Recall : “Majesty” labeled cantaloupes

This is a tough recall to sift through, mainly because there are no identifying stickers or marks on some of the affected items.

Five Crowns Marketing announced today that they are… “voluntarily recalling cantaloupes packed under the Majesty label because of a potential health risk due to possible contamination of Salmonella.”

“Cantaloupes were packed in various sizes with and without individual label stickers. All cartons carry the label “Majesty” and are further identified with lot numbers 198 2 or 198 3, packed dates Nov 4, Nov 6, and Nov 10. Also those cantaloupes that contain stickered labels are identified with the label “Majesty”.”

So pretty much you have to remember if you saw “majesty” on the box you picked them from at the grocery store because not all the cantaloupes are properly identified.

I’ve always wondered why RIFD tags aren’t on each stem of everything in the produce isle. RIFD tags cost a fraction of a penny to make, and this would help out immensely in cases like this. I would tag everything as it comes into the US as it enters the nation’s food supply and keep all this information in a master database at the FDA. When a bad batch comes up, you know where everything went. The RIFD tag would be wiped at the checkout scan, and can be tossed along with the stem or skin of the produce. This tagging would help keep a safer food supply chain and definitely create jobs as part of the labeling and cataloging process.

Here’s the link to the FDA recall notice.

News stories the mainstream media missed 11/21/09*

* D’oh! I goofed setting up the autopost. This was supposed to be up on Saturday.

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.

* Is climate change a lie? Some hackers who broke into the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (aka Hadley CRU) and stole a bunch of their internal emails say what they have is proof global warming is all a big lie. Manbearpig is not pleased. [TELEGRAPH.CO.UK] BONUS: I’ve heard you can download the stolen emails here. Or was it here? I forget. I’ve also heard you can find it at some famous professional unaccredited sailor’s bay website under the name “Hadley CRU Files”. Supposedly.

* This intro headline says it all… “Here’s a new way to think about the U.S. government’s epic borrowing: More than half of the $9 trillion in debt that Uncle Sam is expected to build up over the next decade will be interest. More than half. In fact, $4.8 trillion.” [CNN]

* Texas has a new online anti-harassing law that kicked in September 1. This ought to be interesting. Check out the first part of the law… “A person commits an offense if the person uses the name or persona of another person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial social networking site : (1)  without obtaining the other person’s consent; and (2)  with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person. (b)  A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person: (1)  without obtaining the other person’s consent; (2)  with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and (3)  with the intent to harm or defraud any person.” The bold italic part is my emphasis. This is where a LOT of people are going to get popped. [MIKEYOUNGLAW]

* Those rich college kids! If only there was some way to get their money! Well, Mayor Luke Ravenstahlof of Pittsburgh has a plan! He’s going to tax college students! From the article : “We do not want to impose a tax on the students. We hope that will never happen. But it’s up to the universities to take their great wealth and share it with the city.” So in other words, you got some money, we want it, so give it up and nobody gets hurt. Kind of like a robber would say to someone in a dark alley, dontyathink? [THE PITTSBURGH CHANNEL – 4]

* Hershey’s is about to nom on Cadbury. A $17 billion nom. [BLOOMBERG]

* The FDA is apparently coming down on pharmacies… in other countries. For selling things to the US that are illegal here. Here’s the word of the day for the FDA… JU-RIS-DIC-TION. [FDA]

* And here’s where the FDA redeems themselves. A man in Maryland who was selling Veal was pumping them full of illegal drugs. What could possibly go wrong when drugs designed “to control abnormal rise in body temperature associated with bovine respiratory disease and endotoxemia” enter the market place? Needless to say, veal-man is done now. [FDA]

Recall : Smoked Nova Salmon

This one specifically applies to the New York area, New Jersey, Connecticut, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Portland.

Service Smoked Fish Corp is recalling some of their “Brooklyn’s BEST brand SMOKED NOVA SALMON” because they may be contaminated with Listeria. The press release explains that “Listeria monocytogenes… can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.  Although healthy individuals may possibly suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.”

