October 22, 2016

FDA Investigating Homeopathic Teething Product Adverse Effects

The FDA is investigating more than 400 reports of adverse events associated with homeopathic teething products in the last six years, Lyndsay Meyer of the FDA's Office of Media Affairs told Food Poisoning Bulletin. In addition, they are "aware of reports of 10 deaths during that time period that reference homeopathic teething products, though the relationship of these deaths to the homeopathic teething products has not yet been determined and is currently under review," she stated. On September 9, 2016, the FDA received a comprehensive report of a recent adverse event of a child having a seizure associated with the use of a homeopathic teething product, triggering an investigation. Other adverse events reported to the government included "seizure, death, fever, shortness of breath, … [Read more...]

FDA Warns Producer of Wonderful Pistachios Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

The FDA sent a warning letter on October 7, 2016 to the Wonderful Company, which produces Wonderful pistachios, about an inspection conducted in response to a multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to the pistachios. This outbreak was investigated by the CDC and declared over in May 2016. The Wonderful Company facility was inspected from March 8 through April 7, 2016. The Salmonella outbreak was caused by two Salmonella species: nine people were sickened with Salmonella Montevideo, and two were sickened with Salmonella Senftenberg. The trackback and epidemiological evidence led the FDA to conclude that pistachio nuts produced by that firm were adulterated. They were "prepared, packed, and held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health," … [Read more...]

FDA Warns About Serious Effects of Homeopathic Teething Products

The FDA is warning consumers that using homeopathic teething tablets and gels can pose a health risk to infants and children. Consumers should stop using these products immediately and throw away any they may have in their homes. These products are distributed by CVS, Hyland's, and other stores, and are possibly sold in other retail stores and online. Adverse events in children who have been given these products are being investigated by the FDA. Some of the issues include seizures in infants and children. Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement, "we recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives." The … [Read more...]

FDA Notes Decline in Cyclospora Cases

The FDA has released information about the decline of Cyclospora cases in the U.S. when compared to 2015, 2014, and 2013. FDA activities, including import alerts and testing of imported products, have contributed to that decline. In each of the last three summers, there have been huge cyclosporiasis outbreaks in this country that have been linked to imported produce. As a result of traceback investigation by the government from 2013 to 2015, the FDA inspected farms and packing houses in Puebla, Mexico and found conditions that may cause contamination of cilantro and other produce with human feces. The FDA implemented an Import Alert for fresh cilantro from the state of Puebla, Mexico as a result of these investigations. Cilantro imported from this region is detained and refused … [Read more...]

FDA Investigates Island Soup Company

The FDA is advising consumers to throw away any soup products from the New York firm Island Soups Company with best before dates between July 2015 and June 2018 because they may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum bacteria. That bacteria produces a toxin that can be deadly even in very small amounts. The company issued a recall for six soup varieties of their products on September 7, 2016. But in the notice from the FDA, they state that "FDA's safety concerns extend to all low-acid canned food products with best before dates between July 2015 and June 2018." FDA officials inspected Island Soups Company on June 22, 2016 and found that the facility "does not meet mandatory safety requirements for thermally processed low-acid canned food (LACF) products under the Federal … [Read more...]

SM Fish Closed by FDA; Illnesses Linked to Facility

The FDA has suspended the food facility registration of SM Fish Corporation of Far Rockaway, New York after finding Listeria monocytogenes at that location during three different inspections. In addition, whole genome sequencing (WGS) matched one of the strains found at SM Fish to isolates from four people sickened with listeriosis. Anyone with un-expired ready to eat food manufactured by SM Fish should not eat those products. This is an expansion of the July 29, 2016 recall of Ossie's Herring Salads to include all RTE foods from that facility. Ossie's ready to eat seafood salads were also recalled on September for possible Listeria contamination. Listeria was first fond in the facility in 2015 and found Listeria bacteria in 15 of 105 locations swabbed throughout the building. An … [Read more...]

The FDA Offers Tips on Tailgating Food Safety

Fall is football season, and that means a lot of eating. Tailgating is part of that sport; people set up grills and picnic tables in the parking lots of stadiums and chow down. The FDA is offering tips to make your tailgating event a food safety success. Plan ahead for food safety. Make sure you have these items on hand to keep the food you serve safe: paper towels, moist towelettes or hand sanitizer, two coolers (one for food and one for beverages), ice, frozen gel packs, two sets of cooking utensils (one for raw foods and one to take cooked food off the grill), paper plates, disposable silverware, a food thermometer to check the temperature of burgers and chicken, and clean containers to hold leftovers. Always wash your hands well with warm water and soap for at least 2o … [Read more...]

FDA, USDA Offer Tips to Use Your Microwave Safely

The FDA and USDA are offering tips about using your microwave oven safely. That agency regulates microwave ovens. Consumers have experienced burns and other injuries from microwave radiation, especially if the ovens are not used or maintained properly. There is another issue with microwave safety: food safety. Microwave ovens can "cook" food unevenly, leading to areas, especially in solid meats such as chicken, where the temperature is not raised high enough to kill pathogenic bacteria. In fact, some outbreaks in the past may have occurred because microwaves were used to cook the food in question, such as the Farm Rich E. coli outbreak. Mandatory label changes in 2008 omitted the microwave cooking instructions on many raw foods The magnetron inside your microwave converts … [Read more...]

FDA Collaborates with Egypt on Strawberry Hepatitis A Outbreak

The FDA is working with the Egyptian International Health Regulations National Focal Point about the investigation of strawberries that have been linked to a hepatitis A outbreak centered in Virginia. That outbreak, linked to Tropical Smoothie Cafes in that state, has sickened at least 70 people who live in 7 states. Public health officials are trying to identify all parts of the supply chain that brought the berries to the U.S. Government officials are "prohibited by law in most situations from releasing publicly certain confident commercial information about supply chains," according to the FDA notice on this outbreak. FDA has increased surveillance of imported strawberries as a result of this outbreak investigation and "will provide more information as it becomes available." FDA … [Read more...]

FDA Says No Antimicrobial Agents in Over the Counter Soaps

On every story we have written over the past five years about food poisoning outbreaks, we follow the FDA's advice: after handling potentially contaminated products, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. That's the best way to remove pathogenic bacteria and viruses from your hands and prevent the spread of illness. Now the FDA is telling soap manufacturers that they can no longer use certain antimicrobial ingredients when making over-the-counter soaps. There isn't enough science to show that these soaps are better at preventing illness than plain soap and water, and manufacturers have not established that the ingredients in those soaps are safe long term. Manufacturers have one year to comply with this rule. In 2013, the FDA issued a proposed rule requiring that … [Read more...]

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