Archive | Food Quality & Safety

Pesticides Linked to Developmental Delays

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) — Exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos — banned for use in U.S. households — is associated with early childhood developmental delays, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health examined the association between exposure to the pesticide and mental and physical impairments in children in low-income areas of New York neighborhoods in the South Bronx and Northern Manhattan.

Chlorpyrifos was commonly used in these neighborhoods until it was banned for household use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2001, but it is still used as an agricultural pesticide on fruits and vegetables.

After controlling for building dilapidation and community-level factors such as percentage of residents living in poverty, the research indicates that high chlorpyrifos exposure was associated with a 6.5-point decrease in the Psychomotor Development Index score and a 3.3-point decrease in the Mental Development Index score in 3-year-olds.

The findings are published online in the American Journal of Public Health.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Ailments & Diseases, Children’s Health & Parenting, Farming & Ranching, Food Quality & Safety1 Comment

Report: High Arsenic Levels Found in Juice

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 14 (UPI) — A study of juice boxes found a percentage of the items had arsenic levels higher than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended limit, scientists say.

The St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times said Friday it commissioned testing of eight national brands and one local brand of kid-friendly apple juice boxes to determine if the items pose any risks to consumers.

Testing on the 18 samples taken from the nine brands found more than 25 percent of the juice boxes contained arsenic levels above FDA officials’ so-called level of concern regarding heavy metals in juices.

While those samples reportedly contained between 25 and 35 parts per billion of arsenic, one FDA official said there was no reason for concern. The FDA level of concern sits at 23 parts per billion.

“We don’t have any evidence at this point to say that we feel there’s a risk issue that you need to be mindful of,” said P. Michael Bolger, FDA chief of chemical hazards assessment.

The Times said the brands whose arsenic levels surpassed the level of concern in the testing were Motts, Apple & Eve Organics, and Walmart’s Great Value label.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

Santa Monica Restaurant Sold Banned Whale Meat

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors Wednesday accused a Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant and one of its chefs of selling Sei whale meat illegally.

The sale of whale meat is banned in the United States under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and Sei whales are on the endangered species list, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a news release.

Prosecutors filed a criminal complaint Wednesday charging Typhoon Restaurant Inc. — the parent company of The Hump restaurant at Santa Monica Airport — and Kiyoshiro Yamamoto, 45, a chef at the restaurant, with the illegal sale of a marine mammal product for an unauthorized purpose.

“Federal law has a variety of provisions, including criminal statutes, intended to protect this planet’s threatened natural resources,” Birotte said. “People should be aware that we will use these criminal statutes where appropriate to protect endangered species, including to ensure that they do not end up part of a meal.”

Prosecutors said The Hump sold whale sushi to customers on three occasions since October — with scientists using DNA testing to determine the meat was Sei whale and receipts given to the restaurant’s customers indicating they had purchased “whale.”

The investigation began after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration received information from members of the public about the alleged violations, prosecutors said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Food Consumption, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety, Mammals0 Comments

FDA Finds Bacterial Contamination Source

WASHINGTON, March 4 (UPI) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has identified the source of recent food contamination by salmonella bacteria.

Officials said the Salmonella Tennessee bacterium was found in a Las Vegas company’s equipment that manufactures hydrolyzed vegetable protein, a common ingredient used as a flavor enhancer in many processed foods, including soups, sauces, stews, hot dogs, gravies, seasoned snack foods, dips and dressings.

The manufacturer of the affected product is Basic Food Flavors Inc. and the FDA said only hydrolyzed vegetable protein manufactured by that company is involved in the contamination.

The company said it is recalling all hydrolyzed vegetable protein in powder and paste produced since Sept. 17.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections.

The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies and state health departments say they are monitoring and assessing the potential risks of illness from the affected products.

The FDA says consumers can find additional information and a list of all recalled products at

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

Florida Citrus Growers Face Cold Weekend

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 9 (UPI) — Florida’s citrus growers said they were closely watching the weather as cold temperatures blew across the U.S. South Saturday.

Temperatures up to 20 degrees below normal have been felt in the region this week, a cold snap the likes of which is only seen once every few decades, and Florida’s citrus crops have sustained some losses so far, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Rusty Wiygul, director of grower affairs at Florida Citrus Mutual, the state’s largest growers’ association, told the newspaper none of the losses have been “devastating” so far.

“We’re just sitting in our offices and constantly watching the weather,” he said. “It’d be nice if we could run up to the Florida state line and stop the cold, but we can’t. All we can really do is a pray a lot.” forecasters predicted widespread record cold and freezing temperatures would spread southward through the Florida Peninsula Saturday and Sunday nights.

