Tag Archive: Spartanburg


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By JONATHAN DREW 2 hrs ago
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — One person died Thursday as heavy flooding submerged cars and closed streets in South Carolina, and the drenching storms were expected to move up the East Coast, a region already swamped by rain.

Governors up and down the coast warned residents to prepare. The rains could cause power outages and close more roads. The approach of Hurricane Joaquin — a major Category 4 storm set to wallop the Bahamas and move toward the U.S. — could intensify the damage, but rain is forecast across the region regardless of the storm’s path.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the state is already moving equipment, including generators and pumps, into position while state emergency officials watch the storm’s progress. Upgrades and repairs made after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene have made New York and New York City better prepared for the next tropical storm, Cuomo said.

In Spartanburg, South Carolina, the heavy rains flooded and closed streets. Several cars were submerged in flash floods. One man was rescued Thursday morning after his vehicle was swept off the road where a culvert had washed out, Doug Bryson with Spartanburg County Emergency Management told local news outlets. The man managed to cling to a tree and was taken to a hospital for treatment, though there was no immediate word on his condition.

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Food Safety

South Carolina Investigating 11 Cases of E. Coli Infection

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is investigating an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection that may include at least 11 cases.

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According to a news release Friday, at least two of the cases have progressed to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication of E. coli infection that can lead to kidney failure.

The health department said the illnesses appear to be related to dining at a Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant during the last week ……

 

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Another Illness Added to Salmonella Outbreak Tied to Dog Food

At least 15 individuals in 9 states have been infected with Salmonella Infantis linked to dry dog food, according to an outbreak update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of ill persons in each state is as follows: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Michigan (1), Missouri (3), North Carolina (3), New Jersey (1), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (2), and Virginia (1). One new ill person was reported from Pennsylvania.

CDC said there is also one person in Canada linked to the outbreak.

Among the 10 patients with available information, 5 were hospitalized, which is an unusually high hospitalization rate. No deaths have been reported.f April, 2012.

 

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Reps. Markey, Slaughter Press FDA on Antibiotic Use in Ethanol Production

Congressional query follows IATP report on distillers grains fed to animals

With growing concern over antibiotic resistance, public health advocates have long pushed for more responsible use of these drugs — both in human medicine and animal agriculture — but there is one piece of the antibiotics puzzle that has not received as much attention: ethanol production.

Last week, Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) wrote to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking some tough questions about the potential link between ethanol byproducts in animal feed and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“Antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria are a grave public health threat that is growing worldwide,” wrote Markey and Slaughter. “As the threat of antibiotic resistance expands, we must ensure that the unnecessary use of antibiotics in agricultural animals is minimized and FDA has the ability to limit their use if it serves to protect public health.”

cornpile_iphone.jpgThe letter follows a new report by Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which highlights the fact that many ethanol producers routinely add antibiotics like medically important penicillin and erythromycin, as well as virginiamycin and tylosin, when mixing corn mash and warm water to ferment the ethanol.

Producers use antibiotics to keep the tanks from being contaminated with Lactobacilli, bacteria that compete with the yeast and lowers the ethanol yield. Contamination is common so tanks are often inoculated as a preventative measure.

So, what does this process have to do with food safety and antimicrobial resistance? Well, the leftover distillers grains can contain antibiotic residues and they are routinely fed to food animals.

 

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Australia Relaxes Code to Permit Some Raw Milk Cheeses

Australia is set to OK the sale of some hard, grating cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, but Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) says raw drinking milk “presents too high a risk” to consider its commerce.

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The change for some raw milk cheese is the result of an assessment, known as Proposal P1007, which considered whether Australia’s dairy standards were too restrictive.
“Australia has a very safe supply of milk and dairy products thanks to existing regulations in the Food Standards Code that set controls to manage potential microbiological hazards,” FSANZ explained in published statements.

The agency wanted to see whether there were “feasible safety systems” for raw milk products that would preserve the integrity and public health safety of its dairy supply.

