Category: Food Safety Report


This Is Your Brain On Aspartame

This Is Your Brain On Aspartame

Controversy continues to rage over the artificial sweetener aspartame.  Since it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1981, aspartame has made its way into more than 6,000 food items.

 

The FDA claims aspartame is safe but has set an acceptable daily intake of no more than 50 mg per kilogram of body weight.  In other words, an adult weighing 165 pounds should consume no more than 3,750 mg of aspartame a day.  A can of diet soda typically contains about 180 mg of the chemical.  That means the FDA’s “safe” limit equates to about 21 cans of diet soda per day.

But is any level of aspartame really safe?

For decades researchers have claimed aspartame is responsible for headache, memory loss, mood changes, and depression.  Consumer complaints back them up.  Over 75% of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA concern aspartame. Reported problems include headaches, migraines, vision problems, tinnitus, depression, joint pain, insomnia, heart palpitations, and muscle spasms.

Recently researchers from the University of North Dakota wanted to test the safe limits of aspartame over a short period of time.  They found that at just one half of the FDA’s “safe” acceptable daily intake, aspartame caused serious neurobehavioral changes including cognitive impairment, irritable moods, and depression.[i]

 

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Kitchen Cutting Boards Harbor Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

A new study published in the Journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that kitchen cutting boards can become contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria from raw meat. Researchers at the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland looked at 154 cutting boards before they were washed from the hospital and 44 from private homes after they were used to prepare pork, beef, veal, lamb, game, or fish. In addition, kitchen gloves worn during meat preparation were tested.

Cutting BoardThe scientists discovered that 6.5% of the hospital cutting boards and 3.5% of the household cutting boards used to prepare poultry tested positive for “multidrug-resistant E. coli bacteria.” None of the boards used for meat other than poultry dated positive. Fifty percent of the gloves were contaminated with multidrug-resistant E. coli.

 

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Updated Food Recall Warning – Pusateri’s Fine Foods brand Organic Whole Black Peppercorns recalled due to Salmonella

Updated Food Recall Warning – Pusateri’s Fine Foods brand Organic Whole Black Peppercorns recalled due to Salmonella

NEWSCANADA-PLUS                             HEALTH  SAFETY  --       Updated Food Recall Warning - Pusateri's Fine Foods brand Organic Whole Black Peppercorns recalled due to Salmonella

Ottawa, April 12, 2014 – The food recall warning issued on April 5, 2014 has been updated to include an additional product.Organic Connections Ltd. is recalling Pusateri’s Fine Foods brand Organic Whole Black Peppercorns from the marketplace due to possible Salmonellacontamination. Consumers should not consume the recalled product described below.

Recalled products

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC
Pusateri’s Fine Foods Organic Whole Black Peppercorns 245 g Lot # 040203-002 6 28240 51655 8
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California Warns Consumers Not to Eat Anchovies, Sardines, Crab

The California Department of Public Health is warning consumers not to eat commercially or recreationally caught anchovies or sardines or the internal organs of crab from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been found in some of these species and could be found in other species.

AnchoviesDomoic acid is produced by phytoplankton, a type of algae, and accumulates in shellfish, sardines and anchovies. It is a biotoxin that affects the brain. Several people have died over the years and may others have become permanently disabled with brain damage after eating domoic acid contaminated seafood. The first reported outbreak of domoic acid poisoning was in 1987 at Prince Edward Island, Canada. Three people died and more than 100 were sickened in that outbreak after eating contaminated seafood.

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SFGate

State issues warning over toxic seafood

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Sardines are among the species of fish health officials are warnign could be tainted with domoic acid. (Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)

 

State officials are advising consumers to stay away from certain types of seafood caught in the waters off Monterey and Santa Cruz counties after a toxic chemical was detected in some of the fish.

The California Department of Public Health issued the warning Thursday, telling the public to avoid sardines, anchovies and the internal organs of crabs because some samples from the region tested positive for domoic acid.

Domoic acid typically resides in the digestive tracts of the fish.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning usually set in between 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating tainted seafood and can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Severe cases can cause trouble breathing, loss of short-term memory, coma or death.

