Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 

Imported Food Section Update:

23-Jun-17 | 12-17 | Community Protection Profile question for fish 

Here are FSANZ’s media issues for the week 19/6/17 – 25/6/17:

General

Seven per cent of Americans—about 16 million people—believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Nearly half of them, 48 per cent, didn’t know where chocolate milk came from at all. That’s the news according to this article after a US milk industry body surveyed more than 1000 adults. Yes, adults.

An Aussie celebrity chef is out to ‘bust the myth’ that salt and MSG are bad for health, saying they are both key ingredients for cooking, and that the ‘Chinese restaurant syndrome’ associated with MSG consumption is an old wives tale and only an issue for those with an allergy. Read more.

This article from the UK takes a look at the effect food has on hay fever and similar allergies, with tips from nutrition experts for what to avoid and what to have more of to beat the dreaded spring itch and watery eyes (spoiler alert: they suggest drinking gin!)

Food safety

Western Australia is experiencing record levels of egg-related Salmonella poisoning, with at least 713 cases recorded between January and April 2017. Experts are advising people to not eat raw or partially cooked eggs after all cases were been linked to salmonella typhimurium, a strain of salmonella commonly associated with raw eggs. Read more.

A study from the US has found that 40 per cent of the canned food it tested still contained BPA even though the chemical has been banned from baby products and plastic water bottles.

Still on BPA, this week the EU has expressed “high concern” over the chemical’s effect on human health, which may soon see its use restricted in the EU. The European Chemical Agency acknowledged BPA’s endocrine disrupting properties, and classified it as of equivalent concern to carcinogenic, mutagenic, and toxic to reproduction substances. Read more.

This article looks at Australia’s recent bilateral food safety recognition agreement entered into with the US, which recognises each other’s systems as comparable to their own. Aussie exporters can now follow a more streamlined process when exporting produce to the US, with most foods covered in the agreement including seafood, canned foods, and fresh fruit and veggies.

The UK food standards agency has launched aSafe Summer Food’ guide to help local picnickers enjoy time eating al fresco without risking their health. Noting its recent snapshot survey results that found nearly a quarter of UK people are concerned about picnic hygiene, the agency pushes messages about the risks of leaving food in the sun, using inadequate storage devices and mishandling leftovers.

Labelling

Following this week’s European Court of Justice ruling that plant-based products cannot be marketed with terms commonly used for those derived from dairy, like milk, cheese, butter or yogurt, Aussie dairy farmers have vowed to fight for the complete ownership of the term “milk” in Australia. A dairy group says it will set up an online petition to gather support and push the message that plant-based drinks are not the nutritional equivalent to dairy. Find out more with this article covering the EU outcomes, and this this article covering the Australian story.

UK retailer giant Marks and Spencer is this week replacing the sticker labelling of its avocados with laser markings, which will be more environmentally friendly. The new tattoo-like information will display the best-before date and origin, and save 10 tonnes of paper and five tonnes of glue each year. Read more.

Australian law firm to the food industry FoodLegal has launched a Country of Origin Compliance Portal to allow food businesses to access training videos on the new country of origin labelling laws and quickly lodge a request to receive a quote on label reviews. Effective from 1 July 2016 Australia’s new laws require all food and beverages to adopt new labelling formats to let consumers know how much of the product came from which origin. Read more.

Diet and nutrition

A childhood obesity expert in NZ has said that babies are being weaned onto high sugar diets from as young as four months, after a study found that some commercial baby food products contain up to 16g—four teaspoons—of sugar per single serving. The expert warns that this could lead to infants developing a palate for sweetness which will impact their food choices later in life.

A new study from the US is suggesting that a diet of foods high in polyunsaturated fats can act as a healthy appetite suppressant, which could be helpful for those trying to lose weight. Popularly known as the “good fat”, this variety of dietary fat causes a significant decrease in a hormone called ghrelin that is known to increase hunger, with common sources including walnuts, salmon and canola oil. Read more.

This article takes a look at the increasing trend of doctors warning their patients to eat less meat, saying a number of medical groups are now endorsing vegetarian diets, including the American Medical Association which passed a resolution this week recommending that hospitals offer patients non-meat meals.

Authors of a new study are calling for Australia’s Health Star Rating system to be extended to fast foods, after it was found that fast foods account for as much as half of our daily energy intake, but less than a quarter of the micronutrients. Read more

Quirky

This week, a couple from California made headlines for claiming to have survived on the “Breatharian” diet for nearly a decade, living on “little more than air and sunlight”, even during their pregnancy. After the story of the couple’s extreme and implausible diet went viral, this nutritionist finally came out and said what everyone was thinking: it’s not possible, you’d be dead within a week! Read more.

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