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Calcium, An Important Nutrient

MAY 2001
ISSN 1533-3361
In This Issue
Disclaimer Food News Calcium, An Important Nutrient Upcoming Events

Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. Apples on Tree
It has come to our attention there may be some claims that Shaklee products are certified Halal by IFANCA. This is false. IFANCA has not certified any Shaklee products as Halal. Consumers should be aware that even if the claim is made on the product itself, it is false. If you come across any Shaklee products claiming to be certified Halal by IFANCA, please inform us immediately with product names, batch numbers and the location where you found the product. Thank you. We appreciate the efforts of Halal consumers who alerted us to this situation. Apples on Tree

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Calcium is an essential mineral in a healthy body. Most of the body's calcium is contained in the bones, with the balance found in teeth and body cells. The need for calcium intake has been known for many years. A normal adult will replace nearly 5% of bone calcium every year. This requires a continuous an ample supply of calcium intake. It is even more important for children and older people. Calcium is also important for other physiological functions including muscle contraction, heartbeat and nerve function. The government panel on nutrition monitoring believes Americans do not get enough calcium.

The food industry has made a big effort to respond to the calcium deficiency that Americans may face. Products fortified with calcium have been growing in number over the years. Dairy foods are a major source of calcium. Milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream are popular food items containing calcium. Lactose intolerance, which may affect up to 25% of all Americans, can affect calcium intake. If the lactose intolerant avoids dairy products, they must make an extra effort to satisfy their calcium requirements. Some producers are marketing lactose-free milk products, fortified with calcium. Even among children who are not calcium intolerant, milk consumption has declined with the availability of many other beverages. This is especially a problem among teenage boys, who seem to prefer soft drinks to milk.

In addition to the amount of calcium a food product contains, the rate the body can absorb the calcium is also important. Some forms of calcium are easier to absorb than other forms. Calcium in milk is absorbed at a rate of 32%, radishes at 74% and spinach at 5%. In addition, certain other elements, such as vitamin D and phosphorus, affect the absorption of calcium. Data suggest it is best to ingest calcium throughout the day, rather than at one time. This suggests it is best to obtain calcium through the normal diet, rather than through calcium supplements.

It is believed that calcium intake early in life can help one later on in life. Consequently, it is best to make a regular habit of eating calcium-containing foods from childhood. This will help reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Bone loss is a cumulative effect, so preserving bone integrity in childhood and through adolescence will help when one reaches an older age. The RDA for calcium changes with age and is currently set at 1300 mg per day for 9-18 year olds, 1000 for 19-50 year olds and 1200 for 51 and older individuals. Lower estrogen levels in older women accelerated bone loss so they may require additional calcium.

Product labeling normally lists products with 10% of the RDA as "calcium-enriched", products with 10-19% of the RDA as "good source of calcium" and products with more than 20% of the RDA as "high in calcium", though these are not required indications.

Food producers must consider many factors in fortifying products with calcium, including solubility, cost, taste and absorptive. Orange juice is an easy product to fortify, especially if it is not clarified, since insoluble calcium can be easily suspended in it. Calcium carbonate, calcium citrate and calcium lactate are three of the ingredients used in the food industry to fortify products.

It is interesting that milk contains calcium and other minerals in a similar proportion as bones. Both milk and bones contain twice as much calcium as phosphorus, along with trace minerals including magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper. This should come as no surprise since ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, has made mother's milk a readily available and inexpensive supply of food and nutrition for newborns. In fact, the Quranic guidance to nurse babies for two years, if they continue to accept it, provides a solid foundation for proper growth.

Common sense suggests one should eat a healthy diet including foods from the four food groups; exercise; and get enough rest. This is the way the Creator intended for us to lead our lives. World pressures and temptations have made that difficult for many people, so we seek shortcuts to achieving a healthy life. The best way to do that is to follow the Divine guidance and partake of the good and pure foods that have been provided.

"O ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you and be grateful to ALLAH, if it is HE ye worship." (Al Baqara: 172) (Information from "Calcium's Role," from the January 2001 issue of Food Product Design magazine, by Suanne Klahorst, associate director of the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR) at the University of California-Davis. Copyright 2001, Weeks Publishing Company.) Apples on Tree

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In a recent IFANCA e-poll we asked the question, How much more would you pay for organic meat? The response: 29% said zero, 28% said 25% more, 17% said 50% more, 3% said 75% more, 8% said 100% more and 15% said more than 100% more. There is a demand for organic Halal meat. Now it is up to the producers and market to respond!
It appears Tyson's purchase of IBP has been called off.
The US Senate has passed an amendment to the budget allocating finds to the FDA for hiring more inspectors. At present funding, inspectors can only inspect food manufacturers once every eight years. With the additional funds, inspectors should be able to inspect high-risk sites annually. (Reported in on April 16, 2001.)
University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill scientists have concluded form surveys that American children are eating more snacks now than they did in 1970. This means the energy derived from snack foods has increased and it is troubling the scientists. Over this period, child obesity has increased from 8% to 14%. The scientists don't discourage snacking but advise using good judgment in selection of snacks. (Reported in, April 9, 2001.)
Representative Nita Lowey has introduced the Food Ingredient Right to Know Act. The act is intended to require food labels to contain information on known food allergens. This act would require identification of the source of these allergens and would help Muslims distinguish between animal derived ingredients and non-animal derived ingredients. The act is HR 1536. (Reported in on April 13, 2001.)
The Food Research Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will meet on May 16-17. They will discuss a number of topics, including E. coli, listeria, genetically modified foods, BSE and other topics. For more information, visit the institute web site at or contact them at or at (608) 263-7777. (Reported in on April 10, 2001.)
The FDA has approved an irradiation process for animal feed additives, including pet treats. This is intended to reduce Salmonella contamination in the these products. Apples on Tree

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Halal Food Conference 2001 is only a couple of weeks away. Registration time is running out. If you are involved in Halal product development or marketing or may be interested in getting involved, you will benefit from this conference. Contact IFANCA or register online. We look forward to seeing you in Paris, France on May 13-15, 2001. Contact IFANCA for details. Apples on Tree

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