Sexy: Lots of erectile dysfunction in Canadians as Health Canada warns of poppers and sex aides

Health Canada is advising Canadians about unauthorized health products that may pose serious health risks. The table below is updated when Health Canada finds unauthorized health products that are promoted for sexual enhancement, weight loss, as a workout aid, or as “poppers,” and that are labelled to contain or have been tested and found to contain dangerous ingredients.

Unauthorized health products have not been approved by Health Canada, which means that they have not been assessed for safety, effectiveness and quality. Unauthorized health products can pose many health dangers, including:

“Poppers” is a slang term for products that contain alkyl nitrites. Despite being labelled for various uses such as leather cleaners, room odourizers or liquid incense, these products are inhaled or ingested by consumers for recreational purposes. Alkyl nitrites, such as amyl nitrite, butyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite, are prescription drugs and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional. Products containing alkyl nitrites may pose serious risks, including death, depending on the amount used, how frequently they are used and how long they are used for, as well as the person’s health and the other medications they may be taking. Since it is difficult to control how much is inhaled, people can accidentally overdose. Swallowing these products can lead to serious medical complications and may be fatal. People with certain medical conditions (including recent head trauma, bleeding into the head, glaucoma, or heart disease) and those taking certain medications (particularly drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction, and other drugs such as high blood pressure medications, certain migraine drugs, and high doses of aspirin) or illicit drugs are at particular risk.

Sildenafil is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional. It should not be used by individuals taking any kind of nitrate drug (e.g. nitroglycerine) as it can cause potentially life-threatening low blood pressure. Individuals with heart problems are at increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat. Other possible side effects include headache, facial flushing, indigestion, dizziness, abnormal vision, and hearing loss.

Tadalafil is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional. It should not be used by individuals taking any kind of nitrate drug (e.g. nitroglycerine) as it can cause potentially life-threatening low blood pressure. Individuals with heart problems are at increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat. Other possible side effects include headache, facial flushing, indigestion, dizziness, abnormal vision, and hearing loss.

Thyroid is a prescription drug ingredient commonly used to treat decreased or absent thyroid function, called hypothyroidism. Products containing thyroid hormone should be used with caution in patients also using medication to treat diabetes and blood clotting. There is also a risk to patients with cardiac conditions such as angina pectoris, high blood pressure and in the elderly as they have a greater likelihood of heart conditions.

Vardenafil is a prescription drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional. It should not be used by individuals taking any kind of nitrate drug (e.g. nitroglycerine) as it can cause potentially life-threatening low blood pressure. Individuals with heart problems are at increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack, stroke, chest pain, high blood pressure and abnormal heartbeat. Other possible side effects include headache, facial flushing, indigestion, dizziness, abnormal vision, and hearing loss.

Yohimbine is a prescription drug and should be used only under the supervision of a health care professional. Yohimbine is derived from yohimbe, a bark extract. The use of yohimbine or yohimbe may result in serious adverse reactions, particularly in people with high blood pressure, or heart, kidney or liver disease. Side effects include increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, dizziness, tremors, headache, nausea and sleep disorders. It should not be used by children, or pregnant or nursing women.

Zopiclone is a prescription drug used to treat insomnia. Side effects associated with zopiclone include unpleasant taste, drowsiness, dizziness, memory loss and hallucinations.

New food safety law in effect for New Zealand

The Food Act 2014 comes into effect today and places a greater emphasis on operators taking responsibility for managing food safety.
The main changes focus on food production rather than where the food is made, control plans for higher risk operators and a national program for those who are lower risk, and improving enforcement of the new laws.

Businesses with poor safety records will be targeted more and the change means those who already have a good rating won’t come under as much scrutiny as those who don’t.

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) food and beverage manager Sally Johnston says some businesses will have to put in more of an effort.

The laws include all businesses that sell food – from restaurants, to corner dairies, market stalls, or internet cake sellers.

It offers businesses greater flexibility and people can sell food they have made at home as long as it meets the same food safety standards as other businesses.

Republican senator says restaurants should be able to opt-out of mandatory handwashing

As Republican presidential hopefuls like Rand Paul and Chris Christie fall over themselves to claim the live-free-or-die vote by saying vaccinations should be optional, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis has gone further: laws requiring mandatory handwashing by food service employees are just regulatory burden.

handwashing.sep.12According to Daily Kos, Tillis made the declaration at the Bipartisan Policy Center, at the end of a question and answer with the audience. He was relaying a 2010 anecdote about his “bias when it comes to regulatory reform.”

“I was having a discussion with someone, and we were at a Starbucks in my district, and we were talking about certain regulations where I felt like ‘maybe you should allow businesses to opt out,’” he said, “as long as they indicate through proper disclosure, through advertising, through employment literature, or whatever else.”

Restaurants can just opt-out and let the free market take care of business after word spreads of unsanitary conditions.

“That’s the sort of mentality that we need to have to reduce the regulatory burden on this country,” he added. “We’re one of the most regulated nations in the history of the planet.”

Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet joked that he was “not sure” he would shake Sen. Tillis’ hand when the discussion was over, causing the lawmaker and members of the audience to laugh.

Surveys still suck, but for fun, more Americans want to ban unpasteurized milk than marijuana

It’s not hard to imagine: milk fiends buying illegal, unpasteurized milk in darkened back alleys. Shady dealers running shipments of raw milk across the Mexican-American border. A high-speed police chase down I-95, the suspects tossing gallons of unpasteurized milk out the window in a frantic effort to ditch the evidence.

marketbAn underground black market for unpasteurized milk like the kind that exists for marijuana is, of course, absurd. But it’s still fun to imagine, because more Americans today want to ban the sale of raw milk than marijuana, according to a recent study. Some 59% of Americans support a ban on the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk, while just 47% support a ban on the sale of marijuana, according to Oklahoma State University’s Food Demand Survey. The U.S. currently has a patchwork of different laws regarding raw milk. States like New York and Iowa ban the retail sale of raw milk, while California and Idaho permit it.

China regulator to strengthen ‘grim’ food, drug safety control

Food and drug safety in China is “grim” and will get stronger oversight, the food and drug regulator said on Wednesday, after a series of scares last year hit the reputations of global firms such as McDonald’s Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Grim_ReaperThe China Food and Drug Administration has struggled to control a string of high-profile scandals over the years, from donkey meat products tainted with fox, heavy metals in baby food and allegations of expired meat sold to fast-food chains.

“We must soberly recognise the current foundations of China’s food and drug safety are still weak, with new and old risks together creating a grim situation,” the regulator said in a statement on its website after a meeting in Beijing this week.

China will increase “active” regulation to prevent food and drug safety scares, with more on-site inspections, random tests and unannounced visits, the regulator said. The quality of personnel, legal structures, management methods and technological aspects were all currently insufficient, it said.

US FDA will send more inspectors to China office

Food safety is the responsibility of those who produce food.

Government is there to ensure minimal standards are met. best will always far exceed government standards.

But, countries need help, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will dispatch more inspectors to China to help ensure the quality of exports, making its China office the largest one overseas.

As early as next year, staff at the China office will be boosted to 21 from the current four, and nine of them will be responsible for food safety, said Christopher J. Hickey, FDA China director. Currently there are only two in food safety, while the rest are in charge of drugs and medical devices.

China is the fourth-largest exporter of food to the US.

Meanwhile, citing a globalized food and drug supply chain, China is also considering sending safety inspectors to the US, said Wu Yongning, chief scientist from the China National Center For Food Safety Risk Assessment.

Wu said that given China’s sheer size, the increase of US FDA inspectors would allow more on-site inspections of particularly high-risk producers.

Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, said the staff increase is “important for us as that permits us to work more closely with our Chinese counterparts to become knowledgeable about practices here.”

“We can work with both the Chinese government and the industry to explain our requirements and provide trading support for those exporting to the U.S. to comply with our standards,” he said.

Priorities include agriculture, farm produce, seafood and animal drugs, he noted.

It’s all fine until someone gets Salmonella; Queensland Premier dopey on food safety

One of the claims in former Australian Prime Minister Julian Gillard’s new biop is that ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher cut Queensland Premier Campbell Newman down to size at his first COAG meeting after being elected Premier, because of Salmonella.

Campbell NewmanMs Gillard said Mr Newman was “a pugnacious individual”, who was describing at length to the other premiers and chief ministers his plans to cut regulations in his state.

He said at his local kebab shop he had been appalled to find out how many regulations there were on the handling of meat, including rules regarding the temperature the meat needed to be while on the spit and he was going to abolish all this red tape.

Ms Gillard said the “studiously polite” Katy Gallagher then spoke up, commenting that would be all fine “until the first Salmonella outbreak.”

There have been many Salmonella outbreaks since then.

New Zealand fears over food regulation

Primary industry bosses fear New Zealand’s “world-class” food safety regulatory system is in danger of being swapped for a costly and inflexible set of rules, which do nothing to raise performance and will only dent competitiveness.

belushiAn inquiry into food safety regulation governing the dairy industry last December found it was not a factor in last year’s botulism false alarm.

In fact, it found the system to be “as good as any in the world”.

Still, the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate Contamination Incident (WPC80) came back with a raft of action points to bolster the system and safeguard against future food safety threats.

Industry bosses fear the fox being let loose in the chicken coop as officials from the Ministry of Primary Industries are left to work through the detailed implementation of 29 recommendations.

These include recasting procedures for food recalls and moving legal responsibility for crisis response plans to officials. Two new quangos will be set up to highlight and provide advice to officials on how to deal with future food safety risks.

Discussions involving 150 primary sector executives conducted by consultancy firm KPMG has found little confidence in officialdom to get the balance right in any shakeup.

Transcripts released to the Herald quote one participant, from the horticultural industry, who believed the botulism false positive was a “political scare” rather than one based on any real risk to consumers in foreign markets.

In the meat industry, there is unease that well-signalled moves to cut out government middlemen from basic inspection tasks at processing plants could be stymied. Last year the industry paid AgriQuality $87 million for post mortem inspections of carcases for meat quality which the industry believes could be carried out by its own employees.

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie says whether a government or company inspector carries out the task is irrelevant to food safety but he worries the frenzied atmosphere surrounding food safety in the dairy industry could lead officials to block the move.

Regulators mount up: raw milk producers aim to regulate themselves

I don’t care who does the regulating as long as the data is public, verifiable and producers are liable. There are benefits and faults with the many systems out there that could be largely remedied with public access to data and marketing of microbial food safety at retail.

colbert.raw.milkAnd I’m sure the raw milk producers promoting self-regulation would have no problem with genetically engineered foods, meat and restaurants being self-regulated.

At least I’m consistent.

Deena Prichep of NPR’s The Salt reports that Mark McAfee, the CEO of Organic Pastures, California’s largest raw milk dairy has founded the Raw Milk Institute.

“People are searching for local raw milk,” McAfee explains. “But when they go to the farm, or they go to the store, they really don’t know what they’re getting.”

To create both accountability and transparency, McAfee worked with epidemiologists, biologists and other health professionals to create RAWMI’s standards. Instead of just focusing on the end results, like bacteria levels, they also worked up detailed protocols for the entire process — from taking the temperature of the dishwasher used to clean the milk bottles to the distance between the water well and manure pile.

The group is also looking at the risk specific to each farm, whether it’s a muddy slope with three cows in Oregon or a sunny California farm with a midsize herd.

When a farm completes its hazards analysis, planning and testing — and passes a site visit from RAWMI — it is listed on the institute’s website. Right now there are half a dozen farms listed, with 10 more in the midst of the process.

The first farm to be listed was Champoeg Creamery, a small dairy about 30 miles south of Portland, Ore. Owner Charlotte Smith is a fifth-generation farmer. But when she first started producing raw milk a few years ago, she discovered it was an entirely different animal.

“I could call the extension office, and get some help on what was going on with my vegetables, or what is this beetle eating my tomatoes,” says Smith. “But there’s no one that will help you with raw milk production.”

And with about 100 families buying her milk — and monitoring an E. coli outbreak at a neighboring farm that landed kids in the hospital — Smith was committed to getting it right. Because while Smith says raw milk may offer health benefits, she also acknowledges the very real dangers.

“You can bring home a chicken and sell the eggs, and feel pretty safe about it. But raw milk, coming out of a cow, and manure flying during milking time — it is a huge challenge, far different than any other farm animal we have.”

As someone looking for guidance, Smith was a bit surprised that national regulatory agencies wouldn’t lend their expertise to establishing safety criteria. To them, she says:

“Raw milk is here to stay, whether you want to admit it or not. So why not work together, come up with some very basic things, where if you’re going to produce and sell raw milk, you’re going to agree that you have met these standards. In my mind, it seems so easy.”

Robert Tauxe at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while the safety plans and regular testing advocated by RAWMI can certainly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, they can’t offer any certainty that the particular gallon you grab from the shelf is truly safe.

“A cow can test negative today, and then get infected tomorrow,” notes Tauxe.

Tauxe is not unsympathetic to the reasons people seek out raw milk. “I understand the interest in having colonies of living bacteria in the food we eat,” he says. “The problem is when those living bacteria that are beneficial get mixed up with the living bacteria that cause disease.”

Airbnb tests moving hosts into the commercial restaurant business

I’m often in awe of and embrace the democracy of the Internet. Between social activism, crowdsourcing, community building and business niches, the interconnectivity is fascinating – and sometimes enters into the food risk world.

In 2012, pink slime wasn’t really a thing until thousands shared outrage on Facebook and Twitter. Yelp has recently been used to track outbreaks, and folks have developed apps for food waste-limiting leftover sharing.

UPTOWN-Airbnb-LogoIn fall 2013 developer Dan Newman created LeftoverSwap as a way for folks to share extra meatloaf or chicken casserole with others in their location. At the time of release, Newman addressed the possibility that traded leftovers could lead to illnesses, hoping that like with Craigslist people would use common sense.

LeftoverSwap’s model isn’t based on selling food though, which creates some regulatory issues.

Airbnb, an online service created to connect travelers with regular folks who have extra bedrooms, for a fee, appears to be moving into a new realm – their hosts may start advertising making meals. According to Reuters, Airbnb has been testing this selling-meals-to-strangers-staying-in-my-home concept in San Franscisco.

Airbnb is encouraging hosts to throw dinners for strangers as part of a new pilot program in its home city. The company would take a cut of the proceeds, similar to how it makes money from its core business of letting people list spare bedrooms or homes on its website.

The startup began inviting hosts in San Francisco to participate in the dining pilot on Tuesday. A listing for one of the pilot dinners charged $25 per person for a three-course meal.

Uh oh, the hosts are entering a food-for-pay situation that in pretty much every jurisdiction requires some form of permitting, food safety inspection and in many locales would make the amateur hotelier an amateur restaurant owner as well.

Salon’s Andrew Leonard captures some of the issues,

Let’s take a moment to review why commercial food service is regulated. The profit incentive motivates restaurateurs to keep costs down. Such costs might include paying people to scrub your kitchen floors, or ensuring that you are always purchasing the highest-quality ingredients. Because, you know, you don’t want people getting sick because there are rats in the pantry or because the cut-rate chicken you picked up wholesale is infected with salmonella. Food safety regulations exist for obvious reasons! Airbnb’s new program is just one outbreak of food poisoning away from a nasty lawsuit.

Others can debate the legality of the situation (and how to work within the regs); all I care about is whether hosts have the know-how and tools to manage food safety – and effectively do it. And that the paying public knows there may be risks.

Part of the solution is working with the health departments on this – not avoiding them.