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  • Author or Editor: M. Szeitz-Szabó x
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Mycotoxins are natural compounds that may cause various adverse toxicological manifestations in humans and animals. The nature, the severity and scope of their adverse activity are varied and in general, even in small amount they have potent carcinogenic, genotoxic effect and injure the immune system. In order to provide high level of health protection for consumers, the European Union has established strict regulatory limits, whose implementation is enforced.The EC (2001) Commission Regulation sets maximum levels for some mycotoxins in foodstuffs: for aflatoxins, ochratoxin A, patulin, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, fumonisins, T-2 and HT-2 toxins. Particular product categories are regulated under specific decisions ordaining control of imported consignments at the point of entry. Due to the fact that only aflatoxins are addressed in the specific decisions, they are the mostly detected and notified mycotoxins in the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF). The second most frequent group, Ochratoxin A is typically detected during internal EU market controls. Most RASFF notifications concern product categories falling under specific EU decisions, especially the Aflatoxin content of nuts and nut products. Significant amount of aflatoxins can be found also in dried fruits, spices and herbs.The article reviews and analyses the data available in rapid alert system concerning mycotoxins notification, and evaluates the usefulness of this information for risk assessment. The value of RASFF system is unquestionable and it fulfils its intended function included in its name. The system is a significant source of valuable information, but for risk assessment purposes, other additional information is needed. It could be used most effectively for risk assessment, if it was to provide data on the ratio of all/tested/positive lots and if the authorities provided not only the positive results, but also the exact mycotoxins level of every analysed sample.

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The authors’ aim is to reveal the reflection of Hungarian political and economic transformation in the public health nutrition during the last two and a half decades. Results of the four representative, nationwide dietary surveys completed in this period have been analysed for macro-, micronutrient intakes and overweight/obesity. The food consumption-related vital statistics provided by Hungarian Central Statistical Office were also analysed and compared. There are certain signs of favourable improvements: slight decrease of energy intake in females, growing share of plant protein, less saturated, more polyunsaturated fatty acid intake, less sugar. These findings are in parallel with some positive general statistical issues: the extension of life expectancy, lesser acute myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis and stomach cancer mortality, more vegetables and fruit, lesser lard, more oil consumption. On the other hand, there are several detrimental nutritional issues that influence the health status of Hungarian population: still high energy, fat and cholesterol intake, low complex carbohydrates, too much sodium (salt), insufficiencies in some vitamin, macro- and microelements intake. The number of overweight/obese people takes up fairly high level. The surveys somewhat revealed the role of nutrition in the health status of population and now a particle of possibility for its improvement is available

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In 2009 Hungarian Food Safety Office (HFSO) performed a countrywide representative dietary survey to obtain food consumption data for quantitative food safety risk assessment utilizable in the field of public health nutrition as well. The consumption of foodstuffs, daily energy- and nutrient intakes, nutritional habits and dietary supplement usage of Hungarian population was assessed. The complex system has included three-day dietary record and a food consumption frequency questionnaire. Some anthropometric parameters were also self-recorded. According to the body mass index, a considerable proportion of both the 31–60 years old males (69%) and females (46%) were overweight or obese. The energy intake of the Hungarian adult population is slightly exceeds the recommendation. The intake of proteins is satisfactory in general. The average intake of total fats is very high (36.1–38.9 energy percent), and the fatty acid composition — mostly the ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids — is unfavourable, but the fatty acid pattern regarding saturated- (SFA), mono- (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acid ratio shows favourable tendency. The proportion of complex carbohydrates within the intake of energy providing macronutrients is far lower than the optimal level, but it is a positive finding that added sugar intake is below the outmost recommendation. The average daily cholesterol intake is high (males: 469 mg, females: 335 mg), whilst the dietary fibre intake is lower than the recommended. The article provides data on alcohol, caffeine and fibre consumption, too.

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The fourth countrywide nutrition survey was initiated and co-ordinated by the Hungarian Food Safety Office jointly to the yearly Household Budget Survey of Hungarian Central Statistical Office in 2009. The dietary assessment was performed by trained interviewers and skilled dieticians using a complex questionnaire system, containing three-day diary, short food frequency questionnaire and questions on taking of dietary supplements and on prevalence of food allergy. The data records were processed and the questionnaires were validated, the results obtained on the micronutrient intakes of the adult population are shown in this article. From fat soluble vitamins, the average daily intakes of vitamins A and D were lower than the national recommendations in case of both genders, meaning low intake for around 60% (in case of retinol) and 80–90% (in case of calciferols) of adults. The intakes of some water soluble vitamins belonging to B group, vitamin C and folates were low as well. Regarding the macroelements, the most important health problem on population level is the extremely high sodium load of the inhabitants, combined with unfavourable sodium/potassium ratio. The average daily calcium intake of every age and gender group was far below the recommended value. The average daily intake of iron was low for the 50% of adult females. The article also provides data on frequency of food supplement taking habits of inhabitants and of self-reported food allergy.

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