November 2015 News Bulletin: Transparency at EU food agency; getting harder to lose weight; safer textiles.

November 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm | Posted in News and Science Bulletins | Leave a comment
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November 2015 News Bulletin

Risk assessment methods | Europe’s food watchdog embraces transparency. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) plans to make public the data it uses to assess whether products such as pesticides, food additives, and genetically modified (GM) crops are safe to use, eat, or grow. “We want to make our data as open as possible and make it reusable,” EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url pledged on 14 October at the opening session of EFSA’s second scientific conference here. Industry, however, worries that the openness—which will extend to detailed industry reports—could threaten trade secrets, and some say it could stir unwarranted concerns. (Science)

Obesity | It’s gotten harder to lose weight and not for the reasons you think. When comparing people with the same diets in 1971 and 2008, the more recent counterpart was on average 10 percent heavier. Looking at physical activity data, which was only available between 1988 and 2006, those born later were five percent heavier even if they exercised just as much people two decades earlier. (Washington Post)

Safer textiles | Cutting Out Textile Pollution. In 2012, more than half of India’s $1.25 billion worth of textile exports to the U.S. came from the southern city of Tiruppur. While the business has brought economic benefits, its environmental and social costs are many. Downstream of Tiruppur and its more than 300 textile factories, the Noyyal River has become foamy and discolored. Pollution from this industry is blamed for causing illness among local people and sapping the productivity of nearby farms. (C&EN)

Safer food contact materials | What’s poppin’ in Denmark? Popcorn with safer packaging. Denmark’s largest retailer months earlier yanked microwave popcorn off its more than 1,200 stores because suppliers couldn’t come up with a way to rid the packaging of fluorinated chemicals. But then something happened: innovation. Just last week, Coop Denmark unveiled fluorinated-free microwave popcorn, made by Spanish snack company Liven. (Environmental Health News)

Pesticides | French wine industry’s love affair with pesticides blamed for worker health problems. But the French wine industry’s love affair with pesticides is coming under scrutiny over concerns about its health and social impacts. Earlier this year, a landmark legal action was launched by lawyers acting for the daughter of a vine grower, James-Bernard Murat, who died from cancer linked to his use of pesticides over a 40 year period. (The Guardian)

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