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If you feel that this blog has been notable by its absence over the past few weeks, you would be correct. Like millions of other citizens I’ve been devoting my spare time to the study of aero-dynamics, momentum and fluid-dynamics – otherwise known as the Olympics.

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After reading that the chances of James Bond dodging the 4,662 bullets fired at him during his film career and surviving is close to zero, I came to the conclusion that the storylines might not be based on reality and certainly aren’t evidence-based. But after recovering from that shocking revelation, my eye was drawn across the page of the New Scientist to a story titled ‘Bug wash’.

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The topic of rising food prices seems to have been in the headlines almost daily for the past few years, but the recent change in tone shows that these increases are now hitting the consumer. Today’s headline is that over the past year the number of emergency food parcels that Britain’s leading food bank is giving out has doubled – a worrying trend.

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For most of us, a bout of food poisoning – though extremely unpleasant – is inconvenient rather than life threatening. But those with suppressed immune systems, whether due to illness, chronic disease, medication, increasing age or pregnancy, are more likely to suffer from food poisoning and also to suffer serious consequences as a result.

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The news this morning that Sainsbury’s, in partnership with Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), want food relabelled so that it can be frozen up until its 'use by' date, not just on the day of purchase, is welcome, but not new. That uneaten chicken pie in the fridge is fine to go in the freezer right up until the 'use by' date. Our guidelines have always stated that it's fine to freeze food after the day of purchase as long as it has been correctly stored. We hope other supermarkets start highlighting this to their customers.

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Across the pond, cantaloupes, pine nuts, romaine lettuce and sprouts caused serious outbreaks of illness in 2011, according to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US. In fact, five of the most significant or unusual outbreaks of foodborne illness involved fresh produce. The CDC said that 2011 was the most active year in recent history for ‘foodborne illness outbreaks that crossed state lines’.

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