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11/12/2013

BREAKING NEWS: FDA Recalls Vega Protein Powders For Antibiotic Contamination  »

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In June, 2012 I ordered some “Natural”-flavored Vega One Nutritional Shake through Amazon. I tossed it in fruit smoothies, raw chia porridge, nut milk, and used it up until it was gone about a month later. Our own Laura Beck wrote an article earlier this year about how much she digs these shake blends!

Imagine my surprise, more than one year after purchasing and consuming this protein powder, when I received a friendly little e-mail from Amazon linking to a press release from the FDA saying the Vega One Nutritional Shake Product I bought was recalled for antibiotic containing trace amounts of chloramphenicol (CAP), an antibiotic used to treat typhoid fever and eye infections! 

Though the Vega products don’t contain any CAP in the ingredients lists, apparently some jerk enzyme supplier laced them with CAP because enzyme suppliers are crazy! According to Web MD, CAP can cause aplastic anemia and hella allergic reactions in some people. Pregnant or lactating women should not take this drug! Crap you guys, I ate a tub of this! 

Here’s a little snippet from the FDA press release:

As a precautionary measure, Vega is voluntarily withdrawing all of the listed product from the market and has taken steps to ensure all future products are CAP-free, including using a different source of enzymes to prevent further potential contamination and assure consumers of product purity. These actions complete a voluntary product withdrawal and ingredient resourcing that applied to Canadian products as well.

“We’re doing this out of an overabundance of caution and to ensure that when you go to the shelf, you never have to wonder about the purity of a Vega product,” said Charles Chang, Vega President and Founder.

The Vega products were distributed nationwide in retail stores.

People who have severe sensitivity or allergies to chloramphenicol may run the risk of an allergic reaction if they consume these products.  There have been no reported allergic reactions from the listed products.

It’s great that Vega voluntarily did this recall, and their new Vega Recall website looks snazzy! But also, like, aren’t recalls supposed to be for fucking gross meat products filled with salmonella, not vegan goodness backed by superhero athlete Brendan Brazier

I ate this protein powder and I guess I got some trace amounts of CAP in my system. I feel fine, I guess? Still, kinda lame it took this long for them to figure this all out.

I certainly can forgive them, but the question is, will Vega survive this? On that FDA press release, it says you can get a refund. When I called, a lovely French-Canadian message played. I don’t speak French, so I’ll just assume they’re closed at 8p on a Tuesday! If you ordered CAP-traced products, you can call or email Vega for a full refund: 1-866-839-8863 or www.vegarecall.com

Why are we just finding out about this a year later? What is your favorite protein powder made from plants? Feel free to discuss while I continue to fall down a Web MD antibiotic research rabbit hole.

02/24/2012

Top 10 links of the week: a hopscotch game through the playground of veganism!  »

Your cute pet video of the week! I just love how intense the kitty is. Like, so intense.

File under things that are actually a big deal—Livestock, antibiotics and superbugs: IT’S ALL TRUE! Original story in NPR but Grist has a great discussion of it.

Philly.com has a message for you: not all vegans are white! I really never got this stereotype, maybe because I’m from Philadelphia and the first vegans I ever knew were Black Panthers. Of course, it makes sense if there are more white vegans in the US than other ethnicities because there are more white people in the US than other ethnicities. Bonus: the piece features Vegan Mainstream’s mom!

 New Yorkers, take the A/C to Nostrand Avenue and get ready for an affordable fake meat extravaganza! One of Vegansaurus’ very favorite sites, Broke-Ass Stuart, is here to guide you through this reasonably-priced TVP adventure!

You’ve probably heard, but in case you haven’t, Mary Kay and some other brands have started animal testing again. Good idea? People are more aware of the cruelty-free label then ever. I hope this tanks them.

From Scientific America, a dingo named Sterling used a table to steal name tags. He’s at some kind of “Centre” that I don’t know about but still, animals are supre cool.

