EXPOSING the FDA and the USDA - Broad Casting here the things that they would prefer us NOT to know about our FOOD & DRUGS & Farming.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shelled Pistachio Nuts Recalled due to Potential Salmonella Contamination

The Kroger Co., is recalling Private Selection Shelled Pistachios sold in its family of retail stores because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Stores under the following names in the 31 states where Kroger operates are included in this recall: Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, Smith's, Dillons, QFC, City Market, Foods Co., Jay C, Scott's, Owen's, Baker's, Gerbes, Hilander and Pay Less. Food 4 Less stores the company operates did not receive any of the pistachios being recalled.

The recall involves the following item:

Private Selection Shelled Pistachios sold in 10-ounce containers with a "Sell by" date of DEC-13-09 and DEC-14-09 with this UPC Code: 11110 73615.

The pistachios were sold in The Kroger Co.'s family of stores in the following states: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

MARCH-30-09: Kroger Recalls Shelled Pistachios Due to Possible Health Risk [FDA: KROGER RECALLS SHELLED PISTACHIOS]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

VA Hospitals Infect Thousands w/ Hepatitis C&B, HIV

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 27 Mar 2009
Source: msnbc Health, Associated Press report [edited]

10 colonoscopy patients have hepatitis
Equipment used on thousands of patients [more than 10 000 -- see
comment below. - Mod.JW] at 3 facilities wasn't properly sterilized.
The Veterans Affairs (VA) department says 10 people have tested
positive [so far] for infectious liver disease since they were exposed
to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. The 10 are among thousands of
patients who have been warned to get blood tests since being treated
at VA facilities in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Miami [Florida] &
Augusta, Georgia. All 3 sites failed to properly sterilize
equipment between treatments.

VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts said Friday [27 Mar 2009] that 4
Tennessee patients have tested positive for hepatitis B. A total of 6
have tested positive for hepatitis C, a potentially life-threatening
form of the viral infection that can cause permanent liver damage.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Brent Barrett

[The 10 identified hepatitis patients seem to have contracted
infection during examination by colonoscopy at the VA hospital in
Tennessee. The faulty procedure (inadequate sterilization of
equipment) seems to have been followed at the other 2 hospsitals,
although cases of hepatitis have not yet been reported. Blood-borne
transmission of infection should not be an accompaniment of any
hospital procedure. The precise number of patients exposed at each
hospital has not been disclosed. Further information would be

The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the USA at:
can be used to locate
the states of Tennessee and Georgia. - Mod.CP]

[The Miami VA notified about 3260 patients who received colonoscopies
between May 2004 and March 12 of this year [2009] that they may have
been exposed to hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV. It has suspended
colonoscopies. At the Murfreesboro hospital, 6400 veterans might have
been exposed, according to the VA. At the Augusta, Ga., VA hospital,
1100 veterans might have been exposed.

- Mod.JW]

[see also:
Hepatitis B & C, HIV, nosocomial (04): USA (NV) 20080928.3073
Hepatitis B & C, hemodialysis unit - Canada (ON) 20060521.1439
Hepatitis B & C and subdermal electrodes (7) 19960321.0524]

SEE ALSO: Thousands In New Jersey at Risk for Hepatitis B and HIV
The New Jersey Health Department has reportedly sent out letters to about 2,800 patients who receive medical care from two offices owned by Doctor Parvez Dara in New Jersey, urging them to get tested for Hepatitis B and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The warning letters were prompted by an ongoing investigation which has so far determined that 5 patients have tested positive for Hepatitis B after visiting the same doctor's offices, including the office Tom's River.

According to reports in the media, one state medical official believes he knows what has prompted the scare and that is the failure of certain staff at the practice not washing their hands or changing gloves when they should have. Hepatitis B is a blood borne virus that can be spread through contaminated bodily fluids.

According to health officials, some people spontaneously clear the hepatitis B virus, while others need treatment. With respect to HIV, however, there is currently no curative treatment.

APRIL-02-09: Thousands Could Be At Risk In N.J. Hepatitis Scare [WCBTV: THOUSANDS AT RISK FOR HEPATITIS B IN NJ]

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Poultry Farms Sued for Contaminating Neighbors Wells

25 disinfected wells to be retested
By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS Associated Press Writer
The state's Department of Environmental Quality is resampling 25 disinfected private water wells in the Locust Grove area.

Department spokeswoman Skylar McElhaney said the new round of tests, which could take up to two weeks, are being done on wells that homeowners have told the department were disinfected.

"We don't know what we will find," she said in an e-mail. "Like previous sampling, we are doing this so people can make informed decisions about their drinking water."

She said 107 wells have been tested so far in the department's probe of a deadly E. coli bacteria outbreak in the town that killed one man and sickened hundreds more last summer.

The unsolved August outbreak became the largest in the nation's history for the rare E. coli O111 strain.

Previously, investigators had pinpointed the Country Cottage restaurant in town as the source of the contamination.

But last month, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson suggested that it could have been the result of pollution from nearby poultry farms.

He released a report concluding that the well at the buffet-style eatery "is, and has been, contaminated with poultry waste and associated bacteria, including E. coli." His report also noted 49 poultry houses within a six-mile radius of the town that have the capacity to produce 10,000 tons of waste a year.

The poultry industry has repeatedly denied these claims.

Following Edmondson's announcement on the Country Cottage well, state agencies began testing private wells near Locust Grove for free.

Out of those tested, 20 wells turned up positive for E. coli bacteria, which is typically associated with human or animal waste.

A final analysis by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not find the rare O111 strain, but did identify three other types of E. coli bacteria: O141, O179, and O113 — all capable of causing illness in humans.

Edmondson's office maintains that even though the particular O111 strain was not found, other disease-bearing E. coli were identified, and that other area wells would not have been tested if his agency hadn't brought heat on state officials.

Leslea Bennett-Webb, a spokeswoman for the health department, said this week that the agency's report on the Country Cottage probe is being finalized.

Edmondson is suing 13 Arkansas poultry companies in federal court, claiming that the excessive land application of chicken waste in the 1 million-acre Illinois River watershed could be a danger to public health. A trial is set for September.

Companies named in Edmondson's lawsuit include Tyson Foods Inc., Tyson Poultry Inc., Tyson Chicken Inc., Cobb-Vantress Inc., Cal-Maine Foods Inc., Cargill Inc., Cargill Turkey Production L.L.C., George's Inc., George's Farms Inc., Peterson Farms Inc., Simmons Foods Inc., Cal-Maine Farms Inc. and Willow Brook Foods Inc.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Are Antibiotics Ruining Our Food Animals?

Three years ago, the Pew Charitable Trust started a campaign to see what the effects of animal farming were on human and animal health and the environment.

The results called for curbing the use of antibiotics on farms in order to keep them more effective for human use, in addition to encouraging farms to improve sanitation.

What’s the problem with antibiotic use anyway?

The problem is that animals receiving low doses of antibiotics on a regular basis are like walking petri dishes for bacterial growth that can result in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria.

These types of bacteria can then be spread through animals, eating and handling meat and dairy products, along with other fruits, vegetables and water that have been exposed to manure that’s used as fertilizer and finds its way into the water supply.

"Human antibiotics are routinely misused on factory farms to promote faster animal growth and compensate for crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions," said Robert Martin, a senior officer with the Pew Environment Group.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 50 million pounds of antibiotics have been used on farms in the past two years, which is about 70 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S.

U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter just introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) on Tuesday.

This bill would result in phasing out the use of antibiotics on livestock, unless it’s being used to treat sick animals, along with providing funding for institutions who want to work with producers on this cause.

"Medical experts agree that this practice directly contributes to a dramatic rise in antibiotic-resistant infections in people. We must reduce the use of antibiotics today to help preserve their effectiveness tomorrow,” said Martin.

According to a study done by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, there were 18,000 deaths in 2005 alone that were caused by antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureusis infections, which was higher than the number of HIV/AIDS related deaths.

