July 12, 2020

What Do the FDA Relaxed Food Allergen Labels Mean For You?

In May 2020, the FDA relaxed food allergen label requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. They called this guidance "minor formulation changes," which were to "help minimize the impact of supply chain disruptions associated with the current COVID-19 pandemic on product availability." One of the changes was to let manufacturers use existing labels when making "minor formula adjustments" due to those disruptions. The guidance also applies to foods sold in vending machines. The guidance will remain in place as long as the public health emergency is in place. When the emergency is declared over, the FDA will "consider and publicly communicate regarding whether an extension, in whole or in part, is warranted, based on comments received to this guidance and our experience with its … [Read more...]

ALDI Recalls Little Salad Bar Garden Salad For Possible Cyclospora

ALDI is recalling its Little Salad Bar Garden Salad for possible cyclospora contamination, in association with a recall issued by Fresh Express. This product is one of three listed by the FDA as potentially linked to a multistate cyclospora outbreak in the midwest that has sickened at least 76 people in 6 states. The Little Salad Bar Garden Salad was sold in a 12 ounce plastic bag. The product has the UPC number 409910008297 stamped on the package, and the best if used by dates are May 1 through June 29, 2020. Fresh Express notified the company that some of its products were implicated in the outbreak by the FDA. No other ALDI products are affected by this recall. ALDI has removed this product from its store shelves. The Little Salad Bar Garden salad was sold in ALDI stores in … [Read more...]

FDA Finds Bitter Orange Supplements Can Contain Unapproved Drugs

The FDA has released a study that finds some bitter orange dietary supplements can contain unapproved drugs. This supplement is sold as a sports performance supplement and weight management supplement. It became popular after Ephedra products, a type of amphetamine, were banned from the U.S. after it was linked to heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and sudden deaths. But as Consumer Reports points out, the government agency hasn't begun enforcement action against the companies that make these products, nor has it warned consumers about them. Manufacturers claim that bitter orange supplements increase energy and suppress appetite. The bitter orange supplements can contain synephrine, an amine, which can cause adverse cardiovascular events, especially when taken with caffeine. For … [Read more...]

First Quarter Recalls Plummet, But Experts Expect Rebound

The first quarter recalls from the FDA and USDA plummeted to unprecedented low levels during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. For instance, while the FDA's recall level did dip in the first quarter, down 9.6% from 2019, the USDA only posted three recalls in January, February, and March 2020. That's a decrease of 78.6% from the previous year. And in the second quarter, only five recalls were posted on the USDA web site, with just 18 days left in the quarter. Stericycle Expert Solutions, which analyzes recalls every quarter, predict that "the coronavirus pandemic will lead to an eventual spike of recalls across the food, drug, consumer product, medical device, and auto industries once restrictions on businesses are lifted and regulators resume their traditional oversight … [Read more...]

Lansing, Michigan Quality Dairy Has Listeria and Roach Problem

The Lansing, Michigan Quality Dairy has Listeria monocytogenes and roach problems, according to a warning letter posted by the FDA on May 13, 2020. That facility produces ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads and bakery products. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes contamination in RTE products. FDA has issued Form 483, which details food safety issues and problems found during inspections. The products made by the manufacturer are considered adulterated "in that they were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health." The company responded to inspection reports on February 19, 2020, describing corrective actions, but the FDA issued the letter to … [Read more...]

CSPI Urges FDA Action Against Supplement COVID-19 False Claims

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is asking the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take enforcement action against supplement COVID-19 false claims. The watchdog group found 46 products on Amazon that claimed their supplements fight viruses in a scan on May 29, 2020. CSPI also wants Amazon to delist these products and to work with the FDA and FTC to protect consumers from these manufacturers' false claims. And CSPI adds that those 46 listings are just a small sample of the "illegal and potentially unsafe supplements currently sold on Amazon and other online retailers." Federal law prohibits dietary supplement makers to claim that they prevent, treat, or diagnose any disease, including coronavirus. Many of the supplements CSPI found for sale implied … [Read more...]

Do You Buy Food on Facebook? You May Want to Think Twice

You may or may not know this, but you can buy food through Facebook Marketplace. Sounds like a good idea in a time of potential food shortages, right? Maybe not. Food safety experts think that buying food from "opaque" Facebook posts may lead to consumers eating adulterated or contaminated  food. Some unscrupulous people may be selling adulterated food on Facebook, which is considered an "alternative channel" for sales because the food isn't necessarily inspected before it's shipped off to the buyer. Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at Queen's University in Belfast told The Grocer, "That's where I would go [to sell food]. I'm sure a lot of what's being sold on there is good, fine food, but I would say there's also a lot of fraud happening on that particular marketplace … [Read more...]

Permanent Injunction Against Sundial Herbal Products For Unapproved Drugs

A federal judge has entered an order of permanent inunction against Sundial Herbal Products to stop distributing their products because they have been labeled unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs. Despite previous warnings from the FDA, the company "continued to violate the law and distributed their products," according to a new release issued by the FDA. FDA Chief Counsel Stacy Amin said in a statement, "Americans expect and deserve medical treatments that have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. Making claims that unproven drugs can cure or prevent diseases places consumers’ health at risk. We remain committed to pursuing and taking swift action against those who attempt to subvert the regulatory functions of the FDA by repeatedly disregarding the law and … [Read more...]

Prepare For Food Safety During Power Outages WIth Tips From the FDA

As the U.S. enters the hurricane and tornado season, the FDA is offering tips for helping consumers prepare for food safety during power outages. Food can spoil if the power is out for hours, but you can save money and protect yourself by following these steps. First, make sure that you have appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. That's the best way to tell if the temperature in those appliances is cold enough to keep food safe from bacterial growth. The freezer should always be at 0°F or below, and the refrigerator should always be at or below 40°F. Then, think about freezing containers of water to help keep foods cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers when the power goes out. The melting ice will also provide drinking water if you use water from the … [Read more...]

FDA Investigation Into Three Fall 2019 Romaine E. coli O157:H7 Outbreaks

The FDA has released a report detailing their investigation into three fall 2019 romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks that sickened at least 188 people.  That agency worked with the FDA and state officials to investigation how the romaine lettuce was contaminated. The romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks began in September 2019 and were declared over in January 2020. Some clusters within each of these outbreaks were traced to a common grower with multiple ranches and fields in the Salinas, California growing region. That grower was not named. Investigators found one of the outbreak strains of E. coli O157:H7 in a sample taken from public land less than two miles upslope from a produce farm with multiple fields that was identified during traceback investigations. Other Shiga … [Read more...]

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