Appalling

Today’s New York Times published a front-page report about starvation of millions of people in Yemen, including toddlers like 20-month old Jenna Ali Hatem. America’s inaction and relative silence about this humanitarian crisis is horribly wrong.

Juxtaposing that image of famine with an article about Thanskgiving feasts should give us all pause. Little more than age and luck separate the girls in these photos. As we enter the holiday season, please do more to help those who can’t help themselves.

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Categories: hunger

Pret A Manger and Restaurant Liability For Food Allergy Injuries

Restaurants can be held responsible for food allergy injuries and deaths, so it is important that they provide accurate information to food-allergic consumers. Thanks to @marketwatch for the opportunity to discuss these issues.

Pret a Manger

Image credit: Getty Images

Nacho cheese sauce blamed for botulism food poisoning cases in Sacramento

CNN is reporting an outbreak of botulism food poisoning allegedly caused by nacho cheese from a convenience store.

Categories: Uncategorized

Real Food/Fake Food

September 13, 2016 Leave a comment

I’m honored to be quoted in Larry Olmsted’s New York Times bestseller, Real Food Fake Food.

Food fraud is a recurring and pervasive problem in many industries – seafood, olive oil, wine, honey, and many more; even rice.

Why food fraud? Much is economically motivated, i.e., follow the money. But this can be much more than just a hit to the wallet; food that is not what it purports to be can cause injury.

How can it be stopped? Transparency and traceability are two tools that can help. Some consumers are also turning to class action lawsuits to try and clean up the industry.

Legislators Question Epi-Pen Price Spikes


Image Credits: Mylan (R), New York Times

Following up on my posting about why Epi-Pen prices have increased 5-6X in 12 years, the New York Times reports that a bipartisan group of legislators is questioning the basis for these price spikes.

As the medicine and injection technology have not changed in years, consumers have also started an on-line petition to Stop the Epi Pen Price Gouging.

Mylan’s virtual monopoly limits access to life-or-death medication and disproportionately redistributes public dollars for private gain.

Food Fraud – More Emerging Risks

August 3, 2016 1 comment

fake rice image

Image Credit: Mauro Alvarees and Q Costa Rica

Just when I thought I understood the vast extent of food fraud, FoodLawLatest reported about another one: rice made from plastic. Rice is one of the cheapest foods available, so I had not considered that it presented a risk of economic fraud.

If someone is making a profit from selling a food, then there is a motive and opportunity for someone else to sell a counterfeit version of it. This problem is worldwide — from fake bottled water in China, to counterfeit Smirnoff vodka in Europe, to mislabeled seafood in the U.S. And this problem is not limited to high-value products.

Although some fraudsters are criminally prosecuted, some consumers who discover food fraud seek justice with class action lawsuits.

 

Why Have EpiPen Costs Spiked 5-6X in 12 Years?

epipen2pak03mgpng

Image Credit: Mylan(R)

Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli isn’t the only one charging new prices for old medicine. It appears that Mylan, the manufacturer of the EpiPen, has increased the price of its emergency epinephrine injection 5-6X over the last 12 years, according to this article in Slate.

It is true that EpiPen can be a lifesaver in a food allergy emergency that causes anaphylaxis. However, this was also true 12 years ago, and it appears that the technology and medication have changed little in the interim.

So what changed? Marketing that turned this modest medication into a billion-dollar profit center. (Mylan offers a co-pay coupon for prescriptions, but many people still pay too high a price and risk their lives with cheaper and riskier ways to inject emergency epinephrine.)

Hopefully, Teva (and other generic drug companies) will soon be able to market a safe and (cost) effective alternative for the captive market of anaphylactic consumers.

Categories: Food Allergies Tags: