Saturday, July 11, 2009

Health Headlines - July 11

Another Recall Linked to Milk Products Cooperative

Instant oatmeal is the latest in a string of nationwide product recalls linked to salmonella-tainted ingredients distributed by Milk Products Cooperative of Plainview, Minn., USA Today reported.

The recall of the maple-and-brown-sugar oatmeal packets, sold under a variety of brands, was announced by Minneapolis-based Malt-O-Meal. Other recalls include Meijer hot chocolate mix and some Kroger popcorn toppings.

In June, federal officials detected salmonella in milkshake powder and traced the contamination back to the Milk Products Cooperative plant. Inspectors found salmonella in the plant, which led the cooperative to voluntarily recall whey protein, fruit stabilizers, non-fat dried milk and thickening agents made over the past two years, USA Today reported.

The cooperative only sells its products to food manufacturers and distributors.


Ebola Virus Found in Pigs

The discovery of a form of ebola virus in pigs has experts worried that it may mutate and threaten humans, the Associated Press reported.

Reston ebolavirus (REBOV), which is not known to cause illness in humans, has previously only been found in people and monkeys. But in an article published Friday in the journal Science, researchers said they found the virus in pigs in the Philippines.

It's theoretically possible for REBOV to mutate in pigs into a form that could cause sickness in humans, the scientists said. But they added that some farm workers who tend the pigs were also infected with the virus but showed no signs of illness, the AP reported.


Cookie Dough E. Coli Doesn't Match Outbreak Strain: FDA

The strain of E. coli that sickened at least 69 people in 30 states doesn't match the strain found in a sample of raw cookie dough from the Nestlé USA plant in Danville, Va., says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Associated Press reported.

Nestlé last month recalled all Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products made at the plant after the FDA told the company it suspected people had become sick after eating raw cookie dough contaminated with E. coli.

The finding that the strain found in the cookie dough and the strain that caused the 30-state outbreak are different could mean the dough was contaminated with multiple strains, the AP reported.

The company is working with the FDA on the ongoing investigation.

More than 1,000 tests have been done at the Danville plant, according to Nestlé, including thorough inspections of production lines, equipment and ingredients tests, and reviews of quality and safety procedures, the AP reported.


Pentagon Looks to Crack Down on Tobacco Use

Tobacco use among U.S. troops should be forbidden and the sale of tobacco on military property banned, Pentagon health experts say.

They want Defense Secretary Robert Gates to adopt proposals from a federal Institute of Medicine study that calls for a phased-in ban over a number of years, perhaps as long as two decades, USA Today reported.

Tobacco use among U.S. troops is rising, leading to higher costs for the federal government, said the study, released late last month.

Tobacco-related costs for the Pentagon total $846 million a year in medical care and lost productivity, and the Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion treating tobacco-related illnesses, according to the study, USA Today reported.

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