March 3, 2015

Oceana Report Exposes Nine of the Dirtiest U.S. Fisheries

Fishing Boat

A report by Oceana has exposed the nine dirtiest fisheries in the U.S. These facilities throw away almost half of what they catch, and are responsible for more than 50% of all the reported "bycatch" in the U.S., which includes protected and endangered species. Bycatch is the term for fish that are unintentionally caught when fishing for allowed species. The amount is estimated at 2 billion pounds every year, which is equivalent to the entire annual catch of many other fishing nations in the world. The report is called "Wasted Catch: Unsolved Bycatch Problems in U.S. Fisheries." Those species that are killed and discarded overboard include sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, and protected fish. Amanda Keledjian, marine scientist at Oceana said in a statement, "It's no … [Read more...]

E-Cigarettes Poisonings Increasing Among Children

E cigarette poisoning

The Minnesota Department of Health has stated that the Minnesota Poison Control System saw "more than 10 times as many reports of children and teens being poisoned by e-cigarette juice in 2013 compared to 2012." E-cigarette juice is the liquid used in tobacco vaporizers. Children sometimes mistake them as candy, and they may contain fatal levels of nicotine. Some of the products come in flavors such as bubble gum, cotton candy, and grape. There were 5 reports of e-cigarette related poisonings in those under the age of 20 in 2012, but that number jumped to 50 in 2013. The poisonings include e-juice being swallowed, inhaled, in contact with the eyes, or absorbed through the skin. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said in a statement, "Fortunately, none of the … [Read more...]

Newly Popular Palm Oil Causing Deforestation

Palm Oil

Palm oil, a medium-chain saturated fat, is becoming very popular in recent years. It is inexpensive, mildly flavored, and versatile. But palm oil harvest is causing massive deforestation and contributing to climate change. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is urging consumers to tell manufacturers to use deforestation-free palm oil, which is produced in an environmentally-acceptable way. The problem is that large areas of tropical forests are cleared to plant palm plantations. That destroys critical habitat for endangered species such as tigers, elephants, orangutans, and rhinos. The forests are often burned, releasing massive amounts of carbon, which contributes to global warming and climate change. UCS has developed a scorecard to show consumers how the 30 biggest companies … [Read more...]

Swiss Study Finds Raw Chicken in Hospitals has E. coli

Raw-Chicken-Breast

A study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, a publication of the Society for Healthcare epidemiology of America, found that more than 80% of raw chicken that enters the hospital food supply is contaminated with E. coli bacteria. The study tested raw chicken delivered to the central hospital kitchen at the University Hospital of Geneva in Switzerland. The bacteria is a new antibiotic resistant form called extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) that produces E. coli. Dr. Andrew Stewardson, the lead author of the study said in a statement, "while a high proportion of chicken contaminated by antibiotic resistant E. coli  is a significant concern, robust food safety measures taken by hospital kitchen staff are able to prevent the spread of these pathogens and minimize … [Read more...]

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Spreads to AZ

Pigs

Arizona has become the 27th state to report confirmed cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) in pig herds. The highly contagious disease has killed more than 4 million U.S. pigs since 2013. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, a highly contagious and deadly pig disease has affected more than half of all states.[/caption] PEDv, which does not affect humans and is not a food safety risk,  kills pigs through dehydration. More than 80 percent of piglets that contract the virus die. The National Pork Board says new funds have been earmarked for research to halt the spread of the disease.  Those funds include $650,000  from the Pork Checkoff, a fund created by producers who contribute $0.40 contribution for every $100 of pork sold; and $500,000 through an new agreement with Genome … [Read more...]

Proper Hand Washing for Kids and Teens

handwashing

One of the most important tools in the fight against food poisoning is hand washing. Unfortunately, even adults are sometimes lax when it comes to washing hands properly. Kids, who are more susceptible to food borne illness, may need special lessons and prompting about this crucial hygiene issue. Always wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing and serving food, while you are preparing food (especially after handling raw meats and eggs), before eating, and after playing with pets or taking out the trash. It's also important to tell kids to wash their hands frequently when they're sick, especially after they cough or sneeze. To properly wash hands, wet them under warm running water. Add some soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds. To time this, since "Happy … [Read more...]

MN Congressional Delegation Holds 4th Annual Hotdish Contest

hotdish-off

Rep. Tim Walz  won the Minnesota Congressional Delegation's fourth annual hotdish competition this week. It's the second win in a row for Rep. Walz, who represents the first district spanning the southern border of the state. Sen. Al Franken began the cookoff contest four years ago as a way to bring the delegation together and to celebrate hotdish, the word Minnesotans use for casserole. Former Congressmen Vin Weber and Gerry Sikorski served as judges who did a blind testing of each dish. Rep. Walz's winning recipe this year was called  “Turkey Trot Tater Tot Hotdish.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar and  Rep. John Kline tied  for second.  Sen. Klobuchar's was a dessert called  “’It’s So Cold My Hotdish Froze’ Dessert Hotdish” and Rep. John Kline’s was  “Morning ‘Hot Chow’ Hotdish.” “Thank you … [Read more...]

E. coli in Your Well? March is a Good Time For Annual Test

Water glasses

Residents of Marion Twp., Pa. are drinking water from a tank that has been trucked into  town after E.coli was discovered in a well earlier this week. Lab tests on the water, which came out of taps with a cloudy appearance, found E.coli and total coliform bacteria which are both signs of human or animal waste contamination, according to WFMZ-TV News. Officials have not determined the source of the contamination. Testing wells once a year is a good idea and one of the main goals of National Ground Water Awareness Week March 9-15, 2014. Thirty percent of all available freshwater comes from ground water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Occasionally, it becomes contaminated from incorrect use of fertilizers and pesticides, poorly located, or damaged septic … [Read more...]

OSHA Slaps Schwan’s With $185,700 in Fines

osha

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has hit Schwan's Global Supply Chain Inc. with $185,700 in fines for safety and health violations at its Atlanta plant. Two other companies that supply maintenance and staffing to Schwan's, Cimco Refrigeration Inc. and Adecco USA Inc., were also fined. Together the fines for violations that put workers at the plant in harm's way total $264,360. Schwan's, a Minnesota-based company that employees 14,000 people nationwide, makes frozen foods under a several brand names including Red Baron pizza and Mrs. Smith's desserts. The 494 workers at the Atlanta facility produce dough, cookies and pie crusts. OSHA inspectors found that workers at the plant were not properly trained in safe work practices for ammonia … [Read more...]

Help! I Bought Cheese That Is Part of a Recall for Listeria

Roos Foods Cheese Listeria Outbreak

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shut down operations at Roos Foods Inc. of Kenton, DE yesterday by suspending the company's food facility registration. FDA inspectors found unsanitary conditions at the dairy foods processing company which has been linked to a Listeria outbreak that has sickened eight people, killing one of them. Consumers who have purchased Roos cheese, sour cream or other dairy products from the company, where inspectors found roof water raining down onto the equipment in the cheese processing room, rusty equipment and standing water on the floor, should not eat them. Unlike other foodborne pathogens, Listeria can thrive in cool temperatures. All lots and product sizes of the following Roos products have been recalled: Santa Rosa de Lima Queso Duro … [Read more...]

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