Food e-News

Edition 558: 20 February - 6 March 2013

Does chewing impact satiety

Writing in the journal Appetite, a team from Nestle and Wageningen University, report a study in which 15 subjects were monitored as they consumed 50g of 35 different savoury food items over 5 sessions. Subjects were video-recorded during consumption and measures included observed number of bites, number of chews, number of swallows and derived measures such as chewing rate, eating rate, bite size, and oral exposure time. Subjects rated expected satiation for a standard 200g portion of each food and the sensory differences between foods were quantified using descriptive analysis with a trained sensory panel. The observed number of bites/chews/swallows varied 6–18-fold between softly textured foods that required little chewing and harder textured foods that required many chews before swallowing. The number of bites, chews, and swallows were highly correlated with derived measures such as bite size, eating rate, chews/bite, and oro-sensory exposure time. The high variability in number of chews, bites and oro-sensory exposure time among the 35 foods, indicates differences in the rate of energy intake when these foods are consumed in a regular hot meal. The team argues that this may provide an opportunity to design meals with lower or higher satiating efficiencies through substitution of these components.  If foods can be designed to give longer oral exposure and to give rise to earlier meal termination, this may be an effective way to reduce total energy intake across a day, and perhaps help with the battle against obesity.

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Organic tomatoes found to contain more vitamin C

A study from the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil, published in the journal PLOS ONE has added to the debate on whether organic food is more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  A study published last year and cited in Food e-News found no difference between conventional and organic fruit and vegetables.  This current study by Miranda et al. investigated the hypothesis that tomato fruits from organic farming accumulate more nutritional compounds, such as phenolics and vitamin C as a consequence of the stressing conditions associated with farming systems.  The authors note that previous reviews of studies have indicated that environmental factors can influence the concentrations of phytochemicals.  Miranda et al. compared organic and conventionally grown tomatoes from two farms in Brazil which were within 1.5km from each other and therefore had similar environmental conditions.   They evaluated the tomatoes at three development stages, namely immature (green coloured), physiologically mature (breaker) and at the harvesting stage (red).  The team compared the concentrations in compounds contributing to quality including size, and also indicators of oxidative stress including activity of phenylanine ammonia lyase and cell membrane lipid peroxidation degree in the  organic and conventionally grown tomatoes.    Miranda et al. report that whilst growth in the organic fruit was 40% smaller than conventionally grown tomatoes, concentrations in vitamin C were respectively higher +29%, +57% and +55% at the stage of commercial maturity. Total phenolic content was also +139% higher than in the fruits from conventional farming and levels of sugars, and pigment like molecules like lycopene were also higher.  The organic tomatoes were found to accumulate more compounds linked to stress resistance, with cell membrane lipid peroxidation degree 60% higher in organic tomatoes.  Activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase was also found to be two times higher in the organic fruit. The researchers indicate that tomato fruits from organic farming experience stressing conditions that result in oxidative stress and higher concentrations of soluble sugars, and other compounds contributing to the fruits nutritional quality.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory can quantify lycopene in tomato-based products. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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Omega 3 and skin cancer and breast cancer

Consuming omega-3 fish oils can help to prevent skin cancer, according to the first clinical trial exploring the influence of fish oils on the skin immunity of humans.  One study, published recently in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, is believed to be the first to provide unequivocal evidence that omega-3s reduce cancer risk.  For their study, the researchers created a novel transgenic mouse that both produces omega-3 fatty acids and develops aggressive mammary tumours.  The team compared those animals to mice genetically engineered only to develop the same tumours.  The mice producing omega-3s developed only two-thirds as many tumours – and tumours were also 30 per cent smaller – as compared to the control mice.  Another recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition led by Professor Lesley Rhodes from the University of Manchester (the first to be translated into research on humans), analysed the effect of taking omega-3 on 79 healthy volunteers and found that consuming omega-3 fish oils can help to prevent skin cancer. The participants were randomised to receive five grams of a supplement containing five grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (70% EPA plus 10% DHA) or a control lipid daily for three months.  Using a light machine that provided solar-simulated radiation (SSR), the participants were exposed to the equivalent of 8, 15 or 30 minutes of summer midday sun.   Rhodes et al found that immunosuppression (sunlight-induced immunity suppression - which affects the body's ability to combat skin cancer and infection) was 50% lower in people who took the supplement and were exposed to 8 and 15 minutes of SSR, compared with people who did not take the supplement.  The researchers however did stress that the omega-3 was not a substitute for sunscreen and physical protection, and that omega-3 should be regarded as an additional small measure to help protect skin from sun damage.    

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team has expertise in all aspects of fat analysis and fatty acid profiling, including the determination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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Vitamin D and food allergies

