12 January - 20 June 2016

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  • Four people in ten eating a specialised diet
  • Four regions of France trial four labelling schemes ahead of EU debate on food labelling
  • Fungus may be a key factor in Crohn’s disease
  • Should food 'traffic light' labelling be mandatory?
  • Chocolate grows on trees, and carrots take ten years to grow. Under 8’s found to lack basic food knowledge
  • Give vegans and vegetarians more choice at the bar
  • Mice study discovers new target to treat obesity
  • IFST publish new information statement on sugars
  • Obesity policy and action plan launched in Ireland
  • Drink that mimics the effects of alcohol without the hangover
  • Suffering with garlic breath? Eat apple and lettuce

Four people in ten eating a specialised diet
Research by Nielson has revealed that more than four people in ten say they are eating a specialised diet.  The research found that one in five report choosing foods that can prevent conditions including obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol or hypertension.  The Daily Mail states that forty two percent reported eating a diet that excludes or limits consumption of some foods or ingredients.  These include antibiotics/hormones (49%), artificial additives including sweeteners (45%) and sugar (42%).  Nielson found that one in five households report at least one person who suffers with a food allergy or an intolerance. 

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Four regions of France trial four labelling schemes ahead of EU debate on food labelling
Four regions of France are piloting four new labelling schemes, ahead of the EU’s debate on improvements to food labelling due to take place in early 2017.  The trial which will last 10 weeks, involves two million labels being attached to nearly 1200 different food products sold in 60 Casino, Carrefour Market, and Simply Market stores in Île-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Rhône-Alpes and Haute Normandie.  The fours schemes being piloted are:

  • Nutri-Score Systems which ranks food from A (good) to E (bad) using a five colour logo
  • The Sens system which using a mixture of colours and a logo to depict how healthy a food is
  • A traffic light systems used in the UK
  • The Nutri-Repère logo which show the amount of components such as fat, sugar and salt and calories the product contains.   (Connexion)

Fungus may be a key factor in Crohn’s disease
Scientists have identified a fungus that may be a key factor in the development of Crohn’s disease.  Ghannoum et al. examined the role of fungi, known as mycobiome, and bacteria, known as bacteriome, present in human intestines.  The team analysed faecal samples from 20 Crohn’s and 28 Crohn's-free patients from nine families, and 21 Crohn's-free patients from four families. They report in mBio that they found strong fungal-bacterial interactions in those with Crohn's disease.  Two bacteria (Escherichia coli and Serratia marcescens) and one fungus (Candida tropicalis) were found in higher amounts in the sick family members compared to their healthy relatives, suggesting that the bacteria and fungus interact in the intestines. Additionally, the scientists carried out research in test-tubes and found that the E. coli cells fuse to the fungal cells and S. marcescens, forming a bridge connecting the microbes.  This produces a biofilm of microorganisms that adheres to, among other sites, a portion of the intestines and cause inflammation that results in the symptoms of Crohn's disease. Crohn's patients, were also found to have a lower presence of beneficial bacteria. Commenting on their findings the authors’ state: “We have to be careful, though, and not solely attribute Crohn's disease to the bacterial and fungal makeups of our intestines. For example, we know that family members also share diet and environment to significant degrees. Further research is needed to be even more specific in identifying precipitators and contributors of Crohn's."

RSSL are industry experts in allergens, and provide a comprehensive range of testing, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within manufacturing and retailing.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com  Don’t forget to join our Allergens in a Nutshell LinkedIn group

Should food 'traffic light' labelling be mandatory?
According to the BBC councils have said that food manufacturers should be forced to put "traffic light" nutrition labels on the front of packs.  The current scheme introduced by the Department of Health in 2013, is voluntary and is only used on about a third of all food sold in the UK.  The current scheme sees foods highlighted as red, amber or green according to how much salt, sugar and fat they contain. However the Local Government Association (LGA) said current rules were confusing and a universal labelling system was needed. It notes that clearer packaging would help people take more responsibility for their health and help with rising obesity levels.

