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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

40 Sick, 3 Die in Central Louisiana from Bad Chicken

CLOSTRIDIUM PERFRINGENS FOOD INTOXICATION, FATAL - USA: (LOUISIANA) NOSOCOMIAL
******************************************************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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


Date: Sat 29 May 2010
Source: The Town Talk [edited]



The outbreak of illnesses that sickened more than 40 people and killed
3 patients at Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville appears to
be connected to bacteria from chicken salad served at the facility, a
health official reported Fri 28 May 2010.

Test results found the 3rd most common cause of food poisoning,
[toxin-producing] _Clostridium perfringens_, was to blame for the
outbreak at Central earlier in May 2010, said Dr. David Holcombe,
medical director for Region 6 of the Louisiana Department of Health
and Hospitals' Office of Public Health.

The _C. perfringens_ bacterium appears to have come from the chicken
salad served before patients and staff members began getting sick,
Holcombe said. Those who had the chicken salad at that time were 23
times more likely to show symptoms, which is a good indicator that the
dish was the culprit.

_C. perfringens_ is a naturally occurring organism, but it can spread
to unsafe levels with improper food storage and handling, Holcombe said.

The bacterium explains the cause of sickness in the patients, Holcombe
said, but the test results do not fully spell out the causes of death
for 3 patients. Autopsy and toxicology reports still pending will help
determine what, if any, other factors caused their illnesses to be
fatal.

Starting the morning of 7 May 2010, patients at Central Louisiana
State Hospital began showing symptoms of gastrointestinal problems. By
that night and into the next morning, a 43-year-old woman, 41-year-old
man and 52-year-old man died.

It cannot be transmitted from person to person. Spores of the organism
are heat-resistant and may germinate into the vegetative form of the
bacterium in food that has not been properly stored, Holcombe said,
and they begin producing a toxin that makes people sick once they
enter the lower intestine.

[Byline: David Dinsmore]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[The following discussion on _C. perfringens_ associated foodborne
illness is from the FDA's "Bad Bug Book: Foodborne Pathogenic
Microorganisms and Natural Toxins Handbook"


"1. The Organism:
-----------------
_Clostridium perfringens_ is an anaerobic, Gram-positive, sporeforming
rod (anaerobic means unable to grow in the presence of free oxygen).
It is widely distributed in the environment and frequently occurs in
the intestines of humans and many domestic and feral animals. Spores
of the organism persist in soil, sediments, and areas subject to human
or animal fecal pollution.

2. Nature of Acute Disease:
---------------------------
Perfringens food poisoning is the term used to describe the common
foodborne illness caused by _C. perfringens_ type A. A more serious
but rare illness is also caused by ingesting food contaminated with
Type C strains. The latter illness is known as enteritis necroticans
or pig-bel disease.

3. Nature of Disease:
--------------------
The common form of perfringens poisoning is characterized by intense
abdominal cramps and diarrhea which begin 8-22 hours after consumption
of foods containing large numbers of those _C. perfringens_ bacteria
capable of producing the food poisoning toxin. The illness is usually
over within 24 hours but less severe symptoms may persist in some
individuals for 1 or 2 weeks. A few deaths have been reported as a
result of dehydration and other complications.

Necrotic enteritis (pig-bel) caused by _C. perfringens_ is often
fatal. This disease also begins as a result of ingesting large numbers
of the causative bacteria in contaminated foods. Deaths from necrotic
enteritis (pig-bel syndrome) are caused by infection and necrosis of
the intestines and from resulting septicemia. This disease is very
rare in the USA.

Infective dose - The symptoms are caused by ingestion of large numbers
(greater than 10 to the 8th) [100 million] vegetative cells. Toxin
production in the digestive tract (or in test tubes) is associated
with sporulation. This disease is a food infection; only 1 episode has
ever implied the possibility of intoxication (i.e., disease from
preformed toxin).

4. Diagnosis of Human Illness:
------------------------------
Perfringens poisoning is diagnosed by its symptoms and the typical
delayed onset of illness. Diagnosis is confirmed by detecting the
toxin in the feces of patients. Bacteriological confirmation can also
be done by finding exceptionally large numbers of the causative
bacteria in implicated foods or in the feces of patients.

5. Associated Foods:
--------------------
In most instances, the actual cause of poisoning by _C. perfringens_
is temperature abuse of prepared foods. Small numbers of the organisms
are often present after cooking and multiply to food poisoning levels
during cool down and storage of prepared foods. Meats, meat products,
and gravy are the foods most frequently implicated.

6. Relative Frequency of Disease:
---------------------------------
Perfringens poisoning is one of the most commonly reported foodborne
illnesses in the USA. There were 1162 cases in 1981, in 28 separate
outbreaks. At least 10-20 outbreaks have been reported annually in the
USA for the past 2 decades. Typically, dozens or even hundreds of
person are affected. It is probable that many outbreaks go unreported
because the implicated foods or patient feces are not tested routinely
for _C. perfringens_ or its toxin. The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 10 000 actual cases occur
annually in the USA.

7. Course of Disease and Complications:
---------------------------------------
The disease generally lasts 24 hours. In the elderly or infirm,
symptoms may last 1-2 weeks. Complications and/or death only very
rarely occur.

8. Target Populations:
----------------------
Institutional feeding (such as school cafeterias, hospitals, nursing
homes, prisons, etc.) where large quantities of food are prepared
several hours before serving is the most common circumstance in which
perfringens poisoning occurs. The young and elderly are the most
frequent victims of perfringens poisoning. Except in the case of
pig-bel syndrome, complications are few in persons under 30 years of
age. Elderly persons are more likely to experience prolonged or severe
symptoms.

9. Food Analysis:
----------------
Standard bacteriological culturing procedures are used to detect the
organism in implicated foods and in feces of patients. Serological
assays are used for detecting enterotoxin in the feces of patients and
for testing the ability of strains to produce toxin. The procedures
take 1-3 days."

