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Salt reduction, GM food labeling for USA, and allergens – news to July 10 2011

A new Cochrane review announced that eating moderately less salt doesn’t reduce cardiovascular risk; the American Heart Association responds that people should reduce salt intake anyway.  The USA dropped its opposition to labeling genetically modified foods, and demand for non-GM food in the USA may not be particularly strong. The number of meat and meat product recalls for allergens has spiked in the first half of this year – is this because it’s now increasingly considered that allergens in meat can cause a problem? Shark fins have been banned in Hawaii, consumption of invasive fish species is being encouraged, and Egyptian fenugreek seeds have been linked to the European E.coli outbreak.

Salt reduction – may not reduce heart risk, AHA advises it anyway

Salt reductions may not reduce heart disease risk Jul-6-11 Food Navigator-USA
Moderate reductions in salt intake do not reduce the likelihood of dying or experiencing cardiovascular disease, according to a new Cochrane review.

AHA stands by its advice on salt reduction Jul-8-11 Food Navigator-USA
A high-profile scientific paper questioning whether cutting salt reduces cardiovascular disease risk does not mean that industry-led sodium reduction initiatives are a waste of time, the American Heart Association (AHA) has insisted.

Genetically modified foods – USA agrees to labeling GM foods

U.S. drops opposition to labeling genetically modified foods Jul-5-11 Consumer Reports Health
Regulators from more than 100 countries agreed to label guidelines that will make it easier for food manufacturers to say whether their products contain genetically modified ingredients.

GM labeling probably won’t have much effect in USA July-10-11 HealthKey
Two sides of the argument for GM food.

Allergens – manufactured foods, meat recalls

Sainsbury’s suppliers given lesson in allergen management Jul-6-11 Food Production Management
UK retailer Sainsbury’s is putting the emphasis on allergens in the production of own-brand foods supplied to its stores. Allergen is the reason for the majority of FSA Food Alerts and for a significant number of Sainsbury’s (and other retailers) public recalls.

Allergens have caused most meat recalls this year Jul-8-11 Food Safety News
Meat recalls during the first half of the year have taken on some unusual patterns. The number of recalls for pathogens found in beef, pork, and poultry has dropped off dramatically, while the recall of meat and meat products for allergens has spiked.

Gluten-free – chefs, Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, usefulness to non-celiacs

Gluten-free understanding by chefs has increased Jul-1-11 Florida Times-Union
The Gluten Intolerance Group’s annual education conference is about helping people navigate the gluten-free world.

GF diet for children with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease Jul-4-11 Diabetes Pro
A gluten-free diet reduced hypoglycemia incidence but had no effect on anthropometrics and HbA1c levels. However, daily insulin requirements significantly increased.

Tennis star gluten-free diet may not be for everyone Jul-6-11 Evening Standard, UK
We have a new Wimbledon champion in Novak Djokovic. He has battled with allergies throughout his life and since his nutritionist suggested he try a gluten-free diet last year he seems invincible. It is not clear whether he is allergic to gluten, has an intolerance to it or has celiac disease. For most people, a gluten-free diet offers no benefits; in fact, it may even bring unwanted results, such as weight gain and nutritional deficiencies.

Sustainable seafood – shark fin ban, Canada, catching methods, and invasive species

Shark fin ban in Hawaii Jul-2-11 Star-Advertiser Honolulu, reported in Restaurant SmartBrief
Chinese restaurants in Hawaii are adjusting to the nation’s first total ban on shark fins — a pricey Chinese delicacy that activists are trying to eliminate from people’s diets to save the world’s sharks.

Canada Safeway sustainable seafood policy Jul-5-11 Progressive Grocer
Canada Safeway Limited has launched its Sustainable Seafood Policy in partnership with SeaChoice, a national Canadian coalition of environmental organizations working to protect the health of our oceans by improving the sustainability of seafood.

Eating invasive fish species Jul-7-11 NPR
Environmental groups have made choosing fish a bit more complicated by reminding us that many species are overfished, contaminated or farmed under sketchy conditions. Now there’s a new variable, but one that may simplify the proposition. Is the fish on the menu an invasive species?

