Volume 17. Number 3. 2012

BPA: An Update from the FDA.

Good science was the framework used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to deny the petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban bisphenol A (BPA) from food packaging. At the March 30, 2012 announcement, Dr. Dennis Keefe of the FDA emphasized that, "The regulatory agency must objectively weigh all the evidence... [The FDA makes] public health decisions based on a careful review of well performed studies, not based on claims or beliefs." Food Insight. April 2012.


The Netherlands, 1 March 2012 - A recent study shows how Sensus inulin can be used to obtain a substantial reduction of fat in cakes without compromising taste and texture. They were able to reduce the fat content of sponge cakes by 70% by including inulin in the formulation whilst maintaining proper sensory characteristics.
If you happen to have access to the IFT Journal of Food Science 15-1: Physicochemical properties of inulin; application of inulin in baking as a fat substitute, you can read more. Ed.


The latest research brings more dire news for hardcore carnivores. In addition to increasing the odds people will get sick, red meat—whether it is processed or not—can actually increase the risk of premature death overall, according to a study that was published online March 2012 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers, led by An Pan of the Harvard School of Public Health, analyzed health and diet information from more than 121,000 U.S. men and women participating in two long-term health studies. Everyone in the group the researchers assessed had been free of both heart disease and cancer at the outset of the studies.

Over long-term follow-up, as long as 28 years in some cases, more than 13,900 people died—about 9,460 from cancer and almost 6,000 from cardiovascular disease. After adjusting for other factors, the researchers found each daily serving of red meat (beef, pork, lamb or a processed meat, such as bacon, bologna, hot dog, salami or sausage), increased the risk of a premature death by about 12 percent. Processed meat consumption in particular increased these odds even more than did unprocessed meats. And hot dogs and bacon seemed to be the most likely to lead to an early death.

If everyone in the study had limited themselves to 42 grams or less of red meat a day (considered to be about half a standard serving), more than 9,860 early diet-related deaths could have been prevented in the study alone, the researchers estimated.

So if that lamb and ham are off the table, along with all the all-too familiar beef, many people worry that they might not get enough protein with each meal. Fear not, say many health experts, there are plenty of other ways to put protein on your plate that don’t come with such high risks of chronic diseases. Chicken breasts actually have more grams of protein by weight than a piece of beef, and fish isn’t too far behind. The researchers also found that beans, nuts, low-fat dairy and whole grains made for healthful replacements for a red meat meal portion.
Scientific American March 12, 2012.


A South African botanical extract from a plant from the same family as the geranium but with immunity rather than stimulatory indications, is gaining interest as a natural antibiotic and immunity booster.

The #1 botanical ingredient with the most potential must be Pelargonium sidoides which is a traditional South African botanical medicine, used for the treatment of colds and flu. Afrigetics Botanicals offer a new powder extract standardised for Umckalin >300ppm (Ultrasonic, freeze-dried extract) and raw material Pelargonium sidoides milled powder with Umckalin >100ppm All herb sales generate a royalty payment to the San Bushmen.

Root extracts are used in preparations to treat acute and chronic infections of the ear, nose and chest. It is said to be particularly effective for bronchitis in children and as supportive treatment in tuberculosis and chronic bronchitis.

The main ingredients are coumarins (mainly 7-hydroxy-5, 6-dimethoxycoumarin, also known as umckalin, that co-occurs with at least 7 other coumarins), gallic acid derivatives (including gallic acid and gallic acid methyl ester), oligomeric proanthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols (e.g. catechin) and flavonoids (e.g. quercetin).

The gallic acid derivatives and other phenolic compounds in the roots have powerful antibacterial and antiviral activity and these compounds, together with the coumarins, provide a rationale for the proven immunodulatory activity. 15 Mar. 2012.


There is not enough scientific data to support a link between FDA-approved food colours and the increased incidence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to results of a new meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

The results indicate food colours may promote ADHD symptoms, but when the data is limited to FDA-approved colours, the link is no longer reliable.


Given the divergent policy in the US and Europe, the researchers performed a meta-analysis of diet and food colors in ADHD and its symptoms.

The data revealed that information from parents indicate an effect of food colours on ADHD, but this was not found to be a reliable correlation when information from teachers was used, nor when the researchers limited their analysis to FDA-approved food colors.

There was an indication from ‘high-quality studies’ that color additives did yield a reliable effect relating to ADHD.

“An estimated 8% of children with ADHD may have symptoms related to synthetic food colours, but the source of most of this dietary response remains unclear,” explained the researchers. They also concluded that “renewed investigation of diet and ADHD is warranted”.
JAACAP. Vol 51, No 1, p 86-97


The world’s biggest food enterprise has teamed up with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to develop local nutrients and foods.

Nestlé said the timeframe-free project will give CSIR scientists, “exposure to Nestlé’s extensive research capabilities”, with a focus on safe food solutions for the developing world.

“It will also allow Nestlé to better understand the nutrition needs of consumers in South Africa, and accelerate the development of products with an improved nutrition profile at the right price for consumers in emerging markets,” Nestlé said. 06-Mar-2012.

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. – / Fx 011 660 6444 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.