Articles Posted in Food Safety

fdnybatteryfire-150x150For consumers who were too stuffed from their Thanksgiving feasting or too weary of stressful bargain hunting to jam the malls or to flock to the internet for Black Friday deals, the words to the wise have started flowing on how the savvy will ensure their holiday gifts also keep loved ones safe from unintended harms.

Kids toys, of course, are always cause for caution at this time of year, federal regulators say. But grownups also can glean safety reminders from disconcerting reports about an increasingly popular and practical potential seasonal acquisition — the so-called “e-bikes.”

With toys, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a timely and distressing study. The federal watchdog agency reported that in 2021:

tksgiving-300x177Millions of us will have much to give thanks for during the annual holiday, which, like several of its recent versions, again will be a time of health wariness and uncertainty, too.

The seasonal feast — which brings so many the joy of not only a grand meal but also the pleasure of gathering with friends, family, and other loved ones — will be more costly than any in recent memory due to economic inflation and supply chain problems, the Associated Press reported:

“Americans are bracing for a costly Thanksgiving this year, with double-digit percent increases in the price of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin, and other staples. The U.S. government estimates food prices will be up 9.5% to 10.5% this year; historically, they’ve risen only 2% annually. Lower production and higher costs for labor, transportation and items are part of the reason; disease, rough weather and the war in Ukraine are also contributors.”

Abbottlogo-300x77Big Pharma loves to blast away at opposition lawyers and their clients, criticizing them for seeking justice in the civil system over claims of significant harms. But, c’mon, man, as a certain top political leader likes to say to express his flabbergasted skepticism.

Wealthy corporations and their counsel marshal enormous, costly legal resources to bully, intimidate, and just bury in paperwork plaintiffs in civil cases, as the New York Times has reported. The newspaper has detailed how this almost standard operating procedure by huge law firms has complicated the nation’s effort to safeguard a critical foodstuff for the tiniest, most vulnerable among us — infants needing formula, especially specialized varieties.

The ferocious tactics by formula makers, notably the purportedly family friendly pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories, has shielded the industry and the company well but to the detriment of consumers learning important information about a widely used product that was the subject of many lawsuits but that stayed out of the spotlight for years, the newspaper reported:

eats-150x150The Biden Administration this month will tackle one of the major, persistent challenges that perplexes and damages the health and well-being of most regular folks: what they eat, as well as their regular sources of food.

The scheduled Sept. 28 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health will be only the second of its kind in modern history and the first in almost a half a century, NPR has reported, adding that it will be a timely and notable event. As Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told the broadcast news reporters:

“We’re really in a nutrition crisis in this country.”

fdamattholman-150x150The ink was barely dry on statements from the head of the federal Food and Drug Administration about a planned external, independent review of the agency’s tobacco oversight division when one of its top regulators created a personnel stink of his own.

Matt Holman, chief of the office of science in FDA’s much-criticized Center for Tobacco Products, ended his 20-year government career.

He quit — to go to work for Philip Morris International, the global tobacco conglomerate and maker of Marlboros.

Abbottlogo-300x77The giant drug maker Abbott and the federal Food and Drug Administration both should hang their heads in shame as more information becomes public as to how they left millions of vulnerable infants hungry and put kids’ health at risk by wrongs involving the manufacture and distribution of a vital foodstuff — baby formula.

Millions of parents have gone into meltdown because of a nationwide shortage of the needed nutrient. It was sparked by the shutdown of Abbott’s formula-producing plant in Michigan, as well as the company’s product recall after babies got sick and died from  infections involving Cronobacter sakazakii bacteria.

While Abbott has emphasized that experts have not conclusively linked the bacteria to its formula and the firm has played up its cooperation in a product recall, Robert Califf, the FDA’s chief and a doctor, ripped the company. He told a U.S. House subcommittee that agency inspectors found “egregiously unsanitary” conditions at the drug maker’s plant, the New York Times reported, quoting him, thusly:

babewithbottle-300x293Americans keep suffering the dire consequences of corporations’ relentless pursuit of profits, their stifling of beneficial competition, and their failure to secure the production of their products. These now include desperately needed, specialized baby formula and contrast dyes used in diagnostic imaging studies for seriously ill and injured patients.

A special place in perdition needs to be reserved for those who have put infants at risk of hunger and illness by allowing the feeding crisis to explode and for boobs who are rushing in with finger-snapping, fact-light, and unworkable actions for parents to respond.

Let’s be clear that the formula mess, bad for all families across the country, hits hardest at the working poor and the poor. As the New York Times reported:

lonestartick-300x106To those who don’t consider the summer complete without devouring racks of sizzling barbecued pork ribs or slabs of  charred beef steaks, experts have an odd but true warning: Watch out for the so-called lone star tick.

Amblyomma Americanum, a parasitic species distinguished by a prominent light or white dot on the females’ abdomen, has spread across the southeastern United States and is showing up in increasing numbers in the DMV (the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia), the Washington Post reported.

The bite of the lone star tick is concerning, the newspaper reported, “because  it can produce a severe food allergy in people known as alpha-gal syndrome, which is an allergy to red meat.” [By the way, “alpha gal” is not a reference to a feminist super hero but to a common blood sugar, alpha galactose]. As the news article added:

FDA-Logo-300x167Its official title is the federal Food and Drug Administration. But taxpayers are ill-served by the $1 billion they fork over to this behemoth agency to safeguard the foods all of us must consume and to provide sound nutritional guidance in especially confusing times.

That’s a significant takeaway for readers of a new, magazine-length takedown of the FDA’s food programs by the news site Politico. It has joined ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative site, in hammering the federal government — which divides food regulation also with the U.S. Department of Agriculture — over its sluggish and poor protection of the public.

These are not just deep digs into obscure bureaucracies, Politico reported:

salmonella_salmonellosis-300x228While regular folks may tolerate the occasional sickness that follows a catered company event, church potluck, or dining on take-out or sit-down meals from all manner of meal providers, all-too-common food-borne illnesses must get greater attention from public health officials because of the major but less publicized damage that tainted foods can cause.

Consider what happened family and friends who attended a funeral reception in Texas that included store-bought chicken (rotisserie and fried) and potato salad. As ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative site reported, hours after the event, “dozens of the attendees were stricken by illness, overcome by nausea, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea, according to an investigation by Austin Public Health, which found that at least 61 people reported symptoms of food poisoning.”

The situation worsened and stayed bad, ProPublica found, reporting in its follow-up:

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
Washingtonian Top Lawyer 2011
Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Best Lawyers Firm
Contact Information