Food Safety

Follow the Money: BPA Makers to Gross $8 Billion Thanks to FDA Rejecting Ban

By Anthony Gucciardi

Producers of toxic BPA are now boasting $8 billion in sales for 2012 thanks to the FDA rejecting a potential ban on the cancer-linked chemical on March 30th. According to GlobalData, manufacturers will produce 4.7 million metric tons of BPA this year to be dispersed into the daily lives of millions worldwide. BPA now goes into everything: plastic bottles, canned foods, DVDs, plastic wrap, and much more. Despite being linked to about as many serious health conditionsas the amount of products it contaminates, the FDA has decided once again to side with mega corporations over protecting the health of the people.

Even Campbellā€™s Soup and the Heinz corporation are removing BPA from their products in an effort to reclaim consumers who are fully aware of the issues surrounding BPA. California is also banning the substance from baby bottles and sippy cups in attempts to protect newborn babies whose developing bodies are majorly affected by the estrogen-mimicking chemical. But the FDA?

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Slimegate: Should USDA Require Labeling for LFTB?

by Helena Bottemiller

Over the past several weeks, thousands of articles, blog posts, tweets and even Facebook statuses have weighed in on the debate over Lean Finely Textured Beef (LFTB), now commonly known as “pink slime.” One place you won’t find any mention of the product, however, is on a ground beef label — or any meat label, for that matter.

That may be about to change.

As the nation’s largest manufacturer of LFTB, Beef Products Inc., reels from the consumer revolt against its product and state and local politicians work to help the company recover, the national discussion has turned to labeling.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said it would approve requests from ground beef product makers who want to voluntarily label products containing LFTB.

Last Friday, U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and 10 co-sponsors introduced a bill that would require beef products that included LFTB to be labeled, and Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) urged USDA to update beef labels “to note whether or not the product contains processed meat filler, and, if so, which filler(s) are in the product.”

So, why isn’t “LFTB” or “ammoniated beef” or “centrifuge-separated ammonia-treated beef” already labeled when added to ground beef?

(Were it up to satirical news anchor Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, LFTB might be labeled “ammonia-soaked centrifuge separated byproduct paste.”)

In a USA Today Op-Ed, former USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service administrator Dr. H. Russel Cross declared that “There is no need for labeling LFTB — because nothing is being added that is not beef.”

Likewise, in a recent video to help combat “a frenzy of misinformation” about LFTB, American Meat Institute spokeswoman Janet Riley added a similar justification for not labeling LFTB: “Both citric acid and ammonium hydroxide are natural processing aids, not additives or ingredients because they don’t remain in the product.”

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CDC Offers Favorable Snapshot of Nation’s Nutrition Status

by Mary Rothschild

With its focus on disease outbreaks and other generally gloomy reports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rarely seems to dispatch good news.

So it was heartening to see Monday’s CDC press release announcing that the U.S. population, for the most part, is getting enough essential vitamins and nutrients – specifically vitamins A and D and folate — even though some groups need to address dietary deficiencies.

“Research shows that good nutrition can help lower people’s risk for many chronic diseases. For most nutrients, the low deficiency rates, less than 1 to 10 percent, are encouraging, but higher deficiency rates in certain age and race/ethnic groups are a concern and need additional attention,” said Christine Pfeiffer, Ph.D., lead researcher, in the Division of Laboratory Sciences in CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.

Less than optimal vitamin and nutrient levels have been associated with myriad health risks, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, impaired cognitive function, cancer, eye diseases and weakened bones.

The CDC’s favorable, although limited, review is the most comprehensive biochemical assessment ever of the nation’s nutritional status, drawn from analysis by the Division of Laboratory Sciences of blood and urine samples collected during the 1999 to 2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The last such report was published in 2008. This Second Nutrition Report establishes blood and urine reference levels for 58 biochemical indicators; more than twice as many as before. And the new report includes first-time data for a new indicator of iron deficiency and for 24 healthy and unhealthy fatty acids.

Measurements of nutrient levels in blood and urine are critical, according to the CDC, because they show whether the total nutrients from foods and vitamin supplements are too low, too high or sufficient.

In very brief summary, the positive findings in the Second Nutrition Report include that:….

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Poultry Inspectors Protest Inspection Proposal at USDA

by Helena Bottemiller

Around 100 poultry inspectors gathered outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday, right under Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s window, to protest a proposal to expand an inspection system that shifts federal inspectors away from inspecting for quality defects and allows slaughter lines to speed up.

chicken-protest-350.jpgThe USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for examining all poultry carcasses for blemishes or visible defects before they are further processed. Under the proposed rule, the agency would transfer much of this quality-assurance task over to the poultry plants so that it can devote more of its employees to evaluating the companies’ pathogen-prevention plans and bacteria-testing programs.

It basically moves the federal inspector further down the line, to right before the chiller, to make sure there’s no fecal material on the birds before they take the plunge into the cooling tank.

