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    How to make sure your generator works when you need it

    When Tropical Storm Andrea roared up the East Coast recently dropping buckets of rain, it underscored the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's forecast that 2013 will have an extremely active hurricane season with 13 to 20 named storms. And since we still have letters B through Z to go, there's no better time to buy a new generator or make sure the one you have now is working properly.

    As outdoor-gear dealer Paul Menascalco warns, too many people buy and fuel portable generators and then neglect them until the power goes out. By that time, the gas may have deteriorated and the engine won't start. Then folks like Menascalco, manager of RC Power Products in Bedford Hills, N.Y. get calls that could have been avoided with proper maintenance.

    Still, even if you are diligent about maintaining your generator, you can get caught short during a storm if local gas stations lose power or roads are closed by fallen trees. If you find that keeping lots of gasoline, diesel fuel, or propane on hand is a hassle, consider a stationary (standby) generator. They're powered by natural gas or large propane tanks so running out of fuel is less of a concern. And since stationary generators need professional installation, maintaining the dealer relationship is easier, which increases the odds that you'll be prepared. Standby generators also start themselves up on a regular schedule, performing diagnostic routines and displaying error codes when something is awry.

    Once a generator is up and running, safety becomes a concern. Every year people die of carbon monoxide poisoning from generator exhaust. The professional who installs your stationary generator should place it where fumes won't enter the home. When moving a portable generator into place yourself, make sure it's at least 15 feet away from the house. Never use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially-enclosed areas, even with ventilation.

    Our current generator tests include 11 portable and three stationary generators. And we have 10 more portable and five stationary generators in the labs that we've just begun testing. Results will be ready later this summer. Our top-scoring portable generator is the Troy-Bilt XP 7000 30477, $900. It's rated for 7,000 watts, delivered more than enough wattage to power our test appliances and handled surges very well. Our top stationary generator is the Kohler 8.5 RES-QS7, $3,200, which delivered smooth, steady power and offers 7,000 watts with natural gas and 8,500 using propane. And it was a quiet operator.

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    Get the most out of your gas grill with these six barbecue tips

    Perfectly seared steaks and mouth-watering burgers hot off the grill signal that summer is in full swing. Add grilled corn and watermelon slices and it's dinnertime. Grilling doesn't take much fuss, but it can be tricky, resulting in rubbery chicken and charred rib-eyes. Here are six grilling tips from the experts at Consumer Reports.

    Add flavor and tenderness with marinades. Use a marinade made with an acid, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or plain yogurt and always refrigerate foods when marinating them. But keep an eye on the clock. Marinate for too long and the food can turn mushy. Marinate shrimp for 15 to 30 minutes; salmon steaks, 30 to 60 minutes. Chicken breasts need at least an hour and up to four. Marinate other chicken pieces for four hours. Tender cuts of beef need 15 minutes to two hours, while tougher cuts can take six to 24 hours.

    Preheat your gas grill. Do this for 15 to 20 minutes so that it's fully preheated. This improves searing and helps keep food from sticking to the grates.

    Don't overcrowd the cooking surface. Some flaring is normal with fatty foods, so keep about 40 percent of the grates empty. If steaks, salmon, or other fatty foods flare, move them to a cooler or non-flaming section.

    Put a lid on it. Grilling without the lid allows heat to escape and compromises roasting. You'll want to use high heat for searing thick cuts of meat, and then lower the heat to finish cooking.

    Use a meat thermometer. Avoid under- or overcooking by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the sides of steaks and chops or into the thickest part of burgers and chicken to ensure that proper temperatures have been reached. Cook food to at least the minimum internal temperatures recommended by the USDA. (Ground meat: 160-165° F; whole cuts of meat: 145° F; poultry: 165° F; fish: 145° F.)

    Spice rubs add flavor too. Apply just before cooking or for tougher cuts, up to a day in advance to intensify flavor. Brush on the barbecue sauce near the end of the cooking time so the food will cook thoroughly without the sauce burning. And if your grill isn't what it used to be, take a look at our ratings of dozens of grills.

    Recommended gas grills
    Our gas grill tests found that the Weber Spirit SP-320 46700401 was the top-rated mid-size grill. It's $600 and was fast to preheat, excellent on high and low heat and indirect cooking—a method of slow cooking ribs, roasts, and whole fish and poultry by placing it next to the fire, not directly over it. Weber also topped our ratings of small and portable grills with the $450 Weber Spirit E-220 46310001. If you cook for a crowd, the Jenn-Air 720-0709, $950, sold at Sam's Club, can accommodate all your burgers. It has five burners and was aces on all cooking tasks.

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    It's what the Cub Cadet RZT-S Zero rider lacks that counts

    The mower testers at Consumer Reports are scouting out the next batch of mowers for our tests and found a zero-turn-radius rider that looks like a game changer. Playing off its name, the Cub Cadet RZT-S Zero claims to have "zero engine noise, zero engine maintenance, zero gas, zero oil, zero oil filters, zero belts ... and most importantly, zero hassle." Based on our first impressions of the new mower at a recent Cub Cadet event, we're looking forward to putting it through our full battery of tests.

    First of all, it is whisper-quiet when running and makes about as much noise as the typical washing machine when the mower blade is engaged. So we needed no hearing protection. Better yet, it sports the same 42-inch deck as the Troy-Bilt Mustang 42-inch 17WFCACS, our top-scoring zero-turn-radius mower and the only one in our tests with superb evenness in side-discharge mode. And like the Cub Cadet Z Force S 46 17AF5BHH, the RZT-S Zero rider features a tractor-like steering wheel and steerable front wheels for better control down slopes.

    At $4,500 the RZT-S Zero doesn't come cheap, but you can appreciate the engineering that went into this American-made mower. It runs on four 48-volt batteries that power four motors, two for the deck and two for driving the infinitely variable transmission. There are two mowing speeds, normal and "blade boost," which is intended for thicker growth. Whatever speed you use, the mower slows down automatically during tight turns. And while it comes equipped for side discharge, the mode of choice for most riding mowers, a separate mulch kit is available.

    The RZT-S Zero has some nice operational and safety features including the need to confirm your choice if you try to mow in reverse. It displays a low-battery warning, but the company insists you'll get at least 60 minutes of continuous cutting with no loss of power, and perhaps 90 if you stay out of blade-boost mode. Even when the battery runs too low to continue mowing, it retains enough juice to get you back to the shed for a recharge. That you do by plugging the mower into a standard outlet and leaving it overnight.

    The manufacturer, MTD, claims the batteries should last for about six years of use. Replacements cost $200 apiece. (They're warranted for three years, as is the unit.) But MTD says you'll still come out ahead given the cost of gasoline, oil and other supplies.

    If you have a half-acre or more to mow and are fed up with tuning-up and maintaining your gas-powered machine, you might want to take a look at this mower. The Cub Cadet RZT-S Zero isn't yet widely available, selling this year in the Northwest and in Cleveland, Ohio, where MTD is based, and by special order through Cub Cadet dealers. But you'll find it at dealers nationwide early next year.

    In the meantime, there are nine other zero-turn-radius mowers ranging in price from $2,300 to $3,600 that made our list of top mower picks. We also recommend nine push and 16 self-propelled walk-behind mowers for those with smaller yards.

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    Big changes coming for daily news at ConsumerReports.org

    Starting later this week, you'll notice a few things different about the daily content we produce at ConsumerReports.org:

    The news.consumerreports.org subdomain will go away. All of the content we produce, including daily news items, product reviews and Ratings, the Consumer Reports magazine archive, videos, and more--will appear on ConsumerReports.org.

    Don't worry--you'll still be able to find all the previous news articles we published over the past seven-plus years. And if you've bookmarked news.consumerreports.org, that URL will redirect to ConsumerReports.org. If you want to get a feed for the content we create in a particular category, you'll soon be able touse these links:

    Appliances: www.consumerreports.org/cro/feed/appliances.xml
    Babies & Kids: www.consumerreports.org/cro/feed/babies-kids.xml
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    For the time being, you won't be able to add comments to our articles. (Our plan is to add a new commenting tool ASAP.) But in the interim, look for links in our articles to the Consumer Reports forums, an excellent place to join the vibrant, helpful discussion in hundreds of threads. As always, you can also engage with Consumer Reports' readers via Facebook.

    This change means you'll see more images and videos of the products we're covering. We think you'll appreciate that especially when we're reporting on new cars, gadgets, and appliances from the big trade shows.

    Along with the updated visual presentation, this more integrated approach will bring you a step closer to information on the hundreds of products and services we cover.

    What won't differ is our goal of bringing you insightful articles and videos on appliances, cars, electronics, health, personal finance, babies and kids, and much more. And while it might take all of us a bit of time to get used to the changes, in the end we think you'll appreciate the new look and enhanced functionality.

    We welcome your feedback on these changes and want to know what stories you'd like to see on our new platform once it launches. Check out the new look then and send your ideas and comments to cronews@cro.consumer.org.

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    Snack comparison: Chips, Cheese crunchies, Ratings

    Snack smackdown   To see whether chips and cheese crunchies, those quintessential Super Bowl snacks, can lose their fat but keep their taste, we compared regular versions with some lower-calorie, lower-fat, or multigrain cousins. We also dipped the tortilla chips to see which put up the best defense against salsa and which snapped.What we found. Snack makers still haven't found a way to cut lots of fat and maintain great taste. The baked snacks, though much lower in fat, were least tasty.Potato chips. Three chips that have reduced fat (but are fried, not baked) tasted very good, and Cape Cod was especially low in sodium. That said, Lay's regular was the munch with the most—the most potato flavor and fat flavor.  VIDEO: Healthy SnacksAll videos Tortilla chips. Tostitos Multigrain was the only tortilla chip flavorful enough to enjoy unadorned. The others could do with a dip. And if you're dipping, use Tostitos Scoops 100% White Corn; only 3 percent broke in our small test, vs. 10 percent of Snyder's, 15 percent of Tostitos Baked Scoops, and 29 percent of Tostitos Multigrain.Cheetos. Regular Cheetos was the big cheese. Our tasters concluded that the baked version was rather forgettable.CR's take. The tastiest snacks tended to have the most calories and fat, but some reduced-fat potato chips came close, and imperfections in even the lower-rated baked snacks could be hidden with a dip.Other very good tortilla chips from past tests include Tostitos 100% White Corn Restaurant Style, Tostitos Natural Yellow Corn Restaurant Style, and Green Mountain Gringo.Costs listed in the Ratings are based on approximate retail. A MORE HEALTHFUL DIP Try salsa, which has little or no fat. Other options: guacamole, whose fat is the good kind; and bean dip or hummus, which offer protein and fiber. Substitute a fat-free version of the sour cream, cream cheese, or half-and-half in a homemade dip. In onion dip, use fresh green onions, not a high-sodium dry soup mix. Add chopped vegetables to any dip.
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  • 09/21/09--13:10: Energy bars
  • Energy bars

