Tag Archives: nutrition information

Another day, another recall!

listeria monocytogenes
Foodfacts.com urges all consumers to check pantries, refridgerators, and freezers for 16 oz containers of Publix Spinach Dip. This product was recently tested and found to have traces of Listeria monocytogenes. This can cause moderate to serious side-effects, and even fatalities in young children and elderly adults.
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Contact:
Consumer:
1-800-242-1227
www.publix.com

Media:
Maria Brous
863-680-5339

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 26, 2011 – Publix Super Markets is issuing a voluntary recall for spinach dip because it may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes. The problem was discovered as a result of routine microbial testing conducted by Publix. The 16 ounce containers of prepackaged spinach dip were sold at Publix retail deli departments with a UPC of 41415-00062 and use by date of OCT 10 C1.

Consumption of products containing Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infection in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

The spinach dip was sold in Publix grocery stores in Florida. The following counties in Florida did not receive recalled product: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee. Publix stores in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee are not involved with this recall.

“As part of our commitment to food safety, potentially impacted product has been removed from all store shelves,” said Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director. “To date, there have been no reported cases of illness. Consumers who have purchased the products in question may return the product to their local store for a full refund. Publix customers with additional questions may call our Consumer Relations department at 1-800-242-1227 or by visiting our website at www.publix.com.” Customers can also contact the US Food and Drug Administration at 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366).

Publix is privately owned and operated by its 147,500 employees, with 2010 sales of $25.1 billion. Currently Publix has 1,038 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. The company has been named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 14 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized as tops in the grocery business, most recently by an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.

(Food and Drug Administration)

Weekly Top 5

At Foodfacts.com we commonly receive requests for healthy snack suggestions, alternatives for different meals, etc. We know many of you share different views on organic, genetically modified foods, sugar, saturated fat, and many other nutrition-related topic areas, but we feel there are always a few items that stand-out in our database that many may find interesting, or even want to try.

This week’s top 5:

Blueberries
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There’s nothing better than picking fresh, ripe blueberries during the summer months. Full of antioxidants and phytochemicals, these berries are considered a “superfood” because of their healthy benefits when eaten. Research has shown that some benefits of eating blueberries include reduced risk of cancers, decreasing the conditions of aging; such as Alzheimer’s, and also preventative of Hepatitis C. Add them to your favorite pies, make them into jam, sprinkle them on your yogurt, drink them in juice form,
or eat them by the handful. They’re great for you!

1311643567_ce732f7e2cRed Bell Peppers
They’re slightly sweet, slightly tangy, and very crunchy. Bell peppers are a great source of vitamins and minerals, mixed in with a great amount of flavor. Known as the “meaty” pepper, this vegetable is commonly added to salads, stews, and also eaten raw. Which is great, because it contains a great amount of carotenoids such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. The bell pepper has been shown to reduce the risk of inflammation, which then helps to prevent various types of cancers.
salmon
Salmon
This fatty fish has been given much praise and attention for awhile now. Full of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon consumption creates great benefits. Improved cardiovascular function, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced inflammation, and some evidence suggests that omega-3 fats may prevent the progression of certain psychotic disorders in high-risk children and adolescents. However, some overlooked features of salmon include the amino acid and protein content, which also provides great health benefits. Some that have been researched are alleviated joint pain, and regulating collagen and minerals within the bone and tissue.
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Spelt Bread
This grain has been around for centuries, and offers a variety of wonderful nutrients that other grains may not be able to provide. This is because it contains B2, a great amount of manganese, niacin, thiamin, and copper. Together, these nutrients are powerful against atherosclerosis, diabetes, migraine headaches, and other moderate to severe conditions. Use this grain to make breads, pasta, muffins, and any other meal you desire!
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Whole Wheat Fig Bars
Figs have been a staple in many households for years. Which is a good thing considering that they’re high in potassium, and have a good amount of vitamin C. These fig bars are not only organic, which is an added bonus for many, but they also contain whole wheat flour as their base. Another positive, there are no added sugars.

