12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

23 September 2015

Increase in demand for clean-labelling

There has recently been an increased focus and demand from customers for clean labelling. Research carried out by ingredients firm, Ingredion, showed that it is now necessary for food and drink manufacturers to create simple labels and use recognisable ingredients as part of the product formulation process. 20% of products tracked last year featured a clean labelling positioning up 3% from the year before. 

It was clear from the study that there has been a significant rise in clean label ingredients with an increased interest in natural sweeteners (including monk fruit and stevia), natural colours (such as beetroot and elderberry) and thickeners (gellan gums). 

This research also showed that more than 70% of European consumers check the front of pack labelling and 60% check the ingredients list. 

UK E. Coli outbreak linked to prepackaged salad

Public Health England (PHE) is investigating an E.Coli O157 outbreak which has sickened 38 people. The results from a survey carried out to analyse 41 of the cases indicated that 19 of these were purchased from the same supermarket chain and shared one ingredient. Samples are currently being collated and the exact source and investigation to determine the cause of contamination is underway.

Packaging options may be made from bananas and biodegradable material in a hope to reduce environmental impacts

The first day of an international conference in Germany named ‘Innovations in food packaging, shelf life and food safety’ saw subjects covering the opportunities for packaging made from bananas, biodegradable packaging material, design cost saving and plastic end of life problems.

Banana peel films with 40% PEG had lower water vapour permeability (WVP) whereas higher tensile strength (TS) was seen in films with 10% PEG. It was suggested the use of banana peel films for pouches or sachets for dry food due to their good sealability could be a possible alternative to plastic materials.

FDA launches food safety regulations to help prevent food poisoning outbreaks

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has adopted a new food safety rule that will see food manufacturers having to develop detailed plans to prevent food contamination. Imported goods will have the same standards as domestically-grown food. These rules are as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA).

Human and animal food facilities will have to develop and create food safety plans that could affect their products as well as outlining steps to prevent or minimise any problems occurring. Food companies will have to take more responsibility for monitoring their facilities and pinpointing any potential hazards and respond when any food safety problems occur.

The regulation will be rolled out gradually from 2016 to 2018.

New food market could benefit from repurposing food waste

Research published in the journal of Food and Nutrition Science has highlighted the benefits to new food markets and the environment of repurposing surplus produce from supermarket discards.  
The US pilot study comes in response to the growing population as well as the increased amount of food product going to waste. 

The researchers used a comprehensive Food System-Sensitive Methodology to pilot a surplus food management program that utilises fresh fruit and vegetables from supermarkets that would have been disposed of to landfill and are donated or used for new business. 

Within the study, 35,000 pounds of produce was used (gathered from 11 area supermarkets in Philadelphia) and their uses analysed; 25% were not suitable for culinary use, 10% was too small a volume and 33% was suitable for use at area food shelters and pantries. The remaining 15,000 pounds was used for new commercial enterprises and recipe research and development.  The researchers highlighted the potential income generated from culled produce as well as the cost saving opportunity brought through eliminating disposal costs.  

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