Health Highlights: Nov. 28, 2012

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

Tobacco Companies Must Tell Public About Smoking Lies: Judge

U.S. tobacco companies must publish corrective statements to tell the public they lied about the dangers of smoking, a federal judge ordered Tuesday.

The corrective statements in various types of ads must also outline the health risks of smoking, including the fact that smoking causes an average of 1,200 deaths a day, the Associated Press reported.

In her ruling, Gladys Kessler of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia said each corrective statement ad must state that a federal judge has concluded that all the defendant tobacco companies "deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking."

The corrective statements are part of a case the federal government brought in 1999 and Kessler said they are based on specific findings of fact made by the court, the AP reported.

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FDA May Seek Outside Experts' Opinions About Energy Drinks

The advice of outside experts may be sought in order to determine if energy drinks pose any health risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a letter released Tuesday.

Such outside advice could include a group such as the Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, The New York Times reported.

Previously, FDA officials have said they were investigating possible health risks posed by the popular beverages, which contain high levels of caffeine. The letter is the first time the agency has said it might turn to outside experts and appears to signal a change in the FDA's approach to products such as Red Bull, Monster Energy and 5-Hour Energy.

The FDA letter comes after news that the agency received reports of 18 deaths and more than 150 injuries that may have involved energy drinks. The filing of such reports with the FDA does not prove that the drinks were responsible for an injury of death, The Times reported.

Energy drink makers insist that their products are safe.

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Disease-Causing Bacteria Common in Pork: Study

New questions about the safety of pork are raised in a study by Consumer Reports, an independent, nonprofit organization.

The group tested nearly 200 pork chop and ground pork samples and found that many tested positive for potentially disease-causing bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, staph, and yersinia, CBS News reported.

More than 90 percent of the bacteria found in the pork samples were antibiotic-resistant.

"All of these things paint a very concerning picture about this indiscriminate use of antibiotics in meat production in this country, and what we believe are the resulting consequences of that," said Urvashi Rangan, director of consumer safety and sustainability at Consumer Reports.

"You always expect to find some bacteria in any meat product. But those are usually harmless. I think the real surprise here was to find so many potentially disease-causing bacteria," Stephen Morse, of the Columbia University School of Public Health, told CBS News.

Pork is safe to eat, according to Scott Hurd of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He's a former top U.S. food safety official who has done consulting work for the pork industry.

He said germs are found in nearly everything we eat and that consumers should always be careful when handling meat, including washing your hands and cooking meat thoroughly, CBS News reported.

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Posted: November 2012


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