The Web site said temperatures would drop below freezing Saturday night as far south as Tampa, Orlando and Melbourne, but warned the lowest temperatures of the season so far for much of the Florida loomed Sunday night.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Climate Science & Weather, Farming & Ranching, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

USDA Seizes Food from Won Feng Trading Company's Nashville Warehouse

NASHVILLE, Jan. 7 (UPI) — Federal agents raided a Nashville food distributor’s warehouse, saying food products were contaminated by insects, rodents and other sanitation hazards.

The raid followed a visit to the Won Feng Trading Co. warehouse in Nashville by U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors, who found live and dead rodents, rat feces, and live birds among rice, fresh produce and frozen food, The Tennessean reported Thursday.

“These seizures are very rare,” FDA spokesman Tom Gasparoli said.

More than $1 million worth of food products was confiscated, the newspaper said.

The federal government raided only two businesses nationwide over food sanitation issues between October 2008 and September 2009, the newspaper reported. Where food is seized due to filth, but not bacteria, it is usually the duty of the company to inform customers, Gasparoli said.

It wasn’t clear whether Won Feng had notified its restaurant clients of the problems, the newspaper said. Inspections of Won Feng Trading Co. have disclosed problems dating back to 2007, the report said.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture in October said it found rodent activity and instructed Won Feng to destroy some products immediately. The inspection led to the federal seizure.

The federal penalties would be tougher than state sanctions against the company, state agricultural department spokesman Tom Womack said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Birds, Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

Ammonia Treated U.S. Beef Questioned

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D., Dec. 31 (UPI) — E.coli and salmonella pathogens were found dozens of times in school hamburgers processed by a company exempt from routine testing, a U.S. safety agency says.

The Beef Products Inc. meat, injected with ammonia in a novel method to destroy toxic bacteria, was caught before reaching lunchroom trays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The department, responsible for assuring food safety, has now revoked Beef Products’ exemption from routine testing and is reviewing the company’s operations, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The agency is also reviewing the company’s research supporting its ammonia-injection claims.

Since 2005, E.coli was found three times and salmonella 48 times in meat headed for the federal school lunch program, including incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound contaminated batches were found, government and industry records obtained by the Times show.

Besides the lunch program, the meat is used by McDonald’s, Burger King and other fast-food giants as well as grocery chains.

Beef Products of Dakota Dunes, S.D. — which persuaded federal officials to classify ammonia as a “processing agent” and not an ingredient that would be listed on labels — said in a statement it was committed to hamburger safety, but “like any responsible member of the meat industry, we are not perfect.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

Pennsylvania Updates Fish Advisories Due to Lack of Health Tests

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 31 (UPI) — Pennsylvania officials announced an advisory designed to protect against eating large amounts of fish from waters not tested, or of certain species.

All of Pennsylvania remains under a blanket advisory that recommends limiting consumption of any recreationally-caught fish to one meal per week. The advisories do not apply to fish raised for commercial purposes or bought in stores or restaurants.

New advisories have been added for 2010 limiting consumption of Largemouth Bass in Lake Canadohta to two meals per month and consumption of Largemouth Bass in Lake Jean to one meal per month as a result of elevated levels of mercury in the water.

A do-not-eat advisory has been issued for Channel Catfish in the Mahoning River due to PCB contamination.

Consumption advisories have been eased but not lifted for:

– French Creek for Smallmouth Bass as a result of mercury contamination.

– Lake Erie for Walleye as a result of PCB contamination.

– Schuylkill River from the confluence of Mill Creek at Port Carbon to the Auburn Dam for Trout as a result of PCB contamination.

Consumption advisories have been lifted for parts of Jacks Creek, Chartiers Creek, Monongahela River from Pool 4 between the Maxwell Lock and Dam and Lock and Dam 4 and Sinnemahoning Creek.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Consumption, Fish, Food Consumption, Food Quality & Safety0 Comments

National Steak and Poultry Recalls 248,000 Pounds of Beef for E. Coli

WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) — National Steak and Poultry has recalled 248,000 pounds of beef products from six states because of a risk of E. coli, U.S. inspectors said.

The inspectors, working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they linked meat from the plant to an outbreak of E. coli in the six states.

National Steak and Poultry, of Owasso, Okla., issued the recall in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota, Michigan, and Washington, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a release.

The recall included products labeled National Steak and Poultry beef sirloin steak, boneless beef tips, boneless beef sirloin steak, savory sirloin tips, bacon wrapped beef filet, select beef shoulder, marinated tender medallions, Philly steak and boneless beef trimmings.

Each package contained a label marked “EST. 6010T” inside the USDA mark of inspection and packaging dates of Oct. 12-14 or Oct. 21.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Farming & Ranching, Food & Nutrition, Food Consumption, Food Industry, Food Quality & Safety, Human Health & Wellness, Packaging0 Comments

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