Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Massive Food Recall In UK May Have Spread To China

Here in the USA, some important headlines sometimes don't get much airtime... but this news is recent, so maybe it takes time to trickle down to the western media outlets?

Sudan 1 to IV are classified as carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and are banned under European Union rules.

Sudan 1 is a chemical red dye, and prior to 2003 could be found in many ingredients including, salsa, chili sauces, and the like.

Last month it was detected in Worcester sauce manufactured by Premier Foods and several other food products the company produces which prompted one of the largest food recalls in UK history.

Premier Foods informed shareholders on Feb. 24, 2005 that its Branston Hot and Spicy Sweet Pickle and Branston Rich and Fruity Sauce are "at once" being recalled from the shelves.

The news came a few days after the firm set off a chain recall reaction of over 420 well-known processed foods, many of which used the same chili sauce ingredient (which contained the illegal dye) as the one used to produce their Worcestershire sauce.

Used as both a tabletop sauce and food ingredient, the discovery prompted the UK's Food Standards Agency to take immediate action and pull all related products, such as Sainsburys pork sausages and Tesco's chicken and vegetable casserole, out of the consumers' reach.

According to the news in the UK, companies had up to Feb. 24, 2005 to recall products containing the illegal red dye or face prosecution.

"It is their legal responsibility to be checking their foods and to then come to us with any new information on contaminated food products," a spokesperson for the FSA stated to the press.

Food companies failing to do so face prosecution.

That's just the tip of the ice burg. There was a recent report that the problem may have also spread to China with reports that international food maker Heinz has called back chilli sauces and chilli oils that may contain the harmful, and illegal, red dye.

Now... I have to ask... have any similar products been checked here in the USA and Canada?

We'll be watching this story unfold.

Be sure to stay in the loop and subscribe to BLV News.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Australia to Assess Herbal Ingredients and Claims

In a recent news release at NeutraIngredients Europe (11/03/2005) the announcement came out: "Herbal medicines on the Australian market may need to be reformulated after the government’s decision this week to back a wave of expert recommendations to tighten scrutiny of the complementary medicines sector."

The Australian government said it has backed most of the 49 recommendations from the Expert Committee on Complementary Medicines in the Health System, which was formed following the April 2003 recall of more than 1,600 products, many of them supplements, manufactured by Pan Pharmaceuticals.

The recommendations, published 18 months ago, include the introduction of quality standards for all ingredients used in herbal and complementary medicines, and new guidelines to verify claims made by companies.

“The complementary medicines industry is estimated to be worth over $800 million per year so it is vital that Australians feel confident in the industry and its products,” said Australia’s health secretary Christopher Pyne.

The government's response to the report said the toughest option would result in many products being reformulated or relabelled, or even removed from the market.

The report said that complementary medicines "typically contain a larger number of ingredients than prescription or over-the-counter medicines”.

"Consequently, the identification of a particular ingredient as a potential cause of an adverse reaction is often far more difficult in a complementary medicine."

Under the recommendations, any ingredients suspected of causing foetal abnormalities will be banned from use other than in complementary products subject to the same scrutiny as that given to prescription drugs.

Among the positive points for industry, the medicines authority the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has also been asked to draw up a stakeholder group to identify incentives to encourage innovation and research in complementary medicines, including data protection and market exclusivity.

A database will be established to identify researchers and centers of excellence to carry out complementary medicines research in Australia and there will also be action to create greater awareness among all health professionals and consumers of the potential for complementary medicines to interact with other medicines.

The government’s response to the recommendations are published on the TGA website. (pdf format)


Important Sidenote: It's important to know when shopping for supplements that many herbal ingredients used to manufacture vitamins and nutrition aids come in 3 different grades --- pharmaceutical grade (the highest grade which our manufacturer uses for all products offered here at Best Liquid Vitamins) --- food grade --- and vetrinary grade. Unfortunately the more than 60 products we carry in supplements and self-care are only available in the USA (with the exception of Goji Juice which is now available in more than 11 countries).

Do you know what grade of ingredients you are getting when you purchase your supplements elsewhere?

