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Frito-Lay to Eliminate Trans Fat in Popular Brands
Tue Sep 24, 5:32 PM ET
By Alan Mozes
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Frito-Lay, the largest producer of snack
food products in the US, announced plans Tuesday to eliminate all
trans fat from three of its most popular brands of chips--Doritos,
Cheetos, and Tostitos.
Trans fat will be removed from the products by early next year by
replacing the soybean oil currently in use with corn oil, company
representatives said during a telephone press conference.
Trans fat is formed when vegetable oils are partially hydrogenated to
make them more stable and solid, and recent evidence suggests that
they may be as bad for the heart as saturated fat. Trans fats are
found in margarine, baked goods and other processed foods, and they
are used by restaurants for frying.
McDonald's Corp. announced earlier this month that it will begin
cooking its fries--as well as its Chicken McNuggets, Filet-O-Fish,
hash browns, and crispy chicken sandwiches--in a new oil that reduces
trans fatty acids by 48% and saturated fat by 16%.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Frito-Lay North America,
Abelardo E. Bru, told Reuters Health that together the three products
represent "about half of our business."
Bru and Frito-Lay consultant Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper
Aerobics Center said the switch demonstrates the company's interest
in fighting obesity among American adolescents by providing a broader
range of snacks.
Although the Doritos, Cheetos, and Tostitos brands will no longer
contain trans fat-containing oils, a comparison of "nutrition fact"
labeling reveals that both the total calorie content and overall fat
content of all three foods will remain almost exactly the same after
For example, the "Cheetos Cheese Flavored Snacks-Crunch" brand, which
currently contains 160 calories per serving and 90 grams of fat, will
still contain those amounts after replacing soybean oil with corn
However, the introduction of trans fat-free Doritos, Cheetos, and
Tostitos in 2003 will be supplemented by the December release of some
additional reduced fat chips. Lay's Reduced Fat chips and Cheetos
Reduced Fat snacks will, according to company representatives, have a
25% reduction in total fat content and a 60% reduction in saturated
fats. Both will contain no trans fat-containing oils.
Cooper and Bru noted that in addition to product content alterations,
the company is currently developing an outline of brief fitness and
nutrition "tips," which it plans to feature on its' snack packaging
beginning in early 2003.
The use of trans fats became popular in the late 1960s, after
saturated fats were conclusively linked to an increased risk of heart
Washington, DC-based consumer watchdog group Center for Science in
the Public Interest (CSPI) had guarded praise for the Frito-Lay
"It's nice to see that Frito-Lay is starting to worry about the
nutritional profile of its snack foods," executive director Michael
F. Jacobson said in a statement. "It should worry, because many of
its products are high in fat and largely devoid of vitamins and
minerals. Eliminating trans fats, which promote heart disease, would
be a valuable step in the right direction."
Scientists find clue to cause of possible carcinogen in french fries,
.c The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (Sept. 29) - Scientists have found a clue to the chemical
reaction that may cause potato chips, french fries and other fried or
baked starchy foods to build up high levels of a possible cancer-
The suspect is asparagine, a naturally occurring amino acid that,
when heated with certain sugars such as glucose, leads to the
formation of the worrisome substance acrylamide.
The Food and Drug Administration has made studying acrylamide's risk
and determining how to lower its levels in food one of its highest
research priorities, according to a plan that agency officials were
to discuss Monday with consumer groups and food manufacturers.
Canada's government made the discovery about the suspect chemical
reaction and has ordered food manufacturers to look for ways to alter
it and thus lower levels of acrylamide in food. Cincinnati-based
manufacturer Procter & Gamble Co. says its scientists, too, have
found the asparagine connection.
It is the first clue to emerge in the mystery of acrylamide since
Swedish scientists made the surprise announcement in the spring that
high levels of the possible carcinogen are in numerous everyday
foods: french fries, potato chips, some types of breakfast cereals
and breads - plenty of high-carbohydrate foods that are fried or
baked at high temperatures. The chemical was not found in boiled
foods, which are cooked at lower temperatures.
Sweden's findings were confirmed in June by governments in Norway,
Britain and Switzerland, and preliminary testing of several hundred
foods by the FDA suggests U.S. foods contain similar acrylamide
levels, said Richard Canady, who is directing the agency's assessment
of acrylamide's risk.
Acrylamide is used to produce plastics and dyes and to purify
drinking water. Although traces have been found in water, no one
expected high levels to be in basic foods.
