A friend of ours recently got an email forward about the cold medicine ingredient phenylpropanolamine (and its unpleasant tendency to increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in women), so she sent it to us for a little “mythbusting.” The email (and its accompanying list of cold medicines and weight loss aids) is alarming, but outdated.
Don’t eat Queso Fresco Fresh Cheese Mexican style soft cheese and Queso Cotija Molido Mexican style grated cheese manufactured and distributed by Peregrina Cheese Corp. It might be full of Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause severe headaches, nausea, diarrhea, or miscarriages.
Latisse, a new drug that promises longer, fuller lashes, started out as Lumigan, a glaucoma drug. Now’s been approved by the FDA to treat “inadequate” eyelashes, but there are some pretty crazy possible side effects. Like permanent changes to your eye color.
Philips Avent, the nation’s largest seller of baby bottles, announced today that it will voluntarily stop selling bottles containing the controversial chemical bisphenol A (BPA). Attorneys general from Connecticut and New Jersey had written a letter to several bottle makers asking them to stop, and the Washington Post says the six largest baby bottle manufacturers in the country have voluntarily complied.
A woman in Atlanta bit into a blue peanut M&M and discovered a tiny, blackened bone, probably from a nut obsessed animal who crept into the M&M to eat the peanut, then died of remorse. A Mars rep told the customer it was probably just a peanut twig. Whatever; by our estimations, this animal is most likely smaller than a peanut M&M, but has a comically wide and very short neck. Hmm, maybe we should instead ask an expert to deduce where this bone came from, which is what the customer did.
The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in favor of Diana Levine in Wyeth v. Levine. Levine, a musician, had her arm amputated when an anti-nausea drug was improperly administered in her artery, and sued the manufacturer for failing to warn of the risks on the drug’s label. Wyeth claimed that her case was pre-empted by federal law.
Our sister blog at ConsumerReports.org notes that “current salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanuts could drag on for as long as two years,” according to the FDA. The Peanut Corp of America may be history, but because peanut butter has such a long shelf life, and because they’re still adding products to the recall list, there may be food items lurking in pantries across the U.S. that are loaded with disease-causing peanuty badness.
The FDA has suspended all new drug applications from one of Ranbaxy’s plants in India—the Paonta Sahib plant—after “determining the facility was falsifying scientific data.” You may recall that last September the FDA banned the import of 30 popular generic meds made by Ranbaxy due in part to quality control issues from this very same plant. What do they think they are, a peanut butter factory?
Here’s a handy widget, courtesy of the FDA, that you can use to determine whether or not your Valentine’s Day goodies are a trap set by an angry lover.
Bayer, the company that makes the popular birth control pill, Yaz, is being forced to run ads that “correct” some of the claims that it made in commercials touting the pill’s “proven” ability to rid women of acne and PMS. The company settled with the FDA, promising to spend $20 million on the corrections, warning women that they shouldn’t take Yaz hoping to cure their pimples and irritability.
Chicago might become the first place in the United States to partially ban the sale of products that contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), the chemical that some studies have shown may have harmful effects on humans. They’re proposing to forbid the sale of any BPA product intended for children. Canada banned the chemical last year, but the FDA has so far come down on the side of manufacturers.
FBI agents raided the Georgia plant suspected in the current salmonella peanut butter outbreak that has been linked to 600 illnesses and eight deaths in 43 states. The company is accused of knowingly shipping the tainted products.
We know there’s salmonella story fatigue setting in, but this new overview from yesterday’s Senate hearing is the best yet as far as piecing together exactly how salmonella-tainted peanut butter made it into our food supply for such a long period of time, and why it took so long to trace it back to a single rotten peanut plant in Georgia. Ultimately the blame lies with Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for failing to maintain its factory and for not destroying lots that tested positive for salmonella, but both the FDA and the CDC had a role in it, too. One example: the FDA didn’t even know the plant produced peanut butter or peanut paste until 2007.
Peanut Corp. of America is now saying that its Georgia plant was regularly inspected by the FDA and given a “meets or exceeds” rating. This doesn’t excuse the company from its own failings, but we think it points out what President Obama recently noted, which is that the FDA inspection system doesn’t seem to work very well.
President Obama has had it up to here with poor FDA oversight, particularly of salmonella-infested peanut factories, and he’s called for a review of the underfunded organization, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In yesterday’s Peanut Corp. post, our commenter microguy07828 left a detailed explanation of how food manufacturers sometimes play dirty when it comes to getting the lab results they want on a product. We though it deserved more visibility in light of yesterday’s accusation that the Peanut Corp. of America knowingly shipped tainted peanut butter. As microguy07828 puts it, it “happens more often than you would think.”