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A total diet study in Benin, Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria investigated what people eat, and their exposure to a selection of 800 of the chemicals that can be found in food.

Also in this episode: the impact of the current pandemic on the spices industry in India, and how the European Food Safety Authority communicates food safety in 23 languages.

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The 2018 and 2019 conference proceedings have now been published and we are looking forward to the 6th NNEdPro International Summit on Medical & Public Health Nutrition Education & Research, which is themed: ‘A 2020 Evaluation of Global Knowledge Networks in the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025)’ on Saturday 26 September 2020.  

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7966618088?profile=RESIZE_584x FAO has published a report for #worldfoodsafetyday in all 6 UN languages:

Arabic
https://lnkd.in/d7RakbAhttps://lnkd.in/dvcuwC2

Chinese
https://lnkd.in/dE5s957https://lnkd.in/dZuBiBD

English
https://lnkd.in/dpfcpHvhttps://lnkd.in/dwUz_Zu

French
https://lnkd.in/d6T57JWhttps://lnkd.in/d6GXtsy

Russian
https://lnkd.in/dA3gPaqhttps://lnkd.in/dnkF4zB

Spanish
https://lnkd.in/dVy68nxhttps://lnkd.in/dHJFC5t
#foodsafety

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In late July, following considerable interest and reporting on the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, the UK Government released a policy paper:

‘Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives’

As a group of nutrition researchers, educators and clinicians, we recognise the complexity which spans diet, nutrition and health interfacing with diverse domains such as the social sciences, economics and politics on one hand as well as genetics and biomedical sciences on the other. We also recognise the complexities associated with obesity and weight loss. Therefore, we advocate for the appreciation and adoption of a wider, complete understanding of the science behind obesity and the strategies which are needed to address it.

In its' response to the UK Government policy paper on obesity, NNEdPro discussed four points of the proposed obesity strategy and provide recommendations for a more comprehensive and impactful response.

Read full NNEdPro response.

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7928384875?profile=RESIZE_180x180The International Commission for Micro Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) opinion on SARS-CoV-2 & its relationship to food safety: "ICMSF believes that it is highly unlikely that the ingestion of SARS-CoV-2 will result in illness; there is no documented evidence that food is a significant source and/or vehicle for transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It is vital that one differentiates a hazard from a risk, i.e. the mere presence of an infectious agent on food does not necessarily mean that an infection will occur."

“There are no foods that should be considered a risk or warrant consideration as a vector for SARS-CoV-2.” 

Read full opinion.

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USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) has published its annual International Food Security Assessment, which shows that the worldwide coronavirus pandemic has made food security worse.

The annual report determines how much access people in 76 low and middle-income countries have to food. The answer to that question requires tracking incomes, food prices, and other economic factors including agriculture production and market conditions.

“In the 76 low- and middle-income countries examined in the report, the number of people considered food insecure in 2020 was estimated at almost 761 million people or 19.8 percent of the total population. The shock to GDP from COVID-19 is projected to increase the number of food-insecure people by 83.5 million people in 2020 to 844.5 million and increase the share of the population that is food insecure to 22 percent.”

Read full article.

 

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Bar chart illustrating which foods were most difficult to buy in shops, supermarkets, and online grocery services. Dry goods is the highest, followed by tinned food.

      3 key ways the pandemic impacted access to food 

  1. There was a lack of clarity about how much food people needed to buy.
  2. The pandemic made more people unable to afford food.
  3. Foodservice and hospitality businesses and their suppliers are going to feel the effects of lockdown for years.

EFRA's key recommendations to fix the problem 

1.Ensuring people can afford enough healthy food is the responsibility of multiple Government departments. To bring that work together, the Government should appoint a Minister for Food Security who is empowered to draw together policy across departments on food supply, nutrition and welfare.

2.The Government should work with producers, processors and wholesalers servicing the hospitality and foodservice sector to monitor the health of food and drink suppliers as supply chains restart.

3.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) should continue to provide £5 million in annual funding to FareShare to redistribute surplus food from farms and across the supply chain to frontline food aid providers for a further two years. This would help those who struggle to afford food as the effects of the pandemic continue, and reduce food waste from farms.