I love the placement of “only” in that last part. Hey, it’s “only” a 103 degree fever! Whatsamatter with you?

Anyhow, the specific recall is limited to… “3 oz., 4 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz., 16 oz. and random weight sides with the brand name “Brooklyn’s BEST” appearing on a circular label inside the vacuum bag. A “Use-By” date appears on the bottom of the gold board. Units with “Use-By” dates of 12/03/09 through 12/19/09 are being recalled.  The product was also air-packed in bulk boxes. Air-packed units with lot numbers 060 through 043 are being recalled.  No other use-by dates or lots numbers are involved in this recall.”

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

Recall : Vicks Sinex nasal spray in US, UK and Germany

Some lots of Vicks Sinex are being recalled due to a finding of bacteria in some lots that were shipped to the US, the UK and Germany.

The press release says “The company said it is taking this precautionary step after finding the bacteria B. cepacia in a small amount of product made at its plant in Gross Gerau, Germany.  There have been no reports of illness.  However, the bacteria could cause serious infections for individuals with a compromised immune system, or those with chronic lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis.  B. cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy individuals.”

The problem lot numbers, listed on the outside carton and bottle, are

9239028831 United States Vicks Sinex Vapospray 12-Hour Decongestant Ultra Fine Mist, 15 ml., Nasal Spray
9224028832 United Kingdom Vicks Sinex Micromist Aqueous Nasal Spray Solution, 15 ml
9224028833 Germany Wick Sinex Schnupfenspray Dosiersystem, 15 ml

Here’s the link to the official recall notice.

Abandoned gas station

On one of my recent road trips, I stopped on the way back to take some photos of an old gas station I had seen on the side of the highway.

The sign on the building says “Uncle Sams”, but the painted-over red circle badge and red font still visible on the hood of the station’s roof looks like it was once a Texaco gas station. That the the giant Texaco sign in the background with the empty pricing gave it away.

Abandoned Gas Station 01

Abandoned Gas Station 01

The pumps were old, rusted, and beautiful. All the accessories and decorations were long gone, and only the bare interior remained.

Abandoned Gas Station 02

Abandoned Gas Station 02

A closeup of one of the pumps showed the last purchase made on this pump was for $50.02

Abandoned Gas Station 03

Abandoned Gas Station 03

This opened pump was one of my favorite photos. There’s a mix of old and new parts in this one, and it looks like someone had pried the top plate down.

Abandoned Gas Station 04

Abandoned Gas Station 04

Backing up a little, you can see how far the roof was leaning back. The impact was only on one column, and the roof was all in one piece. I wonder if this damage is what did in “Uncle Sams” or if it came after the store was already abandoned?

Abandoned Gas Station 05

Abandoned Gas Station 05

A photo of the whole station. I can almost see what it was at one point a long time ago. The weeds have made great headway through the concrete, so it has been awhile since anyone has been here.

Abandoned Gas Station 06

Abandoned Gas Station 06

This little rusted broken pillar is what was holding up the whole roof.

Abandoned Gas Station 07

Abandoned Gas Station 07

This is my second favorite photo. The grass grew up into this last pump and was entwined among the rusting gears and steel.

Abandoned Gas Station 08

Abandoned Gas Station 08

Backing up a few steps, you can see the grass had really grown into this last pump.

Abandoned Gas Station 09

Abandoned Gas Station 09

If you looked at it from far enough away, it looks like the grass picked this particular pump to reach out to.

Abandoned Gas Station 10

Abandoned Gas Station 10

That was it for my quick stop. I think the next big storm will probably knock over that roof, flattening the pumps and maybe part of the store.

As I was driving away, I noticed construction had just started on a freeway overpass for this town. It was just the flattening of the ground, but eventually there’s going to be a business highway and the regular highway passing by. And if it’s like any of the other bypass highways in this part of Texas, these towns I currently drive through on my way North might be in big trouble.

“Food Insecurity” (or just old fashioned “Going Hungry”) in 2008

Before getting into this tidbit, I want to talk about the wonderful phrase “food insecurity”. Instead of saying the truth in a clear and understandable manner, the phrases “going hungry”,  “not having enough to eat” and especially that horrible word “starving” have been phased out by people reporting on this horrible situation in favor of a understated, underperforming, and inoffensive phrase…. “food insecurity”.