For more info check out Pew Charitable Trust’s Human Health and Industrial Farming website.

Please contact your representative and ask them to support PAMTA.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

USDA Misappropriates 49Million Dollars to Wealthy Farmers

Click on title above to read (and hopefully sign) the petition to get our money back.

Early Blight, New Strains, Potato Crop, Canada

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 17 Mar 2009
Source: Manitoba Co-operator [edited]
Click on title above to see article;

Potato blight develops fungicide resistance
Samples taken last summer [2008] by provincial potato specialists and
ag chem firm Bayer CropScience show "widespread" presence of fungi
that have mutated to resist the fungicides used most often to control
them. Of 113 isolates of _Alternaria solani_, the cause of early
blight in potatoes, Bayer said over 80 percent carried the F129L
mutation that causes "reduced sensitivity to strobilurins."
Strobilurins "don't work as well as they have in the past." Early
blight leaf tissue samples were collected during the summer of 2008
in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island [PEI].

"Initial results confirm that mutant strains are widespread in
Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, which is not surprising given the
widespread distribution of mutants in the United States," said Rick
Peters, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. "To date, PEI is the only
area that we've surveyed where all samples were still sensitive to
strobilurins, likely due to the less frequent use of strobilurins in
this province."

"We're putting our heads in the sand if we ignore this growing
issue," said potato pest specialist Tracy Shinners-Carnelley of
Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives. "When the risk for
early blight is high, use the available tools appropriately in a
planned program. And if strobilurins are part of that program, they
must be tank mixed with a protectant fungicide."

Communicated by:

[Early blight of potato and tomato is caused by the fungus
_Alternaria solani_. It causes leaf spots and tuber blight on potato,
and leaf spots, fruit rot, and stem lesions on tomato. The disease
can occur over a wide range of climatic conditions and can result in
complete defoliation and severe yield losses. The pathogen often
causes no visible symptoms until plants approach maturity. It is
spread with infected plant material (including tubers, transplants
and seed), by mechanical means, wind, and rain. Solanaceous weeds and
volunteer crop plants may serve as pathogen reservoirs. Disease
management includes use of certified clean propagation material,
fungicides, crop rotation, and use of cultivars with reduced

Strobilurins are strongly antifungal agents produced by fungi. Being
derived from natural products, strobilurins are considered
environmentally safe. Like several other fungicide classes, they have
single-site activity and therefore pathogens must be expected to
develop resistance or tolerance over time.

The finding that many strains of _A. solani_ with increased tolerance
levels to this important group of fungal control agents have emerged
is of major concern to potato and tomato industries worldwide.
Furthermore, it highlights the importance of rotating or mixing
chemical classes for management of all fungal pathogens, as suggested
above, to reduce the risk of resistant strains emerging.


Pictures of early blight
On potato leaf:

On potato tubers:

On tomato fruit:

Early blight fact sheets (with pictures):
, and

Management of potato diseases including early blight:

_A. solani_ taxonomy:

Information on strobilurins:
. - Mod.DHA]

[see also:
Blight & undiagnosed disease, potato, chilli - Bhutan 20090211.0612
Leaf blight, potato - Bangladesh: (KH) 20090121.0255
Fungal diseases, potato - Bangladesh 20080107.0091]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
Become a ProMED-mail Premium Subscriber at

Visit ProMED-mail's web site at .
Send all items for posting to: promed@promedmail.org
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Misquito Borne Murray Valley Encephalitis Fatality, Australia

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Mon 23 Mar 2009
Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) [edited]
Click on title above to see article;

Mosquito bite claims life
The family of a [Northern] Territory man who died of Murray Valley
encephalitis say they are concerned the public has not been properly
warned about the dangers of the mosquito-borne disease. The
58-year-old man died of brain failure, after contracting the disease
in Darwin's rural area, where he worked and lived. A member of his
family says he was admitted to Royal Darwin Hospital 3 weeks ago. He
died on Friday [20 Mar 2009]. His funeral will be held tomorrow [24
Mar 2009] -- the same day he was due to celebrate his 59th birthday.

The Health Department did not release a warning about the dangers of
Murray Valley encephalitis until the day of the victim's death, and
did not announce that he had died until today [23 Mar 2009]. The
family does not want anyone else to go through the grief they have

The Authorities say the chance of contracting Murray Valley
encephalitis is small, but they are calling on people to avoid being
bitten by mosquitoes.

Dr Jim Burrow, a neurologist at Royal Darwin Hospital, said it was
the 1st such death within the Darwin region in the past 10 years.
There is no specific treatment for the virus, which can be lethal in
some people, he said. "But even if you do survive, there's a large
number of people who have a major disability afterwards. So the only
thing that we can do is to avoid getting bitten by the mosquitoes.
"But having said that, we shouldn't panic because it is a rare
condition." He said in the last 30 years there have only been 20
people in the Territory who have contracted the disease. "And of
people who we believe are infected by the virus ... only about one in
500 or one in 1000 will actually develop the disease."

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

Date: Mon 23 Mar 2009
Source: ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) [edited]

No way to control mosquitoes in Darwin's rural areas: expert
A mosquito expert from Darwin's Centre for Disease Control says it is
impossible to control mosquitoes carrying potentially deadly viruses
in Darwin's rural areas. A man has died from Murray Valley
encephalitis after being bitten by a mosquito near his home in the
Darwin River area. The Territory's senior medical entomologist, Peter
Whelan, says mosquitoes are controlled in Darwin but not in the rural

"We can't spray -- the rural area is huge," he said. "We've got
swamps all over the Top End of the Northern Territory right down to
Katherine and that "There's no way that we can spray all these
mosquitoes' breeding areas."

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Susan Baekeland

[According to the Australian Government Department of Health and
Ageing Fact Sheet
Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) is endemic in northern
Australia (Western Australia and the top end of the Northern
Territories). In nature MVEV is amplified in bird-mosquito-bird
cycles and humans become infected if bitten by infected mosquitoes.
MVEV activity increases after heavy rainfall and flooding. In
northern Australia sporadic cases or small outbreaks of MVE occur
every few years, usually during the wet season.

There have been 7 major outbreaks of MVE in Australia since 1917. The
last was in 1974 when 58 cases were reported from all mainland states.
Since 1974 nearly all cases of MVE have occurred in the north of
Western Australia and the Northern Territory, with occasional cases in
Queensland, central Australia, and central regions of Western
Australia. Serological studies show that only 1 in 800-1000 people
infected developed clinical disease. Of those that did, 25 percent
have died and a further 25-50 percent have been left with permanent
neurological damage.

MVEV is thought to move from endemic areas in northern Australia to
epidemic areas by the movement of infected native birds or infected
wind-blown mosquitoes. However, there is also evidence that the virus
is able to survive in these new areas for at least one or 2 seasons,
possibly within mosquito eggs or by other unidentified mechanisms.

MVEV activity occurs only occasionally in south-eastern Australia,
usually after heavy rains and flooding in northern and central
Australia, and it is likely that these epidemics have also resulted
from reintroduction of the virus.

The primary hosts of MVEV are water birds. Ardeiformes (herons),
particularly the Rufous Night-heron, and the Pelicaniformes
(cormorants/darters) are the most commonly infected. The primary
mosquito vector during epidemics is _Culex annulirostris_. Other
mosquitoes such as _Cx. australicus_ and some _Ochlerotatus_ species
may be involved in other aspects of MVEV ecology.

