Jan 9, 2009 | 9
Warning: if you have a delicate stomach—stop reading this now. Ditto if you're eating.
For you heartier souls out there… A show of hands, please: How many of you know that many common foods and beverages with a blush—think yogurt, ice cream, candies, fruit drinks—get their reddish (pinkish, purplish or orange) glow from carmine and cochineal, colorings extracted from the dried bodies of teensy female cochineal insects, sometimes referred to as cochineal beetles?
Think we're kidding? If only. The fact is that until now, unbeknownst to most consumers, food and cosmetic companies have had the luxury of listing these bug juices, so to speak, simply as "artificial colors" or "color added" in their ingredients.
Feel sick? Join the club. The good news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week, under pressure from consumer advocates, ruled that manufacturers that use these pigments in eats and makeup must begin listing them by name, albeit they are not required to disclose they hail from insects.
Dec 22, 2008
Good news for allergy sufferers: Researchers may have hit upon a fast, new way to detect circulating pollen using a common laboratory technique that would provide instant updates of which types of the allergen are circulating in the air. So far, the technique has only been shown to work in a lab, but it paves the way for a quicker detection system in the future, scientists report today in the journal Analytical Chemistry.
"[Pollen-counting] is a very time-consuming process," says David Shulan, an allergist at Certified Allergy and Asthma Consultants in Albany, New York. "It takes a lot of training to be able to identify the pollens. . . . It would be nice if we could do things quicker" he adds, noting that a real-time automated pollen-detection system might help allergists make more accurate diagnoses.
Oct 22, 2008 | 4
The number of children with food and digestive allergies has increased by 18 percent over the past decade, a new report shows, underscoring a trend reported by concerned parents and teachers.
The number of kids under 18 with those allergies climbed from 2.3 million in 1997 to 3 million last year, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some 90 percent are caused by just eight foods: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.
The findings are based on a national health survey of the parents of 9,500 children who were asked whether their kids had experienced a digestive or food allergy in the previous year. Because the results aren’t based on allergy diagnoses, that makes it unclear whether the rise is real or reflects a greater awareness of the condition, says CDC statistician Amy Brandum, who co-authored the report.
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