4.Food supply to supermarkets continued because we were able to keep food coming into the country. Future crises could stop this flow and cause more serious problems. The Government has to update its food resilience plans, taking into account how consumer behaviour can disrupt food supply and whether our efficient "just-in-time" supply chains are as resilient as they need to be.

Read summary and full report.

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FILE PHOTO: People eat chips whilst walking along the promenade at the British holiday resort of Scarborough, England July 16, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs/File Photo

Your weight is affected by a myriad of biological and societal factors

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The Environment Secretary Michael Gove appointed Henry Dimbleby to conduct this year-long review, and to then set out my recommendations within six months of its completion. Government will then publish an ambitious, multi-disciplinary National Food Strategy, the first of its kind for 75 years, in the form of a White Paper.

Part One of the UK National Food Strategy has been published; the recommendations cover two main themes:

• Making sure a generation of our most disadvantaged children do not get left behind.Eating well in childhood is the very foundation stone of equality of opportunity. It is essential for both physical and mental growth.

• Grasping the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to decide what kind of trading nation we want to be.The essence of sovereignty is freedom – including the freedom to uphold our own values and principles within the global marketplace. 

Over the next year the team will speak to people from across the food chain, from farmers in the field to chefs in the kitchen. We will consult experts from around the world, as well as those whose voices are seldom heard, but who have personal experience of the failings of our food system: low-paid workers in agriculture and food production, people with diet-related diseases, farmers living on the margins, and many more.

If you would like to be involved in the conversation, please get in touch: communications@nationalfoodstrategy.org.

 

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Fig. 1

Transformation of the food system at the national scale requires concerted action from government, business and civil society, based on sound evidence from the research community. A programme for transformation of the United Kingdom’s food system, for healthy people and a healthy environment, is described here.

A coordinated national approach

A newly launched, eight-year, £47.5 million strategic research programme, led by the Global Food Security programme (www.foodsecurity.ac.uk) and funded by UK Research and Innovation in partnership with government departments, is focusing on transformational change of the UK’s food system for healthy people and a healthy environment5. It brings together academia, government, business and civil society organizations within interdisciplinary consortia to provide evidence for multi-pronged and simultaneous action across the food system. 

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ICU Nutritional Management – Insights from the frontline

By Dr Timothy Eden, RD with contributions from Shane McAuliffe, RD and edited by Professor Sumantra Ray, RNutr

 Insights from the frontline as NNEdPro Global Innovation Panel (GIP) member Dr Tim Eden RD shares his own experience of the challenges faced in the nutritional management of COVID-19 patients in ICU: https://twitter.com/TimothyEdenRD/status/1245634083012505602 

With a high rate of COVID-19 patients in the overweight/obese category as well as those with Type-2 Diabetes, this can present a significant challenge when estimating and fulfilling these individualised nutritional requirements. Looking specifically at obese patients, there has historically been an attitude of underfeeding in intensive care, but this cohort is equally at risk of becoming malnourished (rapid, significant and unplanned weight loss) when nutritional requirements are not met for prolonged periods, and this can be a predictor of poorer clinical course and outcomes (1). The following narrative is not intended to replace clinical guidelines but is designed to highlight some key aspects relevant to nutritional assessment in ICU when treating patients with COVID-19.

Read full article.

 

 

 

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Sustaining Our Key Workers

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By James Bradfield, Dr Luke Buckner Shane McAuliffe, Dr Minha Rajput-Ray and Prof Sumantra Ray

With Acknowledgements to Dr Dominic Crocombe, Prof Martin Kohlmeier and Lord Richard Balfe

The United Kingdom is soon coming up to a month in lock-down to try and slow the rate of spread of COVID-19. Whilst majority of the public adapt to the enforced social distancing and isolation measures, designated key workers continue working in uncharted environments, often being required to work longer hours and busier shifts. Key workers include those employed in educational services, food and essential goods production, distribution and sales, logistics, utilities, communications, provision of infrastructure and financial services, public safety and security staff, local and national government as well as those facing COVID-19 head on in health and social care services.

Whilst it is vital at home people utilise this opportunity to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy given the imminent risk of infection, it is pertinent to support our key workers in staying healthy during this time.

