McDonald’s pledges to discontinue use of antibiotics in its chicken in two years

McDonalds-to-discontinue-antibiotics-in-chickenMcDonald’s responds to consumer health concerns, committing to end the use of antibiotics in its chicken products.

It will focus on removing those antibiotics that can have an impact on human health, but keep those necessary for poultry welfare.

Chicken served in its US restaurants will be free of such antibiotics within two years, it said.

In Europe, McDonald’s is also phasing out the use of certain “critically important” antibiotics.

There are concerns that the overuse of antibiotics in chicken may reduce the drugs’ effectiveness in humans.

McDonald’s has been battling to win back customers amid slowing sales.

Many poultry producers in US give their birds antibiotics to make them grow faster. But overuse of the drugs could lead to them becoming less effective in treating illness and disease in humans.

In a statement, Marion Gross, senior vice-president of North America supply chain, said that McDonald’s “believes that any animals that become ill deserve appropriate veterinary care and our suppliers will continue to treat poultry with prescribed medications. But after treatment, the bird “will no longer be included in our food supply”.

However, McDonald’s chicken will be given ionophores, an antibiotic which helps keep chickens healthy but is not used for humans.

The company also said that US dairy products, such as low fat white milk and fat-free chocolate milk, would be derived from cows that have not been treated with rbST – an artificial growth hormone.

“While no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated and non-rbST-treated cows, we understand this is something that is important to our customers,” Ms Gross said.

The changes come in response to growing consumer demand for food made with natural ingredients only.

We’re not used to praising McDonald’s, but FoodFacts.com does feel that it’s important to acknowledge improvements when they are made. Good job, McDonald’s. Now if you could only start eliminating the controversial ingredients included in your products, we’d really be on to something.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31743764

Getting controversial ingredients out of our food: Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using whitening agent

Dunkin Donuts To Stop Use of Titanium DioxideWe’re all about cheering on food manufacturers removing controversial ingredients from their offerings. Listening to the consumers who make them profitable is key to retaining their trust and loyalty in competitive market. It’s also their responsibility to take action as we become educated on the effects of those ingredients on our health and well being.

As much as FoodFacts.com wants to challenge those manufacturers and fast food establishments on the use of controversial ingredients, we also want to give credit where it’s due when one of them commits to the removal of an ingredient in their products. Score one more for team better food!

Dunkin’ Donuts, under pressure from an activist group, has agreed to phase out a controversial whitening agent used in the powdered sugar atop some of its doughnuts.

The move wasn’t announced by the doughnut kingpin, but by the advocacy group As You Sow. The group had submitted a shareholder request asking Dunkin’ Brands to reduce the use of titanium dioxide in its powdered sugar. As You Sow officials claim that titanium dioxide is a “nanomaterial” — a substance engineered to have extremely small dimensions, which the advocacy group claims can be toxic to humans.

In a statement, Dunkin’ Brands chief communications officer Karen Raskopf said that the titanium dioxide is not a “nanoparticle” under the Food and Drug Adminstration’s definition, but that Dunkin’ had still agreed to stop using it.

“The ingredient used in our powdered doughnuts does not meet the definition of ‘nanoparticle’ as outlined under FDA guidance,” Raskopf said. “Nevertheless, we began testing alternative formulations for this product in 2014, and we are in the process of rolling out a solution to the system that does not contain titanium dioxide.”

In a second statement, Raskopf said the move was relevant to investors. “Dunkin’ Brands understands that investors are increasingly interested in the sustainability of the companies in which they invest. As part of our ongoing stakeholder engagement process, we recognize the importance of engaging in productive, ongoing dialogues with our investors to understand and address their concerns, as appropriate.”

The move comes at a time when consumers and activist groups are paying closer attention to the ingredients big food makers and sellers from McDonald’s to Subway put in their foods. Last year, Subway agreed to remove a controversial chemical called azodicarbonamide from its bread shortly after one nutritional activist noted the same chemical is used in yoga mats.

As a result of Dunkin’s announcement, As You Sow withdrew the shareholder proposal.

“This is a groundbreaking decision,” said Danielle Fugere, president of As You Sow. “Dunkin’ has demonstrated strong industry leadership by removing this potentially harmful ingredient from its doughnuts.”

