Insight News

Sunday
Dec 21st

Health

The Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food Safety Modernization ActDear EarthTalk: What specific issues and protections are covered by the Food Safety Modernization Act recently signed into law?    -- P. Palmerino, New York, NY

Existing laws and oversight from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have done a decent job of keeping the vast majority of Americans safe from food borne illnesses, but several recent cases of contamination have put the spotlight on what more we can do to protect ourselves from unwittingly consuming harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses and toxins that could be lurking on our dinner plates.

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Getting serious about healthy eating

Getting serious about healthy eatingWhen it comes to food and health it is ironic in that as we enter National Nutrition Month, members of Minnesota’s state legislature have failed to advance anything more creative or substantive than the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act, also known as ‘the Cheeseburger Bill’. This legislation is designed to protect fast food corporations from lawsuits for weight-related health problems. Unfortunately, thus far nothing has been done to help address the very real problem faced by Minnesota’s urban and rural citizens alike in accessing affordable fresh produce, a critical component to the effort to improve health and reduce obesity.
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A cutting edge solution to Black health

A cutting edge solution to Black healthThe barbershop soapbox frames our community discussion of issues in the neighborhood, as well as national and global events.

Health educators and advocates have engaged Twin Cities barbershops to expand discussion and awareness regarding the health issue of organ donors and kidney transplants.

Compared to other groups, African Americans are less likely to designate themselves as organ and tissue donors; yet they are at an increased risk for organ failure due to higher prevalence of disease in African American men, such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
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Health officials investigate case of measles in Hennepin County infant

The Minnesota Department of Health is working closely with Hennepin County Public Health and Hennepin County Medical Center in investigating a case of measles in an infant who lives in Minneapolis.

The child became ill in late February and was likely infectious from Feb. 22 through March 2. Hennepin County Public Health staff and Hennepin County Medical Center staff are notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings such as a hospital or residence. The child was hospitalized and is recovering.
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Bottled water: a ridiculous waste?

Bottled water: a ridiculous waste?Dear EarthTalk: Isn’t it a waste that we buy water in plastic bottles when it is basically free out of our taps? Even health food stores, which should know better, sell it like crazy. When did Earth’s most abundant and free natural resource become a commercial ‘beverage’? -- A. Jacobs, via e-mail

Bottled water has been a big-selling commercial beverage around the world since the late 1980s. According to the Worldwatch Institute, global bottled water consumption has more than quadrupled since 1990. Today Americans consume over 30 billion liters of water out of some 50 billion (mostly plastic) bottles every year. The Beverage Marketing Association reports that in 2008 bottled water comprised over 28 percent of the U.S. liquid refreshment beverage market. The only bottled drinks Americans consume more of are carbonated sodas like Coke and Pepsi.
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Who do you belong to?

This month is Black History Month--or as a friend of mine says, for those of us who write or speak on Black issues, “Negro Employment Month.”   But in all seriousness, all the awareness and marketing aside, I’m not sure how much Black history is actually read, taught or learned during this month, or any other month.  That’s too bad, because knowing Black history is critically important for the health and wellbeing of Black people and contributes to a more robust and rounded understanding of the American experience for all her citizens.  If we don't know where we come from, how can we determine where we want to go, or know, once we arrive, that it is not the same place that we left?
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National HIV/Aids strategy: Leveraging the private sector

When President Obama released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in July 2010, he said, “The Federal government can’t do this alone, nor should it.  Success will require the commitment of governments at all levels, businesses, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.”

Clearly, success at achieving our aggressive goals in the Strategy depends not only on Federal leadership, but new investments and new partnerships from all parts society.  We know that some of our biggest successes in fighting HIV/AIDS have come about because of private sector initiatives, and we’ve called on businesses and foundations to provide that next level of leadership by stepping up their efforts in a few targeted areas.  We want to hear about your successful partnerships and new ideas for working together.
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