Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

Nick Price

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Vlog: 5 Fun Facts About Dioxins

Posted by Nick Price

April 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM

dioxins_blog-1.jpgHow much do you know about dioxins? Dioxins are toxic compounds that persist in the environment all around us. They exist in the air, the soil, rivers, lakes and even in the human food supply. They differ from other food contaminants in their unique chemical structure, which allows them to remain very resistant to breakdown. Throughout the past couple of decades, researchers have only begun to scratch the surface in gaining a thorough understanding of these molecules and their impact on the health of our society.

So what are the important characteristics of these harmful compounds? What should businesses along the food supply chain understand about dioxins to ensure safe ingredients and food products for consumers? And what actions are global health organizations and regulators taking to develop the best possible guidance for the food industry in dioxin monitoring? For answers, tune into our latest vlog below, “5 Fun Facts About Dioxins” to learn the basics of the class of destructive compounds that both food corporations and consumers alike should understand.

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Topics: Dioxins, Furan, Contaminants, Dioxin Sources, Dioxin Health Effects

3 Key Facts to Know About Ractopamine

Posted by Nick Price

March 21, 2017 at 10:00 AM

ractopamine_blog.jpgThe mid- 2000s saw the rise of ractopamine as a prominent growth promoting agent for the meat industry. Suppliers in this industry are probably familiar with ractopamine, but manufacturers using meat in their products may not know much about its use and effects. We’ve pulled together the top 3 facts to know about ractopamine:

1. Ractopamine promotes lean muscle growth in the weeks prior to slaughter.
Ractopamine belongs to a class of drugs called beta adrenergic receptor agonists. These drugs mimic the effects of adrenaline, resulting in increased protein synthesis in muscle tissue during the administration period, which is typically a few weeks prior to slaughter. Ractopamine also increases feed efficiency, causing the livestock to grow at a more rapid rate while consuming less feed. This results in animals with a higher lean muscle to fat ratio, allowing farmers to be able to produce more lean meat on fewer natural resources.

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Topics: Ractopamine, Food Testing, Meat, Meat Industry, Veterinary Drugs

What are Dioxins?: Understanding the Sources and Health Effects

Posted by Nick Price

March 16, 2017 at 10:00 AM

dioxins_blog.jpgMost people are aware of typical environmental contaminants that are produced as a result of modern human activity, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. Residents of larger cities may even be familiar with the visible smog that can engulf a skyline as a result of these air pollutants.

Aside from the common ones, other toxic contaminants exist in the environment that may be lesser-known by the general population, but can be just as harmful to humans. The word, "dioxins" refers to a group of compounds that includes dioxins, furans, and certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These structurally similar compounds are produced inadvertently as a result of large scale combustion activities such as incineration, thermal metal processes, and car exhaust. PCBs were actually intentionally produced during the mid twentieth century to be used in transformer oil, coolant fluids, carbonless copy paper, and plasticizers, until their manufacture was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1979.

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Topics: Dioxins, Furan, PCB Analysis, Contaminants, Dioxin Sources, Dioxin Health Effects

Is the Color of Your Spice up to Snuff?

Posted by Nick Price

December 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM

spices_blog.jpgThough it probably takes a back seat to taste, color is an important factor when consuming food. Society has assigned what we consider the “ideal color” for various food items. For example, consider the produce section in the grocery store, where you may find yourself attracted to particular items with the most desirable color. Those colors are desirable because you equate them to a fresher, more ripe, or higher quality product. You grab the bright yellow bananas and leave the green ones behind (unless you’re willing to wait for the green ones to ripen at home).

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Topics: spices, spice products, Turmeric, Color Method, ASTA, ASTA Methods

Digesting the New FDA Dietary Fiber Definition

Posted by Nick Price

October 12, 2016 at 10:00 AM

fiber_blog_photo.jpgDietary fiber has received a significant amount of attention recently as part of a series of updates made to nutrition facts labels rolled out by FDA earlier this spring. The agency’s new definition of dietary fiber is “non-digestible soluble and insoluble carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units), and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants,” and “isolated or synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates (with 3 or more monomeric units) determined by FDA to have physiological effects that are beneficial to human health.” The key here being ‘beneficial fiber’ as defined by FDA.

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Topics: Nutritional Labeling, FDA Regulation Updates, Dietary Fiber, FDA

Are the True Colors of Your Spices Shining Through?

Posted by Nick Price

November 20, 2015 at 10:05 AM

SpicesWhile public awareness over intentionally adulterated food products continues to grow, Mérieux NutriSciences now offers a screen for harmful dyes that are used illegally to enhance the color of spices and seasonings.

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Topics: spices, spice products

Fuzzy Areas in Dietary Fiber

Posted by Nick Price

June 22, 2015 at 1:03 PM

Dietary FiberThe majority of the components listed on standard nutrition panels are well understood.  Sugar, for example, is a nutrient that is actually the sum of several molecules, but the group is well defined and constant. There is little uncertainty. But this changes when we arrive at fiber on the label. Things are changing for fiber. Under FDA's proposed new nutritional label regulations, FDA intends to change its approach in how it defines and measures fiber. This will have far reaching implications for the food industry. 

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Topics: Dietary Fiber

Pet Food Safety: Front and Center For Consumers

Posted by Nick Price

March 27, 2015 at 9:15 AM

rebranding blogThe number of US homes with pets continues to rise, with approximately 85 million pet-owning households today. In addition, it is estimated that pet owners will spend nearly $23 billion dollars on food for their beloved companions this year alone.

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Topics: Pet Food, petfood forum 2015

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