      Energy bars Energy bars can give you a needed boost--but they're no replacement for food. Created to fuel endurance athletes, energy bars have morphed into a confusing array of varieties: protein bars, cereal bars, snack bars, "nutrition for women" bars, and bars aimed at dieters of every persuasion, from low fat to low carb. Americans have recently spent more than $1.4 billon a year on such bars, responding to marketing claims promising world-class energy and less waist.WHAT'S AVAILABLEEnergy bars we tested can be divided into three categories: higher in protein, moderate in protein and carbohydrates, and higher in carbohydrates.Among the best-selling higher protein bars are Carb Solutions, Atkins Advantage, and Balance. Among bars moderate in protein and carbohydrates, Clif LUNA, Ultra-Slim Fast, and Power Bar Pria lead the market. The top-sellers among higher carbohydrate bars are Power Bar, Clif, and Power Bar Harvest.Makers of cereal and granola bars include Quaker, Kellogg's, Nature Valley, and Kudos.NUTRITIONMany energy bars are aimed at people on particular weight-loss plans. Bars do offer dieters a few advantages. They provide automatic portion-size control. And if you would otherwise skip a meal, eating a convenient bar can keep you from getting too hungry and bingeing later on.Not all energy bars live up to their good-for-you image, and marketing labels can be a poor guide to what's actually inside. Contents vary widely even within the category of energy bars, our review of ingredients found. Many bars rely on vitamin and mineral fortification to help distinguish themselves from mere candy, but some overdo it. Several of the bars we looked at provide 100 percent or more of the recommended Daily Value for one or more vitamins or minerals. And check labels for calories and sugar.Chronic overconsumption of some vitamins and minerals can cause health problems. Check labels and remember that you might be getting additional vitamins and minerals from taking a daily multivitamin and eating other fortified food. To play it safe, don't regularly exceed 100 percent of the Daily Value for any vitamin or mineral.In addition, the quality of nutrition you get may be inferior to that of real food. For example, in a few bars some protein comes from low-quality sources such as collagen or gelatin, which have fewer essential amino acids. Check the ingredients list for high-quality sources such as milk (whey or casein), egg, or soy. Many bars contain artery-clogging saturated fats such as palm-kernel oil. And some contain partially hydrogenated oils (indicating the possible presence of trans fat, another artery clogger). While the big-brand bars we evaluated did not contain "extras" such as caffeine, ginseng, guarana, or ephedra (the stimulant that's been linked to health problems and fatalities), some products may. So scrutinize labels and avoid bars with unnecessary or questionable additives.HOW TO CHOOSERecommendations. Energy bars do indeed provide energy, although that's just a fancy word for the calories derived from protein, carbohydrates, and fats that our bodies burn to fuel activity. And bars pack plenty of calories for their size. They may also satisfy you less than the larger volume of real food you can eat for the same calories.If you need an energy boost during the day, or before or after an exercise session, bars won't do anything for you that ordinary food won't do. And real food is apt to be more satisfying.When it comes to snacks, however, bars can have a nutritional edge over candy. But don't depend heavily on bar foods to supply high-quality nutrition. And remember that most bars have too few calories to really qualify as a meal, so supplement with fruit, vegetables, or low-fat yogurt or cheese.
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    Cookies: Ratings, Recommendations

    Easy, tasty cookies GOT MILK? Trader Joe’s dough made cookies with a buttery flavor, chocolatey chunks, and a good chunk-to-cookie ratio. Good news for the time-pressed: Chocolate-chip cookies made with store-bought dough can taste almost homemade.Our trained panelists tasted cookies made from seven preformed cookie doughs, frozen or refrigerated, and cookies made from scratch using the Nestlé Toll House recipe. The best of the bunch, all from frozen doughs, tasted close to cookies made from scratch. They had a mix of buttery, caramelized, and other cookielike flavors, plus chocolatey chunks or chips that were especially big in dough from Omaha Steaks and Fat Boy. Lowest-rated was refrigerated Nestlé dough, which made cookies bearing little resemblance to those from the recipe. They didn’t taste fresh-baked, did have a bit of old-fat taste, and were smaller than most. But even the lowest-rated from dough were better than typical store-bought packaged cookies. Calories per cookie range from 100 to 150; fat, from 5 to 8 grams. They basically correspond to cookie size, listed at right.CR’s take. If you crave a sweet treat but want to avoid mixing and some cleanup, you’ll be a smart cookie if you try one of the very good doughs. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are available in those stores; Omaha Steaks and Fat Boy are sold online or over the phone (www.omahasteaks.com or 800-960-8400; www.fatboycookiecompany.com or 888-328-2690). David’s, rated good, is at www.davidscookies.com or 800-217-2938. If you want to tell Aunt Millie you used her recipe, it’ll be our secret.RatingsIn order of overall quality. Product Per cookie Frozen   Cost* Size (g)   VERY GOOD Complex flavors, fresh-baked taste, chocolatey chips. Trader Joe's Chunky CR Best Buy 22¢ 28 • Omaha Steaks Chunky 33 26 • Fat Boy Cookie Company Outrageous Chunk 59 35 • Whole Foods Chip 33 31 • GOOD No fresh-baked impression, closer to packaged cookies. David's Preformed Chunk 36 28 • Pillsbury Ready to Bake with Hershey Chips 16 21   Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies 17 21   *Shipping is included except for Omaha Steaks, where costs vary with promotions.
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    Chicken soup: Nutritional content, Ratings

    Chicken soups An upstart wins  If a cold catches up with you this season, there may be a place you can turn to for relief instead of your medicine chest: your stove. Echoing moms, researchers at the University of Nebraska concluded in a study published in October 2000 in the cardiopulmonary journal Chest that many chicken soups seemed to reduce congestion, whether they were what researchers called Grandma’s recipe or store-bought. We ladled out gallons of “medicine” recently to see which brands taste best. How we tested. We began with blind tastings of 26 chicken soups and winnowed out those with obvious flaws such as a tinny taste or bitter herbs. That left eight contenders for super soup, including SoupMan (whose creator became a house­hold name via “Seinfeld”) and old standbys from Lipton and Campbell’s. Some are dry mixes of chicken broth with vegetables to which you can add your own cooked chicken. We tried those types with and without meat. (If you add chicken, cook it thoroughly. See chicken safety.) We also checked calories, fat, and sodium. What we found. SoupMan is the man. Tasters called his refrigerated chicken vegetable soup (no noodles) “lick the bowl” tasty. It’s as thick as a stew: Add salad and you have a meal. You also have a dent in your wallet: One cup costs about $3. Other SoupMan soups we tried were consistently high in quality, and in price. Two mixes were very good but different. Bear Creek is a flavorful broth, a bit “hot,” with vegetables and al dente pasta. It’s even better if you add chicken. Lipton, a CR Best Buy, is tasty but basic. The rest are OK in a pinch. Most of the soups are low in fat but high in sodium. In Trader Joe’s, we found far more sodium than claimed: 664 mg per cup vs. 160 mg. Other labels were correct.
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    Grocery donations - Consumer Reports

