12 January - 20 June 2016

Other headlines

  • Could old coal mines be used for underground food farms?
  • EFSA - Dietary reference values: interactive tool goes live
  • Transforming household food scraps into environmentally-friendly plastic bags and cups
  • Supplements don’t prevent chronic diseases in healthy individuals - study
  • Ethnicity may affect gut microbiome
  • NHS England to expand trial which restricts type 2 diabetics to 800 calorie a day diet
  • Robots to be used to farm food for Waitrose

Could old coal mines be used for underground food farms?
According to academics, old coal mines could be the perfect environment for growing vegetables and herbs. The BBC report that the President of the World Society of Sustainable Energy Technology, Prof Saffa Riffat, believes the scheme would be a cost-effective way of meeting the growing need for food. Advocates have said that the underground farms could produce up to ten times as much as farms above ground. The scheme which already has support from the Land Trust, and Coal Authority, would mean that crops would be unaffected by irregular seasons and extreme weather.  The BBC report that the air temperature and humidity levels are generally temperate and constant while there is a ready water supply as well as carbon dioxide in the coal mines.

EFSA - Dietary reference values: interactive tool goes live
EFSA has launched an interactive tool that allows nutritionists and other health professionals to make quick and easy calculations using EFSA’s dietary reference values. The DRV Finder searches by population group or nutrient, allowing users to extract and combine the precise information they need from the 32 opinions on DRVs that EFSA has published in recent years. The opinions contain DRVs for water, fats, carbohydrates and dietary fibre, protein, energy, as well as 14 vitamins and 13 minerals.

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Transforming household food scraps into environmentally-friendly plastic bags and cups
Up to £60 million of new government funding will be used to transform household food scraps into environmentally-friendly plastic bags and cups. According to a government press release “Innovators are being challenged to make the UK a world-leader in creating sustainable packaging and reduce the impact of harmful plastics on the environment, as the UK seizes the economic opportunity of the global shift to greener, cleaner economies – a key part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy.”  The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund could help develop:

  • new forms of packaging and plastic - made from farming, food and industrial waste, like sugar beet, wood chippings and food waste – moving away from oil-based plastics
  • smart packaging labels - which, alongside a smart bin, could tell consumers the right bin to put recycling into and revolutionise the way recycling is sorted in waste plants
  • ‘live’ sell-by-date patch - a living sell-by-date which deteriorates at the same rate as produce to show consumers when their food is going off – cutting down on food waste
  • reduce single use plastics - increase use of recycled plastic in new products

Supplements don’t prevent chronic diseases in healthy individuals
An updated position statement from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has reported that whilst single and multiple vitamin and mineral supplements may benefit the diets which are lacking in micronutrients, there is no scientific evidence that regular use can prevent chronic diseases in healthy individuals. The paper, reviews evidence from a number of bodies including the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the US Preventive Services Task Force.  The paper does support the following recommendations:

  • 400 IU/day vitamin D for mainly breast-fed infants
  • 400 to 800 µg/day folic acid (if not consumed in fortified foods) for women planning pregnancy
  • antioxidant supplements for those with intermediate or advanced age-related macular degeneration
  • 2.4 mg/day vitamin B12 from supplements or fortified foods for those age 50 and older

RSSL provides vitamin analysis in a wide range of matrices including drinks, fortified foods, pre-mixes and multi-vitamin tablets.  It provides a full vitamin and mineral analysis service to assist with labelling, due diligence, claim substantiation and stability. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Ethnicity may affect gut microbiome
Research published in PLOS Biology has suggested that factors such as gender, weight or age and ethnicity may affect gut microbiome. After studying data from 1,700 Americans, the team discovered 12 particular types of bacteria that regularly vary in abundance by ethnicity. Bordenstein et al, report that changing the gut microbiome to beat illness really does hold great potential, however firstly scientists must answer the question of what constitutes a healthy gut microbiome and in whom.  Bordenstein states “Human genomes are 99.9 percent the same between any two people, so what we're really interested in is what explains the marked variations in gut microbiomes between people. What are the rules, and can we manipulate that microbiome in order to improve health and medicine in the long run? If you look at common factors associated with gut microbiome differences, you find many inconsistencies in the types of gut bacteria present. But when we compare differences by patients' self-declared ethnicities, we find stable and consistent features of bacteria present in the gut."

NHS England to expand trial which restricts type 2 diabetics to 800 calorie a day diet
NHS England are to expand a trial which restricts type 2 diabetic to an 800 calorie a day diet. The initial trial last year managed to put nearly 50% of diabetics into remission. According to the BBC, the health service currently spends around 10% of its budget treating this condition.  The expanded trial will involve around 5000 patients.  The original trial involved 298 people, with one patient reporting that they no longer need diabetes mediation, having lost more than four stone. Participants were put on a liquid only diet for 17 weeks.  Each of the meal, with provided 200 calories, consisted of powder mixed with water to make a soup or shake.   Once the weight had been lost, the participants were given healthy, solid meal by dieticians.  The BBC quote Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said industry needed to take action too. "The NHS pound will go further if the food industry also takes action to cut junk calories and added sugar and salt from processed food, TV suppers and fast-food takeaways.”

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. To find out more please contact Customer Services telephone 0118 918 4076 or e-mail enquiries@rssl.com

Robots to be used to farm food for Waitrose
Waitrose are to use food farmed in the UK by robots.  The three year trial will use farming robots, developed by a Shropshire based start-up, who will analyse, plant and protect crops from weeds.  The robot will use artificial intelligence to scan pictures of specific fields, allowing them to spot weeds and plant seeds in the best location. The trial will be carried out on a 4000 acre farm near Stockbridge, Hampshire. According to the Telegraph, the robots will be used to produce wheat, however Waitrose hope to extend the robots to assist in the production of rapeseed used in canola oil products. 

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