Is the FSA ’full of it’?

first_imgSalt is yet again top of the agenda at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), with bakers seemingly obliged to stand in a continual firing line. Its new campaign encourages shoppers to look at the labels of foods, such as bread, sandwiches and pizza, and buy those with the lowest salt content.It has been seen as a slap in the face by many bakers, who have been working “voluntarily” to reduce the salt in their products, only to have a metaphorical pile of salt, heaped on their flames of glory for achieving the FSA’s own targets. The Federation of Bakers (FoB) told the FSA wouldn’t provide a statement of support for the consumer campaign, however FoB director Gordon Polson told British Baker: “We’re not going to try and counter their multi-million pound campaign.”Despite the FSA’s rejoinder that it is not suggesting consu-mers eat less bread, displaying posters of loaves with salt pouring out of them is hardly good publicity for bakers. A spokesperson for the FSA admitted that some bakers may come out of it worse than others. “If bakers aren’t actively trying to take salt out, then those are the bakers that may be affected as a result of this campaign,” she said.When it comes to warning consumers about the amount of salt in bread, international law firm Eversheds says the FSA has to rely on advertising, as UK labelling rules are governed by European law, meaning salt levels do not have to be indicated on food packaging. “EU law on free trade also prevents the UK from legislating for maximum salt levels in bread,” said Owen Warnock, partner and food law expert at Eversheds. “An update of EU law on food law is currently being undertaken, which will require declaration on the front of the pack of the percentage content of many nutrients. However, there is no proposal to require salt content to be indicated.”The FSA will this week be updating the European Com-mission on the UK’s position on salt at a conference in Brussels, organised by the EU Platform for Diet and Physical Activity entitled ’Salt in Bread: Technical, Taste and other Parameters for Healthy Eating’.Polson, who will be speaking at the conference, explained the main purpose of the event is for the European Commission to understand the different developments on salt in bread within Europe. “There is no suggestion that there is going to be any new legislation coming out of Europe,” he said. However the conference will focus on national salt initiatives, salt and health, technologies of salt reduction in bread, suggesting it’s becoming a hot topic in Europe.AnnoyanceComments from the FSA that “supermarket own-label versions of some foods, including bread, are often lower in salt than the branded versions”, has been met with annoyance by the plant and craft industry alike. Polson is disappointed that all the work that has gone on to reduce salt has not been recognised. “If a certain number of slices of bread makes up a third of your daily salt allowance, there is nothing wrong with that. There has not been enough emphasis on the good qualities of bread.”However, the FSA insisted that the comments regarding branded bread having more salt, were based on fact. “We looked at the salt levels in around 70 commonly available branded and supermarket own-label white, brown and wholemeal sliced breads,” explained a spokesperson for the FSA. “For example, of the top 15 white loaves with higher levels (range 0.7g to 0.41g sodium per 100g bread), 12 were branded and three were supermarket own-label. Of the bottom 19 white loaves containing lower levels of salt (range 0.4g to 0.3g sodium per 100g bread), one was branded and 18 were supermarket own-label.”Jan Thomson, co-owner of Thomsons Bakery in Newcastle Upon Tyne, is angry that despite meeting the salt levels the FSA has asked for, small craft bakers are not being acknowledged for all the work they have done. “That has got no publicity at all,” she said. “Bread is a staple in people’s diet, and if the FSA flag it up as something that’s bad for consumers, then what next?”last_img read more

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Top stories Modern human evolution the problem with threeparent embryos and what

first_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happenMany people think evolution requires thousands or millions of years, but biologists know it can happen fast. Now, researchers can actually track the population-level genetic shifts that mark evolution in action—even in humans. Two new studies show how our genomes have changed over centuries or decades, charting how since Roman times the British have evolved to be taller and fairer and how just in the last generation the effect of a gene that favors cigarette smoking has dwindled in some groups.Your call and text records are far more revealing than you think Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Emailcenter_img Metadata. It’s an obscure data science term that was unknown to most people until 2013, when it came out that the U.S. National Security Agency is harvesting vast amounts of them from telephone calls. Government officials have downplayed the sensitivity of such data, but a crowdsourced study of phone metadata now finds that highly revealing information can be gleaned from a simple list of who called whom.A new way to make powerful antibioticsResistance to antibiotics is growing, and yet drug companies have been dropping antibiotic research programs because the drugs are difficult and expensive to make. Now, help is on the way. Researchers report this week that they’ve found a way to churn out new members of one of the most widely used classes of antibiotics. The work could lead to new weapons against antibiotic-resistant infections and possibly save millions of lives.Yes, Zika will soon spread in the United States. But it won’t be a disasterIf history repeats itself, the U.S. media will make a whoop dee doo out of the first confirmed case of Zika virus transmission that takes place in the United States from a mosquito to a person. It hasn’t happened yet, but scientists believe it’s very likely to occur in the next few weeks. Given the attention that each imported case of Zika has triggered so far, expect the U.S. media to go full-throttle. But researchers who have studied Zika and the mosquitoes that transmit it say that the country is currently in the calm before the calm.Why ‘three-parent embryo’ procedure could failIt’s a stunning and controversial procedure: Give a baby three genetic “parents” by combining sperm from dad, a cell nucleus from mom, and the egg of a female donor. The approach is supposed to eliminate the risk of inheriting sometimes deadly mutations in the DNA of the mitochondria, the cell’s energy-producing structures. But a new study corroborates what some exploring this so-called mitochondrial replacement therapy have long suspected: that the undesirable DNA still manages to sneak into the donor egg during the procedure.Once again, U.S. expert panel says genetically engineered crops are safe to eatAlmost 2 years ago, a group of scientists began hashing out a consensus on the risks and benefits of genetically engineered crops. Since the launch of their study, the public debate around the safety of genetically modified organisms and whether to label them has continued to rage. But behind the scenes, some things have changed. Agricultural markets are now bracing for an explosion of new plants designed using the precise gene-editing technology CRISPR, and regulators in both the United States and the European Union are struggling with how to assess their safety.Now that you’ve got the scoop on this week’s hottest Science news, come back Monday to test your smarts on our weekly quiz! 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