Comprehensive News List
General Food Safety News/ Outbreak News/ Recall News/ New Methods News/
USDA/FDA
News/ On-Line Slides/ Job Information/ Training Network/
Internet Journal of Food Safety

5/25
2007
ISSUE:257

Sponsors














Sponsorship Q/A

Click here
to go
Main Page

 

Click here
to go
List of Newsletters


To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter,
Click here

 

On-Line Slides

Internet Journal of Food Saety

 

Job Openings

 

 

U.S.-China Trade Talks Open With Food Safety an Issue
(New York Times)

By STEVEN R. WEISMAN
With Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. declaring ¡°let¡¯s get to work,¡± Chinese and American officials began two days of talks today to reduce mutual economic tensions. But they immediately ran into familiar disagreements and one new concern, food safety.
In the wake of reports about poison-tainted toothpaste and pet food from China, Bush administration officials said that both Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, raised the issue with the Chinese at a breakfast session and in later talks.

¡°They know this is an issue that concerns us and concerns the American people,¡± Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez told reporters during a break in the talks. But he had no information on how the Chinese side planned to handle the problem.
The Chinese delegation leader, Wu Yi, a vice prime minister, opened her presentation with a veiled criticism of American legal challenges to China over allegations of improper export subsidies and piracy.
¡°We should not easily blame the other side for our own domestic problems,¡± Ms. Wu said, as interpreted at the forum. ¡°Confrontation does no good at all to problem-solving.¡± Ms. Wu said efforts to ¡°politicize¡± the Chinese-American relationship were ¡°absolutely unacceptable.¡±
These were seen as code words intended as much for Congress as for the ranks of the Cabinet members in attendance. The Chinese delegates will be meeting with Congressional leaders on Wednesday and Thursday as part of Mr. Paulson¡¯s effort to deepen mutual understanding.
Congress is poised to enact one or more bills later this year that would impose sanctions on China if it does not do more to open its economy to American goods and services and allow its currency, the yuan, to appreciate. A more highly valued yuan would in theory benefit American exports and make Chinese imports more expensive.
Susan C. Schwab, the United States trade representative, said the American delegation had heard complaints from the Chinese about protectionist sentiment in Congress and the recent American legal actions over trade issues. .
¡°Those issues are of particular concern to members of Congress,¡± Ms. Schwab said she told the Chinese, adding that Congressional concerns over job losses from imports are ¡°not necessarily a reflection of protectionism and anti-Chinese sentiment.¡±

The Chinese have long accused the United States of blaming China for promoting exports, asserting that American consumers are eager to have Chinese goods and that American manufacturers are unable to supply them at an affordable price.
American officials said they still hoped that the talks would yield a package of measures aimed at opening China¡¯s economy to American goods and investments.
Secretary Paulson said earlier in the week that he expected agreements clearing the way for American financial services in China, expanded routes for American carriers of air cargo and passengers, and increased sales of American technology in the energy field, particularly solar, wind and clean-burning coal. 5-22-07

FDA May Loosen Labeling Rules for Irradiated Foods; (April 10, 2007) CIDRAP News:
Source of Article: Food Irradiation Update (June 2007)
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently proposed rules that would relax some labeling restrictions on irradiated foods and invited the public to comment.
The FDA currently requires all irradiated foods to have the international radura symbol and the statement "treated by irradiation" or "treated with radiation" clearly displayed on the packaging.
However, in an Apr 4 notice published in the Federal Register, the FDA proposed that only foods that are "materially changed" by irradiation be required to carry the radura logo and the term "irradiated." The FDA defines a material change as an alteration in a food's characteristics caused by irradiation, such as extended shelf-life in bananas or changes in color, texture, or taste that exceed the normal range of variability for the food.
The proposed rule change would also allow companies to petition the FDA for permission to use alternative terms for irradiation and would permit firms to use the term "pasteurized" instead of "irradiated" if the process they use meets federal criteria for pasteurization. Comments from the public are due by Jul 3, 2007.
The move toward loosening labeling rules for irradiated foods began nearly 5 years ago when Congress passed the 2002 farm bill. Labeling-related provisions intended to promote the acceptance of irradiated foods were included in amendments authored by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