 

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Shellfish Irradiation To Reduce Food Poisoning Gets FDA Nod

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of ionizing radiation to kill foodborne pathogens on crustacean shellfish and extend their shelf life. The April 11 decision is in response to a food additive petition submitted by the National Fisheries Institute 13 years ago.

irradiated-symbolThe decision will allow processors of crustaceans including crab, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and prawns use small amounts of ionizing radiation to reduce, but not eliminate, dangerous foodborne bacteria such as E.coli, Vibrio and Listeria.  The maximum permitted dose is 6.0 kiloGray.

The rule covers shellfish sold raw, frozen, shelled, dried, cooked and partially cooked. It also covers crustaceans processed with spices or a small number of other ingredients.

 

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Forbes

Will Irradiated Burgers Turn You Radioactive? The Truth About Food Irradiation

As prolific and commonplace as they are in our lives, “foodstuffs” and “food processes” still confound us. I recently received a query in my inbox; the sender was anxious over some irradiated burgers he had bought. Would they harm him? Would they turn him radioactive? Upon reflection, it seemed ripe fodder for a Forbes post.

I noticed a symbol on a package of burgers that I bought, and saw that it meant the beef had been irradiated. I didn’t eat them. What does this mean to have food irradiated, what does involve, is it bad for me, and were the burgers radioactive?

Radiation at the best of times doesn’t elicit warm, fuzzy feelings. When it gets anywhere near our food supply, we’re prone to panic, hysteria even. But, with irradiated food, where the results are comparable to pasteurization, there’s absolutely no need for frenzy, or to let perfectly fine fare go to waste.

While conventional pasteurization depends on heat, irradiation relies on energy generated by ionizing radiation. This can come from either gamma rays from a radioactive element like cobalt-60, electron beam technology or x-rays. Higher doses of irradiation can kill disease-causing microorganisms like E.coli and Salmonella – this would have been the case with your burgers. Lower doses can replace other forms of fumigation to eradicate insects such as fruit flies and weevils from produce, and extend shelf life by retarding spoilage and natural processes such as ripening and sprouting.

All irradiated food is required by law to carry an internationally recognized symbol, known as a radura — usually green and resembling a circular flower flanked by two leaves within a broken circle. The packaging must also bear a statement indicating the food has been irradiated.

The radura should embolden you to tuck in rather than to throw out your burgers. Irradiation is by no means intended as a substitute for scrupulous hygiene standards, but it does provide that extra measure of safety. The off-putting reality is that burgers and other ground meat products are prone to contamination being frequently made from off-cuts and trimmings that may have been in contact with fecal matter. If a single cut of meat, say a steak or a chicken breast, is contaminated with E.coli or Salmonella, the pathogens harbor only on the surface of the meat being unable to permeate to the interior. Searing the outside over high heat will kill off any nasties. With a burger however, surface bacteria can become mixed into the ground meat. The risk of food poisoning then is inordinately higher despite a well-browned crust  - especially if you like your burgers pink and well below 160F in the middle.

 

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US News & World Report

The Basics on the Foodfight Over Irradiation

Should you look for the “radura” symbol?

Video: Healthful Eating Recipes

Video: Healthful Eating Recipes

By Sept. 5, 2008 SHARE

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval late last month of pathogen-zapping irradiation technology for fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce has reignited a long simmering debate about how to improve the safety of food. The news comes as the latest food safety scare—the salmonella outbreak probably caused by hot peppers—winds down after infecting 1,442 people across 43 states and killing two of them. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States.

Given the less than spotless state of the nation’s food supply, is bombarding a product with radiation to kill microorganisms such as E. coli and salmonella a good thing? Or should you avoid irradiated food, as some groups urge? U.S. News asked food safety experts some key questions to help you decide.

What is irradiation?
The process involves treating a food with a short burst of high energy radiation that damages the DNA of bacteria. Though the FDA has only just approved the technique for use with fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce, the technology is not new. In fact, the agency has conducted safety tests on the technology for more than 40 years, and its use on meat has been approved since 1997. Spinach and iceberg lettuce are the first types of produce approved for irradiation at levels intense enough to kill pathogens. (Lower doses have been approved for other purposes, such as controlling insect infestations and slowing ripening produce’s maturation.) Why do some food processors want to irradiate food?
Groups that represent food processors, such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the American Meat Institute, want to irradiate certain products to kill problematic pathogens and to extend shelf life. Research shows that irradiation destroys 99.9 percent of common foodborne pathogens. However, advocacy groups such as Food & Water Watch and the Organic Consumers Association oppose the irradiation of food on the grounds that it doesn’t address the root causes of outbreaks, such as unsanitary conditions at farms and food processing plants, and reduces the nutritional quality, taste, and texture of food. Why has the Food and Drug Administration decided to approve the technology for use with spinach and lettuce now?

