Recall : Dove Caramel Pecan Perfection ice cream

Today, “Mars Snackfood US announced a voluntary recall of its Dove Caramel Pecan Perfection ice cream with the lot number 931AB5YN07 because it may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. No related illnesses have been reported to date.  For consumers who do not suffer from a peanut allergy or sensitivity, this product is safe to eat. The lot number is found on the bottom of the containers. This voluntary recall is limited to this specific lot number (931AB5YN07) and was distributed only in the United States, and specifically to the following states: AL, CO, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, NC, OH, OR, TX, UT, WA and WI.”

I recently found that I have a very specific and very nasty “visit your local ER for a week” food allergy, so I really know how important it is to avoid certain foods that you’re allergic to.

Here’s a link to the official FDA recall notice.

$5 fishy fee

I was at Petco this weekend, picking up more cute fuzzy squeaky things for my cute fuzzy squeaky dog.

I was crossing through the aquarium section when I saw this in the Betta (Siamese fighting fish) isle.

$5 Betta Water - front

$5 Betta Water - front

$5 Water specifically made for Betta fish.

I’ve had 3 Bettas in my life so far. Each was a joy to have and lived around 4-5 years each. I never, ever used anything but tap water for any of them.

Out of curiosity, I turned the bottle on its’ side. The label read… “Pure and Healthy Betta Water is environmentally friendly and makes for simpler water changes. Directions for use: For best results, Betta Water is to be used as the water for your pet. For water changes empty and wash bowl with clean water. Do one final rinse with Betta Water before refilling. Change Betta Water every 7-10 days as needed.”

Betta Water - Side

Betta Water - Side

No ingredients. And nothing else was on the other side of the label.

In the very best case, based on the description and labeling, this might be nothing but a bottle of distilled water. The same kind of distilled water they sell for $1 a gallon at just about every grocery store. But you’re not supposed to use distilled water for Bettas! Plain old tap water is the recommended environment for all Bettas.

So then no matter what this $5 bottle is, it’s criminally overpriced, bad for Bettas, and only sold at Petco.

And the really sad thing is that this was the last one left.

Rip. Off.

News stories the mainstream media missed 10/24/09

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* Young college graduates are having hell finding a job now. And if they can’t get employed now at a entry level job, chances are they won’t be employed even when the economy recovers later because everyone else who was unemployed before will be trying for the new jobs too. The media is already calling the new graduates “the lost generation”. Highly educated very motivated young graduates with massive debt and no job prospects? That’s going to come back with some sharp teeth soon. [BUSINESSWEEK]

* If anybody in the Army was stop-lossed between September 11, 2001 to September 30, 2009, they may be eligible for retroactive pay of $500 for each month of additional service paid in a lump sum. My question is why is this an application process? Doesn’t the Army know who served them? Can’t they just direct deposit the money today? Or even mail out the checks? [ARMY TIMES]

* COOL (Country Of Origin Labeling) is a new initiative in labeling proposed by senators in Wisconsin that would say where your dairy products come from. The idea is that on the front of most dairy products, a sticker would say this cheese is from Wisconsin, this milk is from Oklahoma, etc. Well, as Gomer Pyle would say, SUH-PRIZE, SUH-PRIZE, SUH-PRIZE! Jerry Slominski, senior vice-president of legislative affairs and economic policy for the International Dairy Foods Association, says “This legislation is misguided, because it would do nothing to help America’s dairy farmers.” Yeah. Well Jerry, I’m thinking it might have something to do with the fact that most Americans ain’t gonna buy their skim milk if they find out it’s from a processing plant in downtown Detroit. Or their swiss cheese from a warehouse in Rochester. [FOOD BUSINESS NEWS]

* Do you have a child that is going to get or has already got the H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine?  Whatever you do, don’t give them Tylenol or aspirin after the shot. It greatly reduces the effectiveness of the vaccine. Oh, and after getting the vaccine, most kids get a real bad fever. I would put this little tidbit somewhere between “good to know” and “why the flaming hell isn’t this front page news by now?”. [BLOOMBERG]

* Speaking of H1N1 (Swine Flu), the FDA is going after online hustlers that are selling “preventative medicine” for this disease. The FDA specifically popped for “Unapproved/Uncleared/Unauthorized Products Related to the H1N1 Flu Virus; and Notice of Potential Illegal Marketing of Products to Prevent, Treat or Cure the H1N1 Virus.” Isn’t there an old proverb about not trusting people with beards? [FDA]

* And speaking of a lack of trust, the US Department of Justice recently busted “e-meditech”, which was owned by Joseph Egbe. Egbe was asking for and getting a lot of prescription drugs from other charitable organizations, saying he was going to ship them to Africa and other impoverished countries. But instead, he tore the labels off the donated drugs and resold them to local pharmacies for profit. Nice. Hopefully a little prison time will help adjust his conscience. [US DOJ]

* That new creature “Darwinius” that scientists were saying was the link to all links of humans and primates a few weeks ago? Uh… not so much now. A little research and wouldn’t you know this little creature was off by just 10 million years. And they have no living descendants. I thought scientists did a little of this “research” stuff I keep hearing about before having a press conference. [SCIENCEBLOG]

Smart Choices label being pulled

Smart Choice logo

A typical Smart Choice logo

Mike Hughes, chair of the Smart Choices Program, announced today that “The Smart Choices nutrition labeling program voluntarily will postpone active operations and not encourage wider use of the Smart Choices nutrition logo by current or newly enrolled companies”

The article goes on to say that this surprise announcement “…comes shortly after the Food and Drug Administration announced on Oct. 20 that the agency is reviewing labels that communicate nutritional quality on front-of-package labels and how consumers are using the labels.”