The bill broadened the definition of pasteurization to include any safe process that is at least as protective as pasteurization and is reasonably certain to kill the most resistant pathogens likely to occur in the food. The legislation also directed the FDA to review its regulations on labeling of irradiated foods, receive public comments, and then revise the regulations "as appropriate." The 2002 farm bill specified that, until the issuance of new rules, anyone could petition the FDA for permission to change the labeling of an irradiated food, provided that the change "is not false or misleading in any material respect." The FDA's Federal Register notice says that the agency has not received any petitions from companies requesting the use of alternative labeling for their irradiated products.
The FDA says in the notice that it was unclear how many products could be marketed without "irradiation" on the label if its proposal is adopted, because labeling requirements cannot be made in advance for all products. Labeling requirements will mostly likely be set case-by-case because the effects of irradiation on different foods vary. "It is more likely that this option would simply allow firms more flexibility in how they label irradiated foods," the notice states.

It also says the labeling changes could allow some consumers to make more informed decisions about their food purchases, but it acknowledges that others may regard substitute terms as misleading. The FDA says companies are sure to consider their bottom line when deciding to make a labeling change, but the new rules could also increase the use of irradiation as a food safety tool. "It is possible that some manufacturers not currently using irradiation as a safety tool (because of the current labeling requirement) may opt to start using irradiation in order to enhance the safety of their products," the FDA notice states.
The revised labeling rules, however, could make it more difficult for consumers who want to avoid irradiated foods, because they would need to do more research on which foods are irradiated. Currently, few foods are irradiated. Though several major health and science organizations, such as the World Health Organization and Infectious Diseases Society of America, have endorsed food irradiation as safe, US consumers have been slow to warm to irradiated foods.
Some consumer groups, such as Public Citizen, strongly oppose food irradiation because they are suspicious about its effects and believe food producers will use it as a substitute for more traditional food safety measures.

However, recent illness outbreaks caused by contaminated produce have sparked new interest in ways to make the US food supply safer. Last October, amid a nationwide Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to fresh spinach, the FDA, in an outbreak update on its Web site, said it had a petition under review to permit the irradiation of multi-ingredient foods, including prepackaged fresh produce, to reduce microbial contamination.

Warning: Salad Cosmo sprouts may have salmonella

Source of Article: http://www.khq.com/Global/story.asp?S=6568469&nav=menu438_1
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Health officials are warning that alfalfa sprouts sold by Dixon, a Northern California company, to stores and restaurants in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria.
Salad Cosmo USA of Dixon, California, announced a voluntary recall after routine tests found salmonella in alfalfa seeds. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Symptoms usually show up within four days after eating contaminated food.
Salad Cosmo is recalling 2.5 ounce plastic containers and 1 lbs. plastic bags of sprouts labeled Salad Cosmo Alfalfa Sprouts with the production codes of 0519 to 0526.

New processing toxins linked with aging diseases
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator.com/
27/04/2007 - A new class of toxins produced when meats and cheeses are grilled, fried or broiled, can lead to a host of diseases associated with aging, say researchers.
Scientific studies have linked the toxins, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), with inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, vascular and kidney disease, and Alzheimer's.
The implication of the new study could lead to a larger food health scare -- and the resulting reaction from manufacturers -- than that surrounding acrylamide, a chemical also produced by a chemical reaction during processing.
The new study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers found that AGE levels are elevated in the blood of healthy people, and even more so in older individuals than in younger people. "Of particular interest was the finding that a major determinant of the blood levels of AGEs is the amount of AGEs in the diet, not dietary calories, sugar, or fat," the researchers stated. AGEs are a group of compounds formed from the non-enzymatic reaction of reducing sugars with the free amino groups of proteins. They are also produced when meat products are sterilised and pasteurised.

They are absorbed into the body through the consumption of grilled, fried, or broiled animal products. Helen Vlassara, the senior study author, said the research meant that processors should put AGE levels on nutrition labels. People should be given information about their AGE intake and be advised to consider it in the same way they would think about trans fats and salt intake. They should be warned about their AGE levels the way they are about their cholesterol levels or cigarette smoking, he said.

"AGEs are quite deceptive, since they also give our food desirable tastes and smells," he said. "So, consuming high amounts of grilled, broiled, or fried food means consuming significant amounts of AGEs, and AGEs in excess are toxic." Inflammation and oxidative stress are more common in older age, so the goal of the study was to assess whether AGEs played a significant role in age-related inflammation and oxidative stress by measuring AGE levels in both young and older individuals. Blood tests on test subjects showed that AGE levels were 35 per cent higher in individuals aged 65 and older compared with those younger than age 45. The study also showed that in all of the participants, the higher the consumption of foods rich in AGEs, the higher the blood levels of AGEs, and the higher the levels of markers of inflammation.

