12 January - 20 June 2016

Food safety

  • Peanut allergy drug in development
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launch 2 Sisters and standards in poultry processing inquiry
  • Development of food allergy among kitchen workers with hand eczema after direct contact exposure
  • Tackling food fraud – sharing of information is vital
  • Study indicates that most people may be unaware they have celiac disease
  • Pesticides found in honey
  • Should there be allergen threshold limits?
  • FSA update advice about eating eggs
  • EFSA - Avian influenza: new scientific advice boosts EU preparedness

Peanut allergy drug in development
Reuters are reporting that Aimmune Therapeutics Inc, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc and Sanofi are working in collaboration to develop a peanut allergy drug.  A mid-stage trial will begin in 2018 to test the drug, an oral immunotherapy.  Reuters state that both Regeneron and Sanofi have said “Dupilumab met the main goal of a mid-stage trial to treat moderate-to-severe eosinophilic esophagitis, an infection in the oesophagus mainly caused by food allergies.” Currently the drug Dupilumab is trading under the name Dupixent and is being used to treat adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

RSSL can provide you with a complete food allergen management solution. We provide a comprehensive range of analysis, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within food manufacturing and retailing. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launch 2 Sisters and standards in poultry processing inquiry
Following recent reports of malpractice at the 2 Sisters poultry plants in West Bromwich and elsewhere, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has announced its intention to inquire into the allegations of food safety breaches at 2 Sisters Food Group. The short inquiry will investigate the role and performance of the regulatory and accreditation bodies in maintaining food standards and food safety, and the potential ramifications of the allegations made against 2 Sisters for the poultry sector and the wider food chain. On 25 October evidence will be sought from: Ranjit Singh Boparan, Chief Executive and Owner of 2 Sisters Food Group, The Food Standards Agency, Assured Food Standards and The British Poultry Council.

Tackling food fraud – sharing of information is vital
A conference entitled “Safeguarding the Food Chain – Protecting Authenticity and Integrity” hosted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reported that the growth in food fraud investigations in Europe is climbing with the European Commission’s Food Fraud Network dealing with 156 cases of food fraud in 2016, up from 108 cases in 2015 and 60 cases in 2014. The event examined current issues around the authenticity and integrity of food, the public health implications and effective prevention and control strategies. Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI discussed the inspection and enforcement systems in Ireland and noted that the sharing of information and intelligence across national borders is crucial if we are to protect consumers.  Ray Dolan, CEO, safefood notes that the recent Brexit vote poses many wide-ranging issues for consumers when it comes to our food authenticity and traceability.

RSSL offers a range of services which can help you confirm the authenticity of your ingredient or product. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Development of food allergy among kitchen workers with hand eczema after direct contact exposure
Minami et al. has investigated the significance of hand eczema as a risk factor for food allergies in adults at the epidemiological level.  The study published in Allergology International explored the association between the presence and severity of hand eczema and the incidence of food allergy by surveying almost 1,600 kitchen workers and over 1,900 household food handlers in Japan using a web-based questionnaire.  They report that current hand eczema and current diagnosed food allergy were more common among occupational kitchen workers than household food handlers.  While the incidence of hand eczema was similar (32.3% in food workers vs 29.9% among household food handlers), the incidence of diagnosed food allergy among food workers was almost 10% compared to only 4% among household food handlers. The authors found significant association between hand eczema and the foods shrimp/crab, fish and eggs, but not for the birch pollen-related allergen, apple.