Worst Fast Food Stories

Foodfacts.com believes that many consumers may turn to fast foods for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a financial issue, an addiction to greasy goodness, or just a matter of convenience, millions of people still turn to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and other famous franchises for a quick meal. What we aim to point out is that these foods are made within a matter of seconds, and not always in the most sanitary way. Here are some gross stories that have been reported at fast-food restaurants!
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The “Skin Sandwich”
In 2004, a man was enjoying a chicken sandwich from Arby’s when all of a sudden he pulled out about an inch long piece of skin, which appeared to be from a thumb. After impulsively getting sick, he filed a lawsuit for $50,000 dollars against the restaurant operator of the Arby’s. When health investigators approached the scene shortly thereafter, they interviewed the restaurant manager whom had a bandaged thumb. He claimed that he was slicing lettuce when he accidentally sliced his finger. Although he immediately cleaned the area and disposed of scraps around the slicer, he never threw away the pile of lettuce, which then went on the man’s sandwich. He thought he had taken the appropriate measures to sanitize the area.
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“Mousey Chicken”
A Baltimore Popeye’s had been dealing with a rodent infestation in their restaurant for a few weeks. This may not be surprising considering the Baltimore City Health Inspector had shut the restaurant down twice before for pest infestation and unsanitary conditions. What is surprising, the restaurant remained open. A man sat down to enjoy his chicken nuggets, when on his third nugget he also bit into a mouse that had been fried inside the meat. We’re hoping he still hasn’t gone back to this Popeye’s.
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“Nasty Clam Chowder”
A lawsuit had been settled in 2004 which had been filed by a woman who had found a condom in her McCormick & Schmick’s clam chowder. She claims she suffered severe emotional distress after consuming what appeared to be a rolled-up condom. She believes the kitchen staff had deliberately planted the item in her soup after they treated her rudely because she requested to have her soup reheated. The amount that was settled has not been revealed.
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“Jack in the Box Surprise”
As many already know, there are occasionally younger people working at fast-food restaurants just trying to earn some spending cash. They may not all be into fun and games, but a few at an Oregon Jack in the Box decided one day to have some fun at customer’s expense. To “amuse” themselves, they planted things such as hair, spit, phlegm, staples, acid and other foreign materials to people’s orders. Watch out where you eat!

“McChicken Head”mcchick
In 2000, a woman stopped on her way home from work to pick up a box of chicken wings for her family at McDonald’s. When she got home she proceeded to open the box and serve the wings when she picked up what appeared to be an unusual looking chicken wing. She then took a closer look and realized it had a beak and eyes. She jumped to the phone to call the restaurant manager, who calmly said “just bring it back and we’ll send it to corporate. We can then either refund you, or give you a new box.” Needless to say, she took the refund. She proclaimed after the incident she now only cooks her meals from home.
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“Bandaged Quarter Pounder”
In 1994, a man from Virginia Beach was sitting down to enjoy his quarter pounder when he noticed a texture unlike beef. He spit out the hamburger meat to find two used band-aids that had been cooked into his burger. It’s been said he may have had an allergy to the latex in the bandage, but whether or not that’s true, we’re not quite sure.
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“Brain-eating Food”
Now, this may be a myth, but we’ll share it anyway. It is believed that around 2007 a 50 yr old man was eating at a fast-food restaurant that wasn’t exactly following the best sanitary codes. In fact, it was so unsanitary that the man had consumed tapeworm eggs that nearly killed him. We’re not sure of the restaurant, or the meal, but it’s reported that after he was unconscious for eight days after the meal, a doctor found tapeworms in the man’s brain. He could have died from a disease called cysticercosis.

FDA vs. Dr. Oz: Arsenic in Apple Juice?

juicy-juice
Foodfacts.com has been receiving a few questions regarding arsenic in apple juice. Many of you may already be aware that last Wednesday on the “Dr. Oz Show,” the topic of arsenic in apple juice was discussed. Doctor Oz claims that he has had a lab in New Jersey test different brands of apple juice for total levels or arsenic. These results showed arsenic to be at levels in which there may potentially be long-term affects later on. Why these high levels? Dr. Oz later discussed that most apples come from all over the world, but primarily China, which uses high levels of arsenic in their pesticides and soil.

The FDA took to the media to fight back against Dr. Oz’s findings. They claim that organic arsenic is naturally in our air, water, organic soil, and inorganic soil. They claim that Dr. Oz measured for the total level of arsenic, rather than inorganic vs. organic levels of arsenic (which has no relation to organic vs. inorganic fruits and vegetables.) Inorganic arsenic is the type which is likely to cause harmful effects. Organic arsenic is said by the FDA to “go right through our bodies” and is not absorbed to cause any reactions. It is organic arsenic which is in our apple juice, says the FDA.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency allows 5 time less the amount of arsenic and other heavy metal contaminants in our water supply than the amount allowed in apple juice by the FDA. Currently, the FDA doesn’t technically have a tolerance level for this type of contaminant.

