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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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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,"
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:
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.
Safety and Quality Job Information
Food Safety and Quality Job Information
in food 'may cause rise in superbugs'
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Bacteria in food 'may cause rise in superbugs' By Roger Highfield, Science
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,
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,"
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."
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
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.
to rise in salmonella cases
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
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
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
"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
THE Advertiser approached the nursery for comment, but none was forthcoming
as we went to press.James Ferguson
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
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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
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