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31 July 13

**Vitaminwater lawsuit to move forward as class action
**Test-tube burger will go on sale in London next week – but it will cost you £250,000
**FSAI survey find consumers have changed purchasing habits since the horse meat incident
**High protein bread coming to a shop near you
**Fluoride levels in tea
**Study finds no association between prenatal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviours
**Fish stocks improving
**Study reports eating eggs is not linked to high cholesterol in adolescents
**Rituals improve the taste of the food eating afterwards
**Calorie recommendations on menus do not improve consumer choices

**Vitaminwater lawsuit to move forward as class action
According to Reuters, a court has recommended that Coca-Cola face legal action, following accusations that they misled consumers over the health benefits of Vitaminwater. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Levy in Brooklyn, New York nonetheless said consumers could not sue as a group for money damages, a "central" part of their case, but rather to try to change how Coca-Cola labels and markets the product. The lawsuit spans four-and-a-half years, and involves various complainants and the health advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Coca-Cola has been accused of deceptively marketing Vitaminwater as an alternative to water and sugared soft drinks that could promote healthy joints, boost the immune system and help people fight eye disease, among other health benefits. The case now goes to U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry for approval. Federal district judges typically accept magistrate judges' recommendations. Reuters quote a Coca-Cola spokeswoman, Lindsey Raivich as saying the Atlanta-based company is pleased that class certification was denied for damages, and believes the plaintiffs' claims in general "are without merit and will ultimately be rejected."

**Test-tube burger will go on sale in London next week – but it will cost you £250,000
The world’s first test-tube burger, which is made from 3,000 tiny strips of meat grown from the stem cells of a cow, will be served in London next week.  The burger costs £250,000 to produce and has been created by Professor Mark Post from the University of Maastricht in Holland.  The Daily Mail note that the process to produce the meat  is still lengthy, as well as expensive, however it could take just six weeks to produce meat from stem cell to supermarket shelf.   Professor Post’s work is funded by the Dutch government, as well as an anonymous donation of 300,000 euros. (Daily Mail)

**FSAI survey finds consumers have changed purchasing habits since the horse meat incident
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has published research into the impact of the horse meat contamination issue on Irish consumer confidence and trust in the food they purchase.  The survey discovers significant changes in consumers’ purchasing habits with over half (51%) of people who purchased frozen burgers in the past now buying less of these products (48% buy the same amount).  Nearly all adults in the country (98%) said they were aware of horse meat issue, with almost three quarters (72%) stating they have confidence in Irish food safety controls and regulations (just 13% were not confident, while 15% were not sure).  Overall, the issue has resulted in a marked increase in awareness around food safety, with 50% of respondents saying they are now more conscious about food safety issues in general.  Looking at the implications of the issue for consumer purchasing behaviour, 45% of consumers say they now spend more time reading labels on food products.  Over half (53%) say they are now more conscious of the ingredients that go into manufactured food products, while 56% say they are more conscious about the country of origin of food products. Of those who bought processed foods containing meat in the past (e.g. lasagne, shepherd’s pie, etc), 42% say they now buy less of these products, while 56% continue to buy the same amount. Buying habits were broadly unchanged for fresh burgers, with 69% saying they buy the same amount as before (16% buy less, 15% buy more).  Almost two out of every five (39%) of those who consume meat say they were concerned as the issue unfolded, while 61% were unconcerned.

