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Archive for the 'Toxic Food' Category

HEALTH WATCH! FDA OKAY’S IRRADIATION OF FRESH SPINACH AND ICEBERG LETTUCE

Posted in Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, Toxic Food on August 22nd, 2008

PRODUCE SUPPLIERS CLAIM MODERN TECHNOLOGY WILL PREVENT PRODUCE FROM BECOMING LIMP

spinach.jpgPotentially limp produce notwithstanding, the Food and Drug Administration has given its ok for produce suppliers to begin irradiating fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce to help in the fight against e-coli and other bacterial illnesses.

The new ruling goes into effect immediately amid significant speculation that the use of the controversial process is a poor substitute for properly maintained fields and for washing the product in the home prior to eating.

Irradiation has been around for years, though it was mainly used to rid beef of e-coli and to cure certain spices. But that was before 2006’s e-coli outbreak where three people died and 200 more were sickened after eating raw spinach.

The spinach outbreak was traced to animal contamination of the product prior to harvesting. Also being this controversial process are tomatoes and peppers, the latter the source of this summers outbreak of salmonella.

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CONSUMER ALERT! MORE BAD BEEF

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Health Watch, Public Service Announcement, Toxic Food, Toxin Alert! on August 9th, 2008

FOR THE SECOND TIME IN AS MANY MONTHS BEEF FROM NEBRASKA BEEF LTD MAY BE CONTAMINATED WITH E. COLI

burgers.jpgNebraska Beef Ltd. announced Friday night that it is recalling 1.2 million pounds of fresh ground beef because the product may be contaminated with E. coli. This is the second time in as many months that the company has had to recall product. Last months recall is blamed for at least 49 cases of E. coli.

Stores affected by this latest recall include Whole Foods Markets in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D. C., Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Canada.

To date, Whole Foods reports that seven people in Massachusetts and two people in Pennsylvania have become ill after eating the affected meat. The company is requesting that customers who purchased ground beef from June 2 though Aug. 6 to return it to the store with the packaging or receipt for a refund.

For more information, consumers can call 512-542-0878.

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PLANT RESPONSIBLE FOR 143 MILLION POUND BEEF RECALL, EXPECTED TO CLOSE

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corruption Watch, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on February 25th, 2008

CALIFORNIA MEATPACKER A MAJOR SUPPLIER TO THE NATIONAL SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM

sickcowa11.jpgThe death knell is sounding for Chino, California meatpacker, Hallmark/Westland, following last weeks recall of 143 million pounds of fresh and frozen beef processed at the privately held California plant.

The recall, the industry’s largest, was ordered by the USDA following the release of an undercover video by the Humane Society of the United States, showing workers at the company’s Chino, California facility attempting to force injured or sick cows to stand with forklifts and electric-shock devices.

USDA rules prohibit “downer” cows from entering the food supply as the inability to stand can often be a symptom of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, better known to us mere mortals as mad-cow disease.

But the company’s alleged offenses did not stop there. The USDA also claims to have evidence that Hallmark/Westland employees had permitted some “downer” cows to go to slaughter after the cows had previously passed a preslaughter inspection. In such instances, meatpackers are required to contact USDA veterinarians for an additional inspection, something that the regulatory agency claims that Hallmark/Westland did not do.

As one who enjoys a good cheeseburger from time to time, I find myself unable, no make that unwilling, to feel all that bad for this company. Mad cow is nothing to be trifled with, as is any of the food borne illnesses. The failure to be conscious of this and to act accordingly reflects that this company, like so many others, possesses a culture which rewards greed and not employees dong what is best for their product’s end users. Employees do not make these sort of decisions on their own. Management was either aware of this or was so incompetent that they do not deserve to be in a business where their actions can impact on so many of our lives. What makes this situation particularly infuriating is that Hallmark/Westland is a major supplier of meat products to the National School Lunch Program.

Hopefully a fair investigation will be pursued and those found culpable charged in the appropriate jurisdiction.

One of the unfortunate realities of life today is that the majority of American corporations cannot be trusted to act in the best interest of their customers. The lure of record profits is enough in far too many instances for companies to be willing to play the odds. In this case, they got caught. But what about all of the times that this sort of action takes place and the first we know of it is when people start getting sick? Perhaps if we started holding the leaders of companies personally responsible for the actions of their companies, sincere efforts would be taken to ensure safer manufacturing processes. There is nothing like the threat of a protracted legal matter to make one think twice about committing criminal acts.

But then again, to do this, we would need to have a sufficient number of line inspectors to oversee these plants. Maybe when George Bush has ridden off into the sunset we will once again return sanity to the corporate arena.

- LIB

READ MORE….

