March 11th, 2013
12:01 AM ET
Raw meat is a notorious Salmonella carrier. It can also be found on unclean kitchen counters. An investigation published this week in the journal of Pediatrics suggests we should also look for the deadly bacteria in pet frogs.
Investigators from public health agencies across the United States found that African dwarf frogs are causing a nationwide outbreak of a specific Salmonella strain in children.
A group of health professionals make up the Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak Investigation Team, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recently, the team has been examining the effects of African dwarf frogs on people’s health.
“Amphibians and reptiles should never be kept in homes with children less than 5 years old or with people who have immune deficiencies,” said lead author and CDC public health advisor Shauna Mettee Zarecki. This includes day care settings and nursing homes, she said.
December 4th, 2012
01:59 PM ET
Pesticides in produce and drinking water may be playing a role in the increasing prevalence of food allergies, according to a new study.
Researchers looked at 2,211 people and found those in the top 25% for urine concentrations of chemical dichlorophenols – used to chlorinate tap water and keep pests off produce - were also 80% more likely to have a food allergy.
"Adults can develop food allergies even though they're not kids anymore," says allergist and study author Dr. Elina Jerschow. "Adult allergies to foods are on the rise. That certainly includes shellfish and fish allergies, but also peanuts. We don't know what influences this development. But having been exposed to dichlorophenols in our study suggests there could be some link." FULL POST
November 16th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
Health officials have found more clues about the nut product contamination that lead to at least 41 people getting sick this summer.
Conditions at the Sunland, Inc. facility in Portales, New Mexico, may have contributed to the contamination of peanut butter and almond butter products with salmonella bredeney, according to new observations posted on the Food and Drug Administration website Thursday. These conditions were observed during inspections of the facility that took place between September 17 and October 16.
Federal investigators determined that between June 2009 and August 2012, Sunland cleared - and in some cases distributed - peanut or almond butter products from 11 different lots, even though internal testing showed the presence of the salmonella bacteria.
November 2nd, 2012
05:49 PM ET
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, cold weather could put people returning to their homes at risk. Here is a bit about some of the health risks victims of the storm may face.
1. Carbon monoxide exposure
Dr. Howard Mell, spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians, lists carbon monoxide exposure as the No. 1 risk for people returning to their homes. If they lack power, and the weather is cold, they should stay somewhere else before risking a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning by using appliances such as generators or stoves indoors to heat their homes.
"A lot of these injuries come about because some of these people are in such a rush to get back into their homes," says Mell. FULL POST
October 5th, 2012
01:39 PM ET
If you were checking the peanut butter in your pantry after a large recall was announced a couple of weeks ago, you may want to take another peek. More products are being recalled.
On September 24, Sunland, Inc. recalled all products manufactured at their Portales, New Mexico, processing plant with a "best if used by" date between May 1, 2012, and September 24, 2012. Now all products made at this peanut butter and nut manufacturing facility going back as far as March 2010 and September 24, when the plant was shut, are being recalled.
October 2nd, 2012
10:30 AM ET
Dale and Thomas Popcorn is voluntarily recalling bags of its flavored, ready-to-eat Indiana-brand products due to a possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that is pathogenic –- meaning that it is infectious to humans, causing the illness listeriosis. It is most dangerous to young children, the elderly, people with a weakened immune system and pregnant women. Listeria can cause a high fever, severe headaches, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The recalled popcorn bags were distributed after August 8 and have "best by" dates of February 4, 2013 to March 12, 2013, according to the FDA. Consumers can check specific UPC codes from this list.
September 28th, 2012
12:16 PM ET
Buyers beware when it comes to buying medicine online, the Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers. On Friday, the agency launched "BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy," a national campaign to raise awareness about fake Internet pharmacies and their potential risk to consumer health.
“Buying medicines from rogue online pharmacies can be risky because they may sell fake, expired, contaminated, not approved by FDA, or otherwise unsafe products that are dangerous to patients,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. “Fraudulent and illegal online pharmacies often offer deeply discounted products. If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are. FDA’s BeSafeRx campaign is designed to help patients learn how to avoid these risks.”
September 26th, 2012
04:59 PM ET
Sunland, Inc., has expanded its voluntary recall to include all of the products manufactured at its peanut butter and nut manufacturing plant in Portales, New Mexico.
The plant was shut down on Saturday, after Trader Joe's recalled its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter because it was linked to potential contamination with Salmonella, according to Katalin Coburn, Sunland's vice president for media relations.
Two days ago, the company expanded its voluntary recall to include all the peanut and almond butter products it makes. Now the remaining Cashew Butter, Tahini and Roasted Blanched Peanut Products, which are also manufactured at this plant, are being recalled too. FULL POST
September 19th, 2012
03:37 PM ET
Eating rice once a day can increase arsenic levels in the body by at least 44%, according to a new study from Consumer Reports.
The study surveyed more than 60 different rice products ranging from infant cereals to rice pasta and rice drinks and found “worrisome” levels of inorganic arsenic in most of the products. Others suggest, however, the levels are not cause for concern.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, inorganic arsenic has been linked to liver, bladder, and lung cancer.
Urvashi Rangan, Consumer Reports lead scientist on the study, said the study isn’t meant to scare people from eating rice, rather “our investigation of arsenic in rice is supposed to inform consumers.” FULL POST
September 18th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, has a long and controversial history.
Used to manufacture some plastics – like the kinds in soda or water bottles – and as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans, BPA has been under fire for some time from consumer advocacy groups.
The FDA recently banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups after concerns were raised about potential side effects on the “brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children,” according to the FDA website.
Still, the organization has stood by the overall safety of the chemical; in March the FDA denied the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA outright.
Now a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association is adding more fuel to the flames. The paper shows an association between BPA levels in children’s urine and obesity prevalence.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.