February 10, 2016

FDA Creates Office of Dietary Supplement Programs

The FDA announced yesterday that they have created the Office of Dietary Supplement Programs (ODSP), which elevates the program from its status as a division under the Office of Nutrition Labeling and Dietary Supplements. This change will "enhance the effectiveness of dietary supplement regulation by allowing ODSP to better compete for government resources and capabilities to regulate this rapidly expanding industry." The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements until there is a problem reported. The government takes action to remove supplements from the market that may be dangerous to consumers, and removes those that are falsely labeled or contain undeclared drugs. Other actions the government can take is enforcing good manufacturing practices regulation, especially when violating … [Read more...]

Caffeine in Peanut Butter? FDA Wants More Info

Did you know that one corporation is adding caffeine to peanut butter? STEEM Peanut Butter, Inc. has been doing this, and the FDA is not sure they like it. There is 150 mg of caffeine in each serving of that peanut butter. On December 15, 2015, the FDA sent STEEM a letter asking for information about their use of caffeine in this product. The company has not submitted any information about the safety of caffeine in this product to the FDA. The FDA "remains concerned about the increasing number of products on the market containing added caffeine and the possibility for harmful effects when multiple caffeinated products are eaten simultaneously, especially in products that are attractive to children," the letter states. The U.S. government has not developed guidelines for children's … [Read more...]

Antibiotic Use in Agriculture Continues to Increase

A new report from the FDA finds that antibiotic use in agriculture is continuing to increase, despite new guidelines from the government. Sales of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals increased by 3% between 2013 and 2014. Sales one of drug that is critically important to human health, cephalosporins, increased by 12% from 2013 to 2014 despite the government restricting their use in 2012. The report states that domestic sales and distribution of antimicrobials approved for use in food-producing animals increased by 22% from 2009 through 2014. In 2014, medically important antimicrobials accounted for 62% of all domestic sales of all antimicrobials. Tetracycline sales are the largest volume of antibiotics used in food animals. Food & Water Watch says that … [Read more...]

Cucumber Salmonella Recalls Linked to Outbreak, Previously Not Made Public

Several recalls stemming from the cucumber Salmonella outbreak have not been made public until now. At least 838 people in 38 states have been sickened in the outbreak that began in July and was announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in early September. One hundred and sixty five people have been hospitalized,  four have died. Up until now, just two recalls have been made public. One on September 4, by Andrew & Williamson which recalled cucumbers sold under the “Limited Edition” brand label during the period from August 1, 2015 through September 3, 2015. Then, on September 11, another recall was issued by Custom Produce Sales for all cucumbers sold under the Fat Boy label starting August 1, 2015.  Those unlabeled cucumbers, which were sold in Nevada, were … [Read more...]

E. coli Outbreak Prompts Huge Taylor Farms Celery Recall

An E. coli outbreak that has sickened 19 people has triggered a massive recall of products containing Taylor Farms celery.  Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them as E. coli can cause serious illness and death. At least 19 people in seven states have already been sickened, two of them have hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) a life-threatening complication that causes kidney failure. The recalled products include vegetable trays sold at Walmart and 7-Eleven; wraps and salads sold at Target; prepared salads sold at Costco; salad sold at King Soopers; salads and wraps sold at Pantry and Savemart; salad kits, veggie trays and salads at Safeway, Vons and Albertons; the Holiday Turkey Sandwich sold at Starbucks; and salad kits at Tony's. A celery and diced onion … [Read more...]

FDA Begins Testing Cucumbers and Hot Peppers

The FDA is ramping up testing of cucumbers and hot peppers, after six reports of food poisoning outbreaks linked to cucumbers from 1996 to this year.  Those foods are eaten raw, and they are often contaminated. Produce can be contaminated in several ways. It can come into contact with polluted water, or dirty equipment during growing, harvesting, and post-harvest production. Ill workers who harvest and sort the produce by hand can also contaminate it. The government is seeking information on the prevalence of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H76 on fresh cucumbers. There is currently a Salmonella outbreak linked to slicer cucumbers imported from Mexico by Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce. The CDC reports that 838 people in 38 states have been sickened in the past two months. Fresh … [Read more...]

FDA Finalizes FSMA Rule for Food Importers

The FDA has finalized the Foreign Supplier Verification Programs for food importers, in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. This rule requires that food importers perform "certain risk-based activities to verify that food imported into the United States has been produce din a manner that meets applicable U.S. safety standards." FDA head Michael Taylor said in a statement, "under the new rules, importers will have the obligation to verify they are meeting U.S. standards. This is a fundamental paradigm shift from the FDA detecting and responding to problems with imported foods to industry being responsible for preventing them." Imported food makes up almost 20% of the food Americans eat. We import 52% of fresh fruits and 22% of the fresh vegetables in our diet. … [Read more...]

Chipotle E. coli Outbreak Sickens 50

The Chipotle E. coli outbreak has now sickened 50 people in Washington and Oregon. Fourteen people have been hospitalized. Results of DNA testing performed on samples from 33 of those sickened show they were all sickened by the same strain of shiga-toxin producing E. coli O26. There is also one person in Minnesota who has been sickened by that strain. However, at this time, health officials do not believe this case is related to the outbreak as that person did not eat at a Chipotle before becoming ill. Health officials have not yet determined the contaminated food source. Tests have been performed on a number of food items. The initial round of tests did not produce any positives for E. coli. According to a lawsuit filed by the national food safety law firm Pritzker Olsen on … [Read more...]

FDA Asks for Consumer Comments on Labeling Term “Natural”

The FDA is asking for consumer comments on the labeling term "natural". The agency has received three Citizen Petitions asking that that term be defined in food labeling, and one Citizen Petition asking that the FDA prohibit the term "natural" on food labels. Some federal courts have asked for administrative determinations from the FDA regarding whether some foods, specifically those with genetically engineered ingredients and those containing high fructose corn syrup, can be labeled "natural." The FDA states "it has not engaged in rule making to establish a formal definition for the term 'natural,' we do have a longstanding policy concerning the use of 'natural' in human food labeling." The term is considered to mean that nothing artificial or synthetic has been added or included in a … [Read more...]

FDA Orders Juice Manufacturer to Cease Operations

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Sun Valley Juice Company of Ketchum, Idaho to stop "receiving, processing, preparing, packing, holding, and distributing juice" until the agency determines that the company is in compliance with food safety laws and regulations. The company has been sent a letter ordering it to cease operations within five days. The company has compiled. Several attempts were made to help the company comply with regulations before it was shut down. In 2006, a court-ordered agreement, called a consent decree, was signed by a federal judge. That agreement, between the FDA and Sun Valley Juice Company, stated that the company would establish and implement a hazard prevention plan. But FDA investigators have found the company has been out of compliance … [Read more...]

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