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2010 Hygiene & Health News

Cilantro Recall

November 23, 2010

Orval Kent announced a voluntary recall of 23 products because of potential contamination with Salmonella. The products contain fresh cilantro distributed by EpicVeg, In of California. Consumers who have purchased the items listed at the link below should not eat the product and instead return it to the store for a full refund.

Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen. Symptoms of illness include abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever and typically last between three and five days. Contact a physician if symptoms arise.

Food and Drug Administration

Egg Recall

September 28, 2010

On August 13, 2010, a voluntary recall was issued of eggs shipped since May 19, 2010. The eggs were produced by Wright County Egg, in Galt, Iowa. Eggs were shipped to 22 states and to Mexico. On August 19th, 2010, Hillendale Farms also of Iowa, issued an additional recall of eggs distributed to wholesalers and retailers in 14 states.

Consumption of the recalled eggs may lead to salmonella, a food-borne illness. Symptoms include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps that begin 12 to 72 hours after consumption of the recalled eggs. The illness may last up to a week. Those with compromised immune systems such as babies or the elderly may experience a severe reaction to salmonella. Contact a health professional if symptoms arise. The Centers for Disease Control has a detailed report on the salmonella outbreak.

A complete list of recalled brands can be found here. Any eggs that are involved in the recall should be discarded immediately. This includes any products that may have been cooked or baked with the recalled eggs.

For more information, visit the FDA website.

Disaster Preparation

September 28, 2010

Hurricane season is in full force. Coupled with the fast approaching winter months, it is never too early to be prepared. Natural disasters can strike at any time. Be sure to read over our brochures on "Disaster Planning for Households" and "Cleaning Up After a Flood". Follow the link below and scroll down to Emergency and Disaster Planning.

Disaster Planning

Alfalfa Sprouts Recall

May 25, 2010

This recall affects raw alfalfa sprouts. Caldwell Fresh Foods issued a voluntary recall of all its alfalfa sprouts under the name Caldwell Fresh Foods, Nature's Choice and California Exotics brands. The sprouts have been linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Newport infections across the United States. As of May 20th, 22 people have been infected in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin. The sprouts were sold to Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's and various restaurants across the country. The sprouts should be returned to the retailer for a refund and proper disposal.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Contact a health professional if symptoms arise.

For more information visit the FDA website.

Dangers of Microwaving Water

May 17, 2010

An email chain has been circulating recently regarding the dangers of microwaving water. The FDA confirms this danger and refers to it as "erupted hot water phenomena." Reports include serious burns to hands and face stemming from over-heated water in a microwave oven.

Heating water past its boiling point is dangerous because the water does not appear to be boiling. Any disruption to this super-heated water, such as moving the cup or adding to the water may cause an explosion of water. Typically, this takes place if water is warmed in a clean cup.

You can avoid the problem by limiting the heating time of water or liquids in the microwave. The FDA recommends determining the necessary amount of time to heat water to a desired temperature and using the same time period consistently. In addition, always use a microwave safe cup.

The FDA has extensive information regarding this phenomenon.

For more information:

http://www.fda.gov/radiation-emittingproducts/resourcesforyouradiationemittingproducts/consumers/ucm142616.htm#10

Lettuce Recall

May 7, 2010

Freshway Foods announced a voluntary recall of certain bagged romaine lettuce products because of a connection between the lettuce and foodborne disease. The outbreak involves E. coli O145, a harmful bacteria and has been reported in Michigan, Ohio and New York. The recalled lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. Anyone possessing a bagged lettuce from Freshway Foods with the above "best by" date to throw them out or refrain from usage.

The shredded lettuce was sold to food service outlets, wholesalers, in-store salad bars and delis in several states including Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Sourth Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Symptoms of E. coli infection range from mild diarrhea to severe health complications. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control urge anyone with symptoms to contact a health care provider immediately.

For more information:

The Food and Drug Administration

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm211145.htm

Centers for Disease Control

http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2010/ecoli_o145/index.html

National Children's Dental Health Month

February 4, 2010

February is National Children's Dental Health Month.  According to the NIDCR (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health), "dental caries (tooth decay) remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable." 

National statistics compiled through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 through 2004 showed some improvement in the oral health of the American population.  However, young children were found to have more tooth decay than in previous studies.   The NHANES showed that 42% of children 2 to 11 have had dental caries in their primary (baby) teeth, and 23% of children 2 to 11 have untreated dental caries.  Tooth decay can start as soon as teeth appear in a baby's mouth.

National Children's Dental Health Month is a campaign to promote good tooth and gum care among children, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist.  For more information on this campaign and on proper dental care for children, visit:


Haiti: Help and Communication Resources

January 22, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti has created catastrophic living conditions for the local population.  Many Americans have relatives or friends in Haiti and are worried for their lives; even those of us without acquaintances in Haiti may be wondering what we can do to help.

The most important first step in trying to help Haiti is to use safe and reliable aid agencies.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) has created web pages with links to recommended donation groups.  Two of the aid agency links are:

You can also donate to the American Red Cross at: www.redcross.org

 

The CDC website also contains several links to the U.S. State Department to help locate U.S. citizens, family members, or friends in Haiti.  Follow the 'Help for Haiti:  Learn What You Can Do' icon after clicking on the CDC's 'Earthquake in Haiti' link. 

Concerns Raised Over School Lunch Food Safety

January 5, 2010

Last month USA Today produced a series of investigative reports about the safety of the food served in school lunch programs.  The reporters were particularly concerned about the quality of the meat (including beef and poultry) shipped to schools.  Some of the issues raised by the reporters include:

  • Beef Packers, Inc., a major beef supplier to the school lunch program, was involved in a salmonella meat contamination recall in the Summer of 2009, but did not recall the beef produced for schools during that time period.
  • Beef sent to the school lunch program undergoes less frequent testing for contamination than beef used in fast-food restaurants.
  • Beef bought for the school lunch program can legally contain 10 times the concentration of E. coli bacterium (the organism considered an indicator of whether potential contaminants from the intestines of cattle have gotten into slaughtered meat) which is acceptable to fast-food chains like Jack in the Box®.
  • Poultry bought for the school lunch program can include "spent hens", birds that are past their egg-laying prime and are not accepted by companies such as Kentucky Fried Chicken® or the Campbell Soup Company®.

Many schools receive beef and poultry directly through the U.S Department of Agriculture's commodities program, and therefore rely on the government to set appropriate food safety standards and provide them with safe meat products.  The government will be revising the school lunch program in 2010, and the USA Today articles have challenged the USDA and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to strengthen their regulation of food providers for the nation's public schools.

 

Find the USA Today articles at:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-12-08-school-lunch-standards_N.htm and http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-12-01-beef-recall-lunches_N.htm.

Read an editorial about the USA Today investigations from the Boston Globe from January 3, 2010:  www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2010/01/03/school_food_serving_up_salmonella_and_e_coli/.


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