January 27, 2023

FDA Announces Action Levels For Lead in Processed Baby Food

The FDA is announcing action levels and draft guidance for lead in processed baby food. This, the FDA says, would result in "significant reductions in exposures to lead from food while ensuring availablility of nutritious foods. This plan is part of Closer to Zero, part of the governments' plant to reduce exposure to the heavy metals lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in foods consumed by young children and babies. FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. said in a statement, "For more than 30 years, the FDA has been working to reduce exposure to lead, and other environmental contaminants, from foods. This work has resulted in a dramatic decline in lead exposure from foods since the mid-1980s.The proposed action levels announced today, along with our continued work with our state … [Read more...]

DOJ Starts Criminal Investigation into Abbott Over Formula

According to news reports, the Department of Justice has started a criminal investigation into Abbott Laboratories in relation to the cronobacter contamination at the Abbott plant that caused a shutdown last year and the resulting baby food supply crisis that triggered a severe shortage of powdered baby formula. Cronobacter can cause serious illness in infants and can be deadly. In September 2021, an infant in Minnesota developed a cronobacter infection. Minnesota is the only state in the country that requires reporting this illness. Minnesota officials reported the issue to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).┬áBabies in Ohio and Texas also got sick; the infant in Ohio died. In all, four infants were sickened and two babies died. With more infants sick, FDA … [Read more...]

Treat Plant-Based Meat Like the Real Meat For Safety’s Sake

You should treat plant-based meat like the real thing for safety's sake, according to the USDA. Many people think that "burgers" made with plants are automatically safer to eat, but that's not the case. Plants can harbor pathogens and, in fact, have made many people sick over the years. In fact, according to a 2015 study conducted by Center for Science in the Public Interest, produce was the most common source of food poisoning. Produce can be contaminated by agricultural water used for irrigation, by animals and birds defecating in the fields, by contaminated harvesting equipment and storage bins, and through handling after harvest. Any raw agricultural product has the potential to be contaminated. And plant-based meats are "ultra processed," according to John Luchansky, lead … [Read more...]

CSPI and Consumer Reports Want Red Dye #3 Banned

CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) and Consumer Reports want the government to ban Red Dye #3 for several reasons, mostly because the FDA has found the additive causes cancer in laboratory animals. Those organizations, along with other consumer advocate organizations, petitioned the FDA to ban this ingredient on October 24, 2022. Now they are asking the public to sign a petition to help. According to federal law, a color additive "shall be deemed unsafe, and shall not be listed, for any use which will or may result in ingestion of all or part of such additive, if the additive is found by the Secretary to induce cancer when ingested by man or animal." And according to the Delaney Clause, the FDA can't find as safe the use of any additive that it has been found to induce … [Read more...]

Are Gas Ranges Really a Serious Health Risk?

Are gas ranges really a health risk? There is lots of hype on the news about the possible dangers of this appliance, along with rumors of regulations. Consumer Reports investigates to see what the problem really is. First of all, the head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that there are no plans to ban gas stoves. Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement, "Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards. But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so. "CPSC is researching gas … [Read more...]

Long Term Consumption of Allure Red Food Dye Can Trigger IBD

A study from McMaster University has found that the long term consumption of Allura Red food dye can trigger IBD (inflammatory bowel diseases), Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Researcher Waliul Khan, a professor of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and a principle investigators of Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute, used experimental animal models of IBD to conduct the study. The study's first author is Yan Han (Eric) Kwon. Inflammatory bowel diseases have been increasing over the last ten years, according to the National Institutes of Health. Those diseases are usually attributed to a "Westernized" lifestyle, including high fat foods with little fiber. The researchers found that continual exposure to Allura Red AC damages gut health … [Read more...]

It’s Official: Sesame is a Food Allergen, Per the FDA

Sesame is a food allergen, according to the FDA. As of January 1, 2023, sesame allergen labeling is required on all food packages. But there is a lag time. Sesame joins the eight other major food allergens: eggs, milk, soy, finfish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and wheat. These ingredients must, by federal law, be listed on ingredient labels and any food that includes them must also have an allergen statement. The transition period, however, means that people who are allergic to sesame must still be careful. Food products that are already in the store, in stock, or in transport to stores do not need to have the label yet. And since some foods have a long shelf life, it could be months before all foods that contain sesame actually have an allergen statement. It's also … [Read more...]

Fifteen Tips to Avoid Food Poisoning

Whenever there is a good poisoning outbreak, odds are that the outbreak notice will include some information about how consumers can protect themselves against contaminated food. While it is illegal for companies to sell food contaminated with enough pathogens to make someone ill, it happens all the time. These 15 tips to avoid food poisoning may help. Despite efforts from the federal government, industry, food processors, and farmers, the number of food poisoning cases in America isn't going down. There are still about 48,000,000 cases of food poisoning every year in this country, with about 126,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. But there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. In fact, there are (at least) 15 tips to avoid food poisoning. Fifteen Tips … [Read more...]

The FDA’s “Best” Worst Warning Letters of 2022

When the FDA discovers that a company has significantly violated federal regulations, the agency issues a warning letter. These letters enumerate some of the key violations and instruct the offender to devise and execute a plan to correct them within a designated timeline. All of these letters deal with serious food safety violations - filth, pests, bacteria, but some really stand out. Here are some of the notable warning letters the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent in 2022. "A History of Infestation" Dollar Tree Inc. This letter, sent November 8, 2022, pertains to an FDA inspection that took place January 11 - February 11, 2022, at Family Dollar Distribution Inc., located at 1800 Family Dollar Parkway, West Memphis, AR. At that time, the facility stored and distributed … [Read more...]

Safer Food Choices For Those at Risk For Food Poisoning

Every month there is at least one food recall about a potentially dangerous food in the United States. These recalls are for foods that may be contaminated with E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, cyclospora, and Campylobacter. Unfortunately, some foods are inherently risky because of the way they are grown or prepared. While the general public certainly is at risk for illness from these foods, there are some people who can become seriously ill if they are infected. There are┬ásafer food choices for anyone who is at high risk for food poisoning complications. People at higher risk for serious complications from food poisoning include the very young, the elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, and anyone with a compromised immune system. … [Read more...]

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