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FDA bans brominated vegetable oil in beverages amid potential health concerns

July 4, 2024 from the Food Ingredients First:

"The US FDA has revoked authorization for using brominated vegetable oil in beverages after an updated assessment finds the chemical has the “potential for adverse health effects in humans.” The new ruling will come into force on August 2, 2024, after decades of what some believe has been “inaction” on BVO.

"BVO — a vegetable oil that is modified with bromine and has been used as a food ingredient since the 1920s — can be used as a stabilizer in citrus-flavored beverages, particularly to keep the citrus flavoring from floating to the top. It is also found in some sodas.

"The FDA previously authorized its use in small amounts of 15 parts per million or lower. But a new ruling by the agency highlights how the FDA no longer allows for the use of BVO in food with the agency revoking its food additive regulation on July 3."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1568

MM Products Recalls JoyJolt™ Declan Glass Coffee Mugs Due to Burn and Laceration Hazards

June 20, 2024 from the CPSC :

JoyJolt Drinkware Declan Single-Wall Glass Coffee Mugs have been recalled because the glass mugs can break and crack when filled with hot liquids, posing burn and laceration hazards.

Consumer Contact: MM Products toll-free at 888-569-5680 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, email at recall@joyjolt.com, or online at https://joyjolt.com/pages/product-notices-recalls or www.joyjolt.com and click on “Safety Recalls” at the top of the page for more information.

Description: This recall involves JoyJolt Declan Single-Wall Glass Coffee Mugs with model number JG10242. They were sold in a 16 oz. size as a set of six. The recalled glasses are clear with a handle. The model numbers are printed on the product packaging and the order confirmation.

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled coffee glasses, and contact MM Products for a full refund.

Incidents/Injuries: There have been 103 incidents of the recalled coffee glasses breaking at the base, resulting in 56 injuries, including 35 burns across the body from spilled hot liquids, and 21 cuts. Seven incidents required medical attention, including surgery and stitches.

Sold At: Online at www.amazon.com and on MM Products Inc.’s website www.joyjolt.com from September 2019 through May 2022 for between $20 and $25 for a set of six mugs.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1567

Vitamix Reannounces and Expands Recall of Ascent Series and Venturist Series 8-ounce and 20-ounce Blending Containers and Vitamix Reannounces and Expands Recall of Ascent Series and Venturist Series 8-ounce and 20-ounce Blending Containers andBlade Bases Due to Laceration Hazard; Offers New Repair Kit Due to Additional Injuries

June 20, 2024 from the CPSC in cnjunction with Government of Canada:

Vitamix Ascent® Series and Venturist® Series 8-ounce and 20-ounce Blending Containers and Blade Bases have been recalled because the containers can separate from the blade base exposing the blades, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

Units: About 569,000 (In August 2018, 105,000 of the 569,000 blending containers and blade bases were (previously recalled) (In addition, about 121,950 were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact: Vitamix toll-free at 855-215-5178 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, email at service@vitamix.com, or online at www.BlendingCupBowlRecall.expertinquiry.com or https://www.vitamix.com/us/en_us and click on “Product Recalls” at the top of the page for more information.

Description: This recall involves all Ascent and Venturist Series 8-ounce blending containers, 20-ounce blending containers, and blade bases, including those that were repaired as part of a previous recall in August 2018. The clear containers and black blade bases are included with certain Vitamix Venturist and Ascent Series blenders, such as the Venturist V1200, Ascent A2300, Ascent A2500, Ascent A3300, and Ascent A3500 blenders; and also sold separately, as sets, or bundles in various configurations. The Vitamix logo is printed on the blending container.

Remedy: ALL consumers, including consumers who participated in the 2018 recall, should immediately stop using the recalled 8-ounce and 20-ounce blending containers and blade bases, and contact Vitamix for a repair kit consisting of a protective plastic shroud to attach over the blade base and additional instructional labels.

Incidents/Injuries: Vitamix has received 27 reports of lacerations, including 11 reports from the prior 2018 recall, when consumers’ hands came in contact with exposed blades.

Sold At: Costco, Best Buy, Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Target, Williams Sonoma, Walmart and specialty and independent stores nationwide, and online at Vitamix.com, Amazon.com and QVC.com from April 2017 through May 2024 for between $30 and $990 for the blender and blending containers when sold with other products.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1566

Sugar substitute xylitol linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke

June 6, 2024 from the `Washington Post:

"The results of a new study challenge the popular understanding of sugar alcohols such as xylitol and erythritol as healthy, natural sugar alternatives.

"The popular sugar substitute xylitol, commonly used by those wanting to lose weight or who are diabetic, is associated with an increased risk of a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack and stroke, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal" on June 6, 2024.

"The same research team found a similar link between erythritol and cardiovascular risk last year.

"The findings come as use of sugar alcohols such as xylitol is trending upward, as keto and low-carb diet trends are generating growth in alternative sweeteners billed as “natural.” Some $1.19 billion in xylitol products were sold in 2021, and that market is expected to grow to about $1.48 billion by 2030, according to the research firm Custom Market Insights.

"The results challenge the popular understanding of sugar alcohols such as xylitol and erythritol as healthy, natural sugar alternatives. People view them as natural because our bodies produce them as part of our energy metabolism; however, our cells produce them at much lower levels. When these sugar alcohols are manufactured, they are industrially prepared, using bacteria or yeast that’s put through brewing and fermentation processes to create a chemical that tricks our taste buds

"Researchers also found that an elevated xylitol level may be worse for your heart than cholesterol. By eating a high-cholesterol diet, we might increase our blood cholesterol levels by 10 to 30 percent, Hazen said. By eating a product high in xylitol, researchers found, the chemical levels in the blood went up 1,000-fold — or 100,000 percent — and remained elevated for four to six hours."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1565

Consumer advocacy group finds dangerous levels of lead in some snacks for small children

June 5, 2024 from the Food Safety News:

"A new study by Consumer Reports has found alarming levels of lead in some vegetable puffs marketed for small children.

"The consumer advocacy group tested two puffs: cassava made by Lesser Evil and Serenity Kids and sorghum puffs from Once Upon a Farm. "According to Consumer Reports ‘ research, the sorghum products from Once Upon a Farm had very low lead levels, with some of the lowest levels of all the baby foods the organization has ever tested.

"Certain foods are more likely to have dangerous lead levels than others. For example, cassava and other root vegetables, including sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, can be troublesome because lead occurs naturally in soil and can accumulate in a plant’s roots, said Angelia Seyfferth from the Department of Plants and Sciences at the University of Delaware.

"Also, processing cassava into flour for crackers, chips, or other snack foods can concentrate the lead more robustly than eating fresh vegetables.

"Consumer Reports was alerted to concerns about lead in cassava by Tamara Rubin, the owner of Lead Safe Mama. She focuses on preventing lead poisoning and helping parents identify possible sources of lead exposure."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1564

El Al Subsidiary Sun D’Or Gave Out Treif Sandwiches To Passengers

June 4, 2024 from Vinnews.com:

"A passenger who was waiting to board a flight from George to Israel on Sun D’Or Airlines, a low-cost subsidiary of El Al owned fully by the parent company, was astonished to receive a sandwich containing chicken and cheese. The incident occurred on Sunday at Georgia’s Alexander Kartveli Batumi International Airport.

"El Al said that it is investigating the matter.

"The flight to Israel was delayed and local crews from the Sun D’Or company gave out sandwiches to passengers waiting for the plane. One passenger noticed that he had been given chicken with cheese in the same sandwich.

"El Al responded, stating that 'Due to a flight delay, local crews from Batumi initiated the distribution of food and drink during the wait at the airport. Unfortunately due to human error, passengers from LY5104 received non-kosher sandwiches while waiting on the ground.We stress that the incident did not occur on the plane and all food served on El Al flights is kosher. We apologize to travelers and will work to sharpen our regulations in order to prevent such events from recurring.'"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1563

Kashrut Information: Breyer's Lactose Free Plus Chocolate Animal-Free Frozen Dairy Dessert

May 28, 2024 from Kof-K:

Breyer's Lactose Free Plus Chocolate Animal-Free Frozen Dairy Dessert bears a Kof-K DE and a notice that it contains milk protein.

"Breyers partnered with Perfect Day to use their animal-free whey protein in their lactose-free ice cream. Perfect Day uses precision fermentation to create a highly functional whey protein that offers the same taste and texture as traditional whey protein but with a reduced environmental footprint. This innovation allows Breyers to maintain its signature creamy taste while catering to lactose intolerant consumers and reducing environmental impact .

"In light of the fact that they were able to copy of the Characteristics of whey so precisely it is unknown if the “imitation whey” will cause the same allergic reaction hence they adds the milk allergen warning. The non-animal whey protein is actually certified as Parve. The Breyers ND IC is certified as DE as it’s pasteurized on the same line as the dairy ice cream (after a CIP)

"Perfect Day's culture is STAR-K Pareve. It loses that status at intermediate or final stage plants (under different hechsherim) which propagate it on equipment shared with dairy."

Ed. note: Other information is on Food Business News, Perfect Day and PR Newswire.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1562

Compare Brands Recalls ADIOS! Super Vinegar All Natural Cleaner Due to Risk of Poisoning and Chemical Burns; Violation of Labeling Requirements under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act; Sold Exclusively on Amazon.com

May 30, 2024 from the CPSC :

ADIOS! Super Vinegar All Natural Cleaner, 30% have been recalled because the recalled cleaning product violates the Federal Hazardous Substances Act because it is deceptively labeled as “Safe to Use” and lacks the required cautionary statements for a poison, posing a risk of poisoning and chemical burns to consumers.

Consumer Contact: Compare Brands toll-free at 888-912-4622 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at support@comparebrands.net, or online at https://comparebrands.net/pages/product-recalls or https://comparebrands.net/ and click “Recall” at the top of the page for more information.

Description: This recall involves the ADIOS! Super Vinegar All Natural Cleaner, 30%. The cleaner’s bottles are labeled on the front with: “ADIOS! SUPER VINEGAR ALL NATURAL CLEANER. 30% Concentrate Indoor & Outdoor use”. There is a label on the back with: “Say ADIOS to industrial cleaners with the natural power of vinegar” along with safety information and instructions. The product was sold in a 16 oz. white bottle with a blue cap.

Remedy: Consumers should stop using the recalled cleaner immediately and contact Compare Brands for information on how to obtain a free corrected label to put on the cleaner bottle. Compare Brands and Amazon are contacting all known purchasers directly.

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1561

WILLIAMSBURG: Skimming Scammers Busted: Two Arrested After Shomrim Investigation

May 23, 2024 - from the Frumnews.com:

"Two suspects who have been placing skimming devices on payment terminals at stores across Brooklyn were arrested on Wednesday following intervention from Williamsburg Shomrim.

"homrim tells YWN that they received a call from a Flushing Avenue supermarket owner who discovered a suspicious device attached to his payment terminal. The device, known as a “skimmer,” is used to record credit, debit, or EBT card numbers and was disguised to look like part of the terminal.

"Shomrim members identified the suspects through surveillance footage and tracked their car to the Pulaski Bridge, where they were arrested by NYPD officers at around 3:30 p.m.

"This is the latest in a series of EBT fraud incidents in Brooklyn, with two suspects identified in Williamsburg earlier this month and another pair arrested in Flatbush on Tuesday. In light of the recent attempts to steal credit card information, the NYPD has advised shoppers to be vigilant and to gently tug at privacy guards on payment terminals, as fake ones can be easily removed."

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1560

USDA Jewish event seeks solutions for yeshivas, kosher pantries

May 26, 2024 - from the JNS:

"Key kosher food industry stakeholders met on Wednesday with officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in an effort to unwind bureaucratic restrictions on procuring food for emergency pantries and school lunch programs.

"As part of the USDA’s Jewish American Heritage Month celebrations, the 'Kosher Supply Chain and Food Insecurity Dialogue' event at the USDA’s Washington, D.C., headquarters featured panel discussions on improving the coordination between the kosher industry and the Biden administration. The event comes as this year’s annual farm bill goes through revisions ahead of a vote in the House of Representatives.

"The USDA program takes food that the government purchases from farmers for purposes of market stabilization and distributes it to soup kitchens and pantries.

"The “equity doctrine” currently in place provides for a balance of available foods—produce, eggs, meat, fish, etc.—to be provided to participating TEFAP organizations.

There is a "lack of available kosher food in TEFAP to begin with. Until recently, only two kosher items in the program were required to be kosher, according to the bidding process. Now, there are eight. Much of the challenge stems from the higher cost of kosher products compared with their non-kosher counterparts.

"For some of the smaller kosher emergency food providers, that means that they might not be able to place a required minimum order, meaning they get nothing at all from the USDA program.

"Another key program discussed at the event was the availability of kosher foods in school lunch programs. Jewish schools often find themselves also having difficulty procuring kosher items.

"Almost every yeshiva in New York City and many yeshivas in New Jersey provide the lunch program.

"A piece of chicken that’s kosher is a lot more than a non-kosher piece of chicken, or bacon for that matter,” he said, pointing to other staples, such as milk, which are required to be provided.

"Another inherent numbers challenge is the small size of many of the participating yeshivas, who don’t have the ability to purchase in bulk and enjoy a discounted price on food, making enrollment in the lunch program—with all of its time-consuming bureaucratic burdens—often not worth the effort.

"Schnall said he’s pushing for a so-called carve-out similar to what was introduced in this year’s farm bill in the Senate for TEFAP, which would provide an additional $8 million for kosher pantries to be able to buy kosher foods.

"Schnall also noted a major issue with the “commodities” component of the school lunch program, wherein schools receive on a per-student basis around 30-40 cents to purchase staple foods through the government. Again, the selection of kosher products is often miniscule.

"On top of that, many of the yeshivas often have more restrictions on the hechsher, or type of rabbinical certification, that is acceptable within their community.

"Even basics such as kosher tuna and American cheese are difficult to come by in the USDA’s available basket.

The Biden administration, he continued, 'Surprisingly actually feels very motivated to get something done. Government always take time. That’s the nature of the beast.'

"Part of the challenge is keeping the issue “on the front burner,” making last week’s USDA-hosted event, including the presence of “movers and shakers” more “impactful” for the effort, he said.

"While Rapaport concedes that 'there was no resolution that tomorrow, this is going to happen,' coming out of last week’s event, 'there’s definitely a lot of optimism of willingness to move forward.'"

The previous item can be cited with the URL: https://www.kashrut.com/News/?alert=W1559
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