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Do you often take home leftovers? The Food and Drug Administration recommends refrigerating leftovers or takeout as soon as you get home. That goes for groceries and prepared foods, too. Never allow any perishable items, such as poultry, seafood or eggs, to sit out for more than two hours. Also, don't pack too many items in the fridge because the air won't circulate properly. Finally, eat lunch meats and other ready-to-eat foods quickly because the bacteria Listeria, which can cause a food-borne illness, will begin to form if these items are kept in your fridge too long. Regularly cleaning your fridge will also prevent Listeria growth.

The Vioxx example

A new book seeks to shed light on the pharmaceutical industry's marketing tactics, making an example of Merck's anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx. Tom Nesi, author of Poison Pills: The Untold Story of the Vioxx Drug Scandal(St. Martin's Press), is a patient advocate for the Food and Drug Administration and a 30-year pharmaceutical industry veteran. The heavily marketed Vioxx was withdrawn from the market after five years as it was linked to increased incidence of heart attack. Nesi offers advice for consumers:

- Older drugs have the benefit of more years of discovering unknown side effects.

- Beware of denials that "all the data isn't in" when it comes to a new drug showing side effects.

- Assume a powerful new drug may be doing something we don't yet know about, not the other way around.

Eggs reconsidered

According to the American Heart Association, healthy people should limit their dietary cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day, 200 if you have heart disease. (The yolk of a large egg contains about 210 milligrams of cholesterol.) But not everyone agrees. A recent Physicians Health Study of 21,000 men reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no link between those who ate up to six eggs per week and the risk of dying of heart attack or stroke. What most everyone does seem to agree on is that saturated fats do raise blood cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. So go easy on the bacon, sausage and butter that often surround your sunny-side ups.

Compiled from Times staff, wires


"Be there for her and listen . . . The truth is that most people, by far, survive cancer. It just doesn't feel that way to your friend right now."

Monique Doyle Spencer, author of How Can I Help? Everyday Ways to Help Your Loved Ones Live With Cancer (, $12.95)