Some members of Congress appear to be losing patience with the FDA’s reluctance to legalize cannabidiol (CBD). On Jan. 13, a bill was introduced to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) to include hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) introduced House Bill 5587, described by lawyers at Ritter Spencer PLLC as “a simple, three-page bill with the primary objective of including hemp-derived CBD as a dietary supplement … to be marketed and sold in interstate commerce with adherence to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).”
One of the reasons the FDA has dragged its feet on legalizing CBD, according to some observers, is its adherence to the FDCA, which prohibits the introduction into interstate commerce of a food or dietary supplement ingredient that was first studied as a pharmaceutical drug. Because CBD is the key ingredient in Epidiolex, a drug for the treatment of seizures, the FDA maintains it cannot approve CBD for use in a food, beverage, or cosmetic.
“Though we do not necessarily anticipate this bill to pass, it will most likely serve as an effective tool to goad the FDA into action,” said a statement from Ritter Spencer. “It is at least a small step forward toward fixing the FDA issues.”
CNAP ClipBoard: The problem with not announcing it because the lettuce was already past its shelf date and not available for sale, is that most grocers sell produce beyond its shelf date. When it’s too rotted to do that, then they put it in a greatly reduced price section of the produce for poor people to buy.
FDA criticized for waiting 6 weeks to announce latest romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak
Credit: Max Pixel
Nov. 5, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Oct. 31 an E. coli outbreak associated with romaine lettuce sickened 23 people in 12 states between July 12 and Sept. 8. While 11 people were hospitalized, the agency said no deaths were reported, the active investigation has wrapped up and the outbreak appears to be over.
Romaine lettuce was identified as the likely source, but available data indicated the product eaten by sick people was past its shelf life and no longer available for sale, the FDA said. “We do not believe there is a current or ongoing risk to the public and we are not recommending the public avoid consuming romaine lettuce,” Frank Yiannas, FDA’s deputy commissioner for Food Policy and Response, said in the release.
Both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established romaine as the probable cause on Oct. 2, Brian Katzowitz, a CDC health communication specialist, told The Washington Post. He said the delay in sharing the news was due to a few variables and the CDC “generally posts outbreak warnings when there is something actionable for consumers to do.”
It’s not uncommon for food safety regulators to wait until more details are known about an outbreak before informing the public, but for six weeks to go by before saying anything about an E. coli outbreak can raise questions and cause consumer concern. The delay is even more puzzling since this outbreak was linked to romaine lettuce, which has been involved in three other major outbreaks during the past two years.
The FDA and the CDC may believe consumers couldn’t realistically do anything to protect themselves six weeks out, but telling people about the outbreak earlier may have helped them avoid contaminated romaine lettuce. The FDA’s assertion that any contaminated romaine lettuce would be past its shelf life and no longer available for sale may be true, but it’s not clear how the agency could know that for a fact.
Food safety activists have criticized the delay. Food safety lawyer Bill Marler wrote on his blog that he was disgusted that the government kept this outbreak “hidden from public view.”
“Although the consuming public was kept in the dark, it is without question that government, industry and academia knew that the outbreak happened, but they all chose to hide it until late this evening – so much for ‘transparency’ and so much for ‘food safety culture,’ ” he wrote. “We will not have a safe food supply when facts are hidden from consumers.”
Consumer Reports was also critical of the delay, writing in a post that while not all foodborne illness outbreaks are publicly announced, previous lettuce-related outbreaks were severe enough to warrant quicker action. The nonprofit also noted E. coli O157:H7 — the strain of the pathogen involved — produces a toxin that can lead to serious illness, kidney failure and death.
The leafy greens industry is well aware of pathogen problems and has recently taken steps to improve production processes. The industry has tightened up grower requirements and recently embarked on a multi-year food safety initiative involving government, academia and industry to better understand the impact of pathogens on leafy greens in areas including Yuma County, Arizona and the Imperial Valley in California.
In a statement, the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement trade group said it will use information from this latest outbreak investigation to enhance mandatory food safety practices. LGMA Chairman Dan Sutton said while FDA’s farm tests were negative for traces of E. coli, leafy greens growers will continue to work with public health agencies to improve their food safety practices.
According to a 2017 report from the Interagency Food Safety Analytics Collaboration, 51% of E. coli cases were linked to produce in 2013, along with 59% of listeria cases, 46% of salmonella ones and 33% of cambylobacter cases. Most E. coli outbreaks were linked to leafy greens and other vegetables — more than any other food category.
Waiting six weeks to reveal the E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce could have been an effort to reduce panic, but that decision could lead to more consumers losing trust in the industry.
Transparency is critical to bolstering consumer confidence in the food supply — particularly items that have already had contamination problems.
In addition, any delay telling the public about an outbreak will likely increase suspicion that food safety agencies are not looking out for the public welfare, and that sentiment could lead to less romaine lettuce being consumed. The romaine industry, which was hit by decreased sales following…
Cancer-linked’ chemicals in Chipotle, Sweetgreen packaging?
There’s more to know, experts say
Everything about your burrito bowl from Chipotle or your salad from Sweetgreen seems earthy and health-conscious, right down to the packaging.
But harmful chemicals may be lurking in those eco-friendly containers.
A story published last week by the New Food Economy, a non-profit newsroom that investigates food-related issues, reported the “cancer-linked” presence of PFAS, also called “forever chemicals,” in the fiber bowls used at fast casual dining spots and other restaurants including Chipotle, Sweetgreen, Dig Inn and other locations in New York City.
