One step up, two steps back for the healthy food movement. This week, you may have heard that the FDA has issued “draft guidance for public comment that provides practical, voluntary sodium reduction targets for the food industry.” In other words, the agency is trying to get the food industry to cut down the amount of salt in foods. Sorta. This is no minor matter.
Nine out of ten Americans consume too much salt, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. According to the CDC, if the average American decreased their daily sodium intake by 400 milligrams, 32,000 heart attacks and 20,000 strokes could be prevented annually.…
So, considering the FDA’s confidence in the science, why didn’t the agency make the guidelines mandatory?
Critics argue the government chose to avoid a costly confrontation with the food lobby. “I’m upset with the White House,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D) told Reuters. “They went wobbly in the knees. When it comes to kids’ health, they shouldn’t go wobbly in the knees.”
If the wobbly government isn't doing enough to ensure that you are making healthy choices in your diet, you might want to take matters in your own hand. But good luck with that! A bunch of companies are recalling their “health bars” out of concern that they might poison or kill you. The culprit – possibly listeria-contaminated SunOpta sunflower seeds. (Is nothing sacred anymore?)
The Toronto-based, self-described organic/non-GMO company announced its own expanded recall for more products — including Planters brand sunflower seeds — the same day it resumed operations at the facility that produced the problematic sunflower kernels. The sunflower kernels may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which can cause serious illness and sometimes death in young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems.
We’re talking “CLIF BAR® Nuts & Seeds energy bars, CLIF BAR® Sierra Trail Mix energy bars, and CLIF® Mojo® Mountain Mix® trail mix bars," Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars and Nature Valley Simple Nut Bars, some Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars and certain Bear Naked Soft Baked Granola. Maybe once healthy but not today!
Also unhealthy (to say the least)? The packaged salad produced by Dole in a plant shut down because of a listeria outbreak. A family has just filed a new wrongful death case against the company.
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the outbreak affected at least 19 people in the U.S., including one man from Michigan who died. The Public Health Agency of Canada has also reported 14 cases in five provinces, including three deaths, although it hasn’t been determined if listeria contributed to the cause of those deaths.
The new lawsuit, filed in Clark County Common Pleas Court last week, says Ellen H. DiStefano, 79, became ill on Jan. 17 after eating a salad she bought in Belmont County that was packaged in Springfield. She was taken to a hospital, diagnosed with an infection caused by the listeria monocytogenes bacteria and died on Feb. 27.
And if you think that’s bad, check out this article. Guess it’s back to McDonald’s for me!