In its efforts to ensure the safety of food, the US government may actually be ignoring the real problem while shutting down small organic farms.
So says the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group which released a 16-page analysis accusing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in a way that will crush “the country’s safest farmers” while leaving what Cornucopia calls the “root threats to human health” – contaminated manure made on “factory” livestock farms and certain produce-processing methods – untouched.
“In response to deadly outbreaks involving spinach, peanut butter and eggs, Congress acted decisively three years ago to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Mark A. Kastel, co-director at Cornucopia. “Better oversight is needed but it looks like regulators and corporate agribusiness lobbyists are simultaneously using the FSMA to crush competition from the organic and local farming movement.”
Missouri's governor halted a coming execution in the face of fierce opposition from doctors across the country to the state's plan to use a lethal injection containing an anesthetic used widely in medical procedures.
By Arian Campo-Flores, Timothy W. Martin
Missouri’s governor halted a coming execution in the face of fierce opposition from doctors across the country to the state’s plan to use a lethal injection containing an anesthetic used widely in medical procedures.
The state had intended to use propofol, a drug that has never been used for capital punishment, for the Oct. 23 execution of Allen Nicklasson, who was convicted of killing a man who stopped to help him after his car broke down in 1994.
But the plan risked triggering European Union curbs on the drug’s export, raising alarm among doctors they could lose access to a medication used in 80% of procedures requiring anesthesia, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
“My interest is in making sure justice is served and public health is protected,” said Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, on Friday. He said he ordered the Department of Corrections to come up with a different form of lethal injection and that the state attorney general would request a new execution date for Mr. Nicklasson. The governor’s office and the corrections department didn’t return calls for comment.
Missouri is one of many states struggling to find drugs suitable for lethal injections, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington. So far, 29 of 30 executions nationwide this year have been lethal injections, according to Mr. Dieter’s group.
Claire Brownell, The Windsor Star| Oct 11, 2013 | Last Updated: Oct 11, 2013 - 9:07 UTC
The Ontario Liberals introduced legislation Thursday that would increase oversight of hospital pharmacies, a move suggested by an independent investigator after last spring's massive chemotherapy medication error.
The bill, called the Enhancing Patient Care and Pharmacy Safety Act, would give the Ontario College of Pharmacists (OCP) the responsibility to develop regulations and start licensing and inspecting hospital pharmacies. The bill also includes mandatory reporting requirements when health care issues are identified and information-sharing guidelines for regulatory bodies, authorities and hospitals. Shortly after Easter weekend, the public learned that more than 1,200 patients at five hospitals - including 290 at Windsor Regional Hospital - had been receiving doses of two chemotherapy drugs that were weaker than their doctors had prescribed over the course of about a year. Hospitals had outsourced the time-consuming and potentially hazardous job of mixing the drugs with saline solution to Marchese Hospital Solutions, a private company.
State Rep. Jeff Sanchez, co-chair of the states joint public-health committee, has won applause for his overhaul proposal.
At least something good may have come out of the tragic meningitis outbreak tied to Framinghams New England Compounding Center.
A year ago, the U.S. drug-compounding industry was reeling from the deaths of more than 60 people who were believed to have taken injections of tainted steroids made and sold by the now defunct NECC. The injections contained fungal meningitis that sickened an additional 740 people.
The tragedy unleashed a wave of legislation at both the federal and state levels, as lawmakers scrambled to address and understand how the NECC debacle could have happened. ...
Antibiotic control advocates said a newly unveiled FDA proposal to include additional data about medically important animal antibiotics in its annual summary reports could shed light on how these drugs are being used but lacks details about individual drugs to fully assess their impact on human health.
The FDA’s interpretation of what constitutes delaying or denying an inspection is far too subjective, and highlights the need for an appeals process for pharma companies flagged as obstructionist, drugmakers say in comments.
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In a letter responding to a petition brought by nine major health and environmental organizations, including Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), on September 30, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)announced that it will withdraw 98 of 101 approvals given to arsenic-based animal drugs. This action will remove three of the four arsenic-containing drugs used in the production of poultry and hogs. FDAs decision comes almost four years after a petition was filed by the Institute for Agriculture Trade and Policy and the Center for Food Safety asking that the agency withdraw its approval of the drugs.
This move by the FDA is an important validation to the work being done in the health care sector to bring attention to the public and environmental health effects of arsenic-containing food additives in poultry production, said Emma Sirois, Co-Chair of HCWHs Healthy Food in Health Care Program. HCWH joined the petition to represent the health care sectors concern for public health associated with the practice of feeding arsenic-based drugs to food animals. As large purchasers of food, hospitals in HCWHs network have been asking their suppliers to identify poultry grown without these drugs sending a strong signal to the market to change this production practice in support of public health.
Arsenic-based drugs are used in animal agriculture because they speed weight gain and provide enhanced color to poultry meat. A 2006 IATP
showed that 70 percent of US-produced chickens are fed these drugs. In a letter explaining its decision, the FDA cited a recent study, including one by petitioner Center for a Livable Future, that challenged previous assumptions of safety of these drugs in humans consuming meat of animals raised using them. In particular, concern arose over the ability of organic arsenic to transform into inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, in the environment or animal tissue.
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