Link to Humane Society Video

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RECORD BEEF RECALL

Posted in Corporate Greed, Corruption Watch, Health Watch, Toxic Food on February 19th, 2008

CALIFORNIA SLAUGHTERHOUSE PROVIDED BEEF TO SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMS

2007-10-05-meat_patties1.jpgThe US Agriculture Department has ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from Chino, California based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. The slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, is alleged to have not routinely contacted its veterinarian when cattle became non-ambulatory after passing inspection, which is a violation of health regulations.

READ MORE….

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DANGEROUS LEVELS OF MERCURY FOUND IN NYC TUNA SUSHI

Posted in Health Watch, Toxic Food, Toxin Alert! on January 23rd, 2008

LABORATORY TESTS FOUND SO MUCH MERCURY IN TUNA SUSHI FROM 20 MANHATTAN STORES AND RESTAURANTS THAT SIX PIECES A WEEK WOULD EXCEED THE LEVELS CONSIDERED ACCEPTABLE BY THE EPA

tunasushi.jpegSushi from 5 of the 20 places had mercury levels so high that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market. The sushi was bought by The New York Times in October.

“No one should eat a meal of tuna with mercury levels like those found in the restaurant samples more than about once every three weeks,” said Dr. Michael Gochfeld, professor of environmental and occupational medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J.

Although the samples were gathered in New York City, experts believe similar results would be observed elsewhere.

READ MORE…

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SAN FRANCISCO CONSIDERS A TAX ON BEVERAGES HIGH IN FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

Posted in Conscious Actions, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on December 17th, 2007

PROPOSAL COMES AS CALIFORNIA CONSIDERS SLAPPING CAFFEINE-INFUSED SODAS, AND ENERGY DRINKS WITH WARNING LABELS, SAYING CONSUMPTION CAN CONTRIBUTE TO DIABETES

soft_drink_shelf1.JPG For years, the idea of taxing soda to beat back obesity has been tossed around in medical circles. But now, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing a tax on beverages high in fructose corn syrup.

Newsom says obesity accounts for tens of millions of dollars in city health care costs. He cites a recent San Francisco Health Department survey that found nearly a quarter of the city’s 5th, 7th and 9th graders were overweight and that high sugar drinks make up a tenth of a kid’s daily calorie count.

Newsom reportedly wants all big box retailers and chain drug stores to pay into his new “Shape up San Francisco” program, which started this past summer with a walking regimen.

Source: KCBS Radio San Francisco

Listen to KCBS’s Report

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BEEF INDUSTRY SUFFERS NEAR RECORD NUMBER OF RECALLS IN 2007 FOR E. COLI CONTAMINATION

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Corporate Greed, Corporate Responsibility, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on December 10th, 2007

INDUSTRY BLAMES EVERYTHING FROM THE CYCLICAL NATURE OF PATHOGENS TO CHANGES IN CATTLE-FEEDING PRACTICES CAUSED BY THE POPULARITY OF ETHANOL

topps-meat.jpgIn a time of the year traditionally dominated by lists tallying the best of this or the worst of that, perhaps the most disturbing is the one memorializing the near record number of recalls of chop meat suspected of being infected with the E.coli pathogen.

For those of us keeping score, to date, and this is with at least three weeks to go in 2007, there have been twenty major chop meat recalls. This is just one short of the record of 21 recalls established in 2000 and repeated in 2002. But what makes this number particularly distressing is that it represents a more than doubling over 2006’s numbers and a tripling of those reported in 2005.

Now I love the reasons the meat industry is giving for the recalls, everything from the cyclical nature of pathogens to changes in cattle-feeding practices caused by the popularity of ethanol.

While it is likely that each of these may have played at least some part in the increase, what the report fails to address is the impact on these numbers of the near decimation by the Bush administration of the ranks of federal food inspectors. In the past these men and women regularly inspected the offending plants and forced the meat industry to adhere to certain minimum health standards. Now, corporations are expected to self-police. Clearly the numbers make the case for their inability to do so.

- LIB

MORE….

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FOOD SUPPLIES FEEL GLOBAL WARMING’S HEAT

Posted in Global Warming, News Brief, Toxic Food on November 26th, 2007

THE WORLD’S POOR EXPECTED TO BEAR THE BRUNT

farmers_mkt_02_o_large.jpgFrom meat, poultry and milk to potatoes, onions and leafy greens, everything consumed on the world’s dining tables is feeling the heat from climate change, scientists say.

Researchers are trying to establish the extent to which global warming will affect livestock, plant life and staple crops such as rice to bolster their resistance to disease and breed stronger varieties.

“In some ways, the time for doing things is already past,” said John McDermott, deputy director of research at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute. “The changes are already happening.”

MORE….