RSSL' s DNA and Protein Laboratory uses PCR techniques to identify DNA from over 20 meat species including chicken, pork and beef in protein extracts and other complex ingredients as well as foodstuffs.   Routine meat speciation is also performed using ELISA techniques to detect pork, beef, lamb, poultry and horse (UKAS accredited).  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**High protein bread coming to a shop near you
A high protein bread made from wholemeal flour will go on sale costing £5 for a loaf.  The bread has been developed for those on a high protein diet and contains 15g of protein and 13.9g of carbohydrate per slice (normal bread contains 2g protein and 16g carbohydrate).  It is also high in omega 3. The bread manufactured by Dr Zak’s, took 3 years to develop and is much more dense than normal bread, weighing 3 times more than white bread.  A spokesman for MuscleFood.com, who created the bread, is quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: 'Everyone knows that a high protein, low carbohydrate diet is ideal for losing weight and building muscle and thousands of athletes and keep-fit enthusiasts try to maintain this type of diet.  But avoiding carbs isn’t easy, particularly bread. So we saw a gap in the market for a new kind of bread, one with a much lower carbohydrate content than normal bread and a much higher protein content. The best bit is it actually tastes like gorgeous bread, not cardboard but proper, freshly made bread.”  The article also quotes Tim Hart, Personal Trainer and Nutritionist (BSc Nutrition) at Reebok Sports Club, who said: “The protein bread does contain a much higher protein content than normal bread.  This offers some advantages such as slowing down digestion time compared to wheat bread alone, as well as providing an additional source of protein.  However it is important to remember bread is not an unhealthy food and the £5 per loaf price tag means there are many cheaper ways to obtain a quality protein source.'

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable expertise in developing a wide range of food and drink products at a laboratory and pilot scale.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Fluoride levels in tea
A study published in Food Research International, cited by the popular press and summarised by NHS Choices has investigated fluoride levels in tea.  The headlines claim that cheap tea bags contain high levels of fluoride and could cause bone and teeth problems. The study includes a case study of a US lady who consumed around 6.5 pints of tea daily since the age of 12 and then later went on to experience bone damage due to tea consumption.  The scientists analysed the fluoride concentrations in 35 teas brought from UK supermarkets and a further two from India and Sri Lanka.  Fluoride concentrations were measured at 2, 10 and 30 minutes intervals after 2g of tea were added to 100ml of boiling water.   They found that the averages fluoride concentration in dry tea ranged from 103 to 839 mg/kg, with economy blends having higher concentration at around 580 mg/kg.  Green teas contained around 397mg/kg and pure blend on average 132 mg/kg.   There was little difference in fluoride levels between the two and 10 minute infusions or between the 10 and 30 minute infusions but the scientists report an “extremely significant” difference between the two and 30 minute infusions, with infusion time increasing fluoride levels.  Economy blends had the highest fluoride levels, with an average 6mg per litre in a two minute infusion.    The scientists calculated that an adult consuming one litre of economy tea daily, containing 6mg per litre of fluoride would be getting 75-120% of the recommended fluoride allowance.   In the US the “upper tolerable limit” of fluoride is 10mg of fluoride daily. However, NHS choices note that the researchers’ calculations are not based on this maximum limit but on the recommended daily intake of 4 mg of fluoride daily for adults.

RSSL can determine fluoride by HPLC with conductivity detection or using a potentiometric method (UKAS accredited). If you would like your products tested please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Study finds no association between prenatal mercury exposure and autism-like behaviours
A study by Wijngaarden et al. and published in the journal Epidemiology has concluded that there is no association between pre-natal mercury exposure and autism like behaviour.  The team examined mothers who ate on average up to 12 meals of fish each week during pregnancy.   High levels of mercury during pregnancy have been found to lead to serious developmental problems, with some organisations recommending that pregnant women limit their consumption of fish. Mercury is present in the environment originating from both natural sources, as well as a by-product.  Mercury is deposited in the world's oceans where it makes its way into the food chain and eventually into fish. While the levels of mercury found in individual fish are generally low, concerns have been raised about the cumulative effects of a frequent diet of fish. Using data from the Seychelles Child Development Study, a study with focuses on relevant mercury exposure, involving 1,784 children, adolescents, and young adults and their mothers, Wijngaarden et al. determined the level of prenatal mercury exposure by analysing hair samples that had been collected from the mothers around the time of birth.  The researchers then used two questionnaires to determine whether or not the study offspring were exhibiting autism spectrum-like behaviours.  The researchers then matched mercury levels of the mothers with the test scores of their children. The principal researcher of the Seychelles study state: "This study shows no consistent association in children with mothers with mercury level that were six to ten times higher than those found in the U.S. and Europe. This is a sentinel population and if it does not exist here than it probably does not exist.”