The city of Darwin in the Northern Territory can be located on the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Australia at
. - Mod.CP]

[see also:
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (03): (WA), background 20090316.1066
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (02): (WA) 20090314.1055
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia: (WA), alert 20090306.0936
Murray Valley enceph. virus - Australia (02): (VIC), alert 20080329.1173
Murray Valley enceph. virus - Australia: (NSW) 20080227.0794
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (NT): alert 20040421.1109
Murray Valley enceph. - Australia (Queensland): alert 20020313.3738
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (NT): Confirmed 20010308.0481
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (South) 20000427.0635
Murray Valley encephalitis - Australia (W.A.) 19980419.0726]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
Become a ProMED-mail Premium Subscriber at

Visit ProMED-mail's web site at .
Send all items for posting to: promed@promedmail.org
(NOT to an individual moderator). If you do not give your
full name and affiliation, it may not be posted. Send
commands to subscribe/unsubscribe, get archives, help,
etc. to: majordomo@promedmail.org. For assistance from a human being send mail to: owner-promed@promedmail.org.


Global Influenza on the Rise

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sat 21 Mar 2009
Source: WHO Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR), Influenza [edited]
Click on title above to see report;

Influenza A(H1N1) virus resistance to oseltamivir -- 2008/2009
influenza season, northern hemisphere
During weeks 1-4 (28 Dec 2008-24 Jan 2009), the level of overall
influenza activity in the world increased. In Europe, most countries
reported regional or widespread activity with influenza A(H3) viruses
predominating. Widespread influenza A activity (H1 and H3) was
reported in Japan. In Canada, Hong Kong SAR, and the United States,
influenza activity increased but remained relatively low. Sporadic
influenza activity was observed in Brazil (A), Croatia (H1, H3, B),
Greece (H1, H3, B), Iran (H1, H3), Mongolia (A), Portugal (H1, H3,
B), Serbia (H1, H3, B), Singapore (H1, H3, B), Slovakia (H3), and
Turkey (H3, B).

During this period, a total of 30 countries from all WHO regions
reported oseltamivir resistance for 1291 of 1362 A(H1N1) viruses
analysed. The prevalence of oseltamivir resistance was very high in
the following countries/territory: Canada (52 of 52 tested), Hong
Kong SAR (72 of 80), Japan (420 of 422), the Republic of Korea (268
of 269), and the USA (237 of 241).

The resistance prevalence was relatively low in China (6 of 44
tested). In Europe, H1N1 circulation was low during this period while
the resistance prevalence was high: France (12 of 12 tested), Germany
(66 of 67), Ireland (9 of 10), Italy (16 of 16), Sweden (11 of 12)
and the United Kingdom (61 of 62).

WHO is collecting global data about this phenomenon from multiple
laboratories participating in Global Influenza Surveillance Network
[]. Data
from European countries participating in EISS [European Influenza
Surveillance Scheme, ] were provided by the
EISS and VirGil [vigilance against viral resistance] project
[]. This summary table will
be updated regularly (every 4 weeks).

Oseltamivir resistance results were based on phenotypic and/or
genotypic analyses.

A comprehensive table of influenza A(H1N1) virus resistance to
oseltamivir (4th quarter 2008-31 Jan 2009) can be found [at the URL

Communicated by:

[It should be noted that in Europe as of week 11 [9-15 Mar] 2009 all
influenza A(H3N2) viruses tested (the predominant epidemic virus)
were resistant to M2 inhibitors but sensitive to oseltamivir and
zanamivir ().
Consequently the appearance of oseltamivir resistance is dependent on
virus genotype and may not be a direct response to the use of
anti-neuraminidase antivirals. - Mod.CP]

[see also:
Influenza A(H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance: Korea 20090113.0136
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (10): CDC 20081224.4054
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (09): USA 20081220.4013
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (08): Europe 20081025.3375
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (07): Europe 20080906.2783
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (06): S. Hemisphere
Influenza virus, oseltamivir resistance (06): Japan 20080228.0812
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (05): China (HK)
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (04): CA, USA 20080202.0428
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (03): corr. 20080203.0430
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (03): Europe 20080201.0399
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance (02): Europe 20080129.0371
Influenza A (H1N1) virus, oseltamivir resistance - Norway 20080128.0361
Avian influenza, human (162): oseltamivir resistance 20061010.2907]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
Become a ProMED-mail Premium Subscriber at

Visit ProMED-mail's web site at .
Send all items for posting to: promed@promedmail.org
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Worlds Wheat Crop in Peril?

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 17 Mar 2009
Source: Global Rust Initiative Press Release [edited]Cick on title above to see;

The Borlaug Global Rust Initiative 2009 Technical Workshop (Mexico)
confirmed that the dangerous and newly-emerged stem rust race known
as Ug99 is now in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and Iran, and
is on the march toward South Asia. According to scientists, longer
distance movement to other regions cannot be excluded. They estimate
that 90 percent of the varieties planted in farmers' fields around
the world lack resistance to the pathogen.

In a new study released at the event, researchers described a
breakthrough in their efforts to develop new varieties of wheat that
are not only resistant to Ug99 but also produce more grain than
today's most popular varieties. Scientists have produced new types of
high-yield wheat that contain what plant breeders call "multiple
minor genes" that have resistance to Ug99. Though this strategy may
not provide the same level of protection as that provided by one or 2
major genes, it is high enough to be effective, and the researchers
believe that by forcing the fungus to overcome a larger array of
genetic barriers, these new wheat varieties could provide long-term
protection against future stem rust mutations.

There are numerous examples in the last century of stem rust mutating
and "defeating" wheat plants that have contained single major
resistance genes. One of the alarming hallmarks of Ug99 is that in
Kenya it has mutated and overcome 2 additional major stem rust
resistance genes called Sr24 and Sr36 that had been effective against
the original form of Ug99.

The response on all fronts has been swift and is producing results
far faster than anyone had expected. For example, researchers in Iran
noted they have begun producing seed of the new varieties for testing
in more extensive field trials. And scientists from India reported
the results of an intensive campaign underway in different regions to
convince farmers that they will need to switch to Ug99-resistant
wheat before the disease arrives in the country. Other efforts are
underway to spur testing and seed production in Egypt, Bangladesh,
Nepal, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.

Many people involved in the conference said that the unprecedented
effort to combat Ug99 has resulted in a new level of international
scientific collaboration that could provide a range of benefits for
global food production.

Communicated by:

[Wheat stem rust is caused by the fungus _Puccinia graminis_ f. sp.
_tritici_. Overall yield losses of up to 80 percent are reported, but
some fields are totally destroyed. New races are emerging, and the
most dangerous at present is strain Ug99, which has overcome the
major resistance gene Sr31 used in our current wheat varieties. As
reported above, an even more virulent variant able to overcome 2
additional resistance genes has recently emerged in Kenya. Rust
spores are carried eastwards on prevailing winds, and regions at high
risk of a Ug99 incursion have been identified accordingly.

It is estimated that Ug99 could reduce world wheat production by 60
million tons (for more information on stem rust and Ug99, please see
previous ProMED-mail posts and links listed below). The apparent good
progress with resistance breeding reported above is largely due to
efficient international cooperation, which has not been achieved
before on this scale and, as such, is a very positive outcome of the
Ug99 global threat.

Middle East, including Ug99 alert area:


Pictures of stem rust symptoms on wheat:

Additional news story:


Information on wheat stem rust:

Information on Ug99:

_P. graminis_ f.sp. _tritici_ taxonomy:

Delhi Declaration on Ug99:

Global Rust Initiative:

- Mod.DHA]

[see also:
Wheat rusts - Kenya, India, Australia 20090312.1019
Wheat stem rust Ug99 - Australia ex Ethiopia: interception 20081203.3807
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - multicountry: update 20081120.3660
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - Iran: 1st rep, alert 20080307.0925
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - Kenya: new variant 20071217.4054
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - multistate: resistance screening 20071208.3957
Barley yellow dwarf virus & stem rust, cereals - Kenya 20070705.2132
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - Yemen (02): government response 20070430.1399
Wheat stem rust, spread: FAO, Global Rust Initiative 20070414.1241
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - Yemen: 1st report 20070117.0229
Wheat stem rust, strain Ug99 - Pakistan: susp., 1st report 20060514.1366
Stem rust, wheat - multicountry: new strains 20060406.1039
Wheat stem rust, Ug99, new strain - East Africa 20050928.2849
Wheat stem rust, new strain - Uganda 20050912.2698
Wheat stem rust fungus, new virulence genes - So Afr 20020814.5049
Wheat stem rust in resistant wheat lines - Uganda 20000702.1092
Stem-rust fungus, mutant, wheat - Uganda 19990519.0812]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
Become a ProMED-mail Premium Subscriber at

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Rat LungWorm Infection through Eating of Vegetables

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sun 22 Mar 2009
Source: KPUA Hawaii News, Associated Press (AP) report [edited]

Rat lungworm patients recovering
Two Big Island victims of a rare disease spread through homegrown
vegetables have emerged from their comas.

