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Processed foods may pose health risk, FDA says

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Processed foods may pose health risk, FDA says

Thousands of types of processed foods — including many varieties of soups, chips, frozen dinners, hot dogs and salad dressings — may pose a health threat because they contain a flavor enhancer that could be contaminated with salmonella, the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday. Officials believe the public health risk is low, and no one is known to have fallen ill as a result of the contamination. But manufacturers voluntarily recalled 56 products Thursday, and that number is expected to balloon in the coming weeks into what could be one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history. Salmonella was detected early last month in one lot of the flavor enhancer — hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or HVP — made by Basic Food Flavors Inc. as well as inside the company's Nevada manufacturing facility, the FDA said. The company, one of only a handful that make HVP, has an extensive customer list. The additive comes as a powder or a paste and is mixed into foods to give them a meaty or savory flavor. The FDA has posted on its Web site a searchable list of products being recalled by manufacturers. It can be found at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/HVPCP/.

Gunman injures 2 officers at Pentagon

A gunman coolly drew a weapon from his pocket and opened fire at the teeming subway entrance to the Pentagon complex Thursday evening, wounding two police officers before being shot and critically wounded, officials said. The two officers suffered grazing wounds that were not life-threatening and were being treated at a hospital, said Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police. The suspect, believed to be a U.S. citizen, walked up to a security checkpoint at the Pentagon in an apparent attempt to get inside the massively fortified Defense Department headquarters about 6:40 p.m. Law enforcement sources identified the suspect as John Patrick Bedell, 36. They also said they were investigating whether a second person was involved.

Elsewhere

Cape Canaveral: NASA launched the nation's newest weather satellite Thursday, when an unmanned rocket carried a $500 million GOES satellite into space.

India: A stampede among thousands of poor villagers scrambling for free food and clothes at a commemorative event killed 63 people Thursday at a Hindu temple in Kunda and injured dozens more. Nearly all the victims were women and children.

North Korea: A firing squad publicly executed a factory worker for sneaking news out of the reclusive communist country via his illicit mobile phone, Seoul-based radio said Thursday. The man, surnamed Chong, was accused of divulging the price of rice and other information on living conditions to a friend who defected to South Korea years ago.

Times wires

Processed foods may pose health risk, FDA says 03/04/10 [Last modified: Thursday, March 4, 2010 10:23pm]

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