12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

29 July 2015

Increased vitamin C consumption linked to reduced mortality

Danish and British research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has examined the effect of vitamin C intake and its association with increased risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. This research came as a response to previous studies which showed a positive correlation in prospective studies but appeared inconsistent from randomised clinical trials.

The Mendelian randomization approach was used and measured plasma vitamin C in 3512 individuals and included the dietary information on 83,256 individuals. The findings found that people with a certain genetic allele SLC23A1 rs33972313 G have higher plasma vitamin C levels and increased concentrations are associated with a lower risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality. The results overall demonstrated that higher intake of fruit and vegetables resulted in a lower risk of all-cause mortality and ischemic heart disease.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) examines the links between consumption of carbohydrates, sugars, starch and fibre and a range of health outcomes

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has examined the latest links between consumption of sugars, carbohydrates, fibre and starch and health outcomes including type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and bowel health. The analysis came as a request by the Department of Health and Food Standards Agency to ensure that the government’s view on consumption was up to date.

The SACN report highlighted that higher levels of sugar consumption result in increased risk of tooth decay, an increased proportion of sugar in the diet results in higher energy intake and high-sugar beverages increase weight gain and risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The report recommends that free sugars should account for no more than 5% of daily dietary intake, the term ‘free sugars’ should replace ‘added sugars’ and ‘Non Milk Extrinsic Sugars (NMES)’ and the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages should be minimised by adults and children.

Research studies effective use of bacteriophages in food products

Bacteriophages are widely used in the food industry to protect some meat and dairy products against infection by bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes. However, they are not always fully effective and some Listeria strains are resistant to the phages.

Cornell researchers have now shown that the resistant strains demonstrate “adsorption inhibition” – when molecules or particles do not bind to a cell surface. The scientists believe that specially tailored combinations of phages could provide long-term protection against Listeria rather than single phage products.

Sourdough fermentation holds promise for gluten free baking

An Italian researcher claims to have uncovered the potential of using sourdough fermentation for the manufacture of baked goods to make them safe for people with sensitivity to gluten as well as those who suffer from celiac disease. The bread produced from sourdough fermentation tastes more like regular bread, has an extended shelf life and contains more minerals, vitamins, amino acids and fibre.

The findings were presented at the July 14 symposium at IFT15: Where Science Feeds Innovation hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago.

Researchers show ultraviolet C (UVC) light is effective against foodborne pathogens on the surface of certain fruits

Work from Washington State University presented in the journal of Food Microbiology has shown that bacterial pathogens on fruit surfaces respond differently to various levels of UV-C light exposure. E.coli O.157:H7 on the surface of apples and pears could be reduced by 2.9 log CFU/g and 2.1 log CFU/g whereas reduction on berries was lower with strawberries (by 2.0 log CFU/g) and raspberries (1.1 log CFU/g). L. monocytogenes was reduced significantly on the apple and pear. It was clear from the results that the UV-C light is effective in reducing E.Coli O157:H7 and L. monocytogenes on the surface of the fruit although the characteristics of the fruit influence the effect of the UV-C light.

Research investigates the link between diet and health and hopes to inform new product development

Fourteen food and drink companies, partnering as the Diet and Health Research Industry Club (DRINC) are contributing to a research project to uncover the link between diet and health with the hope to direct new product development.  Six research projects will be undertaken to explore novel ways to reduce levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt in foods, how to use environmental prompts to encourage healthy portion control, and the comparison of the metabolism of breast-fed and bottle-fed babies.

The food and drink organisations will be working alongside the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

The future of food labelling; the development of 3D printing

Engineers have now been successful in 3D printing a wireless ‘smart cap’ for milk cartons that uses embedded sensors to detect signs of spoilage.  The results from the study presented in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering showed a 4.3% frequency shift for milk stored open at room temperature for 36 hours as it deteriorated.

Symbiotic intestinal microbes act on the immune system by blocking allergic reactions

A study presented in the journal Science shows the importance of microbiota on the balance of the immune system through blocking the immune cells responsible for triggering allergies.

The findings present a link between the decline in infectious disease and the increase in allergic diseases in industrialized countries. This has been suggested as a result of the reduced contact with microbes which has increased allergic and autoimmune diseases (such as type 1 diabetes). The study shows how the presence of fungal and bacterial microbes acts on the immune system to block allergic reactions.

Other epidemiological studies have also showed that children living in contact with farm animals which brought about an increase exposure to microbial agents develop fewer allergies.

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