Latest in a regular series of reports on food matters of interest to consumers, compiled by Consumers SA Executive member Elaine Attwood.

Nothing fishy here: salmon skin crisps are protein – packed alternative to potato chips.

High in protein and omega-3 fats, start up SeaChips uses dried salmon skins, which usually go to waste, to create a healthy and sustainable alternative to potato crisps. The co-founder of the UK start-up, Daniel Pawson, said he got the idea for the product when he and fellow co-founder were working in restaurants. “We saw the amount of waste being thrown away and so instead of throwing the skin away, we decided to dehydrated and bake it, using it as a garnish for dishes. Customers would love it so much they asked us if we could pack it up for them so they could take it home.” In keeping with his aim to do business sustainability, SeaChips also donates 10% of its profits to charities and projects, such as Ocean CleanUp, that are actively cleaning up the sea as well as organising its own beach cleanups with the public. Pawson describes the chips as very thin, light and slightly curved with a similar texture to prawn crackers. The skins are washed and boiled before cooking which removes any “overly fishy” taste, and are available in three flavours: lightly salted; salt and vinegar and lime and vinegar. The chips contain more than one third protein and half fat.


Author: Niam Michail, 30 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd

UK sets out plans to ban sales of energy drinks to children.

The UK government is proposing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children: following on from moves made by major supermarkets to ban sales to under 16s in their stores.

Launched today, a government consultation outlines a ban that would apply to drinks with more than 150 mg of caffeine per litre, and prevent all retailers from selling the drinks to children. It is now seeking views on whether sales of energy drinks to children should be stopped.  While a number of major retailers have already banned the sale of energy drinks to children, it is not a legal requirement and children can still easily buy energy drinks from convenience stores, other retailers and vending machines. More than two thirds of 10 to 17-year-olds and a quarter of 6 -9 year-olds consume energy drinks in the UK, according to the government.

Energy drinks are functional beverages with a stimulating effect and unique combinations of characterising ingredients including caffeine, taurine, vitamin D and other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect. They have long come under fire for high levels of caffeine and sugar, particularly given that they often appeal to children and adolescents (the Canadian Paediatric Society has slammed the beverages as “unnecessary at best and dangerous at worst”.) A 250 ml can of energy drink can contain around 80 mg of caffeine (320 mg/L) – the equivalent of nearly 3 cans of cola.


Author: Rachael Arthur, 30-August 2018: William Reed Business MediaLtd.

"Traditional path to purchase is completely disrupted”: how tech is revolutionising food consumption. 

Consumers are feeling more pressured than ever before and new technologies are emerging to answer this pain, disrupting what people eat and how they shop. Rising Internet penetration, denser urban environments, workplace stress and fast paced lifestyles are all taking their toll on consumers. According to the World Health Organisation, workplace stress is a “health epidemic of the 21st century”,with growing global anxiety–related illnesses on the rise.

“As consumers’ lifestyles change, and the demands on their time increase, they will look for more convenient ways to do their shopping and more convenient options to help them when it comes to meal preparation,” Trump Nielsen, a WHO Client Business partner, observed. This requires products, retail formats and store experiences that are “tailored to the shoppers’ needs with flexible and innovative ranges, food products that are easy to prepare, and technology that makes the checkout and payment process simpler and quicker.” ‘Technology is a big influence on how and where we shop. The traditional path to purchase has been completely disrupted – not just by social media, mobile devices, et cetera – but entirely new elements that influence what we buy and how we shop.” Trump points to the increased influence of personalised technology that combines data on health and nutrition to provide dietary recommendations. “Today there are personal health devices that not only track fitness and health levels but recommend nutrition options to maximise their goals.” The destructive potential of this type of technology is huge.


Author: Katie Askew 29-August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Australia hopes Korban goat ban will lead to better animal welfare outcomes. 

It is hoped that Australian exporters’ decision this year to suspend shipments of live sheep and goats to Malaysia until the end of the Korban religious festival will pressure its market into improving animal welfare standards.