We’re pleased to see Dunkin Donuts responding positively to the efforts of As You Sow. FoodFacts.com believes in the power of this trend and is encouraged by the power of action. Moves like this from Dunkin will move another fast food giant to make changes. We’re getting there … one change at a time.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/03/06/dunkin-donuts-fast-food-restaurant-food-safety/24524875/

Low-fat more effective than low-carb to reduce body fat

obesity-460_784309c (1)A while back, low-fat diets were a huge trend. Like all trends though, the tendency to purposely purchase food products designated as low fat, and/or counting fat grams for foods prepared at home quieted down. Instead, it was replaced by the low-carb diet. There are some people who swear by this style of eating. Counting fat grams was replaced by counting carbohydrate grams. People lost weight quickly and were able to keep it off for a longer period of time when compared with the low-fat diet. Not all diets are created equally though.

“Calorie for calorie, reducing dietary fat results in more body fat loss than reducing dietary carbohydrate when men and women with obesity have their food intake strictly controlled,” said lead study author Kevin D. Hall, PhD, senior investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

Nutrition recommendations for people with obesity often conflict as to whether restricting fat or carbohydrate is better for body fat loss.

“Ours is the first study to investigate whether the same degree of calorie reduction, either through restricting only fat or restricting only carbohydrate, leads to differing amounts of body fat loss in men and women with obesity,” Dr. Hall said.

The authors studied 10 men and 9 women with obesity. The average age of the participants was 24 years and their average body mass index was 36 kg per meter squared.

All participants were admitted to the metabolic ward of the NIH Clinical Center and resided there 24 hours per day. All food eaten was strictly controlled and the daily activities of the participants were monitored. For 5 days, everyone was fed a eucaloric baseline diet (consisting of 50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, and 15% protein) that gave them the exact number of calories they needed to maintain their body weight.

For the next 6 days, the participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups where they received a 30% reduced-energy diet by having either their fat or carbohydrate intake restricted.

After a 2- to 4-week washout period, all participants were readmitted and they repeated the same 5-day eucaloric diet. Those who had eaten 6 days of reduced-fat diet in the first phase now ate a reduced-carbohydrate diet, and those who had eaten the reduced carbohydrate diet now ate the reduced fat diet.

The researchers measured the amount of fat eaten and the amount of fat burned, and the difference between them determined how much fat was lost from the body during each diet. Compared to the reduced carbohydrate diet, the reduced fat diet led to a roughly 67% greater body fat loss.

FoodFacts.com wants to point out that regardless of trends or fads, we’ve all been aware that a low-fat diet is the healthiest option for everyone. It’s certainly the focus of a large amount of research every year. It’s featured in news articles and in television reports. It’s really not news. But the low-carb diet is actually an easier undertaking for most people. To reduce the fat in your body, you need to reduce the fat in your diet. And that means that proteins need to be lean and fruits and vegetable consumption needs to be increased. That’s the best eating style we can opt for!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150305151834.htm

Important news about BPA: study links it to autism spectrum disorder

150302150723-largeFor decades, science has searched to determine a reason for the existence of autism spectrum disorder. Links have been established and then disproven and as a result the roots of autism remain a mystery. While science has worked tirelessly to pinpoint autism’s origins in hopes of developing a cure, cases of of the disease continue to increase tremendously. One in 68 children in the U.S. have autism and that’s an increase of 30% from just two years ago, when one in 88 children here had the disease. These are terrible statistics and the swiftness in increase is frightening.

A newly published study is the first to report an association between bisphenol-A (BPA), a common plasticizer used in a variety of consumer food and beverage containers, with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. The study, by researchers at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS), shows that BPA is not metabolized well in children with ASD.

“It has been suspected for a lot of years that BPA is involved in autism, but there was no direct evidence,” said T. Peter Stein, of RowanSOM and the study’s lead author. “We’ve shown there is a link. The metabolism of BPA is different in some children with autism than it is in otherwise healthy children.”

