May 31, 2016

E. coli Takes Life of Washington Girl, 3

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

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...]

Green Coffee Bean Supplement Maker Settles FTC Charges

The Federal Trade Commission has settled with Applied Food Sciences, Inc. on charges that it used the results of a flawed study to market baseless weight-loss claims about its green coffee extract. The FTC stated that the study was "so hopelessly flawed that no reliable conclusions could be drawn from it." The flawed study was promoted on the Dr. Oz Show. The settlement requires the company to pay $3.5 million and to have scientific substantiation for any future weight-loss claims it makes, including at least "two adequate and well-controlled human clinical trials." The company made the false claims to retailers, who repeated the claims to consumers. Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection said in a statement, "Applied Food Sciences knew or should have known … [Read more...]

Most California Produce Has Little Detectable Pesticide Residues

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has released a report saying that the majority of produce it tests annually has "little or no detectable pesticide residues and posed no health risk to the public." Ninety-five percent of all California grown products sampled in 2013 was in compliance with allowable limits. Each piece of produce may legally contain trace amounts of one or more pesticides. The limit of these compounds is set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DPR tested 3,483 samples of different fruits and vegetables sold in farmers markets, wholesale and retail outlets, and distribution centers around the state. More than 155 different fruits and vegetables were sampled to reflect the population's eating habits. Of all the samples collected, 43.53% had … [Read more...]

Most Kids Exposed to Food Dyes

The Food and Drug Administration has found that 96% of children age 2 to 5 years are exposed to food dyes. Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 2008 asking to ban eight of the nine certified color additives. CSPI senior scientist Lisa Y. Lefferts said in a statement, "such widespread exposure to artificially colored foods is bad news for all children, since artificially colored foods aren't healthy foods in the first place. The FDA is failing kids and parents by allowing the use of these purely cosmetic chemicals in food, which trigger behavioral problems in some children, as even FDA conceded in 2011." The full results of the exposure assessment have not been published. The assessment was based on the amount of color additives in almost 600 food products … [Read more...]

California Will Require Paid Sick Leave for Restaurant Workers

The state of California may require paid sick leave for workers, which directly ties into food safety in restaurants. Legislation has been passed and Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign it. AB 1522, the Health Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 passed the state Senate with a 22-8 vote and the Assembly with a 52-25 vote. Restaurant workers who work while sick have caused many foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States. A study by the Food Chain Workers Alliance in 2012 found that more than half of all workers in the food industry work while they are sick because they cannot afford to take time off. In 2013, a study by the Environmental Health Specialists Network, a collaborative project of the CDC, FDA, and USDA, found that sick worker policies "may be an important … [Read more...]

Study on Prevalence of Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli in Pet Food

The Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and its Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (MCAP) labs have conducted a study to look at the prevalence of selected bacteria in pet foods. The goal was to help the Center for Veterinary Medicine prioritize future testing, and increased FERN screening for foodborne pathogens in pet food that may be a significant health risk to consumers.Six FDA FERN MCAP labs analyzed more than 1,000 samples over 2 years. The labs tested for Salmonella, Listeria species, E. coli O157:H7, and Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli (STEC). Dry and semi moist dog and cat foods were purchased from local stores in Phase 1. Raw dog and cat foods, exotic animal feed, and jerky … [Read more...]

iDevices Food Thermometers Recalled for Ingestion Hazard

The Consumer Products Safety Commission is recalling iDevices cooking thermometer probes because the plastic insulator inside the stainless steel probe is not heat resistant. The plastic can melt and fall into the food, making it an ingestion hazard. The recall is for all Pro Ambient Temperature Probes and Pro Meat Probes manufactured from May 2014 through June 2014. The probes were sold separately as an accessory for the iGrill, iGrill2, iGrillmini grilling thermometers and the Kitchen Thermometer and Kitchen Thermometer mini cooking thermometers. The meat probe was sold as a component of the iGrill2 set. The probes are maid of a curved stainless steel rod attached to a mini connector by a steel braided cable. The Pro Ambient Temperature probes are about 6" long with a metal grate … [Read more...]

UK Lets Big Food Businesses Regulate Themselves

According to Food & Water Watch, the UK Department of Food and Rural Affairs has decided to make a "significant shift" that "puts business in charge of driving reform", to "lightening needless burdens without weakening essential controls." Businesses will be able to review enforcement of regulation in their areas. The press release had a statement from Business Manager Matthew Hancock which said, "businesses will now have the power to lead the reform of counterproductive, time consuming or bureaucratic enforcement of regulation that can get in the way of growth." Food & Water Watch points out that horse meat is still present in European beef supplies, that Food Standards Agency has concerns about filthy conditions in the UK poultry industry, and salmon in the marketplace … [Read more...]

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