Health Buzz: Listeria Concern Prompts Food Recall

7 tips for Halloween safety; nutrition fallacies exposed

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The FDA wants to reduce the use of antibiotics in meat to limit the risk of antibiotic-resistant diseases in humans.

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Reser's Recalls Nearly 22,800 Pounds of Meat Due to Potential Listeria Contamination

Reser's Fine Foods announced yesterday that it's recalling about 109,000 cases of refrigerated ready-to-eat products due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination. (See the full list of recalled products here.) At the time of this U.S. Department of Agriculture news release, which was published Tuesday, there have been no reported illnesses caused by these contaminated products, either to the Food Safety and Inspection Service or Reser's Fine Foods. The news release classifies this incident as a "class 1" recall, which, according to the release, means the following: "This is a health hazard situation where there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death." Reser's Fine Foods is based in Beaverton, Ore., but these recalled products were manufactured in a Topeka, Kan. Listeria is most dangerous for young children, frail or elderly people and those with weakened immune systems. Healthy people who become ill from listeria typically suffer from short-term symptoms, such as fever and severe headaches.

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  • 7 Tips for Halloween Safety

    Sure, zombies and werewolves are scary in your favorite Halloween movies. But your little one stumbling through a dark neighborhood while trick-or-treating in an oversized wizard costume that passing drivers can barely see – that's a real horror. Follow these tips to keep you and your little witches and Frankensteins safe on Halloween:

    Apply costume makeup and face paint wisely. Prevent nightmarish skin reactions by using only paints intended for your skin, reading directions thoroughly and checking the label to see if you should avoid use of the product near your eyes. Dab the product on your arm before trying it on your face to test for an allergic reaction, and pitch foul-smelling paints that may be spoiled. Before going to bed, remove makeup or paint according to the product's instructions.

    Buy decorative contact lenses only from authorized distributors. Remember that contact lenses, whether they're intended to improve your vision or give you a feline gaze for your cat costume, are medical devices regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Halloween stores, flea markets and salons are a few of the many unauthorized vendors that illegally sell contacts with the false claim that one size fits all. These lenses can lead to scratches and infections of the cornea, pink eye, decreased vision and even blindness. To buy lenses that are safe for you, first get an eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, who should write a prescription that includes a brand name, lens measurements and an expiration date. You may be able to buy decorative lenses from your eye doctor, but if not, buy lenses only from authorized vendors that sell FDA-cleared or approved lenses, as well as require a prescription and contact information for your eye doctor. [Read more: 7 Tips for Halloween Safety]

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    • Nutrition Fallacies Exposed!

      Since before the times of Aristotle, humans have been making errors in reasoning when arguing issues from religion and politics to science and nutrition, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. Despite the millennia that separate us from ancient Greek times – and all the knowledge afforded to us by modern scientific research – fallacious reasoning continues to guide many of our dietary decisions. Often, pre-existing beliefs about food and nutrition can cloud the ability to assess dietary choices rationally and can lead to self-defeating – or downright dangerous – dietary practices.

      Here are some examples I see regularly:

      The fallacy of naturalism: "This food (or supplement) is natural. Natural foods are good for you. Therefore, this food (or supplement) is good for you."

      Arsenic. Lead. Poison Ivy. Cyanide. Need I say more? There's a long list of natural substances that are toxic, and a natural provenance doesn't make a food, ingredient or supplement inherently healthy, beneficial or safe.