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.
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 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.
September 18th, 2012
03:04 PM ET
A product used to help infants with difficulty swallowing could increase their risk of developing a life-threatening illness, the Food and Drug Administration warned Tuesday.
The agency says 22 infants developed necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) after being fed the thickening agent SimplyThick – reportedly as directed. Seven of them died. Necrotizing enterocolitis is a condition where tissue in the intestines gets inflamed and dies. It occurs most often in babies that are ill or born prematurely. The cause is unknown.
SimplyThick is mixed with breast milk or infant formula to help babies swallow their food and keep it down without spitting it back up. It's sold in individual packets or 64-ounce bottles that can be bought from local pharmacies or distributors across the country.
September 13th, 2012
01:54 PM ET
Sore muscles or joints? The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers who typically reach for topical pain relievers to soothe those aches and pains that these products can cause serious burns.
The agency has received more than 40 reports of skin injuries from over-the-counter products including creams, lotions, ointments and patches. Reported brands included Bengay, Icy Hot, Capzasin, Flexall and Metholatum.
September 11th, 2012
02:18 PM ET
The Food and Drug Administration has a new cutting-edge tool in its counterfeit drug detection toolbox.
At a symposium Monday, the agency unveiled the Counterfeit Detection Device #3 or CD3, a hand-held device developed by FDA scientists that can be used in the field to detect counterfeit products and packaging.
"This device was designed in-house by FDA scientists in response to the needs for screening in the field," said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "It is low cost compared to other analytical devices, operates with batteries, and requires minimal training to use. It allows for 'real time' comparisons with authentic drugs - and has already proven useful for identifying counterfeit drugs at our busy international mail facilities."
August 22nd, 2012
10:14 AM ET
The Food and Drug Administration has received dozens of reports about harmful side effects - including stroke and death - linked to two dietary supplements currently on the market, Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium.
The agency has issued a safety alert to warn consumers about the dangers of the supplements. They are both marketed as natural dietary supplements but the FDA claims they have potentially dangerous active ingredients that aren't listed on their labels. The supplements are used to treat arthritis, osteoporosis, muscle pain, bone cancer and a host of other ailments.
They are manufactured in Mexico by Riger Naturals, but sold in the United States in some stores, Internet sites and flea markets. Most are labeled in Spanish but there could be versions with English labels.
July 17th, 2012
05:32 PM ET
The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA has been officially banned from use in certain baby products, the US Food and Drug Administration announced today.
"FDA is amending the food additive regulations to no longer allow BPA in the plastic used to make baby bottles and sippy cups," said Curtis Allen, an FDA spokesman. "As a result, consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA. "
The move came as a result of a petition filed by the American Chemistry Council – an organization that represents “companies engaged in the business of chemistry” –- including plastic companies - saying the government should ban its use in these specific products.
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.