Mott’s Apple Juice for instance, contained 55 parts per billion of arsenic contamination. Drinking water is allowed up to 10 parts per billion.

So, who would you believe? FDA or Doctor Oz? Check out this video below to get more background on this heated debate!

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Food Recalls 9/19

queso fresco
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Del Bueno de Grandview, WA is recalling 16 oz. packages of queso fresco cheese due to possible listeria monocytogenes contamination. Dates marked on the label show September 14 2011. Make sure to dispose of this product and carefully clean the area in which it was kept.

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Food Recalls!

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com! Check out the latest food recalls below!
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Jensen Farms Recalls Cantaloupe Due to Possible Health Risk
Contact:
Consumer
800-267-4561
recall@rfordcantaloupe.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 14, 2011 – Jensen Farms, of Holly, CO is voluntarily recalling their shipments of Rocky Ford whole cantaloupe because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria. The company is working with the State of Colorado and the FDA to inform consumers of this recall. L. monocytogenes is a bacterium that can contaminate foods and cause a mild non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) or a severe, sometimes life-threatening, illness (called invasive listeriosis). Persons who have the greatest risk of experiencing listeriosis after consuming foods contaminated with L. monocytogenes are fetuses and neonates who are infected after the mother is exposed to L. monocytogenes during pregnancy, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.

The whole cantaloupes in question were shipped between July 29th, 2011 and September 10th 2011, and distributed to the following states: IL, WY, TN, UT, TX, CO, MN, KS, NM, NC, MO, NE, OK, AZ, NJ, NY, PA. The whole cantaloupes have a green and white sticker that reads: Product of USA- Frontera Produce-Colorado Fresh-Rocky Ford-Cantaloupe or a gray, yellow, and green sticker that reads: Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords. If the whole cantaloupe is unlabeled, please contact your retail store for sourcing information. Jensen Farms is requesting any consumer that many have one of these cantaloupes to please destroy the products.

The recall involves only whole cantaloupe shipped by Jensen Farms, and no other commodities are involved. Jensen Farms feels it is prudent to participate in the recall as the State of Colorado has stated (in their September 12th, 2011 press release) that people at a high risk for infection should not eat whole cantaloupe from the Rocky Ford growing region.
“Jensen Farms continues to stay committed to the highest levels of food safety and maintains many third party safety audits, as we have for many years. We continually look for ways to enhance our protocol,” said Ryan Jensen, partner at Jensen Farms. Jensen Farms is a 3rd generation family farm of the Holly, Colorado community.

Consumers with questions may contact Jensen Farms via email at recall@rfordcantaloupe.com or phone 1-800-267-4561 between the hours of 9am and 4pm MST.
basil
Sanith Ourn Farm Issues Voluntary Recall of Fresh Hot Basil Due to Potential Salmonella Risk.

Contact:
Consumer:
Sanith Ourn
(561)449-6660

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 7, 2011 – Sanith Ourn Farm of Indiantown, Fl, is recalling Fresh Hot Basil herb because it may have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections and arthritis.

The recalled Fresh Hot Basil was distributed to retailers and one wholesale location in WA, OR, and RI on August 23, 2011 and August 30, 2011. Hot Basil has a 5 day shelf life.

Three hundred and ninety pounds (390 lbs) of product was shipped in 10 lb. shipping containers marked with FLT DATE of 08/23/11 and 08/30/11. Retailers may have bundled or wrapped the hot basil in small foam trays prior to placing on retail shelves.

No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

This issue was identified through routine sampling by the Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company, Sanith Ourn, at (561) 449-6660, Monday through Friday 8 AM to 4 PM, EST.

