December 20, 2014

FDA Rejects Calls for Aspartame Ban

Soda

The FDA has rejected calls for a ban on aspartame, stating that no credible scientific evidence for the ban has been presented. In a FDA Letter to Paul Stoller, the government says they have been monitoring scientific data on aspartame since the 1970s and believes that the compound is "safe for the general population except for individuals with phenylketonuria." And in another FDA Letter to Betty Martini, the government denies her request to recall aspartame. The FDA said it conducted an analysis of 195 cases of aspartame-related reported adverse events between January 2004 and December 2013 and "had not identified any causal link between aspartame consumption and the reported adverse events." The National Cancer Institute states "there is no clear evidence that the artificial … [Read more...]

Mixing Dietary Supplements and Meds Is a Danger

Dietary-Supplements

The Food and Drug Administration, in one of its Consumer Updates, reminds you that mixing medications and dietary supplements can endanger your heath. Robert Mozersky , a medical officer at the FDA said, "Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it." Dietary supplements can change metabolism, absorption, and excretion of a medication and affect how it works. Mozerky added, "you may be getting either too much or too little of a medication you need." One example a supplement that interacts with prescription medications is St. John's Wort. That supplement, taken for depression, can make meds for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, depression, birth control pills, and treatments for organ transplants less effective. Other … [Read more...]

FDA Agrees to Finalize GRAS Rule of 1997

FDA

The FDA has agreed to finally finalize its GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) rule, in response to a Center for Food Safety lawsuit. For 17 years, the FDA has let corporations fast track their food additives to get products onto the market. That allowed corporations to sell products that had not been reviewed by the government to see if they are safe for human consumption. In 1958, Congress passed a law requiring the FDA to conduct "rigorous reviews" of food additives before they were put into the marketplace. Those additives were supposed to be rejected or approved based on scientific evidence. Common ingredients that were used for decades, such as sugar, were deemed "generally regarded as safe" and exempt from review. Corporations could formally petition FDA to approve a food additive … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letters for September 2014

FDA

The FDA has sent many warning letters to corporations during the month of September 2014. These letters inform the corporation owners of problems with food safety and HACCP violations. Well Luck Company in New Jersey received a letter on September 17, 2014 warning about rodent problems at their facility. Live mice were spotted in the facility during an inspection. Dead mice were found on glue traps in the picking area and next to the cooler entrance door. A dead rat was found in a rodent trap in the warehouse storage area. In addition, roach-like insects "too numerous to count" were in the fortune cookie processing room. Equipment was not properly stored, litter and waste was not removed, and food products were spilled onto the warehouse floor. Losurdo Foods of New Jersey was warned … [Read more...]

FDA Publishes Report on Antibiotics Used in Farm Animals

Pigs

The FDA has published its annual summary report on antimicrobials sold or distributed in 2012 for use in food-producing animals. Antibiotic drug sponsors are required to report yearly to the FDA the drugs they sell or distribute for use in farm animals. Trends from the report are: the total quantity of medically important antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food-producing animals increased by 16% from 2009 to 2012. But the percentage of domestic sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials approved for production use decreased from 72% to 68%. And the percentage of domestic sales of antimicrobials used in animals that are medically important to humans decreased from 98% to 97%. The sales and distribution data does not represent how the drugs are actually … [Read more...]

FDA Offers Prize for Breakthrough Food Safety Ideas

FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is offering a challenge to scientists on how to identify Salmonella in produce. The challenge, called "Advancing Breakthroughs in Foodborne Pathogen Detection" offers $500,000 in prizes for "cutting-edge techniques to achieve significant improvements in the speed of the FDA's detection methods for Salmonella with identification to the subtype/serovar level in minimally processed fresh produce." Five finalists will be awarded $20,000 each. The government is most interested in ideas that use novel or revolutionary techniques for detection and those that explore the acceleration or elimination of sample preparation. The challenge was developed under the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 that gives federal agencies the ability to hold … [Read more...]

FDA Releases Four Food Safety Modernization Act Rule Revisions

FDA

The Food and Drug Administration published four revised provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act today. The rules are for produce safety, preventive controls for human food, preventive controls for animal food, and Foreign Supplier Verification Programs. The produce safety rules is being revised for more flexible criteria for determining agricultural water safety along with a tiered approach to water testing. In addition, the government is deferring its decision on the correct time interval between applying raw manure to a crop and harvesting it, removing the original nine-month limit. On the preventive controls for human and animal foods, requirements that facilities test products is revised. Supplier controls will also be implemented. Good manufacturing practice requirements … [Read more...]

FDA Warning Letters for September 2014

FDA

The FDA has sent a warning letter to M & B Sea Products of New Bedford, Massachusetts, alleging that the facility has "serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation." The company's refrigerated, reduced oxygen packaged raw, scallops are adulterated. The facility does not have an HACCP plan to list critical limits to be met. Because the scallops were not refrigerated at a temperature below 38°F, Clostridium botulinum toxin can form. FDA inspectors found fresh dry scallops packed in metal cans stored in the walk-in cooler, which meant they could not be visually examined. The firm did not maintain monitoring records for two days in July 2014. In addition, the company did not have anyone trained in seafood HACCP to perform necessary … [Read more...]

Most Kids Exposed to Food Dyes

Food Colors

The Food and Drug Administration has found that 96% of children age 2 to 5 years are exposed to food dyes. Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA in 2008 asking to ban eight of the nine certified color additives. CSPI senior scientist Lisa Y. Lefferts said in a statement, "such widespread exposure to artificially colored foods is bad news for all children, since artificially colored foods aren't healthy foods in the first place. The FDA is failing kids and parents by allowing the use of these purely cosmetic chemicals in food, which trigger behavioral problems in some children, as even FDA conceded in 2011." The full results of the exposure assessment have not been published. The assessment was based on the amount of color additives in almost 600 food products … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports States Pregnant Women Should Not Eat Tuna

Consumer Reports has published a special report about eating fish and mercury exposure. They say that to limit your risk, choose the right fish. And they advise pregnant women to avoid eating tuna altogether. They also recommend that anyone who eats 24 ounces or more of fish per week should avoid species high in mercury. Almost all seafood contains the toxic metal in different amounts. Too much mercury can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in children and fetuses. Adults who consume too much mercury can have problems with speech, sleep, walking, and fine motor coordination. More than 95% of the methylmercury in seafood is absorbed into your body when you eat it. Mercury levels in the northern Pacific Ocean have increased by 30% in the past 20 years, and are expected to … [Read more...]

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