Trending Topics pieces (Article Analyses, Evidence Clips and Other Topics) are published in timely response to recent media and journal articles, position statements, clinical guidelines, etc. Since they are based on the most recent evidence/publications, they may not be consistent with PEN evidence in other PEN content areas. As soon as possible, when this occurs, the PEN content will be reviewed and updated as needed.
Food and Food Packaging and Coronavirus Risk
A recent opinion on SARS-CoV-2 and its Relationship to Food Safety
from the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods and government guidelines report that evidence does not support the concern that food and/or food packaging presents a risk of catching the coronavirus
Key Points and Practice Recommendations
- COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that spreads from person to person. It is not a foodborne or food packaging transmitted disease.
- Currently, no evidence supports that food, swallowing food or handling food packaging is a likely source or route of transmission of the virus.
- Coronaviruses are killed by common cleaning and disinfection methods and by cooking food to safe internal temperatures.
- Continue to follow good hand hygiene practices, social distancing and food safety precautions while food shopping and before preparing or eating food.
Country-Specific Food Safety Guidelines
Additional Information on Food, Food Safety and COVID-19
Arsenic in Rice Products for Children
A recent CBC Marketplace program reported on the testing of the levels of arsenic in rice cereals and snacks for infants and children. For an in-depth examination and analysis of the evidence on the topic of arsenic in the diets of infants and children, see the 2018 PEN Trending Topic: Do New Parents or Parent-to-be Need to be Concerned About Dietary Arsenic Exposure?. For further information on rice and arsenic, see: PEN's Food Safety - Arsenic in Rice Background.
The Bottom Line
Limit or avoid giving infants and young children cereals made from brown rice flour and products with brown rice syrup, since they have more arsenic. Some rice is okay for young children, but it is best to give infants and children a variety of grains and use infant rice cereals and rice-based products, such as wafers and crackers, in moderation.
The New Canada’s Food Guide is Released!
Nathalie Savoie, CEO of Dietitians of Canada, attended the launch of Canada’s new Food Guide in Montreal today. The updated food guide, shown as a plate model, provides information on food choices, eating habits, recipes, tips and provides a suite of resources for consumers and professionals. The emphasis is on plant-based foods and their health and environmental benefits. The guide focuses equally on WHAT and HOW to eat and no longer suggests portion sizes.
For additional content see:
Food Trends for 2019
It's January, and there are many food trend predictions for the year. Real food, mindful eating and drinking are the top trends according to Global News. Other common themes include challenges because of increasing food prices; continued emphasis on a plant-based diet, eating for health and reducing food waste for sustainability; and ethnic food specialties. Check out the following predictions from around the globe:
Ultra-Processed Food and Cancer Risk
Food Trends for 2018
It's January and there are many predictions for what the food trends will be this year, including the annual Forbes list with the 10 Food Trends that Will Shape 2018, which includes: mindfulness, tactile, farming, neuronutrition, biohacking, technofoodology, advertising, politics and food, and future supermarkets. Enjoy reading the lists from a few countries below, noting some common themes around tea, growing and even forging your own food, plant-based proteins and reducing food waste:
Fresh, Fresh-stored and Frozen Vegetables and Fruit
A two-year study (2011-2013) compared L-ascorbic acid, folate and trans-B-carotene (pro-vitamin A) in three different process states of products: fresh, fresh-stored (held for five days in the refrigerator) and frozen produce (blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, green peas, spinach and strawberries). Produce was purchased from six supermarkets within a 40-km radius of Athens, GA in the U.S. Within the majority of comparisons, the authors found no significant differences in the three nutrients between fresh, fresh-stored and frozen produce. Where significant differences were noted, the nutrient content of fresh and frozen varieties tended to be greater than fresh-stored produce. Exceptions included fresh versus frozen blueberries, green beans and spinach, with fresh having a greater content of trans-B-carotene, and frozen broccoli and green beans, which were lower in folate than their fresh counterparts. The authors suggest consumers consume their fresh produce as soon as possible after purchase. Authors declared this research was supported by a grant from the Frozen Food Foundation.
Avocado Pits/Seeds are not Recommended for Consumption
Avocado pits or seeds have been reported in the media to provide many health benefits and instructions can be found on the internet describing how to dry and grind the bitter tasting pits. A 2013 review by D. Dabas et al. in Current Pharmaceutical Design
states that preliminary lab studies on the content of the dried, ground pits indicate that there may be health benefits, however the same review goes on to say that it is not known if these findings will translate into clinical or nutritional benefits or if avocado seeds contain harmful substances. The conclusion is that more research is needed to determine the benefits and potential risks. Organizations such as the California Avocado Commission
agree and recommend that the seeds not be consumed until more is known.
Trending Topic: Food Allergy Prevention in Infants