Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beware of toxic carrot juice!

One "healthy" choice that wasn't so healthy

Carrot juice which was withdrawn from the market late last month is thought to be responsible for the illness of two Canadians who are paralyzed and are severely ill in hospital. According to public health officials the Toronto residents drank carrot juice that has since tested positive for a botulism toxin. The juice is said to be the same carrot juice which was recalled late in September and was one of the three brands recalled. The juice, produced by Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield, California was taken off North American store shelves after four cases of botulism in the United States were linked to toxic carrot juice.

One woman from Florida remains in hospital and has been unresponsive, since mid-September while three people in Georgia who suffered respiratory failure after drinking the carrot juice have been on ventilators for a month.

Botulism, though rare is a potentially fatal form of food poisoning and can cause general weakness, dizziness, double-vision and trouble with speaking or swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distension and constipation may also be common symptoms and people experiencing these problems should seek immediate medical attention. In severe cases, the paralysis can restrict breathing, forcing patients on to ventilators.

The Canadian public has been warned to avoid drinking three brands of carrot juice, Bolthouse Farms 100% Carrot Juice, Earthbound Farm Organic Carrot Juice and President's Choice Organics 100% Pure Carrot Juice. Bolthouse Farms bottles the three brands and all are sold in one-litre and 450-millilitre containers. Products with a "best by" date up to Nov. 11 have been recalled. Consumers are advised to discard the products and the suggestion is that improper refrigeration has caused the problem and as carrot juice is low in acids, and bacteria will grow unless it's kept below 7 C.

This latest food scare comes after California-grown spinach tainted with a potentially deadly strain of E. coli is suspected to have caused three deaths in the U.S.and sickened people across the nation. Only last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it was safe to eat U.S.-packaged spinach again, but Canadian health officials have not yet followed suit and now green leaf lettuce produced by the Nunes Company, also in California's Salinas Valley, has been voluntarily recalled because of concerns about E. coli contamination.

The Bolthouse Farms recall is also voluntary and the farms processing facilities were examined closely by internal auditors and the FDA, and have been given the all clear. Their carrot Juice is distributed to 50 states in the U.S. along with Mexico and Canada. The FDA says carrot juice, like other low acid products, must be kept refrigerated to ensure product safety and properly refrigerated carrot juice poses no risk to consumer health. However, says the FDA, all fresh carrot juice, has the potential to harbor Botulism if improperly refrigerated or exposed to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time.


Divorce is bad for your health

Not a very well-controlled study below but that divorced women experience more stress than happily married ones is not terribly surprising. And stress does affect physical health

A 10-year study by researchers at Iowa State University has revealed that women who divorce give up more than just a husband. Divorced women may also lose some of their good health compared to those who remain married.

In a study which focused on what happens to rural women's health after their marriage ends, compared with women who stay married, Fred Lorenz and colleagues found that though the act of divorce created no immediate effects on physical health it did affect the women's mental health.

Lorenz, a co-author of the study, says ten years down the line those effects on mental health had led to effects on physical health. The researchers collected data on over 400 rural Iowa women, who were each interviewed in the early 1990s, and interviewed again in 2001. When the study began approximately one-fourth of the women were recently divorced; all were mothers of adolescent children. In interviews taken shortly after the divorce, the women reported a 7 percent higher level of psychological distress than married women but there were no differences in physical health recorded.

However, a decade later, the divorced women reported 37 percent more physical illnesses than the married women surveyed but no difference in psychological stress that could be directly linked to the divorce. The women in the study marked off illnesses from a list of 46 choices ranging from the common cold and sore throat to heart conditions and cancer.

Lorenz said it appears there is a link between the higher number of physical illnesses and the different stresses associated with divorce, including financial problems, demotions, layoffs and parenting problems. He says that divorced women, especially in rural areas, have poor job opportunities and fewer support systems. The authors say the women also suffer stress from having to make changes in housing, insurance, transportation and spending time with children.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). For a summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and no lasting harm from them has ever been shown.


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