    Grocery donations: Expiring food gets a second life Illustration by Christoff Hitz Ever wonder what stores do with leftover meat, milk, muffins, and canned goods that have stuck around beyond their sell-by or use-by dates? After Consumer Reports mystery shoppers recently discovered 72 products past their prime in 31 stores across seven states, we asked food industry insiders for the scoop. As long as the food isn’t spoiled—many date codes indicate when an item is apt to be fresh and flavorful rather than unfit for consumption—many retailers and manufacturers use the expiring goods for grocery donations to hunger-relief charities. (For information on how long products stay good enough to eat, go to www.fsis.usda.gov and enter the search term “food product dating.”) Feeding America (formerly known as America’s Second Harvest) is the largest grocery donations operation in the U.S. It distributes more than 2 billion pounds of donated groceries per year to 200 food banks, which work with community-based food pantries and soup kitchens to feed the ­hungry. It’s the supermarket industry’s ­preferred channel of distribution for “unsalable” products, according to Troy Beeler, senior manager of sales and sales promotion for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, a trade group. Feeding America works with almost every major food manufacturer and grocery chain, as well as the agricultural industry, to collect items that aren’t suitable for retail sale but are still “safe and nutritious,” says Ross Fraser, the operation’s spokesman. Besides expiring goods, the mix of grocery donations includes bruised produce, items with missing labels, overstocks, and discontinued merchandise. Feeding America asks supermarkets to freeze fresh meat shortly before its sell-by date, which provides an extra 60 to 90 days to distribute the food. Some stores make grocery donations directly to local groups. Florida-based Publix, for example, gives store-made baked goods to homeless shelters, food pantries, after-school centers, and churches. And some foods are tossed. Costco is reluctant to give away leftover rotisserie chickens out of safety concerns over how they’re handled once they leave the store. There’s no way of knowing the used/tossed ratio, but stores are trying to better match supply with demand and reduce the amount of expiring food. For many years, supermarkets were reluctant to donate perishables because executives worried about lawsuits stemming from consumption of bad food—even if spoilage occurred after the products left the store. But the federal Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which was signed into law in 1996, allayed many fears by shielding companies from liability as long as the food was donated in good faith. Posted: October 2008 — Consumer Reports Magazine issue: November 2008
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    Some expired food stays on shelves

    Some expired foods stay on shelves PAST DUE   We found these expired products in an hour at a single store on May 20. Sure, you check the sell-by date before buying milk, but many other products might also be past their prime. That’s what we found when we sent seven mystery shoppers to look for expired food in 31 supermarkets and supercenters in Connecticut, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington state. Although the Michigan and Washington shoppers found no expired products, the rest found a total of 72 items that were past their sell-by dates. (We didn’t count multiples of identical products.)The Texas shopper found 23 products at four of eight stores. They included yogurts, dips, cottage cheese, and hot dogs, cold cuts, and other processed meats. The Connecticut shopper went to two stores and found 22 items, including ground meat, shrimp cocktail, and carrot juice. Most ancient of all was a tub of cream cheese. Our New York shopper bought it on May 20, 2008. Its expiration date: Jan. 21, 2008.Except for infant formula and some baby food, product dating is not required by the federal government. But more than 20 states mandate it for some foods.“Sell by” indicates the last day on which a product should be sold. It takes into account time for the food to be used at home. Milk, for example, is OK for about seven days after the sell-by date. “Use by” indicates the last date the product is likely to be at peak flavor and quality.CR’s take. Check sell-by dates, especially on dairy items and meats. If you see an expired product in the store, tell a manager. If you’ve brought one home, consider returning it for a refund.
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    Beef labels: Organic beef, grass-fed beef.

    What are they feeding that cow? “Organic,” “natural,” “Biodynamic,” “grass fed,” “free range.” Those are some of the labels found on beef packages these days. But their ability to help you minimize your risk of mad-cow disease varies widely. Two labels, organic and Biodynamic (trademarked), provide a reasonably reliable guarantee that the beef comes from the animals least likely to carry the disease. Those cattle were never fed certain animal by-products--blood, organ parts, and nerve tissue--that are the chief means of transmitting this brain-wasting illness. But you may have to shop outside your supermarket to find beef with those labels. Both labels describe farming methods that ban animal by-products in cattle feed. The ban is enforced via inspections by independent parties: the U.S. Department of Agriculture for organic, and the Demeter Association, a private nonprofit group, for Biodynamic, an organic farming method that uses some spiritual principles. In addition, some national beef brands, including Coleman Natural Beef, Meyer Natural Angus, and Niman Ranch, say in their literature and on their Web sites that their cattle are raised on all-grain diets. While we have no reason to disbelieve those claims, they’re not independently verified. The claims “100 percent grass fed” and “grass fed only,” which may appear on other companies’ packaging, would be useful if true, but they’re not verified, either. A proposal by the USDA for an optional verification program for “process claims,” including feeding methods, would only add to the confusion. Products that passed an inspection could carry a “USDA Process Verified” shield next to the label “grass fed” if as little as 80 percent of the feed were grass, with no limits on the other 20 percent; “grain fed” could be used with a diet of as little as 50 percent grain. The agency has delayed implementation of the rule after protests from farmer and consumer groups, including Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. The terms “free range” and “natural” are less helpful. “Free range” merely means that the animal was not confined to a feed lot. The label says nothing about what it was fed. The USDA defines “natural” as “minimally processed,” with no preservatives or artificial ingredients. But that applies to all raw beef cuts, since they’re never processed. For more about meat labels and mad-cow disease, go to www.eco-labels.org .
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    How to pack a healthy, safe lunch

