Latest research published by the FSA

Posted: 29 February 2012 | FSA | No comments yet

The Agency has produced a summary of its research published in January and February 2012…

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The Agency has produced a summary of its research published in January and February 2012.

Studies found, for example, that while certain cooking methods are able to lower concentrations of pesticide residues in some fruit and vegetables, peeling is most effective. In another piece of research on encouraging food safety in businesses, a mix of a partnership style and a more rigid enforcement style was thought to be most successful in encouraging compliance with regulations.

The Agency carries out and commissions extensive scientific research and survey work to ensure that our advice to the public is based on the best and most up-to-date science. The most recent research reports published are:

Interindividuality in cytochrome P450 and paraoxonase mediated metabolism of mixtures of pesticides

This study investigated the influence of genetic variability in enzyme activity on the toxicity of mixtures of pesticides. This study indicates the potential for pesticides to affect the metabolism of other pesticides and how other substances act. However, the results of this study cannot be directly translated to what happens in people. The results can be used to create models of how the pesticides may interact with each other in people.

The effects of storage time, preparation and cooking method on residual pesticide levels in apples and potatoes treated with a suite of commonly used permitted pesticides

This project aimed to determine the effects of food preparation and cooking procedures on the persistence of a range of commonly used pesticides in UK apples and potatoes. Taking the results as a whole, peeling was the most effective means of reducing residues present predominantly in the peel of fruit and vegetables, while washing had a variable effect on residues. The results indicated that cooking processes can lower the concentrations of some residues, but do not remove or destroy them completely.

The impact of the healthyliving award on the achievement of nutrient and food standards

The project assessed the effectiveness of the Scottish Government’s ‘healthyliving award’ criteria in achieving a healthy balanced diet using a prison setting. The results suggest that implementation of the healthyliving award has been successful in producing a diet that meets most nutrient requirements over a week for, e.g. fat, protein and vitamins, whereas the salt target was harder to achieve.

Qualitative research exploring regulation culture and behaviours

A small number of in-depth interviews were carried out to add to the Agency’s understanding of what works to secure regulatory compliance. A mix of a partnership style and a more rigid enforcement style, as required, was thought to be the most successful in encouraging compliance with food safety regulations. Large businesses were considered better placed to comply due to greater motivation, understanding and available resources. The development of the necessary management structures to disseminate compliance goals, information and best practice throughout the organisation was also regarded as important.

Determination of phthalates in foods and establishing methodology to distinguish their source

The objectives of this work were to allow total dietary intakes to be estimated, examine whether it is possible to distinguish between environmental and food contact material sources of phthalates in foods, and to establish the ranges of phthalates concentrations in food. The analytical methods were validated and they were used to analyse Total Diet Study samples in order to allow an estimation of dietary intakes. The Committee on Toxicology considered that the results did not indicate a risk to human health from dietary exposure.

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