Chocolate grows on trees, and carrots take ten years to grow. Under 8’s found to lack basic food knowledge
Findings from a survey commissioned by Asda have indicated that children struggle to understand basic food knowledge.  The survey involved 1000 children under the age of eight. Some children thought that carrots can take up to ten years to grow, whilst others, 41%, didn’t know eggs came from chickens.  15% of children believed that chocolate and cucumber grew on trees, with almost a quarter thinking that turkey, chicken wings and sirloin steak comes from a pig.  The article notes that Asda is to launch a Food School for Kids, with James Martin heading up the campaign.  It will teach children of primary school age the basics about food.  (Express)

Give vegans and vegetarians more choice at the bar
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is calling on brewers to investigate producing beers which are suitable for vegetarian and vegans.  Currently beer may contain an odourless product made from fish, used to as a fining agent to make beer clear, bright and more attractive. The ingredient, isinglass, is made from the swim bladders of fish.  It is noted in an article in the BBC that alternative finings, such as products from seaweed or Irish moss, can also be used to help beer clear more quickly.  Camra's Roger Protz says more breweries should move away from using isinglass, to give vegans and vegetarians more choice at the bar.  (BBC)

Mice study discovers new target to treat obesity
Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have discovered a new mechanism which they state could potentially be used to treat obesity.  The mice study published in Cell Reports investigated the Rap1 gene which is found in a variety of tissues, including the brain, and the role it plays in energy balance.  Using a mouse model, the scientists selectively deleted the Rap1 gene in neurons in the hypothalamus, the area of the brain that is involved in regulating whole-body metabolism.  Using two groups of mice, one group which lack the Rap1 gene and the other a control group, the scientists fed the mice a high-fat diet with 60% calories from fat.  The control group of mice gained weight but, in comparison, the mice that lacked Rap 1 had markedly reduced body weight and less body fat.  When both groups were fed a normal diet, both had a similar weight and body fat. The scientists report that the Rap1 lacking mice, ate less and burned more fat than the control mice.  They state that “These observations were associated with the hypothalamus producing more of a hormone that reduces appetite, called POMC, and less of hormones that stimulate appetite, called NPY and AgRP.”  The Rap1-free mice also had lower levels of blood glucose and insulin.  The scientists also investigated leptin changes, the satiety hormone produced by fatty tissues, in the Rap1-free mice.  They found that the Rap1-free mice were able to respond to leptin.   The same results were found when the scientists tested the effect of inhibiting Rap1 with drugs instead of deleting the gene in mice.

IFST publish new information statement on sugars
IFST has released a new Information Statement, ‘Sugars’ authored by Professor Julian Cooper, CSci, and peer-reviewed by IFST’s Scientific Committee. IFST Information Statements summarise the authoritative and impartial science behind key food science issues.  Sugars are the basic building blocks of carbohydrates found in nature; they can be found in milk, tree saps and many fruits and vegetables. The most common sugars found in foods are the monosaccharides glucose, fructose and galactose and the disaccharides sucrose, lactose and maltose. Sugars provide many functions in foods not only sweetness but also texture, colour and flavour formation, freezing point depression, different physical forms – amorphous and glassy (vitreous), preservation and sugars can also be fermented. Thus they provide a range of versatile, multifunctional ingredients. IFST's information statement on 'sugars' examines occurrence, the functionality and properties of sugars, regulations and labelling, analysis, nutrition and reformulation of products.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Obesity policy and action plan launched in Ireland
The Irish government have published an Obesity Policy and Action Plan.  The Obesity Policy and Action Plan is the result of the Government’s desire to assist its people to achieve better health and in particular to reduce the levels of overweight and obesity.  It also acknowledges that the solutions are multiple and every sector has a role in reducing the burden of this condition.  The plan covers a ten-year period, up to 2025.  In brief the action plan propose a sugary drink tax, maximum portion sizes, marketing restrictions and reformulation targets. According to Food Navigator the plan has been criticised by campaigners due to the lack of funding for implementation.

Drink that mimics the effects of alcohol without the hangover
An Imperial College Professor and former government drug advisor Professor David Nutt has designed a new drink called alcosynth that mimics the effects of alcohol but doesn’t cause a hangover.  The professor has patented around 90 different alcosynth compounds. Nutt researched substances that have the same effect on the brain as alcohol and designed a drug which is non-toxic. However Professor Nutt notes that he is unsure if the use of synthetic alcohol would be restricted by the new Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into force in May. (Independent)

Suffering with garlic breath? Eat apple and lettuce
A study published in the Journal of Food Science has found that eating raw apple or lettuce may help reduce garlic breath. Ohio State University researchers investigated the effects of giving participants’ water (control), raw, juiced or heated apple, raw or heated lettuce, raw or juiced mint leaves, or green tea after chewing three grams of softneck garlic cloves for 25 seconds.  They found that raw apple and raw lettuce decreased the volatiles of garlic breath by 50% or more compared to water. Whilst apple juice and mint juice reduced the levels of volatiles it was not as effective as chewing raw apple or mint.  Green tea was found to have no effect, whilst heated apple and lettuce were reported to significantly reduce volatiles.  The team note that enzymes and phenolic compounds are responsible for deodorising. 

RSSL's Functional Ingredients Laboratory can assay a range of products for polyphenolic components. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

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