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We asked, you answered: What is your secret to optimism in dark times?

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Watching the sunrise is a cliché, but it works! – dancing to techno music, doing good to others, just smiling – readers share what inspires them with optimism in difficult times.

(Image credit: Leif Parsons for NPR)

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HEALTH

That’s what Esteban is up to when he finally takes the top job at the USDA for food safety.

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Getting a presidential nomination and confirmation in the Senate has proven to be a daunting task for José Emilio Esteban, the new undersecretary for food safety. Nevertheless, he passed the first couple of months of work with ease.

Meanwhile, when Esteban’s predecessor, Mindy Brashears, walked out of the USDA building before Joe Biden became president and his confirmation by the Senate last December. 22, the office has been empty for almost two years. And this is not unusual for an undersecretary for food safety: the official Congress, created 30 years ago, is as often empty as it is full.

This time, it was 10 months before Biden nominated Esteban, and another 10 months before the Senate Agriculture, Food, and Forestry Committee managed to hear the nominee and give a positive response to the entire Senate. Esteban then had to wait another three months for a vote in the Senate confirming his appointment.

The last-minute confirmation vote did mean that Esteban could get to work just before the start of the new year. And with open calendars for January and February, you can see what Esteban did during the first weeks of his tenure as undersecretary for food safety.

These public calendars are published by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and list meetings held by the Undersecretary and Deputy Undersecretary of the Office of Food Safety (OFS), and the Administrator and Associate Administrator of FSIS with individuals outside the federal government. .

When Esteban arrived at the building, he was no stranger.

Before becoming Undersecretary for Food Safety, Esteban worked in several positions with the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) since 2001. Most recently, he was FSIS Chief Scientist from 2018 to 2022. Prior to joining the USDA, Esteban worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemic intelligence officer, staff epidemiologist, and assistant director of the Food Safety Division.

Esteban trained as a veterinarian in Mexico. He holds an MBA, a M.A. in preventive veterinary medicine, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology at the University of California, Davis.

Ashley Peterson of the National Chicken Council; and Attorney Brian Eyink of Hogan Lovells were the first people outside the federal government to meet with the new undersecretary for food safety. This meeting took place on January 19, 2023 and was dedicated to the “structure of the fight against salmonella”.

The Hogan Lovells website quotes: “Brian Eyink helps clients find practical solutions to regulatory problems. Brian is particularly sensitive to risk management issues as companies adapt to a regulatory and political environment that is increasingly focused on due diligence, enforcement and investigation.”

The FSIS “salmonella concept” at the time was about the possibility of making salmonella an impurity in some poultry products, which happened at the end of April.

On the same day, Esteban, supported by Sandra Eskin, OFS Deputy Undersecretary, Paul Kicker, FSIS Administrator; Terry Ninteman, FSIS Deputy Administrator; Jeremy Todd Reid, COO of FSIS; Atiyah Khan, OFS Chief of Staff; Karen Hunter, FSIS Chief of Staff; Mark Williams, Deputy Chief of Staff, FSIS; Robert Witte, Deputy Chief of Staff, FSIS; and assistant administrators of FSIS met in separate virtual meetings with consumer and industry representatives.

The last external meeting of the undersecretary for food safety during his first month in office was with Bruce Stewart-Brown of Perdue Farms. The January 31 phone call was about the National Poultry Improvement Plan. Stuart-Brown is Senior Vice President of Technical Services and Innovation at Perdue Farms..

The next day, February 1, Patricia Lopez, a reporter for the National Autonomous University of Mexico, received an interview with Esteban, which was conducted via virtual communication.

Salmonella and poultry were the topics of another virtual meeting, this time on February 2 with Michael R. Taylor, STOP Foodborne Disease; Craig Wilson, Costco; Sarah George, Costco; Mansoor Samadpour, IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group. Esteban was joined by Sandra Eskin, Deputy Undersecretary of the OFS; Dr. Denise Eblen, OPHS Administrator Assistant, FSIS; Dr. Kees Robertson Hale, Deputy Assistant Administrator, OPHS, FSIS; Dr. Amber Pasko, Veterinarian, FSIS; Crystal Southern, Life Sciences Information Specialist, FSIS; Iva Bilanovich, mathematician-statistician, FGIS; and Dr. Peter Evans, Consumer Safety Specialist, FSIS.

Esteban then attended a meeting of the Coalition for Poultry Safety Reform on 13 February. Among them were: Sarah Sorscher, Center for Science in the Public Interest; Thomas Gremillion, Consumer Federation of America; Brian Ronholm, Consumer Reports; Scott Faber, Environment Working Group; Mitzi Baum, “Stop Foodborne Disease”; Amanda Craten, Consumer Federation of America; Vanessa Coffman, Stop Foodborne Diseases; Srinidhi (Nidhi) Joshi, STOP foodborne illness; Craig Hedberg, University of Minnesota; John Glenn Morris, University of Florida; Martin Widmann, Cornell University; Dr. Alice Johnson, Butterball; Bruce Stuart-Brown, Perdue; Brian Miller, Wayne Farms; Michael Robach, The Robach Group, LLC; Stephen Mandernach, Association of Food and Drug Officials; Jerold Mande, Harvard University; Michael Taylor, Global Food Safety Initiative; Alexa Cohn, Cornell University; Craig Wilson, Costco; Barbara Masters, Tyson; Matthew Stasevich, University of Illinois; Hyo Jin Lee, Temple University; Miller, Brian; Angie Siemens, Cargill; Kathy Stolte-Carroll, Ohio State University; Barbara Kowalczyk, Ohio State University; and John Glenn Morris, University of Florida

Feb. 14 Dr. Luc Mignon, Chris Wentiher and Sean Simpson, all from Wholestone Farms; along with Ashley Johnson and Andrew Harker, both of the Russell Group, held a virtual meeting with the Undersecretary for Food Safety on the “Time-Limited Trial”.

Also on February 14, Francisco J. Sagmutt and Jane Pouzu, both of EpiAnalytics, met with Esteban and many others from FSIS HQ about Salmonella virulence.

On Feb. 15, Esteban hosted an FSIS session for “USDA Regulated Institutions and Industry Representatives” on updates. And on February 16, the Deputy Minister held another round of separate meetings for consumer and industry representatives.

On February 21, Esteban held a personal “meet and greet” with members of the United Trade Union of Food Industry and Trade Workers. It is a union representing meat and poultry businesses regulated by FSIS.

Jeremy Wilson-Simerman, Laura McElroy, Janet Helms and Sarah Kipp, all from McDonald’s along with Adam Tarr, and Kevin Distelow, both from Invariant, LLC, met with Esteban on February 21st in virtual reality to discuss McDonald’s policy on antibiotics in the chain supply of beef.

And that closes Esteban’s public calendar for his second month in office.

He is the sixth Undersecretary for Food Safety confirmed by the Senate.

In addition to his predecessor, Mindy Brashears, four others have held this position: Elisabeth Hagen from August 2010 to December 2013; Dr. Richard Allen Raymond from July 2003 to January 2009; Elsa A. Murano from October 2001 to December 2004; and Catherine Woteki from July 1997 to January 2001

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety Newsletter, click Here)

Calendars do not have to include meetings already announced to the public.

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HEALTH

Easter bunny necklaces and boutique butterfly necklaces recalled due to high levels of cadmium; Imported by Creative Education of Canada

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  • Recalled butterfly necklaces

The product’s name:

Easter Bunny and Boutique Butterfly Necklaces

Danger:

Necklaces are high in cadmium. Cadmium is toxic if swallowed by children and may cause adverse health effects.

revocation date:

April 27, 2023

remember the details

Description:

This review is for the Easter Bunny necklace model number 86140 and the Boutique Butterfly Jewel necklace model number 90422 printed on the back of the package. The recalled bunny necklaces feature a white bunny with an easter egg and a gold-colored chain. The butterfly necklaces mentioned have blue, pink or purple stones on the butterfly wings and a gold colored chain. They were sold threaded through a white plastic backing. The tag is printed “Great Challengers”.

means:

Consumers should immediately stop using the Easter Bunny and Butterfly Boutique Gem and contact Creative Education of Canada for a full refund. Consumers must cut the recalled necklace chain in half (with scissors) and provide the firm with a photograph as proof of destruction. The firm contacts all known buyers.

Sold in:

Toy and gift shops nationwide and online at greatpretenders.ca from January 2023 to March 2023 for about $2 (Easter Bunny necklace) and $4 (Boutique Butterfly necklace).