    How to pack a healthy, safe lunch   VIDEO: Healthy LunchesAll videos How can parents make their children's school lunches healthier? And what steps can parents take to ensure lunch food is safe, especially during the warmer months?Many Americans are overweight, which can increase the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1980-2004 show the number of overweight children in the U.S. ages 2 to 5 years increased from 5 percent to 14 percent; overweight kids ages 6 to 11 years increased from 7 percent to 19 percent; and overweight adolescents ages 12 to 19 years increased from 5 percent to 17 percent.What can you do to buck this trend? Provide healthier foods at home and educate your children on better nutritional choices. Hopefully, your child will remember your sound advice when standing in the cafeteria lunch line. And many schools have instituted healthy guidelines for their cafeterias.Here are some creative ideas for making the school lunches you pack healthier: Include fruits and vegetables. It's likely that many kids are not eating the recommended servings per day (3½ cups for girls ages 9 to 13 and 4 cups for boys ages 9 to 13), so be sure to include these food groups at lunch Toss in carrots and celery sticks and a low-fat dressing or dip to encourage eating them. Too time consuming to cut veggies? Buy a vegetable tray or veggie snack pack from the supermarket. These prepackaged veggies are convenient and may come with a low-fat dressing or dip. Add darker-colored leafy lettuce, such as red or green leaf (not iceberg) to sandwiches. Offer cherries, grapes, pineapple chunks, or other smaller fruit as a welcome change to apples and oranges. Provide variety with a mix of dried fruit (such as apricots, banana chips, cranberries, mangoes, and raisins) with nuts. Nuts can also contribute vitamin E and omega 3s. Add fruit (such as apples, bananas, and blueberries) or vegetables (such as carrots, zucchini, and other squashes) in muffins. Depending on the recipe, kids might not even notice the veggies. Avoid luncheon meats with lots of fat and sodium. Bologna and salami are two lunch meats that have quite a bit of fat. Many deli meats and prepackaged luncheon meats come in lower fat, lean, and lower-sodium versions. Incorporate leftovers. Instead of the same old luncheon meats or peanut butter and jelly, try packing a lunch with leftover pasta, soup, or chili. As a change, try whole-wheat pasta, barley soup, or vegetarian chili to give your child more whole grains and beans. Add vegetables to whole-wheat pasta to get more of this important food group. Try alternatives to white bread. Make sandwiches interesting with a variety of breads, pitas, or crackers, especially those with whole grain. This will help to achieve the 3 ounces of whole grains per day recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also, low- or no-sodium and lower-fat crackers are healthier choices. Or make mini-wrap sandwiches using 4-inch whole-wheat tortillas or try flavored ones like spinach or red pepper. Pack milk or water, not juice or soda. It is best to limit juice and soda since they can be high in sugar and/or caffeine. Opt instead for low-fat milk, which is a good source of calcium, or water. But if your child only drinks juice, look for 100 percent juice or a fruit-and-veggie juice that kids actually might try. This is another way to help get those five servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Include portion-controlled snacks. These are OK on occasion, especially if the portion size is controlled (such as 100-calorie snack packs) and they are baked or whole grain. Other smart snacks are unsalted pretzels, applesauce (no added sugar), low-fat yogurt, unbuttered and unsalted popcorn, apple slices with peanut butter, graham crackers, gingersnap cookies, low- or reduced-fat string cheese, baked, whole-grain tortilla chips with salsa, and whole-grain cereal (not the sugary kind).Since September and October can be warm months, it is important to keep lunches safe from pathogens that can cause food-borne illness. Here are some tips on packing a safer lunch: Make sure to wash your hands before preparing lunches, and remind kids to wash their hands before they eat. In case they forget, toss in some moist towelettes for hand cleaning. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Always include a cold pack for foods that need refrigeration and those lunches that contain perishable ingredients, such as mayonnaise. If foods and drinks can be frozen, they will provide some extra protection and will thaw in the lunch box. An insulated, tightly sealed container, such as a Thermos, should be used for hot foods. When packing perishables, choose an insulated lunch box or bag rather than paper. Paper bags might not maintain the temperature of the foods as well as the insulated kind. For tips on choosing a safe lunch bag, see Lunch boxes for back to school. Tell your kids not to store their lunches in warm spots (near the classroom window or near the radiator during the colder months). Inquire whether the school has a refrigerator for students to store their lunch. Pack foods that have a longer shelf life without refrigeration, such as bread, granola bars, trail mix, popcorn, baked chips, raw vegetables (such as carrots and celery), fresh or dried fruit, soy beverages (and other aseptically packaged drinks such as milk or juice boxes and bags), beef jerky, peanut butter, or nuts. Wash and thoroughly dry insulated lunch boxes daily. This could help keep germs in check. Remind kids to discard perishable leftovers such as meat, poultry, egg sandwiches, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.
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  • 09/21/09--13:10: Right fish, least risk
  • Right fish, least risk

    Right fish, least risk Fish is rich in omega-3s and other nutrients. But some species may contain excessive amounts of certain pollutants. The most comprehensive data on those pollutants involve mercury. The amounts of that heavy metal in some fish can harm the nervous system of a fetus or young child; whether they do so in adults isn't clear. While studies show that eating fish generally reduces the overall death rate, it's wise to minimize any potential risks from pollutants.YOUR CHOICES• Most people should eat a variety of fish, frequently choosing the species in the table below that don't have any asterisks. (Fish marked with one asterisk may be high in mercury.) Most people should eat no more than 8 ounces a month of the species marked with two asterisks, which contain the most mercury--shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Note that prepared breaded and fried fish are generally poor choices, since they tend to be high in heart-unhealthy trans fat and low in omega-3s.• Women who are nursing or pregnant or who may become pregnant should avoid the species with two asterisks and eat no more than 8 ounces per week of those fish with one asterisk. They should heed any warnings from their state, posted on the Internet, about locally caught fish that may be contaminated.• Children under age 5 should eat none of the asterisked fish, except white tuna. That should be limited to 1.5 ounces per week. State warnings generally apply to young children as well.KEEPING FISH FRESH• Choose fish that looks neither dry nor slimy and that doesn't smell excessively "fishy."• Refrigerate fresh fish as soon as possible. If you won't be eating it within a day, wrap it tightly and put it in the freezer. 3-oz. serving (steamed or baked, except where noted) Omega-3 content (EPA & DHA, in g) SALMON, ATLANTIC 1.8 g HERRING, ATLANTIC 1.7 SALMON, PINK, CANNED 1.4 WHITEFISH 1.4 TUNA, BLUEFIN * 1.3 MACKEREL, ATLANTIC 1.0 TROUT, RAINBOW 1.0 BLUEFISH 0.8 SARDINES, OIL-CANNED 0.8 MUSSELS, BLUE 0.7 SWORDFISH ** 0.7 TUNA, WATER-CANNED, WHITE * 0.7 BASS, FRESHWATER * 0.6 SHARK (fried) ** 0.6 POLLOCK, ATLANTIC 0.5 CRAB, ALASKAN KING 0.4 HALIBUT * 0.4 SOLE/FLOUNDER 0.4 MACKEREL, KING ** 0.3 OYSTERS (raw) 0.3 PERCH, OCEAN 0.3 SHRIMP 0.3 CATFISH, FARMED 0.2 CLAMS 0.2 COD, PACIFIC 0.2 TUNA, WATER-CANNED, LIGHT 0.2 TUNA, OIL-CANNED, LIGHT 0.1 The recommended intake of EPA plus DHA omega-3s for most adults is at least 2 grams per week. * May be high in mercury; see text for precautions. ** Contains the most mercury. Sources: For omega-3s, USDA; for mercury, FDA, Environmental Protection Agency, and Consumer Reports tests. Read our complete Ratings report and related information on fish-oil pills (available to subscribers).
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    Chicken safety, resistance to antibiotics