Consumption of high doses of vitamin D supplements during pregnancy may raise the risk of children developing food allergies after birth, says research.  Vitamin D is known to help strengthen bones, protect against infections during the winter, and aid the nervous and muscular systems.  However, some studies have questioned the positive aspects of the vitamin.  During the latest study published in the journal Allergy, researchers looked at the association between vitamin D levels during pregnancy and at birth, the immune status and allergic diseases of the children later in life.  They included 622 mothers and their 629 children from the German LINA cohort, all of whom had been tested for their vitamin D levels during pregnancy and also in the cord blood of the children born.  In addition to this, questionnaires were used to assess the occurrence of food allergies during the first two years of the children’s lives.  The result was clear:  in cases where expectant mothers were found to have a low vitamin D level in the blood, the occurrence of food allergies among their two-year old children was rarer than in cases where expectant mothers had a high vitamin D level.  In reverse, this means that a high vitamin D level in pregnant women is associated with a higher risk of their children developing a food allergy during infancy.  Furthermore, those children were found to have a high level of the specific immunoglobulin E to food allergens such as egg white, milk protein, wheat flour, peanuts or soya beans.  According to the researchers, even though the occurrence of food allergies is undoubtedly affected by many other factors than just the vitamin D level, it is still important to take this aspect into consideration.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL carries out allergen testing using immunological, DNA and distillation techniques, depending on the allergen to be detected. Detection limits are in the range 1- 100 mg allergen/kg of sample for almond, Brazil nut, macadamia nut, peanut, walnut, hazelnut, cashew nut, pistachio nut, pecan nut, pine nut and chestnut.  Celery, celeriac, black mustard, lupin  and kiwi allergens can be detected by DNA methods, as can crustacean, fish and mollusc allergens.  The laboratory also uses a range of UKAS accredited immunological procedures for the detection of allergens including gluten, peanut, hazelnut, almonds, soya, egg, milk, sesame and histamine.  Distillation and titration methods are used for the determination of sulphur dioxide and sulphites.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

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Sourdough's anti-fungal activity

A Canadian team has sought to explain why sourdough bread has an extended mould-free storage-life compared to conventionally leavened products. It has long been known that the presence of metabolites from specific strains of lactobacilli contributes to the prolonged storage-life of sourdough bread. Several compounds have been identified as antifungal metabolites of sourdough lactobacilli but these are either not produced in effective quantities in sourdough fermentations, or adversely affect the quality of the product when produced in active concentrations.  Hence, some other explanation is needed, and the aim of this study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology was to determine whether lactobacilli can convert linoleic acid into metabolites with antifungal activity, and whether this conversion delays fungal spoilage of bread.  Various preparations of sour dough were prepared containing different amounts of lactobacilli (including L. hammesii) and challenged with three fungal organisms, and a range of chemical analyses.  The basic conclusion was that L. hammesii converts linoleic acid to a mono-hydroxy octadecenoic acid with antifungal activity. This conversion was observed in sourdough fermentations supplemented with linoleic acid but generation of hydroxy fatty acids in sourdough also occurred through enzymatic or chemical oxidation. Mono-hydroxy octadecenoic acid in combination with substrate derived coriolic acid (mono-hydroxy octadecadienoic acid) inhibited mould growth on sourdough bread. The authors also note that the use of coriolic acid and antifungal metabolites from linoleic acid as natural antifungals is not limited to food preservation. Antifungal metabolites from lactobacilli may complement or substitute these fungicides for use in seed treatment and crop protection.

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Dietary antioxidants may not reduce risk of stroke or dementia

Previous studies have indicated that antioxidant vitamins could reduce various chronic disease risks, however the majority of these studies have focused on single antioxidant supplements.  A study published in the journal Neurology has evaluated total antioxidant capacity of the diet and risk of dementia and stroke in the elderly.  Devore et al. used data from the Rotterdam Study, a population based cohort which investigates the epidemiology of chronic diseases in the elderly.  The team analysed data from 5395 participants aged 55 and older who were dementia free at baseline.  Of these, 5285 participants were also stroke free at baseline and 462 were dementia and stroke free at the time of the MRI brain scan 5 years into the study. The scientists analysed dietary ferric-reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) scores with respect to dementia and stroke risk.  All participants completed food frequency questionnaires, recording details of the consumption of 170 food items.  Using published tables the scientists calculated each food’s contribution to FRAP.  Participants were split into three groups: low, moderate and high levels of antioxidants in the diet. Diagnosis of dementia and stroke was carried out by using brief screening tests, additional neuropsychological testing, and evaluation by a neurologist.  During the 14 years of follow up about 600 people developed dementia and about 600 people had a stroke.  Devore et al. found that people with high levels of antioxidants were no more or less likely to develop brain disease than people with low levels of antioxidants.  Devore et al report that variation in dietary FRAP scores was explained by intakes of coffee (65%) and tea (21%), which are both found to contain flavonoids and polyphenols.  Oranges, red wine and chocolate each contributed an additional 1-2% to this variation.

RSSL’S Functional Ingredients Laboratory has a validated ORAC method which can be used to test the antioxidant capacity of foods.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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A Mediterranean diet may reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke risk

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers from a number of Spanish universities has compared the effects of two variation of the Mediterranean diet with a standard low-fat diet.  A Mediterranean diet is typically high in olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and cereals; a moderate intake of fish and poultry; a low intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meats and sweets; and wine in moderation, consumed with meals.  Martínez-González et al. recruited 7447 participants, aged 55 to 80 years of which 57% were women.  The participants had no cardiovascular disease at baseline but were considered high risk as they either had type 2 diabetes or at least had major risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including having high blood pressure, high cholesterol  or being overweight or obese. The participants were randomly split into one of three groups: a group which was advised to follow a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (approximately 1 litre a week), a group advised to follow a Mediterranean diet supplement with 30g of mixed nuts per day, and a control group advised to follow a low fat diet.  All participants received dietary training at the start of the study, and the Mediterranean groups received further sessions every three months afterwards.  For the first three years the low-fat group received a leaflet explaining the low fat diet and then this group received the same intensity of dietary advice and assessment as the other two groups.  Each year the participants completed a general medical questionnaire, a food frequency questionnaire and a physical activity questionnaire.  At years one, three and five, the researchers measured certain biomarkers in random subgroups of participants in the Mediterranean diet. After an average of 4.8 years of follow-up Martínez-González et al. report that 288 people had either had a heart attack, stroke or died from cardiovascular events.  Ninety-six of these participants were in Mediterranean diet group supplemented with extra olive oil, 83 in the Mediterranean group supplemented with extra nuts and 109 in the control low fat diet group.  After making a number of adjustments for baseline risk factors, the team calculated that compared to those on a standard low fat diet, those assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil had a 30% reduced risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or dying from a cardiovascular event, whilst those who consumed a Mediterranean diet with nuts had a 28% reduced risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or dying from a cardiovascular event. Martínez-González et al conclude by stating that “an energy-unrestricted Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts resulted in a substantial reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular events among high risk persons.  The results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

