Monday, June 9, 2008


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Health and Fitness
For Flo
Monday June 9, 2008

• Food imports prone to unsanitary practices
• Concord grape juice may help aging memory
• Worker attitude affects food safety
• Hay fever hurts nasal passage function
• Spring Gardening Guide

Food imports prone to unsanitary practices

GRIFFIN, Ga. (UPI) -- Sanitation for food production is not uniform worldwide and food imported into the United States may put some at risk, a researcher warns.

Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia said U.S. food imports are putting many at greater risk of food-borne disease because many countries do not have the same U.S. sanitary standards.

"Approximately 15 percent of food consumed in the United States in 2006 was imported -- mainly fresh produce, tree nuts, fish and shellfish," Doyle said in a statement. "Importing foods can move diseases from areas to locations where they do not exist."

More than 80 percent of fish and seafood consumed in the United States is imported, much of it from Asia where raw domestic sewage and/or livestock manure frequently are used in fish farming, Doyle said.

In China, crops and seafood typically are grown on small parcels where farmers often use excessive amounts of pesticides for produce and antibiotics for fish and shrimp production -- practices not approved for use in the United States. Untreated human waste and animal manure are often used to treat soils or aquaculture ponds, said Doyle, who spoke at the 108th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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Concord grape juice may help aging memory

CONCORD, Mass. (UPI) -- A pilot study suggests drinking Concord grape juice may benefit older adults dealing with early memory decline, a University of Cincinnati researcher says.

Robert Krikorian of UC's College of Medicine says the placebo-controlled human study investigated whether regular consumption of polyphenol-rich food or beverage could have beneficial effects against age-related cognitive decline.

The study involved 12 adults with early memory decline. Participants drank a total of 15 to 21 ounces, depending on body weight, of either Concord grape juice or placebo daily, divided among meals, for a 12-week period.

The beverages were equal in calorie and sugar content, but only the Concord grape juice contained natural polyphenolic compounds, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Krikorian says.

Participants who drank the Concord grape juice showed significant improvement in list learning and trends suggests improved short-term retention and spatial memory, the study says.

The findings were presented at the 38th annual scientific meeting of the American Aging Society in Boulder, Colo.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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Worker attitude affects food safety

MANHATTAN, Kan. (UPI) -- Food service workers' attitudes toward safety practices have a direct effect on food-borne illnesses in restaurants, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers from Kansas State University surveyed 190 food service employees in 31 restaurants across three Midwestern states on their knowledge of, and attitude toward, three food safety measures that have the most substantial impact on public health: hand washing, using thermometers and proper handling of food contact surfaces. Only employees whose jobs directly involved food preparation tasks participated.

The study, published in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association, said that providing workers with training that does not target their attitudes may not improve food safety results.

"While emphasis should be placed on training, it is also important to educate employees regarding positive outcomes of food safety such as decreasing patrons' risk of food-borne illness, reducing the spread of microorganisms and keeping the work environment clean," the researchers said in a statement.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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Hay fever hurts nasal passage function

GENOA, Italy (UPI) -- Italian researchers suggest that those suffering from hay fever -- allergic rhinitis -- will over time experience worsening of nasal passage functioning.

Study authors Drs. Giorgio Ciprandi, Ignazio Cirillo, Angela Pistorio and Stefania LaGrutta, of the San Martino Hospital, in Genoa, Italy, determined 72 percent of those with longer bouts of hay fever -- on average nine years -- had "severe" nasal obstruction.

In 100 patients -- 50 percent with short-term rhinitis and 50 with long-term rhinitis -- those with longer bouts had significantly lower airflow in their nasal passages, the researchers said.

Allergic rhinitis occurs when the body's immune system over-responds to specific, non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, or animal hair. The response causes skin redness and swollen membranes in the nasal passages, combined with sneezing and congestion. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from hay fever, and that hay fever accounts for approximately 2 percent of all visits to a doctor's office.

The findings were published in Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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