[As noted in the text, this illness is usually related to _in situ_
production of the enterotoxin rather than (as with the more common
staphylococcus-associated foodborne illness) the ingestion of
preformed toxin. The staphylococcal illness usually presents with
vomiting and little if any diarrhea with an incubation period of 4-6
hours, whereas _C. perfringens_ food poisoning causes diarrhea without
much vomiting. Neither illness usually causes significant fever.
Mortality rates in perfringens food poisoning are quite low and
fatalities are very unusual in the non-elderly. Reports are pending on
what co-existing illnesses were present in the decedents. - Mod.LL]

[The interactive HealthMap/ProMED map for Louisiana is available at:
- CopyEd.EJP]

[see also:
2005
----
Food poisoning, teachers - Philippines (Bicol) 20051219.3632
2004
----
Food poisoning, student conference - USA (DC): susp. 20040809.2194
Food poisoning, hotel restaurant - China (HK) 20040713.1880
Food poisoning, clostridial - Croatia (Zagreb) 20040315.0718
1998
----
Clostridium perfringens - China (Hong Kong) 19981216.2375
Pig belly disease - Solomon Islands 19980614.1122]
...................sb/ll/ejp/jw
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and its associated service providers shall not be held
responsible for errors or omissions or held liable for any
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or archived material.
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Saturday, May 29, 2010

E. COLI O157 - USA (03): (MINNESOTA) UNPASTEURIZED MILK

*******************************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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


Date: Thu 27 May 2010
Source: Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul (MN) [edited]



A Minnesota toddler has been hospitalized with a life-threatening
illness and 3 other people have been sickened by _E. coli_-tainted
raw milk, an outbreak that is likely to sharpen a national debate on
the growing popularity of the controversial beverage.

3 of the 4 _E. coli_ cases are linked to unpasteurized milk produced
at the Hartmann Dairy Farm in Gibbon, Minnesota, which is also known
as MOM, or Minnesota Organic Milk, state health and agricultural
department officials said Wednesday, 26 May 2010. They said consumers
should discard any dairy products, including cheese and ice cream,
made by Hartmann.

Of the 4 cases of _E. coli_ O157:H7, 2 were reported in the metro
area, the other 2 in outstate counties, state officials said. None of
the milk involved so far appears to have been sold in stores, said
Heidi Kassenborg, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's director
of dairy and food inspection.

Raw milk hasn't been pasteurized, that is, treated with heat to kill
organisms that can make people sick. Interstate sales of raw milk are
banned, but more than 20 states allow sales, usually limited, of the
product. In Minnesota, raw milk is restricted to "occasional
purchases directly at the farm where the milk is produced,"
Kassenborg said.

Raw milk is roundly condemned by public health authorities because it
can carry dangerous bacteria such as _E. coli_, _Salmonella_, and
_Campylobacter_. But there is a growing movement of raw milk
advocates who believe the drink has health benefits, and that they
should have the right to drink it.

Last week [week of 17 May 2010] Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed a
bill that would have allowed limited sales of raw milk, irking raw
milk supporters but winning praise from food safety advocates.

Each year, several dozen people are usually sickened by raw milk in
Minnesota. But this is the 1st outbreak, 2 or more cases that are
linked, in at least 15 years, Health Department officials say.

"The fact is, raw milk is unsafe to drink, and that's unfortunately
been evidenced by the outbreak we've seen" in Minnesota, Kassenborg
said.

Assistant state epidemiologist Richard Danila said the Health
Department found 4 cases of _E. coli_ 0157:H7 between 1 and 21 May
2010, all of which had the same DNA fingerprint. 2 of those sickened
were school-age children, 1 was a man who was at least 70 years old,
and the 4th was a toddler. All 4 were hospitalized: 1 overnight, 2
for 4 days, and the other, the toddler, is still in the hospital
after being admitted late last week [week of 17 May 2010].

According to the Health and Agriculture Departments [the man who]
operates the farm, couldn't be reached for comment.

A parent of 1 of the sickened children told state investigators that
he or she didn't realize the Hartmann milk was raw milk. The parents
of the toddler with HUS [hemolytic uremic syndrome] knew they were
buying raw milk, it was said, adding that doesn't necessarily mean
they understood it was unpasteurized and potentially unhealthy. The
toddler's parents were characterized as "distraught."

State officials aren't sure where the Hartmann raw milk was
purchased. But some of it may have been purchased at a metro-area
"pickup point," Danila said without elaborating. One Hartmann Dairy
customer, a south Minneapolis resident, said she picks up raw milk
weekly at a neighbor's house through a "milk club." Several families
belong, and pay Hartmann directly. The arrangement appears to be
common.

The state revoked Hartmann Dairy Farm's license to produce Grade A
milk in 2001 for "general unsanitary conditions," Kassenborg said.

[Byline: Mike Hughlett]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[The state of Minnesota in the Midwestern US can be located on the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map at
._ Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]

[A previous ProMED-mail posting (E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk,
2005 - USA (WA) 20070302.0741) contains an excellent discussion on
the subject of enteric illnesses such as _E. coli_ O157:H7,
salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis transmitted by unpasteurized
dairy products.

Certain other diseases that can be related to unpasteurized milk are
highlighted in these paragraphs extracted from Leedom JM: Milk of
nonhuman origin and infectious diseases in humans. Clin Infect Dis
2006; 43(5): 610-5
() with the
citations renumbered to be consecutive starting from 1:

"In 1996 and 1998, there were 2 episodes involving rabid cows that
occurred in Massachusetts (1). Milk from rabid cows can contain
rabies virus, and transmission via unpasteurized milk is
theoretically possible. Temperatures reached during pasteurization
kill the virus. A total of 80 persons consumed unpasteurized milk
that was collected from the 2 cows, and 9 more had contact with
saliva from the cows. All 89 persons received post-exposure rabies
prophylaxis, and there were no human cases of rabies. A similar
report in Oklahoma of possible rabies exposure associated with the
consumption of raw milk or cream from a rabid cow was circulated in
2006 (2).

Tickborne encephalitis, a zoonotic arbovirus infection usually
transmitted to humans by the bite of an _Ixodes persulcutus_ or
_Ixodes ricinis_ tick, is endemic to Central Europe, Eastern Europe,
and Russia (3). However, the virus can be found in the milk of cows
and goats with tickborne encephalitis and was reported to be
transmissible to humans by the consumption of unpasteurized milk (4).
A case-control study failed to confirm oral transmission (5).