The study also showed that AGE levels could be very high in young healthy people. High AGE levels found in some healthy adults in the study were on par with AGE levels observed in diabetic patients in their earlier studies, the researchers said. "The fact that healthy adults had levels similar to those seen in diabetic patients may suggest that early and prolonged exposure to these substances in the diet could accelerate the onset of diseases," Vlassara said.
AGE-rich foods correlates with rising rates of diabetes and heart disease.
"Excessive intake of fried, broiled, and grilled foods can overload the body's natural capacity to remove AGEs so they accumulate in our tissues, and take over the body's own built-in defenses, pushing them toward a state of inflammation," Vlassara said. "Over time, this can precipitate disease or early aging." He said that once AGEs enter the body, it becomes more difficult to get them out, especially as people age. Older people have a reduced capacity for removing AGEs from the body, the researchers said, most likely because kidney function slows down as the body ages. "Although the accumulation of AGEs pose an immediate and significant health threat to the older adult population, they are also an invisible, lingering danger especially for younger people and this needs to be addressed," Vlassara said. New methods of cooking to reduce AGE intake, particularly steaming, boiling or making stews, can make a difference, he said. Keeping the heat down and maintaining the water content in food reduces AGE levels. In other studies, the team found that cutting AGE intake in half, but maintaining a diet comprised of the same calories and fat, increased the lifespan of animals when compared with animals fed their usual diet.
The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.
In relation to acrylamide, many processors have reacted by changing their manufacturing methods to lessen the amount of cancer-causing chemical in their products.

The chemical is a carcinogen that is created when starchy foods are baked, roasted, fried or
toasted. It first hit the headlines in 2002, when scientists at the Swedish Food Administration first reported unexpectedly high levels of acrylamide in carbohydrate-rich foods. Previous studies have linked the chemical with cancer in laboratory rats.

Food Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information

Bacteria in food 'may cause rise in superbugs'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
24/05/2007
Bacteria in food 'may cause rise in superbugs' By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
24/05/2007
Source of Article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/24/nhealth24.xml
Food could be contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections caused by superbugs, according to a study released yesterday. Antibiotic resistance is a global problem with Britain particularly hard hit as organisms such as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, become ever less susceptible to drugs.
Harmless and even beneficial bacteria in food may also be carrying genes that, when ingested, could transmit resistance to disease-causing bacteria, say researchers.
advertisementTests were carried out on a variety of ready-to-eat food samples including seafood, meats, dairy, items from delicatessens and fresh produce purchased from several grocery chain stores. With the exception of processed cheese and yogurt, bacteria carrying antibiotic resistance genes were found in many foods. "The data indicates that food could be an important avenue for antibiotic-resistant bacterial evolution and dissemination," said Hua Wang of the Ohio State University, at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.
"The role of commensals (bacteria that live in the body that do not usually cause disease), especially food-borne microbes, in transmitting resistance genes is becoming a concern to the scientific community," she said.
Dr Mark Enright of Imperial College London said: "The source of many important antibiotic resistance genes is unknown. For example, the mecA gene that makes an MRSA an MRSA has come from an as yet undiscovered source. It is perfectly plausible that the gut or stomach could be an important locus where important gene transfer events occur."
The mechanism by which the genes spread is a well understood process known as horizontal gene transfer, the microbe equivalent of sex, in which bacteria share genetic information, including genes for antibiotic resistance. This has already been recognised as an important avenue for the exchange of antibiotic-resistance genes among pathogens in hospitals.
The human digestive system is home to about 100 trillion bacteria - around 10 times the number of human cells in the body - and they carry out useful jobs such as making vitamins, breaking down plant sugars and helping keep our immune systems well tuned.
Research has also already demonstrated that pathogenic bacteria can swap genes with various harmless bacteria and even beneficial bacteria, including those from the food chain.

What concerns scientists is that the size and diversity of the gene pool in the gut increases the likelihood of gene transfer. "Once we no longer limit ourselves to food-borne pathogens and look at commensal bacteria, we will find that the magnitude of antibiotic-resistant bacterial contamination in the food chain is tremendous," said Dr Hua.
"While further research is needed to establish the direct correlation between the antibiotic-resistant microbes from foods and the antibiotic-resistant population in host ecosystems, it is evident that a constant supply of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, partnered with occasional colonisation and horizontal gene transfer, are at least partially responsible for the increased antibiotic resistance profiles seen in humans."

