Blog Archives

Dietary Supplement Recalled For Salmonella Contamination

AMS Health Sciences is recalling 2014 bottles of Saba Shark Cartilage Complex due to possible contamination of Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

A single lot of Saba Shark Cartilage Complex is the subject of this public announcement and recall as a result of a sample from one bottle that tested positive for Salmonella. This product is packaged in black screw-top bottles with the brand name “saba” in red letters, the product name “shark cartilage complex” in white letters, and a net quantity statement of “500 mg 60 capsules” in small white letters. Product from the affected lot can be identified by the Lot Number 416349 and an expiration date of 08/16, both of which are printed in black letters inside a white rectangle that is adjacent to the products “Suggested Use” instructions.

Product from this lot was sold to consumers through the internet site www.sabaforlife.com during the period of February through August 2014. AMS is initiating this recall out of caution for consumer health, even though numerous samples from the same Lot No. have tested negative for Salmonella.

Any consumer who purchased product with the lot number and expiration date above should dispose of it immediately and may request a refund.

Food Safety News

Dietary recommendations may be tied to increased greenhouse gas emissions

If Americans altered their menus to conform to federal dietary recommendations, emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases tied to agricultural production could increase significantly, according to a new study by University of Michigan researchers.

Martin Heller and Gregory Keoleian of U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems looked at the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of about 100 foods, as well as the potential effects of shifting Americans to a diet recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They found that if Americans adopted the recommendations in USDA’s “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010,” while keeping caloric intake constant, diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would increase 12 percent.

If Americans reduced their daily caloric intake to the recommended level of about 2,000 calories while shifting to a healthier diet, greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by only 1 percent, according to Heller and Keoleian.

A paper by Heller and Keoleian titled “Greenhouse gas emission estimates of U.S. dietary choices and food loss” is scheduled for online publication Sept. 5 in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

“The take-home message is that health and environmental agendas are not aligned in the current dietary recommendations,” Heller said.

The paper’s findings are especially relevant now because the USDA Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is for the first time considering food sustainability within the context of dietary recommendations, he said.

In its 2010 dietary guidelines, USDA recommends that Americans eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. They should consume less salt, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugar and refined grains.

The guidelines don’t explicitly state that Americans should eat less meat. However, an appendix to the report lists the recommended average daily intake amounts of various foods, including meat. The recommended amount of meat is significantly less than current consumption levels, which Heller and Keoleian estimated using the USDA’s Loss Adjusted Food Availability dataset as a proxy for per capita food consumption in the United States.

While a drop in meat consumption would help cut diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, increased use of dairy products — and to a lesser extent seafood, fruits and vegetables — would have the opposite effect, increasing diet-related emissions, according to the U-M researchers.

In the United States in 2010, food production was responsible for about 8 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. In general, animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods.

The production of both beef cattle and dairy cows is tied to especially high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

For starters, cows don’t efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk, so they must eat lots of feed. Growing that feed often involves the use of fertilizers and other substances manufactured through energy-intensive processes. And then there’s the fuel used by farm equipment.

In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing the U.S. diet are dominated by the meats category, according to Heller and Keoleian. While beef accounts for only 4 percent by weight of the food available, it contributes 36 percent of the associated greenhouse gases, they conclude.

The U-M researchers found that a switch to diets that don’t contain animal products would lead to the biggest reductions in this country’s diet-related greenhouse emissions.

But Heller said he’s not arguing that all Americans should go vegan, and he believes that animals need to be part of a sustainable agricultural system. However, reduced consumption would have both health and environmental benefits.

In their Journal of Industrial Ecology paper, Heller and Keoleian also looked at wasted food and how it contributes to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. They concluded that annual emissions tied to uneaten food are equivalent to adding 33 million passenger vehicles to the nation’s roads.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

FDA Warning Letters: Dairy Farm, Seafood Processor, Dietary Supplement Manufacturers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published warning letters issued to a dairy farm, a seafood company and two dietary supplement makers.   

