CVS Pulls Zantac and Similar Heartburn Medications From Stores Over Cancer Concerns

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On September 28, CVS Pharmacy announced that it’s pulling some heartburn medications from its shelves until further notice, following an alert from the Food and Drug Administration that they may contain a cancer-causing ingredient.

CNN reports that the medication in question is ranitidine, and CVS will stop selling its store brand version and the more commonly known brand-name version Zantac. Though tests are still ongoing, the FDA has found that ranitidine contains N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), which is a “probable human carcinogen,” according to a statement from CVS.

CVS’s voluntary suspension of sales is a “better safe than sorry” course of action—the FDA hasn’t issued a formal recall of Zantac/ranitidine or even suggested that users stop taking the medication. In its statement, CVS says that “the levels [of NDMA] that FDA is finding in ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts found in common foods.” According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NDMA is also found in tobacco, cured meats, beer, fish, cheese, and even the air we breathe [PDF].

Ranitidine is a type of H2 receptor blocker, which decreases heartburn and acid reflux symptoms by preventing stomach cells from releasing excess acid. It isn't the only H2 receptor blocker on the market, so this might be a good time to consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist about switching to a different one, like Pepcid (famotidine) or Tagamet (cimetidine).

The FDA said in a statement that it will continue investigating the potential risk of taking ranitidine and share its findings when available.

[h/t CNN]

Romaine Lettuce Recalled After Another National E. Coli Outbreak

TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images
TomFoldes/iStock via Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a food safety alert cautioning people against eating any romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, due to potential E. coli contamination. According to NBC Washington, 67 cases of E. coli have been reported so far, and 39 people have been hospitalized.

The recall applies to any product that contains Salinas-grown romaine lettuce, including whole heads or hearts of romaine, organic or baby romaine, salad wraps with romaine, and packages of pre-cut lettuce or salad mixes with romaine.

In a statement, the CDC explained that most romaine lettuce products name the harvest location on the label, which might be printed on a sticker or directly on the packaging. You should toss all romaine products grown in Salinas, as well as anything that doesn’t specify a harvest location at all. If you’re not sure if there’s romaine in your salad mix or wrap, don’t take the chance—throw it out. However, no cases have been linked to hydroponic or greenhouse-grown romaine, so anything labeled “indoor grown” is technically still safe to eat.

Though the CDC is also advising restaurants and retailers to exercise the same caution and get rid of any romaine that might be from Salinas, it’s best for consumers to look at the labels in stores themselves or double-check with restaurant employees just to make sure.

You should also thoroughly clean and disinfect any parts of your refrigerator where you’ve stored romaine lettuce, to prevent bacteria from hitching a ride on your delicious Thanksgiving leftovers.

And, even if you live several states away from California, there’s still a pretty good chance that Salinas-grown romaine is shipped to your region—the E. coli cases have been reported in 19 states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The Food and Drug Administration is still investigating the outbreak, but it has been confirmed that this particular strain of bacteria, E. coli O157:H7, is the same one responsible for recalls of leafy greens and romaine lettuce in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

[h/t NBC Washington]

Prepared Salads Sold at Target, Walmart, and Aldi Have Been Recalled Over E. Coli Concerns

samael334/iStock via Getty Images
samael334/iStock via Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Thursday that Missa Bay, LLC is recalling more than 75,000 pounds of pre-packaged salads after one tested positive for E. coli. News Channel 9 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, reports that the products were made between October 14 and October 16, and were sold at Target, Aldi, Walmart, and other stores.

According to the USDA’s statement, the Maryland Department of Health found traces of E. coli O157:H7 on the lettuce in a Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics Caesar Salad, and all products with lettuce from the same lot are included in the recall. You can see the full list of salads here.

Missa Bay, LLC is based in Swedesboro, New Jersey, and they ship to these states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

If you have any salad bowls in your refrigerator at the moment, toss any with the establishment number “EST. 18502B” and “Use by” dates from October 29 through November 1. It’s a good opportunity to sweep the corners of your fridge for any other expired products, so you can make room for next week’s Thanksgiving leftovers.

Wondering how exactly how food contamination is discovered, tested, and dealt with? Find out the anatomy of a food recall here.

[h/t News Channel 9]

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