Latest in an occasional series of articles about food issues of concern to consumers from CASA Executive Committee member Elaine Attwood.

Potato chip tongs, ‘drinkable’ chips and selfie cereal spoons: Snack makers are upping the ante in convenience to attract dedicated snackers.

 According to Nielsen, the snacking scenario is a rare global growth story, growing to $3.4 billion business in 2017. Below are a couple of these innovative ideas.

 When eating Doritos, it is inevitable that the snacker’s fingers will get covered in oil and crumbs. Thankfully, Doritos Israel has devised a solution to cope with this problem: the Doritos towel bag, made out of 100% Terry Towel cloth. It is machine washable, making it reusable and sustainable. The towel bag doesn’t replace regular Doritos bags but serves as a novel pouch that suits Doritos bags of various sizes.

 Potato chips and mobile phones are not the best of mates, putting a big divide between snacking and scrolling social media. Aware of the concern among today’s social media mavens of how to scroll through Instagram and snack without greasing up their phones is Japanese snack giant Calbee Inc, which has developed the Chip Tongs. The tongs are designed for one – handed eating, freeing the other to swipe.

 Also aware of the concern among young lovebirds of being able to enjoy a snack without having to relinquish their lover’s hand is another snack producer. Tokyo – based Koike-ya has devised a method that requires only a single hand to consume – essentially by “drinking” the chips. One-Handed Chips come pre-smashed into small pieces that can be easily tumbled into the mouth. The company told the Wall Street Journal the intention was to make it easier for snackers to get the crumbs at the bottom of the bag.

 in 2010 Japanese toymaker Takara Tomy launched the Potechi No. Te, or Potato Chip Hand, a plastic stick with pincers which mimic Mickey Mouse’s iconic white gloves – that can grab hold of a potato chip. At the time the company said it were targeting heavy computer users who were fed up with potato chip oil all over the keyboard and mice.

According to General Mills, breakfast snackers shouldn’t have to choose between eating a bowl of the “good stuff” and posting selfies. The Cinnamon Toast Crunch maker launched the Selfie Spoon in 2015 so it’s “awesome fans” who ‘love to share their obsession with our cereal on social media’. the selfie stick has a spoon at the end and extends up to 30 inches so cereal eaters can take pics of themselves while eating cereal.

 Source: hhtp://

Author: Gill Hyslop  08-Feb-2019

Credit: © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd

Gluten-free combats bloating but whole grains deliver health benefits.

 A six-year large – scale research study has concluded that gluten – free diets may be good at dealing with bloating but for health benefits such as a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes you should look to whole grains.

 For six years the interdisciplinary Centre for Gut, Grains and Greens, 3G, has examined the effects of either an increased intake of whole grains or a reduced intake of gluten – containing foods. The researchers studied the impact on human health and intestinal bacteria. Central to the 3G collaboration are two comprehensive human studies looking at the effect of eating a diet that is rich in whole grains or low in gluten – containing foods. The first study shows that when people replace refined grain products with whole-grain varieties, the body’s level of inflammation decreases. This lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.) In particular it has a positive effect on the level of inflammation, the researchers revealed. In contrast, a diet in which refined grain products are replaced with low in gluten food does not provide a detectable change in the body’s content of inflammatory markers. “As such, our studies help to strengthen the scientific evidence behind the dietary advice about using whole grain products for your health, pasta and others cereal – based foods,” noted 3G centre project manager Tine Task Licht, who is a professor at National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark.

 Study participants who switched to a whole-grain diet did not exhibit a “significant” change in the composition of the gut bacteria. However, the low gluten diet resulted in a “drastic” change in the intestinal microbial population. The bifidobacteria bacteria – associated with a healthy gut – disappeared when the diet was low in gluten, researchers found.

 Source: https://www.foodnavigator/Article/2019/02/05

Author: Katy Askew

Credit: © 2019- William Reed Business Media Ltd.


Screening for truth: Aussie regulators and experts flagged dubious claims about “sunscreen supplements”


Australian regulators and healthcare professionals have called out manufacturers of “sunscreen pills”, saying they are ineffective and possibly even harmful when ingested. Sunscreen pills appeared on the market sometime last year and the makers claim they are able to protect consumers from UV rays and sun damage, implying they are suitable substitutes for the traditional cream, gel and liquid sunscreen formats. The pills are marketed as rich in antioxidants and natural plant extracts that “protect skin from excessive sun exposure and its harmful effects” and “help limit the damage caused by the sun’s rays”. Other claims include the reduction of inflammation and prevention of premature skin ageing.