Now. Having said that, I would like to post this article from Food Business News the mainstream media has completely missed out on.

A recent study by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the United States has had… “the highest food insecurity rate since 1995. Seventeen million U.S. households, or nearly 15%, were food insecure during 2008… The number of families that had difficulty putting enough food on the table at times during the year was up from 13 million households, or 11.1%, in 2007, and was the highest level recorded since food security surveys were initiated in 1995.”

Let’s try that paragraph again. This time, substituting “going hungry” and “starvation” for “food insecure”.

A recent study by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the United States has had… “the highest STARVATION rate since 1995. Seventeen million U.S. households, or nearly 15%, were GOING HUNGRY during 2008…. The number of families that had difficulty putting enough food on the table at times during the year was up from 13 million households, or 11.1%, in 2007, and was the highest level recorded since food security surveys were initiated in 1995.”

See how much more terrible it is when I say it without coddling the truth with that “food insecurity” phrase? Saying it straight and clear kind of makes it more important, dontcha’ think? Maybe a bit more newsworthy. Especially if you crunch the numbers a little more. 15% of 100% literally means 15 out of every 100 people is going without enough food. Reducing that down to a more manageable fraction, you get 3 out of every 20 people are going hungry in the United States.

But running with those numbers in the opposite direction is perhaps more eye opening. If you look at the ballpark current US population of 307,960,000, 15% of that is 46,194,000 people. 46,194,000 people is just slightly less than the combined 2007 populations of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, Dallas, San Jose, Detroit, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, San Francisco, Columbus, Austin, Memphis, Baltimore, Fort Worth, Charlotte, El Paso, Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston, Denver, Louisville-Jefferson County, Washington, Nashville-Davidson, Las Vegas, Portland, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Albuquerque, Long Beach, Atlanta, Fresno, Sacramento, Cleveland, Kansas City, Mesa, Virginia Beach, Omaha, Oakland, Miami, Tulsa, Honolulu, Minneapolis, and Colorado Springs… which all total to 46,240,297.

I think that’s pretty important myself. Important enough to post it early, during the week, and not with the usual “news you missed” pieces I put together on Saturdays.

Here’s the link to the FOOD BUSINESS NEWS article and the link to the official study from the USDA.

Warner Brothers DVD to BLU-RAY trade in program

Warner Brothers is running a promo where you can send in your existing DVD copy of a Warner Brothers movie and “upgrade” it to a Blu-Ray version for $7.95. The official Warner Brothers trade in site is here.

But it’s not all Warner Brothers titles. Just 55 select ones. So far, the list is limited to…

10,000 BC
2001: A Space Odyssey
Alexander Revisited: (Unrated) Final Cut, The
American History X
American in Paris, An
Any Given Sunday
Aviator, The (2004)
Blazing Saddles
Body of Lies
Bucket List, The
Christmas Story, A
Clockwork Orange, A
Collateral Damage
Dark City: Director’s Cut
Dirty Dozen, The
Dumb and Dumber
Final Destination
Fugitive, The
Full Metal Jacket
Gods and Generals
Golden Compass, The
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Unrated)
History of Violence, A
Journey to the Center of Earth
Last Samurai
Lost Boys, The
Michael Clayton
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Ocean’s Thirteen
Orphanage, The
Pan’s Labyrinth
Perfect Storm, The
Pride and Glory
Rio Bravo
Risky Business
Rumor Has It
Rush Hour 3
Scanner Darkly, A
Searchers, The
Shining, The
Speed Racer
Superman II: Richard Donner Cut, The
Superman Returns
Taking Lives
Training Day
We Are Marshall
Wedding Crashers
Wedding Singer, The
Wyatt Earp

Is it a good deal? Somewhat. If you go to, quite a few of these titles that Warner Brothers are currently offering on Blu-Ray are around $9.99 brand new anyway.

