12 January - 20 June 2016

Food safety

  • Report indicates that half of Canada’s seafood is mislabelled
  • Flies may have been overlooked as source of disease outbreaks
  • No licking the bowl – flour may contain E.coli
  • Six genes found to be linked to acute peanut allergy reaction
  • Can canola oil consumption affect memory?
  • EFSA launches DIY food additives exposure tool
  • Increase in Salmonella food poisoning cases in the EU – Zoonosis Report
  • Seven arrested for alleged oil olive fraud

Report indicates that half of Canada’s seafood is mislabelled
Oceana Canada have investigated seafood fraud and found that half of the 98 samples they collected and tested from grocery stores and restaurants in Ottawa were mislabelled. They report that restaurants had the “highest rates of seafood fraud and mislabelling, with 68 per cent of sushi vendor samples and 51 per cent of non-sushi restaurant samples mislabelled. Eighteen per cent of grocery store samples were mislabelled”.  This included seafood from the “most popular and prestigious restaurants and those known for serving sustainable seafood.” The campaign group, which focuses on conservation in the North American Seas, estimates that 80% of seafood in Canada may be imported. It is now calling on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to make “combating food fraud a priority and to ensure fish sold in Canada is safe, legally caught and honestly labelled.”

RSSL’s DNA testing for meat covers 20 species of meat, 50 species of fish. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Flies may have been overlooked as source of disease outbreaks
Penn State University Researchers are reporting that flies carry more diseases than thought.  Using DNA sequencing techniques the scientists sampled 116 individual houseflies and blowflies from varying habitats on three continents for 116 microbiomes.  The team, reporting in Scientific Reports state that flies have been overlooked by public health officials as sources of disease outbreaks, with a house fly harbouring 351 types of bacteria and a blowfly 316 types.  They note that transmission of the bacteria is from their legs, feet and wings, with bristles on the fly’s body attracting bacteria.

No licking the bowl – flour may contain E.coli
The US FDA have issued a warning about eating raw dough as well as giving children raw dough or baking mixes that contain flour to play with. They note that flour can contain bacteria that can cause disease, citing an outbreak in 2016 where people across the country were sickened by a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O121 after consuming and handling raw dough. Subsequent testing by the FDA, found that the flour used contained the same bacterium that was making people sick.  They state in an article on their website that flour is derived from a grain that comes directly from the field and typically is not treated to kill bacteria.   FDA offers a number of tips for safe food handling of raw dough to keep you and your family healthy including washing hands, work surfaces, and utensils thoroughly after contact with flour and raw dough products.

Six genes found to be linked to acute peanut allergy reaction
Six genes have been identified that are associated with acute peanut allergy reaction. The findings of a double-blind, placebo human trial published in the journal Nature Communications, investigated human expression before, during and after exposure to peanuts. Bunyavanich et al. analysed blood samples using RNA sequencing technology from 40 children with peanut allergy and compared reaction to peanut with a placebo. The children consumed incremental amount of peanut every 20 minutes, ingesting a total of 1044 grams.  The team found that six genes are key drivers of the signalling networks that are active in a peanut allergy response. They also discovered that there were changes in neutrophil, naïve CD4+ T cell in immune cells involved.  (Medical News Today)

Using the latest analytical techniques RSSL can test for all 14 allergens subjected to mandatory labelling under the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Can canola oil consumption affect memory?
Researchers are reporting in Scientific Reports that consumption of canola oil, a widely consumed vegetable oil, to be associated with worsened memory, learning ability, weight gain in mice which model Alzheimer’s disease. Six month old mice were divided into two groups before they developed Alzheimer’s disease. Both groups consumed a normal diet. One of the groups also consumed the equivalent of two tablespoons of canola oil daily.  At 12 months old the researchers assessed the mice’s working memory, short-term memory and learning ability.  They found that the mice who had consumed the canola oil had significantly gained weight and suffered impairments in working memory.  On examination of the brain tissue the researchers found that the canola supplemented mice had reduced amount of amyloid beta 1-40.  Amyloid beta 1-40 acts as a buffer for amyloid beta 1-42, a more harmful insoluble form.  They state “Amyloid beta 1-40 neutralises the actions of amyloid 1-42 which means that a decrease in 1-4, like the one observed in our study leave 1-42 unchecked.  In our model the change in ratio resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neutral contact and memory impairment.”

EFSA launches DIY food additives exposure tool
EFSA have developed a new tool called the Food Additives Intake Model (FAIM) which can be used to estimate exposure to food additives.  The tool uses consumption data from Member States for different population groups.  It calculates exposure to new additives as well as authorised ones for which a new use is proposed.  It is reported that it could also be used for other areas of EFSA work such as novel foods.  Davide Arcella, Head of EFSA’s exposure assessment team is quoted as saying “This tool is much awaited by applicants, but it is meant for anyone with an interest in estimating exposure to chemicals added to food, including risk managers and scientific assessors. The use of individual food consumption data will increase the accuracy of exposure estimates.”

Increase in Salmonella food poisoning cases in the EU – Zoonosis Report
The European Food Safety Authority and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has published its summary report on trends and sources of zoonosis, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2016 in 37 European countries.  The most commonly reported zoonosis was campylobacter. Campylobacter was detected in 246 307 people, an increase of 6.1% compared with 2015. Despite the high number of cases, fatalities were low (0.03%). Levels of Campylobacter are high in chicken meat.   Confirmed cases of human listeriosis has further increased in 2016, whilst the number of confirmed Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) infection in humans was stable.   S. Enteritidis caused one in six food-borne disease outbreaks in 2016. Salmonella bacteria were the most common cause of food-borne outbreaks (22.3%), an increase of 11.5% compared to 2015. They caused the highest burden in terms of numbers of hospitalisations (1,766; 45.6% of all hospitalised cases) and of deaths (10; 50% of all deaths among outbreak cases).

Seven arrested for alleged oil olive fraud
Greek police have arrested seven people who have been linked to the sale of adulterated sunflower oil.  Using a dye to alter the colour of the oil, the oil was being passed off as extra virgin olive oil.  The dye used has been analysed and is safe to use, although it is reported that that the initial dye used in the operation contained carcinogenic substances. The oil was being sold for under €15, half the market price for a 5 litre drum of olive oil.  The seven people, four family member and 3 other relatives, have been charged with defrauding the state, issuing false document and money laundering.  Seventeen tones of the oil have already been seized.  Food Navigator is reporting that from early September to late November the organisation exported, around 100,000 litres of adulterated oil, to Germany and from there to Belgium and the Netherlands. (Food Quality News, Olive Oil Times, Food Safety Magazine)

RSSL is able to provide analysis to authenticate a variety of premium oils such as extra virgin olive oil, evening primrose, walnut and almond oil. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

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