July 23, 2014

FDA: Avoid Pure Powdered Caffeine

Powdered Caffeine

The FDA has released an advisory to consumers about powdered pure caffeine: do not use it. This product is being marketed to directly to consumers. The government is aware of at least one death of an 18=year-old Ohio teenager who used this product. Parents should be aware that teenagers and young adults may be using these products to stay awake. Powdered caffeine is 100% caffeine. One teaspoon of this product is equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant and people can easily overdose on it. The symptoms of caffeine overdose include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat and seizures, along with vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and disorientation. These symptoms are much more severe when taking the powdered caffeine rather than caffeinated beverages. … [Read more...]

Keep Picnic Food Out of the Danger Zone

Picnic

Lots of folks like to have a picnic during the summer months and keeping food at safe temperatures is the key to making sure no one gets sick, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Cooking, storing and serving food at the proper temperature is key to food safety whether you are eating inside or out. Remember that food can spend a maximum of two hours in the “danger zone” of 40˚F to 140˚ F, or one hour if the outdoor temperatures are above 90° F.  In the danger zone,  bacteria such as Salmonella, E.coli and Listeria multiply rapidly elevating the risk of food poisoning. If  you're cooking food on the grill, use a food thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to its proper temperature. Then keep it warm until serving by moving to the side of the grill, just away from the … [Read more...]

FDA: Know the Risks of Raw Food Pet Diets

FDA says no to raw pet food

The FDA has released advice for consumers about the risks of feeding raw diets to their pets. Not only can your pets become ill, but you can too, either through contact with contaminated food or if your pet sheds pathogenic bacteria. Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes are two bacteria found in raw diets that are especially dangerous to pets and humans. Raw pet food is meat, bones, and organs that have not been cooked. FDA does not believe feeding raw pet foods to animals is "consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks." The agency recommends cooking raw meat and poultry to kill pathogenic bacteria before you give the food to your pets. One of the problems with a raw food diet is that people think it's natural for animals to eat raw meat. Feral … [Read more...]

CSPI Finds More Deaths Caused by Energy Drinks

energydrinks

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has obtained documents from the FDA and has found 17 previously unreported deaths linked to energy drinks. Since 2004, 34 deaths have now been linked to those products. Of those, 22 are linked to 5-Hour Energy, 11 to Monster, and one to Rockstar. In addition to those deaths, 56 previously undisclosed injuries were reported to the government through the FDA's adverse event reporting system. Those injuries included high blood pressure, convulsions, and heart attacks. Dr. Stacy Fisher, director of complex heart diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine told CSPI, "as I see in my medical practice, energy drinks are clearly causing symptomatic arrhythmias. These new reports of deaths and other injuries raise the level of … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Final Guidance on Nanotechnology in Food

Nanoparticles

The FDA just released final guidance for companies that use nanotechnology in food products. The government's recommendation is that companies consult with the agency before taking products to market, and also tells companies that nanotechnology-enhanced products may require additional safety review. Center for Food Safety thinks that the FDA needs to take a more active approach overseeing these products. Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst for CFRS said in a statement, "under these guidelines, companies will consult with the FDA but the FDA will not review products for safety. Guidances alone are not sufficient to account for the novel risks of nanotechnology. FDA must issue mandatory regulations." Current products will not be allowed through the fast-track GRAS (generally regarded … [Read more...]

FDA Updates Fish Advisory for Pregnant Women, Others

pregnant-belly_edited-1

The Food and Drug Administration has updated their advice on how much fish pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and young children should eat, considering that much of that food is contaminated with mercury. This draft will replace the current advice issued ten years ago. Several advocacy groups, including Environmental Working Group, have been critical of the government's apparent lack of information and response on this issue. The FDA's last advice in 2011 told pregnant women to double their intake of fish to get more omega-3 fatty acids. This recommendation put pregnant women at risk of consuming harmful amounts of mercury. Mercury is actually present in food in the form of methylmercury. This neurotoxic compound adversely affects a developing fetus' brain and neurological … [Read more...]

FDA Published Final Rule on Infant Formula Protections

baby milk bottle

The FDA has published its final rule setting standards for manufacturing infant formulas. Those standards include current good manufacturing practices, including required testing for Salmonella and Cronobacter. The manufacturers must also demonstrate that the formula they product supports normal physical growth. And finally, infant formulas must be feted for nutrient content three times: in the final product stage, before entering the marketplace, and at the end of the products' shelf life. Dr. Stephen Ostroff, FDA's acting chief scientist said in a statement, "FDA sets high quality standards for the safety and nutritional quality of infant formulas during this critical time of development." The rule applies to formulas intended for use by healthy babies without any "unusual medical … [Read more...]

FDA to Airplane Food Maker: Don’t Let Ceiling Drip Into Food

FDA-Food-Safety

Whatever it is that is dripping from the ceiling might be getting into the food at Gourmail Inc., dba Jyoti Natural Food, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which sent a warning letter to the company last week. Conditions at the company's plant, in Sharon Hill, Pa., that the airline food prepared there was "prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health." During an inspection, FDA investigators found water dripping into a kettle of food. Although company officials say that batch of food was destroyed, they did not take adequate measures to correct the problem by placing a tarp on the roof. They were also unable to provide a timeframe for when the repair could be made. Stained … [Read more...]

FDA Weakens Public Process on GMO Animals

GE-Salmon

Food & Water Watch is criticizing the FDA for weakening the public process on approval of GMO animals. The agency is disbanding the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC), which peer reviews FDA's risk analysis of genetically modified animals. The scientists on that committee were very critical of AquaBounty's GMO salmon, telling the FDA there was not sufficiency science to demonstrate animal safety. The government claims that the review process is too costly. But Food & Water Watch filed a records request and discovered that the agency spent zero dollars in 2013 maintaining the committee, which included all administrative and labor costs. The FDA is close to approving the GMO salmon, despite many problems with growing facilities and opposition from consumer and food … [Read more...]

Coca Cola Removes Brominated Vegetable Oil from Drinks

Fanta

According to the AP, Cocoa Cola and PepsiCo are going to remove brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from all of its drinks that contain it. That compound, which is patented as a flame retardant, is not approved for use in the European Union or Japan. It is found in Fanta, Powerade, Mountain Dew, and Fresca, along with some beverages sold as fountain drinks. This is a global change. BVO was removed from Gatorade in 2013. A 2012 Change.org petition started by Sarah Cavanagh, a teenager from Mississippi, started the interest in the chemical and the pressure on PepsiCo. Brominated vegetable oil is used as a stabilizer for flavor oils in the beverages. It is a vegetable bonded with bromine, an element, that keeps the citrus oils suspended and mixed into the liquid and gives the beverage its … [Read more...]

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