Last updated on 1 November 2012
Latest research published by the FSA
The Agency has produced a summary of its research published in August, September and October 2012. It includes food allergy and contamination studies, a survey of the diets of Scottish children and a look at the consumption of lead-shot game.
The study of T cells in allergy resolution
This study suggests that that resolution of egg allergy takes place over many years, with children outgrowing an allergy to well-cooked egg approximately twice as quickly as they outgrow an allergy to uncooked egg.
The research has characterised for the first time the different ways in which children resolve these allergies while also providing a guide to clinicians on when to attempt reintroduction of egg into the diet.
The data supports the reintroduction of well-cooked egg into the diet of children who are aged from two to three, who have had previous mild reactions and no asthma. However, any decision to reintroduce egg into the diet should be taken under the supervision of an allergy clinician.
Reviewing the smoked fish production in Scotland
A previous study carried out by the FSA highlighted that cold-smoked fish products are frequently contaminated with low levels of Listeria monocytogenes. However, these are rarely at levels above the statutory limit of 100 CFU/g for ready to eat foods.
Listeria is a common environmental pathogen, which is often naturally present on fish. It can survive well in the typically moist environments that are found in fish processing and smoking establishments.
The overall objectives of this project were to:
- review current practices in the management of L. monocytogenes used by manufacturers in the smoked fish sector
- identify key risk areas in the processing chain (from farm to end-product) and gaps in the management of these
- provide information for food business operators and local food authorities on the key risk areas for L. monocytogenes contamination and the monitoring and management of these.
A number of key recommendations, highlighting areas where guidance or additional information would be of benefit to industry and enforcement officials, were made.
Investigation of semicarbazide in honey
The aim of this project was to investigate whether there is any evidence for potential natural sources of semicarbazide in honey and whether it may be produced by natural processes, especially in high purity heather honey.
The literature review identified several publications reporting the presence of arginine, a possible precursor to semicarbazide, in heather honey, although not at levels higher than in other types of honey.
The desk-based study identified a number of possible avenues for additional research and made recommendations for potential techniques and further work to identify the source.
Surveying the diets of children in Scotland
A survey carried out in Scotland in 2010, has revealed that children’s diets contain too much sugar and saturated fat than is recommended. The survey follows a 2006 study into sugar intake among children.
Key findings showed that children are still consuming too much non-milk extrinsic sugars (15.6% of their food energy) compared to the dietary goal (less than 11% of food energy). However, this amount has decreased compared to the previous survey (17.4% of food energy).
Sugars from soft drinks, confectionary, biscuits, cakes and pastries, yoghurt and fruit juice were the major sources and children living in more deprived areas had higher intakes of the above types of sugars.
The research also showed that mean saturated fat intakes were 13.2% of food energy, above the recommended level of 11%, but had not risen from the results in the previous survey.
The main contributors to saturated fat intake were milk, cream, biscuits, cakes and pastries, with no discernible difference in the intake by socio-economic status.
The habits of frequent eaters of game shot with lead
This project has provided valuable data on habits and behaviours of high-level consumers of lead-shot wild-game meat.
This data has been used to assess whether levels of consumptions of lead-shot wild-game meat are likely to pose risk to consumers, due to exposure to lead, and to develop targeted advice.