Find general information about MPI’s chemical information sheets and pathogen data sheets:
Chemical information sheets
You can find the following information on a chemical information sheet:
- a description of the chemical compound and its sources
- the potential health effects
- the likelihood of it occurring in the diet and how safe it is
- whether safety and/or regulatory limits need to be set.
The aim of this project is to provide updated New Zealand data on the levels of acrylamide in risk foods and estimates of exposure so that New Zealand authorities can make reasoned and informed choices on the need for further action for New Zealand.
Aspartame is a non-nutritive intense sweetener. It is used as an alternative to sugar as a
sweetener, but is added at much lower concentrations as aspartame is approximately 200
times sweeter than sugar. For this reason aspartame is particular used in ‘diet’ and ‘low
calorie’ products. Aspartame is metabolised by gut esterases and peptidases to three
common chemicals; the amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and small amounts
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used primarily as a monomer in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are rigid plastics sometimes used for food contact materials, including drink bottles. Epoxy resins are used for lining tin cans.
The objective of this project in the 2004/05 year was to indentify the foods most likely to contribute significant amounts of acrylamide to typical New Zealand diets using the simulated diets from the 2003/04 Total Diet Survey and use this as the basis of selecting New Zealand foods for further testing.
Cyanogenic glycosides or cyanoglycosides account for approximately 90% of the wider group of plant toxins known as cyanogens. The key characteristic of these toxins is cyanogenesis, the formation of free hydrogen cyanide, and is associated with cyanohydrins that have been stabilised by glycosylation (attachment of sugars) to form the cyanogenic glycosides.
Glucosinolates are a family of about 120 plant compounds. They are modified amino acids, carrying an S-glucose functional group and a variety of different side chains. The parent compounds can be broken down by a plant enzyme, myrosinase, which is liberated for reaction through processing of the plant tissue (e.g. cutting, cooking or freezing).
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of the non-essential amino acid glutamic acid. Glutamic acid is one of the most abundant amino acids in human foods. When glutamate is present in a free form, not as a component of proteins or peptides, it has a flavour-enhancing effect and for this reason it is added to foods as its purified monosodium salt.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are a large group of compounds made up of two or more fused benzene rings. They are primarily formed by incomplete combustion or pyrolysis of organic matter and during various industrial processes. Consequently, they are found in automobile exhaust, smoke from fires or cigarettes and as a component of air pollution. PAHs generally occur in complex mixtures which may consist of hundreds of compounds.
Pathogen data sheets
Pathogen data sheets give information about the microbial hazards in food and how they are contolled.
Pathogen data sheets give scientific information about the growth, survival and inactivation of pathogens in foods. They also document their reservoirs and sources of contamination, diseases they cause, and how they can be controlled.
Scombroid poisoning occurs when raw scombroid fish is temperature abused allowing bacterial growth to occur with concomitant toxin production. Similar toxins can also be produced in other foods, notably cheese and other fermented foods. While histamine poisoning is well known and is by far the most important form, a range of different related toxins, known as biogenic amines, can cause disease. However, the actual nature of the toxin(s) is controversial.
This organism causes the most commonly reported gastrointestinal disease in New Zealand. The two species Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli are most often associated with disease. It grows best in reduced oxygen atmospheres and only at temperatures
exceeding room temperature.
The bacterial pathogen Salmonella, the illness it causes, and ways to control it.
A report to determine what scientific evidence was available to support sous vide cooking of meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that occasionally causes serious illness in immunocompromised individuals and unborn babies. It is estimated that one third of all humans have been exposed to T. gondii, but most instances of toxoplasmosis are mild or asymptomatic.
Growth and toxin production is best in the presence of oxygen but can grow anaerobically. It is not regarded as a good competitor with other bacteria. Infected food handlers are a significant cause of food poisonings.
This genus includes four species; S. dysenteriae, S. flexneri, S. boydii and S. sonnei, which are able to cause bacillary dysentery. They are very similar to Escherichia coli and are serologically cross reactive, but have remained separate species for clinical reasons.
In New Zealand, cases of human illness and laboratory detection of either organism are notified to ESR and Y. enterocolitica is more commonly reported than Y. pseudotuberculosis. A seasonal pattern is apparent from the data, with more cases reported in the months of October, November and January (Pirie, 2008). A large proportion of cases are believed to be attributable to food. This datasheet focuses on Y. enterocolitica.
An infrequent cause of disease in New Zealand, but has a high associated case fatality rate. It is a marine organism (grows in 6% NaCl) that can grow both in the presence and absence of air.
A marine Vibrio normally associated with food poisonings involving seafood consumption. It is a major cause of food poisoning in Asian countries. Certain strains (Kanagawa phenomenon-positive, KP+) are primarily involved with human disease.
These organisms form a diverse group of Escherichia coli that are capable of producing shigatoxin(s), as is E. coli O157:H7. However, they are of widely differing pathogenic potential, varying from those that can cause disease similar to that produced
by E. coli O157:H7 to those that have never been associated with disease.
Bacillus cereus is a spore-forming bacterium that occurs naturally in many kinds of foods and can cause illness in humans. It can form spores that are resistant to heating and dehydration and can therefore survive cooking and dry storage.
Cryptosporidium parvum and Cryptosporidium hominis are intracellular protozoan parasites that may produce gastrointestinal symptoms when ingested by humans. Up until 2002, C. parvum was named C. parvum genotype 2 (cattle genotype) and C. hominis was named C. parvum genotype 1 (the human genotype). They are now recognised as different species based on genetic distinctions.
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