The Whole Grains Council Officially Launched Its New Food Stamp

The Whole Grains Council Officially Launched Its New Food Stamp

The Whole Grains Council yesterday launched its food stamp to the general public at the Natural Foods Expo West show taking place in Anaheim. (March 2005 Show)

There are three versions of the black and gold stamp:

1) the "good source" stamp for foods containing a half serving of whole grains (8g)

2) the "excellent source" stamp goes on products offering a full serving of whole grains (16g)

3) and the third level – "excellent Source / 100%" – is for foods with a full serving of whole grains and containing no refined grains.

But here's an interesting fact:

The goji berry, which is considered to be the most nutritionally dense food on the planet, contains 13% more protein than even whole wheat.

See http://www.bestliquidvitamins.com/gojijuice.html for details.

Our topselling product, Goji Jucie, is 100% juice - and contains over 2.2 pounds of pure sweet goji berry juice in every bottle... but, you won't find the new grain label on the bottle.

The new label is reserved for grain products.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Cockroach Allergens Have Greatest Impact on Childhood Asthma In Many U.S. Cities

Asthma In Inner-City Children - New Study Results Are In
Read Full Story Here: http://www.bestliquidvitamins.com/news.shtml

Dust mites and pet allergens were always thought to be the biggest factors that affect asthma in children, but a new study funded by NIEHS states another factor may actually be worse for inner-city children: COCKROACHES

NIH provided $7.5 million to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and seven other research institutions, including the Data Coordinating Center at Rho, Inc., for the three-year study.

"We found that a majority of homes in Chicago, New York City and the Bronx had cockroach allergen levels high enough to trigger asthma symptoms, while a majority of homes in Dallas and Seattle had dust mite allergen levels above the asthma symptom threshold," said Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and lead author of the study.

"We also discovered that the levels of both of these allergens were influenced by housing type," noted Gruchalla. "Cockroach allergen levels were highest in high-rise apartments, while dust mite concentrations were greatest in detached homes."

According to NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D. "These data confirm that cockroach allergen is the primary contributor to childhood asthma in inner-city home environments. ...However, general cleaning practices, proven extermination techniques and consistent maintenance methods can bring these allergen levels under control."

Cockroach allergens come from several sources such as saliva, fecal material, secretions, cast skins, and dead bodies. People can reduce their exposure to cockroach allergen by eating only in the kitchen and dining room, putting non-refrigerated items in plastic containers or sealable bags, and taking out the garbage on a daily basis. Other measures include repairing leaky faucets, frequent vacuuming of carpeted areas and damp-mopping of hard floors, and regular cleaning of counter tops and other surfaces.

While cockroach allergen exposure did produce an increase in asthma symptoms, researchers did not find an increase in asthma symptoms as a result of exposure to dust mite and pet dander. "Children who tested positive for, and were exposed to, cockroach allergen experienced a significant increase in the number of days with cough, wheezing and chest tightness, number of nights with interrupted sleep, number of missed school days, and number of times they had to slow down or discontinue their play activity," said Gruchalla.

While cockroaches are primarily attracted to water sources and food debris, house dust mites, microscopic spider-like creatures that feed on flakes of human skin, reside in bedding, carpets, upholstery, draperies and other "dust traps." Dust mite allergens are proteins that come from the digestive tracts of mites and are found in mite feces.

The study results are published in the March issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

New Vermont Law Requires Drug Companies To Disclose Wholesale Prices

"Under state legislation that is the 'first of its kind,' drug manufacturers beginning Tuesday will be required to disclose to Vermont physicians the average wholesale prices of individual drugs and other products in the same therapeutic class," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The law marks an effort to "curb prescription drug prices by putting price information in the hands of doctors," according to the Journal.

However, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spokesperson Wanda Moebius said, "The law doesn't reflect prices paid by patients with insurance or at a pharmacy, and so it's not a valid representation." She stated that using such disclosures for comparisons is like "comparing apples to oranges"

Read full story here.