It causes cancer in test animals, but it has not been proved to do so
in people. Still, Swedish scientists have said the levels are high
enough that foodborne acrylamide might be responsible for several
hundred cases of cancer in that country each year.
In the United States, the FDA has been careful to caution that
acrylamide so far is only a suspected carcinogen. The FDA has not yet
advised consumers to alter their diets to avoid it.
Still uncertain is whether the FDA, once it finishes testing
different foods next year, will publicly identify which brands
contain the most acrylamide - information wanted by consumer
For now, Canady said, ``We want to reinforce ... eating a balanced
diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. That's the best way to
ensure that you're getting adequate nutrition.''
The FDA has an impressive research plan but ``should give the public
better advice,'' said Michael Jacobsen of the consumer group Center
for Science in the Public Interest.
``People should be consuming less french fries and potato chips for
other reasons - the salt, the calories, the fat - and the government
should have been urging that anyway. Here's yet another reason,'' he
The food industry stresses that while fried potato products are
getting most of the bad publicity - most testing so far shows the
highest levels in them - acrylamide is in a wide variety of foods.
Procter & Gamble said Friday that its testing found acrylamide in
such previously unimplicated foods as roasted asparagus and banana
``The other aspect people need to look at is while a french fry or a
potato chip may be high ... in concentration, it still comes down to
what is the total contribution of that food to the diet,'' said Henry
Chin of the National Food Processors Association.
Asparagine is in lots of vegetables, Chin noted.
Regardless, the asparagine clue is encouraging, Chin and Jacobsen
Different varieties of potatoes contain different levels of both
asparagine and glucose. That might explain varying acrylamide levels
among different brands - levels in french fries, for instance, vary
widely among fast-food restaurants. Pick a different potato and a
brand's acrylamide level might drop.
Much Awaited Nirvana Song Released
Fri Sep 27, 2002
By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - A long-anticipated Nirvana song that's been the
subject of much speculation and litigation finally surfaced on the
nation's airwaves this week, more than eight years after singer Kurt
Cobain killed himself.
Cobain's estate closely guarded "You Know You're Right," making it
one of the most legendary unreleased tracks in rock history. The
band, which launched the early 1990s "grunge" movement, recorded it
in late January 1994, less than three months before Cobain's death.
"It may not be the best song they ever did, but it's probably in the
top 10," Cobain biographer Charles Cross said Thursday. "At the time,
people were saying Kurt was over, and that's what's so significant
about this song it's the last great Nirvana song."
It's unclear how the track finally aired. Several radio stations said
it first surfaced on the Internet, which was where they obtained it.
One station, KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, reported receiving a one-day
cease-and-desist order earlier this week, but said it had permission
to play the song Thursday.
The release whether official or not followed comments last week
from Cobain's widow, Courtney Love, indicating that lawsuits
involving the song had been settled for "a lot of money" and
that "You Know You're Right" would come out before the holidays.
Love and surviving Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic
have long fought over "You Know You're Right" and the rest of
Nirvana's legacy. She sued them in May 2001 to block the release of a
boxed set including the song, which she wanted released later. They
countersued for breach of contract, calling Love "irrational,
mercurial, self-centered, unmanageable, inconsistent and
Neither Love's Seattle lawyer, O. Yale Lewis, nor Grohl and
Novoselic's lawyers would confirm that the case had been settled or
discuss the song's release. A spokesman for Interscope Geffen A&M,
Nirvana's label, did not return a phone message, and lawyers for
Universal Music Group, which includes the label, declined to comment.
The case still was set to go to trial in King County Superior Court
beginning Monday, though a bailiff for Judge Robert Alsdorf noted
that a hearing set for about two weeks ago had been canceled without
"You Know You're Right" is chilling, especially given its proximity
to Cobain's death. It opens with the lines "I would never bother you/
I would never promise to/ If I say that word again/ I would move away
from here," and descends into Cobain's elongated, tormented
wail. "Pain," he cries, stretching the word out for nearly 10
Other lines appear sarcastic: "Things have never been so swell/ And I
have never been so well."
Cross cautioned that the version released on the Internet may not be
the one the record label planned to release. He said he heard a
substantially better version while researching his Cobain
biography, "Heavier than Heaven," which came out last year.
The song shows what more Cobain could have done, had he not committed
suicide at 27, Cross said.
"When I first heard it, my jaw just dropped," he said. "You get the
sense that you're never going to hear this voice again."
Ex-hippie guru's murder trial opens
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joann Loviglio
Sept. 30, 2002 | PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Opening statements began
Monday in the murder trial of Ira Einhorn, the former hippie guru
accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend more than 20 years ago.