[The 38-year-old woman] has come out of the coma caused by rat
lungworm disease enough to respond to friends and her parents. She
has been hospitalized since 8 Dec 2008. [The 24-year-old man] is now
conscious and able to track people with his eyes. He was put in
intensive care in January [2009].

Both remain at Hilo Medical Center, where they are breathing with the
assistance of a machine. The disease is spread through vegetables
containing larvae of a slug that carries the rat lungworm. A 3rd
person who contracted rat lungworm disease has recovered enough to
walk and live at home.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Brent Barrett

[ProMED-mail thanks Brent Barrett for the follow up report on the 3
patients. The CDC fact sheet on angiostrongyliasis can be found at
or by clicking onto the title above;

The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Hawaii is available at
. - Mod.EP]

[see also:
Angiostrongylus meningitis - USA: (HI) 20090106.0046
Angiostrongylus meningitis - Ecuador: (Los Rios) 20081231.4123
Angiostrongylus meningitis - Brazil (ES) 20070414.1244
Eosinophilic meningitis - USA (Chicago) ex Jamaica (03) 20000508.0705
Angiostrongylus cantonensis - USA (LA & MS) 19981113.2193
Angiostrongyliasis & eosinophilic meningitis (03) 19980511.0928
Angiostrongylus costaricensis - Dominica (05) 19970619.1306]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HR 875: Organic Farming to be Outlawed?

Date: Friday, March 20, 2009, 6:36 PMUS House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to getthis into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what
ishappening.Main backer and lobbyist is (guess who) Monsanto รข€“ chemical and geneticengineering giant corporation. This bill will require organic farms to usespecific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newlyformed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply".This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and notfor sales.If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsantogenetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseasesin humans.There is a video on the subject.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thE54K3PaTYAnd another one:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeWVkTU1s1EThe name on this
outrageous food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of2009 (bill HR 875).THIS IS REAL, FOLKS! PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL CONCERNED ON YOUR MAILING LISTS& CALL YOUR SENATE REPRESENTETIVES TODAY! Get on that phone and burn up thewires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing. The House and SenateWILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of theirposition.... They only fear your voice and your vote.The best thing to do is go to www.house.gov/writerep all you have to do isput in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get intouch with them. When you call their office someone will answer the phone,just tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your views on HR875. Tell them your views, they'll take your name and address and pass your comments along to the
congressperson. The following link;
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm is a list of the U.S. senators and their contact info.

Byetta Pancreatitis Gives Diabetes Patients Something More to Worry About

March 24, 2009. By Heidi Turner

San Diego, CA: If you have been taking Byetta for a year or more, you may have noticed a change in the drug's labeling. That is because there has been a reported link between Byetta and acute pancreatitis. In fact, some patients who took Byetta apparently developed pancreatitis and, in extreme cases, died from their Byetta pancreatitis.

So far, the number of deaths linked to Byetta complications is 6, which may not seem like that many when compared to the overall number of Byetta users. However, there is a chance that the number of Byetta-related deaths has been underreported because patients and their doctors may not have realized that their pancreatitis could be linked to the use of the diabetes drug. This means that there could be more deaths out there related to the use of Byetta that have not been properly reported to authorities.

Furthermore, there could be other hospitalizations and complications that did not result in the patient's death but are still serious. Although 4 hospitalizations were linked to Byetta, it is possible that there are more hospitalizations that were not reported. Eli Lilly warned doctors in 2007 about the potential for pancreatitis in patients, however prior to that, some doctors may not have known about the risk.

It should be noted that of the deaths and hospitalizations, there were other factors involved, including complications from a gall bladder removal. However, how those factors combined with the Byetta to create life-threatening situations is not fully know. What is known is that all the patients who died or were hospitalized were taking Byetta.

Part of the reason that patients may not realize that their pancreatitis could be linked to Byetta is that people with diabetes often have an increased risk of pancreatitis. So, they may have suffered from pancreatic problems and believed that the problem was related to their diabetes as opposed to the medication they were taking.

One clue that the pancreatitis is linked to the Byetta is that the type of pancreatitis Byetta patients experience is known as hemorrhagic pancreatitis—a disease in which pancreatic cells are actually destroyed. In normal pancreatitis, the cells are not destroyed. The number of cases of hemorrhagic pancreatitis linked to Byetta is more severe than the normal number of cases found in general.

A lawsuit has been filed against Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, alleging that they did not adequately test and monitor Byetta and that they did not warn doctors or patients about the risk of pancreatitis. The plaintiff says that he was hospitalized in 2007 after he developed pancreatitis, a painful condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, which can lead to internal bleeding and even death.

Diabetes patients have so much to worry about already, should they really have to worry that their medication could potentially cause serious side effects like pancreatitis?

Byetta was approved for use to treat type 2 diabetes in adults by controlling the patient's blood sugar levels. In 2008, the drug's label was updated to reflect the increased risk of pancreatitis. There are critics who argue that the FDA has been too reactionary in requesting updated warnings for Byetta. They say that the FDA has become hypersensitive to medications after recent blunders such as Avandia and Vioxx.

Regardless, the FDA has requested an updated warning and patients are now concerned that they could develop pancreatitis after using Byetta. If you are concerned that you have developed any medical issues after using the diabetes drug, talk to your doctor about your medical options.

If you have suffered harm after taking Byetta, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Byetta Legal Help
If you have suffered losses in this case, please send your complaint to a lawyer who will review your possible [Byetta Lawsuit] at no cost or obligation.


Black Box Warning Due for Reglan

March 24, 2009. By Gordon Gibb

Washington, DC: They may have known about it for years, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally getting around to mandating a black box warning for Reglan side effects—and specifically, Reglan tardive dyskinesia. Metoclopramide side effects can be either temporary, or permanent. The latter could have life-changing effects on a patient's health and well-being.

Reglan is prescribed to treat various gastrointenstinal disorders, including but not limited to the slow stomach emptying that can occur in tandem with diabetes. Reglan has also been pressed into service as a second-line treatment for heartburn stemming from gastroesophageal reflux. Migraine headaches, as well as the nausea and vomiting often associated with treatment for cancer, are other conditions where Reglan is used.

The problem is that metoclopramide—which is what Reglan is—works by blocking dopamine in the brain. And therein lay the risk for any drug that targets the neurological system. When you mess with the brain, there could be some nasty side effects.

Such is the case with Reglan, and for that matter other manufacturers that make metoclopramide. The key metoclopramide side effect is tardive dyskinesia (TD), and has been described as a 'horrible' condition characterized by involuntary, and unnatural movements of the mouth, tongue and jaw. The face (uncontrollable jerking) and eyes (blinking) can also be affected, as can other areas of the body.

However the tongue, mouth and jaw appear to be the front-line respondents to TD, and the condition not only poses a problem for the patient with swallowing, it looks awful. Reglan patients working in retail, or in jobs that put them in close contact with other people, are at risk of being re-assigned, demoted or even fired due to their condition.

"Some people can get so bad it's hard for them to eat and swallow because of their tongue movements," says Dr. Jeff Bronstein of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The neurologist adds, "…and obviously, cosmetically it's horrible."