 

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Regulatory Leapfrog is Underway

FSIS Trumps Some Aspects of FDA Regulations and FSMA

Opinion
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced a series of prevention-based food safety policy measures, including a final rule designed to make FSIS aware of adulterated or misbranded food in the supply chain that is similar to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry; a proposed rule for earlier, more expansive traceback for E. coli; and a draft guidance on validating HACCP systems.
FSIS published an advance copy of the Final Rule entitled “Requirements for Official Establishments to Notify FSIS of Adulterated or Misbranded Product, Prepare and Maintain Written Recall Procedures, and Document Certain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points System Plan Reassessments.” The rule implements three provisions included in the 2008 Farm Bill and requires establishments to:
– notify FSIS within 24 hours that a meat or poultry product that could be subject to Class I, II or III recall has been shipped into commerce.
– prepare and maintain written recall procedures.
– document each reassessment of their HACCP plan.

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The notification requirements show some similarity to FDA’s Reportable Food Registry (RFR), however they clearly go much further in terms of what needs to be reported to FSIS. Also FSIS chose to implement a completely different system with facilities directed to notify, that is – make a phone call to – the appropriate District Office within 24 hours of “learning or determining that an adulterated or misbranded product received by or originating from the establishment has entered commerce, if the establishment believes or has reason to believe that this has happened.”  As with many rules the precise interpretation of “reason to believe” is significant.  Would this mean that a presumptive positive is a reason to believe?
In contrast, the RFR (discussed in a previous newsletter) requires FDA-regulated food facilities to report when there is “reasonable probability” that an article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences – a Class I situation. Additionally, the report is to be submitted through the electronic RFR portal as soon as practicable, but in no case later than 24 hours after determining that an article of food is a reportable food.
Although FSIS received comment suggestions to follow the standard established by RFR, or to incorporate a de minimis standard (that is, the determining of a risk level that is too small to be concerned with). FSIS chose to maintain its standard of reporting of any adulteration or misbranding stating, “If the Agency adopted the RFR standard or a similar de minimis standard, establishments may not be required to notify FSIS about product that could trigger a Class II or Class III recall.” While this is certainly true it is most assuredly “leaping” over the current FDA RFR requirements in terms of regulatory stringency.
As such, the rule assesses the public health concern or hazard presented by a product then classifies the concern as:

‘Do Pass’ Recommendation Added to Missouri Ag-Gag Bill

Only a floor vote in the Missouri Senate may stand between Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk and a bill making fraud and interference new crimes if carried out at agricultural facilities, a so-called “ag-gag” law.
House Bill 1860, adopted by the Missouri House on a 124-29 vote, now carries an important  “do pass” recommendation from the powerful Missouri Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources Committee.
The “do pass” recommendation was attached to the bill on May 10, and it could have been brought up for a vote at any time since then. But for the past week, Missouri’s General Assembly was caught up in what observers called  “contentious cross-chamber negotiations” on the “Show Me” state’s new budget.

Outbreak of HUS E. Coli Linked to Spartanburg, South Carolina Mexican Restaurant

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has issued a health advisory alerting doctors and other health care providers about an outbreak of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) cases linked to a Spartanburg-area Mexican restaurant.

During the last week of April, 2012, eleven people became ill with E. coli 0157:H7 infections. The restaurant has not yet been named and, according to Adam R. Myrick, Public Information Officer of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the agency “doesn’t plan to name the restaurant at this point.” The DHEC is working to determine if specific food items might be involved.

The department has interviewed three patients so far. Of those three people, two have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious illness that can lead to kidney failure and death.

 

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Under The Sea: Oysters and Norovirus Outbreaks

Area 23, a shellfish harvesting zone off the Louisiana coast roughly equal in size to the city of New Orleans, was closed this week after health officials linked a norovirus outbreak to its oysters.

An investigation into the outbreak that sickened 14 people who ate oysters at a Louisiana restaurant determined that the oysters were tainted before they arrived at the restaurant. Health officials issued a recall of the oysters and the temporary closure of Area 23.