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Product recalls and alerts

UK Recalls

**Heera and Parivar coriander seeds recalled
**Sangha Foods and Core Foods ready-meals withdrawn

Rest of the World

**From Ireland
**From Australia and New Zealand
**From Canada
**From the US
**European Rapid Alerts
**Links to recall web sites
**Recall web sites for halal and kosher foods

UK Recalls

**Heera and Parivar coriander seeds recalled
P&B (Foods) Limited is recalling certain batch codes of Heera and Parivar brand coriander seeds with 'best before' dates up to and including August 2014, because of possible insect contamination. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Recall Information Notice.

**Sangha Foods and Core Foods ready-meals withdrawn
Castle Foods Company (London) Ltd is withdrawing a number of its own ready-to-eat foods, labelled as Sangha Foods or Core Foods, because they have been manufactured in premises that are not approved for meat products. The Food Standards Agency has issued a Product Withdrawal Information Notice.

Rest of the World

**From Ireland

  • Kilshanny Farmhouse Cheeses Withdrawn from Sale due to E. coli O157 Investigation
  • Birds Eye withdraws frozen Bolognese, Shepherd’s Pie and Lasagne due to horse meat investigation

**From Australia and New Zealand

  • Koala Popcorn Pty Ltd has recalled certain Koala Popcorn Chicken Flavour due to the presence of an undeclared allergen (milk solids)

**From Canada

  • Undeclared almond in Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Cereal
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Pro-Amino International Inc. are warning the public not to consume certain Proti Diet High Protein Chocolate Dream Bar because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Arla Foods Inc. are warning the public not to consume certain Mauri brand Gorgonzola cheese, product of Italy, because the product may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Clic International, are warning the public not to consume certain Clic brand Sesame Paste Tahina because it may be contaminated with Salmonella.

**From the US

  • Food For Life Baking Company of Corona, California is recalling 15,369 cases of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Cereal shipped between November 20, 2012 to February 11, 2013, because the product may be mislabelled and may contain an undeclared allergen – almond
  • See’s Candies, Inc. of San Francisco, Calif., is recalling one code of 1.7 ounce Divinity Easter Egg with Walnuts, because some boxes labeled Divinity with Walnuts may actually contain Peanut Butter Eggs.
  • Bruce Foods Corporation of New Iberia, LA is recalling mislabelled cans of 10 oz Food Club Red Enchilada Sauce with code GES 462449, Best Before Date: 12/3/2016 that could contain Green Enchilada Sauce instead of Red Enchilada Sauce. Only the Food Club Green Enchilada contains wheat and soy. People who have an allergy or sensitivity to wheat and soy run the risk of allergic reaction if they consume this Green Enchilada Sauce product.
  • King Arthur Flour has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of its bags of flour due to the possible presence of small (7-9 mm) blue polyurethane balls that are used in the sifting process. The balls have a smooth surface and no sharp edges and are made from food grade material. Because of their bright blue color and size (about half the diameter of a dime), they are easily seen in the flour.
  • Herbalife International of America announced the voluntary recall of certain lots of its niche Instant Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix packets because the label identifies the product as dairy-free, when it may in fact contain trace amounts of milk proteins.
  • LION PAVILION LTD. of 56-15 58th Street Maspeth, NY 11378 is recalling Grassplot Ginger Slices because it contains undeclared sulfites.

**EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF)
The database of rapid alert notifications hosted by the European Commission has recently changed format. The weekly list of notifications has been replaced by a database, searchable by week number.  The latest notifications, or updates to previous notifications are for 6 March 2013.

**Links to recall web sites
For UK product recalls visit the Food Standards Agency’s  Food Alerts and Allergy Alert web sites.
For US product recalls visit the USDA’s  Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) web sites.
For product recalls in Australia and New Zealand visit the FSANZ web site.
For Canada go to The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
For Ireland go to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

**Recall web sites for halal and kosher foods
Food e-News does not cover product recalls and mislabelling alerts for Kosher or Halal products. If you need information on these please go to the London Beth Din Kashrut Division where there is a facility on the home page to access the  kosher alerts system.  For US Kosher alerts please go to  Kashrut.com  and follow the link labelled 'Consumer Kashrut Alerts' for Kosher alerts. For Halal alerts go to the Muslim Consumer Group web site, which also outlines the criteria used to judge if products are halal or not.