R Style Holsteins of Edison, OH, received a warning letter after selling a cow for slaughter that was considered adulterated because of unacceptable levels of drug residues in its liver.

FDA cited Stock Island Lobster Company of Key West, FL, for “serious violations of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulation.”

These violations were failing to list critical points and critical limits in the company’s HACCP plan and failing to follow monitoring procedures for King Mackerel, FDA stated. These include determining the location of harvest for each lot at the time of receipt, determining the adequacy of ice surrounding the product twice daily, and making and keeping an accurate record for the internal temperature of the fish at time of receipt.

Big Easy Confections of Covington, LA, received a warning letter about “serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations” for dietary supplements. Most of the letter states that the company’s response to the issues from May 27 failed to include supporting documentation for changes made.

The facility also failed to conduct at least one appropriate test or examination to verify the identity of any component that is a dietary ingredient prior to its use, according to the agency. One of the company’s products was also considered misbranded because its label did not identify it with the term “dietary supplement” or include the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer or distributor.

Another dietary supplement manufacturer, EnerHealth Botanicals of Longmont, CO, faced “serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.” FDA determined that five of the company’s products — including “Parasite Purge Herbal Remedy” and “Daily Immune Support” — are “promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs” and are “not generally recognized as safe and effective for the … referenced uses.”

FDA goes on to state that even if the products did not have therapeutic claims that make them “unapproved new drugs,” they would still be considered adulterated because they were not prepared, packed or held under conditions that meet CGMP regulations.

After inspecting the facility in July 2013, FDA found that EnerHealth, among other things, failed to conduct at least one appropriate test or examination to verify the identity of a dietary ingredient, failed to prepare and follow a written master manufacturing record (MMR), and failed to establish and follow written procedures for packing and labeling, holding and distributing, handling returned dietary supplements, and review and investigation of product complaints. Also, FDA found parts of the responses provided by the company in August and October 2012 to be inadequate.

In the 2014 letter, FDA added that two products are misbranded and that even if the “Daily Immune Support” and “Lung Renewal Herbal Remedy” products were not “unapproved new drugs, they would still be misbranded foods.” All four products failed to have the term “dietary supplement” on their labels. “Lung Renewal Herbal Remedy,” “EchinOsha,” and “Liver Cleanse” also failed to have nutrition labeling. And the “Daily Immune Support” label faced some issues with ingredient declaration, namely that it included botanical ingredients, but not the part of the plant from which each is derived, the agency stated.

In each letter, FDA requested that the farms and companies provide written responses detailing steps taken to bring them into compliance with food safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence.

Recipients of the warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.

Food Safety News

FDA Warning Letters: Seafood Importer, Seafood Processor, Dietary Supplement Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently sent warning letters to a seafood importer in NY, a seafood and pasta maker in MD and a dietary supplement manufacturer in NV.

FDA’s New York District office in Jamaica, NY, sent a warning letter dated July 22 to H.A.R. Maspeth in Maspeth, NY, noting that inspectors visiting the premises in April and May of this year had found “serious violations” of seafood HAACP regulations.

Specifically, FDA stated that inspectors found that dried squid slices offered for import were adulterated due to the presence of Salmonella. The product was consequently refused entry to the U.S., according to FDA’s letter.

The company’s written response was reviewed, FDA added, but the agency found that the “promised corrective action could not be verified due to the lack of documentation supplied to demonstrate its implementation.”

Casa di Pasta Inc. in Baltimore, MD, was sent a warning letter dated July 23 by FDA’s Baltimore District Office, which detailed alleged violations of seafood HACCP regulations, plus several labeling violations.

FDA stated that the company did not have a written HACCP plan for its Seafood Ravioli “to control the food safety hazards of pathogenic growth and toxin formation, and undeclared allergens,” did not monitor the safety of water coming into contact with food or food contact services, and had other problems related to cleanliness and food storage practices.

