Saturday, December 06, 2008

How Safe Is Our Food? (Part 1)

Food-Related Illness and Death in the United States
Paul S. Mead, Laurence Slutsker, Vance Dietz, Linda F. McCaig, Joseph S. Bresee, Craig Shapiro, Patricia M. Griffin, and Robert V. TauxeCenters for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
To better quantify the impact of foodborne diseases on health in the United States, we compiled and analyzed information from multiple surveillance systems and other sources. We estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. Known pathogens account for an estimated 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths.
Three pathogens, Salmonella, Listeria, and Toxoplasma, are responsible for 1,500 deaths each year, more than 75% of those caused by known pathogens, while unknown agents account for the remaining 62 million illnesses, 265,000 hospitalizations, and 3,200 deaths. Overall, foodborne diseases appear to cause more illnesses but fewer deaths than previously estimated.
More than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food. The causes of foodborne illness include viruses, bacteria, parasites, toxins, metals, and prions, and the symptoms of foodborne illness range from mild gastroenteritis to life-threatening neurologic, hepatic, and renal syndromes. In the United States, foodborne diseases have been estimated to cause 6 million to 81 million illnesses and up to 9,000 deaths each year. However, ongoing changes in the food supply, the identification of new foodborne diseases, and the availability of new surveillance data have made these figures obsolete. New, more accurate estimates are needed to guide prevention efforts and assess the effectiveness of food safety regulations.
Surveillance of foodborne illness is complicated by several factors. The first is underreporting. Although foodborne illnesses can be severe or even fatal, milder cases are often not detected through routine surveillance. Second, many pathogens transmitted through food are also spread through water or from person to person, thus obscuring the role of foodborne transmission. Finally, some proportion of foodborne illness is caused by pathogens or agents that have not yet been identified and thus cannot be diagnosed. The importance of this final factor cannot be overstated. Many of the pathogens of greatest concern today (e.g., Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Cyclospora cayetanensis) were not recognized as causes of foodborne illness just 20 years ago.
In this article, we report new estimates of illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to foodborne diseases in the United States. To ensure their validity, these estimates have been derived by using data from multiple sources, including the newly established Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network (FoodNet). The figures presented include estimates for specific known pathogens, as well as overall estimates for all causes of foodborne illness, known, unknown, infectious, and noninfectious.
Why High-Fructose Corn Syrup Causes Insulin Resistance
Dr. Mercola
A new study in mice sheds light on at least part of the reason for the insulin resistance that can come from diets high in high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener found in most sodas and many other processed foods.
Fructose is much more readily metabolized to fat in the liver than glucose, and in the process can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. NAFLD in turn leads to hepatic insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Researchers showed that mice fed a high-fructose diet could be protected from insulin resistance if a gene known as transcriptional coactivator PPARg coactivator-1b (PGC-1b) was "knocked down" in the animals' liver and fat tissue. PGC-1b controls the activity of several other genes, including one responsible for building fat in the liver. This suggests an important role for PGC-1b in the pathogenesis of fructose-induced insulin resistance.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
According to the latest statistics, new cases of diabetes have increased by 90 percent in the last 10 years, and diabetes or pre-diabetes now strikes one in four Americans. Those are absolutely astounding statistics to say the least.
There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the primary fuels for this epidemic is the excess consumption of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Several studies over the past few years have also come to this conclusion, including this latest study in Cell Metabolism, in which the researchers note:
“Insulin resistance is a common feature of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Both have reached epidemic proportions worldwide with the global adoption of the westernized diet along with increased consumption of fructose, stemming from the wide and increasing use of high-fructose corn syrup sweeteners.
It is well established that fructose is more lipogenic than glucose, and high-fructose diets have been linked to hypertriglyceridemia, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and insulin resistance.
Unfortunately, this study does nothing to further the return to a more sane approach to health, but will likely just create even more problems as they propose their findings could lead to yet another drug treatment to hamper the harmful effects of HFCS consumption.
Absolutely in line with the drug model, and one has to seriously wonder if they weren’t behind this study.
The answer is clearly not to create more drugs to combat the problem of diabetes, but rather to educate the public about healthier eating habits – which includes AVOIDING high fructose corn syrup as much as possible.
Scientists have clearly linked the rising HFCS consumption to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS compared to regular sugar.
Despite all the evidence, the industry persists in claiming these findings are untrue, arguing that HFCS is the same as sugar. Their campaign also relies on nutritional research, but it should be noted that the funding for many of the major studies in question came from companies with a financial stake in the outcome.
Reminds me quite a bit of the tobacco lobby’s consistent denial that smoking causes lung cancer until they had no choice but to admit it.
How Much High Fructose Corn Syrup is in Your Diet?
The obesity and diabetes epidemics are no surprise when you consider the fact that the number one source of calories in America is high fructose corn syrup in soda.
There are about 40 grams of HFCS per can – more than the American Medical Association’s recommended daily maximum for ALL caloric sweeteners. And that’s without adding in all the corn syrup now found in every type of processed, pre-packaged food you can think of.
In fact, the use of high fructose corn syrup in the U.S. diet increased a staggering 10,673 percent between 1970 and 2005, according to the latest USDA Dietary Assessment of Major Trends in U.S. Food Consumption report. That too is no major surprise considering that processed foods account for more than 90 percent of the money Americans spend on their meals.
All in all, according to the USDA’s report, about one-quarter of the calories consumed by the average American is in the form of added sugars – the majority of which comes from high fructose corn syrup.
Folks, this is an absolute prescription for disaster. Is it any wonder that we are suffering epidemics of chronic diseases that are contributing to the economic collapse, as they require expensive drug and surgical solutions that only treat the symptoms, but do nothing to address the cause of the disease?
Why High Fructose Corn Syrup IS Worse For You than Sugar
If you need to lose weight, or if you want to avoid diabetes and heart disease, fructose is one type of sugar you’ll want to avoid, particularly in the form of high-fructose corn syrup. Part of what makes HFCS such a dangerous sweetener is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar.According to Dr. Elizabeth Parks, associate professor of clinical nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of a study on fructose, published in the Journal of Nutrition just last year:
"Our study shows for the first time the surprising speed with which humans make body fat from fructose. Once you start the process of fat synthesis from fructose, it's hard to slow it down. The bottom line of this study is that fructose very quickly gets made into fat in your body."
This occurs because most fats are formed in your liver, and when sugar enters your liver, it decides whether to store it, burn it or turn it into fat. Fructose, however, bypasses this process and simply turns into fat.
Additionally, there’s hard empirical evidence showing that refined man-made fructose like HFCS metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose. And one of the most thorough scientific analyses published to date on this topic found that fructose consumption leads to decreased signaling to your central nervous system from the hormones leptin and insulin.
Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.
Decreased insulin and leptin signaling is also a main cause of diabetes and a host of other obesity-related conditions.
How HFCS Contributes to Diabetes
In addition to everything already mentioned -- including these latest findings that HFCS consumption can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, followed by hepatic insulin resistance and then type 2 diabetes -- research reported at the 2007 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, found evidence that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS may contribute to the development of diabetes because it contains high levels of reactive compounds that trigger cell and tissue damage that cause diabetes.
Chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS were found to have ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls. Reactive carbonyls are undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules, and are believed to cause tissue damage.
By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar because its fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable.
Reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and are linked to the health complications of diabetes. It is estimated that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.
How HFCS Contributes to Heart Disease
HFCS is also known to significantly raise your triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol). Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts. Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
Additional Health Dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup
As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, fructose also does not contain any enzymes, vitamins or minerals so it takes these micronutrients from your body while it assimilates itself for use.
Unbound fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart's use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.
Please note that this does not mean you should avoid whole fruit, however, as it contains natural fructose together with the enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for your body to assimilate the fructose. Eating small amounts of whole fruit also does not provide a tremendous amount of fructose, and is not likely to be a problem for most people unless diabetes or obesity is an issue.
And lastly, adding insult to injury, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns. GMO corn will radically increase your risk of developing corn allergies. The problem with corn allergies are that once you have a corn allergy from GMO corn you will have an allergy to even healthy organic corn products.
How You Can Drastically Improve Your Overall Health
If you want to drastically improve your health, the answer is quite simple. To lose weight and reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease, STOP drinking soda and processed fruit juices. Switch to pure water as your beverage of choice and you will be well on your way to better health.
To preserve your health you also need to focus your diet on whole foods based on your personal biochemistry, and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader and avoid foods that contain corn syrup as a main ingredient.
Related Links:
How High Fructose Corn Syrup Damages Your Body
Debate About Dangers of High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Beware of New Media Brainwashing About High Fructose Corn Syrup
Many Indian Herbal Medicines Found to Contain Lead, Mercury or Arsenic
Saturday, March 21, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Approximately one in five Indian herbal medicines sold over the Internet contains dangerously high levels of arsenic, lead or mercury, according to a study conducted by researchers from Boston University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Traditional Indian herbal medicine, known as Ayurvedic medicine, has become increasingly popular in the Western world over the last few years. Research has suggested that traditional Indian herbal techniques can be helpful in treating health problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. "But the key thing is we need to separate out what's helpful and ... what needs to be looked at and perhaps set aside," lead researcher Robert Saper said. "Our first priority must be the safety of the public. Herbs and supplements with high levels of lead, mercury and arsenic should not be available for sale on the Internet or elsewhere." Saper and colleagues conducted an Internet search for Ayurvedic medicines, and purchased a random 230 out of the 673 products that turned up. They ended up receiving 193 of these, which they analyzed for levels of toxic metals.
The researchers found that 20.7 percent of the medicines tested contained toxic metals, and every one of these contained at least one such metal in quantities higher than the maximum recommended daily intake - in some cases, up to 10,000 times higher.
One tradition within Ayurvedic medicine, known as "rasa shastra," involves mixing herbs with metals, minerals and gems. Rasa shastra medicines were more than 100 percent more likely to contain toxic metals than medicines with herbs alone, and also tended to have higher concentrations of mercury and lead. While products manufactured in the United States and India were equally likely to contain toxic metals - 21.7 percent and 19.5 percent, respectively - 95 percent of the potentially toxic products were purchased from U.S. Web sites.
Sources for this story include:
China Admits Nearly 300,000 Infants Hurt by Melamine
Epoch Times Staff
Dec 2, 2008 official press of China said nearly 300,000 babies and toddlers have developed abnormalities in their urinary systems after consuming milk powder that contained melamine earlier this year. The figure is five times the number of victims announced previously.
According to state-owned media Xinhua, the Chinese Ministry of Health announced on Dec. 1 that, as of Nov. 27, there were over 290,000 children who developed abnormalities in their urinary systems after consuming Sanlu brand milk powder and other brands.
Statistics show that a total of over 51,900 children were hospitalized, and 861 of them were still in hospitals, with 154 cases classified as severe.
The vast difference in the figures announced compared to those revealed previously aroused a lot of criticism among Chinese Internet posters. Some supposed that the figure 290,000 is big enough to be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Covering Up the True Number
The poisoned milk powder scandal has drawn attention from all over the world, particularly since Chinese milk products are exported widely. According to the most recent statement from Chinese communist authorities, only three babies have died from drinking milk contaminated with melamine. According to investigative reports in media, however, the number of poisoned infants far exceeds that stated by government officials.
According to an Associated Press (AP) article published mid-November, an interview with a person who wishes to remain unknown revealed that at least 5 babies not reported in official statistics have lost their lives from drinking poisoned milk. The infants were in the provinces of Henan, Shanxi, Jiangxi and Xinjiang. These specific cases were not included in the official report from Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities.
One lawyer from Beijing said that it is obvious that the number of babies who died or suffered permanent injury is much greater than that officially reported.
Delayed Compensation Process
A group of 15 attorneys is now working for the victims to file a compensation lawsuit. However, the Chinese health officials who are responsible for handling the incident refuse to reply to questions about compensation.
Zhang Kai, one of the volunteer lawyers, indicated that they hoped to solve the compensation problem through legal channels. However, no Chinese courts are accepting files to set up a case.
“We have agreed to handle more than 100 cases. We have also received more than 2000 phone calls and more than 100 documents requesting compensation,” said Zhang. “As the victims are so numerous, if the government does not solve the problem properly, this may cause in-depth social instability.” Hu Zongyi, a researcher at China's National Institutes of Health, pointed out that the delay in processing compensation cases is not a technical problem but a political issue.
China Says Likely Six Babies Died From Melamine-poisoned Milk
December 02, 2008 12:16 PM
BEIJING, Dec 2 (Bernama) -- China's Health Ministry said six infants may have died from drinking melamine-tainted infant formula which had sickened thousands of other babies in a scandal that broke in September.
The number of fatalities was raised from the widely reported four deaths which had led to heavy losses and a shake up of the China's massive dairy industry.
The ministry said on its website that it could not rule out the likelihood of six deaths after re-examining 11 cases.
Of the six cases, two were in northwestern Gansu province and one each in Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Guizhou and Shaanxi provinces.
The ministry also said that 294,000 infants had contracted urinary problems and of that, 51,900 were hospitalised with 154 in serious condition.
As of last week, 861 were still warded.Soon after the scandal broke, it was revealed that Sanlu Group, the dairy company at the centre of the scandal, had hidden the problem for several months before it became public after the Olympic Games.
Following that, melamine was also discovered in liquid milk produced by other local Chinese companies, leading to massive bans or recalls of chocolate, ice cream, biscuits and other snacks made with China-sourced milk.China's quality control watchdog rescinded non-exemption inspection privileges granted to dairy companies and set minimum melamine limits on infant formula and dairy products.
Several melamine sellers and milk dealers have been arrested for adding the industrial chemical, banned in food production, to boost the protein reading levels in watered down milk.
90 Percent of U.S. Infant Formula May Be Contaminated with Melamine; FDA Abruptly Declares Chemical Safe for Babies
by Mike Adams, NaturalNews Editor
Up to 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States may be contaminated with trace amounts of melamine, the toxic chemical linked to kidney damage, according to recent tests. The FDA's test results, which the agency hid from the public and only released after the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act request, showed that Nestle, Mead Johnson and Enfamil infant formula products were all contaminated with melamine.