Industry Food Safety Executive Paul A. Hall Joins Novazone Board of Directors
Source of Article: http://home.businesswire.com/
World-Renowned Microbiological Expert and Vice President of Global Food Safety for ConAgra Foods to Help Take Clean Technology Company into Next Stage of Growth

LIVERMORE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Novazone, the leading provider of clean technology solutions for food and water including advanced ozone-based applications, today announced that Paul A. Hall, Ph.D., joined its board of directors. Dr. Hall is currently vice president of global food safety for ConAgra Foods, Inc. where he is responsible for the microbiological safety and stability of some of the most well known food brands in North America and worldwide. He is a world-renowned expert in the microbiological safety and stability of foods and beverages. Dr. Hall is also past president of the International Association for Food Protection and has been actively involved with various professional organizations and institutes, including the International Life Sciences Institute, the University of Georgia Center for Food Safety, the National Center for Food Safety and Technology, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Microbiology, the Food Products Association and the International Dairy Foods Association, among others.

"We're very pleased to have Paul join the Novazone board of directors," said David Cope, president and CEO of Novazone, Inc. "Paul¡¯s vast industry skills and decades of experience within both research and industrial microbiological communities will help guide Novazone into the future as we continue to provide clean technology solutions to make food and water safe and fresh.¡± Prior to ConAgra Foods, Inc., Dr. Hall was vice president of global business development for Matrix MicroScience Inc., a leading company focused on the development of diagnostics for the rapid detection of food-borne pathogens. Before MicroScience, Dr. Hall was with Kraft Foods Global for nearly 17 years, where he most recently served as chief microbiology and food safety officer. While at Kraft, he was responsible for the microbiological safety and stability of some of the most well known food and beverage brands in North America and in the world. Earlier, Dr. Hall worked as microbiology manager in corporate research and development for Anheuser Busch Companies, Inc. and before that was a research assistant with Ralston Purina Company's Central Research Division.
"I'm excited to be aligned with a company such as Novazone," said Dr. Hall. "Novazone¡¯s focus on the safety of food and water through the use of clean technologies such as ozone are an important part of the market today and an undeniable force going forward. This focus, along with their foundations in science, made Novazone a team I wanted to join and help make a difference in the food and water industries.¡±
Dr. Hall has published and lectured extensively around the world on microbiological food safety, HACCP, rapid testing and detection methods, and microbiological risk management. He is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Rapid Methods and Automation in Microbiology and Food Safety Magazine. Dr. Hall holds a Bachelor's degree in Microbiology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, a Master's degree in Technology Management from Washington University and a Ph.D. in Quality Management from LaSalle University.

Eggs linked to rise in salmonella cases
Christian Catalano
May 26, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.theage.com.au/
VICTORIAN health officials are working with egg and poultry farmers to identify the possible cause of a recent surge in the number of salmonella infections.
More than 800 cases of illness from the bacteria have been reported in Victoria this year, up 21 per cent on the same period last year. Of the 13 salmonella "clusters" or prevalent bacterial strains investigated, up to half have been traced to bad egg batches.
"We're currently doing a lot of work with the Department of Primary Industry to further trace those eggs back to source," said Department of Human Services disease expert Rosemary Lester. "We're taking samples from poultry farms to try and see why we have this rise in salmonella. We really don't have a good answer."
Five elderly Victorians died and several others became ill after a salmonella outbreak at the Broughton Hall nursing home in Camberwell over Easter. The source of that bug remains unknown, although department officials believe it almost certainly came from food prepared in the home's kitchen.
Ms Lester said there was no evidence that eggs produced in Victoria were unsafe. But "the best way to avoid contracting a salmonella infection is to avoid eating raw eggs, undercooked meat and poultry products and avoid cross-contamination with other food", she said.
The Australian Egg Corporation, which represents about 400 commercial egg producers, said it had been working with farmers to ensure no cracked or dirty eggs were sold to consumers. Spokesman Anthony Fisk said "there is a big problem also in that some consumers think it's more natural to have some kind of dirt on their eggs, because it's more natural and it's come straight from a farm. That is just silly."

