March 29, 2017

Acid Suppression Drugs Increase Gastroenteritis Risk

A study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has found that taking acid-suppressing medications increases the risk for bacterial gastroenteritis in the community and in hospital-based settings. The population-based, propensity-score matched cohort study was conducted at the University College London. The study identified 188,323 patients from a community in Scotland who took these drugs between 1999 and 2013. Those results were compared with 376,646 matched controls from the same community who did not take the prescribed medications. The medications in question include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and H2 receptor antagonists (H2RA). The study's authors reported positive test results for Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157 in … [Read more...]

Pennsylvania School Closed After E. coli Found in Water

A school in Pennsylvania has been closed and the students relocated after E. coli was found in the facility's water. Summit Elementary in Butler County was closed yesterday after an emergency school board meeting. Classes will be relocated to Broad Street Elementary School next week. The problem was identified when testing was performed on the water because school officials knew the water was contaminated with lead. A public notice about the issue states, "due to the lead and copper contamination of the water at the Summit Elementary School the Butler Area School District undercook comprehensive sampling of the well and treated water at the school." A sample that was collected from the raw untreated well water indicated that it contained E. coli bacteria. The well water is … [Read more...]

Montana Legislator Introduces Raw Milk Bill

A legislator in Montana has introduced a bill that would make raw milk sales legal in that state. HB 325 creates exemptions for raw milk products. The bill is scheduled for a hearing on February 9, 2017. The bill would legalize herd and animal share programs, and would allow the sale of raw milk to consumers on the farm. A herd share is where people buy shares in cows on a farm, then they receive the products from that animal. Jim Murphy, Bureau Chief of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services testified against another raw milk bill on January 28, 2015. He said, "when [our department] examines the well documented risks of consuming raw milk and compare those with the limited benefits, we cannot support making a product that can be potentially harmful more … [Read more...]

Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday

The Super Bowl is this Sunday. No matter how you celebrate, you need to keep your food safe so you and your guests don't get sick. Foodsafety.gov is offering tips to keep the food for your bash safe. Americans eat more than a billion chicken wings on that day, and many other foods that have the potential to be contaminated with bacteria. If you plan on frying chicken wings, make sure that the frying oil temperature is at least 375°F, measured with a food thermometer, before you start. Never fry frozen chicken wings; they should be completely thawed. Do not rinse the chicken wings before you cook them; that will only spread bacteria around your kitchen and onto you, since the spray from the water can spread up to 3 feet away from the faucet. Pay the wings dry before you put them … [Read more...]

Farm to Fork Project Looks at Pathogen Transfer on Surfaces

A new study focusing on contact surface transfer of pathogens is halfway through its two year timeline. The research is being conducted at Virginia Tech. Dr. Laura Strawn, a produce safety Extension Specialist at that University is leading the project, along with Dr. Ben Chapman at NCSU and Dr. Michelle Danyluk at the University of Florida in Lake Alfred. The project is being funded by the Center for Produce Safety. Their research is looking at potential pathogen contamination of cantaloupe in the food chain. The study is focusing on Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes transfer. Back in 2011, a huge Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Jensen Farms cantaloupe sickened 147 people and killed 30 in 28 states. Seven pregnant women were sickened in that outbreak. One woman … [Read more...]

FDA Confirms Belladonna in Homeopathic Teething Products

Last year we told you about a consumer warning issued by the FDA regarding homeopathic teething products that had inconsistent levels of belladonna, which is considered a toxic substance. On Friday, the FDA released a report stating that elevated levels of belladonna have been found in those products; sometimes "far exceeding the amount claimed on the label." The government investigated more than 400 reports of adverse effects linked to those products, which ranged from "seizure, death, fever, shortness of breath, lethargy, constipation, vomiting, sleepiness, to tremor, agitation, and irritability." FDA has contacted Standard Homeopathic Company in Los Angeles, the maker of Hyland's homeopathic teething products made with belladonna. The company has not agreed to a recall. So the … [Read more...]

HUS Study Finds Nitrogen to Creatinine Ratio Accurate Predictor of Outcome

A study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics has found that blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to serum creatinine ratio is an accurate way to predict outcome in patients with diarrhea-associated hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is most often caused by ingesting Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Identifying the tests that predict a poor outcome could help doctors intervene in a timely manner. The study looked at how accurately the BUN-to-sCreatinine ratio determined upon admission predicts patient outcome. What is the BUN-to-sCreatinine ratio? Blood urea nitrogen is a test that measures the amount of nitrogen in the blood from urea that is produced by the liver and filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Serum creatinine is a waste product produced by muscle … [Read more...]

Cookie Dough Maker Gets Listeria Warning Letter

The FDA has sent the owners of Aspen Hills, Inc., makers of ready to eat cookie dough, a warning letter on January 10, 2017 about environmental samples from their facility that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. There is zero tolerance for that pathogenic bacteria in ready to eat products. That means that the cookie dough pucks, pellets, and pails are adulterated within the meaning of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Four positive environmental swabs were collected in the manufacturing areas. And between September 18 and 26, 2016, the firm's environmental program found Listeria monocytogenes in ten environmental swabs and in one finished product lot of cookie dough, which was not distributed into commerce. These findings indicate that the "firm is not taking … [Read more...]

Whole Foods Closes Distribution Kitchens

A warning letter sent to the North Atlantic Whole Foods Market Kitchen in June 2016 listed problems at that facility that included the presence of non-pathogenic Listeria bacteria. Whole Foods has just announced it is closing some of its food distribution kitchens on the East coast. The warning letter detailed 20 "serious violations of the FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for manufacturing, packing, or holding human food." These violations included employees mixing ready to eat pesto directly under an area where condensate from ceiling joints was dripping onto the surface below; cutting chives and beets under a leaking condensate drainage pipe, and holding uncovered ready to eat egg salad in barrels placed below a condenser that was dripping. In addition, … [Read more...]

Shrimp Lovers: High Antibiotic Levels and Origin Cause for Concern

Do you know where that shrimp in your freezer or on the plate in your favorite restaurant came from? And do you know what's in it? Research in the last few years has found that antibiotic use in shrimp farming, especially in Asia, could pose a serious threat to public health. A study in 2003 published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology, titled "Antibiotic use in shrimp farming and implications for environmental impacts and human health" brought up the subject. It stated that antibiotics are used in shrimp farming to prevent or treat disease outbreaks, just as they are used on factory farms, but usage patterns were unknown. That study was conducted along the coast of Thailand, which was the world's largest producer of cultured shrimp until China took that … [Read more...]

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