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Food allergies, gluten-free, contamination, and armadillos – this week in the news May 8 2011

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 8-14, and there have been a number of recent articles covering this subject. Gluten-free food was prominent this week, with manufacturers and foodservice working out how to meet demand. A report came out covering the riskiest foods for bacterial contamination. And eating undercooked armadillo may lead to leprosy – about 50 cases a year in the USA.

Food allergies – costs, awareness, cutting risk

Food allergies cost $500 million a year May-5-11 MSNBC
Doctor visits, hospital care, and lost work days due to food allergies come with an annual $500 million price tag, according to a new U.S. study.

Food allergy awareness in foodservice is growing May-6-11 QSR Magazine
With Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 8–14, upon the foodservice world, quick-serve operators and others are continuing to ramp up their efforts in helping customers with allergy afflictions know exactly what is in their food.

Solid foods and peanut allergies in children May-5-11 Reuters
Infants with a family history of allergies might be less likely to develop a peanut allergy if they start solid foods before the age of four months, a new study suggests.

Gluten-free – restaurants, CPGs, kosher food

California Senate calls for celiac disease awareness Apr-19-11 DNR
California State Senate calls for early testing of celiac disease.

Popular gluten-free menu ideas for restaurants Apr-28-11 Fast Casual
More and more people are moving towards a gluten-free lifestyle, and will likely flock to restaurants if they have a menu full of gluten-free options.

Conference on gluten-free cereal products and beverages Apr-28-11 Food Science Central
A book has been released that covers the work presented at the First International Conference on Gluten-Free Cereal Products and Beverages, and provides an overview of the work being carried out in the area of gluten-free science.

Gluten-free kosher food May-2-11 Kosher Today
With the prohibition of eating leavened grain for eight straight days, Kosher for Passover food makes heavy usage of alternative substances such as potato starch and almond paste, to produce traditionally gluten based products like noodles and cookies. For this reason, individuals with celiac disease are known to stock up on kosher for Passover foods.

Contamination – bacteria contamination, chemicals from packaging

Riskiest foods for bacteria contamination Apr-28-11 WebMD
Poultry with campylobacter bacteria is the leading cause of food-borne illness in the USA – it sickens more than 600,000 people a year. Next up on the list is toxoplasma in pork, followed by listeria in deli meats, salmonella in poultry, and listeria in dairy products. Salmonella appears four times on the list in combination with produce, eggs, and complex foods in addition to poultry.

Chemical migration from food packaging May-6-11 Food Production Daily
Dietary exposure to a range of chemicals that can migrate from packaging into food is low and poses no risk to human health, according to research from government food safety experts in Australasia. Tests were carried out related to chemicals such as phthalates, perfluorinated compounds (PCFs), epoxidised soybean oil (ESBO), semicarbazide, acrylonitrile and vinyl chloride.

Other – high fat for heart, food aversions in pregnancy, undercooked armadillo, and more

Low-fat dairy for kids doesn’t lead to weight loss Apr-28-11
Neither weight nor body mass index (BMI) had changed noticeably six months after children switched to low- or reduced-fat dairy products.

Nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy more likely to lead to food aversions and cravings May-2-11 Ecology of Food and Nutrition
Women with early-pregnancy nausea and vomiting were more likely to report increased odor sensitivity and aversions for some predicted “toxic” foods and more likely to crave fruits.

Eating undercooked armadillo may lead to leprosy May-3-11 Food Safety News
In Texas, armadillo  has become something of a blue-collar delicacy, a popular candidate for stews and chili bowls. M. leprae (leprosy) does not thrive at 98˚, so thorough cooking reduces the already-low risk of catching leprosy from eating armadillo.

Supervalu sustainable seafood May-5-11 Progressive Grocer
Supervalu announced it will source 100 percent of its top-twenty wild-caught seafood products from sustainable fisheries or those on a clear pathway to sustainability by 2015.

New menu at California Pizza Kitchen focusing on wellness May-5-11 Nation’s Restaurant News
The new menu will identify the chain’s use of natural chicken, turkey, pork and sausage products, as well as a new gluten-free pizza crust option, and salads with fewer than 600 calories for the full serving. Across the menu, sodium and calorie levels have also been reduced.

High fat diet may be good for damaged hearts May-5-11 Food Navigator-USA
Eliminating or severely limiting fats from the diet may not be beneficial to heart health, according to new research.

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