ConAgra’s unsuccessful attempt to promote Marie Callender’s

marie callender's
Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

As many consumers know, ConAgra has been targeted for marketing “natural” oils, which are far from natural; and producing what most people commonly refer to as “frankenfood.” In an effort to boost their publicity and promote their line of products, ConAgra hired a PR firm to setup a lavish event for well-known culinary bloggers to attend a dinner prepared by celebrity chef George Duran. However, the bloggers were not served food created by George Duran, instead they were served ConAgra’s popular frozen brand, Marie Callender’s. Apparently, they expected the bloggers to receive the joke in good terms and return home to blog about how great their meals were. Wrong reaction. The bloggers were furious with ConAgra’s actions and took to the internet to proclaim so. We understand why these bloggers would be upset, because looking closely at these frozen dinners, anyone would cringe at the awful combination of ingredients.
Marie Callender's at Foodfacts.com!

One entree choice from the Marie Callender’s product line is turkey breast with stuffing. This 380 calorie meal is equipped with about 80 ingredients, some of which are very controversial. TBHQ, BHA, BHT, various artificial flavors, “natural” flavors, MSG, carrageenan, partially hydrogenated oils, caramel coloring, high fructose corn syrup, gelatin, disodium guanylate, and many more of our worst controversial ingredients all accompany the few turkey breast medallions and small portion of what appears to say “gravy.” There is also 1,370 mg of sodium, 4 g of saturated fat, and 60 mg of cholesterol. Choose your foods wisely! This meal is unlikely to leave someone feeling good after they dig into it.

Marie Callender's at Foodfacts.com!
Marie Callender’s lasagna, which was served at the deceiving dinner party, has about 30% of the daily value for saturated fat, 31% the daily value for sodium, and 45 mg of cholesterol. Lest we forget it also contains sodium benzoate, which has been shown to be carcinogenic in the presence of vitamin C. This particular product contains 8% of vitamin C from tomatoes, and maybe a few other ingredients, which isn’t much, but who would take such a chance from a boxed dinner? Also, there are two different sources for flavoring, and partially hydrogenated oils. Overall, not a great product. I would be displeased too if this was served to me!

razzleberry pie at Foodfacts.com!
Being served a warm homemade pie isn’t quite like a microwaved razzleberry pie from a Marie Callender’s box. Though they don’t contain a very large list of ingredients in comparison to other brands, Mari Callender’s pie still contains trans fat, a hefty load of added sugars, various modified starches, and quite a bit of sodium. Also, just one slice is 360 calories. We’re pretty sure it’s not a thick slice, but more of a tiny sliver. Watch your portions if you’re daring enough to try it!

Food Recalls!

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BUI Natural Tofu of Portland, OR, has recalled its shrimp salad and vegetarian salad rolls because they contain undeclared soy and wheat.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy and wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume such products.

The recall was initiated after the Oregon Department of Agriculture found that soy and wheat ingredients weren’t listed on the product labels. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the salad rolls.

The salad rolls containing undeclared allergens are:

– Shrimp Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00203 8.

– Vegetarian Salad Roll with the UPC number 8 95467 00204 5.

These salad rolls were distributed to retail stores in the Portland metropolitan area and sold under the “BUI Fresh from the Bean” brand.

The products are packaged in a tray with a clear plastic wrapper, and are coded with a white sticker identifying expiration dates from 9/2 through 9/13. The products are refrigerated and have a shelf life of about three days.

Consumers may return them the recalled salad rolls to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 503-803-3059 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time.

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Watkins Inc. of Winona, MN, is recalling 1,535 units of its individual 7.7 ounce containers of SoyNilla protein powder, because of an undeclared milk ingredient. SoyNilla was distributed nationwide through the Watkins network of independent contractors, associates and mail orders.

The recall was initiated after a routine review revealed that the product contained milk but that ingredient was not listed on the label, indicating a temporary breakdown of the company’s allergen identification process.

No illnesses have been reported.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk may run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reactions in consuming it. Symptoms may include hives, wheezing, vomiting, anaphylaxis and digestive problems, such as bloating, gas or diarrhea.

The vanilla-flavored protein powder comes in a 7.7 ounce, white plastic package marked with lot #3000280 on the side of the package.

Consumers who purchased the 7.7 ounce of SoyNilla may call for a return or credit instructions. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-800-243-9423 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., CT, Monday through Friday.

(FoodSafetyNews.com)

Pesticides linked to ADHD in Kids?

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:

Exposure to pesticides used on common kid-friendly foods — including frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries and celery — appears to boost the chances that children will be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, new research shows.
blueberries4
Youngsters with high levels of pesticide residue in their urine, particularly from widely used types of insecticide such as malathion, were more likely to have ADHD, the behavior disorder that often disrupts school and social life, scientists in the United States and Canada found.