On July 25, FDA’s San Francisco District office in Alameda, CA, sent a warning letter to Mezotrace Corporation of Winnemucca, NV, detailing results of inspections conducted in August 2013.

The letter indicated that “serious violations” of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations for dietary supplements were found at the facility, causing its Mezotrace Calcium/Magnesium Natural Minerals & Trace Elements with Vitamin D and Mezotrace Calcium/Magnesium Powdered Minerals Natural Minerals & Trace Elements to be adulterated.

FDA also noted that the company’s products were being promoted online for conditions that cause those products to be drugs under federal regulations (“intended for use in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease”).

The company’s written responses from September 2013 were reviewed and found inadequate by FDA officials because they did not sufficiently address quality control and holding and distribution operations.

In each warning letter, FDA requested that the companies provide written responses detailing steps taken to comply with food safety laws and regulations, to correct violations cited in the letters, and to prevent their recurrence.

Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.

Food Safety News

Dietary Supplements Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination

New England Greens of Canaan, CT is recalling certain lots of dietary supplements because the organic parsley leaf powder used to manufacture them has been recalled for potential Salmonella contamination.

The implicated lots of Green Vibrance and Rainbow Vibrance were distributed nationwide through both brick and mortar and online health food and natural product retailers. The products are packaged in white, high density polyethylene (HDPE) canister jars ranging in size from 20 ounce to 51 ounce. One lot of Green Vibrance capsules, 240 per bottle, is also included in the recall as well as one lot of Green Vibrance single-serving packets, 15 packets per cardboard display box.

Recalled products and lot numbers are as follows:

Description Code Lot #
Rainbow Vibrance, pdr, 177 gm, 30 day RV19 131193
Green Vibrance Capsules, 240 count GVC 1401078
Green Vibrance Single Serving Display GVSD 1040176
1040176
Green Vibrance pdr, 363 gm, 30-day GV30 1041083
1401092
1401094
Green Vibrance pdr, 181.5 gm, 15-day GV15 1041084
1041086
1041087
1041088
1041089

53,740 units of the above products were sold into the marketplace.

To date, Vibrant Health has received no complaints and there have been no incidents of salmonellosis related to any lot number of Green Vibrance or Rainbow Vibrance. Organic parsley leaf comprises just 2.07% of one serving of Green Vibrance and 3.26% of one serving of Rainbow Vibrance. Furthermore, to date, 21 analyses have been run on the parsley material and the finished products containing that material. No contamination has been found.

Consumers who have purchased any of the lot numbers of Green Vibrance or Rainbow Vibrance listed above are urged to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Salmonella is a bacterial organism which may cause from mild to severe food poisoning. In severe cases, sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems may result. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

Food Safety News

FDA Warning Letters: Two Dairies and a Dietary Supplement Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to dairies in Idaho and New York for drug residue issues and one to a dietary supplement manufacturer in Kansas for procedural problems.

FDA’s Kansas City District Office sent a letter June 23, 2014, to Wyldewood Cellars Inc. in Peck, KS, noting “significant deviations” from current good manufacturing practices during an inspection there this past fall.

FDA also noted that the company’s response in December was inadequate because no written master manufacturing record was prepared and followed for each “unique formulation of a dietary supplement,” specifically Elderberry Concentrate Dietary Supplement products.

On the dairy side, regulators in FDA’s Seattle District Office sent a letter dated June 23 to Veenstra Dairy Number 1 in Hagerman, ID, indicating that the dairy had in November 2013 slaughtered and sold for food a cow with excessive levels of ampicillin residues in its tissues. The dairy was also cited for not keeping complete records of drug treatments for animals or having methods for tracing animals sent to slaughter.

