October 1, 2014

Sunny Delight, Others Asked to Stop Marketing In-School Junk Food


Center for Science in the Public Interest has asked Sunny Delight, maker of Sunny D beverage, to stop a program that encourages parents, teachers, and students to collect 20 labels of the product in exchange for foods. CSPI said that Sunny D "encourages families to consume a drink that promotes diabetes, weight gain, and other health problems." The beverage only includes 5% juice; the remaining ingredients are sugar; artificial sweeteners sucralose, acesulfame potassium, and neotame; high fructose corn syrup; sodium benzoate; dyes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6; and water, along with vitamins and other ingredients such as xanthan gum and canola oil. A 16-ounce bottle of Sunny D Tangy Original has almost 7 teaspoons of sugar. CSPI nutrition policy director Margo G. Wootan said in a statement, … [Read more...]

U.N. Says Ebola Crisis Could Become Food Insecurity Crisis


The Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and other West African countries has made food expensive and hard to find. Labor shortages because of the outbreak are putting the harvest season at risk and trade is being disrupted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. This has led to "panic buying" and food shortages. The harvest season in West Africa begins in September. There were positive crop production outlooks at the start of the season. Unfortunately, the areas with high incidences of the Ebola virus are among the most agriculturally productive areas of Liberia and Sierra Leone. The organization has issued a special alert on this situation. Bukar Tijana, FAO Regional Representative for Africa said in a statement, "Access to food … [Read more...]

Maggots in School Lunches in KY and TN


High school students in Kentucky and Tennessee found maggots in their school lunches this week. A student at Overton High School in Tennessee made an Instagram video of the maggot wiggling around on the plate, WMC Action News 5 reported. Other students also reported finding maggots in their food. Shelby County Schools sent a statement to the station that read; "It has been reported on some news outlets that multiple students are now claiming to have found maggots in their lunches this week at Overton High School. It is true that we have confirmation of one student finding an insect in a single meal. This is certainly regrettable; however, we do want to be very clear that there have been no maggots found in any meals this week. The temperatures at which our food is prepared and served … [Read more...]

FOIA Request Reveals Food Safety Violations at Foster Farms

Foster Farms food safety violations

A consumer advocacy group has made public 300 pages of USDA food safety violations at Foster Farms during the time the company was linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 634 people. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) obtained the reports through a Freedom of Information Act request. Among the findings in the heavily redacted reports were: fecal material, metal fragments and unidentified foreign matter on chicken carcasses and, in the plants, mold, cockroaches and pooling water due to a floor drain clogged with chicken skin. Most surprising, according to Jonathan Kaplan, director of NRDC’s food and agriculture program, was that violations continued after October 7, 2013, when USDA issued a Public Health Alert about Salmonella on the company's chicken and threatened … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Sues USDA to Stop Poultry Rule


Food & Water Watch sued the USDA yesterday to stop implementation of the New Poultry Inspection System (NPIS) rules, which would replace government food safety inspectors with company employees. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement, "these rules essentially privatize poultry inspection, and pave the way for others in the meat industry to police themselves." These rules come on the heels of the huge Foster Farms chicken Salmonella outbreak which sickened thousands of people over many months. Many people in that outbreak were hospitalized because the seven strains of Salmonella Heidelberg on those products were resistant to several strains of antibiotics. The NRDC just released USDA-FSIS inspection reports on Foster Farms which showed that … [Read more...]

U.S. House Votes to Prevent Clean Water Act Expansion

Chesapeake Bay

The U.S. House voted on Monday to approve legislation that would prevent the development of regulations expanding the scope of the federal Clean Water Act. Groups such as the National Pork Producers Council supported this action, stating that the regulations would be detrimental to agriculture. The bill, HR 5078, entitled the "WOTUS Regulatory Overreach Protection Act" was sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL). WOTUS stands for Waters of the United States. The EPA wanted to expand the Clean Water Act to include the country's water bodies, ditches, and gullies used by farmers for drainage and irrigation. Many farmers support the bill, stating that the EPA's regulations are burdensome. The Clean Water Act is one of the most successful laws in this country. Forty years ago, 2/3 of … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letters for September 2014


The FDA has sent a warning letter to M & B Sea Products of New Bedford, Massachusetts, alleging that the facility has "serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation." The company's refrigerated, reduced oxygen packaged raw, scallops are adulterated. The facility does not have an HACCP plan to list critical limits to be met. Because the scallops were not refrigerated at a temperature below 38°F, Clostridium botulinum toxin can form. FDA inspectors found fresh dry scallops packed in metal cans stored in the walk-in cooler, which meant they could not be visually examined. The firm did not maintain monitoring records for two days in July 2014. In addition, the company did not have anyone trained in seafood HACCP to perform necessary … [Read more...]

E. coli Takes Life of Washington Girl, 3

E. coli kills two children inPacific Northwest

A 3-year-old Washington girl has died from an E. coli infection.  Brooklyn Hoksbergen was admitted to Children's Hospital Wednesday and passed away on Friday. Her family does not know how she contracted the infection.  Health authorities are investigating. At this point, they do not think Brooklyn's death is related to two other E. coli cases on the Oregon coast. Brad Sutton, 5, and his friend Serena Profitt, 4, spent Labor Day weekend together and became ill a few days later.  Brad is on dialysis at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. Serena died Monday at  Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. E.coli is transmitted when contaminated food or water is ingested, or through contact with farm animals. Children under 10 are at special risk for E.coli infections because their immune systems … [Read more...]

Public Officials Move to End Antibiotic Abuse on Factory Farms


On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Berkeley City Council passed resolutions supporting national legislation to stop the abuse of antibiotics on factory farms. San Francisco is the first major city in California to pass such a resolution. Eighty percent of antibiotics used in this country are given to animals on factory farms for weight gain and to reduce the risk of illness in crowded and filthy conditions. These types of use create antibiotic resistant bacteria, called "superbugs", that cannot be destroyed by drugs. The bacteria make the leap to humans, making infections difficult or impossible to treat. Food & Water Watch commends these public officials for recognizing the urgency of the matter. The Berkeley resolution also supports … [Read more...]

CDC Vital Signs: Children Consume Too Much Sodium

School Lunch

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Vital Signs monthly report that focuses on sodium in children's diets. The report states that a bout 9 in 10 U.S. children eat more sodium than recommended. Most is consumed as salt in processed foods. Children ages 6 to 18 years in this country eat an average of 3,300 mg of sodium every day before salt is added at the table. The recommended amount is less than 2,300 mg a day. A high sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure; in fact, about 1 in 6 children in this country has high blood pressure. Lowering sodium in your child's diet today can help prevent heart disease in the future. The taste for salt is established at a young age. Children eat about 15% of the daily sodium amount at breakfast, 30% at lunch, … [Read more...]

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