Another neurologist, Dr. Joseph Jankovic at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, studied hundreds of TD patients at his clinic over a 25-year span. He concludes that the longer a patient stays on metoclopramide, the greater the odds that TD will become a permanent condition that will not go away when the medication is stopped.

TD occurs in about 25 percent of all patients taking dopamine-blockers, including metoclopramide. Once TD is observed and diagnosed, Jankovic says, patients are taken off the metoclopramide and in some cases TD symptoms diminish.

"But in many cases, it becomes a permanent neurological disorder." No standard therapy exists, but various drugs have been used as treatments.

"It is a public health problem," Jankovic says. "Many of these patients who have metoclopramide-induced movement disorders aren't recognized until…they're at pretty advanced stages of the disease."

Jankovic is quick to point out that Reglan, and other metoclopramide drugs are effective for the intended uses—but only short-term. "But if the drug has to be used for longer than a few weeks, then I think it's prudent to switch the patient to these other drugs—even if they're less effective."

Enter the FDA, which has long been aware of the risk of TD when dopamine blockers such as Reglan are used. "We've known for years that tardive dyskinesia was a concern with this drug," says Rita Chappelle, a spokesperson for the FDA. "What we're trying to highlight in the box is the risk of chronic use."

Reglan was already labelled for short-term use, defined as 4 to 12 weeks. However a study by the FDA in 2007 revealed that 20 percent of patients were prescribed Reglan for longer periods of time.

Thus, the mandate for a black box warning alerting physicians to the increased risk for TD in patients prescribed Reglan for longer periods. The hope is that by alerting the medical community, and through them their patients regarding the risks of long-term use, the FDA will see a drop in the number of permanent cases of TD.

Until 2000, according to Dr. Jankovic, TD was associated primarily with Haldol, an antipsychotic drug. However over the last decade Jankovic has seen more cases of TD stemming from chronic use of metoclopramide (Reglan)—and since the latter "is prescribed by internists or gastroenterologists who are not necessarily familiar with the recognition of tardive dyskinesia," the FDA is correctly mandating a black box warning.

Some may argue, however, that it's a little late. And especially for those patients who have seen their lives turned upside down by the Reglan side effects associated with Reglan tardive dyskinesia. Metoclopramide side effects can be devastating. If you have become permanently disabled by TD in association with the long-term use of Reglan, it would be in your best interest to contact a Reglan side effects attorn


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

USDA FAS/OGA Plans Global Food Security Summit

USDA FAS/OGA Plans Global Food Security Summit for April 22, 2009

Last update: 12:46 p.m. EDT March 23, 2009

WASHINGTON, Mar 23, 2009 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Global Food Security Challenges: Monitoring Earth Resources, an educational summit discussing Earth observation technologies and government policies used to address global food supply challenges, will be held April 22, 2009, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Office of Global Analysis, in partnership with NGA, NASA, and others. Advance registration required: To register on-line: www.empliant.com/USDAFoodSecuritySeminar or call Sherry Loy, Global Marketing Insights, Inc. 216-525-0600 or sherryloy@globalinsights.com.
SOURCE: USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Office of Global Analysis
Global Marketing Insights
Sherry Loy


USDA investigating Russia ban on 3 chicken plants

CHICAGO, March 23 (Reuters) - Russia's ban on chicken from three U.S. plants is under investigation by U.S. officials, but the action should not affect chicken purchases from other U.S. chicken plants, U.S. government and chicken industry officials said on Monday.

The U.S. Agriculture Department and Russia said the bans were in reaction to antibiotic and anti-parasite substances in the meat. It was not known how long the bans will be in place, USDA said.

"Russia delisted three U.S. poultry establishments due to drug residue findings. FSIS has requested information from Russia. We will then work with the establishments to determine if in fact the antibiotics and anti-parasitics were used and will then take appropriate actions," Bryn Margaret Burkard, spokeswoman at USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), told Reuters on Monday in an email.

Russia is the largest importer of U.S. chicken and USDA said last week that country had banned chicken imports from the plants beginning on March 27.

"The fact that it is only three plants indicates that as far as we know it is not a harbinger of anything bigger," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the National Chicken Council. "It should not have any impact on trade."

The three plants are Peco Foods Inc's chicken plant in Canton, Mississippi; Sanderson Farm Inc's (SAFM.O) plant at Hammond, Louisiana, and Tyson Foods Inc's (TSN.N) Cumming, Georgia, facility.

Last week, Tyson said it will ship chicken to Russia from its other plants and "the suspension of the Cumming facility should not affect our overall international sales." (Additional reporting by Christopher Doering, Washington, and Robin Paxton, Moscow; editing by Lisa Shumaker)


Costco, Safeway Organic Eggs Recalled

Subject: Organic Eggs Recalled

Organic Eggs Sold at Costco and Safeway Recalled
Eggs Could be Contaminated with Salmonella
den Dulk Poultry Farms of Ripon, CA., is voluntarily recalling their Organic brown eggs as a precaution because the eggs have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall was initiated after it was determined that the eggs in question tested positive for Salmonella during an internal investigation by den Dulk Poultry Farms.

The recalled eggs were distributed to Costco and Safeway in Northern California, as far South as Fresno, and in western Nevada.

Costco: The eggs are sold at Costco as Kirkland Organic Brown Eggs. They are packaged in 18 count cartons. Expiration dates and plant code can be found on the end of the carton and are written as follows: April 1 062 35 P1776; April 8 069 35 P1776.

Safeway: The eggs are sold at 71 Safeway and Pack n’ Save stores as O Organic Grade A Large Brown Eggs. They are packaged in one dozen (12 count) cartons. Expiration date and plant code can be found on the end of the carton and are written as follows: April 1 062, 35 P1776.

MARCH-22-09: Organic Eggs Sold at Costco and Safeway Recalled [FDA: DEN DULK ORGANIC EGGS RECALLED]

Atlantis Brand Smoked Fish Dip Recalled

Atlantis Brand Smoked Fish Dip Recalled
Listeria Contamination Possible

Neco Foods, LLC of Lantana, Florida is recalling 231 cases of 7 ounce, 32 ounce and 5 pound packages of Atlantis Brand SMOKED FISH DIP, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

The recalled “Atlantis brand Smoked Fish Dip” was distributed in Florida in 7 ounce containers through retail stores, 32 ounce containers through club stores, and in 5 pound packages through foodservice distributors. The product is distributed in the following packages:

7 ounce, Atlantis brand, Smoked Fish Dip in a clear plastic container marked with Lot # 048 on bottom, with an expiration date of April 23, 2009. UPC code: 0 3469611124 5

32 ounce, Atlantis brand, Smoked Fish Dip in a clear plastic container marked with Lot # 048 on bottom, with an expiration date of April 23, 2009. UPC code: 0 3469611134 4

5 pound, Atlantis brand, Smoked Fish Dip in a white plastic container marked with Lot # 048 on the lid, with an expiration date of April 23, 2009. No UPC code. Foodservice distribution, not for retail sale.

MARCH-22-09: Neco Foods Recalls Atlantis Brand Smoked Fish Dip [FDA: SMOKED FISH DIP RECALLED]

Monday, March 23, 2009

Statin Study: Where Your Money Goes.......

March 22, 2009

Dear friends,

The government is busy spending your money as fast as they can print it, and it seems no one's looking very closely at how those dollars are being used.

Take the latest study on statins, those ever-popular drugs used to control cholesterol
levels. The National Cancer Institute recently used your hard-earned money to figure out whether or not drugs like Lipitor and Mevacor can prevent cancer.

The conclusion: Of course not.

This study on mice and rats, published in Cancer Prevention Research, merely confirms what just about all the evidence until now has suggested: Even at ridiculously high doses, statins are about as effective as marbles when it comes to cancer prevention. They started out with twice what a human would take, and then went to even higher doses from there. But no matter how much they pumped into these critters, they came up empty.

And remember, even normal doses of statins come with the potential for nasty side
effects like muscle pain, liver damage, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and rashes.

