The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) states that it is essential for people to understand what constitutes a healthy diet and to know how to use their resources in the most effective way. Iodine is an essential nutrient for mammals, required as a mandatory structural and functional element of thyroid hormones. Previous studies in Latvia highlighted a tendency of reduced level of iodine for newborns, school-age children and pregnant women. No studies in the general adult population had been conducted yet. The aim of the study was to evaluate the level of knowledge regarding the role of iodine in nutrition in the adult population of Latvia. In total 199 adults participated in the survey. Data on the knowledge about the occurrence of iodine in nature and foodstuffs, the role of iodine in nutrition, and its deficiency were obtained. Results of the survey showed that only 4.5% of respondents used iodised salt daily in the diet. One-fourth knew that iodine is widely found in the environment and more than one-third knew all of the main functions of iodine in the human body. Salt and sea food were mentioned as the most common iodine sources. While iodised salt is used rarely, public awareness about the role of iodine is good and potential iodine deficiency in Latvia is likely due to unbalanced diet rather than lack of knowledge.
Inga Širina, Ieva Strēle, Inese Siksna and Dace Gardovska
Meat consumption during the first year of life is especially important to provide necessary iron requirements. The aim of the study was to assess meat and meat product consumption of Latvian infants during their first year of life, in relation to different factors. Data were collected by interview method using two types of questionnaires: food frequency questionnaires and food diary. The study included a representative sample of infants and toddlers from all regions of Latvia with a target sample of 560 participants. The study included 266 infants: 127 girls, 139 boys, aged from 0 to 12 month. Data were summarised using the Excel software and analysed using the SPSS software. For data analysis two age groups were created: 0–5.9 months and 6–12 months. Consumption was analysed by two parameters: frequency and amount per feeding. Meat products were defined as offal products, sausages, and meat in baby food. Meat was mainly consumed after 6 months of age and by 73% of infants (n = 107). Meat from baby food was consumed only after 6 months and by 23% (n = 34). Sausages and offal products were consumed after 6 months of age. Sausages were consumed by 18% (n = 28) and offal products by 11% (n = 16) of infants. Meat consumption for the majority of infants was introduced after 6 months and was in accordance with recommendations.
Elīna Ciekure, Inese Siksna, Olga Valciņa, Ludmila Vīksna and Angelika Krūmiņa
Ready-to-eat (RTE) foods are challenging for food business operators as they need to remain qualitative and safe for consumers. However, consumers tend to choose them more and more often because of fast and easy handling. The highest risk from RTE foods is microbiological contamination, particularly for vulnerable groups like children, elderly, and pregnant women. The aim of the research was to assess the microbiological quality of RTE meat and fish products to highlight possible risks for consumers. A total of 15 984 analyses performed on RTE meat and fish products were included in this study. It was found that RTE meat and fish product samples representative of the market in Latvia in the period 2012-2015 had high microbiological quality and only in rare cases was contamination with hygiene indicatororganisms (coliforms and Escherichia coli) and pathogens (Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and sulphite-reducing clostridia) detected. However, it is important to pay attention to customer habits of cooking and preparing RTE foods as well - thermal processing for products intended to be used cooked, use before expiration date and adequate storage rules for products, as these have important regarding microbiological risks for health.
Whole-grain rye intake has been suggested to have anti-cancer effect, including changes in serum hormones and reduced prostate specific antigen (PSA) in animals and humans. In this study, we investigated the effect of high intake of whole-grain rye bread on prostate cancer progression as assessed by PSA concentration in men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fifteen men with prostate cancer who did not receive prior therapy were randomised and given a daily supplement of 250 g refined wheat bread for two weeks and, afterwards, 250 g whole-grain rye bread for six weeks. Blood samples were taken from fasting men at baseline and after two and six weeks to measure the PSA and sex hormones. The dietary intake was: energy intake 3452 kcal; protein intake 166 g, carbohydrate intake 334 g, fat 149 g, saturated fat intake 52 g, and fibre intake 40 g. Plasma total PSA, free PSE, testosterone concentrations and free androgen index tended to be higher after refined white bread treatment and lower after whole-grain rye treatment. However, none of the differences were statistically significant. There were no significant changes in sex hormone binding globulin, luteinising hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone. In this intervention trial, whole-grain rye consumption did not result in significant changes in PSA and sex hormones, which may be related to high fat intake. Further prospective trials are indicated to evaluate the potential of whole-grain rye bread, taking into account other factors.