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Sunlight could help prevent food allergies

A study published this week by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, based in Parkville Victoria, has found a potential link between sunlight exposure and allergies. Children in southern parts of Australia with less exposure to sunlight were found to be more likely to develop food allergies and eczema than those who lived in the sunnier north of Australia. The study, which has just been published by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in the February 2012 Journal issue of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, was based on data from over 7,600 Australian children and how rates of food allergy, eczema and asthma varied from the north, (the state of Queensland),central (the state of New South Wales) and south ( the states of Victoria and Tasmania) of Australia. Lead researcher and Associate Professor Dr Katie Allen said the study added weight to the hypothesis that sunlight might play a role in the increasing prevalence of food allergies.

“Soft drinks could cause asthma”, South Australian research team

soft drinksA new study, published in the 7 February 2012 issue of the journal Respirology, has drawn a link between high soft drink consumption and increased risks of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A team of researchers led by Dr Zumin Shi, of the University of Adelaide, conducted research on consumption of soft drinks from March 2008- June 2010. The researchers used computer-assisted telephone interviewing nearly 17,000 participants aged 16 years and older in South Australia between March 2008 and June 2010. The surveyed soft drinks included lemonade, Coca-cola, and flavored mineral waters such as Mizone, Powerade, and Gatorade. Results had shown that in South Australia, one in ten adults drank more than half a litre of soft drink daily.

Coeliacs seek review of Australian definition of “Gluten Free”

The organisation representing Coeliac Disease sufferers in Australia is advocating the Australian government revise the “Gluten Free” standard in Australia. The organisation Coeliac Australia had approached both Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and the Australian Competition Consumer Commission (ACCC) with the aim of altering the “Gluten Free” standard to “less than 20ppm”. The organisation made a similar submission to the body developing Australia’s national food plan. In its submission to the Australian government’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) developing the national food plan, Coeliac Australia stated that “the regulation with regard to the definition of ‘Gluten Free’ in relation to food ingredient claims poses a significant burden on the food industry in Australia”. The organisation advocated the adoption of the internationally accepted definition of ‘Gluten Free’ under the international food standards of the Codex Alimentarius, by which Gluten Free is defined as “less than 20ppm gluten”, and said this would dramatically reduce this burden. Coeliac Australia also stated that the Codex definition of the term “Gluten Free” under internationally accepted standards had established that “less than 20ppm” is an appropriate and safe standard for European countries. The USA looked at finalisation of a gluten free standard with 20ppm also being the acceptable threshold. The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code defines ‘Gluten Free’ as “no detectable gluten” and “no ingredient derived from oats or malt”. (The latter requirement is related to poor analytical methods for detecting gluten in oats or malt). Coeliac Australia says the Australian definition causes a problem because the testing methods for gluten have improved dramatically in recent years and the limit of detection in Australia is now 3ppm. So for a product to be labelled ‘Gluten Free’ in Australia, it would need to contain less than 3ppm. Accordingly, products labelled ‘Gluten Free’ in Europe may not necessarily be Gluten Free in Australia.

Castlemaine launches smallgoods product claiming “no artificial preservatives or additives”

KR Castlemaine has  launched a campaign for a pre-packaged ham product with the claim to be “natural”, using new technologies to become the “first Australian pre-packaged ham that is artificially preservative-free”. This new range of ham is said to be produced using cutting-edge High Pressure Pasteurisation (HPP) technology. The company claims that it “does not use heat”, thereby preserving texture and nutritional value for the product. HR Castlemaine also says  the new technology  “uses natural vegetable extracts and refrigeration to ensure freshness without the use of artificial flavors”. Australian Dietician, Melanie McGrice, stated that “the range is unique in that offers the practicality of pre-packaged ham without compromising nutritional value or taste.”


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