12 January - 20 June 2016

Food safety

6 March 13

**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

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry