December 14, 2018

Did You Know Some Decorative Glitter and Dust Are Unsafe to Eat?

During the holiday season, many people use decorations on food to add interest and to reflect a celebratory mood. Unicorn cakes and cakes based on dolls and popular products can be decorated with items including decorative glitter and dust. But did you know that some of those decorative products are unsafe to eat? Some decorative glitters and dusts should not be eaten. Many of these products are sold over the internet and also in bakery supply and craft stores. They are sold under the names luster dust, disco dust, twinkle dust, highlighter, sparkle dust, shimmer powder, pearl dust, and petal dust. And many online videos and blogs promote the use of these products. Some glitters and dusts are edible and are made for use on foods. You can distinguish edible decorations from … [Read more...]

FDA Narrows Scope of E. coli Romaine Lettuce Outbreak

The FDA has narrowed the scope of the E. coli O157:H7 romaine lettuce outbreak investigation. The outbreak has grown from the latest update in November 2018, with 52 people now sick. The FDA states in their latest romaine lettuce outbreak update that "Traceback information from four restaurants in three different states so far has implicated 10 different distributors, 12 different growers, and 11 different farms as potential sources of the contaminated lettuce. The information indicates that the outbreak cannot be explained by a single farm, grower, harvester, or distributor." However, they have not named those distributors, growers, or farms. The FDA's Produce Safety Network is assisting with the investigation. This network includes personnel from the FDA's Center for Food … [Read more...]

Saranac Brand Foods Enjoined From Distributing Foods After Listeria Found in Plant

A federal court has permanently enjoined Saranac Brand Foods of Saranac, Michigan from "preparing, processing, and distributing adulterated ready-to-eat foods," according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. The complaint was filed on November 29, 2018 at the request of the FDA, and the finding was entered today, Monday, December 3, 2018 by the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The FDA alleges that Saranac Brand Foods violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by putting adulterated ready-to-eat foods into commerce. The company prepared and distributed about 35 foods, including dips, sauces, and salads such as spinach dip, macaroni salad, enchilada sauce, and coleslaw. Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the … [Read more...]

Heavy Metals Found in Some Kratom Products

There have been several warnings issued in the past year about kratom, a dietary supplement that was recalled for Salmonella contamination. Now, the FDA states that they have found "disturbingly high levels of heavy metals in kratom products." Kratom is not legally marketed in the U.S. as a drug or dietary supplement. The FDA states that some substances in kratom have opioid properties that suggest the potential for abuse. FDA scientists tested 26 separate kratom products obtained by field investigators. These products were originally collected as part of the efforts related to the multistate Salmonella outbreak linked to those products. Officials found lead and nickel in the kratom, at levels that are not safe for human consumption. The levels of heavy metals found are not … [Read more...]

Romaine Lettuce Labeling Begins In Wake of E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner, released a statement saying that romaine lettuce labeling will begin in wake of the E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened at least 43 people. Growers are going to start labeling the place of origin on their products to help consumers avoid potentially contaminated lettuce. Before this announcement, government officials told consumers to avoid all romaine lettuce because they did not know where it originated. His statement reads, in part, "Over the Thanksgiving holiday, the FDA continued to investigate the outbreak. Our investigation at this point suggests that romaine lettuce associated with the outbreak comes from areas of California that grow romaine lettuce over the summer months, and that the outbreak appears to be related to “end … [Read more...]

How Many U.S. Children Suffer From Food Allergies?

A new report published in the journal Pediatrics finds that almost 8% of children living in the United States have food allergies. That condition can be life-threatening and is a major public health concern. The recalls we tell you about are often for food allergens. A survey was administered to U.S. households in 2015 and 2016, looking for responses for 38,408 children. The overall estimated current food allergy prevalence is 7.6%. The most prevalent allergies were peanut, at 2.2%, affecting about 1.6 million kids; milk at 1.9%, affecting about 1.4 million children; shellfish at 1.3%,  affecting about 1 million children; and tree nut (1.2%), affecting about 900,000 kids. Among those children, 42.3% had severe food allergies, and 39.9% reported multiple allergies. About 19% of … [Read more...]

Supplement Makers Warned by FDA About Tianeptine in Dietary Supplements

The FDA is warning two companies for illegal marketing of dietary supplements that contain tianeptine. One of the warning letters was sent to MA Labs LLC, for Vicaine, and the other was sent to Jack B Goods Outlet Store, for Tianaa Red, Tianaa White, and Tianaa Green. Tianeptine has caused serious adverse events, according to that agency. Tianeptine is illegally used to treat opioid use disorder, and pain and anxiety. It is not a vitamin, mineral, herb, among acid dietary substance; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combination of those substances. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner, said in a statement, "The bottom line is this: we’ve seen growing instances where profiteers are pushing potentially dangerous compounds – often with unproven drug claims and … [Read more...]

IFSAC Estimates of Foodborne Illness Sources For 2016

The Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration (IFSAC), a tri-agency group that was created by the FDA, CDC, and USDA, has released an executive summary of the pathogens that cause foodborne illness and the foods they are linked to. Researchers looked at Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, and Campylobacter outbreaks and illnesses for 2016. These pathogens were chosen because they cause 1.9 million illnesses each year combined, and cause severe illness. The IFSAC data was derived from 1255 foodborne illness outbreaks that occurred from 1998 to 2016 that were linked to a single food category. These estimates will help these agencies to intervene and to create policies for reducing outbreaks. Overall, E. coli O157 illnesses were most often linked to leafy greens and … [Read more...]

FDA Seizes Food Held Under Insanitary Conditions at J and L Grocery Warehouse in AK

The FDA has seized food and medical products that were held under insanitary conditions at J and L Grocery warehouse in Alma, Arkansas. The U.S. Marshals Service conducted the seizure. The insanitary conditions included widespread rodent, insect, and live animal infestation. The seizure took place on November 7 and 8, 2018. The company receives and salvages products through the salvage market. The products seized included human and animal food products, over-the-country drugs, cosmetics, and medical devices. Some of the OTC drug products were outside their stated expiration dates. Comissioner of the FDA, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said, "The widespread insanitary conditions found at J and L Grocery is alarming and won’t be tolerated. At this time, we’re unaware of adverse events … [Read more...]

FDA Report Released on Restaurant Foodborne Illness Factors

The FDA has released findings from the first phase of a 10 year study that is looking at restaurant foodborne illness factors  in fast food restaurants and full service restaurants. The report looked at risk factors from 2013 to 2014. The first 10-year study was conducted between 1998 and 2008. In the 2008 study, the FDA found that the restaurant foodborne illness factors that needed the most improvement were poor personal hygiene, improper food holding/time and temperature, and contaminated equipment and protection from contamination. More than half of all food poisoning outbreaks in the U.S. every year are associated with restaurant food. In 2014, when looking at outbreaks linked to a single location, restaurants accounted for 485 outbreaks, or 65% of the total, and 4780 … [Read more...]

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