RSSL's Emergency Response Service (ERS) helps customers deal with a wide range of product emergencies and offers advice on crisis management. It operates 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.  To request an ERS presentation or find out more please contact Customer Services on Freefone 0800 243482 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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Food safety

**IFT issues food product traceability report to the FDA
**FSA notified of BSE control breaches
**EFSA meeting on endocrine active substances
**EFSA conclude Patent Blue V (E 131) is not a safety concern for people or animals
**Call for tender – biotoxin and chemical contaminants monitoring in Scottish shellfish
**Reducing Campylobacter in broiler chickens using fly screens
**Race found to be linked with childhood food allergies
**Unexpected results in a dietary trial to reduce phthalate and bisphenol A exposure
**Sensor circuit developed could be used in food packaging to detect food freshness
**Call for new research on E.coli in cattle – FSA Scotland
**Exposure to BPA may disrupt gene regulation which can affect the developing brain
**BPA and risk of asthma
**Animal diseases updates and food poisoning outbreaks
**The Food Safety Network

**IFT issues food product traceability report to the FDA
Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has published a report for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which focuses on the outcomes of two pilot projects designed to test and study various product tracing practices for fresh produce and processed foods.  The report offers a number of recommendations to the FDA on how to improve food tracing, as well as providing findings to help regulators solve foodborne illness outbreaks earlier and enable the food industry to respond to them quicker.  The IFT state that based on eight case studies of previous outbreaks, improved product tracing could reduce the public health impact by up to 55% of total illness and reduce the economic impact. Tomatoes were selected for the fresh produce pilot, and foods consisting of chicken, peanuts and/or spices were selected for the processed food pilot. These foods were selected as they have been associated with outbreaks between 2005 and 2010. Key findings from IFT's analysis of current product tracing practices indicate the following challenges associated with outbreak investigations: tedious and difficult to sort through hundreds of pages of documents, confusion when data definition is lacking, inconsistent item descriptions, wrong or incomplete information cause delays and companies operating under multiple names are difficult to identify as sources.  Additional IFT recommendations to the FDA include: clearly identify the types of data that industry needs to provide during an outbreak investigations, require each member of the food supply chain to develop, document and implement a product tracing plan, pursue the adoption of a technology platform to allow the FDA to efficiently aggregate and analyze data reported in response to regulatory requests, coordinate traceback investigations and develop response protocols between and among state and local health and regulatory agencies and offer extensive outreach and education around future regulations and expectations.

**FSA notified of BSE control breaches 
The Food Standards Agency has been notified of a series of BSE control breaches that took place last year. They report that the risk to human health is very low as it is very unlikely that any of the animals would have been infected.  The three breaches that the FSA report on are: goats from a slaughterhouse in Belgium, consignments of beef from a Belgian abattoir, and breaches in UK-produced meat.

**EFSA meeting on endocrine active substances
EFSA is holding a meeting to present the Scientific Committee’s new opinion on endocrine active substances to a wide range of stakeholders. The Authority will provide an overview of its opinion which will feed into the current review of the EU’s strategy on endocrine disruptors. Speakers from EFSA, WHO, OECD, the European Commission’s DG Environment and DG for Health and Consumers and the Joint Research Centre, will explain the different roles of European and international bodies in this area.

**EFSA conclude Patent Blue V (E 131) is not a safety concern for people or animals
Two of EFSA’s Scientific Panels have both concluded that the colour Patent Blue V (E 131) is not a safety concern for people or animals when used as a food or feed additive at current levels of use.  Experts on EFSA’s Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources Added to Food (ANS Panel) have assessed the safety of Patent Blue V as a food colour and established a new Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day for its use as a food additive.

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory can analyse foods for natural and artificial food colours by HPLC and identify added carotenoids. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com 

**Call for tender – biotoxin and chemical contaminants monitoring in Scottish shellfish
The Food Standards Agency in Scotland is putting out a research call to review the current evidence for the use of indicator shellfish species. This will be for biotoxin and chemical contaminants monitoring in Scottish shellfish production areas. The desk-based research study will be to provide evidence and information on the possibility for the use of a single shellfish indicator species for biotoxin and chemical monitoring in Scotland. The results will inform future monitoring regimes, to ensure that public health is not compromised from the consumption of any shellfish species harvested from classified harvesting areas.

**Reducing Campylobacter in broiler chickens using fly screens
Scientists from Denmark and Sweden have discovered that using fly screens in chicken coops can reduce the amount of Campylobacter bacteria in their environment.  Previous studies have indicated that flies can spread the bacteria in broiler houses.  Using six poultry farms in Denmark, the scientists found that the fly screens reduced the prevalence of Campylobacter from 41.4% to 10.3%.  Usually Campylobacter bacteria rises in chicken houses in the summer however the scientists report that no seasonal spikes were observed when they used the fly screens. (Food Safety News)

**Race found to be linked with childhood food allergies
A study presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual meeting has found that race and possibly genetics play a role in a child’s sensitivity to developing food allergies. The Henry Ford study consisted of a longitudinal birth cohort of 543 children who were interviewed with their parents and examined at a clinical visit at age 2. During the visit the children were tested for three food allergens, egg white, peanuts and milk and seven environmental allergens. The scientists found that 20% of African-American children were sensitised to a food allergen compared to 6% in Caucasian children, 14% of African-American children were sensitised to an environmental allergen compared to 11% of Caucasian children and African-American children with an allergic parent were sensitized to an environmental allergen 2.45 times more often than African-American children without an allergic parent. Kim et al is quoted by Science Daily as saying: “Our findings suggest that African Americans may have a gene making them more susceptible to food allergen sensitisation or the sensitisation is just more prevalent in African American children than white children at age 2.”

