News Update
April 3, 2006


Barbecued meat linked with prostate cancer

In backyard barbecues around the world, a compound is formed that may cause prostate cancer. According to a Reuters story, a study presented at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research indicated that meat cooked at high temperatures, causing charring, encouraged prostate cancer to grow in rats.

This study may explain the link previously made between eating meat, especially red meat, and a higher prostate cancer risk.


Cholesterol-lowering food additive

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Beef Products Inc. (BPI) have signed an agreement that could lead to commercialization of a cholesterol-lowering compound made from beef tallow and soybeans, according to a UNL release. Tim Carr, a nutrition scientist at UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, invented the compound, which the university is patenting.

Under the agreement, BPI will provide $500,000 to fund a human clinical study of the tallow/soybean compound’s cholesterol-lowering power, slated to begin in mid-May. If the compound proves effective, BPI has the option to commercialize it for food applications under a university agreement.

The compound, which performed well in animal studies, is the outgrowth of Carr’s basic research on the roles fats play in heart disease. Soybeans and other plants contain sterols, which scientists have long known reduce cholesterol. Tallow is a rich source of stearic acid, a saturated fat. Carr’s research revealed that stearic acid actually lowers cholesterol.

Exploring ways to put this “good guy” fat to work, Carr devised a way to blend specific amounts of stearic acid with plant sterols.


Annual trade report

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) released its 2006 National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE), an annual report documenting foreign trade and investment barriers and U.S. efforts to reduce and eliminate those barriers.

“We have an aggressive and proactive agenda to open markets and reduce trade barriers so that American workers, farmers and businesses can sell their goods and services to the 95% of the world’s consumers living outside the United States,” said USTR’s General Counsel Jim Mendenhall. “The NTE report is a useful tool in identifying trade barriers our exporters face.”

The NTE provides an account of barriers and unfair trade practices to American exports of goods, services and farm products. While the NTE report itself details successful efforts to reduce barriers to Americans around the world, it mentions major ongoing problems, including a closed Japanese market to U.S. beef. The release states that USTR is continuing to work with its Japanese counterparts to get that market open again as soon as possible.

— compiled by Brooke Byrd, assistant editor, Angus Productions Inc.

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