The AP is also reporting that Abbott Laboratories conducted its own in-house tests that detected trace levels of melamine in its formula products. Together, these infant formula manufacturers make about 90 percent of the infant formula sold in the United States.
Prior to these test results being made public, the FDA had published a document on its website that explained there was no safe level of melamine contamination in infant formula. Specifically, the FDA stated, "FDA is currently unable to establish any level of melamine and melamine-related compounds in infant formula that does not raise public health concerns."Once tests found melamine in U.S.-made formula products, however, the FDA changed its story. As of today, the FDA has now officially declared melamine to be safe in infant formula as long as the contamination level is less than one part per million (1 ppm).
Astonishingly: The FDA has no new science to justify its abrupt decision declaring melamine to be safe!
Protecting Big Business instead of American babiesRather than being based on science, the FDA's decision appears to be based entirely on creating cover for U.S. infant formula manufacturers whose products were found to be contaminated with melamine. The "acceptable" level of contamination (1 ppm) is conveniently just above the levels found in U.S. infant formula products, thus placing U.S. infant formula in the "safe" contamination level category.
And yet the FDA has conducted no safety testing whatsoever to determine whether 1ppm of melamine is safe for infants to consume. There is no science involved in this decision whatsoever. Rather than this decision being based on science, the FDA is once again resorting to politically-motivated decisions that seek to protect the profits of Big Business rather than the safety of infants and children.
Recall that the FDA also recently declared Bisphenol-A to be safe for infants to consume, even while countries like Canada banned the chemical from baby bottles. The FDA, it seems has never met a corporate-sponsored chemical it didn't like. [Read entire article at:]
FDA Claims Toxin in Infant Formula is No Big Deal
Posted by Dr. Mercola
December 30, 2008
According to the FDA, levels of melamine found in a sample of U.S. made infant formula do not pose a safety risk.
The agency detected trace amounts of the toxic chemical in a sample of Nestle Nutrition's Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron. Melamine was found in concentrations of 137 and 140 parts per billion. The FDA said that concentrations less than 1,000 parts per billion do not raise safety concerns, although earlier they had argued that no level of melamine was safe.
Agency testing also found cyanuric acid, a chemical relative of melamine, in a single sample of Mead Johnson's Enfamil Lipil with Iron.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
This is another vivid example of how far off track the FDA has traveled from its roots as protector of public safety.
The article cites an especially flagrant violation of public trust in which the FDA outdid itself by
1) completely reversing its position on the safety of melamine in food products, and
2) risking the health of infants in the process.
The truth is that the FDA as it is currently structured is no longer able to protect you and your family. The FDA doesn’t view you as its client. Drug companies have become the FDA’s biggest client, and their interests come well ahead of yours.Sadly, the risk of melamine is no longer contained to just milk products. In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, fish from China have also been found to be contaminated with this industrial chemical. China is the world's largest producer of farm-raised seafood, exporting billions of dollars worth of shrimp, catfish, tilapia, salmon and other fish. The U.S. imported about $2 billion of seafood products from China in 2007, almost double the volume of four years earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to industry experts and businesspeople in China, melamine has been routinely added to fish feed, to boost protein readings. What's worse, new research indicates that the flesh in fish that have been fed melamine still contains residues of the substance.
How Dangerous Is Melamine for Your Baby?
Melamine is a compound composed of nitrogen, carbon and hydrogen. It began appearing in household goods and laminates in the late 1930’s. When combined with formaldehyde and exposed to extreme heat, melamine forms into a moldable material that is virtually unbreakable once cooled.
Inside a human body, melamine combined with cyanuric acid forms into insoluble crystals in renal tubules, kidneys, the ureter, urethra or urinary bladder.
Babies who’ve been fed infant formula containing high concentrations of melamine have shown the following symptoms:
Unexplained fever arising from urinary tract infections
Unexplained crying in infants, especially when urinating, possible vomiting
Small amounts of blood in the urine
Acute obstructive renal failure
Pain on urinating, and passage of stones while urinating
High blood pressure
Pain over the kidneys
Keeping Your Baby Safe
Breastfeeding is without question the best way to keep your child safe from contaminants in commercial formula.
Beyond the concern for safety, there are so many other benefits to breastfeeding – for both you and your baby -- it should be the option of choice whenever possible.
A very short list of some of the positive effects of breastfeeding your baby includes:
Reduced risk of heart disease for baby later in life
Higher intelligence
Reduced risk of obesity in teen years
Reduced womb-to-world trauma for newborns
Mothers who breastfeed return to pre-pregnancy weight faster
Is There a Safe Alternative to Breastfeeding?
Absolutely nothing beats breast milk as a nutritional and health resource for your baby. I can’t stress it enough. There are at least 400 nutrients in breast milk that are not found in formula.
However, if for some reason you’re not able to breastfeed, your next best option is to make a healthy infant formula using raw milk. You can find additional homemade formula recipes here.
Whatever you do, avoid infant soy formula. Unfermented soy is hazardous to your health, and soy formula is one of the worst foods you can feed to your baby.
Melamine Tainted Cookies Found on NY Store Shelves
Posted On: December 12th, 2008
Last week, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) discovered melamine-contaminated cookies on store shelves. The discovery followed a nationwide October 17th recall, which included the Koala’s March Crème-Filled Strawberry Cookies found by NYSDAM, reported the Epoch Times. The recall was initiated by distributor Lotte, USA, the Epoch Times said and the sample tested contained an identical UPC code as the recalled cookies. NYSDAM said that following a recall, some store owners will continue to carry the recalled product on purpose while others may never have learned about the recall.
Melamine is an industrial chemical used in the production of fire retardants, fertilizers, and plastics. Because of its high nitrogen levels, it can create the false appearance of high protein levels in food and Chinese manufacturers are known to have added it to diluted milk to falsely raise its protein levels. In sufficient quantities, ingesting melamine can cause kidney problems, including kidney stones and kidney failure, and in the case of at least six children, death. The melamine scandal was first reported early this fall, said the AP; however, China’s government confirmed that the Shijiazhuang Sanlu Group Co., a dairy firm and key participant in the scandal, knew last year its products were tainted and was also aware company and local officials were involved in a cover-up. The Epoch times noted that this month, the Chinese government admitted that they lied about how many children were sickened, now stating that almost 300,000 infants were affected; the exact number of infant deaths remains unclear, but some reports confirm six fatalities.
According to the Epoch Times, Steve Stich, NYSDAM’s Assistant Director of Food Safety and Inspection said in an email that, “Since this is well below the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) tolerance level of 2.5 ppm, we will not be taking action on this sample. We will, however, keep our eyes out for similar products and continue sampling for melamine.” The cookies’ contamination level, said the Epoch Times, was 0.97 ppm melamine. The information was included in an email sent to Judy Braiman, president and founder of Empire State Consumer Project, a NY consumer protection group, said the Epoch Times. “These cookies are marketed to very young children. No child or adult should be exposed to any melamine in the food they consume,” said Braiman, according to the Epoch Times.
According to the FDA’s October 17 release, Lotte recalled all Koalas’ March Cookies on September 29 over possible melamine contamination and included Koala March King Size cookies in chocolate (1.8 oz/50 grams/UPC 0 81900 00001 7), strawberry (1.8 oz/50 grams/UPC 0 81900 00007 9), and white chocolate (1.8 oz/50 grams/UPC 0 81900 00011 6); Family Pack cookies in chocolate (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08001 9), strawberry (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08002 6), white chocolate (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08011 8), and chestnut (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08010 1); and family Hawaii cookies in chocolate (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08003 3), and pineapple (9.5 oz/270 grams/UPC 0 81900 08004 0).
A wide variety of other products imported from China have been recalled—some internationally—for melamine contamination, including milk products, baby formula, eggs, yogurts, candies, milk teas, crackers, cheese, and cookies, to name some. Most recently the FDA issued a warning about Topaz brand Hazelnut Wafer Rolls and possible melamine contamination, said the Epoch Times.
China's contaminated food scandal widens
By David Barboza
Friday, October 31, 2008
SHANGHAI: Chinese regulators are widening their investigation into contaminated food amid growing signs that the toxic industrial chemical melamine has leached into the nation's animal feed supplies, posing health risks to consumers.
The announcement came after food safety tests earlier this week found that eggs produced in three different provinces in China were contaminated with melamine, which is blamed for causing kidney stones and renal failure in infants. The tests have led to recalls of eggs and consumer warnings.
The reports are another serious blow to China's agriculture industry, which is already struggling to cope with its worst food safety scandal in decades after melamine-tainted milk supplies sickened over 50,000 children, caused at least four deaths and led to global recalls of goods produced with Chinese dairy products earlier this fall.
The cases are fueling global concerns about Chinese food. In Hong Kong, food safety officials announced this week that they would begin testing a wider variety of foods for melamine, including vegetables, flour and meat products. On the mainland, Shanghai and other cities are moving aggressively to test a wide variety of food products for melamine, including fish and livestock feed, according to the state-run news media, which has in recent days carried multiple reports on melamine in animal feed.
In the United States, worried consumers frantically e-mailed one another on Thursday and Friday about the possibility of melamine-tainted Halloween treats following a spate of news reports that some candies and chocolates made in China or with ingredients sourced in China had tested positive for high levels of melamine or been destroyed in recent weeks as a cautionary measure.
A spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration said the agency was adjusting a nationwide sampling of products for melamine "as necessary." The FDA, along with state and local authorities, have been sampling products in Asian markets since mid-September for traces of melamine.
"Thus far, most of FDA's testing of milk and milk-derived ingredients and products from China focused on human foods, but have included animal feeds as well," said the spokeswoman, Stephanie Kwisnek. "The FDA is currently re-evaluating its overall approach to keeping these products out of the U.S. market."
Asian food safety experts warned consumers not to grow too alarmed over the finding of tainted eggs because they contained much lower concentrations of melamine than the powdered baby formula that caused such widespread problems in China.
Hong Kong food safety officials said a child would have to eat about two dozen of the eggs in a single day to become ill.
Still, if eggs, milk and animal feed supplies are tainted, there is the specter of an even wider array of foods that could come under scrutiny, everything from pork and chicken supplies to bread, biscuits, eggs, cakes, seafood and candy.
China is also one of the world's largest exporters of food and food ingredients, including meats, seafood, beverages and vitamins.
Melamine was banned as an animal feed additive in China in July 2007. And last year, United States regulators put tough restrictions on the amount of melamine allowed in food products.
But interviews on Friday, and over the past year, with several Chinese chemical dealers who sell melamine suggests that melamine scrap, the substantially cheaper waste left over after producing melamine, continued to be added to animal and fish feed. [Read entire article at:]
China's oranges suspected of maggot infestation
Nation already battling backlash from melamine found in milk, eggs
Posted: October 31, 2008
Eastern© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Mandarin oranges, possibly in the millions of pounds, have been destroyed in China on suspicions they were infested with fruit fly maggots, according to a new report.
The product contamination problem would be just the latest in a long list of problem products from China on which WND has reported. Previous problems have been uncovered by U.S. authorities in dried apples, peaches, pears, mushrooms, olives, fish, ginseng, red raspberry crumble and other products.
And China still is reeling over the recent discovery of melamine in milk, a problem that already has been blamed for the deaths of several infants, and the finding that melamine also has been discovered in eggs because of its insertion into the food chain.
Now, according to a report in the UK Telegraph, tens of thousands of tons of mandarin oranges have been destroyed in the last few weeks.
The newspaper cited reports from "state media" in revealing the problem.
The report said health inspectors in Shanghai are testing to see if the problem has spread to farmed fish.
According to state media, a farm in the southwestern corner of China reported its crop of mandarin oranges had failed on September 21. The fruit fly diagnosis came a short time later, the report said.
Surveys found orchards across major mandarin-producing regions were affect, but the report said authorities failed to publicly confirm the problem until October 4.
According to the Telegraph, officials even then tried to explain away the problem as being local.
Government officials continue to decline to release full loss figures, the newspaper said, but it cited an estimate for the trouble in one province alone at about a quarter of a billion dollars.
The Telegraph said the new contamination problem comes as China still is trying to recover from reports that batches of eggs were found to be tainted in melamine, a chemical that apparently had been added to chicken feed.
And reports say thousands of babies continue to receive treatment for poisoning by the chemical, which was added to food to improve protein content.
WND previously has reported on frozen catfish from China found to have been laced with banned antibiotics and scallops and sardines coated with bacteria.
Chinese toothpaste also has been found by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to have contained a deadly chemical used in antifreeze.
In one recently resolved case, four defendants pleaded guilty to importing from China more than a half million tubes of toothpaste falsely labeled as the popular brand Colgate that contained the toxic antifreeze ingredient.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice statement, the defendants were responsible for 518,028 tubes of toothpaste worth an estimated $730,419 that were shipped into the country and distributed to bargain retail stores in several states last year.
Chinese imports have been blamed for poisoning America's pets, risking America's human food supply and reintroducing lead poisoning to America's children.
Made in China: tainted food, fake drugs and dodgy paint
World's biggest exporter faces a global crisis of confidence as scandals grow over the quality of many of its goods
Jonathan Watts in Beijing, Thursday July 5 2007 10.05 BST
A Chinese farmer with his harvest of catfish which he bred on his farm in China's eastern province of Zhejiang. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
China is facing a global crisis of consumer confidence as the country's food safety watchdog acknowledged this week that almost a fifth of the domestic products it inspects fail to reach minimum standards. Following a number of contamination scandals in the US, the world's biggest exporter is struggling to prove that it can match quality with quantity.
In the first half of 2007, 19.1% of products made for domestic consumption were found to be substandard, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement on Tuesday. Among products made by small firms, the failure rate was nearly 30%.
"These are not isolated cases," Han Yi, director of the administration's quality control and inspection department, told the state media. Underlining his concerns, officials said hundreds of bottles of fake human blood protein were found in hospitals and excessive amounts of additives and preservatives were detected in children's snacks.
The trust deficit is enormous and growing. Shi Ying, 50, a businesswoman, said she was so concerned about food safety that she found it difficult to shop. "I dare not eat farmed fish or meat because most are fed with growth pills or pumped with bad additives. I worry about vegetables in case they are tainted with pesticide. I even think twice about the water I drink because it might contain heavy metals."
