Hosted in Italy, a key European producer of walnuts, the symposiumwill address issues connected to this ingredient used in a host of bakery food products as well as for its heart health oil.
Walnuts are a rich plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, a key essential fatty acid from which omega-3 fatty acids are derived. A property that suppliers of the ingredient are keen to push.
In response to a petition from the California Walnut Commission - a leading supplier on the world walnut market - the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared a health claim that 'eating 1.5 ounces per day of walnuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.'
"There is a good amount of epidemiologic evidence, population based evidence that people who consume nuts, and walnuts in particular, have less cardiovascular risk. There is also a very strong body of literature to say that the special kind of fatty acids, the omega-3 fatty acids that are present in walnuts, help protect people against heart disease," said Dr. Sheila G. West at Penn State University.
Key global producers of walnuts are the UK, China, Turkey, India, France, Kashmir, Italy and Chile. In the US the California walnut is the number one ingredient nut, representing over half of supermarket sales of shelled cooking nuts, said the US walnut commission quoting statistics from IRI infoscan.