Source: AFP / Raw Story

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FUDGING THE MEANING OF “NATURAL”

Posted in Corporate Greed, Corporate Polluters, Eco Thugs, Gen. Modified Foods, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on November 7th, 2007

FOOD GIANTS BATTLE OVER ‘NATURAL’ FOOD DESIGNATION

2007-09-19-national_debt1.jpgLooking to hitch their wagon to the estimated $13 billion-a-year “natural” foods and beverage market, food providers including Sara Lee, Farmer John, Cadbury Schweppes and Tyson Foods, are looking to Uncle Sam to broaden the rules and regulations that define the word “natural”.

This is bad news in todays food environment where products are quite commonly either genetically enhanced to fight disease and increase output, or zapped with radiation as a way to enhance their shelf life.

Essentially, the Agriculture Departments strict interpetation of what can and what cannot be labeled as “natural”, is all that stands between us and the previously mentioned practices. By definition, products can only be labeled “natural” “if such a claim is truthful and not misleading and the product does not contain added color, artificial flavors or synthetic substances”.

If the food providers have their way, chickens fattened with salt water and broth, soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, and sliced roast beef flavored with sodium lactate will be able to be labeled as “natural.”

The Huffington Post has a detailed look at the matter at this link.

-LIB

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HEALTH ALERT! MILLIONS OF FROZEN PEPPERONI PIZZAS RECALLED

Posted in Corporate Carelessness, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Food on November 2nd, 2007

NEARLY 5 MILLION TOTINO’S AND JENO’S PEPPERONI FROZEN PIZZAS RECALLED BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE E. COLI CONTAMINATION

totinosrecall.jpg This latest recall of the approximately five million pizzas confirms what I have been saying in these pages for some time now; that the meat industry, like so much of corporate America, is incapable of maintaining voluntary quality- control standards and needs to be subjected, once again, to regular federal inspection.

The alternative, of doing nothing and leaving it to the market to police itself, as it has these past six years under George Bush, can only lead to disaster.

To date, we have been lucky and most of the products recalled have been discovered before racking up any significant number of casualties. Though I am sure that those unfortunate enough to have sustained permanent kidney damage and face a life on dialysis, merely from eating e-coli tainted food products, would disagree.

If the meat industry was thinking long term and not just to the next quarterly profit statement, they would welcome federal regulation. While it may affect their bottom line initially, it would insure their continued presence in the marketplace

Otherwise, the alternative is that consumers, concerned for the health of their families and tired of the constant recalls and the collateral damage that comes along with it, start opting out of purchasing ANY packaged products from the companies involved. This would result in a financial hit to the meat industry far greater than would be incurred by the companies maintaining higher safety standards and working with the federal regulators.

But then, maybe things are as they should be….

Think about it, what better way to convince consumers to become more conscious of their food choices then to scare them into becoming aware of what goes into the products that they eat. On a positive note, maybe people will finally see for themselves how unhealthy most of these packaged products really are.

I’s also possible that this latest recall will have the positive effect of driving more and more shoppers to the smaller product brands, which while they may cost a little more, maintain high quality control standards. These companies do exist. Amy’s, a particular favorite here in the EarthWatch newsroom, offers a complete line of frozen food products, including several pizzas that are delicious and equally important, safe to eat. It’s a hell of a thing when we have to
rate our food by whether it is safe or not to eat. But unfortunately, we must. As I see it, life is enough of a crapshoot. My diet doesn’t’ need to be.

-LIB

The recall includes about 5 million pizza products that are in stores, as well as any that are in consumers’ freezers, according to General Mills, which makes both of the brands being

Consumers are urged to check their refrigerator for the following Totino’s and Jeno’s frozen pizzas:

Totino’s Party Supreme (SKU number 42800-10700)
Totino’s Three Meat (SKU number 42800-10800)
Totino’s Pepperoni (SKU numbers 42800-11400 and 42800-92114)
Totino’s Classic Pepperoni (SKU number 42800-11402)
Totino’s Pepperoni Trio (SKU number 42800-72157)
Totino’s Party Combo (SKU number 42800-11600)
Totino’s Combo (SKU number 42800-92116)
Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Supreme (SKU number 35300-00561)
Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Pepperoni (SKU number 35300-00572)
Jeno’s Crisp ‘n Tasty Combo (SKU number 35300-00576)

E. coli bacteria can cause diarrhea (which may be bloody) and abdominal cramps. Most people recover within a week without treatment, but severe cases can occur and are more common in babies, elders, and people with weak immune systems.

MORE….

Source: WebMD Medical News

THE MOST COMMON COMPLICATION FROM E. COLI INFECTION
is called hemolytic uremic syndrome. People with this problem get hemolytic anemia (which is a low red blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (which is a low platelet count) and renal failure (which is kidney damage).

Hemolytic uremic syndrome is more common in children. It can cause acute renal failure in children. This problem starts about 5 to 10 days after the diarrhea starts. People with this problem must go to a hospital for medical care.

Source: Family DOctor.org

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