A major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association three years back looked at 86,000 patients in 26 clinical trials of statins and concluded that there was no evidence statins could fight cancer.

That should have been good enough, except those researchers left the door open a crack, saying they also had no evidence that statins couldn't fight cancer, either.

How's that for conclusive?

Next came a study showing that men on statins had lower blood levels of prostate-
specific antigen, or PSA, a biomarker for cancer risk. Never mind that everyone – and I mean everyone – in medicine knows that PSA tests are less than perfect predictors of cancer.

The National Cancer Institute should have looked at their own data on that, which warns of high levels of false positives, not to mention false negatives. In fact, they say "PSA levels alone do not give doctors enough information to distinguish between benign
prostate conditions and cancer."

That's them talking, not me. Yet they used the PSA data as a basis for launching this study.

Do you want a refund yet? I know I do.

Here's the cherry on top: The researchers from the National Cancer Institute even tried pairing statins with the anti-cancer drugs tamoxifen and bexarotene, and they still didn't help, not one bit.

Anyone who wants to reduce their cancer risk can make some simple changes to their diet and lifestyle and get a far greater benefit than any drug can provide.

Statins are one of Big Pharma's biggest cash cows. Millions of Americans already take them and feel like they need them, even when the reality is that in most cases they don't. But that's not enough for the corporate giants. They have been pumping millions of dollars into statins, shamelessly trying to find new reasons for even more people to use these drugs.

They certainly don't need the government's help in this goal.

Sometimes, I think they won't be happy until every man, woman and child is taking a

Then they could sell us another drug to deal with all those side effects.

Be well,

William B. Ferril, M.D.
UPDATE on Statin, March 31, 2009

March 29, 2009

Dear friends,

What's next – statins in the womb?

You know by now how much I question the overuse of statins.

Those cholesterol-lowering drugs are often the most pointless, and most profitable, in Big Pharma's arsenal. But that alone isn't enough: The drug companies are always looking for new ways to market statins, and new groups that can take them.

And now there's talk of giving these drugs to children.

I won't even try to hide my disgust here. Imagine little Johnny popping Crestor at his
school lunch, washing it down with a sip of his juice box. Outrageous!

It all started last year when the American Academy of Pediatrics sounded the alarm on cholesterol levels and children, issuing new guidelines and asking doctors to consider drugs for kids as young as 8 years old who can't keep their LDL (bad cholesterol) levels within bounds.

The Academy's new guidelines prompted a study on just how many kids might end up on these drugs, and the results were published online in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

They found that just under 1 percent of kids might need medications to help manage their cholesterol levels.

This may sound like a reassuringly low number, and in a way it is, but remember – the percentage of people who truly "need" a drug is almost always far lower than those who actually get the drug in the end.

In fact, that's been the whole history of statins. They were originally designed to help
people with heart conditions to lower their cholesterol. But a study out of Harvard and
published in the Lancet found that just 8 percent of the millions of Americans who take statins actually have a heart condition.

Talk about over-prescribed!

Now they want to start pushing these drugs on our kids and grandkids. Big Pharma wants statins to become the new Ritalin… a chronically over-prescribed designer drug for kids.

That might be great for their bottom lines, but I can promise you it'll unleash nothing but trouble for our kids.

Lowering LDL cholesterol levels in kids – and yourself for that matter – starts with diet.
Make better choices, like cutting out processed junk foods and too many sugar-laden
carbs, and you will naturally lower your cholesterol levels. Not only that, but you'll live
better too. There's no catch, nothing extra to buy, and no pills to take.

Big Pharma may not like it – but it works.

Be well,

William B. Ferril, M.D.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Drug Company Buries Unfavorable Antidepressant Drug Studies

Warning! Drug Company Buries Unfavorable Antidepressant Drug Studies

Drugmaker AstraZeneca “buried” unfavorable studies on its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, according to an internal e-mail. The e-mail was made public due to litigation over the medicine.

The drugmaker did not publicize results of at least three clinical trials of Seroquel and engaged in “cherry picking” of data from one of those studies for use in a presentation, an AstraZeneca official said in the December 1999 e-mail. The company faces about 9,000 lawsuits claiming it failed to properly warn users that Seroquel can cause diabetes and other health problems.

Seroquel, which generated sales of $4.45 billion in 2008, is the company’s second-biggest seller after the ulcer treatment Nexium. AstraZeneca has denied wrongdoing, and is vowing to fight the lawsuits in court.


Bloomberg.com February 27, 2009

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

The link between Seroquel and diabetes has been on the FDA’s radar for nearly a decade. It was the year 2000 when they first asked AstraZeneca to share data on new-onset diabetes and related illnesses in people taking the drug.

At that time, AstraZeneca reported 12 new cases of diabetes and 5 cases of related illnesses, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, but internal company documents revealed there were actually 27 cases of diabetes and 2 of hyperglycemia.

Now more than 15,000 people have sued AstraZeneca on the count they withheld information on the connection between Seroquel and diabetes, along with also promoting the drug, which is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, for unapproved uses.

Only as a result of these lawsuits was a 1999 internal e-mail unsealed, in which an AstraZeneca official said the company failed to publicize results of at least three clinical trials of Seroquel and also engaged in “cherry picking” of data from one of those studies for use in a presentation.

This is all part of an ongoing battle. Back in 2006 similar lawsuits were already underway against AstraZeneca, again claiming they downplayed the diabetes risks and hid important safety information from the FDA.

While untold numbers of patients may have suffered serious side effects from taking Seroquel, the drug remained AstraZeneca’s second-biggest seller in 2008 (after Nexium), and they enjoyed sales of $4.45 billion last year as a result.

“Cherry Picking” is Common in Drug Company Data

Make no mistake about it; AstraZeneca is far from the only drug company that has downplayed the risks of its prized products. The practice is also very common among many other drug categories, including antidepressants.

If there’s one thing drugmakers excel at, it’s doing an excellent job of publicizing the things they want you to know, while keeping very quiet about the rest. Dr. James Gordon, a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety and psychological trauma, expands in reference to antidepressants:

“The problem is that the drug companies did not publish the unfavorable studies about antidepressants, especially the newest class, the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Prozac or Paxil.

And so what you have is drug companies only publishing positive studies, doctors only reading about positive studies, patients believing the drug companies and, of course, their doctors -- and it’s kind of like the Emperor’s New Clothes. Everybody’s been kind of wrapped up in an illusion when in fact over the last couple of years people have been taking a new look at all the unpublished studies.”

More Psychiatric Drug Risks You Might Not Have Heard Of

An increased risk of diabetes is far from the only side effect of taking these mind-altering drugs.

People taking antipsychotic drugs are nearly twice as likely to have a stroke as those not on the treatment. The risk is even higher -- about 3.5 times -- for men and women with dementia. The drugs also increase your risk of potentially fatal blood clots.

Sadly, children are among the most innocent victims in all of this, as they’re being prescribed these dangerous and sometimes deadly antipsychotic drugs at alarming rates.

So please think long and hard before opting to take any prescription drug, even if the drug maker claims it’s safe. As appears to be the case with Seroquel, often the real dangers have been quietly swept under the carpet leaving those who took the drug to fend for themselves.

And the fact of the matter is, nearly everything that drugs are supposed to do can be achieved using safe, natural means, such as eating healthy and addressing your emotional traumas, with no side effects other than good health in return.

Practical Options to Dangerous Drugs

Instead of subjecting yourself to the serious side effects of mind-altering drugs, you can try the following natural treatments. These options are safe, inexpensive and best of all remarkably effective.

1. Optimize your diet, including taking an animal-based source of omega-3 fat, such as krill oil, daily. I have seen large numbers of patients spontaneously take themselves off antidepressants once they optimized their diet and omega-3 levels.

2. Address the underlying emotional challenges. To do this, I suggest using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). For serious problems such as depression, it would be prudent to contact a health care professional who is trained in the technique. You can use Gary Craig's list of EFT Practitioner Referrals to do this.

