Food Safety

U.S. Agency Gives Vinyl Industry a Pass on Lunch Box Lead Content

Kids' vinyl lunch boxes often contain dangerous levels of lead, but government regulators have released to the public only the test results most favorable to industry, according to documents the Associated Press obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 20 percent of boxes tested in 2005 contained unsafe amounts of lead--and several contained more than 10 times the safety level.


Coming to the Table in 2007: Cloned Beef?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tentatively determined that milk and meat from cloned cows are safe to eat and indistinguishable from non-cloned cows. The agency may complete approval procedures for consumption of the animals and milk before the end of 2007.


Growers, Distributors Want Industry-Driven Regulation Despite E. Coli Outbreaks

U.S. safety regulations for produce have been relegated to the far reaches of government bureaucracies, tucked into an under-funded combination of U.S. Food and Drug Administration oversight and state agriculture bureaucracies.


Trans Fat Spin Doctors Chart Legislative Risks

The spin-driven restaurant and beverage industry front group, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), has created a grass roots compilation of city, county and state efforts to ban added trans fats in restaurant food.


Taco Bell Seeks PR Antidote to E. Coli Cases

Taco Bell has hired a safety expert, tested its produce, eliminated green onions, changed suppliers, and hired a PR crisis-response firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland. The firm's advice: publicize safety, which the company has done in big market newspaper ads. Still, with 69 reported East Coast cases of E.


Why Did KFC Cross the Road? (Because PR Was On The Other Side)

When KFC crowed on October 30, 2006, that it was planning to ban transfats in its U.S. fried chicken, the company had a PR machine behind it ready to score a news hit in one of the nation's fast food capitals, New York City.


Restaurant Industry Can't Stop Trans Fat Grease Fire

New York City, with the support of Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aggressively is moving forward to ban trans fats from restaurants--the stuff that says “hydrogenated” before the word oil in fast foods, snacks and many other processed and restaurant foods. Other cities are contemplating similar action.


European Brewers Aim to Derail Alcohol Strategy

The European Commission "may be the victim of a carefully planned attack by representatives of the alcohol industry" to derail the adoption of a strategy to reduce the health effects of alcohol, warns Martin McKee, professor of European public health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


Ex-FDA Commissioner Turned Lobbyist Pleads Guilty

The former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Lester Crawford, has pleaded guilty to breaching conflict of interest rules. Crawford and his wife held between $188,000 and $336,000 in shares in four companies that he was required to have sold, under FDA rules.


US "Atypical" Mad Cow Threat Was Predicted

The small scientific world of prion researchers -- the scientists who investigate "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies" (TSE) such as mad cow disease in cattle and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans -- is abuzz. That's because the two confirmed cases of US mad cow disease in Texas and Alabama are an "atypical" strain different from the British strain but identical to an atypical strain found so far in a small number of cattle in France, Germany, Poland and Sweden. The discovery of "atypical" mad cow disease in the US should not be surprising. Sheldon Rampton and I reported way back in 1997 that very strong evidence of an "atypical" TSE disease infecting US cattle was established by the work of Dr. Richard Marsh, the researcher to whom we dedicated our book Mad Cow USA.


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