It is Einhorn's second trial for the murder. He was convicted in
absentia in 1993, but that conviction was later vacated.
Einhorn, 62, is accused of killing Holly Maddux in 1977 in their West
Philadelphia apartment and stuffing her body in a steamer trunk. He
jumped bail on the eve of his 1981 trial and spent two decades on the
lam before he was nabbed.
The jury was chosen in just a few days last week, more quickly than
expected. Lawyers on both sides had thought the media frenzy that has
surrounded Einhorn since he was caught living in France in 1997 until
his return to the United States in July 2001 would make it hard to
find people without an opinion on the case.
Einhorn's lawyers might call celebrities such as Ellen Burstyn and
Peter Gabriel as character witnesses. They also plan to offer expert
testimony from the medical examiner in Washington, D.C., who
supervised the autopsy of former federal intern Chandra Levy.
And Einhorn, who has always maintained his innocence, may take the
witness stand to defend himself.
Family and friends of Maddux also planned to be in court for the
"This to me is the final chapter. It's here," Maddux's sister Buffy
Hall said last week. "We trusted the system would work and it
ultimately did, even against astronomical odds."
Maddux's mummified remains were found in 1979, two years after she
disappeared, when neighbors complained about an odor coming from
Einhorn's apartment. Einhorn had told police that Maddux went to the
store and never returned.
Einhorn was arrested, but released on bail after several prominent
Philadelphians vouched for his character. He fled and spent 20 years
hiding in Europe before he was arrested in 1997 living with his
Swedish wife in a converted windmill in southern France.
He was returned to the United States in July 2001, but only after
prosecutors agreed to a French request not to seek the death penalty
and the Legislature passed a law allowing his 1993 conviction in
absentia to be vacated.
Einhorn has said he was framed for Maddux's murder by the CIA because
of his knowledge of their secret mind-control weapon experiments.
Tuesday, 24 October, 2000
The car that runs on air
The lightweight car car be air-filled in just three minutes
By Carolyn Dempster in Johannesburg
Urban transport could soon be revolutionised with the launching this
week in South Africa of a prototype new car which designers say runs
It is being predicted that the e.Volution will be able to travel up
to 200km (120 miles) for only 30 US cents.
With petrol and diesel prices going up, and the price of oil subject
to fluctuations, motorists might be only too happy to "go green"
The car, which resembles a small minibus, is being promoted by the
slogan "Simple, Economic and Clean", but details of how the vehicle
will work remain sketchy.
The e.Volution prototype will be unveiled at Auto Africa Expo 2000 in
Johannesburg this week and is being touted as the first viable
alternative to cars that run on conventional fuels.
Researchers have been working for many years to produce 'eco-
friendly' cars, but so far these attempts have not been successful.
Some models already in development use hydrogen as a fuel.
It is expected to sell in South Africa for about R74,000 ($10,000)
which is on a par with a medium-sized saloon car.
Helen Brown who heads "Zero Pollution Motors", the company which has
the rights to manufacture the car locally, says it will be ideal for
First models to be on the road this year
The compression engine technology was pioneered by a former French
formula one engineer Guy Negre, who has spent years searching for an
alternative to the traditional oil-fuelled engine.
The piston engine is powered by the release of compressed air which
is stored in tanks, very similar to scuba diving tanks, attached to
the underside of the car.
The body of the vehicle weighs only 700kg, and the engine itself is a
This means that the vehicle can theoretically be driven for up to 10
hours in an urban environment at an average speed of 80km/h.
The designers of e.Volution say it will be possible to merely plug
the vehicle into any electrical power source to fill it up. That
could take up to four hours.
It could be a serious challenge to the current motor vehicle market
But the manufacturers envisage that fleet owners could install their
own air stations, where a fill up could take as little as three
If the e.Volution lives up to all the hype, it could offer a serious
challenge to the current motor vehicle market.
There are currently two factories in France, with the first models
expected on the streets later this year.
There are five factories planned for Mexico and Spain, with three in
But South Africa will be the second country after France to open a
factory and begin production.
Helen Brown says her company aims to set up a production line in the
province of Gauteng by next year, with the first cars off the
production line and onto the salesroom floor by early 2002.
"It's really an anti-globalisation production idea" she said.
"The aim of the project is to cut costs and create jobs locally,
serving the consumer market directly."
With petrol and diesel prices going up, and the price of oil subject
to fluctuations, the Middle East crisis and occasional shortfalls,
motorists might be only too happy to "go green" if it means a
lifetime saving on fuel costs.
