Posts Tagged ‘FDA’

FDA Agrees to Set Rules for Controversial Antimicrobial Agent

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Under a new court agreement with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Food and Drug Administration has agreed to issue a new rule governing the use of triclosan, a controversial antimicrobial agent used widely in consumer products, by 2016. Action on the drug is a long time coming, given that the FDA first proposed action in 1978.

Triclosan has been found in three-quarters of people whose blood, urine or tissues have been analyzed as part of biomonitoring studies, and it is also found in the environment, after having passed untreated through sewage treatment plants. There’s evidence that tricolsan may be an endocrine-disrupting chemical, messing with our hormones, and that it breaks down into dioxin, a known carcinogen. It’s also implicated in the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a growing health concern.

“It’s outrageous that FDA has waited 35 years to protect the public from this harmful chemical. This final rule should prohibit triclosan from use in soaps,” said Mae Wu, an attorney in NRDC’s health program. “Washing your hands with soap containing triclosan doesn’t make them cleaner than using regular soap and water. In fact, not only do soaps containing triclosan fail to provide benefits consumers might expect, they carry potential health risks.”

In general, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a safer alternative, and they need only be used when hot water and regular soap are unavailable. Most studies suggest thorough hand washing is the most effective and environmentally benign way to prevent the spread of germs.

Under pressure from consumer advocates, many companies have removed triclosan from their products, or pledged not to use it.

 

What to Expect From the USDA During the Government Shutdown

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

On day two of the government shutdown, it is still unclear to many what federal organizations will and will not be operating. Only organizations deemed necessary for the protection of life and property will be running through the shutdown. With that said, 59% of non-defense federal employees are exempt from furlough. The USDA is one organization that will continue to operate, with 87% of its 9,633 employees still able to work with pay.

The USDA is in charge of inspecting food quality and edibility, as well as protecting people and the environment from disasters such as bacterial outbreak leading to food illnesses. Some food inspections may be delayed, but general testing against E.Coli and Salmonella will continue.

So, if you’re worried about food safety and health and protection of property, the USDA and other major response teams will continue to operate and protect the quality of life, regardless of the government shutdown. Take comfort in knowing that our food will still be safe!