Importer(s):

Creative Education of Canada Inc., Canada

Note. Individual commissioners may have statements related to this topic. Please visit www.cpsc.gov/commissioners to search for approvals on this or other topics.

About USCCC

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for protecting the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of consumer products. Deaths, injuries and property damage from incidents involving consumer products cost the country more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work in consumer product safety has contributed to the decline in consumer product-related injuries over the past 50 years.

Federal law prohibits any person from selling goods subject to a Commission Order or voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

Life Saving Information:

Report an unsafe product

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HEALTH

Cook County set to ban flavored e-cigarette sales amid growing concern over teen vaping – World Today News

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This week, a ban on the sale of flavored nicotine products in suburban Cook County is enacted, expanding efforts to curb vaping, particularly among young people.

Commissioner Donna Miller plans to implement the ban at a Cook County Council meeting on Thursday. It prohibits retailers—except those located in unincorporated areas of the county—from selling “any flavored nicotine product,” including menthol, fruit, candy, dessert or alcohol flavors, but “not the taste or flavor of tobacco.” according to the draft resolution.

If passed, the proposal would go into effect immediately and give the sheriff the power to conduct unannounced inspections of retailers or vending machine operators selling nicotine products. Violators will be subject to a “fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000 for each violation.”

Displaying any flavored nicotine products incurs a $500 fine for the first violation and may result in the loss of the retailer’s license for more than three violations within a 12-month period.

The Illinois Retailers Association, which usually waives such restrictions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, although Miller said Thursday she expects resistance.

“This will help Cook County join other jurisdictions such as the City of Chicago, Los Angeles County, and the states of Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, which have introduced statewide bans on flavored tobacco and vapes in the fight against with an attack on our youth and youth,” Miller said at a press conference on Wednesday. Flavored e-cigarettes are “addicting an entire new generation to nicotine, putting millions of children and young people at risk and threatening decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use.”

Federal officials banned the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in an effort to reverse the wave of youth vaping in 2020, but there were loopholes in the measure that allowed companies to sell disposable, pre-charged and flavored e-cigarettes or vape “tanks” and considered ineffective.

Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most common tobacco product used by middle school and high school youth, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A youth survey released by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration in October found that 14% of high school students and more than 3% of high school kids reported using e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days.

Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, COO of the Cook County Department of Public Health, said he supported the proposal, in part because e-cigarette use among youth “remains an ongoing public health problem.” Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm brain development, Hasbrouck continued, affecting learning, attention, mood and impulse control. According to him, in black and brown communities, people are “predatory victims of the tobacco industry due to marketing (and) price promotions.”

Chicago banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in September 2020, in addition to other restrictions on nicotine and tobacco products such as a ban on indoor vaping and a tax on e-cigarettes of $1.50 per unit and $1.20 per liquid milliliter of liquid. In November, suburban retailers and shoppers told the Tribune that the city’s ban had nudged shoppers towards them. The ruling was considered by some to be relaxed because it did not cover the sale of traditional menthol-flavored cigarettes.

Sheriff Tom Dart said vaping is “literally the number one thing” his high school girls talk about.

“They talk about the kids who are in the stalls, they vape, they think that not only is it easier for them to get off than smoking cigarettes, but they don’t understand what this is leading to,” he said. The county must “stop this and do it now, before we have another generation hopelessly addicted” to nicotine.

Dart said the sheriff’s office already has a division that looks for unlabeled cigarettes and liquor, and selling flavored vapes will be another item on the watch list if the ruling is passed. “There won’t be a lot of hard work on our end and we hope those in charge just stop doing it,” he said. “Usually they get a note.”

Miller could not say how this would affect county revenues. Taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products are one of the county’s largest sources of revenue, in addition to sales taxes and property taxes. Cook County averaged about $125 million a year in taxes on cigarettes and “other tobacco products” between 2019 and 2021, according to its latest budget. Officials predict that these revenues will continue to fall in the coming years. “We’re going to take a look at it,” Miller said.

Last month, Juul Labs agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago over allegations that the company violated the city’s municipal code by “advertising Juul products to youth” and “engaging in inadequate age verification,” among other complaints. This month, the state of Illinois announced a $67 million settlement to Juul as part of a settlement.

When Chicago’s $23.8 million payout was announced, a Juul spokesperson said the company was targeting adults who want to move away from traditional cigarettes by “fighting underage use of our products.”

aquig@chicagotribune.com

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