Grapevine: May 7, 1990

THANKS, BUT WE'LL HAVE THE CHOCOLATE CHIP FUDGE SWIRL. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced the development of Oatrim, an oat-bran extract that can serve as a fat substitute in desserts and other foods. This dismayed Murtaugh/Match, a small Wisconsin food-consulting firm that claims to hold the patent on oat bran-based frozen desserts. Explains Timothy Murtaugh: "We take advantage of the creamy, smooth texture of oats once they are cooked, like oatmeal." Says a USDA patent adviser: "We feel there's an opportunity for both to be allowed and licensed within their own commercial niches."

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