Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What is Tribromoanisole? Tylenol Arthiritis Recall 2009

On reading of the expanded recall alert for Tylenol today, I was intrigued to know what had caused the musty smell that alerted authorities and McNeil Consumer Healthcare to a problem with the arthritis caps. The substance at the heart of this recall has been identified as - tribromoanisole. And it is the musty smell of the tribromoanisole that is causing many who have consumed these caps to experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhea.

Tribromoanisole or 2,4,6-tribromoanisole is the musty-smelling metabolite of a chemical fungicide 2,4,6-tribromophenol. It is associated with the treatment of wood pallets. These pallets or skids are then used in the transportation of the packaging materials with which the bottles for the Tylenol caplets were made.

A study on sultanas published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry [1997, 45 (3), pp 889–893] notes that, 2,4,6-tribromoanisole is high on the list of probable mustiness causing agents that taint packaged foods. McNeil Consumer Healthcare advises that all the complaints it received pointed to a short-lived discomfort but acknowledges that the effects of this metabolite on the human organism have not been fully studied.

The presence of the metabolite in packaging materials raises serious questions about its effect on other packaged foods and medications. Stay tuned for more updates on this hidden danger.

Tylenol Recall Expanded

McNeil Consumer Healthcare has expanded a Tylenol recall on arthritis caplets. Last months recall had marked five lots of the medicine with the Red EZ-Open Cap. Now Tylenol has observed that all lots of the Tylenol Arthritis Pain 100 caplets bottles with with the EZ- Open red cap are included.

The recall was made because of a moldy odor that may cause nausea and stomach pain - the culprit trace amounts of the chemical 2, 4, 6-tribromoanisole! Side effects also include vomiting and diarrhea which are being defined as being temporary and non-serious.

Anyone with this medication in their cabinet or anyone who may have ingested this drug has been asked to stop taking the medication immediately and contact Tylenol at 1-888-222-6036 or Tylenol.com. Persons with medical concerns have been asked to immediately contact their doctor.

Do you know what tribromoanisole is? Read more in the next post.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Geographical Copyright for Tirupati Laddoo

The famous Tirupati Laddoo has joined the ranks of famous products with a geographical origin in successfully obtaining a Geographical Indication registry. The copyright awarded ensures that only the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanams (TDD), a trust that administers the Venkateswara Temple in the Tirumala hills can make and sell this product. The certification further protects this right by ensuring that others cannot name or market a similar sweetmeat product using the same name.

The Tirupati Laddoo is a popular name for Sri Vari Laddu that is offered as prasadam to devotees at the Lord Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh after worship. The TDD application noted that:
The size and flavour are typical characteristics of Tirupati Laddoo. Tirupati Laddoos are not produced anywhere in the world and are very unique in terms of quality, reputation and other characteristics, which go into its making.
Under GI, the right to marketing a product is tied to a definite geographical territory. The product carrying the said name must be produced, processed, prepared in that territory alone. This prevents brand name exploitation of products that acquire fame over time. The GI status come with legal protection and permits the perusal of legal action in the event of copyright infringement. GIs come under Intellectual Property Rights.

Read: DNA News

Monday, September 14, 2009

September is Hunger Action Month

Ever imagine what it's like to go hungry to bed every night? One in eight Americans face hunger in their daily lives.Children and adults are being forced to go without food for several meals and in some cases even several days. Here's what you can do to keep children, adults, and seniors from going hungry.

  1. Find a food bank in your neighbourhood or community - and donate food. Food Bank Locator can be found here.
  2. Organise a food donation drive in your place of work, your child's school, or university.
  3. Find Food Bank Events for your zip code @ Food Bank Events Locator hosted by Hunger Action Month.
  4. Join the Cheesecake Factory for their Drive Out Hunger Tour in September 2009. Their aim: to collect 100,000 cans of soup. Find out when they visit your state @ The Cheesecake Factory.
  5. Join Macy's for the Come Together Event in your town @ Come+Together. Most events launch tomorrow, 15th September 2009.
Get to know more about hunger in America on the Feeding America website and join in the fight against hunger at Hunger Action Month.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mercury Warning in Fish, Again!!

A sample of 291 freshwater streams by the US Government has revealed unexpectedly higher levels of contamination by the neurotoxin mercury. The study conducted by the US Geological Survey and based on EPA standards showed:
  • Over 1/4 fish had mercury concentration higher than EPA set levels.
  • Over 2/3 fish had levels that caused concern.
Atmospheric mercury from coal-fired plants and other industrial emissions is cited as the main source of the chemical which has contaminated water sources via precipitation. This study is significant as it is the first time it has included a comprehensive survey of mercury contamination in the water, sediments and fish of rivers and creeks throughout the United States. Previous studies focused largely on lakes, reservoirs and wetlands.

Highest levels of mercury were found in the coastal streams of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, areas that are considered relatively undeveloped and characterised by heavy pine forests and wooded wetlands. Significantly high concentrations were also seen in streams in the Western USA in areas traditionally associated with mining.
Mercury is a highly dangerous toxin that concentrates when it moves up the food chain. Eating fish and shellfish constitute the primary source of mercury poisoning in human beings.

It is expected that the EPA will issue new regulations under the Clean Air Act to control air emissions of mercury from coal-fired power plants late this year.

Also Read: Mercury in Fish

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pear Cider, Or Is it Perry?