This is being done in a variety of forms – with displays of appreciation through weekly applause, signs in windows or on buses, whilst many companies provide discounts or freebies. It is important that key workers are given these privileges, yet also essential for them to maintain their health and overall functionality.

At the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health, a collaborative think tank headquartered in Cambridge, a number of core members, and indeed some of the contributors to this article, are frontline healthcare workers, including Doctors, Nurses and Dietitians. Key workers often find that they do not have time to ‘eat well’ amidst a crisis such as this, which is understandable as many frontline staff are being asked to cover more frequent and longer shifts than before. This often results in erratic eating patterns, increased snacking on foods higher in calories, sugar and salt or generally not having time to prepare proper meals or indeed being over reliant on catering services are running on the bare necessities.

We believe that the points in this article will be beneficial in keeping Key Workers in as best a health state as possible. 

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  Shane McAuliffe and James Bradfield, writing on behalf of the NNEdPro Nutrition and Covid-19 Taskforce, based in Cambridge, help us to separate    fact from fiction. 

 Given the considerable interest in the role of nutrition throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we recently we wrote a piece in the Cambridge         Independent about how to eat well and support your health during such uncertain times. It seems as though the discussion around what to do, and   what not to do has been never-ending, with reports emerging almost daily suggesting new ways to improve health and potentially   combat susceptibility to infection or its consequences. 

  While this push for knowledge has fuelled important scientific research and discussion, it has also inevitably led to debate about what is fact, what is    fiction and what makes up the grey areas between them. In reality, Covid-19 is a new disease and so our understanding of its interactions, including    those with nutrition, are continually evolving.             

                                                                                           
New evidence that can inform policy and practice is being generated, including in our flagship journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health. In it, we have established a dedicated Covid-19 special collection to help gather emerging research on the relationship between the virus and nutrition, in order to add to what we currently know. In this article, we will outline what this collection has uncovered about the relationship between nutrition and Covid-19 so far.

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With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion in both print media and online about whether a healthy diet can ‘boost’ the immune system. While unfortunately, there is no evidence for a dietary panacea, there are still a number of diet and lifestyle choices that you can make to help support your health and the health of your family. This is reflected by the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasising in March 2020 that good diet and lifestyle measures all play a role in maintenance of good health and particularly for those without underlying disease conditions this ought to support a healthy immune system.


The points below are a few broad guidelines that are simple to follow and will stand you in good stead over the coming weeks and months. It is also important to note that these should be done alongside current government guidelines to only leave the house for food, health reasons or work (where essential), staying two metres (6ft) away from other people at all times when outside the home and handwashing as per official advice. As more of us are spending more time at home than usual, it provides a good opportunity to dedicate some extra time to cooking and eating well. While this may evoke images of Masterchef-worthy dishes, genius is often contained within simplicity.


Whether cooking for the family or just for one, simple ingredients used in combination can be combined to make a healthy, nutritious meal while also providing the satisfaction in learning a new recipe, trying out new cuisine or bringing one of your all-time favourites back to the table. Here are some top tips to make cooking easier and more accessible.

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The COVID‐19 pandemic has brought forth multiple voices advising particular dietary strategies to combat the disease. Although many do so with the best of intentions, some may have personal biases or financial conflicts of interest. Here we summarise the evidence surrounding the role of some of the key micronutrients in infectious disease with a focus on respiratory conditions.

Vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12 & B9 and minerals Fe, Se, Zn, Mg & Cu are highlighted.

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A 10-point summary on diet, nutrition and the role of micronutrients

E Fallon, S McAuliffe & S Ray on behalf of the NNEdPro Global Centre for Nutrition and Health (Design by M Abrantes; Reviewed by E Beck, L Buckner, J Bradfield, D Crocombe, M McGirr & K Martin) 26th March 2020. Correspondence to: info@nnedpro.org.uk

In the wake of the current and unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, on 20th March 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasised the importance of appropriate diet and lifestyle measures including adequate nutrition to protect the immune system. This is of course not a substitute for adherence, first and foremost, to key public health and medical advice on prevention. However, as vast sections of society spend more time at home, it provides an opportunity to focus on strengthening the four lifestyle pillars of sleep, mind, exercise and diet. To elaborate on diet and nutrition, particularly given the variable quality of online information, we have put together a 10-point summary as general guidance: 

1 The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is highly transmissible and can be potentially lethal. Hence any strategies that can prevent or mitigate respiratory infection risk and strengthen overall immunity are critical at this time. 

2 Poor nutrition, due to either insufficient dietary intake of key nutrients or a poor overall diet quality, can compromise immune function and increase overall infection risk. 

3 Micronutrients, commonly known as vitamins and minerals, are required in small quantities but are critical for health and pivotal in strengthening the immune system. 

4 Multiple micronutrients are essential for good immune function, particularly vitamins A, C, D, E, B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), B12 (cobalamin) and B9 (folic acid) and minerals iron, selenium, zinc, magnesium and copper (Calder, Carr, Gombart & Eggersdorfer, 2020) and these are found in a variety of foods that form part of a balanced diet in line with national guidelines. 

5 There are a variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals (see below), in particular fruit and vegetables, which can be fresh, tinned or frozen:

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6 In the United Kingdom, as an example, several micronutrient deficiencies are prevalent as the Government’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2019) demonstrates widespread inadequacy in the intakes and/or status of vitamin D, vitamin A (retinol), folate and selenium across the UK population and in specific age groups. This is likely to be mirrored more widely across multiple countries. 

7 Certain individuals are at greater risk of micronutrient deficiency; this includes women of childbearing age, particularly pregnant and lactating women, infants and toddlers, children, adolescents (particularly females), older adults (Maggini, Pierre & Calder, 2018), obese individuals, and the critically ill, plus individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (Kilby, Mathias, Boisvenue, Heisler & Jones, 2019) and other chronic inflammatory and malabsorptive conditions. 

8 In many high risk groups, a balanced diet alone may not be sufficient to meet these requirements and deficiencies can contribute to impaired immune function. This can be due to a variety of factors affecting intakes, absorption and also due to increased utilisation of micronutrients during times of infection. In such cases, the immune system can be supported by micronutrient supplementation particularly to help correct deficiencies.

9 As a key example from the UK, Vitamin D supplementation is recommended at 10 micrograms a day, as per guidelines. The average diet provides less than half of this amount. In fact, Public Health England (PHE) is now recommending that people consider taking a Vitamin D supplement of 10ug throughout the spring and summer as lockdown continues and access to sunlight may be limited. This is of particular concern in individuals in the high-risk category, which includes people who are housebound, living in a care home and those with darker skin. 

10 Overall, whilst COVID-19 is causing inevitable distress to one and all, aside from the impact of the viral illness itself, prevention through social distancing and staying at home can affect both mood and feelings. This may cause depression, anxiety, loneliness and irritability. During these testing times, it is important to remember that eating well, staying hydrated, thinking positively, sleeping adequately and staying active will contribute to both physical and mental wellbeing. Some examples of useful UK resources include:

(i) NHS ‘stay at home’ exercises – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/gym-free-exercises/

(ii) Doing things for others – www.actionforhappiness.org

(iii) A mental health community pack – https://www.maldon.gov.uk/healthandwellbeing 

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7139452254?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Food Systems Dashboard is a new tool that aims to describe global, regional and national food systems; to assess the challenges for improving diets, nutrition and health; and to guide its users to set priorities and decide on actions.

The need for this tool was identified by Jess Fanzo at Johns Hopkins University and Lawrence Haddad at The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) in 2018 when working on the team that wrote the UN High Level Panel of Experts on Food Systems and Nutrition report. 

The data are publicly accessible via the online Dashboard, which has a well-designed and easy-to-navigate user interface, as designed by iTech Mission with user testing and feedback from our team and additional pilot testing and modifications planned following the launch. The Figure  shows how food systems data are transformed from original data sources to metadata that can be altered through data structural changes and visual mapping resulting in graphical views of data. iTech has visual information design experience across a range of platforms, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Dashboard.

The Dashboard is intended as the primary resource for decision makers to find curated, high-quality data and analytics on their country’s food systems. The data gives users insight into the state of their food systems and their effects on nutrition and health. The Dashboard also suggests parts of the food system that may require corrective action through actionable indicators. 

Read full paper. Watch video:

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