of caffeine and typically other additives, such as vitamins, taurine, herbal supplements, creatine, sugars, and guarana, a plant product containing concentrated caffeine, ” according to the Warning Network. “These drinks are sold in cans and bottles and are readily available in grocery stores, vending machines, convenience stores, and bars and other venues where alcohol is sold. These beverages provide high doses of caffeine that act as a stimulant upon the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. The total amount of caffeine in a can or bottle of an energy drink varies from about 80 to more than 500 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, compared with about 100 mg in a 5-ounce cup of coffee or 50 mg in a 12-ounce cola.”

More than half of the hospital visits have involved young people aged 18 to 25.

The FDA guidance comes in two parts and both have been published as drafts for public comment. The purpose is to help dietary supplement and beverage manufacturers determine whether a liquid food product is properly classified as a dietary supplement or as a beverage, and to remind the industry of legal requirements regarding the substances that may be added to either type of product. Together, FDA says the two guidances finalize a previously published draft guidance, and take into account public comments submitted on that draft.

First of  the guidances – Distinguishing Liquid Dietary Supplements from Beverages – describes the factors that characterize liquid products that are dietary supplements and those that characterize beverages that are conventional foods. Such factors include product claims, names, packaging, serving size, recommended daily intake, conditions of use, and product composition, as well as statements or graphic representations in labeling and advertising.

The second guidance – Considerations Regarding Substances Added to Foods, Including Beverages and Dietary Supplements – reminds the industry of requirements in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that apply to substances added to both conventional foods, such as beverages, and to dietary supplements. These statutory requirements are intended to assure the safety for consumers of both types of products.

In a statement the agency said it is issuing these guidances “to clarify legal requirements in the face of growth in the marketplace of beverages and liquid dietary supplements that contain novel substances such as botanical extracts or other botanical ingredients.”

Food Safety News

Oregon Demands Documents on 5-Hour Energy Ingredients

The Oregon Department of Justice is demanding that the makers of 5-Hour Energy hand over data supporting its advertising claims that the drink is doctor-recommended and that consumers won’t “crash” when its effects wear off.

According to The Oregonian, the state is part of a 33-state investigation into the accuracy of the caffeinated drink’s marketing campaign.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed papers in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week against brand owner Living Essentials LLC, forcing the company to hand over uncensored documents, something it tried to block with a lawsuit last June.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has documented more than 90 “adverse incidents” involving 5-Hour Energy, including 11 deaths.

Food Safety News

Oregon Demands Documents on 5-Hour Energy Ingredients

The Oregon Department of Justice is demanding that the makers of 5-Hour Energy hand over data supporting its advertising claims that the drink is doctor-recommended and that consumers won’t “crash” when its effects wear off.

According to The Oregonian, the state is part of a 33-state investigation into the accuracy of the caffeinated drink’s marketing campaign.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed papers in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week against brand owner Living Essentials LLC, forcing the company to hand over uncensored documents, something it tried to block with a lawsuit last June.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has documented more than 90 “adverse incidents” involving 5-Hour Energy, including 11 deaths.

Food Safety News

Oregon Demands Documents on 5-Hour Energy Ingredients

The Oregon Department of Justice is demanding that the makers of 5-Hour Energy hand over data supporting its advertising claims that the drink is doctor-recommended and that consumers won’t “crash” when its effects wear off.

According to The Oregonian, the state is part of a 33-state investigation into the accuracy of the caffeinated drink’s marketing campaign.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed papers in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week against brand owner Living Essentials LLC, forcing the company to hand over uncensored documents, something it tried to block with a lawsuit last June.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has documented more than 90 “adverse incidents” involving 5-Hour Energy, including 11 deaths.

Food Safety News

Oregon Demands Documents on 5-Hour Energy Ingredients

The Oregon Department of Justice is demanding that the makers of 5-Hour Energy hand over data supporting its advertising claims that the drink is doctor-recommended and that consumers won’t “crash” when its effects wear off.

According to The Oregonian, the state is part of a 33-state investigation into the accuracy of the caffeinated drink’s marketing campaign.

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum filed papers in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week against brand owner Living Essentials LLC, forcing the company to hand over uncensored documents, something it tried to block with a lawsuit last June.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has documented more than 90 “adverse incidents” involving 5-Hour Energy, including 11 deaths.

Food Safety News

“Future of Dutch horticulture, cheap energy”

Mart Valstar, Best Fresh Group:
“Future of Dutch horticulture, cheap energy”

Valstar Holland will celebrate it 85th anniversary this year. If it’s up to manager Mart Valstar, the future generation of the Best Fresh Group will also be owned by the Valstar family. “I am a firm believer in family companies and hope that they will remain in our sector for years to come.”