For example : 2001 is $9.49. Blazing Saddles is $8.99. Wedding Crashers is $9.99. A History of Violence is $9.49.

A few titles hover around the $10 to $15 range, though. Lost Boys is $14.99. Dumb and Dumber is $15.49. Full Metal Jacket is $11.99.

This trade in is a really good deal for Warner Brothers. They get a used DVD they can sell to Netflix or Redbox, and also get to sell a Blu-Ray for little under what it retails for on Amazon brand new. (And you know they’re still making a profit on it.)

If you want to jump on this offer, I strongly suggest you check Amazon‘s pricing first. To me, saving $2 isn’t worth the upgrade. But saving $10 and up might make it worthwhile.

And don’t forget there are no truly portable blu-ray players yet. DVDs are still great for road trips and for watching on older systems.

FDA Warning : Don’t take Plavix and Prilosec/Prilosec OTC together

This is pretty serious. The FDA just announced that there is a big problem If you take the anti-clotting drug Plavix in addition to the stomach acid reducer Prilosec. It turns out that Prilosec cuts the effectiveness of Plavix by half. For people with blood clotting problems, that’s really bad.

The official announcement says… “patients at risk for heart attacks or strokes who use Plavix to prevent platelet aggregation will not get the full effect of this medicine if they are also taking Prilosec.”

The science behind it is pretty straightforward. “Plavix does not have anti-clotting effects until it is converted or metabolized into its active form with the help of the liver enzyme, CYP2C19. Prilosec blocks this enzyme, thereby reducing the effectiveness of Plavix.”

But it’s not just Prilosec that causes problems with Plavix. Others on the hit list are… “Nexium (esomeprazole), Tagamet and Tagamet HB (cimetidine), Diflucan (fluconazole), Nizoral (ketoconazole), VFEND (voriconazole), Intelence (etravirine), Felbatol (felbamate), Prozac, Serafem, Symbyax (fluoxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine) and Ticlid (ticlopidine).”

The good news is that … “Zantac (ranitidine), Pepcid (famotidine), Axid (nizatidine), and antacids [that] do not inhibit the CYP2C19 enzyme aren’t expected to interfere with the anti-clotting activity of Plavix.”

Here’s the link to the official FDA warning here.

Recall : RockHard Weekend from RockHard Laboratories

To me, a “Dietary Supplement” is a glass of OJ with my eggs. Some bacon in my Whataburger. Things you actually consume with a meal as part of a meal to enhance said meal.

Having said that, I still fail to see how something called “RockHard Weekend” from RockHard Laboratories has anything to do whatsoever with “Dietary Supplement”. It’s either that or I’ve been doing something horribly wrong for breakfast, lunch and dinner this whole time.

The FDA announced that “RockHard Laboratories is conducting a voluntary recall after being informed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that voluntary lab analysis found… sulfoaildenfil, an analogue of Sildenfil, an FDA-approved drug used as treatment for male Erectile Dysfunction (ED) making RockHard Weekend an unapproved drug.”

In other words, just like the “stiff nights” recall, “RockHard Weekend” has some prescription-based ingredients that they tried to slip under the radar.

The FDA’s justification for the recall is the same one they used on the “stiff nights” recall. It might kill you! Maybe.

“The undeclared ingredient may pose a threat to consumers because the analogue may interact with nitrates found in some prescription drugs (such as nitroglycerin) and may lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. Consumers with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease often take nitrates. ED is a common problem in men with these conditions, and consumers may seek these types of products to enhance sexual performance.”

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

Busy Bee (Second Set – 5 photos)

Yesterday I saw this little bee working through a small cluster of flowers late in the afternoon. None of the buds had fully opened, but he was easily reaching inside each one he landed on. I stayed still long enough for him to fly near me and took these photos.

I didn’t see any other bees in the area. This guy was doing it all by himself.

Busy Bee II 1

Busy Bee II 1

Busy Bee II 2

Busy Bee II 2

Busy Bee II 3

Busy Bee II 3

Busy Bee II 4

Busy Bee II 4

Busy Bee II 5

Busy Bee II 5