November 30, 2021

Senator Jon Tester Introduces Bill to Suspend Beef Imports From Brazil

United States Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) has introduced a bill to suspend beef imports from Brazil after there have been repeated issues with delayed reporting of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or Mad Cow Disease, in beef products. The legislation would force a systemic review of the beef's safety before imports could resume. Tester said in a statement, "Montanans demand the highest level of safety and certainty in their beef, and Brazilian imports aren’t making the cut. Folks expect their beef to have been rigorously tested against the strictest of standards, and concerns about Brazilian imports not only jeopardize consumer trust, but present a serious risk to Montana producers. We owe it to our domestic producers and consumers to halt Brazilian imports until we can … [Read more...]

Keep Thanksgiving Leftovers Safe With Tips From the USDA

It's Thanksgiving. One of the best parts of this holiday is leftovers. So you should know how to keep Thanksgiving leftovers safe with these tips from the USDA. When you take foods out of the oven or refrigerator, set a timer and follow the two hour rule. That means that all perishable items such as the turkey, stuffing, side dishes, and desserts should be refrigerated within two hours after coming out of those appliances. After two hours, these foods enter the "danger zone" between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can double every 20 minutes. Then, even if you thoroughly reheat those foods, the bacteria could have produced toxins that are not destroyed by heat and can still make you sick. When you break down the foods from the meal, put them into shallow containers so they cool … [Read more...]

Blackstone Labs Conspired to Sell Unlawful Dietary Supplements

Blackstone Labs and two of its executives pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell illegal anabolic steroid and unlawful dietary supplements, according to the U.S. Justice Department. According to court documents, on November 17, 2021, the executives, Phillip Braun and Aaron Singerman, pleaded guilty to distributing controlled substances and to selling unapproved new violation of FDA statutes through their company, which was located in Boca Raton, Florida. The defendants admitted that, from 2012 through 2017, they conspired to sell products that were unapproved new drugs and/or illegal controlled substances, while they falsely characterized their products as safe and legal dietary supplements under the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act. The products were also falsely … [Read more...]

Prepare Your Holiday Turkey Safely with Tips From the CDC

It's almost Thanksgiving! Prepare your holiday turkey safely with tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since turkey can be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria, it must be handled carefully. First of all, store the turkey properly. It should be stored in the freezer until you are ready to thaw it. Do not store a turkey in a car trunk, in snow, or on the back porch. At this point it's too late to properly thaw a large frozen turkey in the fridge, but you can cook it from the frozen state. It takes 24 hours of thawing in the refrigerator for each four to five pounds of turkey. Never ever thaw a turkey or any meat on the counter. The meat will remain in the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F too long, and bacteria will multiply. At room temperature, bacterial … [Read more...]

Cake Decorating Luster Dust Associated with Metal Poisoning in RI and MO

Cake decorating luster dust was associated with toxic heavy metal poisonings in Rhode Island and Missouri in 2018 and 2019, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) for the week of October 29, 2021. The luster dusts in question contained high levels of copper, lead, and other heavy metals that can cause serious illness and health complications. As these ingredients are often used in holiday celebrations, consumer education about these items is needed. During the time period of 2018 to 2019, the two states investigated heavy metal poisonings that were associated with commercial and home-prepared cakes made with luster dusts. The issue is that labeling stating that a product is nontoxic does not mean that is is safe to eat. Several items of glitters and … [Read more...]

FDA’s Food Safety and Nutrition Survey Report Released

The FDA's Food Safety and Nutrition Survey, the agency's probability consumer survey designed to assess consumer awareness, knowledge, understanding, and self-reported behaviors regarding food safety, has been released for 2019. The survey was launched to help the FDA make informed regulatory, education, and policy decisions to protect public health. The survey was a mail-push to web methodology. The population includes adults who live in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. A total of 4,398 responses were collected during ht months of October and November 2019. Before this methodology change, FDA consumer surveys were conducted using phone interviews. The key findings on food safety include consumer knowledge about where they think they may contract food poisoning, … [Read more...]

Can USDA Solve Chicken’s Salmonella Problem?

For the last 25 years, the USDA has been trying to reduce Salmonella illnesses by testing for the presence of the bacteria on poultry at processing plants. On the face of it, this seems like a solid plan. According to the CDC, Salmonella causes more foodborne illness than any other bacteria, about 1.35 million cases each year, and contaminated poultry accounts for about 23 percent of those illnesses. But something strange happened. Two decades of test results showed an overall reduction in the occurrence of Salmonella on poultry products, but the percentage of Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry didn’t decrease. In fact, it went up. And while the number of Salmonella illnesses linked to poultry increased, so did the severity thanks to the growing prevalence of dangerous, … [Read more...]

Produce Contamination Is E. coli Blowing in the Wind?

The Center for Produce Safety is awarding grant money for a study to evaluate the risks of E. coli being carried in the wind on dust. For the issue of produce contamination is E. coli blowing in the wind? E. coli bacteria can survive in dust; in fact, an NIH study conducted in 2016 found that the pathogen can live in dust samples for 20 years. Here's how this works: Cattle carry pathogenic E. coli bacteria in their guts and excrete it in the feces. The feces contaminates soil in the area, which can then dry and become airborne in dust. The problem is that if the pathogen is in dust from factory farms, it can travel on the wind to produce fields and contaminate vegetables, especially romaine lettuce. That lettuce's unique physiology makes it easy for bacteria to collect in its … [Read more...]

U.S. Grandma’s Herbs Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction

A consent decree of permanent injunction has been entered between U.S. Grandma's Herbs, Inc. of St. George, Utah, and the company's owners. The company allegedly marketed products as dietary supplements, with labeling that rendered them unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs, according to an FDA news release. The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah entered the consent decree on behalf of the FDA. The FDA has not approved Grandma's Herbs products for any use. The company has claimed that the products could be used to "diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent conditions such as respiratory tract infections, ulcers, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and epilepsy." Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs said in a statement, "The … [Read more...]

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween With Tips From the FDA

Have a safe and happy Halloween with tips from the FDA. This holiday has some hazards that parents should watch out for. First of all, make sure that kids do not snack on treats from their bags while they are out trick-or-treating. They should have a snack or a meal before they head out so they aren't tempted. You should always inspect their candy and treats before they are allowed to eat them. Tell children not to accept, and certainly not eat, anything that isn't commercially wrapped. The means no homemade treats. And look for signs of tampering in commercially wrapped treats, such as discoloration, unusual appearance, tiny pinholes, or tears in the wrappers. Throw away anything that may look strange or suspicious. If your child has a food allergy, you need to be especially … [Read more...]

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