FSIS argues that the system, formally known as the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project, or HIMP, will improve food safety and save taxpayer dollars. The consumer group Food & Water Watch, and the inspectors at the rally, take issue with the entire proposal, arguing that it privatizes inspection and puts consumers at risk. A handful of plants have been a part of the HIMP pilot program for 12 years.

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Recalls

Quebec Sausage Recalled Due to Listeria Risk

by News Desk

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume certain La Vecchia Fattoria brand Cacciatore Dry Cured Sausages because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

There have been no reported illnesses.

The recalled La Vecchia Fattoria brand Cacciatore Dry Cured Sausages were sold in packages of 2 units each (approximately 300 g), with the UPC 8 81248 33336 1 and a best-before date of 12 23 JL.

The sausages were distributed in Quebec.

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Articles of Interest

Rocky Relief Pitcher Down With Food Poisoning, Club Says

by News Desk

Josh Outman, 28-year-old relief pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, is reported by the club to be suffering from food poisoning.

Rockies Manager Jim Tracy did not specify what type of food poisoning is involved, but said if the left-handed pitcher is still not well enough on opening day Friday in Houston, another relief pitcher will be called up.

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Sugar Is Not Poison, But We’re Getting Too Much of It

by Dan Flynn

Sugar is the toxin responsible for most of today’s health problems, a California endocrinologist who conducts research for the American Heart Association, told the television magazine program 60 Minutes Sunday.

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The University of California’s Dr. Robert Lustig said obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension and heart disease can all be blamed on Americans consuming too much sugar.

The 60 Minutes segment, with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta playing the part of the on-air reporter, said new research is “starting to find that sugar, the way many people are eating it today, is toxic and could be a driving force behind some of this country’s leading killers, including heart disease.”

An ongoing, five-year research project at the University of California – Davis, by nutritional biologist Kimber Stanhope, also got mention because it appears to be showing that high fructose corn syrup intake is linked to heart disease and stroke. Midway through, the research also suggests calories from added sugars differ from other calories.

Gupta said the belief that a calorie is a calorie is a “mantra” of nutritionists. He also said the scientists involved in the research are personally eliminating all added sugar from their diets. Added sugars are sweeteners added to processed and prepared foods and beverages.

Examples of added sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, maple syrup, pancake syrup, fructose sweetener, liquid fructose, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, crystal dextrose and dextrin…..

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Is sugar toxic?

Sugar and kids: The toxic truth

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer.

(CBS News) If you are what you eat, then what does it mean that the average American consumes 130 pounds of sugar a year? Sanjay Gupta reports on new research showing that beyond weight gain, sugar can take a serious toll on your health, worsening conditions ranging from heart disease to cancer. Some physicians go so far as to call sugar a toxin.

The following script is from “Sugar” which aired on April 1, 2012. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the correspondent. Denise Schrier Cetta and Sumi Aggarwal, producers.

The chances are good that sugar is a bigger part of your daily diet than you may realize which is why our story tonight is so important. New research coming out of some of America’s most respected institutions is starting to find that sugar, the way many people are eating it today, is a toxin and could be a driving force behind some of this country’s leading killers, including heart disease.

As a result of these findings, an anti-sugar campaign has sprung up, led by Dr. Robert Lustig, a California endocrinologist, who believes the consumption of added sugars has plunged America into a public health crisis.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Is sugar toxic?

Dr. Robert Lustig: I believe it is.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Do you ever worry that that’s– it just sounds a little bit over the top?

Dr. Robert Lustig: Sure. All the time. But it’s the truth.

Dr. Robert Lustig is a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco and a pioneer in what is becoming a war against sugar.

Motivated by his own patients — too many sick and obese children – Dr. Lustig has concluded that sugar, more than any other substance, is to blame.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: What are all these various diseases that you say are linked to sugar?

Dr. Robert Lustig: Obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease itself.

Lustig says the American lifestyle is killing us.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: And most of it you say is preventable?

Dr. Robert Lustig: Seventy-five percent of it is preventable.

While Dr. Lustig has published a dozen scientific articles on the evils of sugar, it was his lecture on YouTube, called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth,” that brought his message to the masses.

[YouTube Video: I’m standing here today to recruit you in the war against bad food.]

By “bad food” Dr. Lustig means the obvious things such as table sugar, honey, syrup, sugary drinks and desserts, but also just about every processed food you can imagine, where sugar is often hidden: yogurts and sauces, bread, and even peanut butter. And what about the man-made, often vilified sweetener, high fructose corn syrup?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Is it worse than just table sugar?

Dr. Robert Lustig: No. ‘Cause it’s the exact same. They are basically equivalent. The problem is they’re both bad. They’re both equally toxic.

Since the 1970s, sugar consumption has gone down nearly 40 percent, but high fructose corn syrup has more than made up the difference. Dr. Lustig says they are both toxic because they both contain fructose — that’s what makes them sweet and irresistible.

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http://cnettv.cnet.com/av/video/cbsnews/atlantis2/cbsnews_player_embed.swf