King County retailers busted for selling tobacco to minors

December 26, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 26, 2012

Throughout 2012, authorities busted King County retailers for selling tobacco to teenagers 92 times.

The illegal sales rate topped 8 percent, a drop from the 12 percent rate last year, but up from the 6 percent average between 2006-10. Statewide, tobacco sales to minors reached a 10-year high at 16 percent.

“Underage access to tobacco fuels addiction and early death for King County’s children,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement.

In Washington, selling tobacco to a minor is prohibited by law, with a $100 fine and tobacco education for the retailer and a $50 fine for the clerk making the sale. Repeat offenders within two years receive fines up to $1,500 and may have tobacco sales licenses revoked.

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Pet owners ask retailers to pull dog treats

October 23, 2012

Pacific Northwest dog owners joined a petition on Change.org to call on Issaquah-based Costco, Target, Safeway and other retailers to remove jerky-style dog treats from shelves as the federal Food and Drug Administration investigates the treats.

The petition is available at www.change.org/dangerousdogtreats.

Petitioners said the FDA has received reports of more than 2,200 cases of pet illness, including 361 deaths, linked to chicken jerky dog treats made in China.

Recall includes nut butters at Costco, Trader Joe’s

October 9, 2012

Costco, Target and Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters in recent days due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 35 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and a Thurston County boy.

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Trader Joe’s recalls peanut butter linked to 30 salmonella cases

September 26, 2012

NEW — 11 a.m. Sept. 26, 2012

Trader Joe’s recalled nut butters due to potential salmonella contamination in the products.

Between June 11 and Sept. 2, health officials reported 29 people sickened by salmonella to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The people sickened due to suspected contamination include a Spokane boy and Thurston County boy.

Officials reported similar illnesses in 17 other states connected to the products.

Trader Joe’s and product manufacturer Sunland, Inc. initiated the voluntary recall on Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter, Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds and Almond Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds manufactured between May 1 and Sept. 24.

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Off the Press

March 27, 2012

What’s for dinner may cause loss of appetite

Tom Corrigan Press reporter

If recent news about “pink slime” in beef has given you indigestion, you might want to skip this.

Then again, you might lose a few pounds if you pay close attention.

For those not in the know, “pink slime” is the derisive name given to what’s technically called “finely textured beef.” It’s basically made from the parts of the cow that aren’t normally eaten by humans and are traditionally used for dog food. According to various sources, the stuff is created when beefy leftovers are boiled and thrown into a centrifuge to separate the “meat” from the bones and fat.

When the process is complete, in the pictures I’ve seen, the stuff looks like bright pink toothpaste and appears to have about the same consistency. The goop comes from the parts of the cow more susceptible to E. coli, salmonella and other nice bacteria, so the meat makers treat it with ammonia. You know, the stuff used to clean floors?

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King County health panel stamps out e-cigarettes

January 18, 2011

King County Board of Health members restricted sales and use of electronic cigarettes last month.

The e-cigarette is a battery-powered device designed to deliver a nicotine-based and flavored liquid vapor.

The board voted unanimously to restrict the sales of e-cigarettes or any other unapproved nicotine delivery devices only to people 18 and older. The board prohibited free or highly discounted electronic smoking devices or unapproved nicotine delivery products. The use of e-cigarette devices in places where smoking is prohibited by law is also banned. Read more

Health Roundup

November 16, 2010

State bans Four Loko and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Nov. 10, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban. Read more

State bans Four Loko and other alcoholic energy drinks

November 10, 2010

NEW — 12:55 p.m. Nov. 10, 2010

The state has banned “blackout in a can” caffeinated alcohol drinks.

Washington State Liquor Control Board members OK’d the emergency ban Wednesday, after nine underage Central Washington University students had to be hospitalized after consuming the alcoholic energy drink Four Loko.

The statewide ban takes effect Nov. 17 and remains in effect for 120 days as the state formulates a permanent ban.

State Attorney General Rob McKenna commended the Liquor Control Board for the decision.

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Beware of deadly mushrooms in King County forests

October 12, 2010

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Oct. 12, 2010

Forest foragers, beware.

King County health officials called for mushroom foragers to exercise caution after a poisoning related to the Amanita phalloides — or death cap — species of mushroom.

A Bellevue woman who ate the poisonous mushroom was hospitalized last month and has since recovered.

“It takes extensive knowledge to know which mushrooms are safe to eat and which are poisonous,” Dr. David Fleming, Public Health – Seattle & King County director and health officer, said in a news release. “Amanita phalloides look very much like some edible types of mushrooms and increasingly can be found in the wild, in local parks, and even in our own backyards. Only people who really know what they’re doing should eat mushrooms they’ve picked themselves.”

The highly toxic death cap mushrooms cannot be distinguished from safe mushrooms by taste or smell.

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Summer fun includes protection from the sun

July 20, 2010

Michelle Johnson, Jackie Potter and Hayley Magee (from left), on summer vacation from classes at Skyline High School, share sunscreen sprays and lotions of SPF 15, 30 and 50, before sunbathing July 14 on the dock at Pine Lake Park. By Greg Farrar

Go into any drugstore and you’re bound to run into a plethora of sunscreen options this summer. But do you really know what to look for?

Many people don’t, so you’re not alone.

“There are a lot of sunscreens out there,” Amy Cheng, a dermatologist with Virginia Mason Medical Center, said.

Even the federal Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have a consumer-friendly system of standards regulating the claims of companies who make sunscreen, despite the Sunburn Protection Factor label.

Since 2007, officials with the FDA have posted consumer updates on its website saying it’s in process of developing a set of standards, but those have yet to come to fruition. Read more

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