Category Archives: USDA

All the Cows Go Mad — The Latest on Mad Cow Disease

 

Photo from CNN.com

FoodFacts.com would like to address the news of confirmed “mad cow disease” case in California.

Think back to a little less than a decade ago, when “mad cow disease” was first mentioned in the United States. The widespread panic that ensued following a presumptive diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as “mad cow disease,” in Washington took over news headlines for weeks.

In 2006, the phrase “mad cow disease” came up again, when a cow in Alabama was confirmed to have BSE.

And then today, news broke that South Korea had suspended the sale of beef from the US following the confirmation of BSE in a dairy cow in California.

Some people may fail to remember why the panic ensued back in 2003 and 2004 – just that the term “mad cow disease” resulted in fear across the country. But the fear is valid, given the deaths of 150 in the 1980s and 1990s in Britain that were cause by BSE.

What is BSE and why should we fear it? What does it do?

BSE is a fatal neurological disease in cattle, and is related to something called variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob in humans, which is an incurable disease that results in the decrease of mental function and movement, and eventually, possibly death. Humans can contract the disease following the consumption of beef from an infected cow.

Should people be concerned? According to public health officials, people in the United States have a very low risk of consuming beef from an infected cow or contracting the illness, and no extra precautions need to be taken.

Wishing you the best from all of us here at FoodFacts.com!

Sucralose in our drinking water???

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Foodfacts.com works to find all the latest news and research pertaining to the food we eat, and water we drink. We just recently came across this article which we think many of you would be interested in, regarding a recent study determining that sucralose has been found in 19 different water treatment plants in the US. Read below to learn more!

If you’ve been diligently avoiding the consumption of chemical sweeteners like sucralose, you may be alarmed to learn that researchers have found sucralose lurking in the drinking water supply of more than 28 million Americans.

A recent study tested water samples from 19 water treatment plants in the United States serving more than 28 million people. Researchers analyzed the samples for the artificial sweetener sucralose. Samples tested positive for sucralose in the source water of 15 out of 19 plants. Furthermore, treatment failed to remove the sucralose from the drinking water: sucralose was also found in the finished drinking water from 13 out of 19 plants.

Researchers determined that current water treatment methods fail to effectively remove sucralose from our water supply, leaving millions of Americans to unknowingly consume this artificial sweetener every single day.

Why is Sucralose in Our Drinking Water?

When a person ingests sucralose, a large percentage of it is not broken down and is instead excreted as waste. This waste goes through the water treatment plant, where the sucralose remains intact and goes on to become part of our drinking water supply.

Because sucralose has become one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners in commercial soft drinks and snack foods, it is no wonder that it is making an appearance in our drinking water. If sucralose consumption continues to rise, it stands to reason that everyone drinking public water will be ingesting more of this chemical sweetener as well – whether they want to or not.

Sucralose is Not Safe for Consumption

The public should be aware that the majority of the studies on the safety of sucralose are funded by the creators of the most popular sucralose product on the market. The conflict of interest is obvious and the results of these studies are clearly biased in favor of sucralose.

Independent studies aren’t nearly so positive. Questions about the negative impact sucralose has on male fertility, red blood cell count, kidney health, gut flora balance and body weight are serious concerns generated from the results of these studies. Many researchers and health experts are convinced that sucralose should never have been deemed safe for human consumption.

Common sense dictates that any chemically-processed food is unfit for human consumption. The fact that these substances are now running rampant through our water supply is an atrocity that violates our right to choose what we put into our own bodies.

(NaturalNews.com)

Will we be eating genetically modified Salmon soon?

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Foodfacts.com tries to stay updated with recent news pertaining to genetically modified organisms. Due to the continuing rise of GM crops, fish, and poultry, we believe it’s necessary to alert consumers of these issues because we’re not quite sure yet what the health implications are from consuming such products. Read the article below to learn more about GM salmon!

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are pushing to stop the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically engineered salmon, saying not enough is known about a fish they say could harm fishery businesses in coastal states.

It appeared last year that the FDA might approve the engineered salmon quickly. But the congressional pushback and a lack of action by the FDA could mean the fish won’t be on the nation’s dinner tables any time soon.

The fish, which grows twice as fast as the conventional variety, is engineered by AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based company, but not yet allowed on the market. The company’s application has been pending for more than 15 years. If the agency approves it, it would be the first time the government allows such modified animals to be marketed for people to eat.

Congressional opposition to the engineered fish is led by members of the Alaska delegation. They see the modified salmon as a threat to the state’s wild salmon industry.

In June, the House adopted an amendment by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, to an agriculture spending bill that would prevent the FDA from spending any money on approving the fish. His amendment was approved by voice vote with no objections.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said last week she will attempt to add the same amendment to the Senate version of the bill.

“It kind of gives me the heebie jeebies that we are messing with what Mother Nature did a pretty good job with in terms of a king salmon,” Murkowski said.

While Murkowski’s opposition is rooted in concern for her state’s fishing industry, other senators have expressed worries about potential food safety or environmental risks. More than a dozen senators have written the FDA with concern about the approval process and food safety and environmental risks. Bills to stop the salmon have been introduced in both chambers.