Although Ms Shi lives in Shenzhen, one of China's most-advanced cities, she has started to grow her own vegetables, eat less meat and drink water only from respected bottled brands or the family well. When she does have to shop, she puts safety above patriotism.
"I think foreign food is less risky. Even though they are not as fresh, I trust products from the US, Europe and Japan because those countries protect their environments. Sometimes when I see foreigners blithely eating raw lettuce in Chinese restaurants, I worry for them."
While the worst violations are in the domestic market, the repercussions are felt beyond the country's borders. China fills the shelves of Wal-Mart, Tesco and Sainsbury's with low-price products. But as its world presence has grown, so have concerns about safety.
First, there was a mysterious spate of cat and dog deaths in the US this year that was later attributed to tainted pet food from China. Next, in the US and UK, came the recall of more than 1m Thomas & Friends toy trains coated with poisonous lead paint from China. Then, independence day fireworks were withdrawn in the US because of their dangerously unpredictable sense of direction.
Most of these scandals occurred in the US, where food safety is fast becoming a front in the trade war between the world's biggest consumer and producer.
"I think we have reached a point unfortunately where Made in China is now a warning label in the United States," said a Democratic senator, Richard Durbin, recently. The issue also topped the agenda of recent talks between the US treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, and the Chinese vice-premier, Wu Yi.
Other countries have also expressed concern. Last year Peter Mandelson, the EU trade commissioner, said that European customs officers had seized fake birth control pills and HIV drugs from China. According to Mr Mandelson, half the counterfeit goods found in the EU originate in China.
Japan has also called for higher safety standards, and Singapore, Australia, Panama and the Dominican Republic have recalled millions of tubes of Chinese-made toothpaste that allegedly contained dangerous levels of diethylene glycol, a toxin.
It remains unclear whether this represents a surge in the number of unsafe goods or simply wider coverage at a time of rising trade friction. But the threat to China's business is growing.
In an attempt to quell concerns, the government said yesterday it was drawing up new safety rules for oral care products. Beijing has also promised to revise its inspection system for other products. Last month, the government published its first five-year plan for improving food and drug safety. It closed 180 food factories in the first half of this year and seized tonnes of sweets, pickles, crackers and seafood tainted with formaldehyde, illegal dyes and industrial wax.
But the government also stands accused of reacting slowly to scandal rather than dealing with the root causes: a lack of trust in the safety standards of a country with a profit-first economic policy and a secretive, unaccountable political system.
Public confidence has not been helped by an official response that includes denial and scapegoating.
"I think it would be better if the media would stop playing up this issue," a foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said this week. Last month, the former head of China's food and drug agency, Zheng Xiaoyu, was sentenced to death for accepting 6.5m yuan (£425,000) in bribes from pharmaceutical companies to expedite the approval of new drugs.
Media reassurances are unconvincing. "More than 80% of China's products are up to standard," the Business Daily said yesterday. It was not meant ironically. This was a gain on the previous year.
Along with health and the environment, consumer safety has been one of the biggest victims of the rush to get rich. The domestic market has probably been affected more than international trade because export standards are higher than for goods sold in China. Last month, food inspectors said paraffin wax, dyes, formaldehyde and cancer-causing compounds were detected in food produced by unlicensed and small producers.
There have also been scandals related to fake or poorly made drugs. Last summer, 11 people were killed by antibiotics that contained diethylene glycol, an industrial toxin. In 2005, two boys in Guangdong province died from rabies after receiving bogus vaccinations. A year before, at least 50 babies in Anhui province died and more than 100 were malnourished after being fed fake milk formula, some of which had only 6% of the vitamins, minerals and protein needed for a growing infant.
Cheap food may bring next health crisis
Aleda Roth
Sunday, November 30, 2008
The past decade witnessed the massive offshoring of jobs to low-cost countries, decimating the U.S. manufacturing base. Today, Americans are being challenged by the financial crisis, which has left much of the service economy in shambles. Yet another avalanche may be on the horizon: the lure, and potential liability, of cheap food.
Almost a quarter of the average American's food is imported. But increasingly, imports are from developing countries that do not meet U.S. standards regarding sanitation, worker safety, environmental practices, quality of ingredients and treatment of animals. China is not only providing a larger share of seafood, fruits, vegetables and ingredients for processed foods, it also has a virtual monopoly as a supplier of vitamins, food supplements and many ingredients in pharmaceuticals.
Ordinary Americans learned of the consequences of the gaping loopholes in the financial sector regulations. Yet few know that the government is also ill-equipped to manage the complex web of global food supply chains. This lack of transparency, coupled with a highly fragmented U.S. food safety infrastructure, enables unscrupulous suppliers.
There are 12 federal agencies administering 35 different food safety laws. The Food and Drug Administration inspected only 52 Chinese plants from 1998 to 2005. At U.S. ports, only 1 percent of imported food is tested for biological contaminants. Once found, contaminated food is returned to the source, but the odds are high that the tainted food will be returned to America and evade testing.
To make matters worse, the FDA does not check for nonorganic contaminants, such as heavy metal, that may be present in produce, fish and dietary supplements. Moreover, savvy suppliers sometimes reroute products, especially seafood, to an inland port such as Las Vegas - which has no FDA inspectors.
The United States allows the importation of processed chickens from China - chickens bred and killed in Mexico, and shipped to China frozen and returned for sale in the United States. Wal-Mart sells presumably U.S.-caught shrimp that was processed in China. The bottom line: A significant amount of food can cross the ocean several times before entering the United States - without ever being inspected.
The debacle of the 2007 pet food recalls shows that even the most reputable brands can be contaminated by minuscule ingredients - in this case, melamine-tainted wheat and rice gluten. Months passed before the FDA determined the root cause. The list of recalls grew day by day, creating a huge supply disruption as retailers' shelves remained empty.
Most consumers are unaware that melamine has been found in the urine of U.S. livestock from melamine-imported feed. And more than 2,500 metric tons of imported Chinese dairy ingredients and products entered the U.S. food system in 2007.
Although the FDA contends there is "no risk" to humans, there is little research on its cumulative effects, and kidney ailments were found in thousands of Chinese babies drinking melamine-laced milk.
A 2008 federal study reports that the prevalence of chronic kidney disease in the United States has increased from 20 percent to 25 percent in the past decade - and for older Americans, it is significantly higher. Is it a coincidence that these trends parallel the imports from China?
The problem is that we just don't know.
Traditionally, food was more regional, grown and processed closer to the point of consumption. Western food today has been transformed by consolidation and commoditization, where large conglomerates buy and sell a wide range of ingredients globally. These days, "low price is king."
In China, rules are often broken - and quietly cutting corners is viewed as a survival strategy. Only recently have U.S. authorities implemented regulations regarding country-of-origin labeling for fresh meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. However, such labeling is not required with even the slightest processing, such as cut-up fresh fruits and stuffed fish at the grocers or imported processed chicken.
Few consumers would know that globally sourced food ingredients are in everyday items with familiar brand names like Nutri-Grain bars and Sara Lee bread. "Ingredient sourcing" is veiled in much secrecy - distributors don't want you to know where they get your food. Marketing hype and well-crafted packaging of branded processed foods - even many of those labeled "organic" - often lead us to believe that their ingredients are from U.S. farms. But organic doesn't always mean domestic.
One thing is clear: The current solutions to food quality are not sustainable. Quality risk in global food supply chains cannot be eliminated by fiats, inspections, auditing and testing.
For their part, consumers must take deliberate actions and vote with their pocketbooks. They can seek out information on ingredients traced back to the country of origin, and press for shorter supply chains by requesting more local sourcing at retail establishments.
Companies can make available, when asked, ingredient sourcing information. Food companies should look beyond costs to ensuring quality and consistent enforcement of U.S. standards in the supply chain, from the farm to the fork.
The government needs to play a more interventionist role. U.S. policy can move domestic farming toward more sustainable practices and maintaining a more diverse crop mix needed for food ingredients - and future leverage.
Finally, because the safety of food ingredients sourced from developing countries cannot be inspected or regulated, setting up facilities in host countries - like the FDA in China - provides an opportunity to better understand the root causes of food problems and hasten those nations' path to global standards. The Obama administration should also consider a Cabinet-level agency with authority over all food safety, enforcement and research.
Our health may depend on it.
The food-security checklist
In this global environment, food produced close to home is no longer the norm. The United States' problems with global food sources include:
-- Only 1 percent of imported food is tested at U.S. ports.
-- The FDA does not test for nonorganic contaminants such as heavy metals.
-- Food can cross an ocean several times before entering U.S. ports.
-- Country-of-origin labels don't apply if the food is processed.
-- Organic does not mean domestic.
Aleda Roth, Burlington Industries distinguished professor in supply chain management at Clemson University, is an internationally recognized scholar in global strategic sourcing and operational risk. She is a member of the Supply Chain Thought Leaders Roundtable.
FDA Warns Consumers Nationwide Not to Eat Certain Types of Raw Red Tomatoes
June 7, 2008
Media Inquiries: Kimberly Rawlings, 301-827-6253 Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
The Food and Drug Administration is expanding its warning to consumers nationwide that a salmonellosis outbreak has been linked to consumption of certain raw red plum, red Roma, and red round tomatoes, and products containing these raw, red tomatoes.
FDA recommends that consumers not eat raw red Roma, raw red plum, raw red round tomatoes, or products that contain these types of raw red tomatoes unless the tomatoes are from the sources listed below. If unsure of where tomatoes are grown or harvested, consumers are encouraged to contact the store where the tomato purchase was made. Consumers should continue to eat cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, or tomatoes grown at home.
On June 5, using traceback and other distribution pattern information, FDA published a list of states, territories, and countries where tomatoes are grown and harvested which have not been associated with this outbreak. This updated list includes: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Israel, Netherlands, and Puerto Rico. The list is available at This list will be updated as more information becomes available.
FDA’s recommendation does not apply to the following tomatoes from any source: cherry, grape, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached.
FDA recommends that retailers, restaurateurs, and food service operators not offer for sale and service raw red Roma, raw red plum, and raw red round tomatoes unless they are from the sources listed above. Cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and tomatoes sold with the vine still attached, may continue to be offered from any source.
Since mid April, there have been 145 reported cases of salmonellosis caused by Salmonella Saintpaul nationwide, including at least 23 hospitalizations. States reporting illnesses linked to the outbreak include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Salmonella Saintpaul is an uncommon type of Salmonella.
Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections particularly in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, the organism can get into the bloodstream and produce more severe illnesses. Consumers who have recently eaten raw tomatoes or foods containing raw tomatoes and are experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider. All Salmonella infections should be reported to state or local health authorities.
FDA recognizes that the source of the contaminated tomatoes may be limited to a single grower or packer or tomatoes from a specific geographic area. FDA also recognizes that there are many tomato crops across the country and in foreign countries that will be ready for harvest or will become ready in the coming months. In order to ensure that consumers can continue to enjoy tomatoes that are safe to eat, FDA is working diligently with the states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Indian Health Service, and various food industry trade associations to quickly determine the source of the tomatoes associated with the outbreak.
FDA is taking these actions while the agency continues to investigate this outbreak with state and federal partners. Such actions are a key component of FDA’s Food Protection Plan, a scientific and risk-based approach to strengthen and protect the nation’s food supply.
FDA will continue to issue updates as more specific information becomes available.
How safe is your food?
Twenty dead. A company under siege. The unsettling truth about the Maple Leaf outbreak.
Michael Friscolanti
October 29, 2008
The Clark family reunion was scheduled for the third weekend of July. Uncles and cousins and in-laws, from as far away as Utah and Florida, had marked the date on their calendars months before. Plane tickets were booked, motel rooms were reserved, and the venue was set: Madoc, Ont., (population 2,044).
Frances Clark was at the centre of the plans. The matriarch of the clan baked some of her famous raspberry pies, froze a few pans of homemade lasagna, and spent weeks making sure the house — built by her late husband's grandfather in 1915 — looked just right for the big party. "At breakfast one morning she said: 'You know, I'm going to go into the other room and work on that window,' " recalls her daughter Karen. "There was some caulking on the frame, and she wanted to dig it out so the window would go up and down for the reunion. You wouldn't believe that woman with a hammer. Mike Holmes had nothing on her." Frances Clark was 89 years old.
Later that morning, as she walked to her bedroom for a brief nap, Frances tripped and dislocated her left shoulder. When Karen came home from work, she found her mom lying on the floor, flat on her back. "I said: 'Mother, what are you doing down there?' She said: 'Well, I thought I'd lie here and count the ceiling tiles.' She was hilarious. Count the ceiling tiles? How many women, at 89, would say that?"
Frances spent the next four weeks at Belleville General Hospital. Although she missed the reunion, her out-of-town relatives made sure to stop by for a visit. After they left, Frances made a difficult decision: maybe it's time I move into a nursing home. "She was transferred to Stirling Manor on Aug. 7," her daughter says. "She was making new friends, talking everyone's ear off. This was not some old lady who had lost her marbles and was tied up somewhere, drooling. Far from it."
Two weeks later, Clark was back in a hospital bed, barely conscious and gasping for air. Her temperature skyrocketed, her eyes glazed over, and the antibiotics proved no match for the bacteria coursing through her body. "A couple of times she tried to say a word or two, but it was incomprehensible," says her son Tim. On Aug. 25, at 5:15 in the morning, Frances passed away. The official cause of death was listeriosis, a flu-like infection that attacks the central nervous system.
Today, Clark's family knows this much for sure: during her initial stay at the Belleville hospital, she was served Maple Leaf "Sure Slice" ham (lot #21440) three separate times. After moving to the nursing home, she ate even more Maple Leaf lunch meat, including turkey and roast beef. "A double dose," Karen says. Those products, of course, were later recalled after lab tests revealed dangerously high levels of Listeria monocytogenes, the powerful pathogen that causes listeriosis. But for Clark — and 19 others killed by Maple Leaf meat — the recall came too late. She was in the last hours of her life, surrounded by children and grandchildren, when Michael McCain, the company president, went on television to apologize to the victims.