RSSL carries out allergen testing using immunological, DNA and distillation techniques, depending on the allergen to be detected. Detection limits are in the range 1- 100 mg allergen/kg of sample for almond, Brazil nut, macadamia nut, peanut, walnut, hazelnut, cashew nut, pistachio nut, pecan nut, pine nut and chestnut.  Celery, celeriac, black mustard, lupin  and kiwi allergens can be detected by DNA methods, as can crustacean, fish and mollusc allergens.  The laboratory also uses a range of UKAS accredited immunological procedures for the detection of allergens including gluten, peanut, hazelnut, almonds, soya, egg, milk, sesame and histamine.  Distillation and titration methods are used for the determination of sulphur dioxide and sulphites.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

**Unexpected results in a dietary trial to reduce phthalate and bisphenol A exposure
According to a study by Sathyanarayana et al published in Nature Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, people may be exposed to bisphenol A and phthalates (synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals) in their diets, even if their meals are organic and foods are prepared, cooked and stored in non-plastic containers. They note that children may be most vulnerable. The scientists report that current information provided to families may not be enough.  Previous research has associated prenatal exposure to phthalates with abnormalities in the male reproductive system, and foetal exposure to BPA has been linked to hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression in girls.  The scientists recruited 10 families, of whom half were given written instructions on reducing phthalate and BPA exposure and the other half were given a catered diet. The catered diet participants were given local, fresh, organic food that was not prepared, cooked or stored in plastic containers.   When they measured the levels of metabolites for phthalates and BPA in the participants’ urine, they found that those eating the catered diet had urinary concentration for phthalates at levels 100-fold higher than those found in the majority of the general population.  The scientists also observed a statistically significant increase in total BPA concentration between baseline and intervention period with concentrations found to be higher in children than adults.  The team then analysed foods used in the intervention and found that phthalate levels in dairy products—butter, cream, milk, and cheese—had concentrations above 440 nanograms/gram. Ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper had concentrations above 700 ng/g, and ground coriander had concentrations of 21,400 ng/g.

**Sensor circuit developed could be used in food packaging to detect food freshness
Scientists at Eindhoven University of Technology, Universitá di Catania, CEA-Liten and STMicroelectronic have invented a plastic sensor circuit which can be used in packaging to detect the freshness of the food inside and help reduce food waste worldwide.  The invention was presented at the ISSCC in San Francisco.  A mobile phone or scanner would be able to read the sensor circuit and report the freshness of a food, or whether a frozen food has defrosted. The sensor circuit consists of four components: the sensor, an amplifier, an analog-to-digital converter to digitise the signal and a radio transmitter that sends the signal to a base station. The scientists indicate that it will still take at least five years before the new devices will be seen on supermarket shelves, noting that the circuit could also be used in pharmaceuticals, man-machine interfaces and in ambient intelligence systems in buildings or in transport.

**Call for new research on E.coli in cattle – FSA Scotland
 A report published by the FSA in Scotland has recommended that the use of livestock feed additives and cattle vaccines should be investigated for the control of E.coli O157 on UK farms.  Co-funded by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), this study was undertaken by the Scottish Agricultural College (now Scotland's Rural College; SRUC) in collaboration with the University of Glasgow. It addresses a recommendation made in the report of the Public Inquiry into the foodborne outbreak of E.coli O157 which occurred in South Wales in 2005.  A survey of around 500 UK farmers indicated that there are high levels of awareness of the risks of E.coli O157 to public health, and recognition that they have a responsibility to address the issue.  Despite this, many are not convinced of the benefits of investing in treatments such as vaccines and probiotics. However, the responses suggested that improved access to information and evidence for the safety and effectiveness of controls would encourage farmers to take action.

**Exposure to BPA may disrupt gene regulation which can affect the developing brain
A study published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences by researchers from Duke Medicine is indicating that environmental exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may suppress a gene which is vital to nerve cell function and to the development of the central nervous system leading to neurodevelopmental disorders in humans and animals. To understand how BPA affects the developing nervous system, the scientists carried out a number of experiments in rodent and human nerve cells.  Exposing neurons to tiny amounts of BPA changed the chloride levels inside the cells. As neurons mature, levels of chloride drop, however if the levels remain high this can damage neural circuits. BPA was found to prevent the chloride transporter protein KCC2, responsible for removing chloride ions from cells, from working, causing a delay in the removal of chloride.  The authors suggest that BPA could be involved in disorders such as Rett syndrome.

**BPA and risk of asthma
According to a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, bisphenol A (BPA) exposure in early childhood is associated with an increased risk of asthma in young children.  Donohue et al. recruited 568 women involved in the Mothers and Newborn study of environmental exposure and measured levels of BPA metabolite in urine samples during the third trimester of pregnancy and in the offspring at the ages of 3, 5 and 7 years old.  Asthma was diagnosed at the ages of 5 to 12 by physicians.  After making adjustments known to be associated with asthma, Donohue et al. found that post-natal exposure to BPA was associated with increased risk of wheeze and asthma. BPA exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy was inversely associated with risk of wheeze at age 5.

**Animal diseases updates and food poisoning outbreaks
Regular global updates on food poisoning outbreaks and animal diseases, such as avian influenza, foot and mouth, Ebola, SARS, and Anthrax can be found on the International Society for Infectious Diseases ‘ProMED-mail’ web site. 

**BITES safe food from farm to fork
The BITES web site at Kansas State University (KSU) provides up-to-date details of food safety incidents around the world.  It replaced the International Food Safety Network (iFSN) web site at KSU, which is no longer being kept up-to date. The Fsnet Archives are still available but only updated until September 2009.

