Health Highlights: July 21, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Fruit Recalled for Possible Listeria Contamination

Packaged fresh fruit sold at Costco, BJ's, Trader Joe's and other retailers has been recalled because of concerns of possible contamination with the life-threatening bacteria listeria, according to published reports.

The voluntary recall includes peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots -- apricot-plum hybrids -- packaged between June 1 and July 12 by Wawona Packing Co. of California, WPIX-TV in New York City reported.

"Because we do not know the locations of the companies that purchased the products from our direct customers, the company is issuing a nationwide recall," Wawona said in a news release Sunday.

Wawona said internal testing discovered traces of the virulent bacteria, but no illnesses have been reported.

Since the discovery, the company said it has retrofitted and cleaned packing lines and equipment connected with the possible contamination. It also said subsequent daily testing has been negative, according to the news report.

The items affected by the recall include peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots sold in clamshell-type packages of six. If you bought the fruit, throw it away immediately. Consumers with questions can call Wawona Packing at 1-888-232-9912 or check www.wawonapacking.com.

Listeriosis -- the illness caused by L. monocytogenes bacteria -- causes fever and chills, headache, upset stomach and vomiting, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is most likely to affect pregnant women and unborn babies, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems. Treatment is with antibiotics.

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FDA Warns Against Use of Powdered Caffeine

The death of an Ohio teen on May 27 after ingesting pure powdered caffeine is spurring the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn against its use.

According to the agency, 18-year-old Logan Stiner, of Lagrange, died after consuming caffeine powder, which can be obtained over the Internet.

As reported by the Associated Press, the FDA said that even a teaspoon of the product can be deadly. However, FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren told the news service that caffeine's ubiquitous presence in coffee, tea or soda may lull people into forgetting that it is a powerful chemical.

"The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small," Dooren said, and measuring out amounts via a teaspoon is inaccurate and hazardous.

The FDA says labeling on caffeine powder products is often insufficient, so consumers may not realize the risk of overdose. The agency says it will "consider taking regulatory action" to control the products.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose include seizures, vomiting, rapid or erratic heartbeat, diarrhea and disorientation, the FDA said.

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Actor James Garner Dies at 86

James Garner, a Hollywood actor who starred in both movies and television shows during his long career, died Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles.

He was 86 and died of natural causes, according to his publicist Jennifer Allen.

Garner played the handsome leading man in countless Hollywood films. But he's perhaps best known for his television roles, as Bret Maverick in the 1950s western "Maverick" and as the sleuth Jim Rockford in the 1970s series "The Rockford Files," The New York Times reported.

Garner received an Academy Award nomination late in his career, for the 1985 romantic comedy "Murphy's Romance." In that film, he played a pharmacist in a small town who tries to win the heart of a divorced mother (Sally Field), the Times reported.

During the filming of "The Rockford Files," Garner had back trouble and had to have several knee operations. In 1988, he had a quintuple bypass operation, which cost him his job as spokesman for the beef industry, the newspaper reported.

Posted: July 2014


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