Posts Tagged "Food safety"

meatMechanically tenderized beef will need to be so labeled by May 2016, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The new labeling requirements cover raw or partially cooked beef products, the FSIS said in a statement.

“This commonsense change will lead to safer meals and fewer foodborne meat 2illnesses,” said USDA Deputy Undersecretary Al Almanza.

Some cuts of beef are tenderized mechanically by piercing them with needles or small blades in order to break up tissue. But the process can introduce pathogens from the surface of the cut to the interior, making proper cooking very important.

The potential presence of pathogens in the interior of these products means meat 3they should be cooked differently than intact cuts, the statements said. “FSIS is finalizing these new labeling requirements because mechanically tenderized products look no different than intact product, but it is important for consumers to know that they need to handle them differently,” the agency said.

Labels must include not only that the meat was mechanically tenderized, but validated cooking instructions as well, including minimum internal temperature, the FSIS said. Since 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received reports of six outbreaks attributable to needle- or blade-tenderized beef products, the statement said.

Source: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Eat 1A new study may help explain why glucose tolerance — the ability to regulate blood-sugar levels — is lower at dinner than at breakfast for healthy people, and why shift workers are at increased risk of diabetes.

In a highly controlled study of 14 healthy individuals, a team led by researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) measured the independent influences that behavioral factors (mealtime, sleep/wake cycle, and more), the body’s internal clock (circadian system), and misalignment between these two components had on a person’s ability to control blood-sugar levels. The team reports its findings — with implications for shift workers and for the general public — in the week of April 13 in PNAS.eat 2

“Our study underscores that it’s not just what you eat, but also when you eat that greatly influences blood-sugar regulation, and that has important health consequences,” said co-corresponding author Frank Scheer, Harvard Medical School (HMS) associate neuroscientist and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders and Departments of Medicine and Neurology at BWH. “Our findings suggest that the circadian system strongly affects glucose tolerance, independent from the feeding/fasting and sleep/wake cycles.”

Source: Harvard Gazette

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A popular and controversial sports supplement widely sold in the USA and other countries is secretly spiked with a chemical similar to methamphetamine that appears to have its origins as an illicit designer recreational drug, according to new tests by scientists in the USA and South Korea.

The test results on samples of Craze, a pre-workout powder made by New York-based Driven Sports and marketed as containing only natural ingredients, raise significant health and regulatory concerns, the researchers said. The U.S. researchers also said they found the same methamphetamine-like chemical in another supplement, Detonate, which is sold as an all-natural weight loss pill by another company: Gaspari Nutrition.

“These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there’s absolutely no guarantee of quality control,” said Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis of Craze samples being published today in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Drug Testing and Analysis.

“It has never been studied in the human body,” Cohen warned. “Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown.”

Craze, which is marketed as giving “unrelenting energy and focus” in workouts, was named 2012’s “New Supplement of the Year” by Bodybuilding.com. A USA TODAY investigation published in July reported on other tests detecting amphetamine-like compounds in Craze.

While Walmart.com and several online retailers have stopped selling Craze in the wake of USA TODAY’s investigation, the product has continued to be sold elsewhere online and in GNC stores. In recent weeks, Driven Sports’ website, which offers Craze for sale, has said the product is out of stock. Detonate is sold by a variety of online retailers.

An attorney for Driven Sports, Marc Ullman, said the company had no comment on the latest findings that the compounds are actually more closely related to methamphetamine.

Cohen said researchers informed the FDA in May about finding the new chemical compound in Craze. The team found that the compound — N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine — has a structure similar to methamphetamine, a powerful, highly addictive, illegal stimulant drug. They believe the new compound is likely less potent than methamphetamine but greater than ephedrine.

“There are suggestions about how it’s tweaked that it should not be as addictive as meth,” Cohen said. But because it hasn’t been studied, he said, its dangers aren’t known. The team said it began testing Craze in response to several failed urine drug tests by athletes who said they had taken Craze.

Driven Sports has issued repeated statements in recent months that Craze does not contain any amphetamine-like compounds, including posting test results on its website that it says prove the product is clean. In July, a USA TODAY investigation revealed that a top Driven Sports official — Matt Cahill — is a convicted felon who has a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death. Cahill is currently facing federal charges in California involving his introduction of another supplement, Rebound XT, to the market in 2008 that contained an estrogen-reducing drug, and this spring a grand jury was also investigating, USA TODAY has reported.

The newspaper’s investigation, which focused on several products sold over the years by Cahill’s changing series of companies, reported that tests by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in June 2012 and a government-affiliated forensic lab in Sweden in April 2013 had detected undisclosed amphetamine-like compounds in samples of Craze.

A month after USA TODAY published its report about Cahill and Craze, a team of South Korean scientists published an article in a journal of the Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology saying they had found a methamphetamine-like compound in samples of Candy Grape flavor and Berry Lemonade flavor Craze.

The researchers, from the National Forensic Service in South Korea and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, noted that the compound found in Craze was the same as that found in a crystalline powder seized by narcotics agents in December 2011 as a suspected illicit designer drug. In that case the powder was found in an unclaimed lost package shipped from Vietnam to South Korea, according to an earlier journal article published by the team in late 2012. “It appeared that the recipient of this article sought to abuse this chemical in the same way as amphetamines. There is a possibility that this chemical will be widely abused for recreational use in the near future,” they wrote at the time.