"To Canadians who are ill and to the families who have lost loved ones, I offer my deepest sympathies," said a sombre McCain. "Words cannot begin to express our sadness for your pain. Our best efforts failed, and we are deeply sorry."
Class-action lawsuits have already been launched against Maple Leaf Foods Inc., demanding hundreds of millions of dollars for the company's alleged "negligence." Tim and Karen Clark are among the plaintiffs. "I'm sure Michael feels really bad about it, and I think his apology was very sincere," says Tim, who watched McCain's two paid commercials. "How this happened, who knows? But prevention is the key now. We want to make sure this doesn't happen again."
So do the biologists, bureaucrats and every other food safety expert who has spent the past 30 years in a scientific wrestling match with this nasty little bug. But unfortunately, after countless case studies and many high-tech breakthroughs, the experts have reached one uncomfortable conclusion: listeria is unstoppable. As much as the Clarks — and all Canadians — would like a foolproof fix, there isn't one. No matter what companies do, no matter how many safeguards they adopt, there will always be that chance, however slim, that your ham sandwich or your bagged lettuce or your brick of cheese contains a deadly helping of listeria. "You're going to see another outbreak just like this one," says microbiologist F. Ann Draughon, co-director of the University of Tennessee's Food Safety Center of Excellence. "Listeriosis cases are decreasing, but there will be more outbreaks. It is inevitable."
That certainly doesn't exonerate Maple Leaf Foods. Their products killed 20 people (maybe more), sickened dozens of others, and made everyone else think twice about eating those cold cuts sitting in the fridge. But was the company negligent? That answer may be impossible to pin down. When it comes to listeria control, the definition of "best efforts" is more a matter of scientific interpretation than undisputed fact.
No one — not Maple Leaf, and not the federal government — can test every ounce of lunch meat before it leaves the plant. There would be nothing left to eat. The alternative, then, is an imperfect compromise that attempts to decrease the danger as much as possible while still ensuring that our supermarket shelves are sufficiently stocked. Keeping the food chain free of listeria is a complicated, ever-evolving recipe of common sense, third-party oversight, targeted testing — and a dash of calculated risk. No two companies, or countries, follow the same playbook, and the debate over how best to battle this bacteria is still very much unsettled.
Can more be done to lower the odds of another Frances Clark dying? Absolutely. Are the experts unanimous on the best way to do that? Absolutely not.
Listeria is a microscopic, rod-shaped bacteria, and although it isn't visible to the naked eye, it is all around us. Soil, water, raw meat, your shoes. For the most part, the organism is harmless, except for that one particular species: Listeria monocytogenes. Ironically enough, L. mono was first identified as a food-borne pathogen in Canada, when a bad batch of coleslaw killed 17 people in 1981.
In the three decades since, much has been gleaned about the bug. It is strong, stubborn and sturdy enough to grow in cold temperatures. The bright side? Like salmonella or E. coli, it can be killed with heat. Cook your prime rib properly, and you'll be just fine.
However, ready-to-eat foods — the deli meats, fresh produce and boxed cereals that go straight from the grocery cart to your mouth — present a whole different challenge. They are designed to be eaten with no fuss and no preparation, so if they leave the factory laced with L. mono, those cells are going to end up in your stomach (unless you're among the small minority who fries his bologna).
Most of the time, though, a single serving won't require an ambulance. In fact, researchers believe the average person ingests L. mono every three or four days — that's 100 times a year — without ever realizing it. The reasons vary. For one, most people are naturally healthy enough to escape its wrath. L. mono also comes in dozens of different strains, and some are much more virulent than others. And sickness is a matter of dosage, not existence; most listeriosis victims ate foods that contain extremely high levels — well over 1,000 "colony forming units" (cfu) per gram.
"There is no such thing as a 100 per cent safe food product," says microbiologist Elliot T. Ryser, a food-borne diseases expert at Michigan State University. "But people are consuming listeria on a regular basis, and we aren't dropping over like flies." Indeed. South of the border, the listeriosis rate is 2.7 cases per million people. In 2003 (the latest figures available) the number of confirmed cases in Canada was 59. Salmonella, on the other hand, infects up to 12,000 Canadians a year. [Read entire article at:]
A Few Cases in Ontario, Canada
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to St. Mary's High School Cafeteria in Waterloo, Ontario.
Two confirmed cases of E.coli O157:H7 was linked to St. Mary's High School cafeteria in Waterloo. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has determined through DNA fingerprinting that this outbreak is linked to the recent outbreaks in the Niagara and Halton region. The source of these outbreaks has not yet been determined. As a precaution, the cafeteria remains closed until investigations are complete.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to the Pita Pit at University of Guelph's University Center.A total of 54 cases of E.coli O157:H7 of which 7 cases are confirmed was linked to the University of Guelph. All seven confirmed cases are students at U of G and so far, the only commonality among them is that they ate at the Pita Pit in the University Center. One of the confirmed cases has been linked through DNA fingerprinting to the recent outbreaks in the Halton, Niagara and Waterloo regions. Although no definitive source has yet been identified, romaine lettuce is suspected to have caused the outbreak at U of G's Pita Pit. It appears that the lettuce may have originated from American growers. As a precaution, the University of Guelph has stopped serving lettuce on campus but the UC Pita Pit is now open for business.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Little Red Rooster and M.T. Bellies Restaurants in the Niagara Region.A total of 56 cases of foodborne illness of which 14 cases are laboratory confirmed for E.coli O157:H7 was linked to two restaurants in the Niagara region: Little Red Rooster Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake and M.T. Bellies Tap and Grillhouse in Welland, Ontario. The origin of four cases is unknown. Test results show that the E.coli strain from this outbreak is different than that of the much larger outbreak in North Bay, Ontario. Public Health officials believe that tainted lettuce may be the source of the outbreak however, investigations continue.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Johnathan's Deli and Restaurant in Burlington.
Recently, Halton health officials reported 73 cases of foodborne illness of which 6 are laboratory confirmed for E.coli O157:H7 was linked to Johnathan's Deli and Restaurant in Burlington, Ontario. The molecular makeup of one of the Burlington E.coli cases is similar to that as some of the Niagara cases which suggests that there could be a link. Public Health officials continue to investigate the source of the outbreak.
E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in Northern Ontario Linked to Harvey's Restaurant
A total of 249 cases of foodborne illness of which 49 are laboratory confirmed for E.coli O157:H7 was linked to a single Harvey's restaurant in North Bay, Ontario. One case, a child, is in the hospital with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) a condition that interferes with normal kidney functions and the blood coagulation mechanism. Those whom develop HUS may require blood transfusions and kidney dialysis which may ultimately progress to permanent loss of kidney function. All food samples analyzed as of October 25 have come back negative for E.coli O157:H7. No product or process has yet been confirmed as the source of the outbreak but health officials continue their investigation.
"Older people shouldn't eat health food, they need all the preservatives they can get." - Robert Orben
Ireland: What is safe to eat and who will pay?
Monday, December 8, 2008
Conor Pope outlines advice to consumers on safety issues with pork products they may have bought and their rights
I have just bought a vacuum -packed Christmas ham. Is it safe to eat?It might be safe to eat but you still have to get rid of it. The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has said that it is "vital" consumers dispose of all pork products bought after September 1st.
But if the negative effects of the contamination are cumulative, surely the last couple of sausages in the fridge are safe to eat?Again, they might be safe to eat, but doing so runs contrary to the official advice. An FSAI spokeswoman said that while any possible risk to consumer health from the contamination was extremely low, the advice had to be black and white and could leave no room for contradictions.
Are organic products affected?
The recall affects all pork and bacon products, including organic which will only be given the green light by inspectors once it's verified that it is safe.
What products are affected by the recall?All pork, bacon, rashers, pork sausages, sausage meat, gammon steaks, offal from pigs, salami, ham, sausage rolls, black and white pudding, soups and ready meals with Irish pork/bacon as an ingredient have to be destroyed or returned to the point of purchase. Less obvious products such as pork-based patés and products made with pork suet including some Christmas puddings and some pastries also have to go.
So, I just throw it all in the bin?
That is one option. A spokeswoman for the FSAI says it has been advised by the Environmental Protection Agency that there were no issues in connection with consumers disposing of pork products as part of their normal household waste. The dioxin levels in the affected pork would not have any environmental impact with more, naturally occurring, dioxins found in other refuse particularly coal and woodfire ashes.
For their part, retailers have been asked not to put recalled products in landfill but to return them to the supply chain where they could be rendered as part of normal animal waste disposal programmes.
Can I get a refund on pork products returned?
Yes. Consumers should have the option of returning any pork products to the point of sale where they can get a refund. The onus is on manufacturers and their distributors to sell products which are safe.
If they believe - or are told, as in this case - that a product is potentially hazardous they should take steps to protect their customers.
In addition, under consumer law, you are also entitled to a refund from the shop if you buy a defective product - and all pork currently on Irish shelves has been deemed defective.
So, who pays?
It will probably be the suppliers who ultimately pay.
While the consumer has the right to return the product to the supermarket, the supermarkets in turn can return it to their suppliers.
When a similar dioxin contamination occurred in Belgium nearly 10 years ago, the government there picked up the tab but when Mary Harney was asked on Saturday night if the Government might do likewise here, she said no.
If only nine farms were supplied with the pig feed, why does all pork have to be destroyed?
While the number of farms affected may have been small - there are around 400 pig farms in the State - the volume of pork produce at those farms is not. Although only 10 per cent of pigmeat has been affected, it has been processed with approximately 80 per cent of the total pig meat produced since September.
In addition, pig meat goes everywhere - intestines may be shipped to one factory for sausage product, offal to another factory, ribs to a third, blood products to a different factory and on and on.
To ensure that there were no lingering side-effects of the current contamination scare, a decision was taken to take everything out of circulation and start again.
Will it be long before Irish pork is back on the shelves?
There is some meat which was completely unaffected and it will be selling in the next couple of days. Pig producers who were not supplied with the contaminated feed are hoping to have fresh pig meat available within a matter of days although it is not yet clear if that is a realistic target.
What about the beef sector, wasn't the feed sent to a number of beef farms and is it safe to eat?
Contaminated feed did find its way to 38 beef farms across the country as well but experts have said that because cattle are larger and less reliant on pre-prepared feeds than pigs, the risk of the dioxin levels reaching unsafe levels are unlikely. According to the FSAI, tests on beef have been negative.
This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times
CFIA issues warning for Old Style Pastrami; possible Listeria contamination
Dec. 14, 2008
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume Old Style brand Pastrami because it may be contaminated with Listeria.
The affected product, Old Style brand Pastrami is sold in 450 gram packages with a Best Before date of Jan. 15, 2009.
The product has been distributed in Ontario.
The CFIA is working with the manufacturer, Mariposa Meats, Mississauga, Ont., to have the affected product removed from stores.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with consumption of the product.
Listeriosis can cause high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea and even death in rare cases.
F.D.A. Provides Few Details on its Food Protection PlanBy NWV News Director, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM EasternDecember 3, 2008©
Conservative US lawmakers are concerned over the nation's food safety receiving such a low priority. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for ensuring the safety of roughly 80 percent of the U.S. food supply, including $417 billion worth of domestic food and $49 billion in imported food annually, yet experts say they aren't confident about food protection.
Changing demographics and consumption patterns along with an increase in imports have presented challenges to FDA. At the same time, recent outbreaks, such as E. coli from spinach and Salmonella from tomatoes, have undermined consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply.
In November 2007, FDA released its Food Protection Plan, which articulates a framework for improving food safety oversight. In January 2008, General Accounting Office expressed concerns about FDA's capacity to implement the Food Protection Plan and noted that more specific information about the strategies and resources needed to implement the plan would facilitate congressional oversight.
"There are those who believe lawmakers should be more concerned over protecting Americans from tainted or dangerous food supplies than trying to takeover the entire health care industry," says political strategist Michael Baker.
"In a time when airline passengers are practically strip-searched at airports, food products are given scant inspection," warns Baker.
To address these issues, GAO reviewed FDA documents, such as FDA's operations plan, and FDA data related to the plan. GAO also interviewed FDA officials regarding the progress made. In addition, GAO analyzed FDA data on domestic and foreign food firm inspections. GAO also analyzed the status of past recommendations.
Since FDA's Food Protection Plan was first released in November 2007, FDA has added few details on the resources and strategies required to implement the plan. FDA plans to spend about $90 million over fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to implement several key actions, such as identifying food vulnerabilities and risk.
From the information GAO has obtained on the Food Protection Plan, however, it is unclear what FDA's overall resource need is for implementing the plan, which could be significant. For example, based on FDA estimates, if FDA were to inspect each of the approximately 65,500 domestic food firms regulated by FDA once, the total cost would be approximately $524 million.
In addition, timelines for implementing the various strategies in the plan are also unclear, although a senior level FDA official estimated that the overall plan will take 5 years to complete. Importantly, GAO has noted that public reporting is the means through which the federal government communicates the results of its work to the Congress and the American people.
FDA officials told GAO that they had prepared a draft report on progress made in implementing the Food Protection Plan, but as of June 4, 2008, FDA told GAO that the Department of Health and Human Services had not cleared the report for release.
"The Food Protection Plan identifies the need to focus safety inspections based on risk, which is particularly important as the numbers of food firms have increased while inspections have decreased," said one FDA official.
For example, between 2001 and 2007, the number of domestic firms under FDA's jurisdiction increased from about 51,000 to more than 65,500, while the number of firms inspected declined slightly, from 14,721 to 14,566. Thus, conducting safety inspections based on risk has the potential to be an efficient and effective approach for FDA to target scarce resources based on relative vulnerability and risk. FDA has implemented few of GAO's past recommendations to leverage its resources and improve food safety oversight. Since 2004, GAO has made a total of 34 food safety related recommendations to FDA, and as of May 2008, FDA has implemented 7 of these recommendations.
For the remaining recommendations, FDA has not fully implemented them, however, in some cases, FDA has taken some steps.
However, the planned activities in the Food Protection Plan could help address several of the recommendations that FDA has not implemented. For example, in January 2004, GAO recommended that FDA make it a priority to establish equivalence agreements with other countries. GAO analysts claim they found that such agreements would shift some of FDA's oversight burden to foreign governments.
