FDA reminds baby food industry to follow the regulations for lead, other toxins

In response to a recent congressional report about lead and other toxins in baby food, the Food and Drug Administration has posted a public notice and included a link to an industry letter sent by Susan T. Mayne, director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Mayne’s letter cites federal regulations chapter and verse and reminds industry to operate within those rules.

Here is the FDA statement, including the link to the industry letter.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration takes exposure to toxic elements, such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead, in the food supply extremely seriously, especially when it comes to protecting the health and safety of the youngest and most vulnerable in the population. That is why today, we are announcing new actions aimed at further preventing or reducing chemical hazards that may be present in foods for babies and young children.

First, today we … Read more

GFSI Conference to be virtual for first time

This month marks the 20th annual GFSI Conference and for the first time ever the event is scheduled to be a virtual gathering. The interactive three-day forum will see hundreds of experts from 60 countries meet online to share food safety best practices.

Attendees of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) Conference are set to meet March 23 to 25 with the theme “Rethink, Reset, Recharge.” Ticket prices range from €299 to €599 excluding VAT ($356 to $714) for registrations until March 18 and rise after this date.

The conference agenda includes COVID-19, supply chain disruption and public health, building trust and transparency with consumers, best practices, and technologies for the future food safety.

Building consumer trust
Speakers include industry experts and academics, CEOs, public authorities, and grassroots professionals.

Representatives from Amazon, HelloFresh, The Coca-Cola Co., Mars Inc., Cargill, Target, PepsiCo, Walmart, Queen’s University Belfast, Georgia University of Technology, and … Read more

Becerra’s nomination is in line with many well known past picks to run HHS

If there was a long history of only prominent physicians being named secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, then the nomination of lawyer/politician Xavier Becerra might look like the administration has a weak candidate is in line as HHS boss, especially during a pandemic.

But the fact is that among the 24 HHS Secretaries that came before Becerra, most were like him — major state politicians — not leaders in health, or medicine, or insurance, or at least not until they were in the top HHS job. And as attorney general of California, he has been running the country’s second-largest legal department and has been involved in HHS issues for years.

Among the past secretaries of HHS were such recognizable politicians as Elliott Richardson, Casper Weinberger, Joseph Califano, Patricia  Harris, Richard Schweiker, Louis Sullivan, Donna Shalala, and Michael Leavitt. There’s no pattern of a medical degree for … Read more

Norway analyzes COVID-19 impact on other infections

The decline in testing referrals for certain diseases during the coronavirus pandemic was greatest for foodborne and waterborne infections, according to an analysis in Norway.

The project compares the number of referrals for diagnostic testing of selected notifiable pathogens and the proportion that tested positive during six months of the COVID-19 pandemic — March to September 2020 — with normal laboratory work before it started, defined as October 2019 to February 2020.

Results showed COVID-19 related control measures led to a reduced risk of infection and fewer consultations for suspected cases but there were also signs of a reduced performance in the monitoring of diseases.

Since April 2020, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) has been looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases (MSIS). There was a 50 percent to 60 percent reduction in reports of other communicable diseases between March and … Read more

NAMI petitions SCOTUS for writ of certiorari over California’s Prop 12

The State of California has until April 2 to respond to a Petition for a writ of certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

Attorneys for NAMI say enactment of California’s Proposition 12 demands the Supreme Court answer a question raised by the so-called Farm Animal Confinement Initiative.

That question is this:

“Whether the Constitution permits California to extend its police power beyond its territorial borders by banning the sale of wholesome pork and veal products imported into California unless out-of-state farmers restructure their facilities to meet animal-confinement standards dictated by California.”  

In answering that question, NAMI says the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit got it wrong and left circuit courts in a conflict that only the Supreme Court can resolve.

The vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, veal, and poultry is produced by NAMI members. Other NAMI members … Read more