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Washing raw chicken increases

risk of food poisoning

Washing raw chicken can lead to a
potentially dangerous form of
by Campylobacter bacteria,
spread onto hands, clothing,
surfaces as water droplets splash
off the raw meat. Now, the UK's
Food Standard Agency is urging
people to stop washing raw
chicken in an effort to reduce the
estimated 280,000 people a year
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is
issuing the call - as part of Food Safety
Week - as new figures show 44% of
people in the UK wash chicken before
cooking it.
The FSA is also urging producers of TV
food shows to make sure they do not
show people washing raw chicken. The
agency makes the plea in the form of
a letter that has been co-signed by
major food companies.
Catherine Brown, chief executive of
the FSA, says their research shows
that - in keeping with food safety
recommendations - most people are
careful to wash hands after touching
raw chicken and making sure it is
thoroughly cooked. But it also shows it
is common practice to wash raw
chicken, which is not recommended.
"That's why we're calling on people to
stop washing raw chicken and also
raising awareness of the risks of

contracting Campylobacter as a result

of cross-contamination," she explains.
She says the agency's campaign
includes not only raising public
awareness about the risks and
how to avoid them, but also
producers to reduce infection in
Campylobacter causes an infectious
which leads to diarrhea (sometimes
bloody, with nausea and vomiting),
and fever within 2-5 days of exposure,
experience any symptoms.
In people with weak immune systems,
the bacteria can spread to the
bloodstream and cause a serious lifethreatening infection. Those most at
risk are children under 5 and older
cles/278328.php, 17 June 2014

Study links low vitamin D levels

with premature death
In recent months, there has been
much debate surrounding vitamin
D. Some studies have suggested
that a high level of the vitamin
benefits our health, while others
have reported that there is not
enough evidence to make such a
claim. Now, a new study from the
University of California-San Diego

School of Medicine suggests a link

between vitamin D deficiency and
early death.
Vitamin D is a fatsoluble vitamin that helps regulate
the absorption of calcium and
phosphorus in our bones, as well as
aid cell communication and strengthen
the immune system.
Researchers have long associated
vitamin D deficiency with poor bone
health. In fact, 3 years ago, the US
Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded
that low vitamin D is hazardous
because it significantly increases the
risk of bone disease.
But the health problems associated
with vitamin D deficiency do not stop
there. Last year, Medical News
Today reported on a study led by the
University of Kentucky, which
indicated that vitamin D deficiency
may damage the brain. More recent
research claimed that low levels of
vitamin D in the first 26 weeks of
pregnancy may increase the risk of
For this latest study, published in
the American Journal of Public Health,
the UC-San Diego team wanted to see
how vitamin D deficiency influenced
mortality rates.

Subjects with lower vitamin D

levels 'twice as likely to die
The researchers conducted a systemic
review of 32 studies that analyzed
vitamin D, blood levels and mortality
rates. The studies involved 566,583

participants from 14 counties including the US - who were an

average age of 55.
Participants' 25-hydroxyvitamin D
levels were assessed. This is the main
form of vitamin D found in human
Results of the study revealed that
participants with lower levels of
25-hydroxyvitamin D in their
blood were twice as likely to die
prematurely, compared with those
who had higher blood levels of 25hydroxyvitamin D.
Furthermore, the team found that the
25-hydroxyvitamin D blood level
associated with approximately half of
participants who were at higher risk of
early death was 30 ng/ml - a level that
around two thirds of Americans are
already below.
According to the National Institutes of
Health, children and adults ages 1-70
should have 600 IU (international
units) of vitamin D each day, while
adults over this age should have 400
IU a day.
But according to study co-author
Heather Hofflich, professor in the
Department of Medicine at the UC-San
Diego School of Medicine:
"This study should give the medical
community and public substantial
reassurance that vitamin D is safe
when used in appropriate doses up to
4,000 IU per day."
However, she adds that patients
should have their 25-hydroxyvitamin D

blood levels checked annually and

consult their doctor before adjusting
their vitamin D intake.
Not all researchers are so positive
about increasing vitamin D intake.
Earlier this year, Medical News Today
reported on two studies published in
the BMJ, which suggested that there
is "no clear evidence" that vitamin
D benefits health.
Another study, published in The
Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology in
January, also questioned the health
benefits of vitamin D, after an
assessment of 40 randomized
controlled trials revealed that vitamin
D supplements are unlikely to reduce
the incidence of heart attack, heart
disease, stroke, cancer and bone
Study author Dr. Mark Bolland, of the
University of Auckland in New
Zealand, commented:
"The main message is that if you are
otherwise healthy and active, you are
likely to receive enough sunshine to
have adequate vitamin D levels and
don't need to take vitamin D
cles/278120.php, 13 June 2014