Monthly Archives: November 2016

A Sensitive Issue

According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates, about 1 person out of every 100 has allergic symptoms after exposure to sulfites, chemical additives widely used in the food industry. Asthma adds to the risk; sulfites cause serious symptoms in about 5% of people with asthma.

 

What Are Sulfites?

Sulfites are added to prolong the shelf life of many fruits, vegetables, and shellfish; to halt the growth of bacteria in wines; and to whiten food starches and condition dough. They are also used as preservatives in some medications. Although once freely allowed under the FDA category of “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS), sulfite use has been more closely regulated in the past couple of decades after being linked to numerous health problems, including allergic symptoms ranging in severity from hives and difficulty breathing to fatal anaphylactic shock. While sulfites are indeed harmless to the great majority, they can cause potentially life-threatening reactions in some people with asthma and others who are sensitive to the compounds. Scientists haven’t yet determined the smallest amount needed to trigger a reaction. Current methods cannot detect sulfite concentrations below 10 parts per million (ppm) in food, although many experts believe that a sulfite-sensitive person may experience symptoms at even lower concentrations.

 

To reduce the risk, the FDA has imposed the following restrictions:

  • Sulfites may not be used on fruits and vegetables intended to be eaten raw, such as in supermarket produce departments or restaurant salad bars.
  • Product labels must list sulfites in concentrations of 10 ppm or higher, or any sulfites that have been used in processing, regardless of the concentration. In addition, labels must specify the purpose for which sulfites were used.

If you suspect that exposure to sulfites has triggered hives, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms in your child, call your pediatrician to determine whether a sensitivity is present.

Tips to Prevent Dental Problems

A balanced diet, with plenty of calcium and vitamin D to increase calcium absorption, should provide all the nutrients necessary to build strong teeth and keep gums and mouth tissues healthy. Young people can get adequate calcium from 3 or 4 daily servings of dairy foods, as well as from many other sources (eg, calcium-processed tofu, calcium-fortified orange juice, green vegetables such as broccoli).

 

The Benefits of Fluoride

Fluoride reduces dental decay by making the enamel harder, reducing the ability of bacteria to produce acid that erodes enamel, and by replacing minerals in the teeth after they have been lost. In areas where the natural fluoride content of the water is low and water supplies are not fluoridated, or if your household uses bottled or reverse osmosis filtered water, pediatricians and dentists may advise fluoride supplements, fluoride toothpaste, or fluoride treatments to strengthen children’s tooth enamel against decay. Most bottled water does not contain adequate amounts of fluoride. Home water treatment systems like reverse osmosis and distillation units remove much of the fluoride from tap water. However, carbon or charcoal water filtration systems generally do not remove substantial amounts of fluoride.

 

Too Much Fluoride & Fluorosis

One of the complications of too much fluoride is dental fluorosis. Fluorosis ranges from minor white lines that run across the teeth to a chalky appearance of the teeth with brown staining. Fluorosis can be caused by prescribing fluoride supplements in communities with fluoridated water, or young children swallowing fluoridated toothpaste. To avoid this latter problem, children should use no more than a smear of fluoridated toothpaste before age 2, if your child’s pediatrician or dentist suggests using fluoridated toothpaste. For children older than age 2, use only a small pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Also, your pediatrician or pediatric dentist will know the fluoride content of your local water and can advise you if a supplement is necessary or excessive.

What Parents Need to Know

Raw milk is milk that comes straight from a cow, sheep, or goat. Raw milk is not pasteurized (heated to kill germs) or homogenized (processed to keep the cream from separating from the milk).​

 

Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?

Raw milk is not safe to drink, because it can carry harmful bacteria and other germs. Harmful bacteria include Salmonella, E coli, and Listeria.

Anyone can get sick from drinking raw milk or products made from raw milk.

 

Products made with raw milk may include:

  • Cream
  • Cheeses
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Pudding

Children, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, or older adults are at greater risk of getting sick.

Symptoms of Illness:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body ache

While most healthy people get well, the symptoms can become chronic (long term) or severe or may result in death.

Call the Doctor If…

  • Anyone in your family becomes sick after drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk.
  • Anyone in your family is pregnant and drinks raw milk or eats products made from raw milk. The bacteria Listeria can cause miscarriage, fetal death, or illness or death of a newborn.

 

Food Safety Tips

The following are food safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Only drink pasteurized milk.
  • Only eat milk products made from pasteurized milk. If “pasteurized” is not on the label or listed in the ingredients, ask to be sure.
  • Keep pasteurized dairy products in a refrigerator that is set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
  • Do not eat any expired dairy products. Be sure to throw out expired dairy products.

 

Facts About Pasteurization

The following are facts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Pasteurizing milk does not cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Pasteurizing milk does not reduce its nutritional value.
  • Pasteurizing milk does kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pasteurizing milk does save lives.