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McCormick Science Institute Testifies to USDA and HHS on 2015 Dietary Guidelines

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SPARKS, Md., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Guy H. Johnson, PhD, Executive Director of the McCormick Science Institute testified yesterday to officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.  Johnson applauded the committee's inclusion of spices and herbs as a way to reduce sodium consumption, while encouraging policy makers to look more broadly at flavor's role in diet quality.

"Spices and herbs are an important tool in helping Americans meet the committee's dietary recommendations," said Johnson.  "Taste is the primary driver of food decisions, and recent data suggests spices and herbs can not only increase the acceptability of low-sodium foods, but also those low in saturated fat and calories."

Johnson encouraged the agencies to include practical information in the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines about how spices and herbs can be used to add flavor with virtually no additional calories, saturated fat, sodium or sugars.  He reviewed several studies demonstrating the positive impact of spices and herbs on healthier eating:

Increase acceptance of healthy foods:  Researchers from the University of Colorado and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center demonstrated that adding spices and herbs to reduced-fat meals (lean meats, vegetables and pasta) helped make them more appealing. In fact, some reduced fat dishes with added herbs and spices were rated just as high as the full-fat version. 

Increase vegetable consumption among young children: Researchers from The Pennsylvania State University showed that offering a reduced-fat dip flavored with herbs and spices may help children learn to like vegetables they previously rejected or disliked, and significantly increase vegetable consumption. 

Improve youth diet quality through education: Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that nutrition education intervention focusing on spices and herbs may help improve diet quality among inner city high school students. 

Adhere to lower-sodium eating plans:  Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University showed a behavioral intervention that taught adults to add herbs and spices – instead of salt – to food led to a decrease in almost 1,000 mg/d sodium consumption compared to people who tried to reduce sodium on their own.

The Scientific Report released by the committee in February advised the food industry to "help consumers understand how to flavor unsalted foods with spices and herbs," and lower the sodium content of industry products. In addition to offering healthy, flavorful recipes and tips to consumers, McCormick works closely with food companies to provide flavor solutions that help reduce sodium in packaged foods and on restaurant menus.

About The McCormick Science Institute

The McCormick Science Institute is an independent research-driven organization whose mission is to support scientific research and disseminate information on the potential health benefits of culinary herbs and spices to all stakeholders including consumers and health professionals. The Institute is led by nutrition scientists and guided by a Scientific Advisory Council consisting of internationally-renown scientists and health professionals from leading research institutions.

About McCormick

McCormick & Company, Incorporated is a global leader in flavor.  With $4.2 billion in annual sales, the company manufactures, markets and distributes spices, seasoning mixes, condiments and other flavorful products to the entire food industry – retail outlets, food manufacturers and foodservice businesses.  Every day, no matter where or what you eat, you can enjoy food flavored by McCormick.  McCormick Brings Passion to Flavor™.