Identifying and understanding the factors influencing bioactive levels in vegetables (VG14027)
What was it all about?
The vegetable industry’s Veggycation platform (www.veggycation.com.au) was established under a previous levy investment, to help communicate the health benefits of vegetables. With this subsequent project, the goal was to include more detailed information on phytonutrients (bioactives) on the site, as well as investigate the regulations that stipulate what can be claimed about them.
Phytonutrients are substances derived from plants that have health benefits, other than nutrients (vitamins and minerals).
The initial Veggycation project collated some information on certain classes of phytonutrients but did not provide quantitative data. This dedicated project added this information to Veggycation, including new phytonutrients and further information about each. In particular, detailed data was added on the typical amounts of phytonutrients present in each vegetable, their status with regard to health claims, and snippets of the latest research plus new information on postharvest effects.
In order to expand the export market for Australian vegetables, there needs to be a greater understanding of the regulations on the health claims that can be made overseas. To achieve this, the project also collated information on the current status of the science and approved legislation relating to the health benefits of phytonutrients in both domestic and relevant Asian export markets.
The study found that current legislation restricts claims for phytonutrients to only the amount present. Researchers concluded that it will be some time before health benefits are well enough established with scientific evidence to be accepted by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, and other international regulatory bodies.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation
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