The research team — which included Margaret Schluter and Robert Steer, of RowanSOM who were responsible for laboratory analysis, and child neurologist Xue Ming, of NJMS who recruited and ascertained the study populations — examined urine specimens from 46 children with ASD and 52 healthy control children for both free BPA and total BPA concentrations. Like many chemicals, BPA becomes water soluble when it is bound to glucose in the liver — a process called glucuronidation. Conversion to a glucuronide and then excretion of the glucuronide in the urine is a major pathway for removing toxins from the body.

The researchers also conducted a metabolomic analysis to screen for all the chemicals found in the children’s urine. The metabolomics analyses showed the mean number of statistically significant correlations between metabolites detected and total BPA excreted to be approximately three times greater with the ASD group than the controls, and the number of statistical significant correlations with fraction of BPA bound was approximately15 times higher in the children with ASD (p<0.001).

“Other studies involving rodent data have shown that BPA functions as an endocrine disruptor, but ours is the first to show this in humans and the first to associate it to autism,” Stein said. “The observations show that for some children there was a relationship between intermediary metabolism, the ability to conjugate BPA and symptoms of autism.”

Although the study involves a relatively small number of subjects, Stein said, “The key point is that the study seems to link BPA to autism and creates an open area for further research. One implication of our study is that there might be a benefit to reducing BPA exposure for pregnant women and for children with autism.

The FDA has reassured consumers over and over again that current uses of BPA in packaging and plastics are safe. Regardless of continued research in which BPA has been found harmful, the powers that be continue to allow exposure to the chemical. FoodFacts.com thinks it’s imperative that this research is followed by further studies. If BPA is a root cause of autism, the FDA has an awful lot of explaining to do to families and children all over the country.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150302150723.htm

Almost half of all energy drink ads featured on TV channels popular with teens

energy-drink-can-and-lightningFoodFacts.com reports often on energy drinks. We find these beverages especially concerning because of the countless instances where energy drinks have been linked to hospitalization and death. We’re particularly disturbed by the popularity of the drinks among the teenage population. We’ve heard claims from manufacturers time after time stating that their products aren’t meant for teenagers and that they do not target kids with their marketing campaigns. Hmmmm ….

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior has reported that 46% of energy drink advertisements broadcast on television are aired on channels featuring content and themes likely to appeal to teenagers.

Researchers from Dartmouth College, NH, arrived at their findings after examining a database of television advertisements broadcast from March 2012 to February 2013. During this period, across 139 network and cable channels, over 608 hours of energy drinks advertisements were aired.

“Although our results do not support the idea that manufacturers intentionally target adolescents with their advertising, ads for energy drinks were primarily aired on channels with themes likely to appeal to adolescents, and adolescents are likely exposed to energy drink advertising via television,” says lead researcher Jennifer A. Emond.

Energy drinks are beverages containing caffeine and commonly a mixture of other stimulants and energy-giving ingredients. Caffeine content can vary, with concentrations in popular brands ranging from 70 mg per 8 oz serving to 200 mg per 16 oz serving. These amounts are far higher than the average caffeine content of popular soft drinks, which range from 23 to 69 mg per 12 oz.

While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognize energy drinks as safe, some experts are concerned about the potential health risks that adolescents can face due to high caffeine intake. Certain adverse health effects are associated with consuming too much caffeine, such as anxiety, sleep disruption and serious cardiovascular events.

At present, the American Academy of Pediatrics advise against energy drink consumption among adolescents, and the American Medical Association registered their support for a ban on the marketing of energy drinks to adolescents alongside the US Senate Commerce Committee in 2013.

Television is highly-watched by adolescents in the US, and the authors of the study describe it as a highly relevant medium for advertising to reach the youth of the nation. Until now, however, little quantitative research has been carried out to investigate the prevalence of energy drink promotion on US television.

The primary target audience of each of the television channels was identified through analyzing audience demographic data from a cable advertising trade group. The researchers identified the 10 television channels that dedicated the most time to energy drink advertising and of these, six included adolescents in their primary target audience.

The six channels were MTV2, ESPN News, FUSE, MTV, ESPN-2 and Black Entertainment Television. MTV2 was identified as the top network and was found by the researchers to have aired 2,959 minutes of energy drink advertisements – around 8.1% of all airtime given to energy drink advertisements.

