June 4, 2023

FDA Offers Tips to Prevent Listeria Monocytogenes Illness

The FDA is offering tips to prevent Listeria monocytogenes illnesses. There is a mystery Listeria outbreak on the FDA's CORE Outbreak Investigation Table that has sickened at least 11 people in 10 states, as well as an ongoing listeriosis outbreak that is linked to Utopia Foods and Sun Hong Foods enoki mushrooms. It's important to know that some foods are more likely to be contaminated with this dangerous and often deadly pathogen. They include ready to eat refrigerated foods such as deli meats and cheeses, unpasteurized milk, and foods made with unpasteurized milk. The people most at risk for serious complications from this food poisoning infection include pregnant women and their fetuses, the elderly, anyone with a compromised immune system, and anyone with a chronic illness, … [Read more...]

FDA on Food Waste and Food Safety: What About Expiration?

The FDA is offering information on food waste and food safety, or what do you need to know about expiration dates? Most products have a "best by" or "best if used by" date stamped somewhere on the container. What do they mean? And can you eat a food that is past that date? This information is important because food waste is a terrible problem in this country. For instance, 80% of our freshwater is used getting food on the table, along with half of our land. Organic waste, mostly food, is the second biggest component of landfills. And those landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions, a greenhouse gas. Since between 30 to 40% of food in the U.S. goes uneaten, we are discarding $165,000,000,000 in food every year. Food waste and food safety are connected because … [Read more...]

Consumer Reports Lists 10 Risky Recalled Foods From 2017-2022

Consumer Reports lists 10 risky recalled foods from 2017 to 2022 that you should know about. These foods were recalled because of bacterial contamination and many were linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. The 10 risky recalled foods that are listed in rank order include: Leafy Greens. These types of vegetables were linked to 50 outbreaks and recalls. There were 614 illnesses and 11 deaths as a result of E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes bacterial contamination on these products, including the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Fresh Express packaged salads that sickened and hospitalized 10 people in 10 states, and the Wendy's E. coli romaine outbreak¬†that sickened at least 109 people in six states. Contaminated water used to irritate crops is one source of these … [Read more...]

CPSC Report Finds Spike in Child Poisoning Deaths in 2021

A Consumer Product Safety Commission report finds a 37% spike in child poisoning deaths in 2021. Fifty nine children under the age of five years died after gaining access to prescribed or illicit drugs. Nearly 12 children died after ingesting cell or coin batteries from 2017 through 2021. The agency is encouraging consumers to protect their families by taking control of all potentially harmful household products, including medications, drugs, button batteries, laundry packets, and cleaning supplies. National Poison Prevention Week, which was March 20 - 24, 2023 is the 61st year it has been observed. Tough federal laws caused a decrease of 73% in child poisoning deaths since 1972. Laws include the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 and the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act … [Read more...]

FDA Strategy to Increase Resilience of Infant Formula Market

The FDA has released a national strategy to increase the resilience of the infant formula market in the United States. Last year, cronobacter illnesses among some infants led to the inspection of Abbott Nutrition's Sturgis, Michigan plant where problems were found, including multiple swabs indicating cronobacter contamination. Many recalls were issued and the plant was closed, which threw the infant formula supply in the United States into chaos. While there was not a match between the contamination in the Abbott plant and the sick infants, the situation highlighted how brittle the supply of powdered infant formula is in this country. In 2022, the Food and Drug Omnibus Reform Act directed the FDA to develop this strategy to help keep the market for this product stable. FDA … [Read more...]

FDA Completes Second Pre-Market Consultation for Cultured Food

The FDA has completed its second pre-market consultation for human food made using animal cell culture technology. The information was submitted to the FDA from GOOD Meat, Inc. The firm is using animal cell culture technology to take living cells from chickens and grows the cells in a controlled environment to make cultured animal cell food. This consultation is not an approval process. It means that after the government has evaluated the data and information that was shared by the firm, the FDA has no further questions at this time about the firm's safety conclusion. GOOD Meat says that its products are meat made from cells of animals instead of slaughter. During this consultation, the FDA evaluated the company's production process and the cultured cell material that was made in … [Read more...]

FDA Strategy Enhances Safety of Soft Queso Fresco Cheeses

The FDA has released a prevention strategy to try to enhance the safety of soft Queso Fresco cheeses (QFT) after several foodborne illness outbreaks. From 2014 to 2017 there were five listeriosis outbreaks in the United States that were linked to the consumption of soft fresh Queso type cheeses. There were 12 more outbreaks of listeriosis in the United States during the time period of 1998 to 2014 that were associated with soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk. Most were associated with soft Queso Fresco type cheeses. And in 2021 the FDA investigated a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to El Abuelito Cheese products that sickened at least 13 people in four states and killed one person who lived in Maryland. Historically, these outbreaks have been associated with … [Read more...]

High Winds Increase Campylobacter Prevalence in Chicken Flocks

A study published in the journal Animals, by Washington State University, has found that high winds increase Campylobacter prevalence in outdoor chicken flocks. About 28% of individual chickens had the pathogen at the open environment farms in the study. And organic and free-range chicken farms had the same problem.¬†Campylobacter is the largest single cause of foodborne illness in the United States. Co-lead author Olivia Smith, a recent Washington State University Ph.D. graduate in the School of Biological Sciences said in a statement, "Farms need to be aware of the risk. These environmental factors are influencing if the poultry are going to have foodborne pathogens, so farmers need to be aware of what's around them. If there's a lot of wind and if they're in really agricultural … [Read more...]

EWG Releases Dirty Dozen List of Produce For 2023

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has published their 2023 guide to the Dirty Dozen list, which is a list of fruits and vegetables that are likely to have the most pesticide residue. The biggest news is that blueberries are back on the list, with traces of several toxic pesticides.¬†Americans are eating three times as many blueberries as 20 years ago, according to that agency. The list is based on analysis of the USDA data, which tests some fruit and vegetable samples. Just under 80% of all blueberry samples tested positive for two or more pesticides, compared to 70% in 2014. One sample of blueberries had up to 17 different pesticide residues. The most problematic pesticides are phosmet and malathion, which are organophosphate insecticides. They can be toxic to the human nervous … [Read more...]

Permanent Injunction Against doTERRA Supplements For COVID-19

A permanent injunction and orders for civil penalty judgments have been filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against three distributors of doTERRA supplements for allegedly false claims about COVID-19 made when marketing essential oils and supplements. Three persons, Tina Wong, a pediatrician based in California, Eliza Johnson Bacot, a nurse practitioner based in Georgia, and Lauren Busch, a former registered nurse based in Utah, each agreed to pay $15,000 in civil penalties and to permanent injunctive relief to resolve these allegations. Court filings allege that the defendants were or are distributors for doTERRA International LLC, a multi-level marketing company based in Utah that sells these products. The allegation is that, in public webinars in January 2022, the defendants … [Read more...]

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