    Resistance to antibiotics We took a random selection of 162 bacteria samples from chicken that tested positive for campylobacter and 80 that tested positive for salmonella and determined how many samples resisted antibiotics that are usually effective against those pathogens. Resistant indicates the percentage of samples in which bacteria beat the antibiotic. You might end up taking a drug for longer or trying several before finding one that clears the infection. Differences among brands couldn’t be evaluated because the sample size was small. Each color represents a class of antibiotics. Within classes, drugs are in alphabetical order. Salmonella Resistant Kanamycin 19% Streptomycin 38 Amoxicillin/clavulanic acid 30 Ampicillin 30 Cefoxitin 35 Ceftiofur 31 Ceftriaxone 0 Nalidixic acid 3 Sulfisoxazole 28 Tetracycline 70 One or more drugs 84   Campylobacter Resistant Azithromycin 7% Erythromycin 7 Telithromycin 4 Clindamycin 3 Ciprofloxacin 20 Nalidixic acid 19 Tetracycline 57 One or more drugs 67  31 percent of samples were somewhat resistant: The antibiotic inhibited bacterial growth but did not stop it.Among more-effective drugs on salmonella (0 or 1 percent bacteria samples were resistant): amikacin, gentamicin. chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole.Among more-effective drugs on campylobacter: gentamicin, florfenicol.
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    Chicken safety, personal account

    Stricken by chicken? Photography by Ann Schertz WHO Leighton Kunkle, 40, beauty-supply distributor, Perrysville, Ind.What HAPPENED Kunkle suspects that he was infected with campylobacter from undercooked chicken strips he ate at a Phoenix restaurant while on a family vacation in March 2002. “It was lukewarm,” he said. “I was starving, so I really didn’t care. I ate it.” The initial gastrointestinal symptoms were bad, he recalls. Days later, he began to lose feeling in his feet and legs. He was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a severe nerve condition, and says he still has problems walking. A lawsuit he filed against the restaurant was settled out of court in April 2006 without admission of liability.
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    Chicken safety: Dangerous bacteria, Contamination