FDA’s New York District Office sent a warning letter dated June 24 to Paul Pushlar in Cazenovia, NY, noting that an investigation of his dairy operation in April 2014 had found violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Specifically, investigators stated that he had sold a bob veal calf for slaughter as food whose tissue samples showed 70.6 parts per million of dihydrostreptomycin while FDA’s established tolerance is 2.0 ppm for residues of dihydrostreptomycin.

Further, FDA stated that the drug is not approved for use in bob veal calves, so there is no acceptable level of residue for dihydrostreptomycin in those particular animals. Therefore, the “presence of this drug in edible tissue from this animal in this amount causes the food to be adulterated …,” FDA’s letter read.

Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.

Food Safety News

FDA Warning Letters: Two Dairies and a Dietary Supplement Manufacturer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to dairies in Idaho and New York for drug residue issues and one to a dietary supplement manufacturer in Kansas for procedural problems.

FDA’s Kansas City District Office sent a letter June 23, 2014, to Wyldewood Cellars Inc. in Peck, KS, noting “significant deviations” from current good manufacturing practices during an inspection there this past fall.

FDA also noted that the company’s response in December was inadequate because no written master manufacturing record was prepared and followed for each “unique formulation of a dietary supplement,” specifically Elderberry Concentrate Dietary Supplement products.

On the dairy side, regulators in FDA’s Seattle District Office sent a letter dated June 23 to Veenstra Dairy Number 1 in Hagerman, ID, indicating that the dairy had in November 2013 slaughtered and sold for food a cow with excessive levels of ampicillin residues in its tissues. The dairy was also cited for not keeping complete records of drug treatments for animals or having methods for tracing animals sent to slaughter.

FDA’s New York District Office sent a warning letter dated June 24 to Paul Pushlar in Cazenovia, NY, noting that an investigation of his dairy operation in April 2014 had found violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Specifically, investigators stated that he had sold a bob veal calf for slaughter as food whose tissue samples showed 70.6 parts per million of dihydrostreptomycin while FDA’s established tolerance is 2.0 ppm for residues of dihydrostreptomycin.

Further, FDA stated that the drug is not approved for use in bob veal calves, so there is no acceptable level of residue for dihydrostreptomycin in those particular animals. Therefore, the “presence of this drug in edible tissue from this animal in this amount causes the food to be adulterated …,” FDA’s letter read.

Recipients of these warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to outline specific steps they have taken to come into compliance with the law.

Food Safety News

HAB survey reveals need to educate consumers about dietary fats

TGF-FruitImageDespite years of effort by numerous organizations to help the public understand the pros and cons of consuming different types of dietary fats, a new survey by the Hass Avocado Board reveals that most Americans are still unclear about the definition and role of “good” and “bad” fats.

In the HAB survey of more than 1,000 adults, nearly half (42 percent) of people incorrectly thought that all fats play a role in increased cholesterol levels, and if the “don’t know/unsure” responses are included, the number increases to 51 percent of people.

In addition, over one-third of people responded inaccurately that monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are bad and should be reduced or eliminated from the diet.

“It is clear from the survey that more consumer education is needed on the differences between good and bad fats, and the role they play in people’s diets,” Penny Kris-Etherton, a research scientist at Penn State University, said in a press release. “The different types of fats can be confusing to consumers, but all fats are not created equal and the impact on one’s health can be significant.”

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, saturated and trans fats raise LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Dietary cholesterol also contributes to heart disease. Unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, do not raise LDL cholesterol and are beneficial when consumed in moderation.

Therefore, it is advisable to choose foods that contain naturally good fats and that are low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol as part of a healthful diet.__

Additional findings include:

• Less than one-third responded that they feel more educated today about which foods to eat and which to avoid. Perhaps even more concerning, one-quarter (26 percent) say they do not really pay attention to this type of information.

• Eighteen percent of people mistakenly think that trans fats are good fats. The number increases to 30 percent among African Americans.

• Less than four in 10 correctly identified monounsaturated fats (39 percent) and polyunsaturated fats (37 percent) as good fats.

