'FDA' on Serious Eats

Environmental Group Sues FDA Over Antibiotics in Animal Feed

For many years, scientists and agriculturalists have worried about the practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock through feed and water. Farmers use antibiotics for growth promotion, as well as to prevent and address illnesses that arise in the process of growing animals for meat and dairy consumption. Especially on cramped, high-production farms, animals can consume very high quantities of antibiotics as farmers attempt to keep them healthy. So why the current lawsuit? More

Are Food Dyes Safe?

In the past few weeks, there's been a lot of talk in the media about the safety of consuming food dyes. Studies have explored this question and yielded mixed results, but our ability to perceive flavors in food is greatly affected by its color. A pale Cheeto is simply not as cheesy as a bright orange Cheeto, even though their recipe is identical apart from the addition of orange food coloring. What measures should the FDA take? More

Senate Passes the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

After talks that dragged late into the night on Monday, the Senate voted Tuesday morning on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The sweeping bill includes provisions to enhance the regulatory powers of the Food and Drug Administration. Despite critiques from across the political spectrum, the Act passed 73 to 25. As we've covered before, the act necessitates more frequent inspections of "high-risk" food processing and manufacturing plants. It also grants the FDA full recall authority over possibly contaminated foods More

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Goes to the Senate This Week

A recent string of highly-publicized food recalls have caused many Americans to question the safety of our food production system. From peanut butter to eggs, numerous everyday foods have caused salmonella and E. Coli outbreaks. Many activists, nutritionists and policy makers have been calling for the government to make some real strides in improving food safety. But finally, on November 17, the Senate will bring the Food Safety Modernization Act to the floor. Food Safety News credits Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for pushing the bill forward. More

FDA Introduces Rules for National Menu Labeling

One of the less-discussed sections of last February's health reform bill was the introduction of national menu labeling. The practice of posting calorie counts beside menu items at chain restaurants has already taken effect in several cities, notably in my hometown of New York City. But making this information available on a national scale is a big step for nutrition and food education activists. The bill's requirement to post calorie counts went into effect last March, but the FDA is not required to institute binding regulations until March 23, 2011. More

Serious Cheese: Is Blue Cheese Gluten-Free?

Photograph from WordRidden on Flickr Your first reaction to this headline might have been, "What do you mean, is blue cheese gluten-free? Isn't all cheese gluten-free?" Well, the short answer is yes. But blue cheese is a potential corner-case that needs some investigation. The reason is that there are steps in the production process of blue cheese where the potential for cross-contamination of gluten is definitely a possibility. Most people know that the blue in blue cheese is actually mold—penicillium mold to be exact, which during aging breaks down the fats and the proteins in the cheese to change its texture to a silky smooth, and to add depth and piquancy to its flavor. Originally the mold would have... More

Salmonella Found in Raw Alfalfa Sprouts

Before you buy or make that sprout-laden salad or sandwich for lunch today, please be sure to avoid alfalfa sprouts. From the FDA: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [on April 26] recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts, until further notice because the product has been linked to Salmonella serotype Saintpaul contamination. Other types of sprouts have not been implicated at this time. Photograph ©iStockphoto.com/THEPALMER... More

List of Peanut Products Not Affected By the FDA Recall

Phew. The American Peanut Council issued a big fat list of safe peanut products, including Peter Pan, Skippy, Jif, and all Reese's and Ben & Jerry's products. The salmonella outbreak that originated at a Georgia peanut factory has already been responsible for seven deaths and 500-plus sicknesses. [via Doobybrain]... More

FDA: Clones Are Safe to Eat

That does it, folks: As was expected last week, The FDA today officially declared certain cloned livestock safe to eat. From the L.A. Times: Initially, only a small amount of steaks, pork and dairy products derived from clones will become available in grocery stores. But over the next three to five years—after ranchers have time to clone their most prized animals and those clones are able to breed—the products will become routine on store shelves, industry executives said. Cloned cattle, pigs, and goats are aces to eat, the agency said, but as for cloned sheep—well, there's not enough info regarding them or other species for the government to OK. So put down your knives and forks if you were... More

Government Endorses Second Helpings

Good news today for members of the Clean Plate Club. The Onion reports on the FDA's approval of seconds: Addressing what it calls a 'growing epidemic of cravings and hankerings," the federal agency recommended redesigning food labels to prominently display extra-serving sizes and pledged to better educate consumers on how to make informed additional-portion choices at home and in restaurants. I think this neatly answers the question being bandied about on the Freakonomics blog: "What is the Right Way to Think About the Obesity ‘Epidemic’?"... More

Who's Going to Save Us from Uninspected Imported Fish?

Just how porous is our imported-fish inspection process? Taras Grescoe says we should be very scared. Why? Because the FDA, which is responsible for fish inspections, physically inspects 1.34 percent of the imported fish containers that come into this country and tests just 0.59 percent. The European Union, on the other hand, inspects 20 percent of its imported fish containers. How is our wonderfully protective federal government dealing with this problematic situation? By cutting the budget for FDA in-country foreign fish inspections to zero!... More

Don't Mess with Our Chocolate

Leave it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start messing with chocolate, one of life's perfect foods. The Chocolate Manufacturers have petitioned the government to change the basic formula of chocolate in order to use vegetable fat substitutes in place of cocoa butter, and to use milk substitutes in the place of nutritionally superior milk. Do these people have no shame? Will they be forced to call the new product "milk substitute chocolate?" Got a nice ring, doesn't it?... More

Washington Shocks Us Again

The FDA has amended its food labeling regulations to expand the umbrella of foods that may legally take the moniker "lean." The legalese refers specifically to that hard-to-qualify category of foods known as "mixed dishes not measurable with a cup." Ahem. Nestlé is behind the petition for change. Will Washington never cease to surprise us?... More

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