12 January - 20 June 2016

Food safety

  • FSA’s Chief Scientific Advisor fifth report focuses on food allergy and intolerance
  • Changes in mouse gut microbiota by food additives may cause colorectal cancer
  • Suspected norovirus outbreak at 9 Wahaca restaurants
  • Dietary reference values for vitamin D set – EFSA
  • Global Salmonella outbreak – link between outbreak and egg packing centre in Poland
  • EFSA – Risk to consumers from pesticides residues remains low
  • Consumers with food allergy concerns often misunderstand food labels
  • Cooking at a lower heat could help to cut chances of developing heart disease
  • Can energy drinks cause hepatitis?
  • Food additive found to slow the toxic effects of E. coli poisoning

FSA’s Chief Scientific Advisor fifth report focuses on food allergy and intolerance
Professor Guy Poppy, FSA’s Chief Scientific Advisor, has published his fifth report focusing on food allergy and intolerance.  The report explains the complex and evolving science behind food allergy and intolerance. It also highlights some specific projects that the FSA is funding in order to ensure the best possible advice is offered, supported by the best available evidence.

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.

Changes in mouse gut microbiota by food additives may cause colorectal cancer
A mouse study, heavily cited by the media, is reporting that consumption of emulsifiers by mice altered intestinal bacteria, increasing intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer.  The findings published in the journal Cancer Research, fed mice polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose at doses similar to the proportions of emulsifiers commonly added to human processed food. They found the emulsifiers changed the composition of the gut microbiota making it more prone to inflammation.  Viennois et al. report that alteration in the bacteria species resulted in bacteria producing more flagellin and lipopolysaccharide.  The scientists indicate that “dietary emulsifier consumption was sufficient to make the animals more susceptible to developing colonic tumours because this created and maintained a pro-inflammatory environment associated with an altered proliferation/apoptosis (cell death) balance.” (Science Daily)

Suspected norovirus outbreak at 9 Wahaca restaurants
Over three hundred people have become ill after a suspected norovirus outbreak at nine branches of the Mexican restaurant, Wahaca.  The affected restaurants are located in Manchester, Brighton, Cardiff, White City, Canary Wharf, Soho, St Paul's, Oxford Circus and Covent Garden. Currently three branches in London remain shut.  Miers and Selby, the co-founder of the chain, said the remaining closed restaurants would be reopened "on a case by case basis, as soon as we feel ready to do so". Public Health England are investigating the outbreak, with staff being advised to remain off site for 48 hours after their symptoms have ceased.  The source of the outbreak has yet to be identified.  (BBC, City AM)

Dietary reference values for vitamin D set – EFSA
EFSA has set dietary reference values (DRVs) for the intake of vitamin D.  The Panel considers that Average Requirements and Population Reference Intakes for vitamin D cannot be derived, and therefore defines adequate intakes (AIs), for all population groups. Taking into account the overall evidence and uncertainties, the Panel considers that a serum 25 (OH)D concentration of 50 nmol/L is a suitable target value for all population groups, in view of setting the AIs. For adults, an AI for vitamin D is set at 15 lg/day, based on a meta-regression analysis and considering that, at this intake, the majority of the population will achieve a serum 25(OH)D concentration near or above the target of 50 nmol/L. For children aged 1–17 years, an AI for vitamin D is set at 15 lg/day, based on the meta-regression analysis. For infants aged 7–11 months, an AI for vitamin D is set at 10 lg/day, based on trials in infants. For pregnant and lactating women, the Panel sets the same AI as for non-pregnant non-lactating women, i.e. 15 lg/day. 

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets, including the analysis for  Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com.

Global Salmonella outbreak – link between outbreak and egg packing centre in Poland
Seven countries have reported human cases of Salmonella Enteritidis between 1 May and 12 October 2016 (112 confirmed and 148 probable).  Cases have been reported by Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. In addition, Croatia reported a cluster of cases, including one death, possibly associated with this outbreak.  Whole genome sequencing, food and environmental investigations, and trace-back investigations established a link between the outbreak and an egg packing centre in Poland. Evidence suggests eggs as the most likely source of infection. (EFSA)

EFSA – Risk to consumers from pesticides residues remains low
Ninety-seven per cent of food samples collected in the European Union are free of pesticide residues or contain traces that are within legal limits according to EFSA’s latest annual report on pesticide residues in food.  The report analyses the results of almost 83,000 food samples from the 28 EU Member States – including Croatia for the first time – as well as Iceland and Norway.

Consumers with food allergy concerns often misunderstand food labels
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice found that, after surveying 6584 U.S. and Canadian consumers, consumers with food allergy concerns often misunderstand food labels about allergens that say "may contain" or "manufactured on shared equipment."  The researchers found that up to 40 percent bought food items with precautionary allergen labels, which are foods that should be avoided to prevent what could be a serious allergic reaction. When asked about precautionary labelling, a third surveyed falsely believed that precautionary allergen statements are based on the amounts of allergen in the product. Almost half believed that this type of food labelling is required by law, which is not the case.  Eleven per cent of respondents bought food with "may contain" labelling, while 40 percent bought a product with "manufactured in a facility that also processes" statement.

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

Cooking at a lower heat could help to cut chances of developing heart disease
An international team led by researchers from University of Edinburgh have reported that food cooked at high heat may carry toxic chemicals that raise risk of heart disease. The scientists suggest that frying food at a high heat can cause oils to break down to form trans-fatty acids. They state that neo formed contaminants (NFC) can form when food is cooked at temperatures above 150oC. The team came to these findings, published in the journal Nutrition, after examining studies that investigated the effect of NFCs on human and animal tissue and the relationship between these products and heart disease.  Cooking methods such as frying and roasting, created high levels of trans-fatty acids, especially if the oil is reused.  They found that in China, where heart disease rates are lower - cooking commonly involves braising, steaming and boiling, which does not lead to the same level of toxic products.

RSSL can determine the fatty acid profile of all dietary fats and oils including trans fats. For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Can energy drinks cause hepatitis?
Doctors writing in BMJ Case Reports have warned of a link between energy drinks and liver disease after a US construction worker developed acute Hepatitis from consuming five cans a day. The 50 year old man drank the energy drinks to help him stay awake during shift work consuming four to five cans daily for three weeks.  After this period of time he started suffering with abdominal pain and anorexia.  Initial diagnosis was flu, however after his symptoms progressed to include vomiting, jaundice and dark urine, the doctors diagnosed him with acute Hepatitis C. The doctors suggest that the high concentrations of certain vitamins such as a mixture of B vitamins, in the drinks caused liver disease. They state that several of the ingredients are known to cause toxicity with overdose, none of their toxicity profiles include hepatotoxicity, except vitamin B3.”

RSSL Laboratory provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  For more information please contact Customer Services on +44 (0) 118 918 4076 or email enquiries@rssl.com

Food additive found to slow the toxic effects of E. coli poisoning
Polysorbate has been proven to slow the toxic effects of E. coli poisoning according to study published in Biofouling.  Polysorbate, an additive found in products from ice cream to cosmetics, was found to erase biofilms, multicellular communities of bacteria, preventing E. coli from being able to damage the host during infection, and preventing it from producing a toxin.  Waters et al. also examined polysorbate 80 using an animal model of the disease by administering polysorbate 80 to infected mice in their drinking water. They found that “polysorbate 80 essentially blocked all toxicity, even though it didn't reduce the number of bacteria.”  The findings were confirmed using in vivo mice model experiments.

share this article
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.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry