Saturday, November 25, 2006

Toxic... spiders...

Yuk. Some time back I received an email from my son with a list of strange things. The reader was supposed to go through and decide which ones were true and which ones were not. At the end you found out that all of them were supposedly true.

One of the "facts" on the list was that we swallow an average of 8 spiders during our lifetime while sleeping.

Given it was an email, I decided it must not be true (I didn't want it to be true) and dismissed it like I do most forwarded email.

However, a few days ago I was scanning some websites and low and behold there was an advertisement which used the same line.

I assume they must have either read the same email I did, or they got it from the source.

Whether it's true or not, it stayed with me.

I don't run squealing when I see a spider, but if there's someone else around who's willing to deal with the thing, I'm going to let them squish it rather than do it myself.

Here's my biggest question about the number of spiders we may or may not swallow: How do they come up with that number?

Would some scientific group put cameras in bedrooms to watch? What about campers, hikers and those who like to sleep in the wild? Do they swallow more and skew the average?

What about places where people live in open huts? Are there still nomads in the deserts?

Does the average include the homeless? Does it take into account those colder areas where there might not be very many spiders?

If anyone out there is counting the number of spiders swallowed, let me know.

Addendum:

Well, I had to go out and look it up! It's a myth. Thank goodness. I couldn't imagine a spider wanting to get into a mouth that's busy snoring, but I could see a slight possibility of it happening (just not more than maybe once in a lifetime). Now, I could see a spider crawling into an ear... it doesn't blow out breath, it's dark...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Salmonella & our food supply

Seems like almost every day an alert pops into my mailbox with a food recall. Some days I get four or five. More and more I'm seeing problems with Salmonella. This is a nasty, nasty critter. I've read that many of our so-called stomach viruses and flu's are nothing more than very slight touches of Salmonella poisoning. We eat a bit of minutely tainted meat or salad, get sick (but not real sick) and chalk it up to a flu.

It stands to reason that as we produce most of our foods in factories that we're going to run into hygiene problems. Think about cleaning your own kitchen and how difficult it is to get into those little cracks, to change out the sponges or to get that bit of splatter behind the stove. Imagine a huge mega-production line with machines and people who, let's face it, are just doing a job. They're not thinking about little Sally or Jim who's going to be eating that food. They're punching a time clock and thinking about what they're going to do when they get off work.

I'm aware that there are umpteen kinds of cleanings that go on and that it's in the best interest of companies to avoid food contamination problems. So what does that say about the rising number of problems with our food supply? Is it getting beyond them?

The latest and greatest Salmonella problem that prompted this blog is the one from the Hershey Company (below). How do they know that seven bottles might have a problem? They produce millions (probably) of bottles yet somehow they know that seven of these might be contaminated with Salmonella? If they caught the Salmonella on a production line and shut it down it seems like they'd have the bottles. Maybe they caught it and were able to account for all but seven of the bottles?

I suppose when I have a few moments, just out of curiosity, I'm going to have to do a little bit of looking into food production a bit more in-depth. Right now I have more questions - and concerns - about the foods I'm buying.

The Hershey Company Recalls Seven Bottles of Reese's Shell Topping Due To Possible Health Risk

Contact:Stephanie Moritz717-534-7641

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Hershey, PA -- November 14, 2006 -- The Hershey Company today announced that it is recalling 7 (seven), 7.25-ounce bottles of REESE'S Shell Topping manufactured in Canada on October 27, 2006, due to possible contamination with Salmonella.
The 7 (seven), 7.25 ounce bottles of REESE'S Shell Topping have the code 30MXB printed on the back of the bottle below the cap. The UPC/Bar Code is 346010. No other Hershey's shell toppings or other Hershey confectionery items are involved in this recall. No illnesses have been reported to date.

The product in question was available for purchase only in the state of Michigan after November 5, 2006.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of a food contaminated with Salmonella may cause symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis. These symptoms could be serious and life-threatening in young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

The recall is the result of routine manufacturing quality checks by the company during which an externally sourced ingredient tested positive for Salmonella. The company has ceased production and distribution of this product, and is working with FDA.

Consumers who have purchased the item in question should contact Hershey Consumer Relations at 1-800-468-1714.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bird Flu, Corporations and Ayn Rand

Every day new things are being discovered. In many cases (if not the majority of cases) it's the private sector that makes the discovereis when it comes to life-saving or life-enhancing drugs. A lot of times in the wild rush to get things on the market before the other guy adequate homework isn't done regarding the side affects.

Unfortunately, until a lot of people are taking these new drugs it's not possible to figure out all the potential negative side affects. My dentist was telling me about a great pain killer that worked wonderfully - no side affects, no nasty lingering affects. It was pulled off the market fairly quickly. Why? Seven people died. Turns out some people have a serious problem with it. All the testing, all the approvals and all the studying (seven years I think?) and they didn't know it could kill people.

Back to my original thought chain... Without the role of the private sector, we probably wouldn't have a chance against many of the illnesses and diseases that attack. Yes, they do it for profit in most instances. Those who don't have insurance and/or those who can't afford the drugs sometimes yell and scream that it's not fair. I don't know the answers when it comes to who should or shouldn't get health care. One thought though - without these companies working for a profit, putting their time and effort into research, the drugs wouldn't exist at all. Then no one would have the "cure."

The only way I see (without giving it a ton f deep thought) for eveyone to have access to these drugs would be to take from the rich and give to the poor. But I have to tell you - if I work hard for something and someone wants to take it away from me without fair compensation, I don't think I'll put a lot of effort into doing it again. Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, Gault. If you haven't read it, you should. I may not agree entirely, 100%, with everything in the book, but it is thought provoking and very on-the-mark.

Here's a company that's working on the bird flu. I might have to look into buying stock. I'm certainly glad they, and others, are competing to be first:

eFoodSafety.com, Inc. Reports ''Significant and Unique'' Bird Flu Virus Testing by the Company; Testing is Being Conducted on the Actual H5N1 Strain of the Bird Flu Virus

11-3-06 SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--eFoodSafety.com, Inc. (OTCBB:EFSF), a Company dedicated to improving health conditions around the world through innovative products and technologies, today provided additional information regarding yesterday’s announcement to shareholders and the investment community about the testing of Citroxin against the Bird Flu virus at Innova Biotechnology Co., Ltd. (http://www.innovabiotechnology.com/) in Thailand. This testing is especially significant because it is being conducted on the actual H5N1 strain of the Bird Flu virus, not the surrogate H9N2 strain that most domestic laboratories are currently using in their Bird Flu testing. Citroxin can be sprayed on bird cages and hen houses without it being harmful to animals or humans in surrounding areas if ingested.

The Company has taken the time to locate a facility that has the actual H5N1 Bird Flu virus that has killed millions of birds in Asia and the actual strain that has led to human deaths. The significance of eFoodSafety’s groundwork testing to date will allow the Company to report results taken against the exact H5N1 virus, the viral strain that has killed millions of birds and some humans over the past several years.

The Company is also closely monitoring the H5N1 virus because indications are that a mutated strain of Bird Flu virus, a “Fujian-like strain,” has emerged in response to vaccination programs designed to halt the disease in farm flocks. Indications are that this strain has emerged abroad, but not domestically yet.

Patricia Gruden, President and CEO of eFoodSafety.com, Inc., stated, “Experts continue to renew their warnings of a Bird Flu pandemic and the World Health Organization continues to express its fear that a Bird Flu pandemic could kill millions in a worst case scenario. For that reason, testing with Citroxin is significant and unique in that we are at the forefront of testing on the exact and specific H5N1 strain of the Bird Flu virus that has been found to be the cause of human deaths.”

Mrs. Gruden further observed, “Having established clearly defined testing protocol guidelines on testing of the actual H5N1 Bird Flu virus enables eFoodSafety to be at the forefront of testing, with the next level of testing on live subjects already in place. The Company’s Citroxin formulation represents one of the products we are developing as we continue to work toward our ultimate goal of becoming a provider of global healthcare technologies.”
About eFoodSafety.com, Inc.

eFoodSafety.com, Inc. is dedicated to improving health conditions around the world through its innovative technologies. The company’s Knock-Out Technologies, Ltd. subsidiary has developed an environmentally safe sporicidal product formulated entirely of food-grade components that eradicates anthrax and a germicidal product, Citroxin (formerly named Big Six Plus) – EPA Reg. No. 82723-1 that kills six major bacteria: E-coli, Listeria, Pseudomonas, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, Avian Influenza, Black Mold. The sporicidal product has completed its final efficacy laboratory study requisite for EPA registration. In the study, it eradicated both Clostridium Sporogenes and Bacillus Subtilis with 100% efficacy on both hard and porous surfaces. The company’s MedElite, Inc. subsidiary distributes clinically proven products to physicians who then prescribe the products for their patients. It recently became the owner of the Talsyn™-CI/bid Scar Cream, that has been clinically proven to facilitate and improve the appearance, redness and strength of scars (http://www.talsyn.com/), as well as seven (7) other products in the Talsyn™ line. The company is also is a distributor for Cinnergen™, a non-prescription liquid whole food nutritional supplement that promotes healthy glucose metabolism (http://www.cinnergen.com/), and Trimmendous™, a weight loss formula focusing on the body’s 24-hour metabolic processes. The company has recently entered into a joint venture agreement with CK41 Direct, Inc. to launch an anti-acne skin care system, with a branded name and celebrity spokesperson to be announced in the near future.

Please visit the Company’s website at: http://www.efoodsafety.com.

Safe Harbor Forward-Looking Statements

Statements contained in this release that are not strictly historical are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements are made based on information available as of the date hereof, and the company assumes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements. Editors and investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and the company’s actual results may differ from these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to demand for the company’s products and services, our ability to continue to develop markets, general economic conditions, our ability to secure additional financing for the company and other factors that may be more fully described in reports to shareholders and periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.