From Treehugger: Global warming could give rise to miniature animals. I am trying SO HARD not to be excited. I’m not, I swear.

A New York Times blog writes about Blossom’s new bakery in Manhattan!

National Geographic presents the “Rhino Wars” in pictures. Pretty sad stuff. Poor rhinos.

Fit Sugar has the lowdown on the top vegan protein sources. It’s a very short list. But I like to see us in the mainstream!

Vanity Fair has an interview with one of my faves, Brigitte Bardot! She gets into her love and activism for animals. 

“I am not playing political games,” she says. “I don’t care. I don’t bother with that. I belong to no party and I am militant for no one. All of my causes, including the most radical, are motivated by the defense of animals.” 

I love you, BB!

12/02/2011

Factory Farming = Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs. Europe Gets It.  »


Some wonky science policy news from “across the pond,” as they say: Last month, European scientists and leaders talked some big talk about how the massive insane horrible quantities of antibiotics used in factory farming are going to kill us all. 

The bad news? The massive insane horrible quantities of antibiotics used in factory farming are going to kill us all.

The good news? At least some officials, somewhere, admit it. “Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious public health challenges that we face,” says the head of Europe’s version of the CDC. And yup, overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is one of the big culprits.

This story gets really wonky really fast, so if you want details I’ll refer you to Wired.com's coverage. But I just thought you should know, so you can be saving up for your plane ticket and your villa in France. Budget option: Stay in the U.S. and buy a hazmat suit. Hipster budget option: Buy a hazmat suit on Etsy.

[photo modified from an image by friendsoffamilyfarmers on Flickr]

08/19/2011

Top 10 links of the week: a joyful skip through veganism!  »

[Downer that the whale is in captivity but we can still appreciate its beauty. PS: Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

Sorry dudes, I haven’t done links in a few weeks, so this list spans the last month or so. Were you guys sad without links? Which kinds of links do you like the best? I want to know so I can do the best possible job!

"Here’s the big secret that no one wants to talk about: We’re not very good at keeping what’s inside a cow’s intestines out of the meat." Ew. From Huffpo, "Doctors Take Aim at Antibiotic Resistance from Factory Farming.”

Apparently in Ukraine, restaurants keep bears and make them drink vodka. Well, not any more! Really though, wtf.

From Grist: “Is your Cheese Killing the Planet?” The article says, “bottom line: the vegans are right,” but I think their real message is one we’ve heard many a time: “bottom line: CHEESE IS YUM YUM! WEEEEEE!” Maybe we can add some comments.

Good piece from NYT: “Stop Using Chimps as Guinea Pigs.” Word.

Should we be surprised at cruelty in industrial farming? Em, no. An opinion piece from the Guardian.

If you liked the Teal Cat project post and want to learn more, here’s an interview with Isa all about it! Dude, it’s so cool. Right?

Some AR peeps burnt down a building in Germany that was set to be a factory farm. Discussion topic of the week: What do you think about property destruction as a form of protest in the animal rights movement? Or any movement, I guess.

I don’t know how much petitions do but if you were upset by that scary and sad story of the mama bear in the bile farm, here is one step you can take: sign this petition.

From Treehugger, study reveals mammal populations are down. Fucking A, you thought you just had to worry about the fish!

Boo has a book!

Bonus link: If I don’t say this every week, I mean this every week: don’t forget to read our Laura’s Week in Vegan over at SFWeekly every Friday! And leave comments to make her feel nice. Laura deserves to feel nice. We all do! Except some people.

07/13/2011

Are “conscientious carnivores” only fooling themselves?  »

Of course it’s better for animals to live in comfort on a nice farm instead of a hideous feedlot before they’re slaughtered for food. However, James McWilliams notes in the Atlantic, the outcome is still the same: the animals are killed, and people eat them. That’s the contradiction inherent in “conscientious carnvorism”—your conscientiousness is limited by the violence of your diet. McWilliams’ essay is interesting; he asserts that focus on "happy meat" “narrow[s] our moral vision,” which is the same point abolitionists make when arguing against so-called humane regulations to meat industry practices.

