Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables - (JPG)
From the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site

FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

The Costs of Food Born Illness and Related Information

From the Web page of the Partnership for Food Safety Education (PFSE)

Foodborne illness is much more than the “stomach flu”, and it is a serious health issue and economic burden for consumers. According to the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the USDA, each year $6.9 billion in costs are associated with five bacterial pathogens, CampylobacterSalmonellaListeria monocytogenesE. coli O157:H7, and E. coli non-O157:H7 STEC (2000). These costs are associated with medical expenses, lost productivity, and even death.The ERS estimates that the annual economic cost of salmonellosis—the illness caused by the Salmonella bacterium—is $2.65 billion (2009). This estimate is for all cases of salmonellosis, not just foodborne cases. The estimate includes medical costs due to illness, the cost (value) of time lost from work due to nonfatal illness, and the cost (value) of premature death.

The ERS estimates that the annual economic cost of illness caused by shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC O157) is $478 million (2009). This estimate is for all cases of STEC O157 disease, not just foodborne cases. The estimate includes medical costs due to illness, kidney dialysis and transplant costs, and the cost (value) of time lost from work due to nonfatal illness, and the cost (value) of premature death.

The ERS estimates that the annual economic cost of illness caused by Campylobacter, the most frequently isolated cause of foodborne diarrhea, is $1.2 billion. The estimate includes medical costs, lost productivity, and death due tocampylobacteriosis from food sources and costs associated Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), a form of paralysis.

Estimates for the cost of foodborne illness do not include other significant costs to both industry and government.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education is a collaboration of the US Depts of Health and Human Services, Education as well as leaders of food trade associations, consumer and public health organizations and the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

The PFSE  Web page includes links to

 

 

December 21, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Public Health | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Contaminated Butter Points to Need for Better Surveillance, Study Says: MedlinePlus

HealthDay news image

From the December 7th Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

TUESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) — U.S. researchers who recently found high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants in butter say it is the worst documented case of food contamination with PBDE in the country.

It’s also the first time that this type of food contamination is believed to be the result of PBDEs in a food’s packaging.

 

The researchers found that one in 10 samples of butter bought at five Dallas grocery stores had PBDE levels more than 135 times higher than the average of the other nine samples. Levels of deca-BDE — a PBDE compound widely used in electronics, textiles, cable insulation, and car and aircraft components — were more than 900 times higher in the contaminated samples than in the other nine samples.

Studies in rodents have linked deca-BDE with thyroid hormone changes and neurobehavioral changes.

As the researchers continued their investigation, they found that PBDE levels in the butter’s paper wrapper were more than 16 times higher than levels found in the butter. It’s not clear whether the paper was contaminated before or after it reached the butter packaging plant, and the actual source of contamination is not known.

The study is published online Dec. 7 and in an upcoming print issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The findings highlight the need for a U.S. regulatory program that tests food for persistent organic pollutants such as PBDEs, said lead author Arnold Schecter of the University of Texas School of Public Health and colleagues in a news release from the journal.

 

December 9, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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