E. coli cases at nursery on rise
Source of Article: http://www.oldhamadvertiser.co.uk/
NINE people have now been infected with the E.Coli 0157 bug, in an outbreak linked to the Ambrose Nook Nursery in Derker.
The facility remains closed while investigations continue into the source of the outbreak that was reported in the Advertiser last week.
Pupils, staff and their families have been tested and questioned by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) while the building in Prince Charlie Street undergoes a deep-cleaning program.
AdvertisementMeanwhile, nine people have now been diagnosed with the disease, including a member of staff and eight children under five-years-old. One child who has been infected did not attend the nursery but is related to a pupil.

The sufferers were identified through routine testing of family members and people who have had close contact with the infected. A young boy who is thought to have been the first, and worst, affected is said to be improving in hospital.
E. coli 0157 symptoms include diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, though five to 10 per cent of patients under five will go on to develop Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS), which can cause kidney failure and is potentially fatal.
Dr Marko Petrovic, of the HPA, said: "You can¡¯t always isolate the source, but the main thing is to make sure there is no risk of further infection.
"It is a very thorough exercise.
"We have questioned everyone about what they have eaten or any contact they have had with animals, which could be a possible source."
Although there are no suggestions that the privately-run facility is directly responsible for the outbreak, it couldn¡¯t have come at a worse time.
It was only back in March that Government Ofsted inspectors accused the nursery of failing to maintain proper hygiene standards.
The Ofsted report claimed that this lack of standards had led to an increased risk of infection spreading and children¡¯s health being compromised. The importance of hand washing and general cleanliness needed raising with staff.

THE Advertiser approached the nursery for comment, but none was forthcoming as we went to press.James Ferguson

Canadian-invented bioactive paper wards off E-coli, salmonella and SARS Devices/Technology
Published: Friday, 25-May-2007
Source of Article: http://www.news-medical.net/?id=25537
Next time there is a global pandemic, contaminated water caused by flooding, or questionable-looking meat in a supermarket, we may be reaching for a piece of paper.
It won't be just any type of paper but a Canadian-invented bioactive paper that contains the ingredients to detect and ward off life-threatening bacteria and viruses like E-coli, salmonella and SARS, to name just a few.

Researchers from 10 universities across Canada, nine industry partners, and federal and provincial government agencies have formed a research consortium named the SENTINEL Bioactive Paper Network to develop low-cost and easy-to-use paper-based products with biologically active chemicals that can protect the public against increasing incidents of food-, water- and air-borne illnesses.

Potential products that could be manufactured using bioactive paper include: food packaging that signals the presence of E. coli and salmonella; hospital masks that detect and deactivate harmful air-borne viruses such as SARS; dip-sticks that can detect and purify unsafe drinking water; and paper strips that can check for banned pesticides on produce.

The term bioactive paper was coined by Robert Pelton, scientific director of SENTINEL and a professor of chemical engineering at McMaster University who specializes in pulp-and-paper research. The idea stemmed from conversations with colleagues back in 2004, inspired partially by the SARS outbreak that killed 44 Canadians and hundreds globally, and the anthrax scare in the United States.

"What bioactive paper will offer are immediacy, portability and low-cost in detecting and repelling or deactivating harmful pathogens," explains Pelton. "Right now, it can take days or weeks to get samples to a lab, diagnose the problem and get the remedy into the field."

The prevalence of food-, air- and water-borne illness is well documented. For example, there is an estimated:

76-million food-borne illnesses annually in the United States, resulting in over 325,000 hospitalizations, 5,000 deaths and $7 billion US in medical costs;
1.6 million diarrhoel deaths annually due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene , mainly among children under five in developing countries;
One billion people who lack access to an improved water source.
Key to developing bioactive-paper products is the ability to merge advances in biochemistry with current paper-production processes. Researchers are investigating the development of a bioactive ,ink, which would allow biologically active chemicals to be printed, coated or impregnated onto or into paper using current paper-making and high-speed printing processes.

"The development of bioactive paper holds potential benefits for the paper products industry as well," says George Rosenberg, managing director of SENTINEL. "It provides our industrial partners with the opportunity to develop innovative, high value-added paper and packaging products."

Bioactive paper packaging under development
By Ahmed ElAmin
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/
24/05/2007 - A new bioactive packaging paper under development is designed to detect and kill any pathogens that are present in a food product.
The paper, being developed by researchers at 10 universities across Canada, contains ingredients that can detect and deactivate life-threatening food-, air- and water-borne bacteria and viruses such as E-coli and salmonella.
Such a product would be an additional food safety weapon for processors to incorporate in their packaging, helping to prevent recalls and brand damage due to pathogen contamination. To develop the paper the researchers, nine industry partners, and federal and provincial government agencies have formed a research consortium named the Sentinel Bioactive Paper Network.

