FDA issues consumption warning

While some Federal health officials in Washington continue to warn against the risks posed by foods with high levels of fat, sodium or cholesterol, others are sounding the alert about new dangers associated with some of the most nutritionally elite foods.

Citing "reports of increasing numbers of illnesses associated with consumption of raw sprouts," Food and Drug Admin. officials cautioned against eating raw alfalfa, clover or radish sprouts.

The danger is particularly great among children, the elderly and persons with weakened immune systems, agency officials noted. Sprout growers have been working to enhance the safety of their products through seed treatment strategies, good manufacturing practices and improved sanitation since concerns were first raised about these items in 1995.

"Despite all these efforts to make raw sprouts safer, we continue to receive reports of illnesses associated with raw sprouts," said FDA Commissioner Jane E. Henney. "Consumers need to understand that, at this time, the best way to control this risk is not to eat sprouts."

Separate safety concerns have been raised about another food often associated with a healthy lifestyle: orange juice. Warning that unpasteurized orange juice products distributed by an Arizona processor may be contaminated with Salmonella Muenchen, FDA officials are working with the company to execute a nationwide recall of affected stocks.

Though not required under current Federal law, pasteurization can reduce or eliminate the danger of such contamination in fruit juices.



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