Ron Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, said he was optimistic when the FDA decided to hold hearings on the company’s application. But a year later, he said, he is frustrated by the delay and has lost investors in his business.

“If you had asked me a year ago if we would be having this conversation, I would have said no,” he said.

The FDA is still in the process of completing their review, spokesman Doug Karas said, “although we cannot predict when that will be.”

Karas said the FDA is planning on releasing a review of potential environmental impacts of growing the salmon – and soliciting public comments on that review – before reaching a decision. That means a decision could be months or even years away.

In the hearings last year, FDA officials said the fish is as safe to eat as the traditional variety. But critics call the modified salmon a “frankenfish.” They say they are concerned it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the wild salmon population if the engineered animals escape.

AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said potential for escape is low. The FDA backed these assertions in documents released before these hearings last year.

Genetically engineered – or GE – animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. In GE animals, the DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic. The process is common in plant foods like corn and soybeans.

In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone. Typical salmon produce the growth hormone only some of the time.

Stotish acknowledged that approval of AquaBounty’s product is likely more difficult because they are the first. Approval of the company’s application would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an “Enviropig” being developed in Canada that has less-polluting manure or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease. Each would have to be individually approved by the FDA.

“Blocking us is the best way to block anything that would come behind us,” Stotish said.

(Huffington Post)

Food Industries Pressuring Congress to Scrap New Healthy School Lunch Guidelines

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Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed common-sense nutrition guidelines to improve school lunches and breakfasts, including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk and less salt, unhealthy fats, and calories. So you thought all that news about Congress passing a new Child Nutrition Bill meant that we had solved the problem of junk food in our schools, right?

Think again.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the french fry industry and other food groups are pressuring Congress to scrap the USDA’s new healthy school lunch rules and start from scratch. They write:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed common-sense nutrition guidelines to improve school lunches and breakfasts, including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk and less salt, unhealthy fats, and calories.

If industry is successful in convincing the Senate to do the same, the goal of seeing healthy school lunches in cafeterias across the country will be in serious jeopardy.

Click here to find out how you can tell Congress not to cave to the food industry lobbyists.

(TakePart.com)

Cargill Ground Turkey Recall

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Foodfacts.com urges our followers and all other consumers to please check all Cargill ground turkey products you may possess, for they may be potentially contaminated with salmonella. The company announced today they are voluntarily recalling their ground turkey products. This includes both fresh and frozen products. As of today, this strain of salmonella in these products have claimed 1 life in California, and caused illnesses in 76 others. All production has been halted at Cargill until the source of the outbreak becomes known. Below is a list of products revealed by the company and USDA to pay special attention to.

Reported Cases as of 8/1/2011
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Clinical Features/Signs and Symptoms

Most persons infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection.

The products involved are Ground Turkey. All packages include Est. P-963 on the label. Products are listed below:

Ground Turkey Chubs – Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

10 lbs. Chubs of Honeysuckle White Fresh Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
10 lbs. Chubs of Unbranded Ground Turkey w/ Natural Flavoring 2 Pack
80 oz. (5 lbs.) chubs of Riverside Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
10 lb. Chub of Natural Lean Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh Lean HEB Ground Turkey 93/7
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Fresh HEB Ground Turkey 85/15
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
4-1 Pound Packages of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring Value Pack
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Fresh Ground Turkey

85% Ground Turkey – Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey Colored with Paprika
19.2 oz. (1 lb. 3.2 oz.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
48.0 oz. (3 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh 85/15
20 oz. (1.25 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
48.0 oz. (3 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey Family Pack
16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
19.2 oz. (1.2 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White Seasoned Italian Style Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings
20 oz. (1 lb. 4 oz.) trays of Safeway Fresh Ground Turkey with Natural Flavorings * 15% Fat
(NOTE: Sold in Texas only at Randall’s and Tom Thumb, Use or Freeze by 03/12/11 through 05/05/11)

93% Ground Turkey – Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11

19.2 oz. (1.20 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3.0 lbs.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey Family Pack
19.2 oz. (1.2 lb.) trays of Fit & Active Lean Ground Turkey 93/07
19.2 oz. (1.2 lbs.) trays of Giant Eagle Ground Turkey Fresh & Premium Lean
19.2 oz. (1 lb 3.2 oz.) trays of Kroger Ground Turkey Fresh Lean 93/7
20 oz. (1.25 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White 93/7 Lean Ground Turkey

Ground Patties

16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey Patties
Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
16 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Kroger Ground Seasoned Turkey Patties Fresh 85/15
Use or Freeze by Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/23/11
16.0 oz. (1 lb.) trays of Shady Brook Farms Ground Turkey Burgers with Natural Flavoring

NOTE: ONLY THE FOLLOWING USE OR FREEZE BY DATES ARE AFFECTED: 07/09/11, 07/10/11, 07/11/11, 07/15/11, 07/16/11, 07/21/11, 07/22/11, 07/24/11, 08/01/11 AND 08/04/11

Frozen Ground Turkey – Production Dates of 2/20/11 through 8/2/11

16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring
16 oz. (1 lb.) chubs of Spartan Ground Turkey
48 oz. (3 lb.) chubs of Honeysuckle White 85/15 Ground Turkey
40 lb. Bulk Packed Ground Turkey with Natural Flavoring For Food Service Use Only