The consortium will develop low-cost and easy-to-use paper-based products incorporating biologically active chemicals. Robert Pelton, Sentinel's scientific director, says the consortium will develop food packaging that signals the presence of E coli and salmonella, among other products. They also plan to develop dip-sticks that can detect and purify unsafe drinking water, and paper strips that can check for banned pesticides on produce.

"What bioactive paper will offer is immediacy, portability and low-cost in detecting and repelling or deactivating harmful pathogens," said Pelton. "Right now, it can take days or weeks to get samples to a lab, diagnose the problem and get the remedy into the field."
The key to developing bioactive-paper products will be the consortium's ability to merge advances in biochemistry with current paper-production processes.
The researchers are investigating the development of a bioactive 'ink', which would allow biologically active chemicals to be printed, coated or impregnated onto or into paper using current processes. Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) has provided $7.5m in funding over five years ending in 2010. Collaborating partners have provided an additional $3m over the same period. In Europe the most frequently reported zoonotic diseases in humans are salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, with the most deadly being listerious, according to a European Commission study published last year.

The study found there were 192,703 reported cases of salmonellosis and 183,961 of campylobacteriosis cases reported during 2004 in the EU's 25 member states.
The cases are out of a total of 400,000 human cases of zoonoses reported. Most of the cases were foodborne and associated with mild to severe intestinal problems.
In the US about 76-million food-borne illnesses occur annually, resulting in about 325,000 hospitalisations, 5,000 deaths and $7bn in medical costs.

DSM gains GRAS for Preventase, counters safety fears
By Jess Halliday
Source of Article: http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/
5/22/2007 - DSM has received regulatory go-ahead for the use of Preventase in the US, gaining GRAS certification and becoming the first enzyme available to eliminate 90 per cent of acrylamide in baked goods.
Acrylamide is a toxic substance, suspected to be a carcinogen in humans. It is formed as a result of a side reaction that takes place alongside the Maillard reaction and in the presence of asparagines, a reducing sugar (such as glucose) and heat.
Until now manufacturers of baked goods have sought to reduce acrylamide formation in products by reducing either the sugar or the heat, but a spokesperson for DSM Food Specialties told FoodNavigator-USA.com that this can alter the taste of the product.
DSM Food Specialties developed Preventase, an "asparaginase enzyme preparation" from the Aspergillus niger bacteria, which converts asparagines into another naturally occurring amino acid called aspartate.

This means that the asparagine is no longer available for the acrylamide-forming reaction, leading to a reduction of acrylamide in foods like bread, cake, cookies, potato chips and cereals. The company has said that the levels achieved could "significantly lower the human intake of acrylamide".
The company received GRAS (generally recognised as safe) status for Preventase in the last quarter. However it chose to communicate it at this time since, in the last couple of week, an article in a Dutch newspaper expressed uncertainty about the safety of the technology.
The spokesperson told FoodNavigator-USA.com that she did not know where the concerns had sprung from. "We never had any concerns," she said. The FDA has said that there is no reason to question the safety of the enzyme preparation, based on the information on the enzyme component, production micro-organism and manufacturing process provided by DSM and other information it had access to.
Moreover, the company draws attention to the long-time safe industrial use of the A niger organism, and that the strain has been used for producing a variety of other enzymes, one of which also has GRAS status.

No products using the enzyme are on the market anywhere yet, but DSM's global launch strategy is to form strategic alliances with bakery companies, so as to share application knowledge. "We are talking to food companies in the US and Europe, but we cannot say where [the first launches using Preventase] will be," said the spokesperson.
In most of Europe it is not necessary to seek regulatory approval for enzymes as processing aids.
One notable exception to this France, where DSM has also filed a dossier.

2nd International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 6-7, 2007), South San Francisco Convention Center

1st International Conference for Food Safety and Quality (Nov. 7-8, 2006)
Major Topic: Current Detection Methods for Microbiological/Chemical Hazards for Food Safety/Quality


Main Page

Sponsorship Qustions
List of Newsletters
To subscribe this Food Safety Newsletter

Copyright (C). All rights reserved FoodHACCP.com.