A diarrhea syndrome (later named Brainerd diarrhea) occurred among
122 residents of Brainerd, Minnesota, during the period December
1983-July 1984 (6). It was characterized by acute onset, marked
urgency, lack of systemic symptoms, failure to respond to
conventional antimicrobial agents, and a long median duration of
illness (median duration, 16.5 months). The syndrome was linked to
consumption of raw milk from a single dairy (6). No etiologic agent
was ever isolated. The outbreak of Brainerd diarrhea stopped when all
of the dairy's output was diverted and pasteurized (6, MT Osterholm,
personal communication).

Subsequent outbreaks in Illinois and Texas were not directly
associated with milk, although cattle had been in the vicinity of an
Illinois well that had its water implicated as a vehicle of
transmission (7). Another outbreak of Brainerd-like diarrhea,
although not associated with raw milk, affected 58 (15 per cent) of
394 passengers aboard a cruise ship visiting the Galapagos Islands in
Ecuador (8).

References
----------
1. CDC: Mass treatment of humans who drank unpasteurized milk from
rabid cows -- Massachusetts, 1996-1998. JAMA 1999; 281: 1371-2
[available at
].
2. Rabies, bovine, human exposure -- USA (OK). 2006 [ProMED-mail
archive no. 20060101.0005>. Accessed 26 Jul 2006].
3. Dumpis U, Crook D, Oksi J: Tick-borne encephalitis. Clin Infect
Dis 1999; 28 (4): 882-90 [available at
].
4. Matuszczyk I, Tarnowska H, Zabica J, Gut W: The outbreak of an
epidemic of tick-borne encephalitis in Kielec province induced by
milk ingestion [in Polish]. Przegl Epidemiol 1997; 51(4): 381-8
[abstract available at
].
5. Rieger MA, Nubling M, Kaiser R, et al: Tick-borne encephalitis
transmitted by raw milk -- what is the significance of this route of
infection? Studies in the epidemic region of Southwest Germany.
Gesundheitswesen 1998; 60(6): 348-56 [abstract available at
].
6. Osterholm MT, MacDonald KL, White KE, et al: An outbreak of a
newly recognized chronic diarrhea syndrome associated with raw milk
production. JAMA 1986; 256(4): 484-90 [available at
].
7. Mintz ED, Parsonnet J, Osterholm MT: Chronic idiopathic diarrhea
[letter]. N Engl J Med 1993; 328(23): 1713-4.
8. Mintz ED, Weber JT, Guris D, et al: An outbreak of Brainerd
diarrhea among travelers to the Galapagos Islands. J Infect Dis 1998;
177: 1041-5 [available at
]. - Mod.LL]

[see also:
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (02): (UT) 20100519.1654
Salmonellosis, unpasteurized milk - USA: (UT) 20100517.1616
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA: (MI ex IN) 20100329.0981
2009
----
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (02): (WI) 20090917.3264
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA: (CO) 20090415.1430
2008
----
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (CA) 20080817.2557
2007
----
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (KS) 20071205.3922
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium, raw milk - USA (02): (PA), CDC
report 20071108.3629
Salmonellosis, free unpasteurized milk - USA (PA) (03) 20070815.2667
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (GA) 20070803.2520
Salmonellosis, free unpasteurized milk - USA (PA) 20070722.2354
Listeriosis, unpasteurized cheese - USA (IN) 20070425.1351
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (UT) (02) 20070324.1033
Campylobacteriosis, unpasteurized milk - USA (UT) 20070322.1004
Salmonellosis, serotype Typhimurium, raw milk - USA (PA) 20070303.0748
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk, 2005 - USA (WA) 20070302.0741
2006
----
Foodborne illness, unpasteurized milk - USA (OH) 20060929.2794
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (CA) (03) 20060929.2791
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (WA): recall 20060929.2790
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (CA) (02): background 20060927.2761
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (CA) 20060922.2706
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (OR, WA) (04) 20060121.0199
2005
----
E. coli O157, unpasteurized milk - USA (OR, WA) 20051216.3622
2003
----
Salmonellosis, raw milk - USA (Ohio) (03) 20030204.0308
Salmonellosis, raw milk - USA (Ohio) 20030105.0033]
...................................ll/mj/lm

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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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E. COLI VTEC NON-O157 - USA (06): O145, LETTUCE

***********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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


Date: Wed 26 May 2010
Source: New York Times [edited]



For nearly 2 decades, public enemy no. 1 for the food industry and
its government regulators has been a virulent strain of _E. coli_
that has killed hundreds of people, sickened thousands and prompted
the recall of millions of pounds of hamburger, spinach, and other
foods. But as everyone focused on controlling that particular
bacterium, known as _E. coli_ O157:H7, the rarer strains of
toxin-producing _E. coli_ were largely ignored.

Collectively, those other strains are now emerging as a serious
threat to food safety. In April 2010, romaine lettuce tainted with
one of them sickened at least 26 people in 5 states, including 3
teenagers who suffered kidney failure.

Although the federal government and the beef and produce industries
have known about the risk posed by these other dangerous bacteria for
years, regulators have taken few concrete steps to directly address
it or even measure the scope of the problem. For 3 years, the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been considering whether
to make it illegal to sell ground beef tainted with these
lesser-known _E. coli_ strains, which would give them the same outlaw
status as their more famous cousin. The meat industry has resisted
the idea, arguing that it takes other steps to keep _E. coli_ out of
the beef supply and that no outbreak involving the rarer strains has
been definitively tied to beef.

The severity of the April 2010 outbreak is spurring a reassessment.

"This is something that we really have to look at," said Senator
Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, who plans to introduce a
bill that would pre-empt the Agriculture Department by declaring a
broad range of disease-causing _E. coli_ to be illegal in ground beef
and requiring the meat industry to begin testing for the microbes.
"How many people do we have to see die or become seriously ill
because of food poisoning?"

The issue will be one of the first faced by President Obama's nominee
to head the department's food safety division, Dr Elisabeth Hagen,
who is scheduled to testify in her Senate confirmation hearing.