Closing a harvesting zone the size of a major metropolitan area might seem like an indicator of a massive outbreak, but that’s likely not that case, according to Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (LHH).

 

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Organic Pastures Outbreak Is Fifth Raw Milk Outbreak This Year

The Campylobacter raw milk outbreak linked to Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno County, California is the fifth foodborne illness outbreak this year caused by raw milk.

On May 10, the California Department of Food and Agriculture issued a quarantine and recall of all  Organic Pastures raw milk, raw skim milk, raw cream and raw butter after samples of raw cream tested positive for Campylobacter.

At least 10 people have been diagnosed with confirmed Campylobacter infections after consuming raw milk products produced by the farm. Those sickened range in age from nine months to 38 years old, six of them are children.

In 2011, a total of nine foodborne illness outbreaks linked to raw milk products sickened 123 people, according to information from state health and agriculture departments. So far this year, five raw milk outbreaks have sickened 142 people. They are:

 

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CDC Tracking 5 Overlapping Turtle Salmonella Outbreaks in 27 States

Five overlapping Salmonella outbreaks linked to human contact with small turtles have sickened at least 124 people in 27 states, prompting the continuation of a public health investigation that began last year. One of the outbreaks dates back to June 2011 and another to August 2011.

Two new outbreaks have unfolded since early last month, sprouting new geographic distributions of Salmonella infections that are spreading in many cases from human contact with contaminated water in the turtles’ environments.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 7 of 10 outbreak victims are children under the age of 10. In many cases the turtles are pets purchased from street vendors because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned the sale and distribution of turtles in 1975

 

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Recalls

 

 

Jonnly Fruits Recalls Several Beverages for Undeclared Milk Derivative

May 12, 2012 By

Jonlly Fruits Inc. of Puerto Rico is recalling Jonnly Fruit and Natural Tropic beverages in several flavors because they contain undeclared sodium caseinate, a milk derivative, that is one of the major food allergens. The FDA has posted this recall in Spanish. You can see all product labels at the FDA site.

Product details:

 

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Whole Foods Market Recalls Cupcakes for Undeclared Walnuts

Whole Foods Market is recalling its variety cupcake six-packs sold in Northern California because some of the cupcakes contain undeclared walnuts. Walnuts are tree nuts, one of the major food allergens.

One illness has been reported. Anyone with an allergy to walnuts may suffer a serious or life-threatening reaction if they eat these cupcakes.

Product details:

 

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Nestlé Recalls Purina Veterinarian Diets OM Canned Cat Food for Thiamine Deficiency

Kitten pawing at pet foodNestlé Purina PetCare (NPP) is recalling one lot of Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management canned cat food because it has low levels of Vitamin B1 (thiamine).

Product details:

  • Purina Veterinary Diets® OM Overweight Management Feline Formula
  • 5.5 ounce cans
  • “Best By” Date JUN 2013
  • Production Code 11721159
  • UPC number 38100 – 13810
  • Sold by veterinarians in the United States and Canada
  • Distributed to clinics between June 2011 and May 2012 in the U.S. and Canada
  • Not sold in retail stores

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Articles of Interest

EPA Grossly Misrepresents The Toxicity Of Corexit Used In Gulf Of Mexico

Susan Aarde
Activist Post
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© Apalachicola Bay Corexit Poisoning

Quite incredibly, the EPA issued a positive report on May 1, 2012 regarding the safety and toxicity of various dispersants used in the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Included in this assessment was the use of Corexit.

This report “indicated that all eight dispersants had roughly the same toxicity,” and all fell into the “practically non-toxic” or “slightly toxic” category. Scientists found that none of the eight dispersants displayed endocrine-disrupting activity of “biological significance.”

The same report went on to say that “dispersant-oil mixtures were generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone.”

The first question that jumps out for those who have researched this subject with any degree of thoroughness is how this recent report fails to reconcile with previous studies performed by the EPA.

