Today, the Food and Drug Administration came out with final guidance related to the administration of antibiotics in animals intended for the nation’s food supply. In doing, the agency hopes that food safety as a whole can be improved, as livestock would not be exposed to antimicrobials that lead to the development of certain resistances that could then be passed on to human beings. The FDA has come up with a policy that limits these antimicrobials’ usage as a growth promoter. Understanding, though, that there may be certain therapeutic benefits of drugs that are meant to keep animals healthy, the FDA is asking for additional oversight by veterinary officials. Ensuring that the antibiotics are used solely for medical purposes can help limit the development of resistances that make treating illness difficult.
For more about this effort, click here.
A consent decree of permanent injunction has been issued to a company based in the California city of Bakersfield because of handling practices that could contribute to a user illness. The company in question, Alfred Louie Inc., is responsible for the production and distribution of wheat flour noodles, soybean sprouts, and mung beans. Dating back to 2000, the Food and Drug Administration has been able to make note of various problems that could contribute to a foodborne illness. Inspections from earlier this year even uncovered the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. Thankfully, there have yet to be illness reports associated with these products, although consumers are urged to be on guard.
For more information, click here.
When you go in for surgery or even something simple like a flu shot, the first step that will happen before you actually receive treatment is the nurse or doctor will apply a topical antiseptic solution. With that complete, they’ll then get on with the process of providing you with care. However, a recent trend has the Food and Drug Administration concerned that these antiseptics may pose a risk to consumers under certain circumstances.
The agency is asking the makers of these topical antiseptics to begin boxing them into single use packages that have labels clearly delineating the proper methods for usage. The FDA is then asking medical professionals to heed these directions when seeing to the care of a patient. That means that each should only be used one at a time and doctors should not compromise the integrity of the antiseptic by diluting it in some way prior to administration.
The need for such a move became apparent as the CDC has begun to receive reports of antiseptics leading patients to experience an infection. This, along with other instances of outbreaks outlined through medical literature, prompted the FDA to launch an investigation into the issue.
With four deaths and a number of other injurious circumstances, the FDA determined that these antiseptics could potentially be contaminated by those handling the items inappropriately. Thus, the aforementioned action was deemed necessary.
The Food and Drug Administration has come out with a consumer health update that explores the danger posed by and the ways to curb Acrylamide consumption. Since the chemical was found back in 2002, the FDA and other safety agencies have been trying to figure out how to curb the consumption of this potentially cancer-causing agent, which has been linked to dried fruits, bread, cereals, potatoes, and more.
It’s important to note that Acrylamide can only form when the aforementioned foods are baked, fried, or put through some other cooking process requiring heightened temperatures. When these are cooked, an amino acid and sugar can combine to create the substances. The Grocery Manufacturers Association believes the average American comes into contact with Acrylamide in 40% of the foods they eat.
In order to counteract the potential danger that this would pose, the FDA suggests that persons frying frozen items always follow the recommendations listed by the producer of that food. Restraining yourself from overcooking food can reduce the prevalence of Acrylamide. Instead of burning toast, make sure it’s still light in color. The same goes for things like french fries. The browner an item is, the more likely it’s going to contain heightened levels of Acrylamide.
The other way to avoid risk is to strive to maintain a balanced diet. That means plenty of meats, vegetables, and items that are low in fat, salt, and sugar.
In a bold move, the Food and Drug Administration has set the stage for the possible removal of all trans fats from food products. Although there is a long road ahead if such a decision eventually becomes the law of the land, the FDA believes that taking action against trans fat is an important step toward ensuring public safety.
People have long been worrying about the health implications of trans fats, which could make a person more susceptible to coronary heart disease, the impetus for many a heart attack. The CDC believes that reducing the availability of trans fats in food could eliminate a whopping 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 fatalities on an annual basis.
Food typically gets its trans fat content from partially hydrogenated oils, or PHOs. Among the trans fat-heavy items that could be in your cupboard and refrigerator right now are such things as frozen pizza, dough, frosting, snack foods, cookies, cake, and more.
For the first time ever, the FDA wants to move away from classifying PHOs as being generally recognized as safe, and the agency has issued a notice to the federal register to denote this new proposed classification. If the FDA’s decision is finalized, all PHOs would need to be approved before they would be allowed into food. That means that until a PHO is designated as safe, it could not be a part of a processed food.
