12 January - 20 June 2016

Food Safety and Other News

  • Research to fund study of food preservation methods and foodborne illnesses
  • Eating fish during pregnancy can aid brain development in children
  • Consumers will focus on sustainability in 2016 – Euromonitor 2016 report shows upcoming trends
  • Low-fibre diet may cause irreversible depletion of gut bacteria over generations
  • Potential bird flu outbreak raises concern in the US
  • Fatty acids from genetically modified (GM) oilseed crops could replace fish oil

Research to fund study of food preservation methods and foodborne illnesses

The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative federal funding program in the US is providing support to the North Dakota State University (NDSU) to study how foods pasteurised by vacuum steam are affected by Salmonella.


Eating fish during pregnancy can aid brain development in children

A recent study presented in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found that pregnant women who eat three portions of fish regularly may benefit the brain development (neuropsychological development) of their child.

The study analysed 2,000 pairs of mothers and children who were assessed from early pregnancy to the child’s fifth birthday. It was clear that eating more than 340g of seafood a week was linked to better neuropsychological scores in children. The test scores improved with every 10g of fish women ate up to 600g. Women that ate over 600g of fish each week whilst pregnant were not affected by mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in food.


Consumers will focus on sustainability in 2016 – Euromonitor 2016 report shows upcoming trends

Euromonitor International has released their recent report highlighting the top 10 global consumer trends for 2016.

The trends included a big switch by the food industry to focus on sustainability from raw ingredients to finished products. The report also makes reference to consumers striving to eat locally-produced foods and sustainable ingredients for a push towards the green food trend. There will also be a focus on food waste brought about by excess unsold foods which often gets thrown away.


Low-fibre diet may cause irreversible depletion of gut bacteria over generations

A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine has raised concerns low-fibre diets which are common in industrialised societies may produce internal deficiencies that get passed along to future generations. It was found through a study in mice that low-fibre diets cause an irreversible loss of diversity within the complex microbial ecosystems within 3 or 4 generations.


Potential bird flu outbreak raises concern in the US

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that the highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza (AI) strain has been detected on a commercial turkey farm in Indiana, USA in January. The farm was placed under quarantine and 60,000 birds were culled. Local farms were notified and workers exposed to the strain were placed under surveillance. 250,000 birds from neighbouring farms were also killed to prevent any spread of the virus.

The outbreak prompted increased biosecurity measures (surveillance, reporting, biosecurity, movement control, vaccination and depopulation) and improved staff training in the hope to be more prepared in the future to avoid a repeat of the 2015 crisis.


Fatty acids from genetically modified (GM) oilseed crops could replace fish oil

Research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) has shown that Camelina sativa oil derived from genetically modified seed could replace fish oil as a source of Omega 3 fatty acid EPA. The benefits were assessed and shown to be similar to fish oils following a study on mice.

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