FOOD BITES: JULY 2018

Magnesium Treats Depression

As little as 248 mg of magnesium per day leads to an astounding reversal of depression syndrome, according to research conducted at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and published in the journal PLoS One in June 2017.

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: AUGUST 2018

Source of Yuma E. Coli Romaine Found

Federal officials first announced on April 13 an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown and produced in the Yuma, Ariz., area. Federal investigators found the source of the outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 on July 28: canal water.

….FULL ARTICLE

FOOD BITES: NOVEMBER 2018

Lab-Grown Meat Gaining Traction

More and more meat is being grown in labs from cultured cells. Several start-ups, such as Mosa Meat, Memphis Meats, SuperMeat and Finless Foods, are developing lab-grown beef, pork, poultry and seafood. This burgeoning niche industry is attracting millions in funding; Memphis Meats gobbled

….FULL ARTICLE

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FOOD BITES: MAY 2019

FDA Now Allows Genetically Engineered Salmon Imports

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on March 8 it is lifting an import alert that prevented genetically engineered salmon from entering the United States. AquaAdvantage Salmon won the first-ever FDA approval of a genetically engineered animal intended for food in 2015. The FDA said then there was no biological difference between these and natural salmon. But Congress blocked the FDA in 2016 from allowing the fish to be sold in the United States until it finalized labeling guidelines to inform consumers the product was genetically engineered. That lead the FDA to implement the import alert. Also in 2016, Congress passed a law directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set a national mandatory standard for disclosing bioengineered foods, which the USDA issued last December. The standard requires manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to disclose whether a product was bioengineered using either text, a symbol, a digital link and/or a text message. The FDA will now allow AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs, produced by AquaBounty, to be imported to the company’s facility in Indiana and raised into salmon for food. This salmon grows faster than farm-raised Atlantic salmon.


Faux Sushi

Dr. Jennifer McDonald, a biology professor at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, Canada, asked her class of seniors to visit sushi restaurants and bring back samples for a lab assignment. They were to extract the fish’s DNA and find out if the fish was in fact what it

claimed to be on the menu. Mislabeling fish can have serious health consequences. Researchers at Oceana found 84 percent of white tuna samples they tested in the United States were actually a fish called escolar. Escolar has been banned in Japan since 1977 because the government believes it is toxic and capable of causing extreme illness. Food allergy reactions are another possibility due to mislabeling. This can apply to shellfish and specific types of fish and fillers added to products, including gluten. The investigation of fish mislabeling in Canada started with fallout from a scandal in the European Union, where ground horse meat was being labeled as beef and pork, says McDonald. It’s easy to pass along fraudulent fish because it is purchased as fillets or pre-sliced steaks, not whole. Food fraud is a $50 billion annual industry. Olive oil, maple syrup and teas are common targets for food fraud, says McDonald. Her students found fish fraud along with some stomach-churning ingredients. “Fish mislabeling in the seafood and fish industry – even the aquarioum industry – is well-documented and something many governments are attempting to tackle with stricter rules and regulations, more enforcement and higher fines,” McDonald said. “I expected to find results that were in line with what was previously published: About 50 percent of fish will not be labeled correctly. Some species like red snapper and white tuna are more likely to be mislabeled.” Of the


approximately 650 base pairs, McDonald hoped to get a workable sequence of at least 500 base pairs, but the sample only had 200 clean pairs. A salmon filet from a grocery store’s seafood counter had so much body louse in it that it overrode the fish DNA.

ANGELA S. HOOVER

Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

more articles by Angela s. hoover