Allergen BureauFSANZ asks questions about sulphite levels in foods

A survey of sulphites in foods, which looked at sausages, cordial and dried fruit, was conducted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and state and territory agencies. Results released last month showed that almost all foods tested had sulphite levels well below those stipulated in the Food Standards Code.

Details of three sausage products that were found to have excess sulphite levels have been reported to the relevant state or territory agency for follow-up.

Precautionary statements heeded most by those indirectly affected by food allergies

A survey of sulphites in foods, which looked at sausages, cordial and dried fruit, was conducted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and state and territory agencies. Results released last month showed that almost all foods tested had sulphite levels well below those stipulated in the Food Standards Code.

Details of three sausage products that were found to have excess sulphite levels have been reported to the relevant state or territory agency for follow-up.

Dealing with hidden food allergens in the clinic

A recent review by researchers at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute looks at the current literature that is available regarding: consumer behaviour and attitudes regarding precautionary labelling; risk to the consumer and analytical results of products that bear advisory labelling; the current debate regarding whether a tolerable level of risk can be obtained in food allergy; and the Voluntary Incidental Trace Allergen Labelling (VITAL) system operating in Australia.

Advances in coeliac disease research

The recent scientific and clinical advances in coeliac disease research have been summarised in a review published in the journal Current Opinion in Gastroenterology.

Epidemiological studies have shown that coeliac disease is as common in parts of Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe as it is in the Western world. Large population-based studies have expanded knowledge of the long-term risks of coeliac disease, which no longer includes infertility (once a gluten free diet is established), and explored relationships with concomitant autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and microscopic colitis.

A particularly interesting finding is that vitamin A supplementation can actually worsen the inflammatory response in people with coeliac disease, while there is some evidence to suggest vitamin C may be beneficial.

In terms of advances in coeliac disease treatment, the ‘gold-standard’ remains lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. However, there is continuing work on other therapeutic options including vaccinations, oral enzyme supplements and inhibitors of the gliadin antigen. At the same time, research is being conducted on new varieties of oats and barley that are better tolerated by those sensitive to gluten and new wheat varieties with minimal gliadin content are also being studied. Some work in this field has shown the gliadin content of regular bread can be reduced by 85% while maintaining baking quality.

 

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