The proportion of MTV’2 base audience made up of 12-17-year-olds was also found to be 398% greater than that of the average network audience for US television.

“While policies related to energy drink marketing are debated, nutrition educators may wish to include elements of media literacy when advising adolescents and their families about the risks of energy drink consumption,” the authors suggest.

Although it cannot be proven that adolescents specifically viewed these advertisements, Nielsen data have previously indicated that adolescents view more energy drink advertisements than adults on many of the 10 channels identified in this study, including the top network MTV2.

While it can be argued that energy drink advertising appears so frequently on the channels mentioned because the products fit best with sports and risk-taking – popular themes on these channels – previous studies have suggested that energy drinks manufacturers specifically target an adolescent market by associating their products with these themes.

One step the authors suggest that parents can take to help reduce their children’s exposure to energy drink marketing is to try and limit the amount of time they spend watching television.

“Measures of increased television exposure among adolescents (television viewing time, number of televisions in the home, and the presence of a television in the bedroom) have been associated with heavier consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks,” state the authors.

In October last year, researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that increasing consumption of energy drinks could pose a threat to public health.

FoodFacts.com has some experience with the world of advertising and we’re pretty sure that TV stations that cater to teens are getting more energy drink advertising specifically BECAUSE they’re catering to teens. Demographics are the biggest factor in selecting TV stations for advertisers. The “Popular Themes” on MTV2 of sports and “risk-taking” are in themselves aimed at teens.

Energy drink manufacturers market to teenagers. They do it purposefully. If the teenaged consumer wasn’t important to energy drink sales, their commercials wouldn’t be airing on stations with a predominantly teen demographic.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290452.php

Branding broccoli, courtesy of Michelle Obama

gettyimages_87992859We can probably all agree that marketing junk foods to kids a an awful idea. But we can also agree that marketing foods to kids works. FoodFacts.com wonders if, instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, we shouldn’t just change the baby? Michelle Obama has a jump on that one.

Five years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move campaign, which sought to reduce childhood obesity and get kids eating healthier. She’s taken aim at school lunches and encouraged more activity and water consumption. Now she wants more pushback on unhealthy-food advertisements aimed at kids — and celebrities are on board to help.

“If folks are going to pour money into marketing unhealthy foods,” she said at an event Thursday in Washington, “then let’s fight back with ads for healthy foods, right? Let’s do this.”

Obama spoke at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit, where the organization announced the launch of FNV, a marketing campaign laser-focused on branding fruits and vegetables (hence the name “FNV”) as cool to youth. The Partnership for a Healthier America, known as PHA, was created in conjunction with the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign in 2010, though the organization is independent from the White House.

A PHA statement details how the campaign will feature appearances from actresses Kristen Bell and Jessica Alba, athletes Stephen Curry and Cam Newton and more.

“FNV was inspired by big consumer brands, whose tactics are relentless, compelling, catchy and drive an emotional connection with their products,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler in a statement. “We want to do the same thing for fruits and veggies, which have never had an opportunity to act like a big brand. Until now.”

Maybe broccoli needs a jingle. Carrots could have a viral video. Left in the hands of professionals who work on transforming the images of big brands in our country, it really is possible that this could have a far-reaching effect on our kids. Let’s move fruits and vegetables into the same category of cool as bad food. Whether or not we like admitting it, advertising and marketing start trends, define products and influence consumers. Maybe we should start using it for things that really matter.

http://time.com/3725306/michelle-obama-unhealthy-food-ads-fnv/

Study links polysorbate 80 and other emulsifiers to Crohn’s disease, colitis

food-additivesWhat’s an emulsifier and why is it used in our food supply? When you prepare a vinaigrette, the oil and vinegar don’t combine. They seem to repel each other. A recipe will tell you to whisk the dressing until emulsification occurs — that would be the combination of the ingredients that repel each other. This happens with ingredients in packaged foods. Some things just don’t mix well and emulsifiers are used to combine them and stabilize the product. Unfortunately there are more than a few controversial emulsifiers. Things like carrageenan and Polysorbate 80 and its cousins 60 and 65 are included in a long list of additives used to bring certain ingredient happily together in a processed food product. Polysorbate 80 is the focus of new research that will definitely be important for some members of the FoodFacts.com community. Read on.

