Category Archives: Food science

Food composition and contamination, Bacterial and physical contamination, General pollutants (heavy metals), Food labelling, food trace metals, compliance with Foods Standard Code, food forensics and/or contamination, toxins in shellfish or seafood.

Food star rating system starts as Sydney muesli company goes it alone

ABC News Amy Bainbridge 16 April 2014

The controversial star rating system that evaluates the health benefits of food will appear on supermarket shelves for the first time this week.

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Coles recalls more Easter eggs

Sydney Morning Herald Saffron Howden, Amanda Hoh 11 April 2014

Coles has recalled another two types of its Easter eggs, bringing the total number of chocolate products removed from shelves this week to five.  The recall was announced after it was discovered the packaging failed to declare traces of nuts.

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Kitchens are a source of multi-drug resistant bacteria

EurekAlert Tamara Moore 8 April 2014

After handling raw poultry, hands of food preparers and cutting boards remain a source of transmission for multi-drug resistant bacteria, such as E. coli that produce extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs). The study of household and hospital kitchens was published in the May issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. “The spread of multi-drug resistant bacteria has been associated with the hospital setting, but these findings suggest that transmission of drug-resistant E. coli occurs both in the hospital and households,” said Andreas Widmer, MD, lead author of the study. “Our findings emphasize the importance of hand hygiene, not only after handling raw poultry, but also after contact with cutting boards used in poultry preparation.

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Salt levels falling but still far too high, new research finds.

ABC News Virginia Trioli 7 April 2014

New research has found that salt levels in some popular fast foods have fallen slightly, but it is still possible to eat the entire recommended daily intake of salt in one burger or sandwich.

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Pathogens in cheese

(University of Veterinary Medicine — Vienna 21 March 2014) In 2009 and 2010 two different strains of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes were found in traditional Austrian curd cheese known as ‘Quargel’. 34 people were infected, and a total of 8 patients died. Experts from the Vetmeduni Vienna analysed the genomes. The bacterial strains display distinct properties and entered the food chain independently. The results were published in the journal PLOS ONE and increase the understanding of outbreaks and their prevention.

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Beer marinade could reduce levels of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats

(American Chemical Society 26 March 2014) The smells of summer — the sweet fragrance of newly opened flowers, the scent of freshly cut grass and the aroma of meats cooking on the backyard grill — will soon be upon us. Now, researchers are reporting that the very same beer that many people enjoy at backyard barbeques could, when used as a marinade, help reduce the formation of potentially harmful substances in grilled meats. The study appears in American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Nanotube coating helps shrink mass spectrometers

(Purdue University 25 March 2014) Nanotechnology is advancing tools that perform on-the-spot chemical analysis for a range of applications including medical testing, explosives detection and food safety.When paper used to collect a sample was coated with carbon nanotubes, the voltage required was 1,000 times reduced, the signal was sharpened and the equipment was able to capture far more delicate molecules.The research is detailed in a designated ‘very important paper’ by the journal Angewandte Chemie.

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Organic food gives no cancer protection, Oxford University study finds

The Australian Chris Smyth  The Times March 28, 2014

EATING organic does not cut the risk of cancer, a study of hundreds of thousands of women has concluded. Women who always ate organic food were no less likely to get a range of 16 cancers than those who never ate organic, Oxford scientists said.
Research has shown that organic food is less likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue and the belief that it is healthier is one reason shoppers buy organic. To test this, researchers looked at data on 600,000 middle-aged women who were being tracked by the Million Women Study. They compared the 180,000 women who said they never ate organic with the 45,000 who said they always or usually did, looking at how many got cancer in a nine-year period.

After adjusting for such factors as age, class and exercise, they found the overall cancer risk between the two groups was almost identical. When the researchers looked specifically at cancers previously linked to pesticide exposure, such as breast cancer or soft tissue sarcoma, they also found no risk, although the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma appeared lower in the organic group.
Professor Tim Key, of the University of Oxford, said: “We found no evidence that a woman’s overall cancer risk was decreased if she generally ate organic food. More research is needed to follow-up our findings of a possible reduction in risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
In a paper published in the British Journal of Cancer, his team say the finding for non-Hodgkin lymphoma could be due to chance. Similarly they say that a statistically significant increase in the risk of breast cancer in women eating only organic food is probably the result of other factors.
Claire Knight, at Cancer Research UK which helped to fund the study, said: “This adds to the evidence that eating organically grown food doesn’t lower your overall cancer risk. But if you’re anxious about pesticide residues on fruit and vegetables, it’s a good idea to wash them before eating.
“More than 9 per cent of cancer cases in the UK may be linked to dietary factors, of which almost 5 per cent are linked to not eating enough fruit and vegetables. So eating a well-balanced diet which is high in fruit and vegetables whether conventionally grown or not can help reduce your cancer risk.”
Peter Melchett of the Soil Association said the researchers were too quick to dismiss the non-Hodgkin lymphoma link and said they had “a poor understanding of what pesticides are found in and how pesticides get into food”.

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MP Liz Cunningham urges commission of inquiry into Gladstone Harbour health

ABC News William Rollo 21 March 2014

State MP Liz Cunningham says the Federal Government should establish a commission of inquiry into the health of Gladstone Harbour in central Queensland.
Yesterday in Queensland Parliament, Mrs Cunningham tabled a 70-page report on the acid sulphate soil management plan for the Gladstone Harbour dredging project.

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Gut bacteria turn dark chocolate ‘healthy’

BBC News Michelle Roberts 18 March 2014

Bacteria in our stomach ferment chocolate into useful anti-inflammatory compounds that are good for the heart, scientists have said.

The Louisiana State University team told the American Chemical Society meeting that their lab work had revealed the finding.

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