RSSL's Metals Laboratory can determine the mercury content of food products, including fish and shellfish, to a limit of 20 parts per billion. For more information on metals analysis please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

**Fish stocks improving
Findings published in Current Biology have indicated that the status of our fish stocks is improving, with many stocks not being overfished, however low fishing pressure need to remain until stocks recover.  The study by Paul Fernandes from the University of Aberdeen and Robin Cook from the University of Strathclyde analysed and integrated data collected by government and research institutes, including large programs at hundreds of fish markets and at sea on hundreds of fishing and research vessels operating every day of the year.   The researchers found that in 2011 the majority of fish stocks were being fished sustainably, which is the result of reforms put in place in 2002.  They indicate that the findings come at an important time, when changes to the Common Fisheries Policy are anticipated.

**Study reports eating eggs is not linked to high cholesterol in adolescents
A study led by researchers at the University of Granada and published in Nutrición Hospitalaria has reported that egg consumption is not associated with higher serum cholesterol in adolescents, regardless of how much physical activity they do.  Maldonado et al examined the main risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease, including lipid profile, excess body fat, insulin resistance and high blood pressure using 380 adolescents. Recent studies have indicated that increased serum cholesterol is more affected by intake of saturated fats and trans fats than by the amount of cholesterol in the diet.  The results, part of the European study HELENA involving nine countries, showed that eating larger amounts of egg is neither linked to higher serum cholesterol nor to worse cardiovascular health in adolescents, regardless of their levels of physical activity.

RSSL's Lipids Laboratory, part of the Investigative Analysis Team can determine the fatty acid profile of all dietary fats and oils including trans fats. For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email  enquiries@rssl.com

**Rituals improve the taste of the food eaten afterwards
Rituals such as making a wish before blowing out candles, or singing before eating a birthday cake, can improve the taste of the food eaten afterwards.  Vohs et al. carried out four experiments to investigate how these kinds of ritualistic behaviours might influence our perception and consumption of various foods including chocolate.  The first experiment investigated, provided instructions for participants on how they should unwrap and eat a piece of chocolate.  The results were compared with participants who were told to relax then eat the chocolate in whatever way they wanted.  Those who were given the instructions rated the chocolate more highly, savoured it more, and were willing to pay more for the chocolate than the other group.  To reinforce these results the scientists carried out a second experiment which found that random movements didn’t alter the eating experience, however only repeated, episodic, and fixed behaviours seem to change our perception of the food.  A longer delay between the ritual and consumption increase these effects even with food such as carrots.  The final experiments found that being involved in a ritual is important, and has a positive effect on eating experiences. The scientists note that the role of rituals could be used in other situations such as “getting patients to perform rituals before a surgery and then measuring their pain post-operatively and how fast they heal.” (Eureka)

**Calorie recommendations on menus do not improve consumer choices
A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers and published in the American Journal of Public Health has reported that recommended calorie intake information did not help consumers use menu labelling more effectively.  Menu labels have become a popular tool recommended by policymakers to help consumers make healthier food choices.  Downs et al. investigated the behaviour of 1121 adult lunchtime diners at two McDonald’s restaurants in New York.  The diners were split into three groups, with one groups receiving information on recommended daily calorie intake, another on recommended per-meal calorie intake and the third receiving no information. The scientists report that the results showed no interaction between the use of calorie recommendations and the pre-existing menu labels, suggesting that incorporating calorie recommendations did not help customers make better use of the information provided on calorie-labelled menus. Further, providing calorie recommendations, whether calories per-day or per-meal, did not show a reduction in the number of calories purchased.

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