News from MFA Members
We invite our MFA members to share their news concerning how their Mediterranean Diet products have received special recognition, or when they have been included in science-based studies, research, or nutrition education.
Leading Doctors Write Open Letter to UK Health Secretary
Dr. Simon Poole, general practitioner, leading advocate of the gold-standard Mediterranean Diet, and director of MFA member Positively Good for You, organized a letter from leading UK doctors and international scientists to UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister David Cameron in advance of a G8 summit on December 11, 2013, on the impact of dementia on individuals and society. The letter calls on international governments to make diet and lifestyle preventative strategies central to policy on combating dementia and to invest in an education program on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet for children in schools and the wider adult population.
London Cardiologist and campaigner for better health, Dr. Aseem Malhotra said, "The evidence base for the Mediterranean Diet, in preventing all of the chronic diseases that are plaguing the western world is overwhelming. This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, and cancer. Policy makers and the public need to know that such a diet is far more potent than the often dubious benefit of many medications and without side effects."
Dr. Simon Poole has called upon politicians to seize this opportunity to invest more resources in the promotion of better diet and lifestyle, "This is simply too important to 'put on the too difficult pile.'...We are calling upon policy makers to not only support the care and treatment of those who are already suffering from dementia, but to make significant investments in work which will see benefits beyond the period of one or two parliaments."
Gaea Earns European Business Award
Since 2007 the European Business Awards have been highlighting businesses that promote success, innovation, and ethics in the European business community. This year MFA member Gaea, the parent company of Cat Cora's Kitchen by Gaea, received the Import/Export Award, which recognizes companies that demonstrate a continuously positive trend in the export/import or re-export of goods, demonstrate the expansion of coverage in existing or new markets, and show robustness in managing and developing international trade and maintaining and improving market position in the face of competition. Mr. Aris Kefalogiannis (right), Gaea's CEO, accepted the award and is shown here with Mr. Athos Sylianou (left), Managing Director of RSM Greece. Gaea has the added distinction of being the 1st Greek company to win this prestigious award.
FoodMatch Recognized for Best Practices
Whole Foods works with thousands of suppliers to fill its shelves, and each year it recognizes what it calls its top ten "cream of the crop supplier partners." We were delighted to discover that MFA member FoodMatch received this year's Excellence in Cheese & Specialty award for honoring traditional methods of olive and antipasti production, for forming direct alliances with farmers in the Mediterranean and in the U.S., and for delivering premium quality products with a commitment to recycling and waste management. For more than a decade FoodMatch founder Phil Meldrum has scoured the Mediterranean region (including on Oldways Symposiums), visiting farmers and producers individually to bring customers the finest raw materials for meze, antipasti, and tapas.
International Collection Celebrates Med Diet Anniversary
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the Mediterranean Diet in the United States and the creation of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, MFA member International Collection has created a special selection of 20 delicious Mediterranean Diet recipes from spicy tomato and chickpea soup to mushroom and pumpkin risotto: http://internationalcollection.co.uk/en/mediterranean-diet. International Collection joined the MFA in 2007, and has featured the Med Mark on its line of olive and nut oils for over five years.
Dr. Simon Poole & Dr. Mabel Blades Publish Article on the Mediterranean Diet
Dr. Simon Poole and Dr. Mabel Blades have published "The Mediterranean Diet—A Review of Evidence Relevant to the Food and Drink Industry" in the latest issue (volume 43, issue 1) of the highly respected Journal of Nutrition and Food Science.
Dr. Blades is a registered dietitian, trainer, author, editor, and consultant. Dr. Poole is an author and consultant on the benefits of the Mediterranean way of life, as well as the director of Positively Good for You, producers of infused extra virgin olive oils for drizzling, dressing, and dipping. He chaired the Food and Drink Innovation Network seminar in June 2012, which brought together leading scientists from around the world to meet with industry to discuss innovative commercial opportunities for the Mediterranean Diet.
Dr. Poole commented, "We medical professionals are sometimes accused of living in ivory towers and the food industry of placing profits before health, so it was a real privilege to invite experts in the field of nutrition to meet with a common interest in understanding the future of healthy new product development. It was a logical progression to publish a review of the most relevant studies both for industry and the scientific community to support the development of new initiatives in the future and to bridge the difference in perspectives."
Mooney Farms Launches New Product
Recognizing that consumers today have less time to prepare healthy meals, Mooney Farms provides products that are delicious, easy to prepare, and healthy! The newest addition to their one-of-a-kind 3.5-ounce Julienne-Cut flavored bags is Premium Julienne-Cut Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Greek Oregano, Basil, and Garlic.
Mooney Farms has combined their premium sun-dried tomatoes with the delicious flavors of oregano, basil, and garlic to create the perfect blend of flavors ready for any Mediterranean Diet recipe. The bite-sized pieces are packed with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant associated with many health benefits. Ounce per ounce, sun-dried tomatoes have 12 times more lycopene than raw tomatoes.
Barilla Launches Si Mediterraneo Initiative
Barilla has recently launched an initiative, Si Mediterraneo, to encourage its employees to live healthier by embracing the Mediterranean Lifestyle.
Barilla created an internal blog to engage employees and provide healthy Mediterranean Lifestyle tips and recipes. Other communications include banners, posters, tabletop messaging, and leaflets for employees to share with their families. Learning modules, video messaging, and quarterly publications are in development.
Department assistants, local restaurants, and the company nutritionist worked together to create menus showcasing healthier options at more than 20 restaurants to improve the nutritional value of catered lunches. The company also hosted a lunch-and-learn presentation on the Mediterranean Lifestyle with David Grotto, RD. Barilla offered employees at its Bannockburn, IL, plant corporate office free weekly Mediterranean lunches in its café and made healthy Mediterranean snacks available for all shifts at its plant locations.
The Si Mediterraneo initiative aligns with Barilla’s overall nutrition manifesto:
“To contribute every day to people’s health and well-being through our products: by transforming high quality ingredients into safe, healthy products that answer both basic and specific nutritional requirements; by offering good, practical suggestions for daily use inspired by the balanced and healthy Mediterranean Diet.”
Barilla proudly reports positive changes: employees are taking a break and sharing meals together, and are choosing healthier options at snack and meal times. Plans are in place to evaluate and continue building the program.
Gaea Olive Oil Wins Two Awards
Setting the gold standard for olive oil, the Los Angeles International Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Competition has enlisted an impressive roster of judging experts for the past thirteen years to judge the finest domestic and international olive oils.
At this year’s event, held in late July, Cat Cora’s Kitchen by GAEA’s Kalamata DOP Extra Virgin Olive Oil received the Silver Award for Packaging Design, Art, and Illustration, and the Bronze Award for the Best Northern Hemisphere Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Mono Cultivar. Chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author, and Iron Chef Cat Cora is shown here with one of the awards.
Send your news to MFA Program Manager Sara Baer-Sinnott.