April 27, 2017

Shrimp Lovers: High Antibiotic Levels and Origin Cause for Concern

Do you know where that shrimp in your freezer or on the plate in your favorite restaurant came from? And do you know what's in it? Research in the last few years has found that antibiotic use in shrimp farming, especially in Asia, could pose a serious threat to public health. A study in 2003 published in the International Journal of Food Science and Technology, titled "Antibiotic use in shrimp farming and implications for environmental impacts and human health" brought up the subject. It stated that antibiotics are used in shrimp farming to prevent or treat disease outbreaks, just as they are used on factory farms, but usage patterns were unknown. That study was conducted along the coast of Thailand, which was the world's largest producer of cultured shrimp until China took that … [Read more...]

FDA and EPA Release Fish Consumption Advice

The FDA and EPA have issued advice about eating fish, geared toward pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, breastfeeding mothers, and parents of young children. The issue regarding fish consumption is mercury content. A reference chart sorts 62 types of fish into three categories: "Best choices" you can eat two to three times a week; "good choices" that you can eat once a week, and "fish to avoid." Fish in the "best choices" category include almost 90% of the fish eaten in this country. FDA conducted an analysis of fish consumption data and found that 50% of pregnant women surveyed ate less than 2 ounces a week. That is much less than the recommended amount. The nutritional benefits of eating fish are important for growth and development during pregnancy and early … [Read more...]

FDA Announces Sprout Guidance: What Took so Long?

After eight multistate food poisoning outbreaks linked to raw sprouts in the past five years, the FDA is finally issuing draft guidance for comments to help sprout operations meet new standards that are designed to keep this product safe. Raw sprouts are often contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, and the damp and warm growing conditions are the perfect medium for bacterial growth. The Produce Safety Rule, under the FDA Food Safety Modernization act of 2011, mandated new requirements for sprout operations. Sprouts are a unique food poisoning risk because the conditions under which they are grown are ideal for the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Between 1996 and July 2016 there were 46 food poisoning outbreaks associated with sprouts in the United States. They caused 2472 … [Read more...]

How to Report Problems to the FDA

The FDA is charged with making sure that foods and drugs are safe to eat and use. If you have a problem with a product that this agency regulates, you can report it. FDA regulates about 20% of the products sold in this country. They include human prescription and over-the-counter drugs; medical devices; foods, including dietary supplements, infant formulas, beverage, and ingredients added to foods; veterinary products, including foods and drugs for animals; electronic products that give off radiation; biologics, including vaccines, blood, and tissues for transplantation; and cosmetics. The FDA also regulates tobacco products. If you report a problem to the FDA, you could help identify a risk and protect others from harm. Your report could also help the FDA know when to trigger … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Draft Guidance for Control of Listeria in RTE Foods

The FDA is distributing a draft guidance, for comment purposes only, on the control of Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat (RTE) foods. The guidance is for industry. All comments should be submitted electronically or written by July 17, 2017. The document is intended to help manufactures comply with current good manufacturing practices and risk-based preventive controls for human food. The final rule is the product of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, academia, and other stakeholders. The rule was first proposed in January 2013. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foods. This bacteria causes serious illness and death. It grows at refrigerator temperatures, and freezing does not kill it. Heating to 160°F is the only way to destroy … [Read more...]

Camel Milk Company Warned Over Health Claims

The FDA sent a letter to Desert Farms of Santa Monica, California, telling them that the claims they are making about the products they produce classify them as drugs, and they cannot sell them through interstate commerce. The FDA has threatened to seize products and may seek an injunction against Walid Abdul-Wahab and his company if changes are not made. The company's Facebook page posts therapeutic claims that state the milk products are "intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease." The products in question for sale are Raw Camel Milk (Fresh); Raw Camel Milk (Frozen); Raw Camel Milk Kefir (Fresh); Raw Camel Milk Kefir (Frozen); Pasteurized Camel Milk (Fresh); Pasteurized Camel Milk (Frozen); and Raw Camel Milk 1st Colostrum (Frozen); Raw Camel … [Read more...]

FDA Wants Info on Fiber on the Nutrition Facts Label

The FDA is providing more time for the public to comment on the fiber documents related to the Nutrition Facts Label. The label is being updated with new content, including serving size requirements based on what the reality of what people actually eat, and daily values for certain nutrients. The original comment period was going to close on January 9, 2017. The FDA is also going to provide more time to comment on its draft guidance "Scientific Evaluation of the Evidence on the Beneficial Physiological Effects of Isolates or Synthetic Non-digestible Carbohydrates Submitted as a Citizen Petition." The FDA's final rule that was published on May 27, 2016, required that only certain naturally occurring dietary fibers found in whole foods, and added isolated or synthetic fibers that … [Read more...]

FDA Will Not Control Vibrio in Shellfish

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has stated that the FDA has denied their petition to control Vibrio in shellfish. Every year, Americans are sickened, and some die, after eating raw shellfish contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus. The FDA could set a performance standard that would control this issue. CSPI petitioned the FDA to use this power in 2012. The government denied the petition, citing "competing priorities." Most people who do contract this infection get sick during the summer months after eating raw oysters from Gulf Coast states. Vibrio infections are, unfortunately, occurring even in northern states as climate change is warming ocean waters. In September 2015, a Vibrio outbreak in Massachusetts closed oyster beds in the area. In August 2015, another Vibrio … [Read more...]

FDA Risk Assessment Explained

The FDA is one of the government agencies charged with keeping our food supply safe. One of the ways they do this is something called "risk assessment." Food facilities are inspected and government officials figure out where the risks of contamination are. There are many steps between the farm and your table. And each can pose a risk of contamination by pathogenic bacteria. Scientific evidence and calculations used by the FDA predict the best ways to preventing contamination by specific substances in specific foods. First, scientists learn about the conditions under which a bacteria or virus can grow and thrive. A food likely to contain the pathogen is then studied, and information about how the food is grown, transported, received, processed, stored, shipped, and sold is … [Read more...]

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...]

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