 

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FDA Expands Irradiation of Food Supply; Harmonizing with Codex Alimentarius

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post

Demonstrating the lack of concern held by regulatory agencies for public safety or public opinion as well as the increasing attempts to become compliant with Codex Alimentarius regulations, the FDA has recently expanded the amount of ionized radiation that can be used to treat unrefrigerated raw meat.

As reported by Food Safety News, the two new policies decided upon by the FDA were issued in response to two petitions filed in 1999 by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While the previous policy was that only refrigerated or frozen meats could be irradiated, the new rule allows for the irradiation of unrefrigerated raw meat. The second rule change allows for increasing the dose of ionizing radiation in poultry from 3.0 kGY to 4.5 kGy.

Although a period for public comment is always set aside for regulatory agency decisions regarding potential changes to policy, the FDA promptly ignored the many comments it received from individuals all over the country as well as consumer advocacy groups which requested the denial of the two FSIS petitions.

The response from the FDA was that all of these comments, made by individuals and by groups such as Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety, “were of a general nature” and “did not contain any substantive information that could be used in a safety evaluation of irradiated poultry.” This statement was made regarding both the poultry irradiation rule and the passage of a new meat temperature rule.

Predictably, the FDA has defended its decision by circular logic that flies in the face of science and common sense. The agency is claiming that “irradiating unrefrigerated meat was not found to increase meat’s toxicity, change the food’s nutritional properties or increase the likelihood of certain bacteria thriving on meat; therefore FDA has determined that this is a safe application for the process.”

Of course, while the FDA claims that irradiation is not found to increase toxicity or change nutritional properties, the very reason that the FDA has jurisdiction over food irradiation to begin with is because the process of irradiation can do just these very things. Even the FDA admits[1] that, because irradiation “can affect the characteristics of the food,” it is considered a “food additive.” Thus, because food additives fall under the purview of the FDA, irradiation is regulated (or not) by the agency.

By allowing for higher doses of irradiation in food, the FDA is knowingly complicit in covering up unsanitary food production practices by major corporations as well as accepting the inclusion of clearly harmful material (i.e. radiation) into the food supply. Keep in mind, irradiation is mostly used by corporations in order to cover up deplorable manufacturing conditions and dangerous food contamination.

 

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Food Irradiation Supports Agribusiness, Harms Health

Irradiation Lab Mouse Food Irradiation Supports Agribusiness, Harms Health

 

by Heidi Stevenson
Gaia-Health.com

Agribusiness is polluting and destroying the food on which we depend . Irradiation destroys nutrients and creates poisons. Despite claims, it’s largely hidden from us. It exists for the benefit of Agribiz, not for our health.

Food irradiation exists only because Agribusiness exists. It isn’t to support your health. As we’ve seen recently with outbreaks of food-borne disease, modern food production is innately unhealthy. It utilizes monoculture, long term storage, and chemicals. None of these are good for us, but all create enormous profits for a money-hungry industry. The need to sterilize foods on a mass scale simply did not exist until Agribusiness changed the nature of what we eat.

Modern food processing and distribution is highly mechanized, with tremendous pressure placed on employees to simply push things through and money carefully spent to grease the palms of those who might have called a stop to the madness. Agribusiness considers it cost-effective to irradiate foods, which sterilizes them and significantly increases their shelf life.

The efforts to utilize irradiation cover the spectrum from propaganda to hiding it from the public. We’re told that food irradiation is safe, effective, and doesn’t affect food quality. Let’s call these claims the myths that they are and examine them.

Myth: Irradiation is effective.

Fact: This is a very slippery claim. Yes, it does kill many infectious organisms, in particular, bacteria. However, it does not protect against toxic elements, such as the neurotoxin produced by Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism. Killing the bacteria can create a sense of security, though the actual disease cause is still present.

Irradiation’s effectiveness against viruses is limited, so anthrax and hepatitis may still survive after irradiation. Prions, the cause of mad cow disease, are untouched by it.