• People mistakenly think the following foods contain good fats: spinach (79 percent), sweet potatoes (71 percent) and kale (62 percent).

• Women (76 percent) try harder than men (67 percent) to make some effort or a strong effort to eat more foods high in good fats.

• More women (87%) know that avocados are a source of good fat than men (80%).

“Good fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are an important part of a balanced diet,” Harley Pasternak, celebrity fitness trainer and nutrition expert, added in the press release. “Protein, fiber and fats, like the naturally good fats found in avocados, are a good way to keep you full between meals.”

Pasternak is working with HAB on its “Love One Today” campaign promoting awareness of the benefits of eating fresh avocados.

According to the dietary guidelines, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, unsaturated fats can help to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Foods containing naturally good fats include avocados, nuts and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

More than 75 percent of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated, making it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fats. Avocados are virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat. In addition, avocados are cholesterol free.

“It is a misconception that you should not eat avocados because they are high in fat,” Kris-Etherton added in the press release. “Avocados can fit into a wide range of healthy eating plans.”

Avocado consumers already know a bit about healthy eating, as they more closely adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who do not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index, according to the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey released in 2013.

For more information on good fats and avocado recipes, visit LoveOneToday.com/whygoodfats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

HAB survey reveals need to educate consumers about dietary fats

Despite years of effort by numerous organizations to help the public understand the pros and cons of consuming different types of dietary fats, a new survey by the Hass Avocado Board reveals that most Americans are still unclear about the definition and role of “good” and “bad” fats.

In the HAB survey of more than 1,000 adults, nearly half (42 percent) of people incorrectly thought that all fats play a role in increased cholesterol levels, and if the “don’t know/unsure” responses are included, the number increases to 51 percent of people.

In addition, over one-third of people responded inaccurately that monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are bad and should be reduced or eliminated from the diet.

“It is clear from the survey that more consumer education is needed on the differences between good and bad fats, and the role they play in people’s diets,” Penny Kris-Etherton, a research scientist at Penn State University, said in a press release. “The different types of fats can be confusing to consumers, but all fats are not created equal and the impact on one’s health can be significant.”

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, saturated and trans fats raise LDL (or ‘bad’) cholesterol levels in the blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Dietary cholesterol also contributes to heart disease. Unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, do not raise LDL cholesterol and are beneficial when consumed in moderation.

Therefore, it is advisable to choose foods that contain naturally good fats and that are low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol as part of a healthful diet.__

Additional findings include:

• Less than one-third responded that they feel more educated today about which foods to eat and which to avoid. Perhaps even more concerning, one-quarter (26 percent) say they do not really pay attention to this type of information.

• Eighteen percent of people mistakenly think that trans fats are good fats. The number increases to 30 percent among African Americans.

• Less than four in 10 correctly identified monounsaturated fats (39 percent) and polyunsaturated fats (37 percent) as good fats.

• People mistakenly think the following foods contain good fats: spinach (79 percent), sweet potatoes (71 percent) and kale (62 percent).

• Women (76 percent) try harder than men (67 percent) to make some effort or a strong effort to eat more foods high in good fats.

• More women (87%) know that avocados are a source of good fat than men (80%).  

“Good fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are an important part of a balanced diet,” Harley Pasternak, celebrity fitness trainer and nutrition expert, added in the press release. “Protein, fiber and fats, like the naturally good fats found in avocados, are a good way to keep you full between meals.”

Pasternak is working with HAB on its “Love One Today” campaign promoting awareness of the benefits of eating fresh avocados.

According to the dietary guidelines, when eaten in moderation and used to replace saturated or trans fats, unsaturated fats can help to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Foods containing naturally good fats include avocados, nuts and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.

More than 75 percent of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated, making it a great substitute for foods high in saturated fats. Avocados are virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat. In addition, avocados are cholesterol free.