At present, several US – based brands of sunscreen pills are sold in Australia on vitamin websites, though none of these products are listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA) ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods). in fact, one of the brands had already been flagged in May 2018 by the US FDA for allegedly making “misleading claims”, with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb saying the manufacturers of sunscreen pills were risking consumers’ health by giving them a “false sense of security”.


A TGA spokesperson said that while all supplements and medicines sold in Australia, including sunscreen, were “rigorously monitored for safety”, such products sold on the Internet may not be subject to similar levels of quality control, and could even contain “little or no active ingredients, or ingredients different to those advertised”. In addition to these regulatory measures, experts have disputed the claims made by sunscreen pill makers and strongly advise consumers to rely on traditional sunscreen for sufficient UV protection. For added assurance, Australian Cancer Council spokeswoman, Justine  Osborne advised consumers to purchase only Australian – made sunscreen products.



Author: Cheryl Tay 29-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business media Ltd.

Gluten alert: 3% of Australian on–shelf gluten – free foods found to fail “no detectable gluten” standards.

 An Australian study has found that 3% of food products claimed to be gluten – free and sold on the shelves of common retail outlets contained detectable levels of gluten. The researchers identified 256 “gluten – free” items that were most commonly purchased in Australia and were also obtainable from retail outlets via a consumer activity database, the Nielsen Company Homescan Online. Upon obtaining these items, these were homogenised and analysed for gluten presence. The limits set were 5 mg per kilogram (part per million, PPM) for quantification and one PPM for detection. The relevant manufacturers were quickly informed if  detectable gluten  was identified. Seven samples (3%) from six manufacturers contained detectable gluten levels of up to 49 PP M), said the report.

 Although three percent may seem like a small number, this could have long – term negative effects  for consumers with  gluten allergies, sensitivities or coeliac disease who need to stay away from gluten protein. Speaking to ABC news, researcher Jason Tye-Din said: ‘coeliac disease can cause multiple effects on the body apart from just a tummy upset – issues like anaemia, infertility, liver disease, some forms of cancer and osteoporosis. Even though the vast majority of products are very safe, there is a signal here that perhaps there could be an improvement in practices. People who require a strict gluten-free diet should be able to trust it conforms to the national standard and that it will be safe for them to eat.

Source: The Medical Journal of Australia

Study: Gluten in Gluten- free’ manufactured foods in Australia: a cross-sectional study.

Authors: Halmos, EP. et al,5694/mja18.00457

 Source: https;//

Author: Pearly neo 17-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

CRISPR for coeliacs? Gene-Editing tech makes ‘wheat with safe gluten’

 Gene – editing technology can be used to remove epitopes – the molecules responsible for inducing coeliac disease in susceptible individuals – from wheat, according to recent research.

Research conducted at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands and at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany  (NIAB) in the UK has found that gene technology 

CRISPR-Cas9 can be used to remove epitopes from gliadin protein in Gluten. Gluten, which is found in wheat grains, contains a mixture of glutenin and gliadin proteins. A majority of gliadins and a number of glutenins contain certain immunogenic epitopes that cause the allergic reaction responsible for coeliac disease in susceptible individuals.

In her PhD thesis, researcher Aurelie Jiouanin identified that CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which can make precise changes in a plant’s genome,  can edit out certain immunogenic epitopes. Not all gliadins were edited out, and as a result the wheat plants were not classified “safe” for celiacs  but Jouanin developed methods to identify which genes had changed, and which ones still required modification. Jouanin’s research does not suggest that all gluten be removed from wheat, just the epitopes that can induce coeliac disease, she continued. “If the epitopes are taken out, or changed, then the gluten proteins will not trigger the immunogenic response and people suffering from the disease could eat all kinds of products containing this safe gluten,” said Visser. (Richard Visser is the chair and head of plant breeding at the Wageningen University and Research.)


Author: Flora Southey 29-Jan-2019

Credit:  © 2019 - William Reed Business Media Ltd.

Note:  For full transcript of all articles please refer to the references.

AuthorRay Dennis