Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goo-Goo Melamine, Part VI

Via ProMED-mail: the AFP reports that the FDA has issued a wider-ranging import alert for melamine-tainted Chinese "protein-containing products." This AP report provides more details:

Under the directive, FDA inspectors at U.S. ports of entry will detain foods from China made with milk and certain ingredients derived from milk. Importers must pay to have their products tested by an independent laboratory that meets FDA standards. Only products found to be melamine-free will be allowed into the country.
The order also applies to pet foods and some bulk protein products, the focus of a melamine recall in 2007.
Essentially, the FDA action shifts the burden of proof to Chinese companies, which must now supply evidence that their products are safe. Most consumers should not be affected, since major U.S. food manufacturers get their milk ingredients here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google Flu

Via Google Web Clips: Elizabeth Landau at reports on a new Google tool, Google Flu Trends.

Google's new public health initiative, Google Flu Trends, looks at the relative popularity of a slew of flu-related search terms to determine where in the U.S. flu outbreaks may be occurring.
"What's exciting about Flu Trends is that it lets anybody -- epidemiologists, health officials, moms with sick children -- learn about the current flu activity level in their own state based on data that's coming in this week," said Jeremy Ginsberg, the lead engineer who developed the site.

See also the Official Google Blog for details.