The chemicals are being investigated by scientists and government officials amid concerns over links to cancer, obesity, reproductive health problems, immunotoxicity and other health problems. PFAS have been used in consumer goods since the 1940s, according to the Food and Drug Administration. They’ve also been found in water.
The methodology used in the report has been questioned by the Foodservice Packaging Institute, a trade group that claims the report’s chemical indicators may not always prove accurate. And Chipotle contended its fiber bowls are safe and compliant with Food and Drug Administration rules in a statement to USA TODAY.
But the potential presence of PFAS is worrisome for health and environmental concerns, according to researchers.
Why ‘forever chemicals’ don’t go away
PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, is a family of man-made chemicals that contain carbon-fluorine bonds. The bonds don’t break down easily, which is why PFAS are often referred to as “forever chemicals.”
They have been used in the production of common goods since the 1940s, according to the FDA.
And PFAS are everywhere: Drinking water, food, cookware, paints, water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, firefighting foams and more.
Because it doesn’t break down, PFAS remain present in our groundwater, soil and in human and animal bloodstreams, the FDA said in a statement.
While there is evidence that PFAS are present in many other areas of our world, people have had a strong reaction to the news about it being a part of packaging, said Caroline Cox, senior scientist at the Center for Environmental Health.
“I think people are often concerned about contaminants in their food – it’s such a direct exposure,” Cox told USA TODAY…
A food poisoning outbreak tied to 132 cyclospora illnesses in 11 states was likely caused by fresh basil imported from Mexico by Siga Logistics de RL de CV, the Food and Drug Administration announced late Thursday.
Four people have been hospitalized.
The investigation is ongoing, but the agency has requested a voluntary recall, and Siga Logistics has agreed. The FDA is working with the company to facilitate the recall.
Cyclospora is a parasite that spreads when people eat food (or drink water) that has come into contact with contaminated feces. Illnesses that are part of this outbreak have been reported in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. In Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio, some people were exposed to cyclospora at restaurants. The FDA did not name the restaurants.
The FDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment and a receptionist at Siga Logistics said no one was available to comment right away.
What Consumers Should Do
Consumers should not use or eat any fresh basil imported by Siga Logistics, the FDA advised.
If you already bought fresh basil and can’t determine where it is from—or if you don’t know the importer but do know it came from Mexico—throw it away.
Fresh, uncooked basil often shows up in salads or in pesto, and as whole or chopped leaves in many restaurant dishes. So avoid ordering dishes with basil at restaurants, and ask that basil not be used to garnish your dish, unless the restaurant can assure you the herb didn’t come from Siga Logistics.
If you had basil in your refrigerator that might have been contaminated, or if you have used basil in the past few months, do a thorough cleaning. Wash and sanitize affected areas of your refrigerator and countertops, as well as cutting boards and utensils, and be sure to wash your hands with soap and warm water when you’re done.
Symptoms of Cyclospora
Symptoms of cyclospora usually emerge about a week after being infected, and the illness can last anywhere from a few days to a month or more.
Symptoms usually include watery, sometimes explosive diarrhea. Many people with cyclospora also experience fatigue, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, bloating, and nausea. In some cases vomiting, body aches, and flu-like symptoms can occur. Sometimes cyclospora symptoms go away and then return, and some people with the infection do not experience symptoms at all.
Products recalled: There’s no formal recall yet, but the FDA is working with Siga Logistics de RL de CV to facilitate a recall of basil the company imported into the U.S. from Mexico.The problem: The FDA has determined that this basil is the likely source of a cyclospora outbreak that has caused 132 illnesses in 11 states.
The fix: Throw away potentially affected basil, even if you plan to cook with it, to be safe. And don’t eat fresh basil from Siga Logistics. If basil is from Mexico but you don’t have information on the supplier, don’t eat it. And if you don’t know where the basil came from at all, avoid it. The FDA will update its page on this outbreak with more information as it becomes available.
Who to contact: Call your healthcare provider if you think you might be experiencing symptoms of cyclospora. You can also contact the FDA using the links found toward the bottom of this page. Siga Logistics has not yet provided contact information for consumers.
FFC COMMENT: Since science has proven that eating animals causes a myriad of diseases and disorders all food containers need to state CONTAINS ANIMAL PRODUCTS (what animal) or CONTAINS NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS.
Remember that new nutrition label that was going to help you lose weight and eat healthier? Turns out, we may have to kiss it goodbye.
FDA Proposes Major Delay In Enforcing New Nutrition Labels
There’s another new deadline, but is this one here to stay?
BYOLIVIA TARANTINO & APRIL BENSHOSAN
September 28, 2017
Update, October 2, 2017: After indefinitely extending the July 2018 compliance date to enforce the new and improved nutrition labels, the FDA has finally proposed a deadline. So exactly how much longer must we wait?
On September 29, the FDA announced plans to grant food manufacturers an extra year and a half to start printing the new nutrition labels on packages. This means that big companies, which the agency defines as those that rack up over $10 million in sales annually, will have until January 1, 2020 to implement the changes. Smaller companies are granted a later deadline, January 1, 2021.
So why does the agency wish to enforce the revamped labels into the next decade? Apparently, many food manufacturers claimed that they required more time to implement the changes, which negatively affects us as consumers. The FDA’s “decision to cave in to food industry demands and delay the deadline for companies to update their Nutrition Facts labels harms the public’s health, denies consumers vital information, and creates an unfair and confusing marketplace as many companies have gone ahead with the labels anyway,” Dr. Peter G. Lurie, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a statement. Since the proposed rule is open for public comment beginning on October 2, it will allow 30 days for commentary after which it will be finalized.
Original Post, June 13, 2017: The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that it would be delaying a major upgrade to the nutrition facts panel that was set to take place in 2018.