• Government admits accidents at Plum Island biolab

    The biolab on Plum Island, off the tip of Long Island, is the only lab allowed to do research on the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease; DHS officials admit that since 1978 here have been several accidental releases of the virus into cattle in holding pens

  • Cargill to promote food safety training in China

    Cargill will partner with AQSIQ to provide Chinese government officials, academics, and business leaders with food safety training to expand their knowledge in food safety management

  • Colorado city shuts down water supply because of salmonella poisoning

    City orders shut down of water supply after many residents become ill; water supply to be treated for several days with concentrated chlorine, with residents restricted to bottled water and a no-shower regimen

  • Worries about drugs in the U.S. water supply increase

    The annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology is being held in Seattle this week; among the major topics: Pharmaceuticals contaminating the U.S. water supply; 7,000 scientists and regulators from 45 countries attend

  • Toxic newts lose war against immune-enhanced garter snakes

    A newt is armed with a poison so deadly that a single animal can kill a dozen people; garter snakes, the newt’s main predator, have developed resistance to the poison; researchers say this does not bode well for humans: Our bodies may develop resistance which would make medications ineffective

  • Pandemic flu may be well mitigated until vaccine is available

    New study shows that high levels of compliance, ascertainment, and social distancing would make it possible to mitigate a flu pandemic until a vaccine is available

  • U.S. water supply contaminated by pharmaceuticals

    There are 302 million people in the United States, but over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases reached 3.3 billion; ingredients of these medications find their way to, and contaminate, the U.S. water supply; federal, state, and local governments do not regulate medical discharges into drinking water

  • Taming food poisoning and bioterrorism toxins

    Rutgers researchers offer new insights into how plant toxin ricin kills cells; insights could help scientists develop drugs to counteract poisonings, reducing the threat of ricin as a bioterror weapon

  • Study of U.K. nuclear power plants employees reveals radiation risks

    More than 65,000 individuals were employed between 1946 and 2002 at nuclear power plants operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc and its predecessors; a team of researchers studied the health histories of these individuals, and found evidence for an association between mortality from noncancer causes of death, particularly circulatory system disease, and external exposure to ionizing radiation

  • FSIS exemplifies growing inadequacy of U.S. food inspection regime

    Decline and fall: In FY 1981, FSIS spent $13.22 per thousand pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, the figure had fallen to $8.26 per thousand pounds; in FY 1981 FSIS employed about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected and passed; by FY 2007, FSIS employed fewer than 88 workers per billion pounds

  • HSDW conversation with Marion Nestle

    Professor Nestle on food safety in a globalized economy, the threat of bioterrorism, government regulation of the industry, and genetic modification

  • Killing bugs dead

    A new device, based on the old-fashioned mechanical air-pump technology, destroys airborne pathogens by rapidly heating contaminated air under pressure and mechanically compressing it

  • Avalanche of drugs, scarcely any oversight, II

    About $72 billion in drugs and active ingredients were imported into the U.S. in 2006; the FDA that year spent a mere $12.75 million inspecting foreign production plants; between 3,250 and 6,800 non-U.S. plants export drugs and drug ingredients to the U.S.(the FDA’s two main databases each gives a different figure), and are thus subject to FDA inspection; in the last five years the agency has conducted only 1,445 foreign inspections; main reason: In the face of growing drug and food imports, the Bush administration steadily cut the agency’s budget and resources since 2001

  • Congress urges companies to do more on food safety

    There are 303,556,795 million people in the United States, according the U.S. Census Bureau (the figure is accurate for yesterday, 3 March); of these, 76 million people — that is, 25 percent — get sick every year with some sort of foodborne illness; 5,000 die; as food imports increase, these grim figures increase apace; Congress wants industry to be more diligent

  • Avalanche of drugs, scarcely any oversight, I

    More and more drugs are imported by U.S. drug makers from China, then re-labeled and sold in the United States; even when the drugs are made in the United States, more and U.S. drug makers purchase the drug ingredients in China; trouble is, the FDA does not have the resources to inspect these Chinese manufacturers to see whether they adhere to U.S. safety standards; the result: U.S. consumers become ill and die