By the Numbers

—According to an article in The, since the USDA approved irradiation for refrigerated and frozen raw red meat in December 1999, sales, while not earth-shattering, have remained brisk. Although irradiated meat products from Chandler, Minnesota-based Huisken Meats debuted in only 84 stores in the Minneapolis metro area in May 2000, by the end of the year distribution had spread to more than 2,000 food outlets nationwide. In a related story, Huisken sales manager Cliff Albertson noted that although associated shipping and irradiation costs have boosted the price of treated patties 40 to 50 percent for a two-pound package, safety-conscious consumers have not complained.

—The makers of Imodium®, an over-the-counter medication used to treat indigestion and heartburn, recently released their list of the ten most gastrointestinally distressed cities in America. Topping the list was Los Angeles, California, whose residents spend a whopping $6.97 per person annually on gastrointestinal (GI)-related products. Following L.A. (in order of ranking) were New York at $6.58 per person, Houston, Texas at $6.38 per person, Dallas/Ft. Worth at $6.16 per person, San Francisco at $5.84 per person, and Chicago at $4.66 per person. The findings were published in conjunction with the launch of a new dietary supplement called Probiotica, which promotes gastrointestinal health.

—According to an article appearing in the medical journal Circulation—published by the American Heart Association—people with total cholesterol levels exceeding 240 could benefit substantially by eating 25 to 50 grams of soy protein daily. The journal cited 38 clinical studies, concluding that between 25 to 50 grams per day is both safe and effective in reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by up to eight percent. LDL is considered the “bad” cholestrol in blood.

—According to an article appearing in the November 21, 2000 edition of the Journal of Natural Products, a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Chemical Society, steaming ginseng root for approximately three hours at 120°C (248°F) can multiply the herb’s antioxidant qualities by eight times and its ability to relax blood vessels by up to 32 times. The hotter steam (standard boiling temperatures of 100°C are normally used) reportedly amplifies certain ginsenosides—the ingredient believed responsible for ginseng’s sought-after qualities—producing an optimal amount of biological activity.

—According to the Associated Press, a study backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund recently concluded that 40 percent of the world’s six billion people still lack a clean water supply and proper sanitation. In a related story, the WHO was cited as claiming that universal access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene could be provided within the next 25 years with an estimated cost of a mere $7 billion annually. The cost, said Richard Jolly, chairman of the Geneva-based Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Counsil, “is well under half of what the United States spends on pet food every year and less than a tenth of what Europe spends each year on alcohol.”

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