In a related story, posted on the same website, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the F.D.A is quoted as saying “Some are questioning whether they (front-of-package symbols) are marketing or health-oriented.” That same related story says the FDA is “analyzing front-of-package labels that appear to be misleading and also is looking for symbols that may be considered nutrient content claims.”

Soooo… lemme see if I have all this straight. This industry driven private food labeling program was being put on just about all the new “healthy” and “good for you” food items out there. All any food product needed to do to get this sticker was to fill out an “application and deposit fee” on the Smart Choice website and wait and see if they qualified to put that nice big green checkmark sticker on their product. But three days ago, the FDA announces it’s going to start looking into front of package labeling on all food items. And since the FDA announced it is going to be coming around for a little look-see, the company in charge of this label with the nice big green healthy checkmark immediately stops everything it is doing and will not take any newcomers who want to get this this label on their product.

There’s an old song from the 80’s that I think is appropriate here….. “Things that make you go hmmmm……”

Recall : Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection by American Regent

This is a day old already, but it might help my friends in the medical field.

Ketorolac Tromethamine is a drug for the reduction of inflammation, pain, and fever. According to recall notice on the FDA’s website,  American Regent voluntarily started to recall… “ALL lots of its Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP 30 mg/mL. This voluntary recall is due to the potential that particulate matter in conjunction with crystallization may be present in the product… American Regent is undertaking this recall in consideration of the potential for safety issues if the product is administered to patients, including obstruction of blood vessels which can induce pulmonary emboli or thrombosis, activate platelets and/or neutrophils to induce anaphylactic reactions. Other adverse effects associated with the injection of particulate matter include foreign body granulomas, and local irritation at the injection site.”

Here’s a link to the recall article.

Recall : Apple & Carrot Portable Pouch baby food sold at Toys R Us and Babies-R-Us Stores

I’m starting a new section called RECALLS. I usually saved this kind of news to add in the “news the mainstream media missed” posts on Saturdays, but more and more of these recalls are becoming critical, so I’m going to start posting them immediately as they come in.

Today’s recall is on Apple & Carrot Portable Pouch baby food… “with the best by date May 21, 2010 and marked with the following universal product code (UPC) #890180001221 located on the bottom of the package. These pouches are sold individually at Toys-R-Us and Babies-R-Us locations nationally… The recall was undertaken as a precaution due to the risk of potential contamination with Clostridium botulinum, which can cause botulism, a serious and sometimes lifethreatening condition. Consumers should not use these products, even if they appear to be normal, because of the possible health risk. Symptoms of botulism poisoning in humans include general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. People experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention.”

Here’s the link to the official FDA recall notice.

Color coded terror for your convenience – addendum

I think I need to clarify yesterdays’ post. After re-reading a day later, I don’t think my point was clear.

I’m not opposed to the protection of our country. I’m not opposed to the idea of protecting yourself. What I am opposed to is the absolutism of eternal vigilance.

Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009

Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009

Think of it this way- even though laws are in place, bad guys will ignore them. Laws to me are something like a fence on a farm to keep wolves out. Laws are in place, and they do deter the smaller bad guys, but a serious bad guy will just go right through them.

I think you should be prepared for the worst. You should know how to defend your family and your home. I think you should know how to stand on your own two feet without any help. I think you shouldn’t rely on someone being just around the corner to help you if things go wrong.

But I also think you should hope for the best. You should make plans to live a good and productive life. You should take steps to make your own dreams a reality. You should encourage the work of others who have not traveled as far as you have. You should be patient. You should be strong.

Yes, it would be possible to build a fortress to keep the wolves out. But then it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be a farm. It would be possible to pass enough laws to eventually catch everyone with an evil thought. But then it wouldn’t be the same. It wouldn’t be the United States.

Changing the Department of Homeland Security’s Security Advisory System’s color coding to say there will never be an end to terror is a step toward this fortress. Toward a focus on the wolves, and not a focus on the farm.

Don’t be a wolf. But don’t be a sheep either. Think Sheepdog. Cute and cuddly, but with big teeth if necessary.

Color coded terror for your convenience

According to a new article in WIRED, the Department of Homeland Security is trying to change the Terror Alert color coded system. Soon there will no longer be five confusing colors to worry about.

The old reich

The old chart

Now there will only be three colors! Red! Orange! And…. yellow?

From the same WIRED article…

* Red = High Alert – “Maximum protective measures to protect against an imminent or ongoing terrorist attack.”
* Orange = Elevated  – “Increased protective measures based on specific threat information regarding a known or suspected terrorist plot.”
* Yellow = Guarded  – “A constant state of vigilance to protect against a terrorist attack.”

Waitaminute… no “green”? No “situation normal?” No “off” switch?

If someone is in the military or a member of law enforcement, they are always supposed to be in “condition yellow”. That’s fine. Because that’s the job that person signed up for and was expertly trained on over the course of several years to do. But how is making a florist live in a constant state of vigilance going to make their arrangements any prettier? How is pushing a musician into a constant state of vigilance going to help their music sound better?

I don’t want a government agency to tell every single person in the United States that the world is hostile and unfriendly because they say so. That there is no more “off” switch for anyone. That every single person must be ready for when the wolves arrive.

I refuse to believe it and I refuse to live my life in that way.

Should we be vigilant? Yes, but only to a point. Should we be prepared? Yes, but again, only to a point. There must come a time when this ends. There must be a mile marker that we can anticipate reaching. There must be a final chapter to this terribly long diversion in our nation’s history. We must not forget how to live our lives because of an apparition of fear. We must not allow our own government to dictate to us that this fear, or any fear, can not be overcome in time. To deny a promising hope for ourselves, to avoid taking the path to a good and peaceful future, is a step away from humanity itself.

I’m still waiting on the great change that was coming.

Quite frankly, I’m not seeing it here.