Korban, also known as Eid Al Adha, is an annual Muslim event that sees cows, goats and sheep ritually slaughtered by families and mosques across the Muslim world. The practice is widespread in Malaysia, where families and communities may buy an animal and slaughter it in their backyards.

in July, the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources issued an advisory to suspend exports of the animals for the six weeks up to the end of Korban on August 25. It cites reports from Korban in Malaysia in 2017 demonstrating “poor animal welfare outcomes and loss of control and traceability of Australian livestock exported to Malaysia”. Australia is unique in that the regulations governing livestock exports, under its Export Supply Change Assurance System, continue beyond the point the animals land overseas. As a result, suppliers from the country are responsible for animal welfare up to the point of slaughter. According to Simon Westaway, CEO of the Australian Livestock Exporters’s Council, Indonesian importers  have worked very hard around supply change management and control of livestock. “In some other markets the pace of change has been slower. But nonetheless the countries that want to receive Australian livestock need to work under the arrangements that are imposed”.

Source: https;//

Author: Pearly Neo, 29August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Sucralose needs a safety re–evaluation following metabolic discovery, says scientists.

Sucralose is broken down into metabolites that collect in fatty tissue with unknown consequences on health, and regulators should re-evaluate its safety, a recent study suggests. When the artificial sweetener, sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda, was approved for the market, food safety scientists and regulators reported that it passed safely through the body unchanged.  However, a recent study by researchers from North Carolina State University and analytical testing lab Avazyme suggests that – at least in the case of 10 rats used in the study – this is not the case. “Our new study shows that sucralose is also creating metabolites whose potential health effects we know little or nothing about, said study co-author and professor at NCS University, Susan Schiffman. “As a result, we feel that it may be time to revisit the safety and regulatory status of sucralose.” The team used the same experimental model used by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine acceptable daily intakes, but according to Schiffman, techniques that were ‘state of the art’ and ‘more suited to extracting and preserving fat-soluble metabolites’, than those used by regulators.

The findings of this study do not support the claims previously submitted to regulatory agencies that sucralose is a stable compound that (1) is not metabolised in vivo, (2) excreted unchanged in the faeces, and (3) clears the body within a few days,’the scientists wrote.

However a spokesperson for the International Sweeteners Association (ISA) told FoodNavigator the study provided no evidence that sucralose poses any safety concern.

Source: Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health ‘Intestinal metabolism and                                   Bioaccumulation of Sucralose in Adipose Tissue in the rat.’

 Authors: Volker Bornemann, Stephen C. Werness, Lauren Buslinger, Susan S. Schiffman.

             Available on line 21st August, 2018

Source: https://foodnavigator-com/Article201/08/28

Author: Niamh Michail, 28 August 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Millions risking nutritional deficiencies as CO2 levels rise.

Increased carbon dioxide levels are contributing to nutritionally inferior crops such as rice and wheat that may lead to increased populations who are deficient in protein and zinc, say researchers. The Harvard–based academics estimated that 175 million people could become zinc deficient and 122 million people become protein deficient by 2015, with over 1 billion women and children missing out on a healthy dietary iron intake. Carbon dioxide emissions arising from human activity threaten human nutrition via the destruction of the global climate system with all the associated impacts on food production. More directly, increased CO2 in the atmosphere can alter the nutrient profile of staple food crops.

Experimental trials in which crops are grown in open field conditions under both ambient and elevated CO2 revealed that food crops had 3 to 17% lower concentrations of protein, iron and zinc when grown under elevated CO2 levels of around 550 ppm.

In general, humans worldwide derive the majority of these nutrients from plants: 63% of dietary protein comes from vegetal sources, as well as 81% of iron and 68% of zinc. “This is particularly concerning is over 2 billion people are currently estimated to be deficient in one or more nutrients.”

“One thing this research illustrates is a core principle of the emerging field of planetary health,” said Myers, who directs the Planetary Health Alliance, co-housed at Harvard Chan School and Harvard University Centre for the Environment. “We cannot disrupt most of the biophysical conditions to which we have adapted over millions of years without unanticipated impacts on our own health and well-being.”

Source: Nature Climate Change

              Published online ahead of print DOI: 10.1038/s41558-018-0253-3

              ‘Impact of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on global human nutrition.’

               Authors: Mathew Smith and Samuel Myers.


Author: Will Chu, 3 September 2018: William Reed Business Media Ltd.

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AuthorRay Dennis