As of May 2008, FDA has not yet established equivalence agreements with any foreign countries. The Food Protection Plan requests that Congress allow the agency to enter into agreements with exporting countries to certify that foreign producers' shipments of designated high-risk products comply with FDA standards.
Mercury, The FDA, and The Truth
FDA Stuns Scientists, Declares Mercury in Fish to be Safe for Infants, Children, Expectant Mothers!by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, December 17, 2008
In a truly astonishing betrayal of public safety (even for the FDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration today revoked its warning about mercury in fish, saying that eating mercury-contaminated fish no longer poses any health threat to children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants.
Last week, the FDA declared trace levels of melamine to be safe in infant formula. A few weeks earlier, it said the plastics chemical Bisphenol-A was safe for infants to drink. Now it says children can eat mercury, too. Is there any toxic substance in the food that the FDA thinks might be dangerous? (Aspartame, MSG, sodium nitrite and now mercury...). This FDA decision on mercury in fish has alarmed EPA scientists who called it "scientifically flawed and inadequate," reports the Washington Post. Even better, the Environmental Working Group ( issued a letter to the EPA, saying "It's a commentary on how low FDA has sunk as an agency. It was once a fierce protector of America's health, and now it's nothing more than a patsy for polluters.
"Is anyone really surprised? The FDA is a drug-pushing, people-betraying, scientifically illiterate criminal organization that, time and time again, seeks only to protect the profits of powerful corporations whose products poison the people. This statement is no longer a mere opinion. It is an observable fact based on the FDA's own pattern of behavior and its outlandish decisions that predictably betray the American public.
The real reason this is happeningYou want to know the REAL reason the FDA is easing up on its warning about mercury in fish? It's because the agency is being relentlessly pounded over two related issues: Mercury in dental fillings and mercury preservatives in vaccines. And the FDA can't keep up its lie about the "safety" of vaccines and mercury fillings if it has already declared mercury to be dangerous in fish, right?
To the criminal minds running the FDA, the clever solution is to revoke the warning about mercury in fish. Thus, the FDA takes the position that all mercury is safe, and suddenly they're off the hook on mercury fillings and thimerosal in vaccines.
In other words, the FDA has just aligned itself as a defender of one of the most neurotoxic substances that's ever been found. Only a truly corrupt regulator could even attempt to defend such a position, and only a truly insane individual could argue that mercury exposure is safe for infants, children and expectant mothers. Not coincidentally, mercury exposure causes insanity (look up the historical term "mad as a hatter").
Given that most of the FDA decision makers probably have mercury fillings in their mouths and mercury molecules lodged in their brains from getting their vaccine shots, it's no stretch to consider the possibility that the FDA decision have, in a very strict medical sense, lost their minds due to mercury exposure. There's hardly any other way to explain the mad behavior of FDA officials.
I think it's time we called for an FDA MUTINY and declared the leaders of that agency to be too incompetent to run it anymore. These people need to be relieved of command before their hazardous pronouncements lead to yet more consumers being poisoned or killed. The FDA scientists, in my opinion, should revolt (in a non-violent way, of course) against the politically-motivated decision makers spewing all this "eat more poison" advice.
Be Aware of the Unhealthy Side of Soy
Friday, May 01, 2009 by: Elizabeth Walling
(NaturalNews) After years of being the perpetual health food, soy is now coming under fire. Because soy was deemed healthy and it's inexpensive to process, soy has enjoyed enormous commercial success. You can find some variation of soy in almost every single product on grocery store shelves. And we're not the only ones being fed soy products by the pound: most commercial animals are fed a diet high in soy.
All of this soy is supposed to be good for us. We've heard many experts sing their praises when it comes to soy, but now there are voices coming from the other side. For instance, the American Heart Association is no longer the soy fan it once was - in 2006, officials from the association admitted it's unlikely heart disease can be prevented by eating soy.
Then we have the French Center for Cancer Research, which now recommends no children under the age of three should eat soy. The center also advised against soy for women who are at risk for breast cancer and for those who already have it.
And in 2005, the Israeli Health Ministry issued a public warning against the consumption of soy in children and infants. It even advised day care centers and schools to strictly limit the amount of soy products served to children.
The advice to limit consumption of soy in young people raises doubts about soy-based infant formulas. Soy formula can contain unhealthy levels of aluminum - a known metal toxin - and manganese, which is a necessary nutrient but can be dangerous in high doses.
There are claims that soy formula is healthier than other formulas because of its low level of saturated fat. But breast milk, the nourishment nature intended for babies, is more than 50 percent saturated fat. The fat in soy formula is mostly omega-6 fatty acids, which in large amounts are associated with many health problems.
Another risk associated with soy-based formula is the lack of vitamin A, a nutrient which is crucial for growth and development in infants and children. All of the vitamin A in soy formula is in the form of beta carotene, and most infants cannot convert beta carotene into a usable form of vitamin A.
Soy is often touted as a cancer-fighting food, but there is a dangerous flip-side to this coin. The isoflavones in soy undergo a biological change when soy is processed. Studies have shown these altered isoflavones can actually cause increased tumor growth, namely in the case of breast cancer.
When experts point to healthy Asian cultures as examples of why soy is good for you, take a step back and compare apples to apples. In traditional Asian cultures, only whole soy products are consumed, and much of the time the soy is in a fermented form. Most of the soy that ends up on our dinner plates is genetically modified, treated with dangerous chemicals and processed in a way nature never intended.
The best advice is to enjoy all things in moderation. There's no reason to think soy should be served up morning, noon and night. And when you do eat soy, aim for organic whole soy products like edamame, miso, tofu and tempeh. Stay away from most processed foods and you'll stay away from soy in its worst form.
Herbicide Used in Argentina Could Cause Birth Defects
May 1,2009
BUENOS AIRES – The herbicide used on genetically modified soy – Argentina’s main crop – could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses, according to the results of a scientific investigation released Monday.
Although the study “used amphibian embryos,” the results “are completely comparable to what would happen in the development of a human embryo,” embryology professor Andres Carrasco, one of the study’s authors, told Efe.
“The noteworthy thing is that there are no studies of embryos on the world level and none where glyphosate is injected into embryos,” said the researcher with the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research and director of the Molecular Embryology Laboratory.
The doses of herbicide used in the study “were much lower than the levels used in the fumigations,” and so the situation “is much more serious” that the study suggests because “glyphosate does not degrade,” Carrasco warned.
In Argentina, farmers each year use between 180 and 200 million liters of glyphosate, which was developed by the multinational Monsanto and sold in the United States under the brand name Roundup.
Carrasco said that the research found that “pure glyphosate, in doses lower than those used in fumigation, causes defects ... (and) could be interfering in some normal embryonic development mechanism having to do with the way in which cells divide and die.”
“The companies say that drinking a glass of glyphosate is healthier than drinking a glass of milk, but the fact is that they’ve used us as guinea pigs,” he said.
He gave as an example what occurred in Ituzaingo, a district where 5,000 people live on the outskirts of the central Argentine city of Cordoba, where over the past eight years about 300 cases of cancer associated with fumigations with pesticides have turned up.
“In communities like Ituzaingo it’s already too late, but we have to have a preventive system, to demand that the companies give us security frameworks and, above all, to have very strict regulations for fumigation, which nobody is adhering to out of ignorance or greed,” he said.
The researcher also said that, apart from the research he carried out, “there has to be a serious study” on the effects of glyphosate on human beings, adding that “the state has all the mechanisms for that.”
In the face of the volley of judicial complaints related to the disproportionate use of agrochemicals in the cultivation of GM soy, last February the Health Ministry created a group to investigate the problem in four Argentine provinces.
Argentina is the world’s third-largest exporter of soy
Soy Myth Exposed: Soy is Not a Health Food
Posted by Dr. Mercola
26 February 2005
Not too long ago, soy foods were on the fringes of Americans' grocery lists. They were thought of as "hippie" foods or even food for those in impoverished countries. So how, then, did soy foods grow from an $800 million industry in 1992 to a $4-billion one in 2003?
Because, after a heavy marketing campaign from the soy industry, Americans are largely convinced that soy is the miracle food to fight everything from cancer to heart disease to hot flashes--and a slew of other illnesses in between. Some 200 million Americans, many who may have once turned their noses up at the mere thought of soy anything, are now eating soy in record amounts and in newly created, highly processed forms: soymilk, soy burgers, soy energy bars, soy ice cream, soy cereal, soy meat--you name it, there's probably soy in it.
If the health claims surrounding soy sound too good to be true, it's because they are. This important issue is the premise behind Dr. Kaayla Daniel's groundbreaking book, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food. This powerful exposé reveals the truth about the soy myths that have infiltrated our culture. In it, you'll learn that:
Soy is not a health food
Soy is not the answer to world hunger
Soy is not a disease-preventive panacea
Soy has not even been proven safe
It's ironic that soy has become so accepted as a health food when, as Dr. Daniel states, thousands of studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility--even cancer and heart disease. But by the end of Chapter 3, The Ploy of Soy, you'll understand why the soy marketing campaign worked so well.
Reading on you'll learn all about the different types of soy, the macronutrients in soy, the ANTInutrients in soy, heavy metals in soy, soy allergens, soy and cancer, and soy estrogens and the way they wreak havoc on your hormones.
This latter issue is one of the most crucial and serious, as millions of Americans feed soy formula to their infants. In The Whole Soy Story, Daniel explains how the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm the baby's future sexual development and reproductive health. She exposes and discusses these important, yet little known, facts about soy that would have any parent up in arms (if, that is, they were to read this book to find out the truth):
Soy impedes the sexual maturation of boys (p. 335)
Soy accelerates the sexual maturation of girls (p. 339)
In newborns, the hormonal effects of soy may be irreversible (p. 333)
The average daily dose of soy estrogens in soy formula (38mg) is higher than the amounts that cause thyroid problems and endocrine disruption in adults (p. 334)
You'll also learn that some soy products are, in fact, good for you--but only certain types and in limited quantities. Daniel discusses the steps a soybean must go through before it becomes edible, and then healthy, in Chapter 5.
Some of my favorite parts in this book, aside from the extensive reference section at the end, are the revealing testimonials included throughout. You'll read about an avid runner who developed thyroid damage after adding more soy products to her diet (p. 322), a 9-month-old baby girl (fed soy formula) who showed signs of puberty (p. 348), and a natural bodybuilder whose libido plummeted after he switched his protein intake to pure soy protein isolate (p. 367), just to name a few.
Who should read this book? Everyone who has the slightest interest in protecting and preserving their health, but especially those who:
Buy into the myth that soy is healthy
Eat soy as their primary source of protein
Anyone who feeds soy to their infants with soy formula
If you are a prospective parent who plans to take advantage of this opportunity to protect your child's future reproductive health
Also, if you are considering using soy as a treatment or preventive measure for menopause symptoms, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease or any other condition--read this book first! The information it contains is invaluable and something you won't find anywhere else.
The Whole Soy Story sends a much-needed wakeup call to Americans: The highly processed soy foods we eat today are not natural or healthy, and they're harming our health--not helping it. This book is a necessity and an essential read before you take your next bite, drink or pill of soy (believe me, by the time you finish this book, you'll have lost your appetite!).
Related Articles:Why Soy Can Damage Your Health
Soy-Bean Crisis Soy: Is it Healthy or is it Harmful?
Soy Formula May Stunt the Intestinal Growth in Your Baby
Think Soy is Healthy? Here's Why it's Not as Good as You Think
How Many Toxins Are in Your Potato Chips?
Posted by Dr. Mercola
January 20 2007
Acrylamide is a dangerous chemical present in foods such as french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals, cookies and crackers.
But it's difficult to determine exactly how much of the chemical, which is a natural byproduct of cooking starchy food at high temperature, is present in any given food.
High levels of acrylamide in food were first reported in 2002, and, currently, little is known about how acrylamide forms, exactly how it affects people or what to do about it.
No manufacturers provide information on how much acrylamide is present in their products, and the most recent FDA data is more than two years old.
Studies have shown that acrylamide causes cancer in lab mice and rats. The federal limit for acrylamide in drinking water is .5 parts per billion, or about .12 micrograms in an eight-ounce glass of water. However, a six-ounce serving of french fries can contain 60 micrograms of acrylamide.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
In case you were curious about your specific brand of chips you might want to review an article I previously ran on the Five Worst Brands of Potato Chips.
The recent story linked above began when a woman became interested in knowing how much acrylamide was in her brand of potato chips after searches on the FDA's Web site came up empty. When she asked the manufacturer, she was told to provide a letter from her doctor first.
That was a bad move by the potato chip producer, considering the woman's father-in-law works for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). Her inquiry was responsible, in part, for launching a CSPI inquiry into the acrylamide levels of 30 products.
No surprise, the FDA claims it is researching the problem, but doesn't believe "additional sampling will improve our exposure assessment significantly." Also blurring the argument in the eyes of federal regulators: French fry samples from seven different McDonald's restaurants yielded varying amounts of acrylamide.
It is universally agreed that acrylamide causes cancer, although no one is certain exactly how much of the chemical represents a dangerous dose.
The presence of acrylamide and other currently unrecognized toxins are good reasons why you should avoid processed foods as often as possible. Ideally, more than half of the foods you eat should be raw.
Knowing it takes time to make a change like that, you can get a good start by avoiding foods that have no nutritional value, like fries, chips, sugary soft drinks and doughnuts.
Folks, there is simply no justification for eating chips or fries. If they give them to you for "free" with your lunch you can always ask for a healthier substitute. If that isn't possible then order the item without the chips or fries.
On Vital Votes, reader Tom from Grandview, Ohio notes:
"Hmmm ... without even being aware of it, I gave up eating acrylamide about three years ago. Although I really used to enjoy snacking on acrylamide, I really don't miss it that much. "Good heavens! Even without the acrylamide those 'foods' are toxic as hell! Yet people still eat them because they taste so good. I believe most people would knowingly eat lead-based paint chips if they tasted good."
Related Articles:
California Sues Potato Chip Makers
Link Seen Between Cooking and Cancer
The Five Absolute Worst Foods You Can Eat
Most Common Source of Calories in US is LOADED With Mercury!