RSSL's scientists are able to assist food businesses to manage food safety issues more effectively. The laboratories have considerable experience in the detection and identification of foreign bodies, heavy metals, allergens, toxins and chemical residues. For more information on any of these services and RSSL's Emergency Response Service, please contact Customer Services on Freefone 0800 243482 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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Legislation headlines

**Horsemeat test results – Statement from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson
**Amendment to PGI ‘Melva de Andalucía’
**Protection of geographical indications ‘Queso Los Beyos’
**PGI sought for Stornoway black pudding
**Third FSA update on testing of beef products for horse DNA
**The Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013 - Consultation
**The withdrawal of the approval of the active substance didecyldimethylammonium chloride
**EU Health Commissioner insists Europe has one of the best food systems in the world
**Including diflubenzuron as an active substance
**Control plan - prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of certain foods
**FSA - Update on EU sampling programme
**Scientific opinions

**Horsemeat test results – Statement from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson
On the 1 March Defra published a statement from Environment Secretary Owen Paterson in response to the third set of test results published by the FSA on horse meat testing.  The FSA state that:  “the vast majority (over 99%) of tests continue to show no horse DNA at or above the level of 1%. Today’s results show that four further products have been confirmed as containing horse DNA, since the previous set of industry results was announced last week. These four products are covered by 10 test results that show horse DNA at or above the 1% threshold. There are now 17 products confirmed as containing over 1% of horse DNA, which have been identified through the industry tests. A further two products have been identified through separate tests.  To date, no tests of products containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).” Owen Paterson responded by stating: “The food industry and Food Standards Agency have moved very quickly to complete over 5000 tests in a very short space of time. Industry testing will continue and results will now be published on a quarterly basis.”

RSSL's DNA and Protein Laboratory can perform meat speciation using UKAS accredited ELISA techniques to identify the presence of pork, beef, lamb, poultry and horse. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Amendment to PGI ‘Melva de Andalucía’
An amendment has been make to Spain’s application for the Protected Geographical Indication ‘Melva de Andalucía’.  Melva de Andalucia are preserved frigate tuna fillets, natural and in olive oil, produced using non-industrial methods. Amendments have been made to the description of the product, geographical area, proof of origin, method of production, labelling and national requirements.

**Protection of geographical indications ‘Queso Los Beyos’
Spain has applied for the Protected Geographical Indication ‘Queso Los Beyos’.  The cheese made from raw or pasteurised cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk, without mixing them together, using lactic coagulation; it is matured for a minimum period of 20 days, or 60 if it is made from raw milk, and must meet a number of specifications and characteristics.

**PGI sought for Stornoway black pudding
The BBC is reporting that a protected geographical indication has been sought for Stornoway black pudding.  According to the BBC website, a EU spokeswomen has spoken on BBC Radio Scotland saying that the registration process for Stornoway black pudding was months from being completed and is at the second consultation stage.    The initial campaign was launched in May by Labour’s Rhoda Grant.

**The Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013 - Consultation
The consultation will provide interested parties with the opportunity to comment on the proposed Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013.  The proposed Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013 will revoke the Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2010 and remake them with necessary amendments taking into account the following European regulations: Commission Regulation (EU) No 1258/2011, amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels for nitrate in foodstuffs; and Commission Regulation (EU) No 610/2012 amending Regulation (EC) No 124/2009 setting maximum levels for the presence of coccidiostats and histomonostats in food resulting from the unavoidable carry-over of these substances in non-targeted feed.  The proposed Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013 will provide for the execution and enforcement of (EU) No 610/2012 and also introduce ambulatory reference provisions to include the Articles of (EC) 1881/2006 (previously only the Annex was included) and the Articles and Annex of (EC) No 124/2009. The proposed Contaminants in Food (Scotland) Regulations 2013 will also revoke domestic legislation on mineral hydrocarbons in food; and revoke and remake the Erucic Acid in Food (Scotland) Regulations 1977 as amended. The proposed changes to provisions in European legislation and in domestic legislation controlling erucic acid will be consolidated into a single set of contaminants in food regulations.

**The withdrawal of the approval of the active substance didecyldimethylammonium chloride
Commission Directive 2009/70/EC included didecyldimethylammonium chloride (DDAC) as active substance in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC of 15 July 1991 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, with the condition that the Member States concerned ensure that the notifier at whose request DDAC was included in that Annex provides further confirmatory information on the specification of that active substance, as manufactured, by 1 January 2010. On 25 October 2011, the notifier submitted additional information with a view to complying with the obligation to submit further information on the specification of the active substance, as manufactured, to the rapporteur Member State, the Netherlands.  The Netherlands assessed the additional information submitted by the notifier.  The Commission has come to the conclusion that the information submitted is incomplete and does not allow to conclude on the degree of purity and, in particular, on the identity and content of the impurities. It is appropriate to withdraw the approval of the active substance DDAC by deleting row 291 of Part A of the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.

**EU Health Commissioner insists Europe has one of the best food systems in the world
Tonio Borg, the EU Health Commissioner has insisted Europe has "one of the best food systems in the world.”  Giving evidence to the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee on 28 February 2013, he insisted the horse meat incident was an issue of fraud and labelling, rather than food safety. The BBC state that he warned that the incident was already impacting the economy of the European food industry.  British Labour MEP Linda McAvan questioned his response asking why there was no new long-term testing regime was being implemented, noting that although his view is that there is nothing wrong with the systems, consumers are not thinking on the same lines.  The BBC report that “Christian Democrat MEP Corinne Lepage said that the crisis was being exacerbated by economic problems in many EU countries, where the number of inspectors had been cut.”  Mr Borg responded by saying: “we have not reduced the number of inspections and audits".