It’s a valid argument, too. What do you think? Are you pro- or anti-conscientious carnivorism? What do you think of the Humane Society’s and United Egg Producers’ proposed legislation that would improve conditions for layer hens? Would it be more profitable for us animal advocates to work toward a vegan world, or making small changes to a system to which we are morally opposed?

Of course it doesn’t matter what we do, we’re all going to die of murderous stealth E. coli and antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in five years, unless the Japanese people eating radioactive cow develop magical mutant powers and rescue us from the disastrous effects of global warming. The world is super fucking fucked.

04/15/2011

One-fourth of meat is filled with multi-drug-resistant staph!  »


Yum
! When your friends and family chow down on that burger, they’re not just eating fat, cholesterol, and rotting flesh, they’re also consuming antibiotics the animals are shot up with to keep them alive. Tasty! There are a million five-year-olds ordering Chicken McNuggets as I type this, and they have no clue their meals are served with a side of C-cup boobs before they’re seven and an early menstrual cycle! And that’s just the boys! Ugh, the whole piece in Wired is super interesting and definitely something to pass on to the meat-eaters in your life.

I think the best/worst parts are (because everyone wants my opinion!):

“We know already that most food-borne illness occurs not because of undercooked food” in which pathogens survived, Price said. “It’s from mishandling in the kitchen and cross-contamination. I think there is a risk of these strains contaminating a local environment. We don’t know what that risk is, because it has never been evaluated—but anyone who dismisses that risk is doing so without any data.”

All those people you know who are like, “Fuck it! I cook the shit out of my meat and I’ll live forever!” Let them know it doesn’t matter

And also:

Shelley Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group, told me: “The bottom line is, the more we use antibiotics in injudicious ways, the more we are compromising our ability to save human lives in the future.”

No fucking doy, but it’s nice to hear it from someone who doesn’t respond to information like this by saying, “No fucking doy.” You know? Sometimes science is our friend!

01/27/2011

Your government hates you: recalls and “hot” milk!  »

Do NOT eat packaged leafy greens if you live, like, anywhere on the East Coast right now; some listeria got into Massachusetts’ State Garden’s manufacturing plant and wowza, there are so many brands that could sicken you, it’s scary!

More ground beef is out to get you, too: nearly 8,000 pounds of “Fully Cooked Black Angus Ground Beef Steak Patties” are also lousy with listeria; thanks, United Food Group, LLC (UFG) of Vernon, Calif.! Oh man, it gets better: These “patties” were produced on Oct. 11 last year, an inspection discovered they were all listeria-ful, and UFG shipped them anyway! Whoops!

Listeria is the choice for food-poisoning right now, it seems; almost 500 boxes of “Wheat Free, Gluten Free Mac and No Cheese” and “Wheat Free, Gluten Free French Bread Pizza” from Ian’s may be contaminated with the little buggers right now! When food safety standards are lax—and I mean, farm-to-shopping-cart safety standards—everyone suffers, even the Celiacs and the vegans.

The standards are super-lax, too: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has so little power to regulate anything, the only reason every one of us eating food in the U.S. hasn’t been poisoned by it yet is absolute luck. Used-up dairy cows are sold to slaughter for human consumption without being subjected to the same tests your standard food-cows are, and these cows are full of antibiotics, like, illegally full of them, tee hee! The dairy industry, however, refuses to “allow” any further testing of any of the milk or milk products, and as the FDA is about as strong as A VERY WEAK THING, it can’t make the producers submit to these tests. HA HA HA your milk is full of substances that will kill you!