Part of the problem is that so little is known about the rarer _E.
coli_ strains, which have been called the "big 6" by public health
experts. (The term refers to the fact that, after the O157 strain,
these 6 strains are the most common of a group of toxin-producing _E.
coli_.) Few food companies test their products for the 6 strains,
many doctors do not look for them and only about 5 percent of medical
labs are equipped to diagnose them in sick patients.

A physiological quirk of _E. coli_ O157 makes it easy to test for in
the lab, and many types of food are screened for it. The other _E.
coli_ strains are harder to identify and testing can be
time-consuming. The USDA has been working to develop tests that could
be used in meat plants to rapidly detect the pathogens.

The lettuce linked to the April 2010 outbreak tested negative for the
more famous form of _E. coli_, but no one checked it for the other
strains, according to the Ohio company that processed it, Freshway
Foods. It turned out that the romaine was infected with _E. coli_
O145, one of the 6 strains.

Earthbound Farm, the nation's largest producer of organic salad
greens, is one of the few companies that does screen for the full
range of toxin-producing _E. coli_, and it has found a worrisome
incidence of the rarer strains. Out of 120 000 microbial tests in
2009, about 1 in 1000 showed the presence of unwanted microbes,
mostly the 6 strains.

"No one is looking for non-O157 to the level we are," said Will
Daniels, Earthbound Farm's senior vice president for food safety. "I
believe it is really going to emerge as one of the areas of concern."
Earthbound Farm was not involved in the April outbreak.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed at
least 10 food-borne outbreaks from 1990 to 2008 involving the 6
strains, carried in foods like salad or strawberries. Investigators
suspected ground beef as the cause of a 2007 outbreak in North
Dakota, but the link was not confirmed.

The April 2010 outbreak is a signal of a broader problem, said
Michael R Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA.

[Byline: William Neuman]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[In the laboratory, the non-O157 strains can be detected by testing
for the verotoxin directly. It is high time that these non-O157
strains be looked at the same way that O157 is. - Mod.LL]

[see also:
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (05): O145, lettuce 20100525.1738
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (04): O145, lettuce 20100517.1618
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (03): O145, lettuce, recall 20100507.1483
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (02): (OH, MI, NY) O145 20100505.1460
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA: (MI, OH) 20100427.1358
2008
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, restaurant - USA (04): (OK), O111 20081201.3779
E. coli VTEC non-O157, restaurant - USA: (OK), O111 20080902.2748
E. coli VTEC non-O157, past. ice cream, 2007 - Belgium: Antwerp 20080218.0655
2007
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, beef sausage - Denmark 20070602.1784
E. coli VTEC non-O157, 2000-2005 - USA (CT) 20070118.0240
2006
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, lettuce - USA (UT)(02): background 20060905.2523
E. coli VTEC non-O157, lettuce - USA (UT) 20060904.2521
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - Norway (03) 20060416.1133
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - Norway 20060329.0947
E. coli VTEC non-O157, minced beef - Norway 20060304.0680
2005
----
E. coli O145, fatal - Slovenia 20050916.2739
2003
----
E. coli, VTEC non-O157 - UK (Scotland): correction 20030828.2166
E. coli, VTEC non-O157 - UK (Scotland) 20030825.2144
2001
----
E. coli O26 - South Korea 20010509.0896
1999
----
E. coli O111, diarrhea - USA (Texas) 19990707.1134
1997
----
E. coli, non-0157 - Belgium 19970610.1215]
...................................ll/mj/lm

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************************************************************
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.
************************************************************
Donate to ProMED-mail. Details available at:

************************************************************
Visit ProMED-mail's web site at .
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

USDA Offical Tells the Truth for a Change: Industry Profits Trump Consumer Health & Safety

Lack of E. Coli Regulation Imperils Consumers

The Sunday New York Times’ exposé on ground beef and E. coli is a must read for anyone concerned about food safety. There is too much good information in the story –which begins by recounting the tale of a young woman who became frighteningly ill after eating a frozen hamburger – to recount here, but this particular passage is maddening:

The food safety officer at American Foodservice, which grinds 365 million pounds of hamburger a year, said it stopped testing [beef] trimmings [used for hamburgers] a decade ago because of resistance from slaughterhouses. “They would not sell to us,” said Timothy P. Biela, the officer. “If I test and it’s positive, I put them in a regulatory situation. One, I have to tell the government, and two, the government will trace it back to them. So we don’t do that.”

The solution, of course, would be to introduce mandatory E. coli testing. Currently, regulations do not exist to require testing at any point along the supply chain:

In August 2008, the U.S.D.A. issued a draft guideline again urging, but not ordering, processors to test ingredients before grinding. “Optimally, every production lot should be sampled and tested before leaving the supplier and again before use at the receiver,” the draft guideline said.

But the department received critical comments on the guideline, which has not been made official. Industry officials said that the cost of testing could unfairly burden small processors and that slaughterhouses already test. […]

Dr. Kenneth Petersen, an assistant administrator with the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, said that the department could mandate testing, but that it needed to consider the impact on companies as well as consumers. “I have to look at the entire industry, not just what is best for public health,” Dr. Petersen said.

By the way, here is FSIS’s mission statement:

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the public health agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture responsible for ensuring that the nation's commercial supply of meat, poultry, and egg products is safe, wholesome, and correctly labeled and packaged.

Eight months into his administration, President Obama has yet to nominate an individual to head FSIS. Clearly, the agency needs a leader who will adopt a consumer-first approach. E. coli testing, and other regulatory changes, is necessary to ensure public health.

http://www.ombwatch.org/node/10446

Swine Flu Cover-Up Exposed by Conscientious Physicians

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/11/03/What-We-Have-Learned-About-the-Great-Swine-Flu-Pandemic.aspx

Pesticides tied to ADHD in children in U.S. study

NEW YORK
Mon May 17, 2010 7:35pm EDT
Wed, Apr 21 2010

Brian Snyder
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Children exposed to pesticides known as organophosphates could have a higher risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a U.S. study that urges parents to always wash produce thoroughly.

