December 8, 2016

Beware of Illegally Marketed Diabetes Treatments

The FDA is advising consumers with diabetes to avoid illegally marketed treatments. They say that if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. The phrases on products and dietary supplements to watch out for include "lowers your blood sugar naturally," "inexpensive therapy to fight and eliminate type II diabetes," "protects your eyes, kidneys, and blood vessels from damage," "replaces your diabetes medicine," "effective treatment to relieve all symptoms of diabetes," and "natural diabetes cure." If a product has these claims on the label, it's probably a scam. In addition to not meeting label claims, these products can contain harmful ingredients. They may be marketed as over the counter products when they require a prescription. And if people with diabetes rely on these … [Read more...]

Valley Milk Products Seized by U.S. Marshals

The FDA announced yesterday that U.S. Marshals seized more than 4,000,000 pounds of dried milk products made by Valley Milk Products LLC of Strasburg, Virginia. The company is owned by the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association in Reston, Virginia. The U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint, on behalf of the FDA, in the U.S. District Court for the Virginia Western District, alleging that the seized products are adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The products that were seized include dry nonfat milk powder and buttermilk powder. They were packaged in 40 and 50 pound bags for further manufacturing and were worth nearly $4 million. The FDA inspected the facility from July to September 2016 and found poor sanitary practices. The … [Read more...]

Food Safety Survey Shows Some Consumer Knowledge Increasing

According to the 2016 Food Safety Survey Report, conducted in collaboration with the FDA and USDA, consumer knowledge has increased about food safety consumer practices. The government has been conducting this survey since 1988. Key findings in the survey has found that the percentage of Americans who own a food thermometer has remained constant but usage has slightly increased. In 2016, 67% of respondents reporting owning a food thermometer. In 2016, 38% report that they always use a meat thermometer for roasts, compared to 19% for chicken parts, and 10% for hamburgers. But using a food thermometer is most crucial for ground beef, and very crucial for chicken, while it's less critical for larger cuts of beef that are cooked on the exterior. Hand washing rates have remained … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Found in Simply Fresh Fruit Facility

The FDA sent a warning letter on October 19, 2016 to Simply Fresh Fruit of Vernon, California, informing them that environmental swabs taken in their facility found Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Federal inspectors also discovered violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices. These findings make the ready to eat fresh cut fruit products adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA issued Form FDA-483 after the inspections. Three of one hundred environmental swabs in the facility's high care processing room were positive for Listeria bacteria. Two of those were in locations adjacent to food contact surfaces. They include the panel surface and power switch on the side of a wash bin, and a power knob for a conveyor belt. The other swab was found on a … [Read more...]

Hepatitis A Strawberries Distributed to Schools and Restaurants

In an unexpected announcement, the FDA says that the recalled frozen strawberries imported from Egypt that are linked to a hepatitis A outbreak in the eastern United States were sold to schools and institutions across the country. In the official outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products, five of the 134 people sickened did not consume those products. The FDA says that frozen strawberry products recalled by The International Company for Agricultural Production and Processing (ICAPP) may have been served in food service operations as recently as October 27, 2016. The products were "included but not limited to" whole, sliced, and sugared strawberries and diced strawberries. The five companies that received frozen strawberry products from ICAPP are: C.H. Belt of Lake … [Read more...]

FDA Bans Certain Egyptian Frozen Strawberries for Hepatitis A

The hepatitis A outbreak linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafe products that were made with frozen strawberries has sickened at least 134 people, according to the FDA. Those berries were allegedly imported from Egypt, according to government officials. Now the FDA has issued an import alert banning frozen strawberries from one Egyptian facility, although a portion of the alert with details about the ban is redacted. The only portion in the "notes" field on the alert that isn't blacked out is the phrase "Problem(s): Hepatitis A (1b)." The facility is the International Company for Agricultural Production & Processing. The "1b" denotes the strain of hepatitis A. A notice posted on the Virginia Department of Health website in August 2016 states that testing on the patients has confirmed … [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...]

FDA Warns Producer of Wonderful Pistachios Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA sent a warning letter on October 7, 2016 to the Wonderful Company, which produces Wonderful pistachios, about an inspection conducted in response to a multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to the pistachios. This outbreak was investigated by the CDC and declared over in May 2016. The Wonderful Company facility was inspected from March 8 through April 7, 2016. The Salmonella outbreak was caused by two Salmonella species: nine people were sickened with Salmonella Montevideo, and two were sickened with Salmonella Senftenberg. The trackback and epidemiological evidence led the FDA to conclude that pistachio nuts produced by that firm were adulterated. They were "prepared, packed, and held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health," … [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...]

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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