CFSAN News for Educators

CFSAN News for Educators

September/October 2014

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Falling into Autumn

Welcome to CFSAN’s News for Educators – the at-a-glance bi-monthly e-news from FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). This edition welcomes the fall foliage season with current information on food safety at picnics/tailgate parties; tips for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and an overview of roles in the event of a cosmetics recall. Don't miss the current list of upcoming meetings and events from FDA!

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Tailgating Tips

Image of a person picking an apple from cooler stocked with fruits and vegetables.With Labor Day picnics and autumn tailgating season around the corner, there will be lots of opportunities for outdoor fun with family and friends. Remind consumers that even though they may not be eating at home, prevention of foodborne illness is still important. The following tips can help keep food safe from the refrigerator/freezer ... all the way to the picnic table or stadium parking lot.

  • Clean your produce. Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables (including those with skins or rinds that are not eaten) under running tap water before packing them in the cooler. For firm-skinned fruits and vegetables, rub (or scrub with a clean vegetable brush) under running tap water. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth towel or paper towel. Packaged fruits and vegetables that are labeled "ready-to-eat," "washed," or "triple washed" need not be re-washed.
  • Organize cooler contents. Consider packing beverages in one cooler and perishable foods (that won't be opened as often) in another. Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood securely wrapped to keep juices from contaminating prepared/cooked foods or foods that will be eaten raw, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep cold food cold. Place cold food in a cooler with ice or frozen gel packs. Cold food should be stored at 40°F or below to prevent bacterial growth. Meat, poultry, and seafood may be packed while still frozen so that they stay colder longer. Once at the picnic or tailgate site, try to limit the number of times the cooler is opened; this helps to keep the contents cold longer.

Online Resource:

Encourage consumers to visit FDA's online picnicking information that includes additional guidelines for packing and transporting food, quick tips for picnic/tailgate site prep, safe grilling tips, and ideas for serving hot and cold foods safely.

It's National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Image of Nutrition Facts LableThe Nutrition Facts Label is found on packaged foods and beverages … and it can serve as a great tool that lets kids know exactly what they're eating and helps them choose and compare snacks and other foods. That's why September is a perfect month for you to revisit FDA's Read the Label Youth Outreach Campaign! This nationwide grassroots initiative unites kids, families and community outreach leaders in using the Nutrition Fact Label as a key component to equip today's youth to achieve a healthy childhood weight and promote long-term good health! Young people can use the Label to:

  • Check the serving size. All of the nutrition information listed on the Nutrition Facts Label is based on one serving of that food. Remind kids that it's quite common for one package to contain more than one serving.

  • Consider the calories. In general, 100 calories per serving is moderate and 400 is high. Share the fact that if you eat more than one serving of a food, you're getting 2 — or more — times the calories listed on the label … and challenge kids to try to keep track of how many calories they consume in an entire day!

  • Choose nutrients wisely. There are certain nutrients that young people should aim to get "less of." Kids can use the Percent Daily Value (%DV) on the Nutrition Facts Label to find foods that are lower in sodium, saturated fat, and sugars. Here's an easy guideline: 5%DV or less of a nutrient means the food is low in that nutrient, and 20%DV or more means it's high!

Online Resource:

Invite kids (and families) to visit FDA's Read the Label Youth Outreach Campaign for a wealth of activities and printables. In addition, invite them to watch "Your Food Is Trying To Tell You Something disclaimer icon" — a new video short designed especially for kids!

About Cosmetics Recalls

Image of MedWatch logoChances are that your constituents are familiar with FDA's role in requesting food recalls. But are they also aware of FDA's role in cosmetic recalls? Recalls can result from problems ranging from minor labeling deficiencies to serious health problems. Successful treatment of a product recall occurs when the recalling manufacturer, FDA, and consumers work together. We all play an important role in product recalls! The roles of manufacturers, FDA, and consumers in recalls of cosmetics are described below.

    • Manufacturer's Role: Cosmetics manufacturers and marketers have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of their products. Recalls of cosmetics are voluntary actions taken by manufacturers or distributors. Firms can implement policies and procedures in the event of a product recall, such as ensuring that products can be identified by lot or batch numbers and keeping a log of distributors to make a recall easier and more effective if one is needed.

    • FDA's Role: FDA does not have authority to order a recall under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, FDA may request a recall if we consider a product to be a health hazard. A health hazard may consist of undeclared allergens, presence of contaminant or impurities, microbial contamination, or labeling deficiencies. Once a product is recalled, depending on the severity of the problem, FDA monitors the recall's progress, evaluates the potential health hazard, may notify the public (if the manufacturer or distributor hasn't done so), and monitors whether the product is either destroyed or suitably reconditioned. FDA may take regulatory action if we have reliable information showing that a product violates the cosmetic safety and labeling requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In the case of imported cosmetics, FDA works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to refuse admission of a product that is not in compliance with the laws and regulations enforced by FDA.

    • Consumers' Role: Consumers help in the recall process by reporting problems. Be alert to current recalls and discontinue use of these products. If you experience an adverse reaction to a cosmetic, or even if you notice a problem such as a bad smell or "off" color, be sure you report it to FDA's MedWatch reporting system. Many recalls are initiated as a result of these reports. Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients (other than color additives) don't need FDA approval before they go on the market, and cosmetic firms don't have to share their safety information with FDA. That makes information from consumers especially important in helping FDA monitor cosmetic safety.

Online Resource:

Familiarize consumers with FDA's Cosmetics Recalls web hub; also, encourage them to learn more about FDA's authority over cosmetics. Consumers can report a problem with a cosmetic to FDA in either of these ways: 1) Contact MedWatch, FDA's problem-reporting program, on the Web or at 1-800-332-1088, or file a MedWatch voluntary report online; or 2) Contact the consumer complaint coordinator in your area. (For answers to common questions about reporting problems, see Adverse Event Reporting.)

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