WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. food safety inspectors said Tuesday they will expand tests and recall infected meat more rapidly to combat E. coli contamination of meat products after the largest American manufacturer of hamburger patties went out of business this month.
The U.S. Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a briefing the number of E. coli recalls climbed to 15 so far in 2007 compared to the five cases reported in all of 2005.
"We want the American consumer to know that FSIS has taken a number of aggressive actions ... associated with this pathogen and we are further expanding these efforts," said Under Secretary for Food Safety Richard Raymond.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The fires raging in Southern California have likely caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses, the state's insurance commissioner said on Tuesday.
"This is just a terrible disaster; it's going to be one of the worst ever," California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner told Reuters.
He said the total destruction would easily be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, exceeding damages from a fire in Northern California at Lake Tahoe this summer.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 110,000 magnetic game pieces that accompanied "Cars" themed backpacks sold at Target Corp retail stores have been recalled because the toys can be swallowed by young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Tuesday.
The gray and red backpacks were sold with four magnetic game pieces that can fall out of their plastic enclosure, the safety agency said. The game pieces were made in China.
The agency said there have been three reports of a magnet that became loose but no injuries have been reported. Small children can swallow a magnet, and if more than one magnet is swallowed they can attract each other and cause intestinal perforation or blockage.
The National Weather Service said "strong and damaging winds" will continue near Los Angeles through mid-afternoon, and high wind warnings may be issued for some areas Tuesday night. In San Diego, the hot, dry winds fanning the flames were expected through Wednesday.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Most people know eating broccoli is good for you but it also can help skin cells fend off damage from harmful ultraviolet radiation, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
The extract derived from newly sprouted broccoli seeds reduced skin redness and damage by more than one-third compared with untreated skin, they said. The extract already has been shown to help skin cells fight UV damage in mice.
"This is a first demonstration that a human tissue can be protected directly against a known human carcinogen," said Dr. Paul Talalay of Johns Hopkins University, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Eating whole grain cereals has already shown promise for lowering blood pressure and warding off heart attacks, but it may also significantly reduce the risk of heart failure, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They found that men who ate a bowl a day of whole grain cereal had a 28 percent lower risk of developing heart failure over a 20-year study.
"Eating half a cup to a cup of whole grain breakfast cereal may help lower your blood pressure. It may help lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease," said Dr. Luc Djousse of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People are getting fatter in all parts of the world, with the possible exception of east Asia, doctors found in a one-day global snapshot of obesity.
Overall, 24 percent of men and 27 percent of women seeing their doctors that day were obese, and another 30 percent of men and 40 percent of women were overweight, the researchers found.
That puts the rest of the world close to par with the United States, long considered the country with the worst weight problem. An estimated two-thirds of Americans are overweight and a third of these are obese.
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