Health

Topps Meat goes out of business after recall
October 5, 2007 03:39 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Topps Meat Co LLC announced on Friday it was going out of business, crushed by the recall of 21.7 million pounds of beef linked to 30 cases of E. coli-related illness.

"In one week we have gone from the largest U.S. manufacturer of frozen hamburgers to a company that cannot overcome the economic reality of a recall this large," Anthony D'Urso, chief operating officer, said in a statement.

It was the fifth-largest meat or poultry recall in U.S. history, the Agriculture Department said. But no deaths have been reported due to the outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7, which can cause diarrhea and dehydration.

Organic Tofu Recall, Listeria Discovered
October 5, 2007 12:05 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

San Francisco - As a precaution, a San Francisco tofu company has expanded a recall of their organic tofu. The soy products are being recalled after a bacteria called   San Francisco - As a precaution, a San Francisco tofu company has expanded a recall of their organic tofu after a bacteria called  Listeria monocytogenes was discovered in three of 29 products and 3 plant swabs. The organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems. The company, Quong Hop & Co. of South San Francisco, California issued the recall voluntarily. No illnesses have been reported to date in connection with this problem.

 

Kentucky counties sue makers of "hillbilly heroin"
October 5, 2007 09:34 AM -

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Several Kentucky counties filed suit on Thursday against the makers of the potent painkilling drug OxyContin, charging that abusers of "hillbilly heroin" have filled state jails and treatment centers.

"Following the introduction of this drug into Kentucky's market (in 1995), addictions increased dramatically, crime increased dramatically, all the social costs associated with addiction increased dramatically," Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo said in a telephone interview.

Purdue Pharma L.P., the privately-held manufacturer of OxyContin, said it would fight the lawsuit filed in Pike County, in eastern Kentucky. It says OxyContin's label contains proper warnings.

Genes and toxic chemicals
October 5, 2007 08:13 AM - The National Academies

Research is increasingly revealing how toxic chemicals disrupt gene activity and other cell processes in ways that lead to health problems

Diet For Small Planet May be Most Efficient if it Includes Dairy and a Little Meat, Cornell Researchers Report
October 5, 2007 08:04 AM - Cornell Chronicle, Susan Lang

A low-fat vegetarian diet is very efficient in terms of how much land is needed to support it. But adding some dairy products and a limited amount of meat may actually increase this efficiency, Cornell researchers suggest.  This deduction stems from the findings of their new study, which concludes that if everyone in New York state followed a low-fat vegetarian diet, the state could directly support almost 50 percent more people, or about 32 percent of its population, agriculturally. With today's high-meat, high-dairy diet, the state is able to support directly only 22 percent of its population, say the researchers.

Bird Flu Virus Mutating into Human-Unfriendly Form
October 4, 2007 08:37 PM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The H5N1 bird flu virus has mutated to infect people more easily, although it still has not transformed into a pandemic strain, researchers said on Thursday.

The changes are worrying, said Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"We have identified a specific change that could make bird flu grow in the upper respiratory tract of humans," said Kawaoka, who led the study.

"The viruses that are circulating in Africa and Europe are the ones closest to becoming a human virus," Kawaoka said.

CDC suspects 29 E.coli cases linked to Topps beef
October 4, 2007 08:27 PM -

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 29 cases of E.coli illness are suspected to be linked to the 21.7 million lbs of recalled ground beef products from Topps Meat Company LLC.

No deaths have been linked to the meat. The 29 cases were in eight states: Connecticut (two cases), Florida (one), Indiana (one), Maine (one), New Jersey (six), New York (nine) Ohio (one) and Pennsylvania (eight), according to a posting on the CDC's Web site.

Bird Flu Virus "More Invasive Than Thought'
October 4, 2007 08:07 PM - Jia Hepeng, SciDevNet

BEIJING - The post mortems of two people who died after H5N1 infection have revealed that the virus infects more human organs than previously thought. The study was published in The Lancet.  Lead author Gu Jiang, a professor at the School of Basic Medical Sciences of the Beijing-based Peking University, and colleagues studied post-mortem tissues of one man and one pregnant woman, and also tested the foetus of the woman.

Study: Vitamin C Essential For Plant Growth
October 4, 2007 07:38 PM -

University of Exeter - Scientists from the University of Exeter and Shimane University in Japan have proved for the first time that vitamin C is essential for plant growth. This discovery could have implications for agriculture and for the production of vitamin C dietary supplements.

The study, which is published in The Plant Journal, describes the newly-identified enzyme, GDP-L-galactose phosphorylase, which produces vitamin C, or ascorbate, in plants. Vitamin C is already known to be an antioxidant, which helps plants deal with stresses from drought to ozone and UV radiation, but until now it was not known that plants could not grow without it.

 

U.S. Recalls over 1/2 Million Toys for Lead Levels
October 4, 2007 03:35 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half a million toys ranging from key chains to Winnie the Pooh bookmarks and Baby Einstein color blocks are being recalled because of excessive lead levels, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Thursday.

Among the recalled toys, all made in China, were key chains with words like "truth" or "believe" engraved on them that have "high levels" of lead, the commission said in a statement.

Dollar General Merchandising Inc sold 192,000 of the key chains for $1, the CPSC said.

Lead is toxic in large amounts. A 4-year-old Minneapolis boy died of lead poisoning in 2006 when he swallowed a small charm. In smaller amounts, lead can cause developmental delays and behavioral problems.

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