My Rant - The Aunt, The Uncle, The Coumadin

Usually I try my best to report the headlines I find ... online and offline ... relating to health and wellness ...without expressing my own personal opinions on the subjects. In fact, I do my best to keep my personal opinions to myself, but a recent conversation I had with my husband's Aunt has me so steamed up I can't help making a few comments here.

Her husband (our Uncle whom we all love dearly) just got out of a 4 day stay in hospital owing to shortness of breath and heart palipitations. They still aren't sure if it was heart related or stroke related but there is one thing for certain, it's a warning sign and warrents some serious lifestyle changes.

Now, here's the part that got me so riled up.

The Aunt fully admits they haven't been eating properly, admits they haven't been getting proper exercise, admits they haven't been making healthy choices ...and yet, believes the medication our Uncle is now taking should take care of the problems he's going through ...that they don't have to worry, since it was a false alarm after all.

Rather than make positive lifestyle changes, their only change is adding prescribed Coumadin (some spell it cumidin, it's also known as Warfarin) to his daily regimine. They wouldn't even consider adding a very healthy 100% juice to his diet as one small positive step towards lifestyle changes.

Do they even look at the Warning Labels on the drugs they take?

For example, here are some potential side effects for Warfarin (coumadin)...

--------- copy -----------

If you experience any of the following serious side effects from Warfarin, stop taking the medication and seek emergency medical attention or contact your doctor immediately:
· an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of the throat; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
· black, bloody, or tarry stools;
· blood in urine or vomit;
· coughing up blood;
· bleeding gums or sores in the mouth;
· decreased urine production;
· yellowing of the skin or eyes;
· severe dizziness or headache;
· easy bleeding or bruising under the skin;
· purple discoloration of the toes or fingers;
· sudden leg or foot pain; or
· unusually heavy menstrual periods.
• Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Talk to your doctor if you experience
· excessive gas or bloating;
· diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting;
· hair loss; or
· decreased appetite or weight.
• Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

------- end copy ---------

And the worst part, after knowing about the above potential side effects, is that he is already easily bruised. In fact, his skin has grown so paper thin, just brushing against the coffee table can cause a major sore that takes weeks to heal.

Then add to this the fact that he has arthritis and has been taking aspirin and other pain relievers for it (a HUGE no-no with coumadin)... plus, he loves to go trap shooting (was honored for his skill last year) which generally results in very large shoulder bruises every summer.

Sadly, not enough people do heed the warnings for most presecription drugs. When you realize most of those warnings are the bare minimum that most drug companies are forced to apply to their products ...it makes you wonder why people "swear by drugs" to undo damage they have done to themselves. For example, the Washington Bureau reported in conjunction with the amiodarone warning label ruling... "A highly toxic heart drug continues to be prescribed to millions of patients nationwide without the detailed consumer warnings promised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more than a year ago. "

So my question is --- "Why do many people leave their health up to others and refuse to take responsibility for their own lives and lifestyles?"

My husband's Aunt is not the only one. Sadly many seniors (our Uncle is in his 70's) refuse to think that they themselves could be responsible for the many ailments they have, or know they are in part responsible yet sadly they continue to believe there are magic pills available in these modern times that can wipe out 20 to 40 years or more of poor lifestyle habits. Even worse, because those magic pills are presecribed, many believe there is no danger in taking them.

Most people aren't even aware how many presecription errors are made each year.

Okay... so I'm ranting ...and it's only because I truly care. It hurts to see someone suffering so much, yet angers me to see their stubborn attitudes towards simple little things they could be doing each day to dramatically enhance their health ...and their lives.

Stay well and be healthy...

We care about you!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Life Expectancy in USA Increases to 77.6 Years

According to the preliminary annual mortality report released Monday by... CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, life expectancy for U.S. residents increased to a record 77.6 years and mortality rates for most leading causes of death declined in 2003.

The preliminary report indicates average life expectancy for U.S. residents in 2003 increased by nearly four months from an average of 77.3 years in 2002.

Howard Price of the Washington Times reports final results will be available in September.

Did you know the goji berry is considered by some experts to be the most powerful anti-aging food on our planet? Visit here to learn more.