December 22, 2014

USDA: Avoid E. coli by Leaving Raw Beef of the Holiday Menu

Ground Beef

Eating raw meat can cause E. coli infections and other illnesses, so leave raw beef dishes off the menu this holiday season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises. Some families consider raw meat dishes, such as tartare, kibbeh and "Tiger Meat" a holiday traditions, but they pose serious health risks. In December 2012, 17 people in Wisconsin got E.coli poisoning from eating a raw beef and onion mixture sometimes called "Tiger Meat."  In 1994,  a raw beef outbreak sickened more than 100 people in Wisconsin. E.coli causes severe stomach cramps and diarrhea that can be bloody. In a some cases a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can develop. HUS which most often strikes young children with E. coli infections causes kidney failure, stroke, seizure, coma and … [Read more...]

CSPI: FDA Should Ban Retail Sale of Bulk Caffeine

Powdered Caffeine

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is saying that the FDA should ban the retail sale of bulk caffeine as a dietary supplement. Parents of two young men who died after ingesting this product met with FDA officials and senators to press their cause. CSPI is formally petitioning the FDA over this issue. Katie and Dennis Stiner of Ohio lost their 18 year old son Logan in May of this year. James and Julie Sweatt of Alabama lost their 24 year old son Wade in July 2014 after he ingested caffeine powder for the first time. One teaspoon of powdered caffeine is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. It is very difficult to determine the difference between a safe dose and a deadly dose when caffeine is used in this form. Serving sizes are between 1/32 and 1/16 of a teaspoon - amounts that … [Read more...]

FDA Warns of Dietary Supplements with Live Yeast in Immunocompromised Persons

ABC Dophilus Powder Fungus Recall

The FDA is warning those who are immunocompromised against taking dietary supplements that contain live bacteria or yeast and is warning healthcare providers about the use of these products in susceptible patients. A premature infant who was given ABC Dophilus Powder as part of an in-hospital treatment developed gastrointestinal mucormycosis caused by the mold Rhizopus oryzae and died. Rhizopus oryzae mold was found in an unopened container of the ABC Dophilus Powder. The FDA has sent a letter to healthcare providers around the country regarding this issue. That product was recalled on November 14, 2014 by the FDA for the mold. After the infant's death, FDA is telling healthcare providers that dietary supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA. They are not subject to FDA's … [Read more...]

Right to Know Files Emergency Lawsuit in Oregon GE Labeling Recount


According to the Center for Food Safety, Oregon citizens and Oregon Right to Know Campaign have filed an emergency lawsuit to ensure that their votes are properly counted in the recount of the Oregon GE labeling ballot measure. About 4,600 votes may be rejected. A mandatory statewide hand recount of Measure 92 is going on right now. The difference between "yes" and "no" was less than a tenth of a percentage point, or 812 votes. At this point, 4,600 ballots are being rejected without evidence of fraud or forgery. The lawsuit states, "these voters completed their ballots, signed their return identification envelopes pursuant to instructions provided by the Secretary of the State and local election officials, and timely returned their ballots. However, local election officials … have … [Read more...]

Groups Say Balanced Diet is Healthiest


Eighteen organizations have joined forces to promote a balanced diet as the healthiest for consumers. The collaboration is called "Back to Balance Coalition", which supports a "balanced, practical and achievable dietary guidance." The group has a new website. Their philosophy is that empowering choice is more effective than restricting it, and that Dietary Guidelines should be practical, affordable, and achievable. They say that restricting food choices by classifying foods as "good" or "bad may create unhealthy behaviors. Recommendations should stress the "traditional core principles of dietary guidelines: balance, variety, and moderation." Polling data shows that dietitians and other health professionals prefer balanced information instead of prescriptive food policies. The survey, … [Read more...]

Canada Sets Control Zone to Prevent Avian Flu Spread


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has established a primary control zone in the area where the highly pathogenic avian flu H5N1 has been infecting flocks. The Province of British Columbia is working with the CFIA to implement it. Southern British Columbia has a high concentration of poultry operations. The control zone is divided into three disease zones: Infected, restricted, and security. Those zones represent relative levels of risk. The outer boundary of an infected zone is up to 3 km from any known infected premises. The restricted zone is established surrounding the infected zone and measured based on the epidemiology of the disease. And the security zone is the remainder of the primary control zone beyond 10 km. The restrictions apply to captive birds, which includes but is … [Read more...]

Avoid Food Poisoning from Eggs During Holidays (and Throughout the Year)


Preparing and sharing holiday treats is one of the best parts of the holiday season. But foods containing eggs can cause illness if not prepared properly. Whether you are making eggnog or cookies, follow these food safety tips to safely prepare food and drinks that contain eggs. First, the facts. Raw eggs are not safe to consume. There is no split opinion on this in the world of food safety. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 350,000 Americans are sickened every year with Salmonella poisoning from raw or undercooked eggs. In fact it's so common to get Salmonella from eggs, the combination was ranked the No. 1 germ and food pair in 2009 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There have been food poisoning outbreaks linked to … [Read more...]

Canadian Butchers Altering “Best Before” Dates Caught on Hidden Camera


A hidden-camera investigation by Radio Canada showing grocery store butchers altering the "best before" dates on packages of meat and poultry has prompted Quebec's Agriculture Minister Pierre Paradis to order a probe of meat packing regulations. Although no health problems have been reported, the problem has become widespread. A butcher at one store told the network that meats are repackaged every morning before the store opens. For food safety reasons, meat and poultry need to be eaten within two to three days of being packaged. Changing the "best before" date could cause serious health problems for consumers. "We will take the necessary steps,” Paradis told the Montreal Gazette.  “Our producers are producing quality meats. The consumer has the right to eat quality … [Read more...]

Perdue Grower Needs to Improve Culling Program


The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) says that a Perdue contract grower must improve his culling program. The animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming took a video of flock conditions and showed it to the agency. The video was edited, but showed that the farmer  need to fix his euthanasia protocols. Animal welfare programs require farmers to inspect their animals twice a day. While the average mortality in birds is about 3 to 4%, in a flock of 30,000 birds 1,000 will die prematurely. The video shows chicks with broken legs, defective legs, and beak deformities. Other chicks are lethargic and sick. The video is also disturbing because broiler chickens are bred for rapid growth rate and increased breast meat yields, so the birds must spend most of their time squatting because … [Read more...]

Will Sprout Grower Face Criminal Charges After Listeria Recalls?

bean  sprouts

After two Listeria recalls in two years, bean sprout grower Henry's Farm of Virginia may face criminal charges, according to a report in The Packer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been investigating the company for 32 months, but Listeria problems have persisted even after a fire destroyed the facility and it was rebuilt. After the recall in 2012, FDA investigators inspected the facility and found “numerous insanitary conditions and practices that may have contributed directly or indirectly to contamination of your sprouts with pathogens and filth.” There were rodent droppings in bags of mung beans, and gnawed marks on bags of soybeans in the refrigerated seed storage area. Inspectors also noted a “foul odor consistent with rodent infestations.” In late November … [Read more...]

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