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.
A LOOK BACK AT 2001
As we welcome the New Year, let us we take a quick look back at 2001. Last year was a busy year for the food industry in general and IFANCA and the Halal community in the United States in particular.
The industry experienced additional contraction as numerous mergers and buyouts created larger and larger companies. Globalization continues to shrink the number of producers, creating larger companies with greater wherewithal to compete in the global marketplace. Among the major combinations were Tyson Foods and IBP, Land O Lakes and Purina Mills and Sara Lee and The Earthgrains Company. Many mergers across the Atlantic also took place, with Danone entering the Saudi Arabian market by purchasing a large interest in Al Safi. We hope these mergers will bring benefits to the consumers as well as the producers.
IFANCA certification increased too as we welcomed Kontos, Better Beef, Fikr Industries, Secrets SA Distributors Ltd., Paramount Farms, China Mist Tea and Twin Marquis to the family of IFANCA Halal certified products. with these new additions, the IFANCA Halal certification program expands to include pastas, appetizers, nuts, marshmallows, toothpaste and hand soap.
In addition to certification, IFANCA was busy providing information on Halal to producers and consumers. Email inquiries increase tremendously over the previous year. The mailing budget was strained with the number of requests for information. The IFANCA Shopper's Guide was a very popular item with consumers and was distributed free of charge by mail and at a number of conferences.
Once again, IFANCA sponsored Halal Food Conference 2001. This conference was held in Paris, France and solidified IFANCA's presence in Europe. In addition, IFANCA attended the IFT Conference, the Muslim American Society Convention in Chicago, Illinois, USA and was a major presenter at the Halal Foods Conference & Exhibition in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
On the publication front, IFANCA continues to publish the web based newsletter, Halal Digest, and the print magazine Halal Consumer. We are proud to receive many complements on both publications. We continue to distribute other booklets and procedures as needed.
The year 2001 saw the Dearborn, Michigan (USA) School District initiate a Halal lunch program. Other schools and universities also began offering Halal meals. This is a great accomplishment for the Muslim and Halal consuming communities. Momentum on the Halal Food Laws continued with the Minnesota and Illinois joining New Jersey as states which have passed Halal food Laws. We look for continued momentum to bring similar laws to the other 47 states.
There were also some concerns during the year. Mad cow and foot and mouth disease wreaked havoc in producing and consuming nations around the world. Many herds were destroyed to contain the disease. Bioengineering continued to raise concerns and hope for consumers and producers. Many areas of the globe continue to face hunger and starvation. The global recession continues to affect many in the world. We are thankful for bounty we enjoy.
Let us pray that 2002 brings relief to those who are suffering, the end of war, prosperity to all people of the world and an attitude of appreciation and thanks for what we have. Ameen.
One third of adults and one fifth of adolescents in the United States are overweight and that is an increase since 1979.
California will require dandruff shampoo containing coal-tar to carry a warning that it can cause cancer. Coal-tar is banned from all consumer goods in Europe. (Reported in Arab News, December 24, 2001)
"Energy drinks" are causing a stir in Europe and the United States. There seems to be concern about the safety of consuming too much of them. Energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine, which is a diuretic, so consumers of energy drinks should be sure to drink plenty of water. Energy drinks contain other substances as well. (Reported in Arab News, December 24, 2001)
The merger of Suiza Foods Corporation and Dean Foods Company has been approved by the US Justice Department. (Reported in the IFT Weekly Newsletter, Decemnber 25, 2001.)
Now that the holidays are over, how many of us are suffering with heartburn? In 2000, the National Heartburn Alliance, a group dedicated to providing information and advice on coping with and preventing heartburn, conducted a survey and gathered some interesting facts about heartburn sufferers.
Heartburn is characterized by a sharp, burning sensation just below the ribs. The pain usually comes after meals and the symptoms respond quickly to antacids. Sometimes heartburn symptoms resemble heart attack symptoms, so don't take any chances. Check with a doctor to be sure.
Heartburn is a medical condition with biological causes as well as lifestyle causes. Medication and lifestyle changes can provide relief from heartburn. In some cases, surgery is used to treat heartburn. Heartburn may be a symptom of more serious conditions and those who suffer from frequent or chronic heartburn should seek medical help.
Survey respondents felt their heartburn was affecting their enjoyment of food, sleep, concentration on tasks and family time. The most popular causes of heartburn were reported to be food, eating late and stress.
Foods that can trigger heartburn include fats, oils, chocolate, citrus products, vinegar, carbonated beverages and caffeinated beverages. Avoiding these foods or consuming them in moderation may reduce heartburn attacks. Smoking can also trigger heartburn.
Not eating with 2-3 hours of sleeping is recommended for sufferers who experience heartburn when eating late. If it is necessary to eat late, try to avoid the foods that can trigger heartburn.
While it has not been proven that stress causes heartburn, it can slow the movement of food through the digestive system, which can increase acid reflux. It may also lead to some other activities, such as over-eating, smoking or drinking, which can lead to heartburn.
In some cases, exercise or physical activity may trigger heartburn. Not exercising immediately after eating may provide relief from this. Drinking plenty of water is also recommended, before, during and after exercise.
Also, some medications, like anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, pain medications, antibiotics and iron tablets may trigger heartburn. Check with your doctor to confirm this.
When preparing foods, it is better to avoid deep-frying, frying and sautÈing whenever possible. Roasted, baked, broiled, poached or steamed foods provides a more appropriate if you suffer from heartburn. Using a microwave or pressure cooker can help reduce the use of butter or fat and is another good way of preparing food.
Sometimes losing weight can reduce heartburn suffering. This may be because diet-friendly foods are also heartburn-friendly. Also, excess weight can put added pressure on the stomach, which may contribute to or increase reflux.
Heartburn seems to be very common. Most respondents said they experience heartburn twice a week or more and have been suffering for over five years.
For more information, browse the National Heartburn Alliance website at www.heartburnalliance.org . Extracted from the National Heartburn Alliance website