June 22, 2018 by John Fernandez and Tanya Racoobian
Roundup: Hurricane Supply Sales Tax Holiday, SPAM Recall and Public Pools Alert
Starting today, you can stock up on most hurricane supplies without paying a sales tax. Once again, Florida state officials are providing a sales tax break on qualifying hurricane supplies.
Florida’s 2018 Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday runs from June 1, though Thursday, June 7. See a full list of qualifying items at FloridaRevenue.com/disasterprep, (Also, see the chart below).
Although Hurricane Irma’s impact on South Florida was just eight months ago, it’s already time to get ready for the 2018 storm season. For this year’s season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting an average-to-slightly above average number of hurricanes will form in the Atlantic. But the forecast doesn’t change the items needed to prepare for a storm’s arrival.
The discounts mean that about 90 cents to $1.05 in sales taxes will not be applied to a $15 package of batteries. At the higher end, $45 to $52 will be saved off the purchase of a generator that costs $750.
Canned SPAM Recalled
While shopping for non-perishable food items to stock hurricane supplies, consumers are urged to pay attention to labels on certain SPAM products. Hormel, the manufacturer of the canned meats, announced a recall of more than 228,000 pounds of the packaged food after reports of metal-contaminated cans of pork and chicken caused minor oral injuries.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, canned products included in the recall are:
- 12-oz. metal cans of “SPAM Classic” with a “Best By” date of February 2021 and these production codes: F020881, F020882, F020883, F020884, F020885, F020886, F020887, F020888 and F020889. These products were shipped throughout the United States.
- 12-oz. metal cans of “Hormel Foods Black-Label Luncheon Loaf” with a “Best By” date of February 2021 and production codes F02098 and F02108. These products were shipped to Guam only.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 199N” on the bottom of the can. They should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase, the USDA urges.
Beware of Parasites, Bacteria in Hotel Pools, Hot Tubs, CDC warns
Outbreaks in illnesses linked to exposure of recreational water treated with chlorine can be caused by pathogens or chemicals in pools, hot tubs/spas and interactive water play venues, such as waterparks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in a new report.
During 2000–2014, public health officials from 46 states and Puerto Rico reported 493 outbreaks associated with treated recreational water, the CDC reports. These outbreaks resulted in at least 27,219 cases and eight deaths. Among the 363 outbreaks with a confirmed infectious disease origin, 212 (58 percent) were caused by cryptosporidium (which causes predominantly gastrointestinal illness), 57 (16 percent) by legionella (which causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia, and Pontiac fever, a milder illness with flu-like symptoms) and 47 (13 percent) by pseudomonas (which causes folliculitis (hot tub rash) and otitis externa (swimmers’ ear).
“The most frequently reported outbreak setting was hotels. Approximately half of the outbreaks started during June–August, followed by a smaller peak in March.,” the CDC says.
Chlorine is the primary barrier to the transmission of pathogens in treated recreational water. But the CDC adds “addressing the challenges presented by chlorine-tolerant and biofilm-associated pathogens require sustained attention to improving design, construction, operation and management of public treated recreational water venues.”