Study indicates that most people may be unaware they have celiac disease
A Canadian study has suggested that 87% of people with celiac disease are unaware that they have the disease.  The scientists analysed blood samples from nearly 3000 Canadians for evaluated levels of antibodies associated with celiac disease and found that one in 114 had elevated levels.  The authors note in the journal BMJ Open however, that the data was collected before there was public awareness of the potential issues of gluten.  In a press release they state “It's important for people to understand that celiac disease is not a single clear symptom -- it manifests itself in different ways. Symptoms could be fatigue, gastro-intestinal, or other problems. These symptoms are so diverse that doctors have a difficult time pinpointing the cause. Gluten intolerance is not usually the first thing that comes to their mind. It's not like lactose where you feel bad within a day after consuming it. Gluten causes damage to the intestinal lining, which results in malabsorption of vitamins and other nutrients, and the effects of those nutrient deficiencies are quite varied." (Science Daily)

RSSL can provide you with a complete food allergen management solution. We provide a comprehensive range of analysis, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within food manufacturing and retailing. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Pesticides found in honey
A study published in Science, reported heavily by the media, indicates that around three-quarters of honey from around the world contains some pesticides.  The team came to these findings after they collected honey samples from 200 global sites, taking around 198 samples from each continent.  They found that the honey contained at least one of five types of pesticides called neonicotinoids, a type of insecticides that has been found to impair the brain function of bees.  45% of the samples contained two or more of the compounds that make up the pesticide and 10% had at least four or five compounds. Of the honey sampled, North America had the highest proportion of samples that had neonicotinoids at 86%, followed by Asia at 80% and Europe at 79%. The scientists state “Our results confirm the exposure of bees

Should there be allergen threshold limits?
Sainsbury’s head of analytical testing, Juliette Jahaj, at a meeting organised at the Analphaylaxis Campaign, has called for an agreement on allergen threshold limits.  Food Manufacture report that during her presentation, Jahaj noted that whilst there were allergen thresholds for gluten-free products of less than 20 parts per million, there is no portion size related to.  She is quoted by Food Manufacture as saying “A 500gm (gluten free) ready meal could actually have quite a lot of gluten and a 200g packet of biscuits could have quite a lot of gluten.  Whereas, when we are making claims like wheat-free, milk-free, egg-free, there is no legislation apart from there shouldn’t be there.  So we try to set limits at the lowest limit of quantification.”

RSSL can provide you with a complete food allergen management solution. We provide a comprehensive range of analysis, training and food allergen consultancy services to help you control and manage allergens within food manufacturing and retailing. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

FSA update advice about eating eggs
The Food Standards Agency has announced a change to its advice about eating eggs. Infants, children, pregnant women and elderly people can now safely eat raw or lightly cooked eggs that are produced under the British Lion Code of Practice. The revised advice is based on the latest scientific evidence which found that people vulnerable to infection or who are likely to suffer serious symptoms from food poisoning (such as infants, children, pregnant women and elderly people) can now safely eat raw or lightly cooked hen’s eggs or foods containing them. The decision to change the advice is a result of findings from an expert group that was set up by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) in February 2015 to look at egg safety. Its report, published in July 2016, highlighted that the presence of salmonella in UK eggs has been dramatically reduced in recent years, and the risks are very low for eggs which have been produced according to food safety controls applied by the British Lion Code of Practice. More than 90% of UK eggs are produced under this scheme.

EFSA - Avian influenza: new scientific advice boosts EU preparedness
Migratory wild birds crossing the north-eastern and eastern border of the European Union is the most likely pathway for avian influenza to enter the territory, says EFSA. Experts assessed the risk of avian influenza entering the EU and reviewed surveillance approaches – which comprise monitoring by Member States and the actions they take to minimise its spread. Their scientific advice is based on a thorough review of all the information on the avian influenza outbreaks that have occurred in recent years.  One of the main recommendations is that water birds found dead should be reported to the local veterinary authorities – particularly during the influenza season. Testing farmed water birds – such as ducks and geese – for avian influenza is also important because they can easily come into contact with wild birds and then spread the virus. Farmers and poultry keepers should adopt appropriate management measures to increase biosecurity. These include preventing direct contact between wild water birds and poultry (by using nets or keeping poultry indoors during peak influenza season) and avoiding the movement of animals between farms.  (quoted direct)

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