U.S. Health Lifestyle

Researchers tracked the pesticides' breakdown products in children' urine and found those with high levels were almost twice as likely to develop ADHD as those with undetectable levels.

The findings are based on data from the general U.S. population, meaning that exposure to the pesticides could be harmful even at levels commonly found in children's environment.

"There is growing concern that these pesticides may be related to ADHD," said researcher Marc Weisskopf of the Harvard School of Public Health, who worked on the study.

"What this paper specifically highlights is that this may be true even at low concentrations."

Organophosphates were originally developed for chemical warfare, and they are known to be toxic to the nervous system.

There are about 40 organophosphate pesticides such as malathion registered in the United States, the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Weisskopf said the compounds have been linked to behavioral symptoms common to ADHD -- for instance, impulsivity and attention problems -- but exactly how is not fully understood.

Although the researchers had no way to determine the source of the breakdown products they found, Weisskopf said the most likely culprits were pesticides and insecticides used on produce and indoors.

Garry Hamlin of Dow AgroSciences, which manufactures an organophosphate known as chlorpyrifos, said he had not had time to read the report closely.

But, he added" "the results reported in the paper don't establish any association specific to our product chlorpyrifos."

Weisskopf and colleagues' sample included 1,139 children between 8 and 15 years. They interviewed the children's mothers, or another caretaker, and found that about one in 10 met the criteria for ADHD, which jibes with estimates for the general population.

After accounting for factors such as gender, age and race, they found the odds of having ADHD rose with the level of pesticide breakdown products.

For a 10-fold increase in one class of those compounds, the odds of ADHD increased by more than half. And for the most common breakdown product, called dimethyl triophosphate, the odds of ADHD almost doubled in kids with above-average levels compared to those without detectable levels.

"That's a very strong association that, if true, is of very serious concern," said Weisskopf. "These are widely used pesticides."

He emphasized that more studies are needed, especially following exposure levels over time, before contemplating a ban on the pesticides. Still, he urged parents to be aware of what insecticides they were using around the house and to wash produce.

"A good washing of fruits and vegetables before one eats them would definitely help a lot," he said.

(Reporting by Reuters Health, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)


http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE64G41R20100517?feedType=RSS

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chemicals Banned in 1970s Still in Our Food

Ecopolitology

2010-05-18

Extremely toxic chemicals linger in our food decades after being banned. Are we setting ourselves up for a worse discovery than this with GMOs?

Think that once a toxic chemical is banned from agricultural use it doesn’t take long for it to leave our food? Think again. Recent research shows that numerous chemicals banned years or even decades ago, such as DDT, are still showing up in many of the foods we consume today.

These are labeled POPs, “persistent organic pollutants”, and are not quite as nice as their acronym sounds. POPs require decades to break down and they can travel the globe blowing in the wind or travelling on water (even ending up in the Arctic). Additionally, once ingested by humans or animals, POPs can sit in our fat tissues for ages, raising our risk of cancer or other diseases, altering hormones, reducing fertility, and disrupting brain development.

A recent study looking at these POPs in the food supply chain found the presence of these chemicals across a wide range of food types. Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study led by Dr. Arnold Schecter, a professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health who has been studying human exposure to chemicals for over 25 years, analyzed more than 300 samples from supermarkets in the Dallas area. The samples were combined into 31 food types (i.e cheese, beef, peanut butter) and tested for old contaminants as well as newer ones. According to the authors, “Every food within this study contained multiple pesticides.”

The DDT metabolite DDE was the most prevalent, occurring in 23 of the 31 foods sampled.


In What Foods are POPs the Most Common?

It is unclear what kind of effect these small amounts of toxic chemicals are having on humans, but if you want to avoid them, there are definitely some foods that contain more of these toxins than others. “The more fat a food contains, the more chemicals are present. Foods including peanut butter, ice cream, cheese, butter, oil, fish and high-fat meats showed higher contamination levels than vegetables and low-fat milk,” Sustainablog reports.

Salmon was found to contain the most of these contaminants. It was found to contain “traces of six types of PCBs, two flame retardants and 25 pesticides, including DDT, dieldrin and toxaphene.” Additionally, a 2004 study found that farmed salmon contained approximately ten times more POPs than wild salmon.


POPs Traveling from Animals to Animals to Humans

POPs become increasingly concentrated as they move through the food chain. Animals being fed animal fat is one major source of POPs in humans. A 2003 report, published by National Academies Press, noted that feed containing animal fat was a major source of people’s continued exposure to dioxins, which are carcinogenic.

“We recycle waste animal fats back into the food supply,” Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Environmental Health at the University of Albany, New York explains. “We feed the cow fat to the pigs and the chickens, and we feed the pig and chicken fat to the cows.” Waste animal products apparently make up the large majority of animal feed.


Lessons Learned? Maybe Not

Other than leaving you with some foods to consider avoiding, this raises a larger issue. Rather than learn from the mistakes we made years ago approving these POPs without doing comprehensive testing on them, we seem to be setting ourselves up for a similar or worse nightmare if genetically modified foods turn out to have such effects (or worse).

GM crops are approved without testing from independent bodies or researchers. Government agencies just trust the companies when they say that their products have been tested and found to be safe. The data is not available for others to evaluate in the vast majority of cases either. Are we going to find out in a few decades that GM crops discovered to be completely unsafe for humans cannot be controlled or eliminated? Unless we see some major changes in the way we regulate these crops, this could well be the case.

http://www.godlikeproductions.com/news/Breaking_News/15956-Chemicals_Banned_In_1970s_Still_In_Our_Food

Monday, May 17, 2010

More Contaminated Lettuce / USA

E. COLI VTEC NON-O157 - USA (04): O145, LETTUCE
***********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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


Date: Tue 12 May 2010
Source: CDC, E. coli Outbreak Investigations [edited]



Local and state public health officials in Michigan, New York, Ohio,
and Tennessee are investigating human illnesses caused by _E. coli
O145. CDC is supporting these investigations and facilitating regular
communication and information sharing between the states and with the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As of 11 May 2010, a total of 23 confirmed and 7 probable cases
related to this outbreak have been reported from 4 states since 1 Mar
2010. The number of ill persons identified in each state with this
strain is: MI (10 confirmed and 3 probable), NY (4 confirmed and 3
probable), OH (8 confirmed and 1 probable), and TN (1 confirmed).