Kids with higher-than-average levels of one pesticide marker were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as children who showed no traces of the poison.

“I think it’s fairly significant. A doubling is a strong effect,” said Maryse F. Bouchard, a researcher at the University of Montreal in Quebec and lead author of the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The take-home message for parents, according to Bouchard: “I would say buy organic as much as possible,” she said. “I would also recommend washing fruits and vegetables as much as possible.”
pears
Diet is a major source of pesticide exposure in children, according to the National Academy of Sciences, and much of that exposure comes from favorite fruits and vegetables. In 2008, detectable concentrations of malathion were found in 28 percent of frozen blueberry samples, 25 percent of fresh strawberry samples and 19 percent of celery samples, a government report found.

ADHD affects 4.5 million U.S. kids
Bouchard’s study is the largest to date to look at the effect of pesticides on child development and behavior, including ADHD, which affects an estimated 4.5 million U.S. children. About 2.5 million kids take medication for the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bouchard and her colleagues measured levels of six pesticide metabolites in the urine of 1,139 children ages 8 to 15 selected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2000 and 2004. The study included 119 children who were diagnosed with ADHD.

Unlike other studies of pesticides’ impact, Bouchard’s sample provided a glimpse into average insecticide exposure in the general population of children, not a specialized group, such as children of farm-workers. Because certain pesticides leave the body after three to six days, the presence of residue shows that exposure is likely constant, Bouchard said.

She found that kids with a 10-fold increase in the kind of metabolites left in the body after malathion exposure were 55 percent more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. Because the researchers didn’t review the kids’ diets, they couldn’t say why some children had such high levels of pesticide residue. Children are at greater risk from pesticides because their young bodies are still developing and may not metabolize chemicals as well as adults’.
apples
The most alarming finding was a near-doubling in odds of ADHD diagnoses among kids with higher-than-average levels of the most common of the six metabolites detected. Kids with high levels of dimethyl thiophosphate were 93 percent more likely to have the disorder than children with with undetectable levels of the marker.

The research may add to anxiety about ADHD, which has no known cause, said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

“It does seem to suggest that at non-extreme or more typical levels, there does seem to be some increased risk,” said Adesman, who is on the professional advisory board for Children and Adults with ADHD, an advocacy group.

Pesticides prey on nervous system
Boucher studied organophosphate pesticides, which account for as much as 70 percent of the pesticide use in the U.S. They work by interfering with the nervous systems of insects, but have a similar effect in mammals, including humans. Most people in the U.S. have residues of the products in their urine.

Cheminova, the Danish firm that is the leading manufacturer of malathion in the world, declined to comment on the conclusions of the new research. Diane Allemang, vice president for global regulatory affairs, said she hadn’t seen the study.
Parents of children with ADHD, however, said Bouchard’s work will give them one more thing to worry about.
raspberries
“We’re all completely obsessed with food,” said Jamie Norman, 32, of Freeburg, Ill., whose 6-year-old son, Aidan, was diagnosed with ADHD six months ago.

The stimulant medication Aidan takes, Adderall XR, depresses his appetite, so Norman said she’s always trying to find good foods that he’ll want to eat. Other parents of kids with ADHD choose to use diet, not medication, to control the disorder and they’re constantly monitoring food, too.

News that some of the best foods for kids might be tainted with something linked to ADHD is worrisome, Norman said.
“I’ve known for some time that strawberries, in particular, contain high levels of pesticide, but as far as frozen fruit, I don’t give that a second thought,” she said.

Buy organic, make sure to wash

The best advice for parents — and anyone who wants to avoid pesticides — is to choose foods least likely to contain them. The Environmental Working Group, a consumer advocacy organization, advises shoppers to buy organic versions of a dozen fruits and vegetables that grow in the ground or are commonly eaten with the skin, because they’re most likely to be contaminated.

Make sure to wash all fruits and vegetables under cold running tap water and scrub firm-skinned produce with a brush. Be sure to rinse frozen fruits and vegetables, too.

But don’t wash produce with soap. The Food and Drug Administration says that could leave behind residues of detergent, yet more chemicals that everyone would do best to avoid.

(MSNBC)

Will we be eating genetically modified Salmon soon?

GM Salmon
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)