February 24, 2017

Listeria May be Serious Miscarriage Threat in Early Pregnancy

New research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in the journal mBio has found that Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning can be a serious miscarriage threat in early pregnancy. Scientists at the university's school of veterinary medicine studied how pathogens affect fetal development and change pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Ted Golos, a UW-Maidson reproductive physiologist and professor of comparative biosciences and obstetrics and gynecology said, "for many years, Listeria has been associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy, but particularly at the end of pregnancy. What wasn’t known with much clarity before this study is that it appears it’s a severe risk factor in early pregnancy. It's striking that mom doesn't get particularly ill from Listeria … [Read more...]

Research Finds Salmonella Food Poisoning Could Damage DNA

Research at Cornell University has found that Salmonella food poisoning caused by some serotypes of the pathogenic bacteria could permanently damage your DNA. The study is published in the journal mBio by the American Society for Microbiology as "The Cytolethal Distending Toxin Produced by Nontyphoidal Salmonella Serotypes Javiana, Montevideo, Oranienburg, and Mississippi Induces DNA Damage in a Manner Similar to That of Serotype Typhi." Dr. Rachel Miller, author of the study, said, "not all Salmonella serotypes are equal." There are more than 2,500 serotypes for Salmonella, but fewer than 100 of those cause most of the food poisoning cases in this country, according to the CDC. Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses every year in the U.S>, and kills about 450 … [Read more...]

FDA Tells Pet Owners Not to Feed Two Dog Foods

The FDA is advising pet owners not to feed their pets certain lots of Evander's Hunk of Beef or Against the Grain Grain Free Pulled Beef with Gravy canned dog foods after unopened cans from both brands were found to contain pentobarbital, a barbiturate. This drug is used in animal euthanasia. It should not be in pet food. The FDA was not able to determine from records whether any other Evanger's or Against the Grain products made with beef contained any of the beef used in the recalled products. In addition, the FDA inspected manufacturing facilities on February 14, 2017 and found "numerous significant concerns with conditions" at the company's Wheeling, Illinois and Markham, Illinois plants. The advisory states that "these are initial observations and do not represent a final … [Read more...]

Outbreaks Linked to Imported Foods Are Increasing

A study published in the March edition of the CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases reveals that more Americans are being sickened by imported food. The study's authors state that "a small but increasing number of foodborne disease outbreaks [are] associated with imported foods, most commonly fish and produce. New outbreak investigation tools and federal regulatory authority are key to maintaining food safety." About 19% of the food we eat in this country is imported. About 97% of the fish and shellfish we consume, 50% of fresh fruits, and 20% of fresh vegetables come from other countries. This proportion has steadily increased over the past 20 years because consumers want to eat produce out of season and want a wider selection of products. A food poisoning outbreak is two or more … [Read more...]

CDC Tracks Antibiotic Resistance Gene in Bacteria

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking the mcr-1 gene in bacteria. This gene can make bacteria resistant to colistin, an antibiotic that is the "last resort" drug for some multidrug-resistant pathogens. Colistin is considered an old drug and is rarely used because it can damage the kidneys. The gene was found in China for the first time in November 2015. The map shows where the mcr-1 gene has been reported in the United States as of January 1, 2017. In the states highlighted in yellow, human infections have been reported. The states highlighted in orange have animal infections. The mcr-1 gene is on a plasmid, which is a piece of DNA that can move from one pathogen to another. Because of the ease of this transfer, bacteria that area already resistant to … [Read more...]

Tips for a Safe and Healthy Valentine’s Day Dinner

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering 14 tips for a safe and healthy Valentine's Day dinner, whether you eat out at a restaurant or at home. About 65% of food poisoning outbreaks are traced to food prepared in a restaurant. When you go into a restaurant, first look at the scene. See if certificates are posted that show food safety practices, such as a health inspection score.Make sure that the glasses, silverware, napkins, and tablecloths are clean. Watch out for unlikely sources of sodium. Most sodium comes from breads and rolls, cold cuts, cured meats, pizza, poultry, soups, sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, meat dishes, and snacks. Look up nutritional information in advance, since most major restaurant chains post this information online. Always … [Read more...]

Staphylococcus Aureus Sickened Students at Science Olympiad

The Florida Department of Health in Columbia County has issued a press release stating that the illnesses that took place at the Science Olympiad at Gateway College in Lake City on February 4, 2017 were caused by Staphylococcus aureus toxin. At least 30 people were taken by ambulance from that event to the hospital after suffering from vomiting. Samples were taken of the pulled pork, smoked chicken, macaroni salad, chicken sandwiches, and baked beans from the lunch that was served at the event. The samples were tested for Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus, and Staphylococcus aureus, which all can cause food poisoning in a matter of minutes or hours. The samples of pulled pork tested positive for Staphylococcus aureus at "an amount well above the standard cutoff threshold … [Read more...]

OSU Scientists Make Progress in Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria War

Scientists at Oregon State University have made progress in the war against antibiotic resistant bacteria. More and more pathogenic bacteria are developing resistance against antibiotics, even our last-ditch drugs. Researchers have found that a molecule can neutralize bacteria's ability to become resistant to antibiotics. The study was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. This study is very important, since in September 2016, a woman in Nevada died from a bacterial infection that resisted every type of antibiotic we have in our arsenal. The death was reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week. Scientists think that antibiotic-resistant bacteria will kill 10 million people by 2050. The molecule that the scientists at OSU constructed is … [Read more...]

Super Bowl Tips from the USDA

The USDA is offering food safety tips for your Super Bowl party this Sunday. Did you know that the Super Bowl is the second biggest food event in this country after Thanksgiving? Keep your food safe with the classic steps of Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill. Follow these steps and your food will be safe and your party fun. Clean your hands frequently with soap and warm water before preparing food and while you are making the food, especially after handling items such as raw meats and poultry and raw eggs. Wash them for 20 seconds and dry well on paper towels. Encourage your guests to wash their hands before and after eating. Separate raw meats and poultry and other foods that need to be cooked before eating from foods that are eaten raw, such as dips and vegetables. Start at … [Read more...]

FDA Confirms Belladonna in Homeopathic Teething Products

Last year we told you about a consumer warning issued by the FDA regarding homeopathic teething products that had inconsistent levels of belladonna, which is considered a toxic substance. On Friday, the FDA released a report stating that elevated levels of belladonna have been found in those products; sometimes "far exceeding the amount claimed on the label." The government investigated more than 400 reports of adverse effects linked to those products, which ranged from "seizure, death, fever, shortness of breath, lethargy, constipation, vomiting, sleepiness, to tremor, agitation, and irritability." FDA has contacted Standard Homeopathic Company in Los Angeles, the maker of Hyland's homeopathic teething products made with belladonna. The company has not agreed to a recall. So the … [Read more...]

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