Among the confirmed and probable cases with reported dates available,
illnesses began between 10 Apr 2010 and 26 Apr 2010. Infected
individuals range in age from 13 years old to 31 years old and the
median age is 19 years. 66 percent of patients are male.

Among the 30 patients with available information, 12 (40 percent)
were hospitalized. 3 patients have developed a type of kidney failure
known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS. No deaths have been reported.

The bacteria responsible for this outbreak are referred to as Shiga
toxin-producing _E. coli_, or STEC. STECs have been associated with
human illness, including bloody diarrhea and HUS. STEC bacteria are
grouped by serogroups (e.g., O157 or O145). The STEC serogroup found
most commonly in USA patients is O157. Other serogroups in the STEC
group, including O145, are sometimes called "non-O157 STECs."
Currently, there are limited public health surveillance data on the
occurrence of non-O157 STECs, including O145; therefore, it may go
unreported. Because it is more difficult to identify than _E. coli_
O157, many clinical laboratories do not test for non-O157 STEC infection.

Investigators are using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), a
type of DNA fingerprint analysis of _E. coli_ bacteria obtained
through diagnostic testing to identify cases of illness that might be
part of this outbreak. This testing is done in public health
laboratories as part of the PulseNet network. Investigators have
established a common definition of confirmed and probable cases
related to this outbreak.

Confirmed cases are persons with:
1. _E. coli_ O145 infection, or infection with O Group pending, and
2. an illness onset on or after 1 Mar 2010, and
3. a DNA fingerprint matching the outbreak strain; and
4. an epidemiologic link to the outbreak.

Probable cases are persons with an epidemiologic link to the outbreak and
1. E. coli O145 infection with an illness onset on or after 1 Mar
2010 regardless of DNA fingerprint pattern, and/or
2. hemolytic-uremic syndrome; and/or
(3) a laboratory isolate positive for Shiga toxin 2 [stx2] or isolate
positive for Shiga toxin, but toxin type is unknown or pending.

Current status of the investigation
-----------------------------------
Multiple lines of evidence have implicated shredded romaine lettuce
from a single processing facility as a source of infection in this
outbreak. This evidence includes the identification of the outbreak
strain of _E. coli_ O145 from an unopened package of shredded romaine
lettuce obtained at an institution that received product from the
processing facility linked to the outbreak. A case-control study in
Michigan found a significant association between illness and
consumption of romaine lettuce processed at the same facility that
processed lettuce consumed by ill persons in New York, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The lettuce processing company has issued a recall of lettuce
produced at their facility as a result of the evidence obtained to
date. An additional recall was issued by a separate company that
received lettuce from the same farm as the processing company linked
to the outbreak.

This investigation is ongoing. At this time, local, state, and
federal health officials are involved in many different types of
investigative activities, including:
- Conducting surveillance for additional illnesses that could be
related to the outbreak.
- Conducting epidemiologic studies that include gathering detailed
information from persons who were ill persons (cases) and from
healthy persons (controls) about foods recently eaten and other exposures.
- Gathering and testing food products that are suspected as possible
sources of infection to see if they are contaminated with bacteria.
- Following any epidemiologic leads gathered from interviews with
patients, food purchase information, or from patterns of processing,
production and/or distribution of suspected products.

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail


[It is now stated that there is "smoking" lettuce, that is, the
alleged vehicle for transmission has been shown to be identical to
the human clinical isolates.

We await further epidemiological information from this outbreak,
which is likely to be significantly underreported because the
outbreak strain is not O157. - Mod.LL]

[see also:
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (03): O145, lettuce, recall 20100507.1483
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA (02): (OH, MI, NY) O145 20100505.1460
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - USA: (MI, OH) 20100427.1358
2008
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, restaurant - USA (04): (OK), O111 20081201.3779
E. coli VTEC non-O157, restaurant - USA: (OK), O111 20080902.2748
E. coli VTEC non-O157, past. ice cream, 2007 - Belgium: Antwerp 20080218.0655
2007
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, beef sausage - Denmark 20070602.1784
E. coli VTEC non-O157, 2000-2005 - USA (CT) 20070118.0240
2006
----
E. coli VTEC non-O157, lettuce - USA (UT)(02): background 20060905.2523
E. coli VTEC non-O157, lettuce - USA (UT) 20060904.2521
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - Norway (03) 20060416.1133
E. coli VTEC non-O157 - Norway 20060329.0947
E. coli VTEC non-O157, minced beef - Norway 20060304.0680
2005
----
E. coli O145, fatal - Slovenia 20050916.2739
2003
----
E. coli, VTEC non-O157 - UK (Scotland): correction 20030828.2166
E. coli, VTEC non-O157 - UK (Scotland) 20030825.2144
2001
----
E. coli O26 - South Korea 20010509.0896
1999
----
E. coli O111, diarrhea - USA (Texas) 19990707.1134
1997
----
E. coli, non-0157 - Belgium 19970610.1215]
...................................ll/mj/mpp

*##########################################################*
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are posted, but the accuracy and completeness of the
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using information posted or archived by ProMED-mail. ISID
and its associated service providers shall not be held
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Food Borne Infection Kills Two in Tx

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/seven_sickened_two_killed_by_food-borne_infection_93633679.html?c=y

Thursday, May 13, 2010

AVIAN INFLUENZA (28): PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, WEST BANK, SUSPECTED,

***********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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


Date: Thu 13 May 2010
Source: The Marker [in Hebrew, trans. Mod.AS, edited]



Bird flu has appeared in the Palestinian Authority [PA]. Following
the death of numerous chickens in Tulkarm, the PA sent several dead
birds to the laboratories of the Veterinary Services at Beit Dagan.
The lab investigation revealed the deadly avian influenza.

[Israel's] Ministry of Agriculture Inspection Unit for Fauna and
Flora, which carries the responsibility for the control upon animal
and plant movements, has intensified its control upon the border
crossings, gateways and passages between the West Bank and Israel to
prevent smuggling of infected poultry.

