Sunday, June 29, 2008

Food safety stupidity

Leaders of the Black Cultural Council say volunteers and the black community felt "humiliated" after two health department food inspectors threatened to put a stop to a Juneteenth celebration over questions about food preparation for 600 free barbecue sandwiches. Council President Jo Ann Davenport-Littleton said health inspectors told them it was illegal for the group to serve the sandwiches because they were not prepared at the site where they were served.

Gino Solla, the county's top health official, said state law prohibits any food service operation from having food prepared in a private home for public consumption.

"I hate that it happened," Davenport-Littleton said in a story for today's edition of the Odessa American. "I wanted people to go away talking about how great the celebration was this year. All you heard was 'They were going to deny us barbecue. Here we are in modern-day slavery again.' "

The council, which has contracted with an individual to prepare the food offsite for the past 11 years, was eventually able to serve the sandwiches Thursday after police were called to the center and a "heated" argument with the inspectors, the newspaper reported. The group is demanding an apology.

Solla said he won't apologize. "We have to be aggressive when the public interest is involved," he told the paper. "If there was any kind of forwardness and if it was perceived as rude, that I'll apologize for. But when it comes to public health, I don't think I have any apology for that." Solla said he will write a letter to the group and others involved in hopes of working things out.

Juneteenth commemorates the June 19, 1865, arrival of Union Army Gen. Gordon Granger in Galveston with news of freedom for black people still enslaved even after passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.


The Pill ‘has had its day as an effective contraceptive’

An IUD revival? The Dalkon shield must have been forgotten

The Pill is “outdated” and leading to more unwanted pregnancies and abortions because so few women take it correctly, a leading academic has said. Nearly one in 12 women who takes the Pill stands to become pregnant each year by missing occasional tablets, James Trussell, of Princeton University, New Jersey, says.

Increasing access to emergency contraception - the “morning after” pill - would also not have a significant effect on rates of unwanted pregnancy and abortions, he will tell the British Pregnancy Advisory Service conference in London today.

Speakers at the conference on the future of abortion will say that women should use longer-lasting methods such as hormonal implants or intrauterine devices (IUDs) that can be “fitted and forgotten”, but later removed if a woman wants a baby.

The Government wants to encourage more women to use long-acting methods, and guidance has suggested that if 7 per cent of women currently using the Pill switched to a long-acting method, then it would prevent 73,000 unintended pregnancies, saving the NHS 100 million a year.

But Professor Trussell said that few GPs offered long-acting reversible contraceptives or were trained at fitting them, so most women ended up using the Pill by default. “The Pill is an outdated method because it does not work well enough,” he added. “It is very difficult for ordinary women to take a pill every single day. The beauty of the implant or the IUD is that you can forget about them.”

Studies suggest that women miss three times as many pills as they commonly say they do. Computerised pill packs were used to show that although about half of women said they did not miss any pills, fewer than a third actually did.


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