Roundup: Salmonella, Food Additives and Local Leadership Summit

Salmonella Tied to More Packaged Foods, While Bacteria from Backyard Chickens Sicken Young Children

Bacteria that could grow into botulism – a rare but potentially fatal form of food poisoning that can cause paralysis – was found in jars of Taco Bell-brand cheese dip, prompting the latest recall linked to contaminated food. While no illnesses have been reported, Kraft Heinz has issued a recall of 7,000 cases of the popular cheese dip available from grocery stores. Specifically,  15-ounce jars of Taco Bell Salsa Con Queso Mild Cheese Dip with “best when used by” dates ranging from Oct. 31, 2018 to Jan. 23, 2019, showed signs of allowing for the growth of the dangerous bacteria, the company said.

The cheese dip is one of the latest contaminated-food recalls by major manufacturers in recent weeks. Kellogg Company’s Honey Smacks cereal, Campbell Soup Co’s Goldfish Crackers and Mondelez International Inc’s Ritz Crackers also have been recalled due to potential salmonella contamination.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating a 44-state outbreak of salmonella infections linked to people touching live poultry, namely backyard chickens. Children 5 years old and younger account for 26 percent of those infected.

Those affected became sick between Feb. 15 and June 21 of this year, according to the latest CDC report. A total of 212 people nationwide had been infected with salmonella as of July 13, including 34 people who were hospitalized. No deaths have been reported, according to the agency.

In Florida, 11 people have become ill from contact with “live poultry in backyard flocks,” according to the CDC. The recent trend of urban chicken coops has spawned an increased number of “backyard poultry enthusiasts.” The agency cautions parents to keep children younger than 5 from touching or handling chickens or chicks without supervision, and advises proper hand washing after coming in contact with the animals.

Read more safety tips from the CDC about backyard poultry.

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Food Additives Harmful to Young Children, Pediatrician Group Says

Food additives pose harmful effects on the health of children and infants, said the American Academy of Pediatrics in a statement published in the July issue of Pediatrics medical journal. The pediatrician group points to “critical weaknesses in the current regulatory system” and urges the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to retest all previously approved chemicals found in packaged food.

The AAP refers specifically in its statement to concerns about the use of “colorings, flavorings, and chemicals deliberately added to food during processing” and other substances that come in contact with food during manufacturing or packaging that can cause contamination. Other substances, such as “adhesives, dyes, coatings, paper, paperboard, plastic, and other polymers” that are involved in food processing also can negatively affect health when absorbed by the body at a young age.

Research over the last 20 years has documented enough evidence about the negative effects these substances have on children’s endocrine system, the AAP says. Food additives’ role in causing problems with children’s and infants’ thyroid hormones, immune systems. The chemicals are also linked to worsening cases of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the AAP.  Minority and low-income populations of children are disproportionately exposed to the chemicals, in some cases, the statement said.

The AAP says an “estimated 1000 chemicals are used under a ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) designation process without US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.” Artificial food colors and nitrates are used in packaged food also concern the AAP. The group calls for stricter requirements for foods to meet the GRAS designation and the FDA to update its toxicity testing recommendations to ensure safety for human health.

The AAP statement also calls for pediatricians to advise patients and their parents to take action to reduce exposure to materials that can harm children’s health, including:

  • Eat fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables when possible.

  • Avoid processed meats, especially during pregnancy.

  • Avoid microwaving food or beverages (including breast milk and baby formula) in plastic, if possible.

  • Avoid placing plastics in the dishwasher.

  • Use alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.

  • Look at the recycling code on the bottom of products to avoid plastics with recycling codes 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) unless plastics are labeled as “biobased” or “greenware,” indicating they do not contain bisphenols.

  • Encourage hand washing before handling foods and drinks, and wash all fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled.

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2018 Global Leadership Summit Set for August 9-10

If you want to grow your passion and maximize your impact, the 2018 Global Leadership Summit can help you learn how to create positive change. Get inspired by hearing from several renowned speakers, including Sheila Heen, founder of Triad Consulting Group and faculty at Harvard Law School; T.D. Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House; John C. Maxwell, leadership expert, best-selling author and coach; and many more. Held annually for the last 20 years, the summit delivers inspiration and practical skills attendees can immediately apply.

South Florida locations with whom Baptist Health is partnering to host this year’s event Thursday, Aug. 9, and Friday, Aug. 10, include Christ Journey Church in Miami, Island Community Church in Islamorada, Monroe County and Boca Raton Community Church in Palm Beach County.  Experience the event via live HD simulcast and digital audio from any of these locations. Email or call 786-527-8845 for more information.


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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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