**Including diflubenzuron as an active substance
Diflubenzuron has been evaluated in accordance with Article 11(2) of Directive 98/8/EC for use in product- type 18, insecticides, acaricides and products to control other arthropods, as defined in Annex V to that Directive.  It appears from the evaluations that biocidal products used as insecticides, acaricides and products to control other arthropods and containing diflubenzuron may be expected to satisfy the requirements laid down in Article 5 of Directive 98/8/EC. It is therefore appropriate to include diflubenzuron for use in product-type 18 in Annex I to that Directive.  Not all potential uses and exposure scenarios have been evaluated at Union level.  In the light of the findings in the assessment report that there is a possible indirect human exposure via consumption of food as a result of those uses represented in the assessment, it is appropriate to require, where relevant, verification of the need to set new or to amend existing maximum residue levels.

**Control plan - prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of certain foods
The European Commission have recommended that Member States carry out a coordinated control plan with a view to establish the prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of certain foods for a period of one month. This period may be extended by an additional period of two months.  Commission Recommendation of 19 February 2013 on a coordinated control plan with a view to establish the prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of certain foods and Commission Implementing Decision of 19 February 2013 as regards a Union financial aid towards a coordinated control plan with a view to establish the prevalence of fraudulent practices in the marketing of certain foods.

**FSA - Update on EU sampling programme
The Food Standards Agency has published further details of the European Union sampling programme that was agreed by member states and announced by the FSA. The European Commission has asked member states to put Official Control Plans in place that allow sampling and testing for presence of horse DNA in foods marketed or labelled as containing beef. In the UK, 150 samples of beef products are being taken for the survey, and the results of the analysis will be reported to the EU along with details of any follow-up action taken.

**Scientific opinions

Review of the existing MRLs for isoxaflutole

Review of the existing MRLs for acibenzolar-S-methyl

Review of the existing MRLs for warfarin

Revision of the Norwegian annual monitoring programme for BSE

Safety and efficacy of Hostazym X (endo-1,4-beta-xylanase) as a feed additive for poultry, piglets and pigs for fattening

Flavouring Group Evaluation 224 (FGE.224): Consideration of genotoxic potential for two α,β-unsaturated thiophenes from subgroup 5.2 of FGE.19 by EFSA

Scientific Opinion on Flavouring Group Evaluation 06, Revision 4 (FGE.06Rev4): Straight- and branched-chain aliphatic unsaturated primary alcohols, aldehydes, carboxylic acids and esters from chemical groups 1, 3 and 4

Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of iodine compounds (E2) as feed additives for all animal species: calcium iodate anhydrous and potassium iodide, based on a dossier submitted by Ajay Europe SARL

Patent Blue V (E 131) for all animal species

Re-evaluation of Patent Blue V (E 131) as a food additive

Modification of the existing MRLs for dimethomorph in seeds of spices and caraway

Reasoned opinion on the modification of the existing MRLs for dimethomorph in seeds of spices and caraway

Reasoned opinion on the modification of the existing MRLs for bixafen in rape seed, linseed, poppy seed and mustard seed

Report of the FOCUS groundwater working group (FOCUS, 2009): assessment of lower tiers

Safety and efficacy of fumaric acid as a feed additive for all animal species

Safety and efficacy of copper compounds (E4) as feed additives for all species: cupric chelate of amino acids hydrate, based on a dossier submitted by Zinpro Animal Nutrition Inc.

Modification of the existing MRLs for lambda-cyhalothrin in azarole and persimmon

PET Recycling process Holfeld Diamat

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Other headlines

**Third FSA update on testing of beef products for horse DNA
**Eat your greens – they may help your immune system
**New project will investigate the effects of the Mediterranean diet on older people
**33% of seafood sold in US found to be mislabelled
**“Junk-food” diet in pregnancy increases preference for palatable diets in adult offspring
**Meat flavoured crisps will contain “real” meat but vegetarians are upset
**Iron intake may help to protect women against PMS
**Increased sugar linked to higher diabetes rates independent of obesity

**Third FSA update on testing of beef products for horse DNA
The Food Standards Agency has received the third set of test results from the food industry, which has been checking for the presence of horse DNA in products that are labelled as beef. Overall, including the previous weeks’ testing, the Agency has received 5430 test results. This figure includes the 1797 results we are publishing today. The updated information from the food industry's own tests is as follows:

  • As in previous weeks, the vast majority (over 99%) of tests continue to show no horse DNA at or above the level of 1%.
  • 1 March results show that four further products have been confirmed as containing horse DNA, since the previous set of industry results was announced last week. These four products are covered by 10 test results that show horse DNA at or above the 1% threshold. These products have been withdrawn from sale.
  • There are now 17 products confirmed as containing over 1% of horse DNA, which have been identified through the industry tests. A further two products have been identified through separate tests.
  • To date, no tests of products containing horse DNA have found the veterinary medicine phenylbutazone (bute).

**Eat your greens – they may help your immune system
A study published in the journal Nature Immunology is reporting that immune cell population, essential for intestinal health, could be controlled by leafy greens in the diet. Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are immune cells found in the lining of the digestive system.  They produce a hormone called interleukin-22 (IL-22), which protects the body from invading bacteria in the intestine and can play a part in controlling food allergies, inflammatory diseases, and obesity and may help in the prevention of bowel cancer.  The study by Belz et al. from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s Molecular Immunology division states that the proteins in green leafy (cruciferous) vegetables are known to interact with a cell surface receptor that switches on T-bet (essential for producing a population of these critical immune cells) and might play a role in producing these immune cells. Dr Belz states "Proteins in these leafy greens could be part of the same signalling pathway that is used by T-bet to produce ILCs.  We are very interested in looking at how the products of these vegetables are able to talk to T-bet to make ILCs, which will give us more insight into how the food we eat influences our immune system and gut bacteria."

