Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical produced in large quantities for use primarily in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. It exists at room temperature as a white solid and has a mild “phenolic” or hospital odor. Polycarbonate plastics have many applications including use in certain food and drink packaging, e.g., water and infant bottles, compact discs, impact-resistant safety equipment, and medical devices.

Polycarbonate plastics are typically clear and hard and marked with the recycle symbol “7” or may contain the letters “PC” near the recycle symbol. Polycarbonate plastic can also be blended with other materials to create molded parts for use in mobile phone housings, household items, and automobiles. Epoxy resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some polymers used in dental sealants or composites contain bisphenol A-derived materials.

In 2004, the estimated production of bisphenol A in the United States was approximately 2.3 billion pounds, most of which was used in polycarbonate plastics and resins.

Pressure is growing on the US Food and Drug Administration to set new restrictions on the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging following a new safety study.

A report from the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) concluded that there was “some concern for neural and behavioural effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures” to BPA, which is used extensively in the plastic lining in food cans. Read the rest of this entry »

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced that at least 23 people in 14 states have been diagnosed with salmonellosis that was caused by the same strain of Salmonella that was found in the recently recalled unsweetened Puffed Rice and unsweetened Puffed Wheat Cereals produced by Malt-O-Meal.

The recalled products were distributed nationally under the Malt-O-Meal brand name as well as under private label brands including Acme, America’s Choice, Food Club, Giant, Hannaford, Jewel, Laura Lynn, Pathmark, Shaw’s, ShopRite, Tops and Weis Quality. The cereals have “Best If Used By” dates from April 8, 2008 (coded as “APR0808”) through March 18, 2009 (coded as “MAR1809”).

Consumers should throw out any product in their homes from these recalled lots. Grocery stores and other retailers should promptly remove the cereals from their shelves. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Approximately 6.9 million Americans are allergic to seafood, and 3.3 million are allergic to peanuts or tree nuts .
  • About 3.1 million children in the U.S. have food allergies. – According to studies conducted by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), peanut allergies doubled in children between 1997 and 2002.
  • In the U.S., food is the leading cause of anaphylaxis outside the hospital setting.
  • There is presently no known cure for food allergies.
  • Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction. And allergens don’t have to be ingested to cause a reaction; skin contact or inhalation also can trigger it. According to research conducted at Mt. Sinai hospital in New York, people should wait at least four hours after consuming a food allergen before kissing someone who is allergic to that food.
  • A FAAN review of food allergy fatalities found that most of the people had never had a severe allergic reaction until the one that caused their death.
  • Scientists don’t know why allergies are increasing.

In an effort to help people avoid the health risks posed by food allergens, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. The law applies to all foods regulated by FDA, both domestic and imported, that were labeled on or after January 1, 2006. (FDA regulates all foods except meat, poultry, and certain egg products.)

Before this law, the labels of foods made from two or more ingredients were required to list all ingredients by their common, or usual, names. The names of some ingredients, however, do not clearly identify their source.

Now, the labels must clearly identify the source of all ingredients that are — or are derived from — the eight most common food allergens. As a result, food labels help allergic consumers to identify offending foods or ingredients so they can more easily avoid them. Read the rest of this entry »

Food For Life Baking Company of Corona, California is voluntarily recalling 2,241 cases of Spelt Bread (UPC# 07347200168) because they contain spelt grain which is known to be a hybrid of wheat. People who have allergies to wheat or those with Celiac Disease may run the risk of a serious or life threatening allergic reaction if they consume spelt products. Read the rest of this entry »

The FDA has requested a budget increase of $42.4m for food safety initiatives in the 2009 fiscal year, but food industry and consumer groups say this will still leave administration under resourced in this area.

The FDA, part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for safeguarding the country’s food supply. However, there have been growing concerns that under-funding at the department is putting American consumers at risk.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said that additional funding for food safety was not enough and “only covers cost of inflation.” Read the rest of this entry »

Cyagra is one of three privately held biotech start-ups making clones of genetically superior livestock for thousands of dollars apiece. In the coming years, they hope the rest of the U.S. — and the world — will join them in dining on steaks, pork chops and ice cream derived from animals conceived in their laboratories.

After reviewing hundreds of scientific studies, the FDA concluded last week that food produced from clones and their progeny is as safe to eat as conventional fare. The agency cleared the way for meat and milk from the offspring of cloned cattle, pigs and goats to be sold at grocery stores and restaurants without any special labeling. Food from the clones themselves is expected to follow after a transition period of unspecified length.

Though consumers are skeptical about this new culinary era, Cyagra, ViaGen Inc. and Trans Ova Genetics are enthusiastic. Some had bet the farm on FDA approval and were struggling to survive as the final decision was delayed to address concerns of consumer groups, the public and some members of Congress.

Over the next five years, the market for cloned animals in the U.S. is expected to reach nearly $50 million annually, according to industry analysts. Read the rest of this entry »

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a preliminary safety assessment that clears the way for marketing of meat and dairy products from cloned animals for human consumption. The assessment and the agency’s endorsement of cloned food comes despite widespread concern among scientists and food safety advocates over the safety of such products. The move to market cloned milk and meat also flies in the face of dairy and food industry concern and recent consumer opinion polls showing that most Americans do not want these experimental foods. What’s worse, FDA indicates that it will not require labeling on cloned food, so consumers will have no way to avoid these experimental foods. Read the rest of this entry »