The Director of Israel's Veterinary Services, Dr Moshe Haimovich, has
urged the public to buy poultry and eggs only in regulated stores/enterprises.

Last week, the highly pathogenic avian influenza was discovered in
the small children's zoo of Kibbutz Ein Gedi, where all avians were
destroyed by the inspectors of the Services to prevent the spread of
the epidemic.

[Byline: Amiram Cohen ]

--
Communicated by:
ProMED-mail

[Tulkarm is on the eastern side of the border between Israel and the
PA (West Bank); see, about 14 km east of Netanya, in the map at
.

An official confirmation and details are anticipated. - Mod.AS]

[see also:
Avian influenza (26): Israel (HD), emu, OIE 20100507.1486
Avian influenza (09): Israel (HA) update 20100203.0364
Avian influenza (08): Israel (HA) resolved, OIE 20100202.0355
2008
----
Avian influenza (04): Israel, Bangladesh, China (Xinjiang) 20080104.0045
Avian influenza (03): Israel 20080103.0023
2006
----
Avian influenza - worldwide (87): Russia, Israel 20060413.1098
Avian influenza, worldwide (88) - Asia, Europe: OIE 20060415.1122
Avian influenza - worldwide (78): Germany, P.A., India 20060405.1018]
........................................arn/msp/dk

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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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damages incurred as a result of use or reliance upon posted
or archived material.
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Saturday, May 8, 2010

PIG VIRUS FOUND IN CHILDRENS VACCINES

FDA FINDS NO SAFETY ISSUES!

Important Article / Please read first;
http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/Vaccines/ApprovedProducts/ucm211101.htm


ROTAVIRUS VACCINE - USA (02): EXTRANEOUS VIRUS
**********************************************
A ProMED-mail post

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

******
[1]
Date: Fri 7 May 2010
Source: CIDRAP News [edited]


Another rotavirus vaccine found to contain porcine circovirus
-------------------------------------------------------------
Merck, the company that makes the most commonly given rotavirus vaccine in
the United States, yesterday said it has detected very low levels of DNA
from porcine circovirus (PCV) in its Rotateq vaccine, making it the 2nd
rotavirus vaccine found to contain PCV. The company said in a press release
that it used highly sensitive assays to test its vaccine after an
independent testing laboratory found evidence of the virus in the other
US-licensed rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
On 22 Mar 2010 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that,
although it doesn't appear that the Rotarix poses any safety risks,
physicians should suspend administering it until government and industry
scientists could review the findings.
The FDA's vaccine advisory panel was scheduled to discuss the Rotarix
findings today [Fri 7 May 2010], and yesterday in advance of the meeting it
posted a notice on Merck's PCV findings for its vaccine. It said
preliminary studies from Merck had identified DNA fragments from PCV
subtype 1 (PCV1), the same subtype found in GSK's vaccine, as well as from
PCV subtype 2 (PCV2).
The FDA said neither has been known to cause illness in humans, though PCV2
can cause illness in pigs. It also said it has no evidence that either of
the vaccines poses a safety risk and that both have strong safety records.
At today's meeting of the FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products
Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), members were briefed on the latest study
findings from FDA and industry scientists. Most members said the benefits
of the rotavirus vaccines clearly outweigh the risks, though several
expressed concerns about the PCV2 findings in Merck's vaccine, due to the
fact that it can cause disease in pigs.
Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported
that the last 2 rotavirus seasons were shorter than past seasons and that
vaccine coverage has risen to 72 per cent. However, usage is about 13 per
cent lower than 2 other childhood vaccines commonly given to infants. The
CDC findings appear in the latest issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
Report (MMWR) .
Some VRBPAC members today voiced a need for transparency when talking to
parents about the rotavirus vaccine PCV findings, but they also worried
that news about contamination with extraneous virus fragments could erode
some of the gains in vaccine coverage.
[byline: Lisa Schnirring]
--
communicated by:
ProMED-mail

******
[2]
Date: Thu 6 May 2010
Source: FDA (Food and Drug Administration), Vaccine, Blood and Biologics
[edited]


Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting
Background material -- porcine circovirus and rotavirus vaccines
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting on
7 May 2010 will discuss the findings shared with the public on 22 Mar 2010,
that porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) DNA was found in GlaxoSmithKline
Biologicals' Rotarix Vaccine. Additional data pertaining to the Rotarix
vaccine will also be presented to the committee.
The FDA recently received information from Merck and Co, Inc that its
preliminary studies have identified fragments of DNA from PCV1 and from a
related porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in its RotaTeq vaccine. Merck's
findings suggest that the number of PCV DNA fragments in its vaccine may be
smaller than what has been found in Rotarix. These preliminary findings
will be included in discussions with the committee.
The FDA has been working closely with manufacturers of the 2 licensed
rotavirus vaccines, has consulted with experts inside and outside of the
federal government, and has considered issues related to the novel testing
that led to the identification of PCV.
The FDA has no evidence to date that these findings pertaining to Rotarix
and RotaTeq pose a safety risk. Both vaccines have strong safety records,
including clinical trials involving tens of thousands of patients and
clinical experience with millions of patients.
PCV1 and PCV2 are both small, circular viruses composed of a single strand
of DNA. PCV1 and PCV2 are common in pigs. Neither PCV1 nor PCV2 are known
to cause illness in humans, however PCV2 may cause illness in pigs.
Rotarix and RotaTeq are the 2 US licensed vaccines indicated for the
prevention of rotavirus disease in infants. Rotavirus disease causes the
deaths of more than 500 000 infants around the world each year, primarily
in low and middle-income countries. Before the introduction of vaccination,
the disease caused more than 50 000 hospitalizations and several dozen
deaths in the US each year. Rotavirus vaccines are given by mouth to
infants to prevent rotavirus disease, which can cause severe diarrhea and
dehydration.
The FDA will continue to work with both GSK and Merck as additional testing
is conducted by both the manufacturers and FDA to further assess the
findings of PCV DNA in rotavirus vaccines.
After considering the input of the committee's experts and the available
scientific information, the FDA will make further recommendations on the
use of the licensed rotavirus vaccines in the US. The FDA will provide
updates to the public and clinical community through
and other communications.
--
communicated by:
ProMED-mail

[Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe acute gastroenteritis (vomiting
and diarrhea) among children worldwide. Two different rotavirus vaccines
are currently licensed for use in infants in the United States. The
vaccines are RotaTeq (RV5) and Rotarix (RV1). Before being licensed, both
vaccines were tested in clinical trials and shown to be safe and effective.
In these studies, during approximately the 1st year of an infant's life,
rotavirus vaccine was found to prevent almost all (85-98 per cent)
rotavirus illness episodes that were severe and to prevent 74-87 per cent
of all rotavirus illness episodes.
The presence of fragments of the genomic DNA of the 2 circoviruses in both
vaccines suggests that the contamination was present in the original
rotavirus isolate from which the vaccine viruses were derived, and that the
contamination was not introduced during subsequent development and
production of the vaccines, but that remains to be established
conclusively. So far there appear to have been no deleterious consequences
resulting from the presence of these contaminants in the vaccine. - Mod.CP]
[see also:
Rotavirus - Americas: PAHO alert 20100330.1009
Rotavirus vaccine - USA: extraneous virus 20100322.0914]
...................cp/ejp/sh

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Fix the U.S. Food Safety System Now!

Target: U.S. Congress
Sponsored by: Consumers Union

Our nation's lax food safety system has deadly consequences. Nine people died in the recent tainted-peanut products outbreak, and countless others suffered terribly. We need Congress to pass strong food safety reform this year, before another deadly outbreak occurs.

Americans have suffered through unnecessary food contamination nightmares in recent years, including spinach, pet food and peppers. As the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut products revealed, the FDA rarely inspects U.S. food processing plants or tests for contaminants. And it does just as poor a job of inspecting imported food.

We need Congress to support real reform for a stronger food safety system! Send your message today and urge your member of Congress to support the Food Safety Enhancement Act now!


deadline: Ongoing...
goal: 25,000

12,535
signatures!


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/673377770?z00m=19837914

Thursday, May 6, 2010

YouTube Censors Truth about GEOs

Dear NaturalNews readers,

Within hours after our video interview with Jeffrey Smith about GMOs went live, YouTube censored it, claiming it "violated" their terms of use.

Today's feature article exposes the YouTube agenda to censor the truth about GMOs and protect powerful corporations like Monsanto:
http://www.naturalnews.com/028718_YouTube_censorship.html


Thanks to Big Brother video sites like YouTube, we've decided to launch our own uncensored video network, which goes public this June. Read all about it here:
http://www.naturalnews.com/028717_videos.html


While all this is going on, we've been able to bring you an informative story about full-spectrum salt as well as a special deal on Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt for NaturalNews readers:

http://www.naturalnews.com/028724_Himalayan_salt_sea.html


More news continues below on healthy skin, soup remedies for diabetics, efforts to outlaw raw milk and more...


http://www.naturalnews.com/028718_YouTube_censorship.html

FDA Knew About J&J Product Contamination: Did Nothing

(From NaturalNews)


The other day I wrote a story about the massive recall by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, of its infants' and children's line of Tylenol products. An FDA inspection report found these drugs to be contaminated with dangerous bacteria (they did not disclose the actual type) as well as "foreign materials" that were visible as "dark or black specks". But a recent story published by USA Today has revealed that McNeil actually knew about the bacterial contamination and kept shipping the products anyway.

Only the drug industry could get away with this type of careless, reckless behavior with nothing more than a slap on the wrist from the FDA. In fact, the FDA did not even require McNeil to issue a recall after discovering the problem; McNeil did so voluntarily over "theoretical concerns" that were expressed by Deborah Autor, an FDA official who was quick to emphasize that the risk to consumers from the tainted products "is remote".

So let me get this straight. An FDA report finds that a pharmaceutical company is knowingly using contaminated raw materials to make children's and infants' medicines in a factory that is failing to maintain its equipment, properly train its employees and correctly measure and weigh drug ingredients, and FDA officials consider the problem to be "theoretical"?

Can you imagine what would happen if an herbal product manufacturer were found to engage in the same behavior? The FDA would pounce on them, seize their products, issue a public warning and probably fine the company for its reckless behavior. But when Big Pharma pulls the same stunt, it's just business as usual.



To the FDA, it's all just "theoretical"
My favorite part about this is the FDA's reliance on the word "theoretical" to try to imagine that somehow no actual safety problem existed. According to my thesaurus, some other words for theoretical include unsubstantiated and hypothetical. In other words, the FDA is saying it does not actually believe that a real risk even exists!

And yet FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, at the same time as the agency is saying there really is no risk and that the whole thing is just a hypothetical situation, advises parents to "discontinue using any of the name-brand products being recalled."

Overdosing on acetaminophen, especially in children, is a serious issue. The Mayo Clinic website warns parents that overdosing on the drug, even a little bit, can lead to "life-threatening liver problems."

The FDA report specifies that McNeil's had not been properly formulating the drug dosages in its children's and infants' medicines, which is part of the reason for the recall. Improper concentrations of active ingredients in these products potentially puts millions of children at risk. But apparently this is no big deal to the FDA which sees it as nothing more than a "hypothetical" problem.

Yet, just prior to its expression of "theoretical" concern in the current recall, FDA officials met with McNeil back in February to express "serious concerns" about the company's poor manufacturing processes and failures to follow good manufacturing practices. So which is it?

This kind of double-speak is typical of the FDA when a case involves a beloved drug company. If this had been a supplement that was "hypothetically" thought to be contaminated (even if conclusive evidence revealed there was no threat at all), health food stores everywhere would be ordered to strip it from their shelves. But when drug company negligence leads to the contamination of children's medicines with bacteria, unknown particles and improper drug dosage levels, the FDA leaves it to the company to "voluntarily" recall their own products. There will probably be no fine levied against the company, either.



The FDA may not even hold McNeil responsible for its gross negligence
According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the FDA has not even decided what corrective action it is going to take. According to the story, "options range from sending a warning letter to seeking criminal penalties."


Go here for rest of story;

http://www.naturalnews.com/028732_Tylenol_recall.html