Mart Valstar from Best Fresh group

The extension of the Valstar in Westerlee took flight in 1996 after the takeover of PeDe, in which the sights were first set on the German market, and was extended in 1998 with the specialisation in strawberries and other soft fruit after the takeover of FruitWorld. Five years later Valstar made the decision of founding the Best Fresh Group, through the company transformed from one large central organisation to many subsidiaries. “The Best Fresh Group now consists of knowing the four pillars: trade, cultivation, logistics and finance. We have chosen pure product specialists within a company. In our opinion a single entity, above a certain company size, loses the face and soul of the company. This is why we believe it is important that a company like FruitWorld profiles itself as a soft fruit specialist, instead of being an add-on of Valstar in Poeldijk.”

“The advantage of this is that you create real product specialists. Someone who understands oranges doesn’t understand tomatoes and vice versa. This is why I don’t believe much in synergy advantages if they are all around one table. Under one roof works better. Our supermarket clients also have more and more product specialists. It is up to our customers themselves to decide whether they want to speak to a product specialist or to one set account manager with one of the companies. In the latter case this person must make sure they know enough about the other companies and their products for that customers. I don’t think there’s one ideal solution. Even our formula doesn’t always work, some companies marginalise too much.”

Smaller role in bulk
in recent years the Best Fresh Group has made the strategic choice to focus on niche products with its subsidiaries. “If you look at the main products per segment, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers in greenhouse vegetables, you don’t need to expect huge investments from us. We trade them and customers and suppliers can come to us for them,” says Mart. “I foresee that the growers will find each other more over the next few years, with or without CMO money, and will start to directly serve the retailers, as is the norm in other countries. This is what we are focussing on. We expect the “middle man” in the high season to play a less important role in these products.”


Greenhouse in Koekoekspolder (Netherlands)

The future of Dutch horticulture
Although the local production in other areas have been increasing rapidly in recent years, Mart is convinced that the Dutch horticulture will continue to play an important role. “We have the advantage of our greenhouse horticulture cluster here and our location is close to the Rotterdam ports and Central Europe. I’m not saying that the Dutch area will increase, because I don’t expect much change in it for the next decade, but I do think that new varieties and growing techniques will result in higher productions per hectare. We will have to find a solution to the energy problem, however. Cheap energy is an advantage. Shale gas has become more expensive than normal gas, but geothermic seem to be the future.”

Mart doesn’t see the increasing foreign cultivation as a huge threat. “For example, look at the increasing greenhouse cultivation in Germany. The fact that they are building now, is an appreciation for the Dutch way of cultivating, which was maligned twenty years ago. The Dutch tomato is valued more highly than ever. Of course the German retailer will prefer a German product, but they will never be able to grow as efficiently as we do here. In the end the Germans build the best cars and we produce the best tomatoes. We are also better able to serve München from the Westland thanks to our intricate logistics, than from, for instance, Hamburg. This is why I’m convinced that we will remain an important centre for horticulture.”

“New local productions will continue to exist, but there have been the usual mishaps with such projects in recent years. In many cases investors had the most beautiful greenhouses built, but after construction the Dutch greenhouse builders ran off and the greenhouses were left to rot. Matters such as post harvest, the management and marketing after construction are increasing conditions in construction projects,” says Mart. “All in all I don’t think that every kilo of tomatoes extra on the market will come at the cost of the Dutch product: the consumption in Central and Eastern Europe is increasing greatly and it is expected to increase even more. It would be great if it could be done gradually, but the free market is the director of this.”


Sustainable geothermal energy to heat the greenhouse

Quality

The manager of the Best Fresh Group does signal that the quality of the Dutch product has been slipping over the last decade. “The quality control has been loosened a little in general and ended up in commercial circles. Pepper growers who don’t add a little heat in August in the early morning cold, pepper growers who import the weevil into their garden, stores of two day old vine tomatoes left in unconditioned warehouses at 30 degrees. These are just a few examples that do not benefit the quality of our product. The price pressure leaves no space for investment in quality. Auction presidents used to call for quality, quality and more quality at the yearly meetings. I really hope this subject gets more attention and if the quality drops even more, we will be approaching a vicious circle. And it’s won’t be going up!”

Urban farming
He believes initiative such as urban farming is a good promotion for our product. “I see fantastic initiatives being created with enthusiastic and fun cultivation on a small scale. This reaches emotions but not the production. If the Rotterdam youth start growing lettuce at their flats, I don’t think it will be competitive. But it could be a great impulse to stimulate the ‘minimum’ fruit and vegetable consumption, as it has unfortunately been declining in Holland in the last decade.”

For more information, contact: [email protected]

Publication date: 12/23/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’

RBI/2013-14/378 DBOD.BP.BC.No.66/08.12.014/2013-14 November 25, 2013 All Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding RRBs) and All India Term-Lending and Refinancing Institutions (EXIM Bank, NABARD, NHB and SIDBI) Dear Sir, Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’ Please refer to our circular DBOD.BP.BC.No.58/08.12.014/2012-13 dated November 20, 2012 on ‘Definition of Infrastructure Lending’ harmonising the RBI definition of Infrastructure Lending with [...]