Common additives in ice cream, margarine, packaged bread and many processed foods may promote the inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease as well as a group of obesity-related conditions, scientists said on Wednesday.

The researchers focused on emulsifiers, chemicals added to many food products to improve texture and extend shelf life. In mouse experiments, they found emulsifiers can change the species composition of gut bacteria and induce intestinal inflammation.

Such inflammation is associated with the frequently debilitating Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase risk for type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Mice were fed emulsifiers diluted in drinking water or added into food, which were found to trigger low-grade intestinal inflammation and features of metabolic syndrome such as blood glucose level abnormalities, increased body weight and abdominal fat weight.

Consuming emulsifiers increased the risk of colitis, mimicking human inflammatory bowel disease, in mice genetically susceptible to the condition, the study found.

Georgia State University microbiologist Benoit Chassaing, whose study appears in the journal Nature, said the effects seen in mice “may be observed in humans as well.”

The study involved two widely used emulsifiers, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose. The researchers are planning human studies and are already studying other emulsifiers.

Emulsifiers are used in margarine, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, candy, ice cream, packaged processed foods and baked goods. They can make products like mayonnaise smooth and creamy instead of an unappetizing amalgam of water and oily globules.

A key feature of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic syndrome is a change in the gut microbiota – the roughly 100 trillion bacteria that inhabit the intestinal tract – in ways that promote inflammation. In mice given emulsifiers, the bacteria were more apt to digest and infiltrate the dense mucus layer that lines and protects the intestines.

Incidence of inflammatory bowel disease and metabolic syndrome started rising in the mid-20th century at roughly the same time that food manufacturers began widespread emulsifier use, the researchers said.

“We were thinking there was some non-genetic factor out there, some environmental factor, that would be explaining the increase in these chronic inflammatory diseases,” Georgia State immunologist Andrew Gewirtz said.

“And we thought that emulsifiers were a good candidate because they are so ubiquitous and their use has roughly paralleled the increase in these diseases. But I guess we were surprised at how strong the effects were.”

If Polysorbate 80 isn’t on your avoid list, this information is a good enough reason to add it. Carboxymethylcellulose hasn’t been considered controversial, but more extensive studies like this can move it over to that list. We all need to make sure that we stick to our time-consuming label-reading habit every time we shop. Controversial ingredients don’t get less controversial. Over time, science continues to find more damaging effects they’re responsible for. Let’s be good to ourselves and our loved ones and keep controversial additives out of our diets!

http://news.yahoo.com/study-links-common-food-additives-crohns-disease-colitis-191811524–sector.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

Are there mold toxins in your oatmeal?

main-jpgIt’s been a cold few months throughout the United States. When our days start with freezing temperatures and we’re experiencing almost weekly snowfalls, FoodFacts.com knows that many of us are turning to a nice bowl of hot oatmeal to warm us up before we go out into the elements. And why not? It’s a very healthy choice. But there may be something impeding the health benefits of our favorite winter breakfast.

Oats are an excellent source of manganese, copper, biotin, vitamin B1, magnesium, dietary fiber, chromium, zinc, and protein. Oats are known for their antioxidant compounds help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Ochratoxin A (OTA) has been found in all major cereal grains including oat, wheat, and barley worldwide and considered as a potential concern in food safety.

Dojin Ryu and Hyun Jung Lee, School of Food Science, University of Idaho, note that OTA is one of the most common toxic products released by molds in the world.

OTA has been found in a very wide range of raw and processed food commodities. It was first reported in cereals, but has since been found in other products, including coffee, dried fruits, wine, beer, cocoa, nuts, beans, peas, bread and rice. It has also been detected in meat, especially pork and poultry, following transfer from contaminated feed.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified OTA as a possible human carcinogen (group 2B). OTA is a potent toxic agent and causes both acute and chronic effects in the kidneys of all mammalian species tested. The sensitivity of different species varies, but a level of 200 μg/kg in feed over three months is sufficient to cause acute damage to the kidneys of pigs and rats.