Dr. Mercola
February 14 2009
Almost half of tested samples of commercial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contained mercury, according to a new study. Mercury was also found in nearly a third of 55 popular brand-name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.
HFCS has replaced sugar as the sweetener in many beverages and foods. A high consumer can take in about 20 teaspoons of HFCS per day. The chemical was found most commonly in HFCS-containing dairy products, dressings and condiments. The use of mercury-contaminated caustic soda in the production of HFCS is common.
Sources:Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy January 26, 2009
Washington Post January 26, 2009
Environmental Health January 2009, 8:2
Dr. Mercola's Comments:In case you weren’t aware, the number one source of calories in the United States is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The average American consumes about 12 teaspoons of it every day, though as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) pointed out, teens and other “high consumers” may consume 80 percent more than that.

Now it turns out that this widespread sweetener is contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury! The samples were found to contain levels of mercury ranging from below a detection limit of 0.005 to 0.570 micrograms mercury per gram of HFCS. And this was from samples of popular name-brand foods and beverages, including some made by Quaker, Hershey’s, Kraft and Smucker’s.
How Does Mercury Get Into Corn Syrup?
Although the makers of HFCS like to claim that it’s natural, it’s actually a highly refined product that would never exist in nature. Its manufacture involves an extensive process, one step of which is to separate corn starch from the corn kernel. Caustic soda is used, among other things, to do this, and for decades mercury-grade caustic soda produced in industrial chlorine (chlor-alkali) plants has been used for this purpose. Because mercury cells are used to produce some caustic soda, the caustic soda may become contaminated, and ultimately transfer that mercury contamination to the HFCS in your soda, salad dressing, soup, cereal, and so on. Said IATP’s David Wallinga, M.D., a co-author of both studies:
“Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered. We are calling for immediate changes by industry and the FDA to help stop this avoidable mercury contamination of the food supply.”
Isn’t it ironic that the Corn Refiners Association just recently spent around $30 million on an ad campaign designed to rehabilitate HFCS’s reputation as an unhealthy sweetener? It’s going to take a lot more than a few TV commercials to explain away this latest revelation.
Why Consuming Mercury is a Bad Idea
Mercury acts as a poison to your brain and nervous system. This is especially dangerous for pregnant women and small children, whose brains are still developing. If infants or fetuses are exposed to mercury, it can cause:
• Mental retardation
* Cerebral palsy
• Deafness
• Blindness
Even in low doses mercury can interfere with a child’s development, leading to shortened attention span and learning disabilities. In adults, mercury poisoning can be a serious risk as well, and has been linked to fertility problems, memory and vision loss, and trouble with blood pressure regulation. It can also cause extreme fatigue and neuro-muscular dysfunction, as experienced recently by Chicago actor Jeremy Piven. Further, studies show that mercury in your central nervous system (CNS) causes psychological, neurological, and immunological problems including:
• Arrhythmias and cardiomyopathies
• Tremors
• Insomnia
• Personality changes and irritability
• Headaches
* Weakness
• Blurred vision
• Slowed mental response
• Unsteady gait
To make matters worse, mercury bonds very firmly to structures in your CNS. Unless actively removed, it has an extremely long half-life of somewhere between 15 and 30 years in the CNS! What this means is that consuming mercury-contaminated HFCS is probably cumulative, with the damage adding up over time.
Mercury is Not the Only Reason to Avoid HFCS
The fact that HFCS-sweetened food and drinks may contain mercury is enough to make me avoid them like the plague. But then again, I avoided them entirely even BEFORE this news came out and I strongly encourage you to take a similar stance.
Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form (soda), its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified. Among them are:
Metabolic Syndrome
• An increase in triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
Liver disease
Fructose also contains no enzymes, vitamins or minerals, and it leeches micronutrients from your body. Unbound fructose, which is found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart's use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.
Last but not least, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns, such as increasing your risk of developing a food allergy to corn.
Want to Ditch HFCS?If you’re healthy, occasional use of small amounts of corn syrup isn’t going to cause any health catastrophes. However, most people are not eating corn syrup in moderation. In 2007, Americans consumed an average of 56 pounds of HFCS each! A large part of this was undoubtedly from soda, which, again, is the number one source of calories in the United States. So if you’re looking to cut back on HFCS, right off the bat one of the best things to do is to limit or eliminate soda and sugary drinks from your diet, and my turbo tapping technique can help you to do that. This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it completely you need to focus your diet on whole foods. If you do purchase any processed foods, make sure you read the label … and put it back on the shelf if it lists high-fructose corn syrup as an ingredient -- especially if it’s the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.
MSG Causes Obesity
Dr. Blaylock’s Tip of the Week:
August 5, 2007
I am convinced that one of the leading causes of obesity is being totally ignored by both by public officials and the media, despite the fact that there is tremendous scientific evidence confirming its role.
In 1969, neuroscientist Dr. John Olney discovered that feeding newborn rats an excitotoxin called MSG (monosodium glutamate) caused them to become grossly obese. Each time he repeated the experiment, he saw the same thing. Subsequent studies have shown that this phenomenon occurred in most animal species, indicating that it wasn't something peculiar to the rat.
The effects of MSG are now so well established that the substance is routinely used in experimental obesity studies on animals.
In fact, scientists have also discovered how it was producing the obesity.
For over fifty years, researchers knew that a pinpoint injury to certain parts of the hypothalamus portion of the brain would cause an animal to become grossly obese. What they would later discover was that MSG itself actually destroys the same area in the hypothalamus.
An intensive 1995 review of MSG toxicity by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) concluded that infant formula contained a dose of glutamate (the toxic ingredient in MSG) in the form of caseinate (cow's milk protein) that would sufficiently produce the very same brain injury seen in experimental animals.
Disturbingly humans are five times more susceptible to MSG toxicity than even the most sensitive lab animal. And babies are four times more sensitive than adults. It is this early exposure to MSG and other excitotoxins that leads to gross obesity.
Actually, the problem is much worse than that.
Recent studies have shown that obese animals actually have the metabolic syndrome, which is now seen in 50 million adults in the United States. The metabolic syndrome is the cause of type-2 diabetes as well as hypertension and atherosclerosis.
Essentially, science proves that excitotoxins can trigger the metabolic syndrome and obesity.
And we know that the level of excitotoxins added to our food is at least equal to (and sometimes exceeds) the amount needed to produce the metabolic syndrome in animals. Yet only a handful of scientists are addressing this alarming association.
MSG is Why You Want to Avoid McDonald's Like the Plague
Posted by Dr. Mercola
May 11 2006 close reading of a list of classic McDonald's recipes from the '50s through the '70s reveals a disturbing amount of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a chemical whose potential health effects have caused considerable controversy.
However, the use of MSG in McDonald's food is not solely a matter of history. MSG is still present in some forms in many modern McDonald's products, including their Grilled Chicken Filet, Sausage Patty, and French Fries.
Many other foods on their menu, especially those that contain "natural flavors" or "hydrolyzed protein" as ingredients, also contain MSG. Most of the MSG is in the form of glutamic acid, the chemical's active component. Studies have indicated that MSG can cause severe allergies and even brain damage. Most baby food companies have voluntarily stopped using MSG in their products.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Glutamic acid (MSG) is a major component of McDonald's food. While there's simply no excuse for consuming their French fries or diet soft drinks, one could make a logical argument to have their hamburgers, as long as you are not a carb type.
But this does not take into consideration the MSG added to their foods. MSG is a toxic substance people consume in processed foods, and probably wouldn't if they knew it causes many of their brain cells to die.
McDonald's and most all other fast food restaurants use MSG to help sell their foods. MSG is very inexpensive and makes the food taste good -- which in many ways is similar to sugar -- but MSG is far more toxic than sugar.
MSG, like L-cysteine and aspartame, are excitotoxins, chemical transmitters that allow brain cells to communicate, as described in Dr. Russell's Blaylock's book, Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills. Excitotoxins are exactly what they sound like: Toxins like MSG that excite your brain cells to DEATH!
The bottom line is that you are going to need to invest some time in the kitchen if you want to stay healthy and avoid fast foods, which if consumed regularly will accelerate your departure from this planet.
To help you get started, you'll want to review Colleen Huber's awesome piece on how to eat healthier organic food, free from many additives and preservatives, on a budget.
MSG: The Basics
MSG-sensitivity is a sensitivity to free glutamic acid that occurs in food as a consequence of manufacture or fermentation. We refer to this free glutamic acid as processed free glutamic acid (MSG). All protein contains glutamic acid, primarily bound to other amino acids, but only when glutamic acid has been freed from protein due to manufacture or fermentation before it is eaten do people experience MSG-sensitivity reactions, provided that they ingest amounts that exceed their individual tolerance levels. Some unadulterated protein may have minute amounts of free glutamic acid associated with it, but MSG-sensitive people generally report no adverse reactions following ingestion of unadulterated protein. The source of the MSG (soy, corn, etc.) appears to be irrelevant.
MSG is manufactured through two basic processes: 1) a process called bacterial fermentation wherein glutamic acid is secreted through the cell walls of selected genetically engineered bacteria that are generally grown on a carbohydrate medium; and 2) a process of protein breakdown wherein glutamic acid is freed from protein through a manufacturing process such as theuse of chemicals (hydrolysis), enzymes (enzymolysis), or fermentation. With some exceptions, the FDA requires that ingredients, MSG-containing ingredients included, must be labeled by their common or usual names. The name "monosodium glutamate" is reserved for the ingredient that is a 99% pure combination of glutamic acid, sodium, and moisture. The names of most other MSG-containing ingredients won't even give consumers a clue to the fact that the ingredients contain MSG."Monosodium glutamate," "monopotassium glutamate," "autolyzed yeast," "hydrolyzed soy protein," and "sodium caseinate" are examples of ingredients that always contain MSG.
Under certain circumstances, products that contain MSG may be used as ingredients in other products without mention of the original MSG-containing products. The label descriptors “flavor” and “flavoring,” often preceded by the word “natural,” are considered by the FDA to be proprietary ingredients, and as such, food industry companies are not required to list their ingredients. In recent years, The FDA has required the disclosure of the food ingredients “monosodium glutamate “ and “hydrolyzed protein” used in a “flavor” or “flavoring.” However, this requirement has been ineffective since, to our knowledge, the FDA has not tested “flavors” or “flavorings” for the presence of MSG. MSG-containing products such as broth, bouillon, and stock, when used as ingredients in other products, do not have to disclose the fact that the broth, bouillon, or stock contains MSG.
Use of MSG in American food has increased in the last 40 years and is still growing. MSG is found in most soups, salad dressings, processed meats, basted meat and poultry, frozen entrees, ice cream, and frozen yogurt; in some crackers, bread, canned tuna; and in most "low fat" foods to make up for flavor lost when fat is reduced or eliminated.
In 1969, Schaumburg et al. determined that approximately 30% of our population suffered adverse reactions when fed MSG in an ordinary diet. (1) Reif-Lehrer (2) and Kenney and Tidball (3) confirmed their findings. Those studies were challenged by Kerr et al. in a 1979 glutamate industry sponsored study. (4) Kerr et al. found that 43 per cent of respondents reported one or more unpleasant symptoms associated with eating, but concluded that only 1.8% of the population might be sensitive to MSG. To accomplish this, Kerr et al. decreed that the only true symptoms of MSG-sensitivity (called "Chinese restaurant syndrome"), were "burning, tightness, and numbness," experienced simultaneously, that commenced between 10 minutes and 2 hours after the start of a meal, and lasted 4 hours or less. Kerr et al. had to ignore all other reported symptoms, even migraine headache, (5) in order to come up with this 1.8% figure.
Given increased use of MSG since 1969, we would now expect more than 40% of the population to suffer adverse reactions to MSG.
The Science that Says that MSG Places Humans at Risk
Epidemiologic studies completed in 1969 and the 1970's demonstrated that at least 25% of the population react to monosodium glutamate. Today, we recognize that those reactions range from mild and transitory to debilitating and life threatening.
MSG-sensitive consumers react to free glutamic acid (or free glutamate) that occurs in food as a consequence of a manufacturing process or fermentation -- regardless of the name of the ingredient that contains the processed free glutamic acid (MSG). The Food and Drug Administration has even acknowledged that consumers refer to all free glutamic acid as MSG. Yet, consumers who choose to avoid MSG have great difficulty doing so, because more than 40 different food additives contain MSG without disclosure.
Scientists have not determined the mechanism(s) that cause MSG reactions. It is known that the reactions are sensitivity reactions, i.e., reactions to a toxin or poison, as opposed to allergic reactions. It is known that MSG-sensitive consumers react to glutamic acid only in its free form, and only if it has been released from protein through a manufacturing process.
It is known that free glutamic acid found associated with unadulterated protein, and glutamic acid bound in protein or freed from protein during normal digestion is L-glutamic acid only; while free glutamic acid found in processed food contains both L-glutamic acid and D-glutamic acid, and may also contain other undesirable by-products that scientists refer to as contaminants including pyroglutamic acid, mono and dichloro propanols, and/or heterocyclic amines. The propanols and heterocyclic amines are carcinogenic.
There are three neurotoxic amino acids commonly used as food additives: glutamic acid, aspartic acid (found in aspartame, a sugar substitute), and L-cysteine. Free glutamic acid ingested as MSG can cross the placenta during pregnancy, can cross the blood brain barrier in an unregulated manner during development, and can pass through the five circumventricular organs, which are "leaky" at best, at any stage of life. In addition, the blood brain barrier can be compromised by such things as drugs, seizures, stroke, trauma to the head, hypoglycemia, hypertension, extreme physical stress, high fever, and the normal process of aging. It is generally accepted that the young are particularly at risk from ingestion of MSG.
MSG-sensitivity is difficult to diagnose because the reaction is not IgE mediated; because individual tolerance levels vary; and because MSG reactions may occur anywhere from immediately to 48 hours following ingestion. The key to diagnosis lies in the fact that an individual typically responds to MSG with the same reaction(s), and after the same elapsed time each time that MSG ingestion exceeds the individual's tolerance level. To date, there has been no systematic study to determine the minimum amount of MSG needed to cause an adverse reaction, and researchers have not yet found the mechanism(s) underlying sensitivity to MSG.