“It is a misconception that you should not eat avocados because they are high in fat,” Kris-Etherton added in the press release. “Avocados can fit into a wide range of healthy eating plans.”

Avocado consumers already know a bit about healthy eating, as they more closely adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who do not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index, according to the National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey released in 2013.

For more information on good fats and avocado recipes, visit LoveOneToday.com/whygoodfats.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Dietary Supplement Linked to Hepatitis, Liver Failure

A number of previously healthy individuals have recently developed acute hepatitis and sudden liver failure after using OxyELITE Pro, a dietary supplement meant for weight loss or muscle building, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

One patient has died in connection with the issue. Sonnette Marras, a 48-year-old mother in Hawaii, died Oct. 9, just weeks after taking the supplement.

CDC has requested that state health departments notify it of any instances of hepatitis and/or liver failure following use of OxyELITE Pro. Clinicians examining patients with hepatitis should also ask about consumption of dietary supplements.

While CDC has found a few patients around the U.S. with connections to the product, many of the original reports came from Hawaii.

On Sept. 9, the Hawaii Department of Health was notified of seven patients with severe hepatitis and sudden liver failure due to unknown causes who had sought medical care between May and September 2013. It turned out that each of the seven patients had used OxyELITE Pro and were healthy prior to taking the supplement.

So far, the health department has found 45 patients connected to the problem. Of those, 29, including the original seven, were confirmed to have had hepatitis after using the supplement.

Seven of 10 patients with available liver biopsy data showed evidence of hepatitis from drug/toxin injury. The other three showed evidence of autoimmune hepatitis.

Eleven patients were hospitalized for an average of seven days, including the one who passed away.

CDC is working with state health departments to collect additional information to determine if the problem is national in scope.

OxyELITE Pro manufacturer USPLabs pulled the supplement from the market earlier this month in light of the illnesses. In a statement, the company said that no such liver issues have occurred in the past, and that they know of no “credible evidence” linking OxyELITE Pro to liver problems.

Symptoms of hepatitis include loss of appetite, fatigue, dark urine and jaundice.

Food Safety News

Poor Dietary Habits Killing More Than Smoking

More exercise is not cutting into the nation’s high obesity levels, and unwise diets are killing more people than about anything else—including smoking, drinking and drug use. Those are among the findings of a new study by the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

The independent research center rolled out its findings last week at a “Let’s Move” event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama. The report, with its interactive county-by-county assessments of life expectancy, physical activity, obesity and blood pressure, continues to attract attention.

In the study, the IHME identified the top ten risk factors for health loss in 2010 and the number of deaths attributable to each one. Here are the death totals by risk:

Diets                                               678,282

Smoking                                        465,651

High Blood Pressure                  442,656

High Body Mass Index              363,991

Physical Inactivity                      234,022

High Blood Sugar                       213,669

High Total Cholesterol             158,431

Ambient Air Pollution              103,027

Alcohol Use                                  88,587

Drug Use                                       25,430

“If the U.S. can make progress with dietary factors, physical activity, and obesity, it will see massive reductions in death and disability,” says Ali Mokdad, who heads the county health performance team at IHME. “Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity in the U.S. cause more health loss than alcohol or drug use.”

Diet, however, is a large cut-out. IHME tracks 14 dietary risk factors, including diets low in fruits, diets low in nuts and seeds, diets high in sodium, diets high in processed meats, diets low in vegetables, diets high in trans fatty acids, diets low in seafood omega-3 fatty acids, diets low in whole grains, diets low in fiber, diets high in sugar-sweetened beverages, diets low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, diets low in calcium, diets low in milk and diets high in red meat.

Americans upped their physical activity by about 15 percent in the decade ending in 2010. Still, deaths due to lack of physical activity is ranked as 5th highest.

Christopher J. L. Murray, director of IHME, says the study shows communities can make progress in addressing risk factors and in moving towards health outcomes. That message lines up nicely with Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign.

The study, titled “The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors,” is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Food Safety News