Instead, the same team soon found the compound in Craze.

The researchers noted that the compound had been patented in 1988 by Knoll Pharmaceuticals with claims of psychoactive effects, such as enhancing mental activities and pain tolerance. While it was never developed into a medicine, the patent described tests on animals and suggested an intended oral dose of 10 mg to 150 mg, with a target of 30 mg.

A suggested serving size of Craze yielded a dose of the compound of about 23 mg, the Japanese journal article said, and “it could be assumed that NADEP was added to the supplements intentionally for its pharmacological effects without adequate labeling.” The U.S. research team also found the meth-like substance at levels of 21 mg to 35 mg per serving in each of the samples tested from three separate lots of Craze.

Craze’s label does not disclose the compound found by the researchers. Instead it says the product contains dendrobium orchid extract that was concentrated for different phenylethylamine compounds. Phenylethylamines include a variety of chemicals “that range from benign compounds found in chocolate to synthetically produced illicit drugs,” according to the U.S. researchers.

The U.S. researchers noted that an “extensive” search of scientific literature does not find any evidence that the compound listed on Craze’s label has ever been documented as a component of dendrobium orchid extract. The U.S. research team included Cohen; John Travis, a scientist at NSF International, a Michigan-based testing and standards organization that has a dietary supplement certification program; and Bastiaan Venhuis of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.

Although not part of the journal article being published today, NSF International announced that in separate testing they also have detected the same methamphetamine-like compound in the weight-loss supplement Detonate sold by Gaspari Nutrition. “Regulators may want to consider taking action to warn consumers,” NSF International said in a statement. Gaspari markets Detonate as containing “dendrobium extract.”

Last year Driven Sports posted a series of blog items on its website alerting customers that counterfeit versions of Craze were being sold. “Could there be counterfeit products, of course,” Cohen said. “Chances are this is more likely an effort by the manufacturer to distract regulators and consumers from what’s really going on here.”

Source: USA Today

Read more at Food Poisoning Bulletin.

cheese

Last week the Maryland State Public Health Laboratory identified Listeria preliminarily determined to be Listeria monocytogenes from retail cheeses produced by Roos Foods out of Kenton, Delaware. Roos Foods produces Latin-style cheeses under several product labels (Santa Rosa de Lima, Amigo, Mexicana, Suyapa, La Chapina, La Purisima, Crema Nica) and distributes its products to VA, MD and DC. Food safety inspectors from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services have also reported the presence of this bacterium in a sample of cheese collected from a Virginia retail location. As a measure of precaution District food safety officials are pulling the products from shelves at retail locations.

As of February 21, 2014, no cases of Listeria associated with this cheese have been reported to the DC Department of Health, but we would like clinicians to be aware of this potential health risk. Listeriosis associated with contaminated food can cause a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms ranging from febrile gastroenteritis to potentially fatal bacteremia and meningitis in higher risk groups such as older adults and persons with certain medical conditions1. Pregnant women infected with this bacterium frequently experience a mild influenza-like illness or an asymptomatic infection1. Pregnancy-associated listeriosis can result in fetal loss, preterm delivery, invasive neonatal infection, and infant death1. Anyone who purchased the product should be advised not consume it and to discard any remaining portions.

Listeriosis is a reportable disease in DC. Healthcare providers are required to report cases of Listeriosis to the DC Department of Health, Division of Epidemiology– Disease Surveillance and Investigation (DE-DSI) by fax at (202) 442-8060. If you have any questions, please contact us at (202) 442-8141.

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                                   Some Listeria facts:

Listeria can be found in:

  • Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs
  • Refrigerated pates or meat spreads
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products
  • Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as queso fresca, brie, feta, camembert
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Raw sprouts

Incubation period: 3-70 days

Symptoms: Fever, stiff neck, confusion, weakness, vomiting, sometimes preceded by diarrhea

Duration of illness: Days to weeks

Who’s at risk:

  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • Organ transplant patients who are taking drugs to prevent them from rejecting the organ
  • People with certain diseases such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, end-stage renal disease, liver disease, alcoholism, diabetes

Read more at NBC News.

 

Pepsi-One-and-Cancer

The agency is investigating the ingredient after a Consumer Reports study found many sodas with levels of 4-methylimidazole that are questionable. The report included 12 soda brands from five different makers sold in California. Research on the safety of the caramel coloring isn’t consistent, but in California, the chemical is considered a carcinogen and is supposed to be labeled if the amount passes a threshold of 29 micrograms. In the Consumer Reports analysis, two soda products — Pepsi One and the beverage Malta Goya — had levels beyond 29 micrograms. And according to the Associated Press, companies like Coke and Pepsi have asked suppliers to reduce the labeling threshold. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is looking into the matter, but so far, the Associated Press reports, decades of studies on the chemical show there is no known health risk to humans. The FDA will consider new data to determine whether consumers’ exposure to the coloring is affecting their health. The chemical can also form when meat is grilled and coffee beans are roasted.

Source: Time

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