Reinfestation of food is not prevented by irradiation. In fact, it holds the potential of allowing worse contamination. By eliminating most infectious organisms, beneficial ones are also destroyed. This results in there being nothing to prevent reinfection, allowing opportunistic bacteria and viruses free rein in irradiated foods.

Factory farms are not healthy places. Pigs are kept for their entire lives in horrifically unsanitary conditions, with their droppings and urine left uncleared where they fall through the cages, so they rot and release constant toxic fumes. Irradiation is a means to avoid dealing with this inhumane and unhealthy situation.

Urine, feces, pus, tumors, and vomit are not removed by irradiation.

Myth: Irradiation is safe.

Fact: This is simply false. As documented in Food Irradiation, Cats, and Doublespeak: Researchers Reinvent Reality, it’s well known to cause neurological damage in cats.

Irradiation generates furans in food. Carbofuran is a member of this class. It’s the poison, which is banned in Europe and severely curtailed in the US, that FMC sells under the name of Furadan, as reported in PsychoCorp #1—FMC Product Banned in U.S. Kills Lions in Africa. All furans are considered carcinogenic. Fruits, in particular, are affected by the generation of furans.

Public Citizen reports laboratory animals fed irradiated foods suffered “a myriad of serious health problems in laboratory animals that ate irradiated foods, including premature death, fatal internal bleeding, a rare form of cancer, stillbirths and other reproductive problems, mutations and other genetic damage, organ malfunctions, stunted growth and vitamin deficiencies.”

The growth of aflatoxin, implicated in liver cancer in southern states, is stimulated by irradiation. The World Health Organization considers aflatoxin to be a significant health risk. Unique Radiolytic Products (URPs) are produced by irradiation. These chemical compounds have not been well studied, but one group of them, cyclobutanones, have been found to promote cancer and genetic damage in rats, and to cause genetic and cellular damage in both rats and humans. Cyclobutanones are radiation by-products of palmitic acid, which is present in nearly all foods.

Other chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects are formed by irradiation, including benzene, toluene, and methyl ethyl ketone.

Free radicals are formed by irradiation. These are the targets of antioxidants, supplements that are very popular now. Consider that some antioxidants, such as vitamin A, are destroyed by irradiation. So irradiation holds a double whammy against health—destroying the antioxidants that might help resolve the chemicals it creates.

The journal, Nutrition and Cancer reported in 2002 that colon cancer can be caused by a chemical compound found only in irradiated food.

Myth: Irradiation doesn’t affect food quality.

Fact: There is extensive documentation for the loss of key nutrients from irradiation of food. The Center for Food Safety reports that anywhere from 2-95% of the vitamins can be lost. They cite losses of as much as 80% of vitamin A in eggs, 95% of vitamin A and lutein in green beans, 50% of vitamin A and lutein in broccoli, and 40% of beta carotene in orange juice. Irradiation is also reported to destroy the B, C, E, and K vitamins.

 

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Additional Sources on Irradiation of food and it’s byproducts

Pubmed Data : Nutr Cancer. 2002;44(2):189-91. PMID: 12734067
Study Type : Animal Study

Pubmed Data : J Food Prot. 2008 Jun;71(6):1270-2. PMID: 18592759
Study Type : Animal Study

Pubmed Data : Poult Sci. 2001 Jan ;80(1):105-8. PMID: 11214329
Study Type : Animal Study

Pubmed Data : Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Sep 19 ;51C:46-52. Epub 2012 Sep 19. PMID: 23000443
Study Type : Animal Study

Pubmed Data : Neurosci Lett. 2006 Sep 25;405(3):172-4. Epub 2006 Jul 26. PMID: 12380747
Study Type : Animal Study
Additional Links

Additional Keywords : Gamma Irradiation : CK(9) : AC(6)

Pubmed Data : Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2012 ;76(5):900-5. Epub 2012 May 7. PMID: 22738956
Study Type : Plant Study

Pubmed Data : PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2010 Sep-Oct;64(5):432-5. PMID: 21502047
Study Type : Review

Pubmed Data : J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Oct 5;53(20):7826-31. PMID: 16190637
Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links

Additional Keywords : Gamma Irradiation : CK(9) : AC(6)
Problem Substances : Furan : CK(11) : AC(2)
Adverse Pharmacological Actions : Carcinogenic : CK(936) : AC(130)

