A simple and rapid method was developed to identify the source species of pufferfish products. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis was applied to identify 8 species of pufferfish. Commercial kits were used for DNA extraction and amplification. Simultaneous identification was possible by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of PCR products. Two primers were chosen based on the result of pre-examination with 40 primers, and the PCR conditions were optimized. Characteristic RAPD patterns were obtained for each pufferfish species. The developed method was applied to identify the source species of 26 pufferfish products. The results suggest that the developed method would be useful for verification of the labeled species of pufferfish products.
Most fish samples contain methylmercury, that the concentrations very greatly according to the fish species. To avoid the adverse health effects of methylmercury while retaining the benefits provided by fish consumption, it is important to select suitable fish species and to control the amount of the fish intake. We surveyed the concentrations of total mercury and methylmercury in 210 retail fish samples classified into 19 fish species by using validated analytical methods. The results of this survey were as follows. The total mercury and methylmercury concentrations were higher than 1 mg/kg in some samples of swordfish and bluefin tuna, which are large predatory fish species. In bluefin tuna and yellowtail, total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in farm-raised fish were lower than those in natural fish. There was a positive correlation between total mercury concentration and methylmercury concentration. Our results indicate that a cut-off value of 0.3 mg/kg total mercury in the screening of fish samples would increase the effectiveness of inspection.
A food-poisoning case due to eating the roots of Datura occurred in Kawasaki City, Japan in 2014. The Datura plant was mistakenly collected instead of burdock in a domestic garden. The roots of these plants are quite similar to each other. We presumed that the specimen was the root of Datura, but it was difficult to classify it only from the morphology. Using LC-MS/MS, we detected atropine and scopolamine from the remaining plant specimen. Therefore, we applied the DNA barcoding method. The results showed that the specimen was classified into Solanaceae family, but not Asteraceae family. Thus, the specimen was confirmed to be Datura species based on both chemical and genetic analyses.
“Food with Function Claims” was established on April 1st 2015. In the present study, we conducted internet surveillance to examine recognition of “Food with Function Claims” among consumers (n=2,060), physicians (n=515), and pharmacists (n=515). The ratio of recognition of “Food with Function Claims” was 81% among consumers, 93% among physicians, and 98% among pharmacists. However, only 16% of consumers, 23% of physicians, and 44% of pharmacists correctly understood the characteristics of “Food with Function Claims”. Only 12% of consumers were using or have used “Food with Function Claims”. Among “Food with Function Claims” users, 26% checked the information about “Food with Function Claims” on the website of the Consumer Affairs Agency, Government of Japan. Some of them used “Food with Function Claims” for treatment their diseases. In addition, some of them used “Food with Function Claims” and medicines concomitantly without consulting their physicians or pharmacists. Consequently, only 8% of physicians and pharmacists were asked about dietary supplement use by their patients, and 2% of physicians and pharmacists had consultations with their patients on adverse events associated with using “Food with Function Claims”.
The prevalence of health foods is increasing in Japan, especially among elderly people. The internet is widely used as an information source, but it is not clear whether elderly people get information about health foods via the internet or not. To clarify this issue, we conducted two questionnaire surveys; one on a website (internet survey) and one in the local community (paper survey). The internet survey showed that a lot of elderly people use the internet to get information and also to purchase health foods. On the other hand, paper survey showed that a smaller proportion of elderly people used the internet, compared to the internet survey. Instead, they got information from their friends, health-care professionals, or various media sources, such as television, newspapers and magazines. Our results indicate that many elderly people don't use the internet to get information about health foods. Adequate ways to inform them about health foods are needed to reduce adverse events associated with health food use.