Steve Earle unapologetic about "John Walker's Blues"
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Sept. 27, 2002 | NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Nashville singer-
songwriter Steve Earle hasn't ever been one to avoid controversy.
In contrast to patriotism-boosting songs by country artists such as
Toby Keith, Earle seeks to understand the enemy on "John Walker's
Blues," one of the tunes on his new politically themed
album, "Jerusalem," released Tuesday.
"John Walker's Blues" takes the viewpoint of John Walker Lindh, a 21-
year-old Californian captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan who has
pleaded guilty to fighting alongside the Taliban militia.
The song describes Lindh as "an American boy -- raised on MTV" who
turns to another culture when his own fails to engage him.
"If my daddy could see me now -- chains around my feet/ He don't
understand that sometimes a man/ Has to fight for what he believes,"
In July, the song kicked up a fight between critics who feel Earle's
unpatriotic and defenders who consider him provocative.
"I'm pretty unapologetic," Earle said in an interview. "I think I'm
genuinely radical, and I insist that it's OK for me to be radical in
The controversy came too early to provide him with the sales boost
some critics accused him of trying to manufacture.
"I discovered I had more leaks than the ... Bush administration,"
Earle said with a laugh. "I expected a reaction, but not before
the ... record came out."
Earle was vacationing in Ireland when he learned what was going on
Nashville talk-radio hosts claimed Earle had written the song to
shock the public and kick-start a flagging career. The New York Post
declared that Lindh was "glorified and called Jesus-like in a country-
rock song" in a story headlined, "Twisted Ballad Honors Tali-Rat."
"Scapegoating's always dangerous," Earle said. "We operate much more
efficiently with a boogeyman, and we haven't had one since the fall
of the Soviet Union. ... John Walker Lindh, we just kind of stumbled
After his return to the United States, Earle appeared on various
national news programs, including the "Today" show and "Inside
Edition" to belatedly defend himself.
"Nobody laid a glove on me," he said. "No intelligent person
questions my right to do this, and I think it will help when people
hear the song ... and understand that it's me assuming a character."
Earle added: "The other thing is. ... I am much more left-wing than
most people are."
Earle, 47, has long been considered one of Nashville's thorniest,
troubled and best artists. He apprenticed with Texas songwriters such
as Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark before moving to Nashville in the
He started to pick up songwriting credits in the 1980s, then
delivered the classic Bruce Springsteen-influenced album "Guitar
Town" in 1986.
Critically lauded as a tremendous songwriter and performer, his
career has been stalled by drug addiction and political
outspokenness, in recent years mostly about his opposition to the
On the day of the interview, Earle is wearing a T-shirt with the
image of Lenin. "I believe that capitalism is fundamentally
oppressive because it depends on the service of labor in order to
thrive," he said.
"I believe that it's immoral for people to go hungry in the richest
country in the world, or any of the richest countries in the world. I
believe that it's immoral for us not to treat people when they're
sick and they need treatment."
His fans are familiar with Earle's politics. That's why he dismisses
the idea that he wrote "John Walker's Blues" as an attention-getter.
Earle said he's refused millions in sponsorship money from beer
companies (because he's a recovering addict) and an opportunity to
record a duet with Garth Brooks (because it didn't interest him
Both would have profited his career more than a song like "John
Walker's Blues," which was sure to alienate many people.
"As much as I would like to say that my audience is working people,
it's not," Earle said. "It's intellectuals in large cities. And even
in that group of people, I bet you not even 50 percent agree with me
about the death penalty.
"But I think my audience does respect my right to what I believe, and
they will allow me that voice."
Opium Glut In Hamid Karzai's Afghanistan
By Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
Europe is about to be inundated by a tidal wave of cheap heroin from
Afghanistan, which will reach the cities of the Old Continent via
Turkey and Albania.
Since the Taliban regime was ousted and the US-backed regime of Hamid
Karzai was installed in Kabul, opium production has risen by one
thousand, five hundred tonnes. In one year.
Opium poppy cultivation has increased an estimated 1,400 times in the
Afghanistan of Hamid Karzai, according to figures presented at the
Second European Conference on Drugs Trafficking, on Thursday, in
Paris, by Drugscope, the British Drugs Observatory, whose director,
Roger Howard, declared that the news is "extremely worrying".
In October 2001, the UN Drug Control Programme released figures which
indicated that in areas controlled by the Northern Alliance, opium
production was rising, after the Taliban had practically eliminated
the crop, considering it "anti-Islamic".
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