December 10, 2016

Iowa Launches Food Poisoning Hotline and Response Initiative

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced a new joint initiative this week with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) to help reduce the effect of foodborne illness outbreaks in that state. A hotline called IowaSic is now available for residents of that state to call if they think they have been sickened with food poisoning. That hotline number is 1-844-469-2742 (844-IowaSic) and will be answered by trained specialists. Those specialists will start an investigation into the cause and source of the illness. IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in a statement, "these departments have joined forces to establish a statewide one-call system Iowans can use to report illnesses associated with food poisoning." Most food poisoning outbreaks are … [Read more...]

FDA Investigating Homeopathic Teething Product Adverse Effects

The FDA is investigating more than 400 reports of adverse events associated with homeopathic teething products in the last six years, Lyndsay Meyer of the FDA's Office of Media Affairs told Food Poisoning Bulletin. In addition, they are "aware of reports of 10 deaths during that time period that reference homeopathic teething products, though the relationship of these deaths to the homeopathic teething products has not yet been determined and is currently under review," she stated. On September 9, 2016, the FDA received a comprehensive report of a recent adverse event of a child having a seizure associated with the use of a homeopathic teething product, triggering an investigation. Other adverse events reported to the government included "seizure, death, fever, shortness of breath, … [Read more...]

Food Poisoning Increases Risk of Crohn’s Disease

A new study conducted at McMaster University confirms that people who suffer from food poisoning by a particular bacteria may be at increased risk for developing Crohn's Disease, also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In every Salmonella outbreak over the past four years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has stated that one of the long term complications from one of these illnesses is IBD. Researchers found that infectious gastroenteritis (food poisoning) caused by a common food poisoning bacteria increases and accelerates the growth of adherent-invasive E. coli (AIEC). The scientists used a mouse model of Crohn's Disease. Even after the mouse had cleared the food poisoning bacteria from their bodies, researchers still found increased AIEC levels in the gut. In the study, the … [Read more...]

Worker at Shop’N Kart Bakery In Chehalis, WA Has Hepatitis A

A food service worker at the Shop'N Kart bakery in Chehalis, Washington has been diagnosed with hepatitis A, according to the Lewis County Public Health & Social Services. That illness was reported to the Health Department on October 6, 2016. That worker was at the bakery between September 8 and October 6, 2016. Anyone who ate decorated cakes or cupcakes purchased from that bakery between those dates may have been exposed to hepatitis A. People who ate there between September 8 and September 25 may have been exposed to the virus, but it's now too late for those people to get a vaccination against the disease. All those people can do is monitor themselves for the symptoms of hepatitis A and go to a doctor if they develop. Hepatitis A or immune globulin vaccinations are only … [Read more...]

Hurricane Matthew Heading Towards You? Keep Your Food Safe

The USDA is offering food safety recommendations for people who are in the path of Hurricane Matthew. This storm will hit the eastern coast of Florida the evening of October 6, 2016 and will move up the east coast over the weekend. Forecasters expect heavy rain and significant flooding. Power outages and flooding can compromise the safety of food that is stored in your home. Take steps now to keep your food safe. Keep appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer in case the power goes out. Safe temperatures are 40°F or lower in the fridge, and 0°F or lower in the freezer. Freeze water in one quart plastic storage bags or containers before the storm. These can be put into your fridge and freezer to help keep food cold. Know where you can get dry ice or block ice, and have … [Read more...]

Parts of Maine’s Coastline Closed to Shellfish Harvesting

Parts of Maine's coastline are being closed by the State of Maine Department of Marine Resources to certain types of shellfish harvesting because tests showed the sea creatures may contain domoic acid toxin at dangerous levels. Two notices have been posted on the Maine web site: one for Area No. 64-A and the other for Area No. 64-B. In addition to this closure, clams and mussels recently harvested from those areas should not be eaten. Domoic acid is a biotoxin produced by a plankton, or naturally occurring algae, called diatoms. The toxin accumulates in shellfish flesh but does not hurt those animals. Excessive levels of this toxin can cause serious illness and even death in humans. The illness caused by this toxin is called amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). The notice for 64-A … [Read more...]

FDA Warns About Serious Effects of Homeopathic Teething Products

The FDA is warning consumers that using homeopathic teething tablets and gels can pose a health risk to infants and children. Consumers should stop using these products immediately and throw away any they may have in their homes. These products are distributed by CVS, Hyland's, and other stores, and are possibly sold in other retail stores and online. Adverse events in children who have been given these products are being investigated by the FDA. Some of the issues include seizures in infants and children. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "we recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives." The … [Read more...]

LA School District Issues Safety Alert About Wild Mushrooms

Some elementary school children at the Los Angeles Unified School District got sick after eating wild mushrooms that were growing in a community garden, according to several news reports. The district issued a safety alert press release stating "students and staff (and others) must not ingest wild mushrooms because many species are poisonous and proper identification is not easy." Penn State Food Safety has collected articles on this incident and states that seventeen children were sickened. They say "a volunteer thought the mushroom - later identified as green-spored parasol, a common poisonous wild mushroom - was an edible part of the garden." Green-spored Parasol is known as Chlorophyllum molybdites. It is the most commonly consumed poisonous mushroom in North America. This … [Read more...]

Making Sure ‘Healthy’ Means What It Says on Food Labels

Most consumers have learned to read food packages to learn about calorie counts, sodium amounts, and vitamin and mineral content in the foods they buy in the grocery store. But what about claims made on food packages? Does the term 'healthy' really mean what it says? The FDA has published final rules on the Nutrition Facts label on food products. An updated label will make the calorie counts in the product and the serving sizes easier to see and will also provide more information on added sugars and the content of vitamin D and potassium in the food. But even if you know something about nutrition and know what to look for on a food label, it can be difficult to know if the foods you buy add up to a healthy diet. Terms such as "good source," "healthy," or "low in fat" should only … [Read more...]

FDA Notes Decline in Cyclospora Cases

The FDA has released information about the decline of Cyclospora cases in the U.S. when compared to 2015, 2014, and 2013. FDA activities, including import alerts and testing of imported products, have contributed to that decline. In each of the last three summers, there have been huge cyclosporiasis outbreaks in this country that have been linked to imported produce. As a result of traceback investigation by the government from 2013 to 2015, the FDA inspected farms and packing houses in Puebla, Mexico and found conditions that may cause contamination of cilantro and other produce with human feces. The FDA implemented an Import Alert for fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico as a result of these investigations. Cilantro imported from this region is detained and refused … [Read more...]

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