    Dirty birds Even ‘premium’ chickens harbor dangerous bacteria Illustration by Stuart Bradford If you eat undercooked or mishandled chicken, our new tests indicate, you have a good chance of feeling miserable. CR’s analysis of fresh, whole broilers bought nationwide revealed that 83 percent harbored campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease.That’s a stunning increase from 2003, when we reported finding that 49 percent tested positive for one or both pathogens. Leading chicken producers have stabilized the incidence of salmonella, but spiral-shaped campylobacter has wriggled onto more chickens than ever. And although the U.S. Department of Agriculture tests chickens for salmonella against a federal standard, it has not set a standard for campylobacter.Our results show there should be. More than ever, it’s up to consumers to make sure they protect themselves by cooking chicken to at least 165° F and guarding against ­cross-contamination.Think premium brands are safer? Overall, chickens labeled as organic or raised without antibiotics and costing $3 to $5 per pound were more likely to harbor salmonella than were conventionally produced broilers that cost more like $1 per pound.Moreover, most of the bacteria we tested from all types of contaminated chicken showed resistance to one or more anti­biotics, including some fed to chickens to speed their growth and those prescribed to humans to treat infections. The findings suggest that some people who are sickened by chicken might need to try several antibiotics before finding one that works.In the largest national analysis of contamination and anti­biotic resistance in store-bought chicken ever published, we tested 525 fresh, whole broilers bought at supermarkets, mass merchandisers, gourmet shops, and ­natural-food stores in 23 states last spring. Represented in our tests were four leading brands (Foster Farms, Perdue, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Tyson) and 10 organic and 12 nonorganic no-antibiotics brands, including three that are “air chilled” in a newer slaughterhouse process designed to re­duce contamination. Among our findings: Campylobacter was present in 81 percent of the chickens, salmonella in 15 percent; both bacteria in 13 percent. Only 17 percent had neither pathogen. That’s the lowest percentage of clean birds in all four of our tests since 1998, and far less than the 51 percent of clean birds we found for our 2003 report. No major brand fared better than others overall. Foster Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, and Tyson chickens were lower in salmonella incidence than Perdue, but they were higher in campylobacter. There was an exception to the poor showing of most premium chickens. As in our previous tests, Ranger--a no-antibiotics brand sold in the Northwest--was extremely clean. Of the 10 samples we analyzed, none had salmonella, and only two had campylobacter. Among all brands, 84 percent of the salmonella and 67 percent of the campylobacter organisms we analyzed showed resistance to one or more antibiotics. HOW THE BUGS GET TO YOUChickens become contaminated in many ways, among them by pecking at insects that pick up bacteria from the environment, pecking at droppings that carry germs, or drinking contaminated water. Both salmonella and campylobacter colonize the birds’ intestines (usually without harm), but birds typically harbor more campylobacter than salmonella, and it spreads through flocks faster.Among the measures taken to limit bacteria in chicken houses: disinfecting coops that may hold as many as 30,000 birds, shielding against bacterial carriers such as insects and rodents, ensuring that feed is clean, and using powerful ventilation systems to keep the chickens’ bedding drier and less inviting to germs. But when a chicken is slaughtered, bacteria in its digestive tract can wind up on its carcass, where some hide in feather follicles.To keep contamination in check, processors follow procedures collectively known as HACCP (pronounced hass-ip). The initials stand for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, the consumer’s main protection against contaminated chicken. HACCP requires companies to spell out where contamination could be controlled during processing, then build in procedures--such as scalding carcasses--to prevent it.But our tests show the current practices aren’t enough. Bell & Evans, producer of ­broilers raised without antibiotics, spent $30 million to modernize its processing plant in 2005, including $9 million for a high-tech air-chill system designed in part to reduce cross-contamination. The system whisks carcasses on two miles of track through chambers in which they’re misted and chilled with air, then submerged in an antimicrobial dip. Tom Stone, the company’s marketing director, says the measures helped reduce the rate of salmonella to less than 3 percent in recent in-house tests of chickens done before packaging. But in our tests of 28 store-bought chickens, 5 of the Bell & Evans samples had salmonella and 19 had campylobacter.When contaminated chickens arrive at supermarkets, problems can multiply. Just one slip-up in storage, handling, or cooking, and you’re at risk. Both salmonella and campylobacter can cause intestinal distress, and campylobacter can also lead to meningitis, arthritis, and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a neurological disorder. Campylobacter and salmonella from all food sources sickened more than 3.4 million Americans and killed more than 700, according to the latest estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dating from 1999.The CDC notes that the rate of ­laboratory-confirmed infections has decreased somewhat since 2001. However, the toll may be far higher than the numbers indicate because only a small percentage of foodborne illnesses are reported to public-health authorities. The CDC said that in 2004, poultry was involved in 24 percent of outbreaks in which a single product was identified, up from 20 percent in 1998. Also in 2004, the CDC noted, 53 percent of campylobacter samples and 18 percent of salmonella samples were resistant to at least one antibiotic.WHAT THE NUMBERS SHOWEDContamination. Among the major brands, campylobacter incidence ranged from 74 percent, in Perdue, to 89 percent, in Tyson. Samples from organic and ­no-antibiotics brands, as a group, averaged within that range.Salmonella incidence in Foster Farms, Tyson, and Pilgrim’s Pride was 3 percent, 5 percent, and 8 percent, respectively--notably lower than in the organic and no-­antibiotics types, which had an overall incidence of roughly 25 percent.None of Ranger’s 10 samples harbored salmonella. We questioned Rick Koplowitz, chief executive officer of Draper Valley Farms, which raises Ranger chickens, but he revealed no unusual measures to prevent contamination.Antibiotic resistance. When we took bacteria samples from contaminated broilers and tested for sensitivity to antibiotics, there was evidence of resistance not just to individual drugs but to multiple classes of drugs. That indicates there may be fewer to choose from, and infections may be more stubborn. We didn’t have enough data to assess whether there were differences in resistance among brands.It’s not surprising that we found ­antibiotic-resistant bacteria even in chickens that were raised without antibiotics: Those germs are widespread and can persist in the environment.Twenty percent of campylobacter samples were resistant to ciprofloxacin (Cipro), a drug similar to the one the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned chicken producers from using as of September 2005 to protect its effectiveness in people.HOLES IN THE SAFETY NETInspectors for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) check carcasses in each plant and reject those with visible fecal matter, defects, and signs of illness. They also collect one broiler on each of 51 consecutive days of chicken production and have it tested for salmonella. Asked if the agency has enough funds to inspect chickens adequately, FSIS spokesman Steven Cohen said it did.Plants that produce more than 12 salmonella-positive samples during that time fail to meet the minimum federal standard. When a plant fails, the USDA can suspend chicken production, but it has no authority to levy fines and can’t close plants by withdrawing inspectors solely because a plant doesn’t meet the federal salmonella standard, a federal court ruled in 2001. To get processors to clean up their act, the USDA threatened in February 2006 to publicly disclose processors’ salmonella test results.A nonprofit group beat the agency to it. In July 2006, Food & Water Watch, an environmental health organization based in Washington, D.C., published the names of 106 chicken processing plants--including some operated by the four leading brands we tested--that failed federal salmonella standards in at least one test period between 1998 and 2005. When we contacted those four companies for comment, all said they’ve taken steps to reduce salmonella contamination.In August 2006, the USDA reported that the rate of positive salmonella tests in broilers had jumped to 16.3 percent in 2005, up from 11.5 percent in 2002. Richard Lobb, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council, a trade group, said it’s not clear why the rate went up in 2005, but he cited preliminary government data indicating that it has since declined. Cohen of the FSIS added that the agency has begun an initiative aimed at curbing salmonella by focusing on plants that failed the federal standard or had problems meeting it.That leaves campylobacter. Now that a test method was recently validated, Cohen said, the USDA has announced it will begin collecting data on campylobacter in broilers in processing plants nationwide. It’s too soon to say whether data collection will lead to a federal limit and routine testing, he added.Based on our tests, that’s what needs to happen. All indications are that it won’t be easy to banish campylobacter, but the government can start by implementing a realistic standard, then start testing and monitoring in processing plants. Some of the chicken producers we asked said they already target campylobacter in HACCP plans. Others said they assume that what works against salmonella will also work against campylobacter. Clearly, it doesn’t.“The USDA has moved at glacial speeds on controlling campylobacter in the chicken industry,” says Caroline Smith De Waal, director of food safety for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. For more on how the government can make food safer, see Food safety .WHAT YOU CAN DOMake chicken one of the last items you buy before heading to the checkout line. If you choose organic, no-­antibiotics, or air-chilled chicken, do so for reasons other than avoiding bacteria. In the supermarket, choose well-wrapped chicken, and put it in a plastic bag to keep juices from leaking. Store chicken at 40° F or below. If you won’t use it for a couple of days, freeze it. Thaw frozen chicken in a refrigerator (in its packaging and on a plate), or on a plate in a microwave oven. Cook chicken thawed in a microwave oven right away. Separate raw chicken from other foods. Immediately after preparing it, wash your hands with soap and water, and clean anything you or raw chicken touched. To kill harmful bacteria, cook chicken to at least 165° F. Don’t return cooked meat to the plate that held it raw. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking.
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    Chicken safety, levels of contamination

    Germ count Levels of contamination Below, the percentages of tested broilers that harbored campylobacter or salmonella. We analyzed 78 chickens for each major brand and a total of 86 chickens for USDA organic brands and 125 for no-­antibiotics brands. Figures are averages for brands and types. Ranking is based on contamination with campylobacter, more prevalent than salmonella. Bell & Evans (air-chilled), Buddy’s, Coleman, MBA Brand Smart Chicken (air-chilled), Murray’s, North Country Farms, Ranger, Rocky, Rocky Jr., Springer Mountain Farms, Wegman’s, and Whole Foods.  Coastal Range, Coleman, D’Artagnan, Eberly’s, Maverick Ranch, MBA Brand Smart Chicken (air-chilled), Organic Raised Right, Rosie, Whole Foods, and Wise.
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  • 09/21/09--13:10: Chicken safety, terminology
  • Chicken safety, terminology