3. Get plenty of sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is very common and has been implicated in both psychiatric and neurological disorders.

4. Exercise. It is one of the best remedies for depression, and studies have found it can cut your depressive symptoms nearly in half.

Related Links:

The Avalanche of Pharmaceutical Lawsuits

The Unholy Alliance Between Psychiatrists and Psychotropic Drugs: 36,000 Deaths a Year?

Statin Drugs: Another Industry-Sponsored Study, Another Deceptive Result

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Push Land-Grant Universities Out of the Meat Industry

By admin | March 17, 2009
Submitted by Animal Person

Responsible Policies for Animals Members & Friends!

On March 11th, RPA sent the governors of all 50 states a letter and two factsheets urging them to help get their land-grant universities (LGUs) out of the meat industry.

Below is a press release about the mailing. It was sent to about 1,200 environmental journalists this afternoon. Another went out last Friday.

The meat industry is inherently destructive and inhumane, there is no way to make it otherwise, and much of the harm it does to ecosystems is by inflicting suffering and death on billions of nonhuman animals, farmed and free-living, each year.

In addition to heaps of information at www.RPAforAll.org about RPA’s 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign to get our universities out of the meat industry, there is now a current list of all 50 governors with address and their state’s LGU.

Take a moment to tell your governor you agree we must get our LGUs out of the meat industry. Use the website’s LGU list to tell your state’s main LGU the same — even if you’ve done so before.

If you’re one of RPA’s many members and friends in countries other than the U.S., consider pointing out to a few of the biggest and most influential (food-wise) LGUs — Iowa State, Cornell, University of California-Davis — the harm they’re doing globally by continuing to promote meat despite the known dangers to animals, people, and the environment. Rapid growth on other continents is one of the biggest dangers from the meat, dairy and feed-crop industries.

Working together, we can make the world a less-going-down-the-tubes place! Especially if we put our energy into institutions that are supposed to be accountable to the public and that are supposed to operate based on knowledge.

Let me know — any time! — if you’d like assistance or more information.

Thanks and best wishes!

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.

Press Release

Governors: Stop Ecodestructive University Training!

March 2009

Contact: David Cantor, 215-886-7721 or RPA4all@aol.com

Arriving at all 50 states’ governors’ offices in mid-March, a special request: Get our land-grant universities (LGUs) out of the meat industry.

Environmentalists recognize the meat industry as extremely ecodestructive – including fish, dairy, eggs, feed crops with their massive use of water & topsoil and toxic runoff killing rivers and oceans, and the killing of billions of free-living animals to protect farmed animals and feed crops. Many say you can’t eat meat and be an environmentalist.

Responsible Policies for Animals’ (RPA’s) mailing to the 50 states’ top executives reflects RPA’s innovative approach. Finding that decades of consumer education hasn’t slowed meat-industry growth or ecodestruction and that universities powerfully influence what people eat, RPA has been demanding that the colleges of agriculture at our LGUs stop forking over billions of dollars worth of training, research, and public relations to the meat industry.

“Many people mistakenly think whether to eat from animals is a free choice based on taste and considerations like health, environment, and treatment of animals,” says David Cantor, founder & director of RPA, which sent a letter and two factsheets to the 50 governors on March 11th. Not true, says Cantor. “Compared with our big, popular, prestigious universities, even the most important facts about food have little impact on whether people eat from animals.”

“Animal science” – distinct from zoology, the science of Earth’s millions of animal species – is what LGUs call meat-industry courses, including slaughtering animals, making ice cream, the full range of meat-linked endeavor. But, says Cantor, “’animal science’ rejects scientific knowledge: that humans are natural herbivores and did not evolve as hunters as formerly believed; eating from animals is linked to the most widespread and devastating chronic diseases; and more.”

RPA’s letter urges the governors to help solve the problem by addressing it with LGU trustees and state legislatures; ensuring that their states’ school systems teach the truth about food, nutrition, original human nature, and ecology; and ensuring that the National Governors Association addresses the problem.

RPA launched its 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign to get our universities out of the meat industry in 2003. Many of the LGUs have replied, some of them many times. But no LGU has yet put its meat-industry courses on the course of ultimate extinction. Copies of all 10,000 Years Is Enough mailings and other details are available at www.RPAforAll.org or by request. Also recommended: www.ExpertsOfConscience.org and www.EatForSports.org.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Diseased Rice in USA

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Sun 15 Mar 2009
From: Jack Woodall

On 6 Mar 2009, the University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture,
put out a warning of potential problems because of bakanae disease if
Californian rice seed is imported into Arkansas to replace a shortage
of local seed [ProMED-mail post no. 20090313.1029].

It was said that this is a seed-borne disease and not known to be
present in Arkansas or other southern states. The fungus poses a high
risk to rice and also affects other crops. Letting it loose in
Arkansas would be a major, irrecoverable disaster. On top of that,
Californian rice varieties would be useless due to their high
sensitivity to Arkansas rice blast strains.

What concerns me is the further statement, "We're not sure if other
states are preventing this risky seed movement at this time, although
our State Plant Board is advising them to be aware of the situation."

I recall the sad story of the attempted eradication of _Citrus
tristeza virus_ [CTV] in California, where citrus growers refused to
fell their trees in order to protect their neighbors' orchards, so
that now the disease is endemic (see ProMED-mail post no.
20080305.0899). In that update ProMED commented: "It appears that a
short sighted decision 10 years ago has led to the present problem.
As a result of ignoring scientific advice at the time, much more
expensive measures are now necessary to ameliorate the effect of CTV
on the industry than would have been needed to maintain the CTV-free
status of the trees used for providing budwood."

Are we going to see the same short-sighted, self-serving actions from
Arkansas rice growers, who may be willing to risk importing diseased
seed rather than having no rice crop, regardless of what they will
let loose in the state, which could spread to other crops there
besides rice, and to every other rice-growing state? Are other states
going to refrain from somehow obtaining Californian seed and passing
it off to Arkansas as local grown? Is there going to be an efficient
plant quarantine this time? Precedent does not encourage optimism.

Perhaps concerned ProMED-PLANT readers would care to contact state
agricultural officials and insist on a properly supervised
[quarantine] ban. ProMED-mail would be interested to hear of any
developments regarding this particular problem.

Jack Woodall
Associate Editor, ProMED-mail
Rio de Janeiro

Monday, March 16, 2009

HR 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 / A Very Bad Idea

From Clay Hill Farm Blog;

I love the Farmer's Market. One of my favorite things to do on a weekend is drop by the market and bring home fresh ingredients for the evening meal - there's nothing better, except growing the food yourself! And, while this is not a political blog, it is a blog about my life and our farm. And I just discovered a bill that has the potential to catastrophically affect both.

HR 875 (Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009) is sponsored, evidently, by a representative whose husband has ties to Monsanto. Monsanto is a large biotechnology company that is heavily vested in the factory farm model. They're the guys who tried to patent pig breeding, and the guys who created "terminator" seeds whose plants don't produce viable seeds - the farmer has to keep going back to Monsanto to get more seeds each year. Not exactly friends of the small farmer, huh?

The bill is very broadly written and includes anyone who grows or produces food for human consumption. There is no exception for small farms, or even for backyard gardens. The fines are staggering (up to a million dollars for each incident?). If this bill passes, most of the folks I know will be unable to afford to grow produce or meat for the farmer's market or even for their own family's use without running afoul of the law.

The regulatory burdens of this bill are staggering, too. Food producers (and if you grow tomatoes in the summer, YOU are a food producer, according to this bill) are required to keep extensive records, to test soil (and keep the samples) and to follow government regulations regarding the type of fertilizer used, temperature controls, etc... fines for failure to comply can be up to one million dollars per incident.

