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Tomorrow is Drug Take-Back Day — Imported candy often contains lead — The skinny on meat

Every hour of every day people around the world are living with and working to resolve food safety issues. Here is a sampling of current headlines for your consumption, brought to you today with the support of iwaspoisoned.com.

MyMeatUp app aims to help consumers
The North American Meat Institute has updated its MyMeatUp mobile app to show consumers where their meat comes from so they can make more informed decisions about their purchases.

“People are increasingly interested in knowing where their food comes from, and that concern is transforming shopping habits and driving purchasing decisions,” according to Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter.

“The MyMeatUp app’s new ‘Where does my meat come from?’ feature responds to calls for increased transparency and empowers consumers to choose meat and poultry products that fit their preferences.”

In addition to an explanation about how to find establishment numbers on meat packages, users can search the database using plant numbers with either full or partial numbers. Users can also view a complete list of establishments. The updated app also includes more than 160 recipes.

The app still features popular content of the original version, including the cuts of meat guide, which offers users a visual display of the most common cuts of retail beef, veal, pork and lamb.

To download the iPhone version, click here. The Android version is available here. For users who have already downloaded the app, the update will automatically appear in their phone’s app store.


Imported candy often contaminated with lead
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and the California Department of Public Health recently published a study showing an increase in the amount of lead found in candy. The researchers found that almost all of the candy flagged for lead was imported.

During the 14-year study period, state public health officials issued 164 health alerts for food contamination. Of these, 60 were lead-related and 55 of those were for imported food, mostly candy from Mexico at 34 percent, China at 24 percent), and India at 20 percent.

About 10,000 children under the age of six are poisoned by lead each year in California alone, according to the researchers. Previous studies focused on lead found in gasoline, industrially contaminated soil or lead-based paint.

Because the study is not comprehensive, the lead contamination in candy and other products on the market could actually be much higher than many realize.

“As more lead sources are identified, we must develop prevention approaches for all of them, and not just replace one prevention approach with another,” according to Dr. Margaret Handley, a professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF and one of the study’s authors. She also said policy changes mandating active monitoring of candy for lead contamination could result in recalls before candy is consumed.


Tomorrow is Drug Take-Back Day
Consumers who have prescription drugs that are no longer needed or are expired can dispose of them safely on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, tomorrow, Oct. 28.

Unused medications in homes create a public health and safety concern because they are highly susceptible to accidental ingestion, theft or misuse. Medications that are disposed of improperly — including in household trash or by flushing them down the toilet — can creates hazards for the environment by contaminating landfills and water.

Consumers can anonymously drop-off pills and other solids such as patches, and well-sealed liquids at the Take-Back locations, which can be found by entering your Zip code here. There will be no collection of sharps waste, such as needles and syringes at these sites.

Overall, federal, state and local law enforcement partners have collected more than four-thousand tons of unwanted prescription medications in the past 13 National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days.


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