    Bird words Air-chilled. Carcass was subjected to cold air and mist, designed to inhibit microbial growth. The alternative: dipping carcasses in icy chlorinated water, which can cause cross-contamination if improperly managed.Free-farmed. The American Humane Association verified that the chickens were raised in a healthful environment and had access to enough clean food and water.Free-range, free-roaming. Poultry has had access to the outdoors, even if that means only that the door to the chicken house was left open briefly each day.Fresh. The bird’s internal temperature has never dropped below 24° F. Still, the chicken may be slightly frozen.Kosher. The chicken was prepared according to Jewish dietary laws. Salt was added as part of the process.Natural. No artificial ingredients, preservatives, or color were added. The bird was “minimally processed” in a way that did not fundamentally alter the raw product.No antibiotics administered, raised without antibiotics. Don’t assume this was verified unless you also see “USDA organic.”No hormones. Pointless: The USDA prohibits the use of hormones in raising poultry.USDA organic. A USDA-accredited certifier has checked that the chicken company followed standards, including: Chickens were raised without antibiotics, ate 100 percent organic feed without animal byproducts, and could go outdoors (though they may not have). For more about labels, see www.eco-labels.org.
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    Animal feed and the food supply, what you can do

    What you can do     Any problems involving animal feed would most likely occur before beef, chicken, or fish reaches your refrigerator. But consumers can still take action. To start, you can visit www.notinmyfood.org, a public-policy Web site of Consumers Union. Click on Feed-Rule Action to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to act on issues raised in this report. To avoid meat from animals fed animal by-products, drugs, or grain grown with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, look for beef or chicken certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You might have to shop around: Organic beef and chicken account for less than 1 percent of U.S. sales, according to the Organic Trade Association. Don’t spend extra for fish labeled organic: The USDA has not established standards for fish. The claims “no antibiotics administered,” “no hormones administered,” and “no chemicals added” are unverified. So are claims by some beef brands that their cattle are raised on an all-grain or all-grass diet. For more about meat labels, visit the CU Web site at www.eco-labels.org. As of April 4, 2005, unprocessed fresh and frozen seafood sold in U.S. markets must be labeled “wild” or “farm-raised” and marked with its country of origin. Salmon from open waters is sold for as much as $15 per pound, three times as much as farmed, but it may be worth looking for in season: Studies show that wild salmon tend to have lower levels of some contaminants; and wild salmon (and shrimp) are likely to be free of antibiotics. Although the FDA stresses that salmon contains heart-healthy fatty acids and says that contaminant levels in farmed fish don’t warrant eating less, it’s sensible to limit exposure to any potential carcinogen if possible.  
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    Animal feed and the food supply, Seafood: Farmed vs. wild

    Seafood: Farmed vs. wild     The issue: Contaminants • What they are PCBs, dioxins, and flame retardants. • How they could get in feed Farmed-salmon feed can contain oil and meal from fish caught in polluted waters. • The danger PCBs and dioxins are likely carcinogens in humans. • The solution Industry should use feed fish from cleaner waters and find substitutes for fish oil. The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of imported seafood. And there’s a lot of ensuring to do: About 80 percent of seafood sold in the U.S. is imported. Yet the FDA tests only about 2 percent of those imports, mainly for drug residues. In January 2004, the GAO reported that despite an earlier recommendation, the FDA had not established agreements with other countries to document that their seafood-safety systems are as stringent as the U.S. system. Salmon are one of the major imports. They’re high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but their fat also tends to accumulate toxins consumed in the wild or on fish farms. In the wild, a salmon’s meal of choice is smaller fish. On farms, salmon are typically fed concentrated fish meal and fish oil. Results of a study led by Ronald Hites, Ph.D., an environmental chemist at Indiana University, and published in the Oct. 1, 2004, issue of Environmental Science & Technology showed that farmed salmon tended to have higher levels of PBDEs, flame retardants used in polyurethane foam, than wild salmon. PBDEs have become ubiquitous in the environment and appear to have found their way into farmed-fish feed. They have posed neurological problems in animals; their toxicity in humans isn’t known. The Hites team also reported in the journal Science in January 2004 that compared with wild salmon, farmed salmon had more PCBs and dioxins, likely carcinogens. On its own, each contaminant was well below the FDA’s tolerance level. But some samples had combined concentrations high enough to trigger local consumption advisories. The data indicated that farmed salmon from Europe were more contaminated than those from North and South America. Two major international fish-feed producers, EWOS Ltd. of Norway and Nutreco Aquaculture of the Netherlands, test their feed for contaminants, and spokesmen say they’ve taken steps to reduce levels of PCBs and dioxins. Nutreco Aquaculture, for example, has increased the substitution of vegetable oil for fish oil, says Viggo Halseth, managing director of the company’s research center. The FDA is concerned, however, that some foreign fish and seafood producers are adding unapproved drugs to feed, leaving traces in food that could pose human health risks. Since 2003, foreign shipments of farmed salmon reportedly tainted with malachite green, a fungicide not approved for aquaculture use in the U.S., have been stopped in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, according to press reports. This fiscal year, the FDA plans to test catfish--80 samples of domestic, 80 of imported--for malachite-green residues. Tests from fiscal years 2001-03 have found no residues. Plans to test salmon are on hold, an FDA spokeswoman says, while the agency assesses detection methods. Chloramphenicol, a potent antibiotic and suspected carcinogen, is another cause for concern. Although federal regulations prohibit its use in animal feed, chloramphenicol has been found in shrimp imported to the U.S. The Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry began testing imported shrimp in 2002. Ten percent of its samples to date have been tainted with the drug. This and other incidents here and abroad led the FDA to announce increased testing of imported seafood for chloramphenicol. Currently, the agency collects just eight samples of imported shrimp each week, according to an FDA spokeswoman. “We are concerned about chloramphenicol and malachite green and other veterinary drugs that are not allowed in the United States because there are serious health concerns,” says Stephen Sundlof at the FDA. The agency is trying to work with other countries to help them resolve problems with medications unapproved in the U.S., he adds.  
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