And I don't believe that the law will be used only to deal with large corporations - if the state is given a power, the state has the potential to abuse that power. And, the thing is, we already have many of these regulations in place through the USDA and the FDA. Why create another level of bureaucracy when simply fully staffing these agencies with the appropriate number of inspectors would solve many of the current problems we've seen?

In a poor economy, the ability to grow one's own food could make a huge difference in one's standard of living. We can't let that right be taken from us, and we must look out for the small farmers who provide organic meat and produce at the local level. If you eat, this bill has the potential to affect you.

You can read more about the bill here: Campaign for Liberty and here: Open Congress HR 875. And, if the content of this bill alarms you at all, please consider writing your representatives to tell them how you feel. Help us save the Farmer's Market! Thank you to Dunappaloosa at Small Farm Living for bringing this to my attention.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Salmonella Outbreak Spreads to Five States


Alfalfa Sprouts Could be the Cause
According to the U.S. Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP), a recent outbreak of Salmonella St. Paul in Nebraska and Iowa, relating to contaminated alfalfa sprouts, has spread to Kansas, Missouri and South Dakota.

Estimates suggest as many as 50 cases of salmonella poisoning in those states have been linked to the sprouts, however laboratory results have yet to confirm this.

On March 3, 2009, the FDA in conjunction with SunSprout Enterprises, issued a voluntary recall of 'Alfalfa Sprouts', 'Onion Sprouts', and 'Gourmet Sprouts' because of possible health risks. The sprouts were distributed to food distributors located in Iowa and Nebraska who further sell the product to restaurants and retail stores. Distribution was also made directly to one retail store in Nebraska.

The sprouts are sold refrigerated under the SunSprouts label in 4-oz. clear plastic clamshell containers that have the following “Best If Sold By” dates in the upper right-hand corner on each container, which may be expressed in 2 different styles: 30209 or MAR 02 2009, 30409 or MAR 04 2009, 30709 or MAR 07 2009, 30909 or MAR 09 2009, 31109 or MAR 11 2009, and 31409 or MAR 14 2009. The lot numbers, which are printed only on the shipping case, include: 3102, 3202, 3302, 4102, 4202, and 4302.

According to officials at the CIDRAP, the rare subtype of Salmonella St. Paul involved in this recent outbreak is the same subtype that was found in the 2008 outbreak linked to jalapeno and serrano peppers.

MARCH-10-09: SunSprout Enterprises, Inc. Voluntarily Recalls Alfalfa Sprouts [FDA: ALFALFA SPROUT SALMONELLA ]

Monday, March 9, 2009

NY Proposed Law Bans Milk Protien Concentrates

Lawrence News

by Nathan Barker Friday, 06 March 2009 11:04

MORRISTOWN, NY - New York State Senator Darrel Aubertine is sponsoring a
bill in the senate to prohibit products containing caseinates from being
labeled as dairy products. Controversy and hot words are flying among dairy
farmers and cheese producers over the bill and the wording it contains.

Casein is a natural milk protein that accounts for approximately 80% of the
naturally occurring proteins in milk products. The word comes from the
Latin word for cheese (*caseus*) and is the protein that bonds with rennet
in the cheese-making process to form curds.

Aubertine's legislation, Senate Bill S2365, is not intended to change the
labeling of natural cheese or milk products but to prevent products that use
Milk Protein Concentrates from being referred to as "dairy" products. Milk
Protein Concentrates are used in place of liquid milk in products like diet
shakes, energy bars, and processed cheese foods (such as the kind of
'American' cheese that comes in single wrapped slices, or the kind of cheese
that comes in a spray can.)

Aubertine says that the importation of MPC's for the bulk food industry is
reducing demand for locally produced liquid milk and contributing to the
decreasing milk prices. The bulk of MPC's are imported from the Ukraine,
China, India, and New Zealand and are not regulated as a food product
because casein is also the primary ingredient in white glue.

Aubertine hopes that by changing the rules on what can be labeled as a dairy
product, he will force manufacturers to use real milk instead of imported
MPC's in their products if they want to keep the dairy seal. He says "With
milk prices falling, we need to do all we can to help farmers get a premium
price for their milk. By using MPC's and caseinates instead of milk,
processors undermine the value of the milk we get from farms throughout New
York State... As dairy farmers know, if it's not made with milk, it's not

The problem is in the wording of the bill. One section of S2365 as proposed
reads "Prohibition of milk protein concentrates, caseins, and caseinates.
Any product that is enhanced with milk protein concentrates, caseins, or
caseinates, shall not be classified or labeled as a dairy product."

The obvious difficulty with the wording is that natural milk products
already contain casein and that many "enhanced" milk products such as skim
milk with extra protein and vitamins, would be affected as the proposed bill

The Farm Bureau opposes the legislation as written for precisely this
reason. They voice justified concern that over-regulation in this area will
hurt New York Dairy farmers, not help them.
Last Updated ( Friday, 06 March 2009 15:34 )

Saturday, March 7, 2009

4 Die from Deadly Sausage from Denmark

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 4 Mar 2009
From: Lasse Nuotio

Helsingin Sanomat, the leading Finnish newspaper, reported on 26 Feb
2009 that 4 elderly people in Denmark had died due to complications
of salmonellosis. According to the report the source of the infection
had been sausages made of pork and the contamination had been traced
to 2 slaughterhouses, one in Sjaelland [Zealand] and one in Jylland
[Jutland]. One of the slaughterhouses had exported considerable
amounts of the contaminated meat. Unexpectedly there have been no
reports of this in ProMED-mail.

Lasse Nuotio, DVM PhD MSc
Helsinki, Finland

Date: Fri 6 Mar 2009
Source: Ice News [edited]

Since October 2008, Denmark has suffered 2 big outbreaks of
salmonellosis from Danish sausages. 4 people have died as a result of
eating "medister" sausage, and at least 79 have been hospitalized
with stomach infections, according to the national disease control
center Statens Serum Institut.

Investigators have traced the deadly bacteria to 2 pork
slaughterhouses in Jutland and Zealand. However, Dr Kare Molbak of
the Statens Serum Institut says they can't be absolutely sure the
salmonella originated only in those 2 spots. The problem could be
more widespread in the nation's pork industry.

In a statement reported by the Copenhagen Post, Molbak confirmed:
"There are grounds for concern and this time we are in no doubt that
the salmonella comes from Danish pork."

But the deputy director of the Danish Meat Association, Erik Bisgaard
Madsen, insists that he's "99 per cent certain" that the salmonella
outbreak did not originate from one of his association's members.

[Byline: Luna Finnson]

Communicated by:

[ProMED-mail thanks Dr Nuotio for this report. As shown in the "see
also" list below, we have posted on this outbreak, reported to have
been associated with serotype Typhimurium U (undefined phage type)
292, since it began in 2008.

The regions of Denmark can be seen on the map at
The HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of Denmark can be accessed at
. - Mod.LL]

[see also:
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium U292 - Denmark (04) 20081015.3270
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium U292 - Denmark (03): background
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium U292 - Denmark (02) 20080710.2102
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium U292 - Denmark 20080703.2029
Foodborne illness, hotel - Italy (02): (Brescia), salmonellosis 20080626.1974
Salmonellosis, st Enteritidis, child - Estonia: (Harju) 20080613.1874
Salmonellosis, online mapping - Europe 20080118.0228
Salmonellosis, tourists - UK ex Kenya (Coast Province): alert 20080115.0191
Salmonellosis, serotype Paratyphi var Java - Europe 20071221.4100
Salmonellosis, serotype Enteritidis, hotel lunch - EU ex Spain 20071019.3415
Salmonellosis, serotype Goldcoast, tourists - Multicountry ex Spain
(03) 20051212.3574
Salmonellosis, serotype Goldcoast, tourists - Multicountry ex Spain
Salmonellosis, tourists - Norway ex Greece 20010927.2365]
ProMED-mail makes every effort to verify the reports that
are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
information, and of any statements or opinions based
thereon, are not guaranteed. The reader assumes all risks in
using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
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