Pear cider, otherwise known as Perry, is all the rage in Britain this year!! The market research firm AC Neilsen reports that as much as £47.6m of Perry was consumed in the year 2008. This year is also expected to have blockbuster sales in the product. The drink has become so popular that Tesco, one of the UK's largest food retailers is selling around 16 lines of Perry!! This is hardly surprise given that most pear ciders are light and refreshing and much lower in alcohol than other similar drinks!!

Read More: Britain's Gone All Pear Shaped

Image Source: Perry

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Popcorn Good For You?

Scientists are reporting that the popular snack food 'popcorn' may help prevent cancer. The discovery of high levels of health-boosting antioxidants called polyphenols in popcorn is what has lead to this conclusion. Polyphenols in food are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Read more: Popcorn

Image Source: Popcorn

Monday, August 17, 2009

WCRFI Warning on Cancer Link to Processed Meats

Cold cuts and sandwich meats may make it easier for us to make a sandwich lunch for school and work. But is it healthy? This morning the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRFI) is warning against the frequent use of processed meats like ham, salami, hot dogs and bacon.

This comes in the light of research on adults that found that eating processed meat can increase the risk of bowel cancer. WCRFI argues that this evidence is so overwhelming that they issued the warning to cut down on meats early in life. Asking parents to see such meats as an occasional treat, the WCRFI is asking consumers to reduce their intake of the same alongwith any meat fillers that have high fat and calories.

Also Read: WCRFI

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Egypt Bans Trade in GM Foods

Despite last years approval on the cultivation of GM corn, Egypt is banning food imports and exports that are not certified as being GM free. Egypt's Agriculture Minister has instructed against the entry of any uncertified imports, especially wheat, corn and soya beans until samples of the cargo have been examined.

No further details are available at present. Egypt one of the world's largest wheat importers.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

UIFC East Asian Spices Recall Alert

The Union International Food Company(UIFC) has issued a recall of multiple spice varieties sold by it. The recall came after a recent salmonella outbreak spread to include white and pepper products sold at retail stores under the Uncle Chen product name. These products which come from the company's Union City facility in the Bay Area are associated with an outbreak that has sickened 42 people in four states, including 33 in California.

The products include four varieties of pepper sold in 5 ounce containers:
  1. Whole and ground Uncle Chen's White Pepper
  2. Whole and ground Uncle Chen's Black Pepper.

The following products under the Lian How brand name, which is followed by the wording 'Packed by Union International Foods' or 'Union International Foods' are also part of the recall:

  • white pepper
  • black pepper
  • cayenne pepper
  • paprika
  • chopped onion
  • onion powder
  • garlic – chopped, minced, powder and granulated
  • whole white pepper
  • whole black pepper
  • curry powder
  • mustard powder
  • wasabi powder
Consumers should contact Union International Food Company at 510-471-6799.
For a list of UIFC's customer list, see: Customer List
For a list of restaurants using UIFC Products, see: Restaurant List

Hold the Pistachios

Last night Kraft Foods notified the FDA that they found salmonella contamination in pistachios. Kraft Foods had conducted some routine testing of food products purchased from Setton Farms in Terra Bella in California.

While Setton Farms has already announced a voluntary recall of 1 million pounds of pistachios and food products, they have advised against eating any pistachios until this salmonella contamination is fully investigated.

Setton Farms has recalled: Setton Farms brand roasted salted shelled pistachios in 9 oz. film bags, UPC Code: 034325020252 with a "Best Before" date between 01/06/10 and 01/19/10.

This product was distributed in: SC, GA, FL, NC, VA, TN, KY. FDA advises consumers not to consume this product and return it to the store from which they purchased for a full refund. Consumers can call Setton Farms at a toll free number:(888) 228-3717 for further information.

However, it is important to note that Setton Farms sells pistachios to retailers who may package it separately and incorporate it into food items like like trail mix, cereal bars, chocolates, cereal, and ice cream.

Meanwhile Kraft has already Back To Nature Trail Mix from store shelves. The grocery chain Kroger has recalled Private Selection shelled pistachios from its retail stores. Kroeger has with stores in 31 states.

Category: Pistachio
Brand Name: Kroger
Product Description: Private Selection Shelled Pistachios
Recalling Firm: Kroger Company
Size: 10-ounce containers
Lot Numbers: 'Sell by' date of DEC-13-09 and DEC-14-09
Stock Numbers:
Product Code: 11110 73615

Category: Snack and Snack Food
Brand Name: Back to Nature
Product Description: Nantucket Blend trail mix
Recalling Firm: Back to Nature Foods Company
Size: 10 oz. & 20 oz. bags
Lot Numbers: 'Best by' date between 11 04 09 and 12 12 09
Stock Numbers:
Product Code: 59283-31039

For a list of pistachio product alerts that is constantly being updated by the FDA, follow: Pistachio Product Recalls: Salmonella and Recall List

Also read:
FDA - Firm Press Release

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Widening Salmonella Alert on Peanut Products

The alert on Salmonella tainted peanut products appears to be expanding by the day. Readers, do make sure that you review the products in your pantry to ensure that you do not have any products listed as impacted by the FDA. If you are worried about any product in your pantry or refrigerator, kidly visit the FDA site @ FDA.gov.There is a search box on the right margin. You can also find a searchable database at accessdata.fda.gov. Just enter the name of the product in your hand for a response. Finally if you are worried about something, do not know where the product has come from, or are not receiving a satisfactory answer, just throw it away.

This site also carries a widget launched by the FDA to keep consumers up to date on recent recall alerts. Stay informed, stay healthy!!