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Mayne S.T.,The New School | Cartmel B.,The New School | Scarmo S.,The New School | Scarmo S.,Center for Science in the Public Interest | And 3 more authors.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics | Year: 2013

Resonance Raman spectroscopy (RRS) is a non-invasive method that has been developed to assess carotenoid status in human tissues including human skin in vivo. Skin carotenoid status has been suggested as a promising biomarker for human studies. This manuscript describes research done relevant to the development of this biomarker, including its reproducibility, validity, feasibility for use in field settings, and factors that affect the biomarker such as diet, smoking, and adiposity. Recent studies have evaluated the response of the biomarker to controlled carotenoid interventions, both supplement-based and dietary [e.g., provision of a high-carotenoid fruit and vegetable (F/V)-enriched diet], demonstrating consistent response to intervention. The totality of evidence supports the use of skin carotenoid status as an objective biomarker of F/V intake, although in the cross-sectional setting, diet explains only some of the variation in this biomarker. However, this limitation is also a strength in that skin carotenoids may effectively serve as an integrated biomarker of health, with higher status reflecting greater F/V intake, lack of smoking, and lack of adiposity. Thus, this biomarker holds promise as both a health biomarker and an objective indicator of F/V intake, supporting its further development and utilization for medical and public health purposes. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Kobylewski S.,University of California at Los Angeles | Jacobson M.F.,Center for Science in the Public Interest
International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health | Year: 2012

Background: Food dyes, synthesized originally from coal tar and now petroleum, have long been controversial because of safety concerns. Many dyes have been banned because of their adverse effects on laboratory animals or inadequate testing. Conclusions: This review finds that all of the nine currently US-approved dyes raise health concerns of varying degrees. Red 3 causes cancer in animals, and there is evidence that several other dyes also are carcinogenic. Three dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) have been found to be contaminated with benzidine or other carcinogens. At least four dyes (Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) cause hypersensitivity reactions. Numerous microbiological and rodent studies of Yellow 5 were positive for genotoxicity. Toxicity tests on two dyes (Citrus Red 2 and Orange B) also suggest safety concerns, but Citrus Red 2 is used at low levels and only on some Florida oranges and Orange B has not been used for several years. The inadequacy of much of the testing and the evidence for carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, and hypersensitivity, coupled with the fact that dyes do not improve the safety or nutritional quality of foods, indicates that all of the currently used dyes should be removed from the food supply and replaced, if at all, by safer colorings. It is recommended that regulatory authorities require better and independent toxicity testing, exercise greater caution regarding continued approval of these dyes, and in the future approve only well-tested, safe dyes. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2012. Source

Wootan M.G.,Center for Science in the Public Interest
Childhood Obesity | Year: 2012

Helping families make healthier choices when eating out is important because eating out is a growing and significant part of Americans' diets and eating out is associated with obesity. Although a number of restaurants have announced improvements recently, many restaurant children's meals remain high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium, and default options are often fries and sugary drinks. Behavioral economic interventions that make default options healthy make healthy choices easier and mean that individuals must actively work to engage in less desirable behaviors. Providing healthier default options for children's meals supports parents by reducing barriers to feeding their children healthfully. This article outlines a number of ways to help families make the healthy choice the easy and the default choice for children when eating out. © 2012 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source

Center For Science In The Public Interest | Date: 2016-06-22

Newsletters in the field of food, nutrition, health, government, corporate and regulatory issues.

News Article
Site: http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue/

The industry that has blanketed more than 181 million hectares of the world’s farmland with genetically modified (GM) crops is in the middle of a sea change. Improved techniques for altering crop genomes are already bringing a new generation of plant varieties to the market — and around the world, regulators are playing catch-up. “A few brave countries have already made statements,” says Piet van der Meer, a biologist and lawyer at Ghent University in Belgium. “But most are struggling with it.” On 18 April, the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine will begin its first meeting of a committee charged with ending the struggle. The committee, which is sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and two other agencies, has been asked to predict what advances will be made in biotechnology products over the next 5–10 years. It is scheduled to report by the end of the year on the steps that regulators need to take to prepare themselves. The result could inform an ongoing USDA effort to re-assess its process for evaluating engineered crops. Researchers around the world are watching closely (see ‘Global governance’). “Crops travel around the globe,” says René Custers, manager of regulatory and responsible research at VIB, a life-sciences research institute in Ghent. “It is important to see what is happening in the rest of the world.” Many feel that regulations in the United States, which grows more GM crops than any other country, are particularly ripe for change. The USDA itself has acknowledged that it might be over-regulating some crops if they have traits that have already been scrutinized. Also, it uses its authority to restrict the release of ‘plant pests’ as a way to regulate GM crops — an approach that applied widely in the 1980s, when crops were often created using genetic elements from plant viruses or bacteria. But researchers have since developed tools that do not rely on these components. Over the past five years, the USDA has determined that about 30 types of GM plant — from soya beans whose oil has a longer shelf life, to pineapples with rose-coloured flesh — do not fall under its regulatory rubric. Some were made using gene-editing techniques. “One of the things that has to happen is to plug that huge hole,” says Doug Gurian-Sherman, director of sustainable agriculture at the Center for Food Safety, an environmental-advocacy group in Washington DC. “Whether you think they’re over-regulated or under-regulated or just not intelligently regulated, there’s nobody who thinks this is appropriate.” And developers eager to market gene-edited varieties want clarity as to how the USDA will view the crops, says Daniel Voytas, chief science officer at Calyxt, a plant biotechnology company in New Brighton, Minnesota. The agency has already determined that it will not regulate several crops that have been developed using two editing tools — zinc-finger nucleases and TALENs — and it is currently considering a non-browning mushroom that was made using another, CRISPR–Cas9. These crops embody the simplest application of genome modification: deleting a small section of the genome to disrupt a gene. Calyxt, for example, used TALENs to edit a single gene in the parent plant and generate a variety of wheat with improved resistance to powdery mildew. On 11 February, the USDA informed Calyxt that it would not regulate the crop. But more-sophisticated edits — such as rewriting genes or inserting new ones — are around the corner, Voytas says. “We don’t understand how those crop varieties are going to be regulated,” he says. “And they’re already in the works.” On 5 February, the USDA released four broad regulatory scenarios that are open to public comment until 21 April. The draft proposed a definition of “products of biotechnology” that encompasses organisms in which segments of the genome have been deleted, added or altered. “Sometimes you are using these technologies to introduce genetic variation that already exists in wild relatives,” says Custers. “The question is whether or not that differs from traditional plant breeding.” Custers therefore advocates a definition that excludes plants carrying genetic changes that are already present in nature. But including such plants in the definition does not mean that they would be heavily regulated, notes Greg Jaffe, director of biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group in Washington DC. “The USDA is capturing them under the rubric, but it sounds like they’re also going to exempt many of them from oversight,” he says. Some activists are unlikely to support the idea. Gurian-Sherman notes that gene-editing technology is still relatively new, can be applied in many ways and sometimes makes unintended genetic changes. “We feel very strongly that this technology still needs to be regulated as we learn more about it,” he says. “Maybe at some point it wouldn’t need to, but this is still a new technology.”

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