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Underwriter’s Labs Unveils New Food Industry Seal of Approval
Effective October 30, 2000, Underwriter’s Laboratory, Inc. has introduced a new certification icon applicable specifically to all commercial food service equipment, meat and poultry plant equipment, and drinking water treatment additives which are found to comply with the company’s stringent requirements. The new UL Environmental and Public Health (EPH) Mark, as it is called, incorporates the trademarked “UL in a circle” inside a green triangle logo, and is designed to help public health officials and other regulatory authorities distinguish the new Mark from UL’s traditional Marks. Included among these is the existing “blue” UL Sanitation Mark for food service equipment, which remains active and may be used to supplement the new EPH Mark.

Drink and Be Healthy!
In scientific papers presented recently at the 2000 International Chemical Congress of Pacific Basin Societies (ICCPBS), researchers John Trevithick, Ph.D. and Maurice Hirst, Ph.D. (University of Western Ontario), and Joe Vinson, Ph.D. (University of Scranton in Pennsylvania) presented results of animal studies showing that beer may reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis and cataracts by as much as 50 percent. The reason: beers—especially dark ales and stouts—contain an abundance of antioxidants, which, in the case of cataracts, protect the eyes’ mitochondria from damage. Regarding beer’s positive effect on heart disease, researchers halved the rate of atherosclerosis in hamsters by providing them with the equivalent of two beers a day.

Eat and Be Healthy!
In a related story, researchers in Japan, whose work was also presented at the recently held ICCPBS, have found that avocados contain potent chemicals that may reduce liver damage. To evaluate the protective activity of food against liver damage, researchers Hirokazu Kawagishi, Ph.D., and Kimio Sugiyama, Ph.D., from Shizuoka University in Japan fed 22 different fruits to a group of rats with liver damage caused by the liver toxin galactosamine. Their results showed that avocados did the best job of slowing organ damage.

Painfully Delicious
According to researchers Michael O’Mahony and Earl Carstens from the University of California, Davis, pain may be an important element of the pleasure we get from tasting spicy foods and carbonated drinks. “The tingle you get from a chili pepper is working on the pain system,” explains O’Mahony. “It also turns out that the fizz or carbonation you get from a fizzy drink works on the same system.” In their work the researchers compared the effects of capsaicin, which gives chilies their burn, with nicotine on nerve activity in rats. When dripped on the tongue, both substances caused a firing of trigeminal nerves, the first pain relay on the way to the brain. Researchers found that carbonated drinks, which produce carbonic acid, have a similar effect.

FSIS May Soon Allow Online Reprocessing of Poultry
In a surprise move, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recently proposed lifting its prohibition of online reprocessing of pre-chill poultry carcasses so long as significantly lower pathogen reduction standards for E. coli and Salmonella are met. If the proposal is adopted, poultry carcasses contaminated with digestive tract contents will be allowed to remain on the main processing line for removal of these contaminants, rather than having to be moved off the main line. By so doing the FSIS hopes to reduce the risk of foodborne pathogens from cross-contamination by decreasing the handling of contaminated carcasses to off-line reprocessing.

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