**New project will investigate the effects of the Mediterranean diet on older people
An EU funded project called NU-AGE is investigating the effects of the Mediterranean diet on older people.   The scientists will investigate whether food nutrients in the Mediterranean diet can help the elderly combat physical and mental decline.  The project, involving 1250 volunteers, starts in July 2013, and will involve people over 65 year old, of which half will consume a control diet and the other half a Mediterranean diet comprising of olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables. During the year blood samples will be taken. Once the scientists have answers on molecular levels, they will attempt to design a functional food for the elderly in collaboration with the food industry.  (Youris.com

**33% of seafood sold in US found to be mislabelled
A study by US base Oceana, which tested 1215 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states between 2010 -2012, has reported that 33% of the seafood tested were mislabelled according to US Food and Drug Administration guidelines. Levels of swapped species ranged from 25% to over 70%. Using DNA analysis the researchers found that snapper and tuna had the highest mislabelling rates (87% and 59%, respectively).   White salmon was mislabelled 7% of the time and Chilean sea bass mislabelled between 19% and 38% of the time.  Tilapia was sold as red snapper, king mackerel sold as grouper, escolar sold as white tuna and Atlantic halibut sole as Pacific halibut.  Species not recognised as sold or likely to be sold in the US were also found.  According to Oceana, “the U.S. government has a responsibility to provide more information about the fish sold in the United States, as seafood fraud harms not only consumers’ wallets, but also every honest vendor and fisherman cheated in the process—to say nothing of the health of our oceans."

**“Junk-food” diet in pregnancy increases preference for palatable diets in adult offspring
Scientists have indicated that mothers who eat unhealthy foods while pregnant may actually cause changes in the development of the opioid signalling pathway in the brains of their offspring. The study published in The FASEB Journal  reports that opiods are released upon consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar, and changes in the development of these signalling pathways may mean that the offspring are less sensitive to opioids.  They therefore will have a higher tolerance to unhealthy foods and eat more to achieve a “feel good” response.  Muhlausler et al split a group of rats into two groups and fed one group a range of human “junk foods” during pregnancy and lactation, and the other group a normal rat diet.  Daily injections of an opioid receptor blocker were given to the pups after weaning.  The scientists found that the opioid receptor blocker was less effective at reducing fat and sugar intake in the “junk food” fed mother’s pups, indicating that in these offspring the opioid signalling pathway was less sensitive than in the pups whose mothers were fed normal rat feed.

**Meat flavoured crisps will contain “real” meat but vegetarians are upset
As part of an experiment, Walkers are to use extracts of real bacon in their smoky bacon crisps and real free range chicken in their roast chicken flavour packets.  According to the Independent vegetarians are unhappy about this decision and have complained on online forums, as the crisps currently do not contain any meat.  The manufacturer is moving to home-grown British ingredients in ten flavours and will be replacing the monosodium glutamate in the cheese and onion crisps with cheese powder from Somerset, the salt in the salt and vinegar crisps with Cheshire salt and will add sour cream from Dorset in the sour cream and chive crisps. 

**Increased sugar linked to higher diabetes rates independent of obesity
A study by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-San Francisco and reported in the PLOS ONE has found that increased sugar in a population's food supply is linked to higher diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates.  Basu et al. investigated data from the past decade from 175 countries on sugar availability and diabetes rates. The scientists indicate that apart from obesity there are additional factors that contribute to diabetes risk, suggesting that sugar and total calorie intake also play a role.  Basu et al state that taking confounding factors such as obesity and physical activity into account, for every 150 calories of sugar available per person per day, there is a 1 percent increase in the prevalence of diabetes in that population.   In addition, the scientists report higher rates of diabetes were found in those who were longer exposed to excess sugar. Basu et al note however that their results do not prove that sugar causes diabetes, but provide real-world support to previous trials that suggest that sugar affects the liver and pancreas in ways that other types of foods or obesity do not.

**Iron intake may help to protect women against PMS
Researchers at UMass Amherst and Harvard are reporting that women who reported eating a diet high in iron were 30 to 40% less likely to develop pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) than women who consumed lower amounts.   The study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology by Bertone-Johnson et al assessed mineral intake in around 3,000 women who were free from PMS at baseline and were involved in the Nurses' Health Study II.  Over the 10 year study period the participants’ completed three food frequency questionnaires.  After 10 years 1,057 women were diagnosed with PMS and 1,968 remained free from PMS.  After taking into account calcium intake and other factors, the scientists compared previous mineral intake from the women diagnosed with PMS with that of those who had few or no menstrual symptoms. Bertone-Johnson et al state: “We found that women who consumed the most non-heme iron, the form found primarily in plant foods and in supplements, had a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of developing PMS than women who consumed the lowest amount of non-heme iron. We also saw some indication that a high intake of zinc was associated with lower risk. In contrast, we were somewhat surprised to find that women consuming the highest amount of potassium had a higher risk of being diagnosed with PMS than women consuming the lowest amount of potassium. In general, results for mineral from food sources and minerals from supplements were similar. The level of iron intake at which we saw a lower risk of PMS, roughly greater than 20 mg per day, is higher than the current recommended daily allowance (RDA) for iron for premenopausal women, which is 18 mg per day.   However, as high iron intake may have adverse health consequence, women should avoid consuming more than the tolerable upper intake level of 45 mg per day unless otherwise recommended by a physician.”  The team suggested that iron may be related to PMS because it is involved in producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood.

RSSL's Metals Laboratory is equipped with AAS and ICP-MS to analyse for a wide range of concentrations of iron (UKAS accredited) including haem iron and other metals in foods, drinks and dietary supplements. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

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