Close to 90 years, Ocean Spray Cranberries has been unlocking the cranberry's health benefits through research and product development.
This week the grower-owned cooperative announced that it will invest more than $10 million over the next five years to research the cranberry's antimicrobial benefits, including the role it might play in helping to combat one of the greatest challenges to public health today: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In addition to its research commitment, Ocean Spray will launch the Ocean Spray Cranberry Health Institute in 2018.
"Ocean Spray is dedicated to finding ways to use cranberries to not only keep you healthy but also to potentially address global health issues," said Randy Papadellis, president and chief executive officer of Ocean Spray.
"With antibiotic resistance on track to kill more people than cancer, the World Health Organisation has called on government sectors and society to take action on this serious threat to global public health. We want to be sure that Ocean Spray look at all the components of this fruit and how it can contribute to whole-body health."
Through comprehensive health research, Ocean Spray has long ensured that it delivers products that taste good and are good for you. Its Cranberry +health juice drink product formula, for example, has been clinically proven to reduce recurrent symptomatic UTIs.
It contains the highest concentration of cranberry compounds available among Ocean Spray juice products on the market. Besides helping consumers meet their recommended daily intake of fruit, cranberries may reduce the occurrence of certain infections in the urinary tract and stomach, as more than 50 years of well-documented research has shown.
This is increasingly important, as scientists around the world explore alternative strategies to antibiotics, including nutritional approaches to prevent infections.
Dr. Jennifer Berman, an author, educator and urological surgeon says "Research shows that a glass of cranberry juice daily can reduce symptomatic urinary tract infections. This is simple but powerful information. On its own, it may be a useful strategy to decrease the worldwide use of antibiotics. But with Ocean Spray's announcement today, the company has signalled its intent to wring out every last drop of goodness from these berries."
The bacteria that causes many common infections is growing increasingly resistant to the strongest antibiotics used to treat them, which means UTIs could become deadly in the coming decades. Experts estimate that AMR will be to blame for 10 million deaths globally by 2050. By comparison, that is more than the 8.2 million individuals who die of cancer each year, according to the Review on Antibiotic Resistance 2014.To combat the problem, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has established a goal to reduce unnecessary antibiotic use by 50 percent in the next three years.
To rapidly advance antibiotic stewardship education and training, the Ocean Spray Cranberry Health Institute has formed partnerships with several expert third-party organisations, including the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration (NADONA). As one of the initiatives of the NADONA partnership, the Institute will provide a new annual award recognising the most progressive antibiotic stewardship program nationally and an antibiotic stewardship leader nominated by their facility.
"Antimicrobial resistance is the biggest public health crisis facing us globally," said Hudson Garrett, EVP and chief clinical officer, NADONA. "For example, E. coli, the cause of many UTIs, is proving extremely resistant to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the most commonly prescribed treatment. Identifying near-term solutions requires dedicated public-private partnerships like the new Cranberry Health Institute."
To help the Ocean Spray Cranberry Health Institute best understand the important role cranberries can play in preventing disease and supporting health, research is already underway with a collaboration between the Broad Institute, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Washington University's Centre for Women's Infectious Disease Research.