The USA does not regulate the contaminant; the European Union has set maximum limits for OTA in food. Ryu and Lee wanted to see how US breakfast cereals; a staple in many Americans’ diets, measured up to that standard.

The researchers collected a total of 489 samples of corn, rice, wheat, and oat-based breakfast cereal from US retail marketplaces over a two year period. Researchers used a high-performance liquid chromatography ( a technique used to separate the components in a mixture, to identify each component, and to quantify each component) to determine the levels of OTA.

Overall, 205 samples 42 percent were contaminated with OTA in the range from 0.10 to 9.30 ng/g. The levels OTA were mostly below of the European Commission Regulation (3 ng/g) except in 16 samples of oat-based cereals.

The highest level of OTA was highest in oat-based breakfast cereals (70 percent, 142/203), followed by wheat-based (32 percent, 38/117), corn-based (15 percent, 15/103), and rice-based breakfast cereals (15 percent, 10/66).

“On the basis of the incidence and concentration of OTA, oats and oat-based products may need greater attention in further surveillance programs and development of intervention strategies to reduce health risks in consumers,” the researchers wrote.

The authors acknowledge funding from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Lakshmi Gompa was a graduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Andreia Bianchin, University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2013. In a study that year, she examined OTA in commodities such as, roasted coffee, cocoa and meat in the US Market.

Among different samples analyzed 35 percent of cocoa samples and three percent of meat samples were contaminated with OTA. Decaffeinated coffee samples showed the highest level at 16.7 percent. OTA levels in dried raisins and dates had high levels at 100 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

We’ll stay on top of this one. This new problem with our food supply does seem to be affecting many different products that we normally include in our diets, with oats and oat-based products being the newest to be affected. Oatmeal is a healthy, hot breakfast, but there are other grain choices we can turn to. While we’re waiting on more information, we can look for spelt, kamut and wheat based hot cereals. There are organic brands featuring other grains that will keep us just as warm and ready for the cold.

http://www.allvoices.com/article/100003574

An unpleasant surprise from McDonald’s: Cleaning Liquid in Tea

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 12.01.57 PMWhen you order an iced tea, you’re not expecting to get anything extra in the cup.

An Indianapolis police officer took a sip of McDonald’s iced tea last weekend and wound up in the hospital because the drink apparently was contaminated with cleaning chemicals.

Reserve Officer Paul Watkins went to the McDonald’s at around 10 p.m. Saturday night for a self-serve tea before his shift, his wife Jerilyn Watkins said, adding that she wasn’t with him at the time and his lawyer advised him not to speak to the media.

He filled his cup halfway with unsweetened tea and went to fill the rest with sweetened tea when he noticed it looked dark, she said. He took the lid off the dispenser to take a look and determined it was OK.

“He filled his cup and took a big gulp and immediately his throat started burning down into his chest,” Jerilyn Watkins said, adding that he called her from the car and told him he felt as though he’d just drank “bleach.”

The owner of the McDonald’s where Watkins was served, Elizabeth Henry, issued the following statement: “Serving my customers safe, high quality food and beverages is a top priority at our restaurants. We take this claim very seriously and are looking into the matter.”

Emails to McDonald’s corporate communications office seeking additional comment were not returned.

Watkins immediately spit out the tea and told the girl behind the counter that there was something wrong, Jerilyn Watkins said. The manager then told him the employees had put a cleaning solution into the tea dispenser and they had forgotten to put a cup over the nozzle, Jerilyn Watkins said.

“The irony of this all was that manager asked Paul if he wanted another cup or glass of tea and told one of the employees, ‘Hey, get this guy another tea,’” Paul Watkins’s lawyer, Sam Jacobs said. “Paul said ‘No, thanks’ and left. By time he got not very far in his police car, he became violently ill.”

He called the police station and poison control, which determined that the tea dispenser was filled with a “heavy duty degreaser” chemical, according to the police report. Watkins spent the night at IU Health Methodist Hospital, according to the report. He underwent endoscopy the following day, Jacobs said.

