April 24, 2018

GAO Says USDA Should Cut More Pathogens in Meat and Poultry

On April 18, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the USDA should take more action to cut pathogens in meat and poultry products it regulates. That agency develops standards to limit the amount of pathogens in products it regulates. But, no standards have been set for products such as pork chops, ground pork, and turkey breasts. And the report states that the agency's process for deciding which products should have new standards for pathogens is not clear. In addition, the pathogen standards for ground beef, beef carcasses, and pork carcasses have not been updated since 1996. At that time, the standards were set at industry-wide prevalence levels, not at levels that may protect human health. Standards for other products are outdated, according to the report, … [Read more...]

Researchers Develop Patch called “Sentinel Wrap” to Detect E. coli and Salmonella Bacteria

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada have developed a transparent test patch called "Sentinel Wrap" that can be incorporated into food packaging to monitor for pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli. The patch, which is printed with harmless molecules that can detect food pathogens, would trigger a signal if it detects bacteria that could be read by a smartphone. The patch doesn't affect the food. The new material was developed in biochemist Hingfu Li's labs at McMaster. Chemical engineer Carlos Filipe and mechanical-biomedical engineer Tohid Didar collaborated on the project. The researchers say that the patch can be incorporated into the production process by food manufacturers. The patch contains tiny drops of DNA sensors that will light up when it finds a pathogen. … [Read more...]

Consent Decree Issued Against MyNicNaxs, Maker of Dietary Supplements

A federal court ordered a Florida-based company called MyNicNaxs to stop selling drugs and dietary supplements until it complies with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and other requirements. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against MyNicNaxs of Deltona Florida. The company distributed weight loss and sexual enhancement products, marketed as dietary supplements, directly to consumers online through their websites. Some of these products tested positive for undeclared active pharmaceutical ingredients. Donald D. Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "Marketing products with undeclared active pharmaceutical … [Read more...]

Easter Food Safety Tips

Foodsafety.gov is offering tips to keep your Easter ham and eggs safe. Ham and eggs are traditional Easter foods in the United States. When you are cooking ham, make sure you know whether or not the product is fully cooked. Hams that are fully cooked are labeled so. Ham that is not ready to eat but looks like it's ready to eat will have a statement on the label that it needs cooking before you can consume it. Fresh, raw, ham, or ham that needs to be cooked first, must reach an internal temperature of 145°F, with a three minute rest time, before it is safe to eat. Make sure that you use a reliable and accurate food thermometer to test the meat. And ham and other meats should be cooked at an oven temperature no lower than 325°F. Cooked ham and cooked vacuum-packaged ham can be … [Read more...]

Columbus State University Students Publish Breakthrough Study on Treating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

Columbus State University Biology Majors have published a paper about their research on treating antibiotic resistant bacteria. The students were focusing on alternative therapies to treat Acinetobacter haumannii, which causes urinary tract infections, pneumonia, burns and wound infections, and septicemia. The World Health Organization has said that antibiotic resistant bacteria is a major public health concern and may cause millions of deaths in the future because of untreatable common infections. And in 2016, the CDC found that antibiotic resistant Salmonella causes more than 6,000 illnesses in this country every year. Those types of infections are linked to beef, dairy, poultry, produce, and eggs. The paper, titled "The Effects of Antimicrobial Peptides WAM-1 and LL-37 on … [Read more...]

Researchers at North Carolina State University Find Compounds That may Fight Listeria Bacteria

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found new compounds that "may be effective in containing the virulence - or ability to produce disease - of Listeria, a well-known bacterium that can cause severe food poisoning and even death." The research is a proof-of-concept study, which is an "early stage of clinical drug development when a compound has shown potential in animal models and early safety testing," according to the NCBI. One strain of Listeria bacteria, called monocytogenes, can cause serious illness in humans. The studies are used to estimate whether the compound may have significant efficacy in other diseases. The researchers know that inhibiting a certain enzyme that Listeria bacteria produces dramatically modify the bacterial cell surface. And this reduced … [Read more...]

Clean Label Project Finds Lead in Many Brands of Protein Powder

The Clean Label Project has studied 134 protein powder products made by 52 different brands. They screened the products for contaminants and toxins, including heavy metals such as lead, pesticides, and others that are linked to cancer. The study, conducted this year, found alarming compounds in many brands of protein powder. The products were tested by a third party analytical chemistry laboratory. The products were animal-based, whey, and plant-based. Then then rated the products with ratings of one, three, or five stars. You can see the ratings of the protein powders at their site.  They found that 70% of the powders contained lead, 74% contained cadmium, and 55% contained BPA, a hormone disruptor. Others contained arsenic, another heavy metal. Cadmium is a heavy metal. It … [Read more...]

FDA Recalls and Destroys Kratom Products; Kratom is Associated with a Multistate Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA has said it has recalled and destroyed products made with kratom, and warns consumers that the substance can be hazardous. The supplements it has collected and destroyed were distributed nationwide under the brand names Botany Bay, Enhance Your Life, and Divinity by Divinity Products Distribution of Grain Valley, Missouri. The company has agreed to stop selling all products containing kratom.   The FDA is also encouraging all companies that sell products containing kratom to take steps to remove their products from the market and submit evidence to the FDA to evaluate them according to the regulatory pathway. Government officials are concerned about this product since the FDA has stated that 36 deaths are related to the use of the product. In addition, kratom products … [Read more...]

Reishi D. Supplement Facility Warned by FDA

The FDA has sent a warning letter to the Reishi D. International dietary supplement facility in South San Francisco, California. Inspectors found serious violations of the current Good Manufacturing Practice, which means the product is considered adulterated. Inspectors also collected labels and brochures for the supplement that contain violations of the Act and regulations. The supplement is considered a drug because it is "ntended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease." Claims on the product, such as "has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.." and "Propolis … contains more than 30 different flavonoids and antioxidants to help control free radicals. Free radicals are caused by waste from our body cells that increase with … … [Read more...]

FDA Publishes Risk Profile of Pathogens and Filth in Spices

Did you know that spices can contain pathogenic bacteria and filth? The FDA has published the 2017 Risk Profile of Pathogens and Filth in Spices to "describe the nature and extend of the pubic health risk posed by consumption of spices in the U.S." The report identifies the most commonly occurring microbial hazards in spices, and evaluates the current mitigation and control options. There have been recalls of these types of products for possible bacterial contamination in the past few years. In October 2017, for example, Spicely Organics recalled tarragon for possible Salmonella contamination. And in 2014, some Costco pepper was recalled, also for Salmonella. The draft risk profile did identify Salmonella as the pathogen most commonly associated with human illness that was … [Read more...]

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