If you ever find that you have trouble hearing, it’s essential that you get the issue checked out, as it could perhaps be indicative of a serious medical issue. The Food and Drug Administration explains why this is so important in a new consumer health update.
The FDA notes that the problem could range from something that requires a simple fix to a condition that necessitates immediate medical treatment to prevent longterm harm. If it’s ear wax causing a hearing problem, simple removal by a doctor should help. But if it’s something like a tumor, this would be a serious issue that requires intensive medical care at once.
Should your hearing be attributed to old age or being in the vicinity of loud noises on a regular basis, then it’s still important to secure the opinion of a healthcare professional. In fact, persons who are looking into the possible purchase of a hearing aid are warned to think twice before buying a product from a seller that doesn’t require a prescription.
A doctor can refer you to a dealer who is qualified to supply you with a hearing aid that fits your unique situation. That way, you know that the entity will be properly licensed and you won’t find yourself receiving a shoddy product.
Accusations about the introduction of a misbranded drug have led to a guilty plea by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a branch of Johnson & Johnson. The company will have to pay a $400 criminal penalty and a $1.25 billion civil settlement in relation to events surrounding a drug called Risperdal. That drug was approved ten years ago for the treatment of acute mania, Bipolar 1 Disorder, and schizophrenia. However, back in March 2002, the company also started to market the medication as a possible treatment of dementia-associated agitation in elderly individuals. Although the Food and Drug Administration allows doctors to use their judgment to prescribe drugs for off-brand purposes, they do not allow drug companies to do the same in marketing. The Department of Justice contended that risks to elderly persons were both known and downplayed by Janssen.
For more about this development, click here.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration came out with a report that cast a spotlight on the state of safety in the imported spice industry. A new article from the New York Times takes a look at the FDA’s findings, which relate how 12% of imported spices are contaminated with items that could pose a threat to public health.
That contamination involves such things as rodent hair and pieces of insects. Among the whole and partial insects found contaminating spice products, most were from bugs that can typically be found in warehouse facilities.
It wasn’t just animal parts that were to blame, though, as Salmonella was also shown to be present in 7% of the imports analyzed by inspectors. Although 1.2 million people are thought to be stricken with a Salmonella-based illness in a given year, the FDA said it’s hard to identify how often spices are the culprit. This is because of the small quantities of spices most people eat and the failure of citizens to remember that they applied a spice to their food.
India and Mexico fared the worst in terms of contaminated exports, which is problematic given that around 25% of the food coloring, oil, and spices shipped to the United States come from India.
When it comes to medical treatments, using a one-size-fits-all approach can be dangerous. Every individual is unique, and a treatment option that works for one person may end up killing or seriously injuring another. To make sure that everyone is receiving the medical care that they deserve, the Food and Drug Administration is investing heavily in personalized medicine, and they explain their efforts in a new report.
There are numerous ways in which the FDA is attempting to improve the efficacy of medical devices and other products, thus improving overall health. The Center for Devices and Radiological Health, for instance, is putting together a database of virtual patients that medical professionals would be able to use to determine the best course of action for a given individual. The agency is also attempting to improve clinical trials by targeting certain sections of the population, gauging how each would respond to a given medication or device.
Genetics also play a role. The FDA hopes to identify those genetic markers that could put a person more at risk of suffering side effects to vaccines and drugs. They are also analyzing how such factors could work in conjunction with lifestyle habits to further put a person at risk for things like cardiovascular issues.
The FDA notes that their personalization mission has already led to targeted cancer treatments and other improvements to care. For more information about these efforts and how they can improve device and drug safety, click the link above.
Hydrocodone, a drug that’s readily available in such medications as Vicodin, is a Schedule III substance that is widely prescribed throughout the country. This is seen by some as being problematic given the item’s highly addictive nature, and to combat the threat, the Food and Drug Administration has announced new recommendations focused on curbing the ease of access citizens have to this drug. If reclassified as Schedule II, as the FDA is recommending, the drugs would fall in line with the regulatory burden placed on such items as morphine and oxycodone. A written prescription would be required to obtain the drug, and patients would have their hands tied in terms of the number of refills they could obtain without a subsequent doctor visit. The Drug Enforcement Administration was reportedly in favor of this move.
Click here for more about the FDA’s recommendation.