Watkins has returned to his daily life, but he still has problems swallowing and experiences burning in his throat, Jacobs said. He’s also concerned about the long-term effects of ingesting the chemicals.

“My husband has never drank, never smoked, never done drugs,” Jerilyn Watkins said. “This is just insane.”

A similar scenario involving a teen in Muncie, Indiana, was reported at a McDonald’s in 2013, and a lawsuit was filed in January. McDonald’s lawyers in the case have until March 31 to respond, according to court records.

In Utah last summer, a woman said she unintentionally ingested lye by drinking contaminated tea through a straw at Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, but she did not file suit.

Dickey’s said in a statement the worker who made the tea no longer works at the company.

“The entire Dickey’s family is saddened by the events that occurred in Utah and takes this incident very seriously,” the restaurant chain said in a statement. “There is nothing more important to us than the trust and safety of our guests.”

Jacobs said he has not yet filed a lawsuit on Watkins’s behalf and hopes he is able to work out something with McDonald’s before doing so.

“He never wants this to happen to anybody else,” Jacobs said.

Trust and safety. Most of us don’t consciously think of those two words when we walk into any kind of restaurant. But those words are inherent in our actions. We’re eating their food, so we must trust them and believe that our safety is their priority. Ingesting cleaning fluid isn’t what we’re expecting when walking into a McDonald’s.

FoodFacts.com does understand that mistakes can happen. The world isn’t a perfect place and there are no perfect people. But some mistakes are more costly than others. It becomes important for us to really take note of anything unusual going on with food or beverages that we’ve ordered in any establishment. The results of incidents like this could be far more detrimental than what we’re seeing here … and this wasn’t small.

Let’s take note of what we’re about to eat and drink. Maybe the color could be off. Perhaps the smell isn’t what you’re expecting. If you notice something you aren’t expecting, don’t consume it. While no restaurant is trying to hurt anyone on purpose, we can become unwitting victims if we don’t observe and inspect our food and drink before we consume.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/mcdonalds-customer-claims-cleaning-liquid-tea/story?id=29249142

Controversial ingredients and man’s best friend: Purina sued over chemicals in Beneful dog food

635606545880476174-product-lockup-7FoodFacts.com spends quite a bit of time talking about the health effects linked to a variety of controversial ingredients. We don’t think any of them belong in our food supply and we’re always encouraged when we hear about manufacturers taking steps to remove controversial ingredients from their products. But what about our pets? We’re sure that our community wouldn’t want their furry family members consuming foods with ingredients that are potentially harmful. Now a major dog food manufacturer is being singled out for an exceptionally popular brand and claims of harm and even death from its consumption.

The Nestle Purina pet food company is being sued over ingredients contained in its Beneful product line.

The two ingredients are propylene glycol and mycotoxins.

Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid compound that absorbs water. It’s also used as a base for deicing solutions – anti-freeze components.

According to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry: “Propylene glycol is used by the chemical, food, and pharmaceutical industries as an antifreeze when leakage might lead to contact with food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified propylene glycol as an additive that is ‘generally recognized as safe’ for use in food.”

Mycotoxins are naturally occurring fungi.

Some pet owners allege their dogs got sick after eating Beneful.

Angela Witzel, assistant clinical nutrition professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, told 10News that Nestle Purina has a good track record of monitoring the levels of those ingredients. She said she sees little risk to pets in eating the food.

“In general, I feel like this lawsuit doesn’t have much basis to it. I personally wouldn’t have any problem with going ahead and feeding my pets the Beneful product,” Witzel said.

Nestle Purina issued a statement that says in part, “First and foremost, there are no quality issues with Beneful.”

It goes on to say, “We believe the lawsuit is baseless, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves and our brand.”

The company has faced two similar class action lawsuits in recent years. Both have been dismissed by the courts.

Whatever the outcome of this lawsuit, the claims being made against Purina and Beneful are a good reason for all of us who love and care for our pets to be careful about the foods we choose for our pets. We need to read ingredient lists here too, carefully selecting pet foods with better ingredients that will serve our pets’ nutritional needs and keep them safe.

http://www.wbir.com/story/news/2015/02/27/purina-sued-over-chemicals-in-beneful-dog-food/24141635/