Common Symptoms from Eating MSG
Irritable bowel syndrome (which is now considered a "disease")
Bags under the eyes
Mental fuzziness/confusion (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Urinary problems (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Shortness of breath (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Prostate problems
Heart Attack-like symptoms
Partial paralysis (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Allergy type symptoms
Mouth Lesions
Upset stomach
Flushing (hmmm.)
Depression (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Asthma attacks
Mood swings
Skin rashes
Behavioral disorders (especially in children and teens)
Pain in neck/legs
Heart palpitations
Back Pain
Anxiety/panic attacks
Runny nose
Insomnia (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Weakness (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Dizziness (hmmm. symptom of ms)
Arthritis (hmmm. symptom of an ms patient I personally know - and reversed her MS as well after 15 years on MS Modifyer.)
MSG List
Names in which MSG may be concealed, in order to be included in food without disclosure.
Natural flavors
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
Natural flavoring
Hydrolyzed milk protein
Autolyzed Yeast
Natural beef flavoring
Kombu extract
Natural pork flavoring
Barley Malt
Natural chicken flavoring
Natural Seasonings
Textured Protein
Calcium caseinate
Gourmet powder
Sodium caseinate
Spices (sometimes)
Malt extract
Hydrolyzed oat flour
Malt flavoring
Hydrolyzed plant protein
Get This Neuro-Toxin Out of Your Life! Read All Labels
(this includes face creams, make-up, skin and hair care products as well)
Take an MSG list with you to the store and read all labels carefully. Try to avoid any products containing MSG. It will take more time, but the well-being of yourself and your family will be well worth it.

Most commercial salad dressings, soups and meat stocks contain some form of MSG as well as dairy products, sauces, seasoning mixtures, frozen foods, teas, and convenience foods. Remember, the motive is high profit at the expense of your health.
Avoid processed or dried foods with "flavor packets." These almost always contain MSG. They are often found in boxed rice, pasta, powdered salad dressing mixes and dried soups.
Canned gravies, chili, stews and sauces often almost always contain large amounts of MSG.
Before buying delicatessen or smoked meat products, check the label. Most sausages and luncheon meats will contain some form of MSG.
Worst of all, the label on many products may say "No MSG" when in fact it is loaded! The MSG may be hiding as "Natural flavors" or "spices," etc.
Most meals served in restaurants across America contain MSG, whether it's a fancy place or a fast food joint. Many restaurants are not aware that their food contains MSG since it may not specifically be listed on the labels.
Sugar can destroy your health!
Cancer's Sweet Tooth
by Patrick Quillin, PHD, RD, CNS
From The April 2000 Issue of Nutrition Science News
During the last 10 years I have worked with more than 500 cancer patients as director of nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa, Okla. It puzzles me why the simple concept "sugar feeds cancer" can be so dramatically overlooked as part of a comprehensive cancer treatment plan.
Of the 4 million cancer patients being treated in America today, hardly any are offered any scientifically guided nutrition therapy beyond being told to "just eat good foods." Most patients I work with arrive with a complete lack of nutritional advice. I believe many cancer patients would have a major improvement in their outcome if they controlled the supply of cancer's preferred fuel, glucose. By slowing the cancer's growth, patients allow their immune systems and medical debulking therapies -- chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to reduce the bulk of the tumor mass -- to catch up to the disease. Controlling one's blood-glucose levels through diet, supplements, exercise, meditation and prescription drugs when necessary can be one of the most crucial components to a cancer recovery program. The sound bite -- sugar feeds cancer -- is simple. The explanation is a little more complex.
The 1931 Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, Ph.D., first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy metabolism compared to healthy cells. The crux of his Nobel thesis was that malignant tumors frequently exhibit an increase in anaerobic glycolysis -- a process whereby glucose is used as a fuel by cancer cells with lactic acid as an anaerobic byproduct -- compared to normal tissues. The large amount of lactic acid produced by this fermentation of glucose from cancer cells is then transported to the liver. This conversion of glucose to lactate generates a lower, more acidic pH in cancerous tissues as well as overall physical fatigue from lactic acid buildup. Thus, larger tumors tend to exhibit a more acidic pH.
Sugar in the Body and DietSugar is a generic term used to identify simple carbohydrates, which includes monosaccharides such as fructose, glucose and galactose; and disaccharides such as maltose and sucrose (white table sugar). Think of these sugars as different-shaped bricks in a wall. When fructose is the primary monosaccharide brick in the wall, the glycemic index registers as healthier, since this simple sugar is slowly absorbed in the gut, then converted to glucose in the liver. This makes for "time-release foods," which offer a more gradual rise and fall in blood-glucose levels. If glucose is the primary monosaccharide brick in the wall, the glycemic index will be higher and less healthy for the individual. As the brick wall is torn apart in digestion, the glucose is pumped across the intestinal wall directly into the bloodstream, rapidly raising blood-glucose levels. In other words, there is a "window of efficacy" for glucose in the blood: levels too low make one feel lethargic and can create clinical hypoglycemia; levels too high start creating the rippling effect of diabetic health problems. [Read entire article at:]
New Study of Splenda Reveals Shocking Information About Potential Harmful Effects
Dr. Mercola
February 10 2009
James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, has expressed shock and outrage after reading a new report from scientists outlining the dangers of the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose).
In animals examined for the study, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected.
The P-gp effect could result in medications used in chemotherapy, AIDS treatment and treatments for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines, rather than being absorbed by the body.
According to Turner, "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
It’s very important to realize that Splenda (sucralose) is actually NOT sugar, despite its marketing slogan “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar”. Rather it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and with detrimental health effects to match.
Splenda was approved by the FDA in 1998 as a tabletop sweetener and for use in products such as baked goods, nonalcoholic beverages, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and gelatins. Sucralose is also permitted as a general-purpose sweetener for all processed foods.
The approval was given after the FDA supposedly reviewed more than 110 animal and human safety studies, but as you’ll soon find out, out of these 110 studies, only two were human studies, and the longest one was conducted for four days!
There’s overwhelming evidence that consuming artificial sweeteners will likely wreak havoc on your body. Previous news has centered mainly around artificial sweeteners’ ability to impair your appetite regulation and leading to weight gain.
For example, it’s been discovered that diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome and, ultimately, heart disease. However, the study mentioned above, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, found even further disturbing news besides weight gain. Splenda:
*reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
*increases the pH level in your intestines, and
*affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you’re on certain medications
They also found unmistakable evidence that Splenda is absorbed by fat, contrary to previous claims.
It’s truly disturbing that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria, as these bacteria help maintain your body's overall balance of friendly versus unfriendly micro-organisms, and support your general health. Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to choosing highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the very few supplements I highly recommend for nearly everyone.
The Diet Fallacy
The belief that consuming artificially sweetened foods and drinks will help you to lose or maintain weight is a carefully orchestrated deception. So if you are still opting for diet choices for this reason, please understand that you have been sorely misled.In reality, these diet foods and drinks can cause serious distortions in your biochemistry and ruin your body's ability to control calories. As a matter of fact, it’s been shown that diet soft drinks can double your risk of obesity!
Nearly a decade ago, studies were already revealing that artificial sweeteners can:
Stimulate your appetite
Increase carbohydrate cravings
Stimulate fat storage and weight gain
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as an acceptable alternative to sugar.
Now, I am definitely not a fan of sugar, but if I had to choose between sugar and any artificial sweetener, I would choose sugar, hands down, without question. I strongly believe artificial sweeteners are even more dangerous to your health than an excess of sugar.
The Health Dangers of Splenda
According to James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health:
"This report followed accepted policies and procedures and the results make clear the potential for disturbing side effects from the ingestion of Splenda.
It is like putting a pesticide in your body. And this is at levels of intake erroneously approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
A person eating two slices of cake and drinking two cups of coffee containing Splenda would ingest enough sucralose to affect the P-glycoprotein, while consuming just seven little Splenda packages reduces good bacteria."
The web site lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
Gastrointestinal problems
Blurred vision
Allergic reactions
Blood sugar increases
Weight gain
My site also contains a long list of personal testimonials from readers who have suffered side effects from Splenda. In fact, we have more people on our site that have reported adverse reactions to Splenda than were formally studied in the research submitted for FDA approval!
The symptoms are so numerous I can’t include them all here, but the following are common symptoms, usually noticed within a 24-hour period following consumption of Splenda products:
Skin -- Redness, itching, swelling, blistering, weeping, crusting, rash, eruptions, or hives (itchy bumps or welts). These are the most common allergic symptoms that people have.
Lungs -- Wheezing, tightness, cough, or shortness of breath.
Head -- Swelling of the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, or throat; headaches and migraines (severe headaches).
Nose -- Stuffy nose, runny nose (clear, thin discharge), sneezing.
Eyes -- Red (bloodshot), itchy, swollen, or watery.
Stomach -- Bloating, gas, pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea.
Heart -- Palpitations or fluttering.
Joints -- Joint pains or aches.
Neurological -- Anxiety, dizziness, spaced-out sensation, depression.
Beware – You Could be Consuming Splenda Without Your Knowledge
You also need to be aware of the fact that although the bulk of Splenda is sold to processed food manufacturers and soft drink bottlers, it could turn up in your medicine as well, as nearly 10 percent of all sucralose is sold to drug companies.
Many times sucralose (Splenda) will not be listed in the drug information, so there simply is no way you would know you are consuming a potentially dangerous artificial sweetener. However, if you experience any of the symptoms above even though you’re avoiding Splenda and other artificial sweeteners, then it may be worth investigating the ingredients of any medications you’re taking as well.
Splenda Has NEVER Been Proven Safe for Human Consumption
As of 2006, only six human trials have been published on Splenda. Of these six trials, only two of the trials were completed and published before the FDA approved sucralose for human consumption, and the two published trials had a grand total of 36 total human subjects.
36 people sure doesn't sound like many, but wait, it gets worse: only 23 total were actually given sucralose for testing, and here is the real kicker -- The longest trial at this time had lasted only four days, and looked at sucralose in relation to tooth decay, not human tolerance.
Even more shocking, the absorption of Splenda into the human body was studied on a grand total of six men! Based on that one human study, the FDA allowed the findings to be generalized as being representative of the entire human population. Including women, children, the elderly, and those with any chronic illness -- none of whom were ever examined.
The FDA claims they reviewed over 100 studies conducted on Splenda. What they don't tell you is that most of the studies were on animals. And, those animal studies reveal plenty of problems, such as:
Decreased red blood cells -- sign of anemia -- at levels above 1,500 mg/kg/day
Increased male infertility by interfering with sperm production and vitality, as well as brain lesions at higher doses
Enlarged and calcified kidneys (McNeil stated this is often seen with poorly absorbed substances and was of no toxicological significance. The FDA Final Rule agreed that these are findings that are common in aged female rats and are not significant.)
Spontaneous abortions in nearly half the rabbit population given sucralose, compared to zero aborted pregnancies in the control group
A 23 percent death rate in rabbits, compared to a 6 percent death rate in the control group
Chemically, Splenda is More Similar to DDT Than Sugar
Yes. Splenda bears more chemical similarity to DDT than it does to sugar.
Sucralose is in fact a synthetic chemical that was originally cooked up in a laboratory. It does start off as a sugar molecule. Then, in a five-step patented process of making sucralose, three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose (sugar) molecule. The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar so much that it is somehow converted to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.
But, if you look at the research (which is primarily extrapolated form animal studies) you will see that in fact an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS absorbed into your digestive system, and according to this latest study, it is also absorbed into your fat cells.
Unfortunately, if you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines!
Your Healthiest Alternatives
If you have a craving for sweets, rather than trying to find "healthier" ways to continue indulging in them, it is in your best interest to learn ways to relieve your cravings.
The obvious one would be to stop eating any of the products to begin with. But sweets are powerfully addictive – sugar has even been shown to be more addictive than cocaine. Stevia is a preferable natural substitute, which can be used in making most dishes and drinks.
However, complete avoidance of sweets is often necessary to break your addictive cycle, as your hormones insulin and leptin likely play an important role in your cravings.
If you are unable to achieve abstinence from sweets, your emotional connection to cravings might be an important factor for you. One of the most profound methods I know of for diminishing the effects of food cravings is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is the psychological acupressure technique routinely used in my practice to help people reduce their cravings.
There is enough evidence showing the dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners to fill an entire book -- which is exactly why I wrote Sweet Deception. If you or your loved ones drink diet beverages or eat diet foods, this book will explain how you've been deceived about the truth behind artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose -- for greed, for profits ... and at the expense of your own health.
Five Dead, 450 Ill from Contaminated Peanut Butter
By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
January 20, 2009©
Federal health officials said Friday that more than 450 illnesses and five deaths have been linked to a salmonella outbreak that's believed to have been caused by peanut butter and peanut paste. The Food and Drug Administration notified over 30 companies that bought peanut butter or peanut paste from a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America in order to test their products, said representative during a press conference attended by
Companies around the country are also being warned that they should temporarily cease sales, said the consumer representatives, who took part in a conference call with federal officials Friday.
The concern about peanut paste is significant because it can be used in dozens of products, from baked goods to cooking sauces. At first, the state and federal investigation focused on bulk containers of peanut butter sold to institutions like nursing homes, and not found on supermarket shelves.
But further investigation revealed that the danger spread to grocery stores and supermarkets.
For example, the Kellogg Company, which gets some peanut paste from a suspected facility, asked stores late Wednesday to stop selling some of its Keebler and Austin peanut butter sandwich crackers. The company said it hasn't received any reports of illnesses, however.
Peanut Corp. said it is working with federal authorities.
Food Protection Plan Receives Low Priority
Conservative US lawmakers are concerned over the nation's food safety receiving such a low priority. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for ensuring the safety of roughly 80 percent of the US food supply, including $417 billion worth of domestic food and $49 billion in imported food annually, yet experts say they aren't confident about food protection.
Changing demographics and consumption patterns along with an increase in imports have presented challenges to FDA. At the same time, recent outbreaks, such as E. coli from spinach and Salmonella from tomatoes, have undermined consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply.
