Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Warnings, Alerts & Recalls

Publix Super Markets Recalls Seasoning Mixes

Publix Super Markets, which has more than 1,000 stores in five Southern states, has voluntarily recalled four kinds of seasoning mixes that may possibly be contaminated with salmonella.

Publix said it has taken the mixes off of its shelves and says shoppers can return them to the stores for a full refund.

The privately held grocery store operator said late Monday that the mixes were made with hydrolyzed vegetable protein supplied by Basic Food Flavors, which is based in Las Vegas.

Consumers who eat products tainted with salmonella could suffer serious and sometimes fatal infections, particularly young children, frail or elderly persons and others with weakened immune systems.

Spokeswoman Maria Brous said in a statement there have been no reported cases of illness with these products.

The recalled products include all lot codes for 0.75 ounce packs of Publix Mushroom Gravy Mix with the UPC 41415-03308; 1 ounce packages of Publix Meatloaf Seasoning, UPC 41415-03408; 1.45 ounce packets of Publix Beef Flavored Stew Mix, UPC 41415-03608, and 1 ounce packs of Publix Au Jus Gravy Mix with UPC 41415-04208.

Last week Congressional investigators said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should pay more attention to the safety of some food ingredients. A report released Friday by the Government Accountability Office said some spices, artificial flavors and other ingredients are not subject to frequent safety reviews by the FDA because the agency or manufacturers deem them "generally recognized as safe." A flavor-enhancing hydrolyzed vegetable protein recalled Thursday due to salmonella contamination is among the ingredients.

The investigators said the FDA has done too little to review the substances and recommended the agency require companies making or using them to provide the government with more information.

Publix has 1,012 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. Consumers who have purchased the products can also call the Publix Consumer Relations department at 1-800-242-1227.

On the Web: Publix

Manufacturer Expands Pet Food Recall

Nature's Variety has expanded its recall of chicken-flavored pet food because of concerns over salmonella.

The Lincoln, Neb.-based company said Monday that the raw, frozen food is being recalled because it could be contaminated with salmonella.

The recall includes three-pound packages of chicken medallions, six-pound packages of chicken patties and two-pound packages of chicken chubs.

Initially, the company recalled only packages with a best-by date of Nov. 10, 2010. Now packages with best-by dates of Oct. 29 and Nov. 9, 2010, are also being recalled.

Salmonella can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Pets can also become ill if they consume the bacteria.

On the Web: Nature's Variety

Govt To Warn On Baby Slings Because Of Deaths

The U.S. government is preparing a safety warning about baby slings - those popular and fashionable infant carriers that parents can sling around their chests to carry their baby.

The concern: Infants can suffocate, and at least a few have.

The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Inez Tenenbaum, said Tuesday that her agency is getting ready to issue a general warning to the public, likely to go out this week, about the slings.

Tenenbaum spoke at a meeting of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, an industry trade group that certifies certain children's products, including soft infant carriers. She did not single out any specific baby slings or discuss the number of deaths linked to them. But there have been complaints for a couple years now about some baby carriers.

In 2008, Consumer Reports raised concerns about the soft fabric slings and some two dozen serious injuries, mostly when a child fell out of them. A follow-up blog warned about a suffocation risk and linked the slings to at least seven infant deaths.

Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union, complained about the "SlingRider" by Infantino. The "bag style" sling wraps around the parent's neck and cradles the child in a curved or "C-like" position, nestling the baby below mom's chest or near her belly.

It's the "C-like" position that causes safety advocates to shudder. They say the curved position can cause the baby, which has little head and neck control in the early months, to flop its head forward, chin-to-chest -- restricting the baby's ability to breathe.

Another concern: that the baby can turn its face toward mom's chest or belly and smother in the parent's clothing.

Infantino's "SlingRider" was recalled in 2007 for problems with the plastic sliders on the sling's strap. But there have been no recalls because of a suffocation risk.

Baby slings have been billed as an important way for new moms to bond with their babies.

Use of slings, also known as "babywearing," has become increasingly popular in recent years, with colorful and vibrant slings seen on Hollywood moms and sold everywhere from big retailers such as Babies R Us to smaller outfits.

FDA; Consumer Products Safety Commission; AP

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