September 1, 2014

FDA Updates Fish Advisory for Pregnant Women, Others

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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...]

FDA Warning Letters April 26, 2014: Hahn’s, Diondillo’s, Pancrazio

FDA

The FDA has sent warning letters to three corporations this week for problems with their product safety. Hahn's Old Fashioned Cake Company was warned for food packed or held under insanitary conditions, as was Biondiollo's Bakery. Pancrazio S.P.A. was cited for violating low acid canned food regulations. Hahn's Old Fashioned Cake Company was cited for "serious violations of FDA's Current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements." The corporation did not have adequate cleaning processes for equipment and prep tables. THe product packaging line was "observed to be encrusted with flour, sugar, and filth." In addition, pests were not excluded from the processing areas. Six birds were observed flying around the production area; a bird was defecating while on a rafter above uncovered finished … [Read more...]

FDA Asked to Monitor False Industry Claims About GMO Salmon

Salmon

Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety asked FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to stop erroneous statements by AquaBounty Technologies. The company's vice present Henry Clifford told the press that the government will let the company sell its GMO salmon without a label to inform consumers. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch said in a statement, "FDA's failure to take action on AquaBounty's blatant misrepresentation of the facts typifies the agency's entire hands-off regulatory review of GMO salmon. It also illustrates the dangerous level of miscommunication between FDA and AquaBounty that, historically, has caused the agency to overlook critical risks associated with GMO salmon." Environmental experts are concerned that the genetically engineered … [Read more...]

Class I Recalls from FDA’s April 2 Enforcement Report

FDA

These are the Class I recalls from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) April 2 Enforcement Report. World Pure Foods Wholesalers, Inc. recalled three Kinnikinnick brand products because they contain undeclared milk.  Consumers with allergies to milk should not eat the following products as they run the risk of allergic reaction if they do. Kinnikinnick Panko Style Bread Crumbs sold in 12.5oz boxes with the  UPC 62013360015 3 with the "best by" cocdes 20140209, 20140119, 20140211, 2014MR30, 2014 JN02, 2014JL23, 20131230. Kinnikinnick Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Homestyle Waffles  sold in 7.4 oz boxes with the UPC 620133001981 and the "best by" code BB 20140127, 2014 MA28, 2014JN25. Kinnikinnick Original Homestyle Waffles sold in 7.4 oz boxes with the UPC 620133001981 and the … [Read more...]

FDA Issues Final Guidance for Import Refusal of Ackee

Ackee Can be Toxic

The FDA has issued final guidance on import enforcement for ackee, a fruit that contains the toxin hypoglycin A. When the fruit is fully ripe, the toxin drops to negligible levels, but if the fruit isn't ripe or if it isn't properly processed to remove the seeds and rind, concentrations of hypoglycin A can rise about 100 parts per million and become a health risk. The FDA now has the authority to seize domestic product and to refuse imports. Ackee is a tropical fruit about four inches long. When immature, it is green. A mature fruit is yellow, with an overlay of bright red with three bulging seams. The fleshy, pale yellow arils inside are the edible part. Ackee is found in West Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. It is also found in Florida. The fruit is … [Read more...]

FDA’s Plan to Allow Ionizing Radiation in Crustaceans Criticized

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The FDA is amending food additive regulations to allow the "safe use of ionizing radiation on crustaceans" to control foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life. The petition to allow this method of controlling pathogens was submitted by the National Fisheries Institute. The government agency says the decision is based on potential toxicity, the effect of irradiation on nutrients and potential microbiological risk that may result from treating the fish. Crustaceans include crab, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and prawns. Ionizing radiation is used to treat cancer patients and in X-rays and CT scans. At the maximum dose of 6.0 kiloGray, the treatment will "reduce, but not entirely eliminate" the number of pathogenic microorganisms on crustaceans. The update does state that "irradiation is … [Read more...]

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