The post Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’ appeared first on Corporate Law Reporter.

Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’

RBI/2013-14/378 DBOD.BP.BC.No.66/08.12.014/2013-14 November 25, 2013 All Scheduled Commercial Banks (excluding RRBs) and All India Term-Lending and Refinancing Institutions (EXIM Bank, NABARD, NHB and SIDBI) Dear Sir, Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’ Please refer to our circular DBOD.BP.BC.No.58/08.12.014/2012-13 dated November 20, 2012 on ‘Definition of Infrastructure Lending’ harmonising the RBI definition of Infrastructure Lending with [...]

The post Financing of Infrastructure – Definition of ‘Infrastructure Lending’ .

Straw could supply energy to millions of households

Oct. 21, 2013 — Leipzig. Straw from agriculture could play an important role in the future energy mix for Germany. Up until now it has been underutilised as a biomass residue and waste material. These were the conclusions of a study conducted by the TLL (Thueringian regional institute for agriculture), the DBFZ (German biomass research center) and the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). According to them, from a total of 30 million tons of cereal straw produced annually in Germany, between 8 and 13 million tons of it could be used sustainably for energy or fuel production. This potential could for example provide 1.7 to 2.8 million average households with electricity and at the same time 2.8 to 4.5 million households with heating.

These results highlight the potential contribution of straw to renewable sources of energy, scientists state in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Energy.

For their respective study, scientists analysed the development of residual substances resulting from German agriculture. Accounting for 58 per cent, straw can be regarded as the most important resource, and yet so far it has hardly been used for energy production. From 1950 to 2000 there was a noticeable rise in the cultivation of winter wheat, rye and winter barley in Germany which then remained relatively constant. To remove any bias from weather fluctuations, the average values were taken from 1999, 2003 and 2007. On average, approx. 30 megatons of cereal straw per year were produced in these years. Due to the fact that not all parts of the straw can be used and the fact that straw also plays an important role as bedding in livestock farming, only about half of these 30 megatons are actually available in the end.

Sustainable use

It must be taken into consideration that cereal straw plays an important role in the humus balance of soils. For this reason some of the straw must be left scattered on the agricultural land to prevent nutrients from being permanently extracted from the soil. To calculate the humus balance of soils three different methods of calculation were tested by the team of scientists. Depending upon the method of calculation used, 8, 10 or 13 megatons of straw can be used sustainably every year for energy production — i.e. without causing any disadvantages to the soils or other forms of utilisation. “To our knowledge this is the first time that a study like this has been conducted for an EU country, demonstrating the potential of straw for a truly sustainable energy use, while taking into account the humus balance,” stresses Prof. Daniela Thraen, scientist at the DBFZ and the UFZ.

Greenhouse gas balances depend on utilisation forms

It can thus be said that straw can contribute to the future energy mix. The degree to which it will contribute to greenhouse gas reduction however will depend on how the straw is used. A reduction compared to fossil fuels can be somewhere between 73 and 92 percent when using straw for the generation of heat, combined heat and power generation or as second-generation biofuel production. The different greenhouse gas balances cast a differentiated light on the EU´s goal of covering ten percent of transportation sector’s energy use by using biofuels. Once again the study emphasizes how the use of bioenergy needs to take into account various factors. Given the conditions prevalent in Germany, the use of straw in combined heat and power generation would be best for the climate. “Straw should therefore primarily be used in larger district heating stations and/or combined heat and power stations, but technology must be developed for an environmentally-friendly utilisation,” stresses Dr. Armin Vetter from TLL, who has been operating a straw-fuelled power station for 17 years.

According to the summary of the new study, straw-based energy applications should be developed in Germany in particular in those regions with favourable conditions and appropriate power plants. Even if we wouldn’t be spinning straw into gold in the foreseeable future, it would still make an important contribution to the energy turnaround. Looking across the border shows us what is feasible when the course is optimally set: currently Denmark is still considered to be the world leader in straw-based energy applications. 15 years ago a master plan was introduced there, ensuring in the meantime in Germany´s northern neighbouring country that over 5 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year is generated from straw.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Publix: Motion-Sensor Lights Save Energy

LAKELAND, Fla. — LED technology has saved nearly 100,000 kilowatt-hours annually per Publix Super Markets store.


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Refrigerated doors stay lit for only one minute after motion is detected, Publix wrote in a Facebook post. The LED technology, currently in use in more than 650 stores, can reduce energy usage by 50% to 80% over traditional incandescent lamps.

Additionally, more than 41,000 fixtures companywide use LED technology to illuminate walk-in coolers and freezers. In other lighting sustainability news, Publix has redesigned its track lighting to use new high-efficiency lamps and gain up to a 70% energy savings over older generation track fixtures, according to the company.

In warehouse operations, it has adjusted the timing on bi-level lighting fixtures so the lights stay on only one minute after being triggered by the motion sensor.

Read more: Publix Pharmacy Leads in Customer Satisfaction

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