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EU approves walnut health claimsEuropeans, who celebrate Christmas by cracking open walnuts from California's Central Valley, have another reason to enjoy this food.
The European Union has approved four health claims that can be used in marketing the crop, the California Walnut Commission has announced.
Three of the claims involve fatty acids found in walnuts and several other foods. They were found to help people manage cholesterol in the blood.
The fourth claim is for walnuts only, and it too involves cardiovascular health: "Walnuts contribute to the improvement of the elasticity of the blood vessels."
The EU's decision should provide a boost for the walnut industry. Growers of walnuts have long stated that their produce is healthy, despite popular conceptions to the contrary.
California produces 99 percent of U.S. walnuts and accounts for three-fourths of the world trade.
It is estimated that there are 245,000 acres of bearing orchards as of last year, up from 237,000 in 2010 and 210,000 a decade earlier. An additional 35,000 acres were planted but not producing a crop as of last year.
The federal agency reported an average price to growers of $1.02 per pound in 2010, second only to the $1.15 in 2007. The figure for last year is not available.
Publication date: 6/4/2012
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