July 26, 2016

FDA to Tighten Labels and Marketing of Animal Antibiotics

Recently, an antibiotic-resistant superbug called MCR-1 has been found in two people and two pigs in the United States, and it was just found in the water in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian scientists discovered a drug-resistant bacteria off the coast of one of the city's beaches, one month before the Summer Olympics starts. Giving antibiotics to food animals at sub-therapeutic doses is one way that these superbugs evolve. The MCR-1 resistance gene makes the last-line antibiotic colistin useless. The gene has been found in other bacteria in other countries. Since this gene can be transferred to other organisms, scientists are very worried. So the FDA is planning to tighten labels and marketing options for antibiotics intended for animal use. That agency sent a letter to animal drug … [Read more...]

Stay Food Safe This Fourth of July

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)  and USDA are offering tips to Americans to stay food safe this Fourth of July holiday weekend. Outdoor cooking can include special hazards that can make you and your guests sick. First, grill like a PRO. Whenever you are cooking meats on the grill, whether they are burgers, chicken, steaks or ribs, use a food thermometer. First, PLACE the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. If you are cooking a thinner piece of meat such as hamburgers, insert the thermometer from the side. Then, READ the temperature. Wait about 10 to 20 seconds for an accurate reading. For beef, pork, lamb, and veal steaks, roasts and chops, meat should reach a temperature of 145°F with a three minute rest time to be safe. Ground meats should be … [Read more...]

Minnesota Agencies Reveal Plan to Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Four agencies in Minnesota have launched a five year plan to fight antibiotic resistance. The partners are in public health, health care, agribusiness, and environmental protection. They are the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health, and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. They will work together to "promote judicious antibiotic use and stewardship in order to reduce the impact of resistant bacteria." The widespread use of antibiotics over the past few decades has caused an alarming increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. Bacteria are able to develop resistance to antibiotics through natural selection. While the effectiveness of medically important antibiotics has been decreasing, the rate of antibiotic resistant bacteria … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Decodes Labels on Meat Packages

Consumer Reports is helping consumers decode the labels on their meat packages. Information on the label can tell you if the meat is organic, if the animal was raised without synthetic hormones or antibiotics, if it was grass fed, and more. Here are some label terms and what they mean. "Grass fed" means that meat must come from an animal that has never been fed grain and can graze in a pasture during the grazing season. The animal can be fed antibiotics and hormones. "Partial grass-fed" as a label term is meaningless, since all cattle eat grass or hay when they are young. Grain is given to some of these animals so they get bigger before slaughter. The American Grassfed Association and Animal Welfare Approved Grassfed labels have stricter standards than the USDA. "Humanely raised" … [Read more...]

FDA Requests Data About Safety of Hand Sanitizers

The FDA issued a proposed rule yesterday requesting additional scientific data to support the safety and effectiveness of ingredients used in hand sanitizers that are marketed over the counter. The agency wants to make sure that regular use of these products doesn't present unknown safety and efficacy concerns. This does not mean the FDA thinks these products are unsafe or ineffective. Antiseptic rubs are products used when soap and water are not available. They are left on and not rinsed off with water. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "today, consumers are using antiseptic rubs more frequently at home, work, school, and in other public settings where the risk of infection is relatively low. These products … [Read more...]

Gillibrand, Slaughter, DeLauro, Feinstein to USDA: Revise Pathogen Testing

The USDA must revise poultry pathogen testing methods to improve accuracy and better protect public health, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Dianne Feinstein and Representatives Rosa Luisa DeLauro and Louise Slaughter said in a letter to USDA Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack. The group penned the letter after learning from a recent report that antibacterial sanitizers used to kill pathogens on poultry carcasses may cause false-negative results for Salmonella. “We have to be vigilant when it comes to monitoring the safety of our food. This report is a reminder of the importance of good and efficient oversight when it comes to maintaining a safe food supply.” said Sen. Gillibrand, (D- NY). “We should never be placed in the position to question testing results in our poultry. The USDA … [Read more...]

FDA Targets Internet Sales of Illegal Prescription Meds

The FDA, in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, took action in June against 4,402 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved prescription drugs to U.S. consumers. The effort, led by INTERPOL, was part of Operation Pangea IX. George Karavetsos, director of the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, said, "preventing illegal internet sales of dangerous unapproved drugs is critical to protecting consumers' health. Operation Pangea IX demonstrates the FDA's continuing commitment to stand united with our international partners to protect consumers in the United States and throughout the world from criminals who put profit above the health and safety of consumers." The action ran from May 31 to June 7, 2016. Extensive … [Read more...]

New Research Reduces Salmonella in Meat by 90%

New research conducted at the University of Nevada, Reno in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources has reduced Salmonella bacteria in meat products by 90%. Assistant Professor Amilton de Mello is using bacteriophages, which are natural predators of the microorganisms. Professor de Mello said, "we were able to reduce Salmonella by as much as 90% in ground poultry, ground pork, and ground beef. We're excited to be able to show such good results. Food safety is an important part of our work and Salmonella is one of the most prevalent bacteria in the nation's food supply." Salmonella food poisoning sickens one million Americans every year, hospitalizes 19,000 and kills almost 400. It is one of the most common causes of food poisoning worldwide. The … [Read more...]

FDA Wants to Reduce Sodium in the Food Supply

The FDA is planning to reduce sodium in the food supply. The link between sodium consumption and blood pressure is well documented. Most people need to reduce their sodium consumption to less than 2,300 mg per day. And most of that consumption, about 75%, comes from processed and prepared foods, not the salt shaker. Some companies have reduced sodium in their products, but many foods still contain a lot of salt. On average, Americans consume 3,400 mg of sodium every day, more than 50% above the recommended limit. Children also eat more than is recommended. Most children consume from 2,900 mg a day, and teenagers consume 3,700 mg per day. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A lower sodium intake is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular … [Read more...]

Food Safety Issues Prompt FDA Warning Letter to Whole Foods North Atlantic Kitchen

Food safety violations at the Whole Foods North Atlantic Kitchen in Everett, Mass. are serious enough that food made there is considered adulterated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told the company in a warning letter dated June 8, 2016. Among the agency's finding at the facility was a positive tests for non-pathogenic Listeria on food contact surfaces.  The finding shows conditions inside the facility would support the presence and growth of Listeria monocytogenes, a pathogen, the agency said. Under the Food and Drug Act, foods are considered adulterated if they "were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health." In addition to finding non-pathogenic Listeria, the agency found: food was … [Read more...]

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