In November 2007, FDA released its Food Protection Plan, which articulates a framework for improving food safety oversight. In January 2008, General Accounting Office expressed concerns about FDA's capacity to implement the Food Protection Plan and noted that more specific information about the strategies and resources needed to implement the plan would facilitate congressional oversight.
"There are those who believe lawmakers should be more concerned over protecting Americans from tainted or dangerous food supplies than trying to takeover the entire health care industry," says political strategist Michael Baker.
"In a time when airline passengers are practically strip-searched at airports, food products are given scant inspection," warns Baker.
To address these issues, GAO reviewed FDA documents, such as FDA's operations plan, and FDA data related to the plan. GAO also interviewed FDA officials regarding the progress made. In addition, GAO analyzed FDA data on domestic and foreign food firm inspections. GAO also analyzed the status of past recommendations.
Since FDA's Food Protection Plan was first released in November 2007, FDA has added few details on the resources and strategies required to implement the plan. FDA plans to spend about $90 million over fiscal years 2008 and 2009 to implement several key actions, such as identifying food vulnerabilities and risk.
From the information GAO has obtained on the Food Protection Plan, however, it is unclear what FDA's overall resource need is for implementing the plan, which could be significant. For example, based on FDA estimates, if FDA were to inspect each of the approximately 65,500 domestic food firms regulated by FDA once, the total cost would be approximately $524 million.
In addition, timelines for implementing the various strategies in the plan are also unclear, although a senior level FDA official estimated that the overall plan will take 5 years to complete. Importantly, GAO has noted that public reporting is the means through which the federal government communicates the results of its work to the Congress and the American people.
FDA officials told GAO that they had prepared a draft report on progress made in implementing the Food Protection Plan, but as of June 4, 2008, FDA told GAO that the Department of Health and Human Services had not cleared the report for release.
"The Food Protection Plan identifies the need to focus safety inspections based on risk, which is particularly important as the numbers of food firms have increased while inspections have decreased," said one FDA official.
For example, between 2001 and 2007, the number of domestic firms under FDA's jurisdiction increased from about 51,000 to more than 65,500, while the number of firms inspected declined slightly, from 14,721 to 14,566. Thus, conducting safety inspections based on risk has the potential to be an efficient and effective approach for FDA to target scarce resources based on relative vulnerability and risk. FDA has implemented few of GAO's past recommendations to leverage its resources and improve food safety oversight. Since 2004, GAO has made a total of 34 food safety related recommendations to FDA, and as of May 2008, FDA has implemented 7 of these recommendations. [Read entire article at:]
Peanut Processing Plant Knowingly Sold Tainted Products
Thursday, January 29, 2009
by: Jo Hartley, citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) It has just been released by federal officials that the Georgia peanut plant linked to a salmonella outbreak shipped out contaminated peanut butter knowingly twelve times in the past two years. This current outbreak has killed eight people and affected over 500 others.
Salmonella is present in animal feces. Foods can become contaminated by infected handlers who do not effectively wash hands with soap after using the restroom. This bacteria thrives in a moist environment.
Salmonella bacteria causes an infection that includes diarrhea, fever, and cramping within 12 to 72 hours of exposure. The symptoms typically last between four and seven days. Most people infected will recover without treatment. Infants, elderly, and people with weak immune systems may become severely ill, however. Salmonella can even be fatal.
Because of a 2007 outbreak at a facility in Georgia that makes Peter Pan peanut butter, food safety experts learned that salmonella bacteria can lie dormant in peanut butter and become active when ingested.
The FDA and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have been investigating this most recent salmonella outbreak and have recently found that the Peanut Corporation of America detected salmonella in internal tests twelve times in 2007 and 2008. Sometimes they received positive salmonella results from different laboratories. Despite these positive detections, however, their products were sold.
Companies are not required to disclose internal test results to the FDA or state regulators. For this reason, officials were not aware of the situation.
The peanut products made at the company's Georgia plant are not sold directly to the public. They are utilized by other food manufacturers for making cookies, crackers, bars, cereal, candy, ice cream, and dog food. Some of the largest food manufacturers have now recalled over 100 products believed to be made with tainted ingredients.
Federal investigators have also now stated that four strains of salmonella have been detected at the Georgia plant. One strain was found from the floor near a restroom. The outbreak has now spread to 43 states and Canada and is ongoing. Approximately half the people sickened have been children.
Major-label peanut butter is not thought to be contaminated with this salmonella outbreak and is considered safe to eat. The makers of several major brands have been making efforts to assure the public that their peanut butters are not included in this outbreak.
Though Peanut Corporation of America was not required to inform regulators about its internal salmonella tests, it appears that the company violated federal law because foods are required to be produced under conditions that do not harm health.
Whether the company will face criminal charges has not yet been determined. Stewart Parnell, the company's owner and president, has not issued any statements. The company has e-mailed a statement, however, stating that it "has cooperated fully with FDA from day one during the course of this investigation. We have shared with them every record that they have asked for that is in our possession and we will continue to do so."
The company halted production at the plant involved when the FDA confirmed it was the source of the current outbreak. FDA officials have given the company the freedom to restart production, but first the company will have to address a list of manufacturing deficiencies. This list will be released to the public as well.
FDA officials have not determined how the plant was contaminated or how the bacteria contaminated the peanut products. State inspection records have shown a pattern of unsanitary conditions over several years, however. Inspectors flagged the situations, but every time it was only determined that routine follow-up was warranted. Peanut Corporation of America was never closed by the state or penalized in any way.
The FDA never actually inspected this plant. This duty fell to the Georgia Department of Agriculture under a contract because the FDA says it does not have the staff necessary to visit every domestic food production facility in the US.
The last inspected of the Georgia plants by state inspectors occurred in October, 2008. This was during the time that the contaminated products were being produced, according to inspection records. No tests were performed to test the factory or the products for salmonella during this inspection.
The FDA is currently reviewing the state's inspection process to determine whether the state officials would have detected the salmonella bacteria if necessary tests had been performed.
What you should know about milk!
Cow's Milk Not Healthy for Humans
Michael Dye
Monday, October 30th, 2006
People who have been taught that cow’s milk is the “perfect food” may be shocked to hear many prominent medical doctors are now saying dairy consumption is a contributing factor in nearly two dozen diseases of children and adults.
Doctors say cow’s milk can lead to iron deficiency anemia, allergies, diarrhea, heart disease, colic, cramps, gastrointestinal bleeding, sinusitis, skin rashes, acne, increased frequency of colds and flu, arthritis, diabetes, ear infections, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and more, possibly even lung cancer, multiple sclerosis and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
In American society, one of the most sacred of all sacred cows is the milk of the cow itself. Cow’s milk is more American than apple pie, but that’s because apple pie doesn’t have Congressional lobbyists and a multi-million dollar advertising budget. Most parents wouldn’t think of raising their children without the benefit of cow’s milk to help their little bones to grow big and strong. Its silky, white texture is the very epitome of our concept of wholesome purity.
Our “nutritional education” in school (funded in part by the dairy industry) taught us that dairy products are one of the four basic food groups we all need for proper nutrition. And with more than 60 of the most powerful Congressional leaders in Washington receiving campaign contributions from the National Dairy Council, we can be assured that dairy products are well-entrenched as a major staple of our government-sponsored school lunch programs.
Cow’s milk is promoted as the “perfect food” for humans, and especially for our children. This advertising has put such a strong emphasis on the health of our children that some people view milk commercials as more of a public service announcement than an attempt to sell a product. These ads have told us “Milk is a Natural,” “Everybody Needs Milk,” “Milk is the Perfect Food,” etc. This advertising has served its purpose well because the average American consumes 375 pounds of dairy products a year. One out of every seven dollars spent on groceries in the U.S. goes to buy dairy products.
But to gauge the full impact of this promotion, we must consider more than just the dollar amount spent on dairy products. We must also consider the impact this massive advertising, promotion, lobbying, “nutritional education” and public relations effort has had by creating a widely-held perception of cow’s milk as a very wholesome and healthy product. This promotion has been so effective that it is common for even people who give up meat to still feel that they should continue consuming dairy products to ensure they receive sufficient protein or calcium. People buy cow’s milk for their families based on the premise that this product provides essential nutrition, helps to build a healthy body, and that indeed, their precious health may be in jeopardy if they do not drink milk.
If this is the premise on which Americans spend an incredible chunk of their grocery bill to provide for the health and nutrition of their loved ones, we need to further examine this premise.
Despite what the dairy industry has led us to believe, many medical doctors and nutritionists are now saying that cow’s milk is not healthy for human consumption, and that it can lead to many serious diseases. When you look at the credentials of the doctors making these statements, it would be hard for the dairy industry to accuse these physicians of being on the lunatic fringe of the medical world.
Frank Oski, M.D., author of Don’t Drink Your Milk! is the Director of the Department of Pediatrics of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 19 medical textbooks and has written 290 medical manuscripts.
In the first chapter of his book, Dr. Oski states, “The fact is: the drinking of cow milk has been linked to iron-deficiency anemia in infants and children; it has been named as the cause of cramps and diarrhea in much of the world’s population, and the cause of multiple forms of allergy as well; and the possibility has been raised that it may play a central role in the origins of atherosclerosis and heart attacks.”
Dr. Oski comments, “Being against cow milk is equated with being un-American,” but still he notes, “Among physicians, so much concern has been voiced about the potential hazards of cow milk that the Committee on Nutrition of the prestigious American Academy of Pediatrics, the institutional voice of practicing pediatricians, released a report entitled, ‘Should Milk Drinking by Children Be Discouraged?’ Although the Academy’s answer to this question has (as of this writing) been a qualified ‘maybe,’ the fact that the question was raised at all is testimony to the growing concern about this product, which for so long was viewed as sacred as the proverbial goodness of mother and apple pie.”
Another outspoken critic of cow’s milk is Dr. William Ellis, a retired osteopathic physician and surgeon in Arlington, Texas, who has researched the effects of dairy products for 42 years. Dr. Ellis is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the East, Leaders of American Science, the Dictionary of International Biography and Two Thousand Men of Achievement. Dr. Ellis says dairy products are “simply no good for humans… There is overwhelming evidence that milk and milk products are harmful to many people, both adults and infants. Milk is a contributing factor in constipation, chronic fatigue, arthritis, headaches, muscle cramps, obesity, allergies and heart problems.”
When Washington D.C.-based pediatrician Dr. Russell Bunai was asked what single change in the American diet would produce the greatest health benefit, his answer was, “Eliminating dairy products.”
Dr. Christiane Northrup, a gynecologist in Yarmouth, Maine, states, “Dairy is a tremendous mucus producer and a burden on the respiratory, digestive and immune systems.” Dr. Northrup says when patients “eliminate dairy products for an extended period and eat a balanced diet, they suffer less from colds and sinus infections.”
Dr. Oski’s book includes a letter written by Dr. J. Dan Baggett, a pediatrician in Alabama who describes his experience after six years of recommending that all his patients eliminate cow’s milk from their diets. He writes, “In general, they cooperate much better than I had earlier anticipated except for the pre-teenagers and teenagers.” Dr. Baggett’s letter, states in part:
“During the years 1963 through 1967, I referred an average of four appendectomy cases per year. During the past five and a half years, I have referred only two patients for appendectomy, the last one being three years ago. Both of these children were professed milk guzzlers.
“I do not have a single patient with active asthma. In fact, I have nearly forgotten how to prescribe for them.
“Perhaps the most significant thing I have learned is that Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus germ will not, under ordinary circumstances, establish an infection in a child kept on an absolutely no-milk-protein dietary regimen. I have been aware of this for the past two and a half years and, so far, there have been no exceptions. Any time a patient of mine is found to have streptococcal pharyngitis or pyoderma, we can establish by history that he has ingested milk protein within five days prior to onset of symptoms or signs bringing him to the office.
“I now admit an average of 12-14 patients per year to the hospital. Their average hospital stay is three days. Between 1963 and 1967, I admitted an average of 100+ patients to the hospital per year. Their average stay was five days.”
So how can all these medical statements be explained in light of what we have been taught all of our life about milk? Remember “Milk is the Perfect Food”… “Milk is a Natural”… “Everybody Needs Milk.” Are we talking about the same food here?
Perhaps we are not. It would appear that promoters of cow’s milk are creating advertising statements that are meant to appeal on a subconscious level to our positive feelings and experiences with human breast milk. All mammals, including humans, are intended to be nourished during infancy by milk from their mother. Part of the very definition of a mammal is that the female of the species has milk-producing glands in her breasts which provide nourishment for her young. Each species of mammal produces its unique type of milk designed specifically to strengthen the immune system and provide nourishment for their babies, which are weaned after their birth weight has approximately tripled.
So, absolutely yes, “milk is a natural”… in the proper context. It is perfectly natural for infant mammals, including humans, to be nourished exclusively by milk from their mother’s breasts. So if we are talking about human breast milk for babies, yes, “milk is the perfect food.” And yes, during infancy when we have no teeth for eating solid food, and as we need to strengthen our immune system, “everybody needs milk.”
I have just quoted three of the most popular advertising slogans of the dairy industry and they are indisputably as true as any words that could be spoken on the subject of nutrition… if they are applied to a baby’s need for human breast milk. In fact, not one of the doctors I have quoted in describing the terrible problems caused by cow’s milk would disagree that milk is a natural, milk is the perfect food or that everybody needs milk, in this context.
But whoa.
The dairy industry has begun with these three statements that we all know are true about a baby’s need for human breast milk, and twisted them out of context to apply them to a completely different product they are selling. And the sad result is that most Americans still think these noble statements about our babies needing to suckle their mother’s breast milk are true when applied to the advertising claim that humans of all ages need to buy and drink cow’s milk.
So, in an effort to undo the damage caused by this manipulation, let us consider the differences in human breast milk versus cow’s milk, and further examine the physical problems caused by humans trying to subsist on the milk of another species well past the age when any mammal should be drinking any milk. [Read entire article at:]
Also See:
The most common source of MSG hiding in a product is "natural flavors." This additive contains approximately 40% MSG. Mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard often contain "natural flavors" as an additive. Most packaged and canned foods, including teas, diet foods, desserts, ice cream and cakes, commonly contain "natural flavors."