Of course the FDA gets to test your milk, and annually “only a small number of truckloads are found to be ‘hot milk,’ containing trace amounts of antibiotics.” Then that milk is “destroyed”—whatever “destroyed” means, it’s not like pouring it down the proverbial drain disappears the antibiotics from the world—and all the milk-drinkers can breathe easy. Except that the dairy farmers are actually injecting their cows with oodles of drugs the FDA doesn’t test for! Because the law doesn’t require it! Because dairy industry lobbyists use their massive amounts of cash to “convince” our elected officials to eat a cheese sandwich and keep mum!

But, you know, drink your milk or you won’t grow up big and strong/lose all the calcium in your skeleton/fade away from dairy product deprivation. You can just die of a minor infection because the bacteria were resistant to every antibiotic known to modern medicine, you’ll just do it super-full of cheese. Definitely a good trade-off. The vegans will just suffer the fever and chills of listeria poisoning, no big deal.

[photo of Percy from SAINTS by Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals]

01/03/2011

Happy New Year, your meat is full of fucking poisons!  »

Wired gave us all a smashing Christmas present to close 2010: the news that the 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics “used in agriculture,” i.e., fed to eating-animals, constitute fully 79.8 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. That’s a 10 percent increase from 2000! Here, look at this hideous chart:

According to Wired reporter Maryn McKenna, nearly all of the antibiotics given to animals are also prescribed to people, meaning that “[w]hen organisms become resistant on the farm to drugs used on livestock, they are becoming resistant to the exact same drugs used in humans.”

Have you started your probiotic supplements yet, omnivorous friends? Oh, and careful about where you buy your “humane,” “organic” dead animals from, too, as First Class Foods recalled 34,373 pounds of ground beef on Thursday because of a delicious E. coli O157:H7 contamination. E. coli O157:H7?

E. coli O157:H7 is found on cattle farms and can live in the intestines of healthy cattle. The toxin requires highly specific receptors on the cells’ surface in order to attach and enter the cell; species such as cattle, swine, and deer which do not carry these receptors may harbor toxigenic bacteria without any ill effect, shedding them in their feces, from which they may be spread to humans.

[…]

There have been several unsuccessful efforts to control the spread of this illness by food advocates by promotion of the so-called “Kevin’s Law”. This law would give the FDA power to shutdown food processing plants that fail multiple inspections. This law has been vigorously opposed by the food processing industry.[19]

DELICIOUS.

09/16/2010

The apocalypse is coming! Take a shower!  »

And after you take that shower, stop pestering your doctors for antibiotics…BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT WORK!

A new super-bug, NDM-1 has popped up in California, Massachusetts, and Illinois. It was first identified in India and can be transmitted hand-to-mouth. That means keep yourself clean y’all!. It may or may not also be turning people into zombies, à la 28 Days Later. Which, by the way, is not what I was expecting when I went to see that movie. I honestly thought it was about Sandra Bullock relapsing in a charming sequel to 28 Days! Color me surprised! My dad was also surprised. He was all up next to me eating the garlic sticks and personal pizza he had snuck into the theater going “MAN, WHAT THIS SHIT? WHERE BULLOCK?” Not amused.

Authorities are worried that the infection is all set to go on a worldwide tour and are concerned about the possibility of it traveling by plane. While all of the people who have gotten the infection have been treated successfully, doctors have had to go positively retro on this thing, using unpopular drugs from the ’50s and ’60s that have been known to cause kidney damage—so basically just crystal meth and downers. And LSD. Lots and lots of LSD. But let’s focus on the other Serious Issue: What will they do with the livestock? Will the FDA’s new guidelines on stuffing animals full of antibiotics be at all effective against a terrifying superbug? How will they keep it out of the meats?! What if this superbug affects only meat-eaters? Should we be shamefully happy, or sincerely concerned?

Perhaps something of this magnitude is what’s going to bring all of us closer here on Vegansaurus, forcing us to put aside our differences, snide comments, and misplaced moral outrage at Lady Gaga jokes to band together and hold hands as we stare into the unblinking eye of this fresh, new horror.

Scary!

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