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New arsenic compounds discovered in rice fields

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A new study has looked into the conditions, and to what extent, sulphur-containing arsenic compounds are formed in rice-growing soils.

Researchers have for the first time systematically investigated under which conditions, and to what extent, sulphur-containing arsenic compounds are formed in rice-growing soils. To date, these thioarsenates have not been taken into account in assessments of the health effects of rice consumption. 

The research team from the University of Bayreuth, together with scientists from Italy and China and headed by the Bayreuth environmental geochemist Prof Dr Britta Planer-Friedrich, has developed a measuring method in which thioarsenates in rice soils can be reliably detected.

Up to now, the methods routinely used to monitor arsenic in rice fields have not been sufficient for this purpose as they are not able to identify sulphur-containing arsenic compounds as such, or distinguish them from oxygen-containing arsenic compounds. This shortcoming is highly problematic in terms of possible health risks, the researchers said. At least one organic sulphur-containing arsenic compound discovered in rice fields is already known to be carcinogenic. 

“The uptake of the various thioarsenates in rice plants and the potential risks to human health arising from them urgently require further research. Rice is the world’s most important foodstuff and secures the basis of life for more than one half of the world’s population,” explained Planer-Friedrich. “Analytical procedures for limit monitoring, which correctly detect all of these compounds, must become routine.”

With their new measuring method, the researchers have observed the formation of sulphur-containing arsenic compounds over long periods of time in rice fields in Italy and China. They found that the amounts of thioarsenates occurring are linked significantly to the pH-values of the soils and other easily measurable parameters.

“These findings contain valuable starting points for the development of forecasting methods,” said Jiajia Wang MSc, Bayreuth PhD student and first author of the study. “If in future we could predict, without great technical effort, on which rice fields particularly large or only small amounts of sulphur-containing arsenic compounds are to be expected, it would be an important contribution to the assessment of health risks.”

The study was published in Nature Geoscience.



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Healthy food -PALAK

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Hello everyone, here is very short video on healthy green vegetable
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Mengniu Dairy cleared for Australia acquisition | Food Industry News

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French Salmonella outbreak linked to horse meat from Romania

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A Salmonella outbreak linked to horse meat from Romania sickened 25 people in France this past year, according to a new report.

Eleven cases were men and 14 were women. They ranged from 2 to 90 years of age and the median was 68 years old.

In September 2019, the regional unit of Santé Publique France in the Hauts-de-France region was alerted to a spike in Salmonella Bovismorbificans notifications in Nord and Pas-de-Calais during the first two weeks of August, found by the National Reference Center for E. coli, Salmonella and Shigella at Institut Pasteur.

The 25 salmonellosis cases, belonging to the same genomic cluster, were identified between Aug. 4 and 26, 2019. Nine people needed hospital treatment and two had severe complications but none died.

Hypothesis from patient interviews
Twenty people were interviewed. Results of a food survey revealed consumption of chilled raw or undercooked minced (ground) horse meat by 18 of 20 cases questioned in the days before onset of symptoms. No other food was eaten by all those interviewed.

Of the two people who did not eat horse meat, one person was infected with a strain having genetic characteristics slightly different from the other cases and the other was sick after eating a Bolognese pizza in a restaurant.

Consumption of horse meat has decreased significantly in France in recent decades but most of those who eat it live in Hauts-de-France. Horse meat is mainly imported from Italy, Romania, Poland, the United States or South America despite some domestic production.

Symptoms lasted for two to 21 days with a mean duration of 10 days and the mean length of hospital stay was eight days, ranging from three to 21 days.

The investigation identified a common Belgian wholesaler, supplied by a slaughterhouse and a meat cutting workshop in Romania. Batches of implicated horse meat were also distributed to Austria, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden and Vietnam.

At the European level, none of the 14 countries which replied to the French alert about the increase in Salmonella Bovismorbificans cases observed any recent rise in infections belonging to the same genomic cluster as the French cases.

Involvement of Belgium and Romania
The fact that most purchases were made on markets made it easier to identify the buying dates and time of consumption. Four distributors obtained carcasses or pieces of horse meat from the same wholesaler of fresh meat in Belgium.

Dates of purchases cited by those sick and analysis of purchase orders and invoices provided by the distributors, made it possible to link the dates of purchase to the raw materials used and with several batches of horse meat, from a slaughterhouse and cutting workshop in Romania.

Controls were carried out in the places of purchase or vehicles cited by those ill and analyzes were done on equipment and pieces of meat, available at the time of inspections but different from batches sold during the outbreak. Salmonella Bovismorbificans was not found in the meat tested.

It was not possible to confirm the hypotheses by finding strains of Salmonella Bovismorbificans in meat consumed by cases, due to the absence of leftovers from implicated lots. The exact origin of the contamination of the meat suspected of causing the outbreak has not been found.

The outbreak was the fourth due to consumption of horse meat documented in recent years. The others in 2003, 2006 and 2010 involved Salmonella Newport, Salmonella Meleagridis and Salmonella Typhimurium.

In 2018, a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in France was suspected to be caused by chilled horse meat from Belgium, processed in Romania, with raw material from Hungary. Austria, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland were also part of this alert.

In France, Salmonella Bovismorbificans is rarely isolated from humans with less than 50 cases identified, respectively in 2016 and 2017.

Officials said prevention of foodborne infections requires a change in risky eating habits. It involves informing vulnerable people about the risks of consuming raw or undercooked ground meat were contamination will not be destroyed if there is insufficient cooking.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)



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