Whole Foods carrying MSC-certified harpoon-caught swordfish Jul-8-11 Progressive Grocer
Whole Foods Market said it will feature fresh Marine Stewardship Council-certified harpoon-caught swordfish in July and August. The company’s port buyers will be at the dock during the short season to hand-select and -grade the swordfish as it arrives. Only the highest grade of fish will be selected.

Seafood sustainability in Canadian supermarkets Jul-9-11 Independen
On July 7, international environmental organization Greenpeace released the results of a study on Canadian supermarkets’ sustainable seafood procurement policies. Of the eight major supermarket chains surveyed only three were deemed by Greenpeace to have ‘passed.’

Other – E.coli, hospital food, vegan prison food, and more

Egyptian fenugreek sprouts linked in German and French E.coli outbreaks Jul-4-11 Food Production Daily
A joint assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) declared that currently fenugreek sprouts are the most likely connection between the French cases and previous outbreak in Germany

Healthier café in hospital Jul-5-11 Food Management
University Hospital in Columbia, MO, has seen a 10-percent increase in annual sales since its converted a traditional all-you-care-to-eat buffet dining concept (with a lot of fried foods) into a the healthier-food-focused Essentials Café (with a wider range of foods including salads)

Addictive fatty foods Jul-5-11 Consumer Reports Health
Fats in foods such as potato chips and French fries trigger the release of marijuana-like chemicals called endocannabinoids that drives us to eat them, according to research published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tesco to launch healthy eating range for children Jul-5-11 New Hope 360
Every Tesco Goodness product will meet criteria for levels of fat, saturates, sugar and salt. There are no artificial colors or flavors and many have added vitamins and calcium. The majority of chilled prepared meals also contain at least one portion of vegetables which count towards a child’s five-a-day.

How to avoid artificial colors in foods Jul-6-11 New Hope 360
Tips such as choosing whole foods, avoiding colors with numbers (Yellow 5) and looking for the USDA Organic seal

Prisoner meal options including vegan Jul-6-11 HuffPost Food
In California, the law requires that vegetarian or kosher meals are served to those that observe diets for religious reasons. In San Francisco, vegan meals are also provided.

Eggs may cut cancer and heart disease risks Jul-7-11 Food Product Design
Raw eggs contain almost twice as many antioxidant properties as an apple and about the same as a half of a serving of cranberries, which may help reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, according to a new study published in the journal Food Chemistry.

Painkillers, antibiotics, growth hormones found in milk Jul-7-11 HuffPost Food
A study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that a single glass of milk can contain traces of 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones.

New national humane standard for egg producers Jul-7-11 QSR
The proposed legislation will require egg producers to nearly double the size of their cages; enrich their hen housing systems with things like perches, nesting boxes, and scratching areas; prohibit excessive ammonia levels in houses; and prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle.

Health groups want stricter menu labeling Jul-7-11 Food Product Design
More than 80 groups including the American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), American Public Health Association, and the National PTA said proposed regulations on calorie labeling on menus do not comply with the labeling law that was passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010.

Concerns raised over aflatoxin controls on Indian spices Jul-8-11 Food Production Daily
EU inspectors uncovered a raft of weaknesses in India’s safety procedures to prevent aflatoxin contamination that means exports cleared by officials may fail to reach European standards.

Common migraine triggers Joy Bauer Food Cures
Tyramine or phenylethylamine  – amino acids found in chocolate, aged or fermented cheese (including cheddar, blue, Brie, and all hard and “moldy” cheeses), soy foods, all nuts and most seeds, citrus fruits, and vinegar (both red and balsamic); beer, red wine, sherry, and vermouth; leftovers. Nitrites – found in foods that have been cured, smoked, pickled, or canned including hot dogs, deli meats, pepperoni, sausages, jerky, and corned beef. Tannins – found in tea, red-skinned apples and pears, apple juice and cider, and red wine. Sulfites – found in most dried fruits, wine, and many processed foods. Common additives including MSG, yeast extract, hydrolyzed or autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), sodium caseinate, and kombu extract; aspartame. Caffeine.

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