Pubmed Data : J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Mar 15;91(4):634-49. Epub 2010 Dec 23. PMID: 21302317
Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links


Pubmed Data : J Food Sci. 2011 Sep ;76(7):C1056-61. PMID: 22417543
Study Type : Plant Study
Additional Links

Pharmacological Actions : Antioxidants : CK(3723) : AC(1318)
Adverse Pharmacological Actions : Oxidant : CK(104) : AC(37)

Pubmed Data : Poult Sci. 2011 Nov ;90(11):2578-83. PMID: 22010244
Study Type : Review

Pubmed Data : Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Dec;45(12):2581-91. Epub 2007 Jun 28. PMID: 17766022
Study Type : In Vitro Study
Additional Links

Additional Keywords : Gamma Irradiation : CK(9) : AC(6)

Pubmed Data : Mutat Res. 2006 Feb 22;594(1-2):10-9. Epub 2005 Sep 8. PMID: 16153665
Study Type : In Vitro Study

 

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

Hepatitis A Exposure at Restaurant in Nyack, NY

Seems like it’s the season for hepatitis A. A confirmed case of acute hepatitis A has been identified in a food handler at the La Fontana restaurant in Nyack, New York. Anyone who ate there between March 19 and April 1, 2014 may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A Virus

 

The County of Rockland Department of Health is recommending that everyone who ate at the restaurant on March 29, March 30, or April 1, 2014 receive a vaccination. The vaccination is about 80% to 90% effective. The Rockland County Department of Health is offering free vaccines to patrons and employees of the restaurant on Sunday, April 13, 2014 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and Monday, April 14, 2014 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the Rockland County Fire Training Center at 35 Firemens Memorial Drive in Pomona.

 

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NY eatery patrons possibly exposed to hepatitis

April 12

The Associated Press

— Health officials say a waiter at a popular Rockland County restaurant may have exposed hundreds of patrons to hepatitis A.

The Journal News reports (http://lohud.us/1hqzs4V ) that the waiter may have exposed customers at La Fontana in Nyack to the disease between March 19 and April 1.

People who ate at the restaurant March 29 through April 1 can get a free hepatitis vaccine Saturday through Monday at the Rockland Fire Training Center in Ramapo.

 

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La Fontana waiter may have exposed hundreds of patrons to hepatitis A, health officials say

Health officials say a waiter at a popular Rockland County restaurant may have exposed hundreds of patrons to hepatitis A.

The Journal News reports that the waiter may have exposed customers at La Fontana in Nyack to the disease between March 19 and April 1.

People who ate at the restaurant March 29 through April 1 can get a free hepatitis vaccine Saturday through Monday at the Rockland Fire Training Center in Ramapo.

 

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Consumer alert: GMO labeling to be outlawed by ‘Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act’ introduced today in Congress

 

GMO

Thursday, April 10, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles…)

 

(NaturalNews) A proposed new federal law just introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (a Democrat) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (a Republican) would outlaw state-enacted GMO labeling laws. The new law, ridiculously called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, is actually an last-ditch, desperate effort by the biotech industry and the GMA to forever bury the truth about GMOs so that consumers don’t know they’re eating poison.

According to mainstream media reports (1), the bill would require the FDA to mandate GMO labeling only if those foods “are found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without biotech ingredients.”

Because the FDA and USDA have already decided, against all scientific evidence, that GMOs are “safe” and “not materially different” from other foods, this requirement is nothing but sheer sleight of hand and a pandering to idiocy. In truth, this new bill, if passed into law, would allow food companies to permanently and insidiously hide GMOs in all their products forever, nullifying the numerous state-based GMO labeling laws which are on the verge of passing.

The Environmental Working Group calls this proposed new law the “DARK Act” (Denying Americans the Right to Know), saying:

After two states have passed GE labeling bills and more than 30 others are poised to consider similar labeling bills and ballot initiatives, the food and biotech industry have goat-roped some members of Congress into introducing legislation to block state GE labeling laws.

Push for GMOs run by criminally-minded organizations

GMOs have already been restricted or banned in over 60 countries (2), and Americans are very close to achieving victory in state-based GMO labeling campaigns. The very idea that American consumers might find out they’ve been eating GMO poisons in most of their favorite foods is so horrifying to the biotech industry (and the processed food front groups) that its enforcers are now seeking this “nuclear option” to legally deceive consumers about GMOs with the complicity of the FDA.

