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06/12/2013
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I can assure you that my interest in a new ‘dietary treatment that promises to shrink wrinkles from inside’ is purely professional. Called ‘gene foods’, the supplements developed at Unilever use ‘blends of natural food extracts to activate genes that improve skin tone’.

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The launch of the new Ask for Evidence campaign from Sense about Science is timely given the subject of Terrence’s blog yesterday.

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Judging by its press release it seems we’ve upset the National Farmers’ Union. The Agency’s Board decided not to support relaxing the ban on processed animal proteins (PAP) in feed, and the NFU is extremely disappointed. So disappointed it not only plans to challenge the decision, but has written to the agriculture minister to raise concerns over how the decision was reached.

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Sometimes I feel like a broken record trying to defend the importance of sticking to the humble ‘use by’ date and, conversely, reassuring people they won’t drop dead from eating a can of beans that’s just past its ‘best before’. So you can imagine my surprise this morning to find every newspaper and tv and radio news programme talking about the new date labelling guidance produced by the Agency and Defra. Finally, I have the perfect opportunity to clear up some of the confusion around date labels.

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A woman coughs on a flight from Hong Kong. The next thing you know, a lethal unknown virus is shooting round the globe and scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are racing against the clock to stop a worldwide pandemic.

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One of the real pleasures of my job is signing off my annual report, and the fifth report is now available. A pleasure because it gives me the chance to demonstrate the commitment of the FSA to science and evidence, and to thank all those who contributed in many different ways. We’ve got a great team of scientists in the Agency (it’s a good career move if you are a budding young scientist) but we are also fortunate in being able to draw upon the expertise of those working at the laboratory bench in universities and research institutes up and down the country, as well as those who give up their time to sit on our expert advisory committees. Your contributions to improving the safety of food and improving public health is acknowledged and appreciated.

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Our recently published study on infectious intestinal disease (IID) unearthed some worrying statistics. The research found that almost 17 million people suffer from episodes of vomiting, diarrhoea or a combination of both, every year. And while it is easy to trivialise these symptoms, they can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives and for some, the consequences can be serious.

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It’s good to see that bacterial analysis could soon be becoming cheaper and easier – a portable microscope, developed by researchers in the US, uses lasers instead of lenses to identify bacteria in water, food or blood.

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It sounds like the recent E.coli outbreak in the Archers hasn’t just affected their ice cream – sales of all the farm’s produce has dropped off. It just goes to show ‘bad food hygiene is bad for business’.

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