Take it as red…

Red grape skinsI’ve been in Milan this week for an exclusive tour of Sensient Food Colours Italy – the largest European producer of natural red colours (both liquid and powder) for food production, using grape skins and black carrot.

The site processes more than 1,000 tonnes of materials per day during the grape harvesting season, and extracts 90 per cent of the colour content in less than one hour. Not surprisingly, it’s an impressively slick operation and one in which managing director Imerio Bortot and his dedicated team carry out with both pride and precision.

But while food companies are no doubt grateful for the company’s efforts, and rightly so, I think I may be due a little praise here too.

After all, if I wasn’t a regular imbiber of grape juice (okay, wine) I know for a fact that Sensient’s pile of discarded skins would be several kilos lighter…

Are you the new Health & Wellbeing Champion?

healthCompanies wishing to submit an entry to the Health and Wellbeing Champion category of the FDF Awards 2013 have until 24 May to submit their entries.

Entries in the category can include product reformulation and the development of healthier products; workplace wellbeing initiatives; sponsorship of health related activities and any other initiative that aims to encourage increased exercise or healthier lifestyles, both for staff and for consumers.

Submit an entry for Health and Wellbeing Champion category

Allergy progress?

peanutsA clinical study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency will identify, for the first time, how sensitivity to peanut is altered by external factors including exercise and stress.

The three-year TRACE study will be led by Dr Andrew Clark, allergy consultant at Addenbrooke’s, which is part of Cambridge University Hospitals.

Dr Clark, and his colleagues Dr Robert Boyle and Professor Steven Durham from Imperial College, Dr Isabel Skypala from Royal Brompton Hospital, and Professor Clare Mills from the University of Manchester, are looking for people with a peanut allergy to participate in the study for a year.

The researchers will invite about 100 peanut-allergic people from a cross-section of the population. These individuals will undergo ‘challenges’ under varying conditions to find out how sensitivity to peanut is altered by external factors, including exercise and stress (which in this study will be caused by sleep deprivation).

According to Dr Clark, this study is the first of its kind globally. ‘It will not only bring reassurance to the thousands of people who are allergic to peanuts but offers a blueprint for improving food labelling for a whole variety of food,’ he said.

Food Standards Agency head of food allergens Sue Hattersley added: ‘This important study will inform food allergen labelling and improve advice to consumers to help them better manage their allergy.’

The Anaphylaxis Campaign will also be involved in the study. Its CEO, Lynne Regent, said: ‘Labelling about allergen cross contamination risks is a major concern for anyone living with severe food allergy. The study will help to inform the food industry and have a positive impact upon the lives of food allergic individuals.’

How to register

Men and women aged 18-45, with a peanut allergy, are eligible to register. Participants will receive up to £800 for attending eight sessions at one of the two sites for the study: Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge or the Royal Brompton in London.

You can find out more information, including how to register, by clicking here

The final results of the study will be published in the summer of 2016.