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Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) outbreak investigation in the United States

The United States (US) is currently experiencing an outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED), a viral disease that affects pigs. This is the first time the disease has been identified in North America and has been found in several states. The investigation is ongoing and at this time the possible source of the disease has not been identified.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to protecting human and animal health and is in contact with the US Department of Agriculture about the situation in the US.

PED does not pose a human health or a food safety risk. The disease is known as a production limiting disease and is associated with diarrhea and vomiting in pigs. It can cause significant disease and death in younger pigs in herds that have not previously been exposed to the virus. PED is not a reportable or immediately notifiable disease in Canada.

PED was first found in England in 1971 and has since been found in other countries in Europe and in Asia. PED has never been found in Canada.

The CFIA maintains strict import controls to limit the potential risks to Canadian livestock from disease outbreaks in other countries. The virus is generally transmitted from an infected pig to another or through the movement of equipment or other things contaminated with the virus. Producers are encouraged to strengthen their biosecurity measures on farm and should consult their veterinarian if their animals are exhibiting signs of illness.

The CFIA in collaboration with provinces, industry, the veterinary community and other stakeholders will continue to monitor the situation in the US.

CFIA tests over a thousand samples of selected foods for food colours and finds 96.2 percent compliance
May 28, 2013, Ottawa: A study released today by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) found that more than 96 percent of food colours tested in selected foods were compliant with Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations. The CFIA acted on all samples containing non-compliant levels of food colours.

The CFIA analyzed a total of 1,546 samples of both domestic and imported origin. Samples tested were those likely to contain non-permitted colours and dyes, including palm oils, red Asian/chili spices, and products that might contain those spices.

The survey found that 990 of the 1,546 samples (64 percent) did not have detectable levels of food colours, while 498 samples contained detectable food colours in compliance with the Food and Drug Regulations, reflecting a compliance rate of over 96 percent.

Fifty-eight (58) samples were found to be in violation of Canadian food colour additive regulations. Based on Health Canada’s risk assessment, it was necessary to issue two Class II recalls in May 2011 – one for palm oil and one for curry powder. A Class II recall is initiated for a food product when consuming that product will most likely lead to short-term or non-life threatening health problems. The chance of any serious health symptoms is low in healthy populations. No illnesses were reported.

The CFIA routinely conducts targeted surveys of various food products for specific hazards to determine if they pose a potential health risk to consumers. If a human health risk is determined, a recall is issued immediately.

Cadmium testing in rice determines no health risk

May 23, 2013, Ottawa: As part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) routine testing of various food products, a study released today found that all samples of rice and rice-based products analyzed for the metal cadmium were safe for consumption.

The CFIA tested a total of 280 food samples of domestic and imported origins. These included 56 rice grain samples and 224 rice-based products. The 280 samples included 27 domestic products, 251 imported products and 2 products of unverifiable origin. Rice is not grown in Canada, so rice products listed as domestic were manufactured or processed in Canada using imported ingredients.

The 2010-2011 study found that 154 (55%) did not contain a detectable level of cadmium. The remaining 126 samples contained detectable cadmium levels ranging from 0.0054 to 0.0505 parts per million (ppm) in rice grains and 0.0026 to 0.2646 ppm in rice-based products. This result was not unexpected because cadmium occurs naturally in the environment, and as a by-product from industrial and agricultural sources. Rice is particularly susceptible to cadmium absorption due to its distinctive cultivation in flooded fields.

While Health Canada has not set standards for cadmium levels in Canada, the cadmium levels observed in this survey were well below the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s established maximum level of 0.4 ppm of cadmium in rice. Survey results were shared with Health Canada, which determined there was no health risk to consumers. No recalls were required.

When elevated levels of cadmium are detected, Health Canada may conduct an assessment to determine if the specific level poses a health risk based on the level, the expected frequency of exposure and the contribution to overall diet. The CFIA then determines whether further action is needed up to and including product seizure and/or recall. If a human health risk is found, a public recall notice is issued.

Will raw milk get a raw deal?

16/5/2013

CARSON CITY — Attorney Michael DeLee from Amargosa Valley was first to the table to testify before a state committee in favor of a raw milk bill, for Artesanal Foods owner Brett Ottolenghi, who has plans to begin a small raw milk dairy in Nye County.

But their testimony turned a little sour afterwards when the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee last Thursday heard from state health officials and a mother who spoke about the dangers of unpasteurized milk.

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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Associated With Increased Kidney Stone Risk
Date- May 15, 2013

Twenty percent of American males and 10 percent of American females will experience a kidney stone at some point in their lifetime. Often, these patients will be advised to drink more fluids as a way to prevent future stone formation. Now, new research from Brigham and Womens Hospital finds that some beverages may be more helpful than others when it comes to preventing recurrent kidney stones.

In a study published online May 15, 2013 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), researchers report that the consumption of sugar sweetened soda and punch is associated with a higher risk of stone formation.

Our study found that the relation between fluid intake and kidney stones may be dependent on the type of beverage consumed, explained Gary Curhan, MD, ScD, a physician in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and senior author of this study. We found that higher consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks was associated with a higher incidence of kidney stones.

The researchers analyzed data from three ongoing cohorts, the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS), and both the Nurses Health Study I (NHS I) and II (NHS II). The total analysis involved 194,095 participants over a median follow-up of more than 8 years. Participants in all the three cohorts had been asked to complete biennial questionnaires with information on medical history, lifestyle, and medication. Questions on diet were updated every four years. They found that participants who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened cola servings per day had a 23 percent higher risk of developing kidney stones compared with those participants consuming less than one serving per week. This was true for consuming sugar-sweetened non cola as well, such as punch. They also found that some beverages, such as coffee, tea and orange juice, were associated with a lower risk of stone formation.

Our prospective study confirms that some beverages are associated with a lower risk of kidney stone formation, whereas others are associated with a higher risk, explained Pietro Manuel Ferraro, MD, a physician at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome and corresponding author of this study. Although higher total fluid intake reduces the risk of stone formation, this information about individual beverages may be useful for general practitioners seeking to implement strategies to reduce stone formation in their patients.

Source- Brigham and Womens Hospital, via EurekAlert, a service of AAAS.

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