Here is some test data retrieved from the EPA website that was posted previous to the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

The dispersant (Corexit 9500) and dispersed oil have demonstrated the following levels of toxicity per the EPA website link that follows:

(1) 10.72 parts per million (ppm) of oil alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(2) 25.20 parts per million of dispersant (Corexit 9500) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(3) 2.61 parts per million of dispersed oil (Corexit-laden) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

This data diverges from the recent report to such a significant degree that the results which were just posted at the EPA.gov website under the title of “The BP Oil Spill: Responsive Science Supports Emergency Response” must be seriously scrutinized.

What is the buying public to make of such conflicting data? Those who have medical conditions which require complete avoidance of toxic seafood need to know with certainty what they are eating.

Likewise, the fishermen in the Gulf need to know the true condition of their catch. Swimmers and beachgoers need to know the state of the water, as well as the beaches. Boaters ought to be informed of the relevant risk factors when out in the areas of recently sprayed waters, whether surface or deep sea.

The most serious questions to emerge from this report revolve around the issue of credibility. Can the EPA ever be trusted again to conduct the necessary research regarding anything having to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by BP?

Issuing such blanket statements about the relatively low toxicity associated with this spill, irrespective of location on the beach, in the waters, in the wetlands or estuaries, seems to be quite disingenuous.

Furthermore, the federal government’s declaration that the “clean up phase” of the Deepwater Horizon spill is over begs for review, especially in light of the large quantities of submerged oil unaccounted for residing in the water column, DOJ’s discovery of false flow rate numbers reported by BP and new sightings of oil slicks all over the Gulf.

In light of all that, the clean up phase is not over and further use of Corexit dispersant isn’t an effective solution.

Moreover, the fact that the EPA has approved for use a very safe bioremediation agent known as Oil Spill Eater II, but has yet to allow its use in the Gulf raises many additional questions.

From our investigation, it has become clear that Corexit has been given preferential treatment over other much safer alternatives. The Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (GOSRC) was quoted as follows in this regard:

When we heard about Oil Spill Eater II, and the fact that it is EPA-approved (NCP listed) and has demonstrated its effectiveness at least 14 times for the BP Gulf Oil Spill, we wondered why it wasn’t being used 24/7.

The GOSRC went on to issue a press release entitled: Coalition Of Enviro, Citizens And Political Groups Demand COREXIT Use Be Stopped which pointed out the deliberate false image which has been created around the use of this toxic dispersant – Corexit 9500.

The Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) also made the recent observations in their press release entitled: BP Gulf Oil Spill Revisited.

Many of these studies point out the obvious; that when you mix a tremendous volume of released oil with methane gas and further mix it with a toxic dispersant like Corexit, as they have done throughout this oil spill, a chemical cocktail is created that will have as far-reaching ecological ramifications as it will profound environmental consequences.

The Earth Orgainization (TEO) has also weighed in on this issue through their release of an excellent documentary entitled: Hidden Crisis in the GULF. Barbara Wiseman, TEO President, has been an ardent advocate for safer oil remediation measures since the very beginning of this oil spill. She has said that:

At the beginning of the disaster, TEO investigated to find effective, non-toxic technologies currently available in adequate supply to clean up an oil spill of this size. Once we isolated the best solutions, we then investigated to find what the barriers to getting them implemented were. The barriers have all come down to specific people in the EPA. They are, in effect, holding the Gulf hostage and, for some unexplained reason, won’t let it be cleaned up.

Lastly, perhaps the words of Steven Pedigo reflect the voice of reason more than any other in this ongoing oil spill when he was quoted in A 2nd Anniversary Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spillas follows:

The toxic dispersants add absolutely nothing to EFFECTIVE RESPONSE. There is no scientific basis for it, and their use violates The Clean Water Act, EPA’s charter and common sense.

Corexit’s label clearly states it can cause kidney failure and death and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) specifically warns, ‘Do not contaminate surface water with it. Additionally, toxicity testing in regards to marine species shows little tolerance by all forms of sea life; thus, applying it on spills as a preferred response method increases the toxicity of the spilled oil on which it is used.

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