Posts Tagged: Food And Drug Administration

FDA failure in Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Raquel Rutledge and Rick Barrett had an investigative report this weekend on faulty health care products made by the Triad Group, which is based in Hartland, Wisconsin. These faulty products caused grave illnesses in children that Rutledge and Barrett profile. The worst part is that these tragedies were preventable: the Food and Drug Administration knew Triad made faulty products but trusted the company’s assurances that it would make alterations.

See your fridge differently with help of FDA food recall database

Eddie Gehman Kohan writes on Obama Foodorama (try reading “foodorama” ten times to yourself) about the Food & Drug Adminstration’s latest initiative to open up the food recall process to citizens.  The FDA database may not be blessed with the catchiest name (“Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts”), but it might end up saving your health, time, and money.  It allows you to search by food item, by infection or illness that a contaminated or otherwise dangerous food product can cause, and by store.  My searches using terms like “salmonella”, “broccoli”, “sam’s club”, “ham”, “hillandale” and “wegmans” all turned up relatively recent product recalls, with specifics gleaned from company press releases.   The database might not reach out and stop you from buying something that could make you sick, but it’s a good way to check your fridge and shelves at home if you’ve heard rumors about a recall.

Circumstantial evidence implicates alfalfa sprouts

The Food and Drug Administration has issued a consumer warning that alfalfa sprouts grown on the Urbana, Illinois organic farm Tiny Greens are linked to salmonella. However, Monica Eng of the Chicago Tribune reports that not one of the Tiny Greens sprouts the FDA and Illinois Department of Public Health tested showed salmonella contamination. (more…)

Another reason to diet: Feds investigate Illinois sandwich chain

The Centers for Disease Control has started to take control of a salmonella outbreak that primarily happened in Illinois, reports Chris Freeman of the Northwest Herald in McHenry County, Illinois.

The outbreak is tied to alfalfa sprouts served at the Jimmy John’s sandwich restaurant, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois.  (more…)

With Senate vote, FDA embraces slow(er) food movement

Gardiner Harris and William Neuman’s report in the New York Times at the Senate vote approving new food inspection powers for the Food and Drug Administration hints at a key question: how will the FDA manage its new responsibilities?  The change, which now must be approved in the House, is significant:

The bill is intended to keep unsafe foods from reaching markets and restaurants, where they can make people sick — a change from the current practice, which mainly involves cracking down after outbreaks occur.

As a result, the FDA will gain new powers to inspect sources of food products overseas and in the U.S.  It will be able to “recall tainted foods, increase inspections, [and] demand accountability from food companies and oversee farming.”

But changing the culture at FDA will be hard. (more…)

FDA’s Peter Lurie on being out and being in

Peter Lurie

When Dr. Peter Lurie was working at Public Citizen, he was known as one of the FDA’s biggest public opponents.  He participated in congressional hearings, he fought Big Pharma, he spoke out on behalf of people who needed medicines or who had been hurt by the wrong medicine.  Now he’s working inside the FDA, and Rob Stein of the Washington Post decided to find out what it’s like for someone like Lurie on the inside.  The upshot?  Lurie has realized “the issues are more complex than people on the outside of government can fully appreciate.”  These may seem like wiggle words, but they’re certainly true.  Government officials have to look at more sides of an issue than issue advocates outside government, and they have to take into account more stakeholders — including, in the FDA’s case, the extremely influential pharmaceutical companies.  But in a way, working inside a large government agency and working with so many people, you end up being less exposed — certainly less exposed to some people’s anger than he was at Public Citizen.  (more…)

When medical devices go unregulated

The Food and Drug Administration will now inspect more medical devices that are similar to devices already approved by the agency. Deborah L. Shelton of the Chicago Tribune details how the new rules stem partly from a case that involves Dr. Patrick McCarthy, a cardiac surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. (more…)

FDA steps in again to stop salmonella

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered a recall of California-grown alfalfa sprouts linked to a new outbreak of salmonella. According to April Fulton of National Public Radio, the sprouts have left 22 people sick in 10 states. (more…)

The FDA Smartly Takes On Salt

The Washington Post’s Lyndsey Layton reports that the Food and Drug Administration will take a bold new step in public health enforcement — regulating salt. For now, no specific salt limits have been set — the FDA has only said that regulators will work with food manufacturers to limit salt in processed foods, where 77 percent of American’s salt intake comes from.

Food industry representatives like Morton (yes, his first name is Morton) Satin of the Salt Institute argue that the “science regarding sodium is unclear.” But one recent study shows that, “cutting salt intake by 3 grams a day could prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks, strokes and cases of heart disease.” Such stats plus the likelihood that most people don’t know how much salt they consume each day makes a compelling case for regulation.

FDA Reviews Smooth, Relaxing Taste of Menthol

The Food and Drug administration is reviewing whether to close the most controversial hole in the agency’s new tobacco regulations: the continued legality of menthol flavoring in cigarettes. (more…)