December 14, 2019

CDC Offers Tips For a Fun and Safe Halloween

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering consumers tips for a fun and safe Halloween. They use the words "Safe Halloween" to make it easy to remember these tips. If your costume includes swords, knives or other accessories, they should be Short, soft, and flexible. Do not trick-or-treat Alone. Go in groups or with a trusted adult. Make sure your costume is reflective, or add reFlective tape to your apparel or bags so drivers can see you. All parents should Examine all treats for choking hazards and any sign of tampering before letting kids eat them. Hold a flashlight while you're out and about so others can see you. Always test make-up in a small area first; some can cause allergic reactions in some people. Remove it before bedtime. Look both ways … [Read more...]

Senator Schumer Concerned About Heavy Metals in Baby Food

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is urging the FDA to investigate a new report that states there are toxic heavy metals in baby foods. The government does not have regulation that would make industry to address this problem. That report, by Healthy Baby Food.org,  states that these metals, including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cadmium, are found in a wide variety of baby foods. According to the report, 95% of baby foods tested were contaminated by at least one of the heavy metals. One in four baby foods teated contains all four of the heavy metals. Only nine of 168 baby foods teated did not have any traces of these toxins. The products with the highest levels of contamination include fruit juices and rice-based products. Alarmingly, four of the seven infant rice cereals that were … [Read more...]

Antibiotic-Free or Organic Poultry Less Likely to Have MultiDrug-Resistant Bacteria

A study conducted at the Pennsylvania Department of Health, along with the Penn State College of Medicine and the FDA, found that meat from conventionally-raised poultry harbored almost twice as much multidrug-resistant Salmonella bacteria as meat from antibiotic-free or organic poultry. The study was presented at IDWeek 2019. Consuming Salmonella-contaminated meat is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness. Since this infection is treated with antibiotics, when the pathogen is resistant to many different commonly used drugs, the illness can be more serious and dangerous. The overuse and misuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals raised for food leads to antibiotic resistance. The FDA has issued guidance documents, which are not legally binding, to try to limit … [Read more...]

University of Arizona Scientists Examine Yuma Romaine E. coli Outbreak

University of Arizona (UA) scientists are examining the Yuma romaine E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak linked to lettuce from that Arizona growing area to look at growing practices and the environment. That outbreak was the sixth largest of 2018. In all, 210 people in 36 states were sickened, 96 people were hospitalized, and five people, who lived in Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and New York, died. Twenty-seven of those patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. This study is meant to provide recommendations to growers, packers, and distributors toward enhanced food safety. The FDA, the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and state partners conducted an environmental assessment in 2018 that narrowed the scope of the outbreak. The outbreak strain of … [Read more...]

How to Report a Problem With Food to the FDA and USDA

Most Americans have had food poisoning at one time or another, giving that 48,000,000 Americans contract this form of illness every year. Most people think they have the "stomach flu" or a "24 hour bug" when they actually have food poisoning. How do you report a problem with food? What do you do if you think you have food poisoning? First, know the symptoms of food poisoning for various pathogens: E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella. You can report your illness to the government if you think that a problem with food (such as the Northfork Bison E. coli outbreak) purchased from a store is the problem. First, call your doctor to get necessary treatment. Many foodborne illnesses can have long term health complications and this should be noted on your medical … [Read more...]

Penn Dutch Margate, Florida Store Closed For Endangering Public Health

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Commissioner Nicole Fried issued an Immediate Final Order to Penn Dutch Meat & Seafood Market, ordering that they immediately cease operations and close their Margate store. This order was issued after Penn Dutch "violated multiple stop-use and stop-sale orders and endangered public health by possibly distributing food products contaminated with Listeria pathogens," according to the press release. Fried said in a statement, "As with any Department inspection process, Penn Dutch was provided an opportunity to remedy the situation by disposing of possibly dangerous contaminated products and sanitizing tools and workspaces. It’s unfortunate that Penn Dutch chose to disregard our directives and endanger public … [Read more...]

USDA Study: Bacteria From Raw Chicken Transferred to Salads

A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has found that consumers put themselves at risk of serious illness by washing or rinsing raw poultry.  Bacteria from raw chicken is easily transferred to other surfaces. This common practice used to be recommended in cookbooks. But research has found that rinsing raw poultry aerosolizes the bacteria and the pathogens can spread up to three feet away from the faucet. In addition, the sink will most likely be contaminated. Dr. Mindy Brashears, the USDA's Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety said in a statement, "During this year’s study, 26 percent of participants that washed raw poultry transferred bacteria from that raw poultry to their ready to eat salad lettuce. Fortunately, small changes in the kitchen can … [Read more...]

It’s State Fair Time! Watch Out for E. Coli …

It's state fair time! State fairs around the country are in full swing. Some have ended, and some have yet to begin. These gatherings are celebrations of the harvest and of the hard work of farmers. But in the past, these fairs and other late summer and early fall gatherings have been the source of dangerous E. coli outbreaks. This year, an E. coli O157 outbreak at the Minnesota State Fair has sickened 11 people, hospitalizing six. One person has developed HUS. Most of the patients visited the Miracle of Birth exhibit, and had contact with ruminant animals. Earlier this year, a deadly E. coli outbreak at the San Diego County Fair sickened 10 people. Three people were hospitalized and one 2-year-old died. In 2014, an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to the traveling Zerebko Zoo … [Read more...]

Food and Water Safety Advice For Those in Hurricane Dorian’s Path

The FDA is offering food and water safety advice for those in Hurricane Dorian's path. The hurricane is making its way up the eastern coast of the United States this week. Hurricane warnings have been posted for the coasts of both North and South Carolina. When the power goes out, consumers need to take special precautions to make sure that the food stored in their homes remains safe. First, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. The fridge will keep food cold for about four hours, and a full freezer will keep the temperature low for about 48 hours if the door stays closed. Dry and block ice can be used to keep food safe for longer periods of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice will keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days. Flooding … [Read more...]

Consent Decree Against Biogenyx and Basic Reset For FD&C Act Violations

A federal court has ordered two Tennessee-based companies to stop distributing drugs, dietary supplements, and devices until the companies comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). The companies are Biogenyx and Basic Reset. The FDA has not approved these drugs or devices "for any use, despite the companies’ claims that these products could be used to diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent conditions such as inflammation, chronic diarrhea, bacterial infections, head lice, allergies and pain." In addition, those companies have unlawfully distributed dietary supplements that are adulterated and misbranded, according to the decree. During inspections at the facilities, FDA inspectors found numerous violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices … [Read more...]

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