 

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U.S. bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states

April 9 Wed Apr 9, 2014 12:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods

The bill, dubbed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such.

The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” said Pompeo. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Consumer groups have been arguing for labeling because of questions they have both about the safety for human health and the environmental impacts of genetically modified foods, also called GMOs.

Ballot measures in California in 2012 and last year in Washington state narrowly lost after GMO crop developers, including Monsanto Co., and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) poured millions into campaigns to defeat the measures.

The companies say the crops are safe and cite many scientific studies back those claims. Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated those claims, stating GMOS are safe and “equally healthy” and no labeling is needed.

“It has to date made food safer and more abundant,” said Pompeo. “It has been an enormous boon to all of humanity.”

But there are also many scientific studies showing links to human and animal health problems, and many indicating environmental damage related to GMO crops.

 

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Congress considers blocking GMO food labeling

Published time: April 09, 2014 20:10
Edited time: April 10, 2014 11:01
AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

A new bill introduced in Congress looks to ban states from implementing their own labeling laws when it comes to food containing genetically engineered ingredients.

According to Reuters, US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced the legislation on Wednesday, which is intended to head off bills in about 24 states that would require companies to inform customers when their food is produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Titled the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” the proposal would forbid states from enacting such proposals.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” Pompeo told Reuters. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Supporters of GMO labeling argue that modified ingredients pose a threat to human health, and that as a result they should be clearly labeled in the marketplace so that consumers can make informed decisions. In addition to health concerns, they also point to the negative environmental consequences that could arise from widespread GMO use, since millions of acres of farmland and weeds are developing resistances to the pesticides used.

Opponents, however, point to their own studies, showing that GMO crops are safe and therefore do not need to be labeled differently than other products.

 

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Blood Drive For OK Boy Battling E. coli HUS Kidney Failure

HUS E. coli Bacteria Shiga ToxinsThe Oklahoma Blood Institute is holding a special blood drive for eight-year-old Connor Sneary, one of the youngest victims of an E. coli outbreak associated with the Oklahoma Youth Expo. A dozen people became sick after attending the event held in March at the Oklahoma state fairgrounds.  Sneary and another child, who is two years old, have both been hospitalized with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening complication of E. coli infections in young children that causes kidney failure and other complications.

Sneary is undergoing dialysis and blood transfusions in the intensive care unit at OU Children’s Hospital, according to local news reports. He is in critical condition. The blood drive for him will be held on Tuesday, April 8, from noon to 6 p.m., at the First Christian Church in Alva, OK.

 

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

British Airways Warning Passengers of Possible Listeria Exposure

Flying Food Group, an airline catering company, is warning passengers who ate an appetizer meal served on British Airways flights that they may have been exposed to Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The meals were served on British Airways flights 0204, 0206, and 208 on March 19, 2014. The 41 appetizer meals were prepared at the corporation’s facility in Miami.

FPBAirplanecabinListeriosis, the illness caused by the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, takes up to 70 days to manifest. Anyone who ate the Char Grilled Asparagus and Grapefruit Appetizer meal served on those flights on that date should monitor themselves for the symptoms of listeriosis food poisoning for the next 70 days

 

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Published time: April 04, 2014 04:00

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

Rep. Mike Pompeo will introduce legislation backed by powerful trade groups to prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods, according to reports. The bill is linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.

Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, The Hill newspaper reported, citing industry sources. Politico also reported on the impending proposal. Pompeo’s office would not comment on the congressman’s intentions for a labeling restriction.

The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, echoing powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such “right to know” labeling laws around the nation.

It was revealed in recent months that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were joining forces – under the name ‘Coalition for Safe Affordable Food‘ – to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.

In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. Many other states are now considering their own proposals to label GMO food.

A top member of the Coalition – the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group – raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’s ballot initiative on GMO labeling last year. That total number was three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. GMA was joined in its effort by allies such as biotech giants Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont.

The Coalition said in February that it would seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.

“The legislation we’re proposing would preclude state legislation that conflicts with the federal standards,” GMA president Pamela Bailey said of the Coalition’s aim, The Hill reported.

 

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