12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

17 June 2015

Scottish rapeseed oil has added health benefits

The Scottish Rapeseed Oil Common Interest Group (SRO) along with food scientists at the Queen Margaret University (QMU) has compared cold-pressed rapeseed oil from England with Scottish oil. 

Scottish oil was found to have a better ratio of omega 6 to 3 fatty acids which are important for a healthy diet. The average ratio of cold-pressed rapeseed from the other areas in the UK was 1.9:1 with 2.4:1 from non-UK sources. The average ratio of the Scottish oil was slightly better at 1.8:1.

It is hoped that these research findings will be used to help the SRO provide more detailed information to consumers and promote Scottish cold-rapeseed oil in the UK and overseas.

Study shows the promising benefits of enzyme technologies to produce natural taste enhancer divanillin

A study presented in the Flavour and Fragrance Journal has noted that divanillin – a taste enhancer which imparts pleasant impressions of creaminess in food – may be promising in the manufacture of food. Divanillin is naturally found in vanilla pods at very low levels, but the study by German researchers demonstrates that fungal laccases can be used to generate the dimer at yields > 95%.

Barley could be used to extend the shelf life of popular food products

Researchers at the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine at the University of Adelaide’s Waite campus are studying different types of barley to find varieties with a higher level of Vitamin E and other antioxidants at harvest and storage. 

The researchers are seeing whether they can produce pitta bread with higher levels of antioxidants, increasing health benefits and lengthening storage capacity. The pitta breads are being made with different combinations of malt, wholegrain and flour (all made from promising barley varieties) 

To date, 25 commercial varieties of malt flour have been tested and there is hope that the concept can be applied to a range of other food products.

Nuts and peanuts linked to lower mortality rate

A research paper published in the International Journal of Epidemiology has shown a relationship between nut intake and lower mortality rates, with men and women who eat at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day having a lower risk of mortality. 

The relationship of nut (tree nut, peanut) and peanut butter intake and cause-specific mortality was investigated. The Netherlands Cohort Study saw 120,852 men and women aged between 55-69 years providing information on dietary and lifestyle habits in 1986. Multivariate case-cohort analysis looked at 8823 deaths and 3202 sub cohort members with data around nuts.  Mortality was studied until 1996 with a link to Statistics Netherlands and meta-analyses was conducted of results with those from other cohort studies. 

The reduction in mortality was clear for respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The effects were just as strong for tree nuts. However, peanut butter had no association with lower mortality.

3D camera technology could result in a fully automatic robotic harvesting system for broccoli

A 3D camera technology is being developed at the University of Lincoln along with 70 business institutions and universities in the UK, in the hope to provide a fully automatic harvesting system for broccoli.  Broccoli is the world’s largest vegetable crops and has significant cost during harvest; the 3D camera technology will be able to determine if broccoli is ready for harvesting and will significantly reduce production costs.

USDA awards grant for E. coli research to help reduce public health risks

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a research grant of $25 million to University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to improve risk management and reduce the occurrence from Shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC) in cattle and across the production of beef. 

It is evident that most STEC outbreaks are caused by contact with fecal material from cattle and ingestion of contaminated food. Currently, the non-O157 STEC strains are not understood as well as E.coli O157. These will be investigated in the study

The researchers will be working closely with consumer groups, meat processor associations, technology providers and industry partners to improve the safety of beef production. The USDA is also to launch a testing program to detect pathogens and prevent consumers from being exposed to them.

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