Health Advisories and Announcements
Ask Karen - Foodborne
Ask Karen is an interactive
information system set up by the USDA, in order to answer questions and provide
information regarding the safe handling, preparation, and storage of meat,
poultry, and egg products.
Ask Karen Website:
General information on current and past recalls can be obtained from the following sites:
Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html
U.S. Department of Agriculture: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fsis_recalls/index.asp
Online Resource for Recalls: http://www.recalls.gov
CDC Alert on Adverse Effects Associated with
Consuming “Total Body Formula” and “Total Body Mega Formula”
(April 15, 2008)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working collaboratively with
state health departments, the American Association of Poison Control Centers,
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on reports of adverse health
effects following consumption of the dietary supplement “Total Body Formula,”
and “Total Body Mega Formula” manufactured in the USA exclusively for Total Body
Essential Nutrition, Inc. This dietary supplement has been found by FDA to
contain hazardous levels of selenium (up to 200 times the label value) and
chromium (up to 17 times the label value).
An FDA press release on April 9, 2008 detailed information regarding the level
of selenium in the product (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2008/NEW01818.html).
FDA is advising consumers to stop using “Total Body Formula” in flavors Tropical
Orange and Peach Nectar and “Total Body Mega Formula” in the Orange/Tangerine
flavor and discard them by placing them in a trash receptacle outside of the
home. “Total Body Formula” products are sold in eight-ounce and 32-ounce plastic
bottles. “Total Body Mega Formula” is sold in 32-ounce plastic bottles. Products
with the following lot numbers should be discarded: Total Body Tropical Orange
with lot numbers 4016801, 4024801 and 4031801; Total Body Peach Nectar with lot
numbers 4016802 and 4031802; and Total Body Mega Orange/Tangerine with lot
As of April 11, 2008, 91 adverse reactions have been reported from Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia health departments. The
American Association of Poison Control Centers and the FDA report additional
exposures in other states.
Total Body Essential Nutrition, Inc reportedly distributed this product to 16
states (Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan,
Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia), and also sells its products over the Internet.
Clinical description of selenium toxicity
Excessive intake of selenium is known to cause the following symptoms:
significant hair loss, muscle cramps, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, loss of
finger nails and blistering skin.
Clinical description of chromium toxicity
Excessive intake of chromium may result in the following symptoms: renal
failure, elevated hepatic enzymes, thrombocytopenia, hemolysis, changes in
thought processes, gastrointestinal disorders, chest pain, erythema/flushing/rash,
dizziness, headache, agitation, and rhabdomyolysis.
Individuals presenting with two or more of the following symptoms that occurred
within two weeks of ingesting a dietary supplement manufactured in the USA
exclusively for Total Body Essential Nutrition, Inc: hair loss, muscle or joint
pains, fingernail discoloration or changes, headache, foul breath, weakness,
gastrointestinal symptoms (such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal
pain), rash, oliguria/anuria or abnormal renal function tests, jaundice or
abnormal liver function tests, anemia or hematological changes.
CDC requests that consumers and clinicians who encounter patients with symptoms
consistent with selenium and/or chromium poisoning report these cases to their
local poison control center (PCC) at 1-800-222-1222. Medical personnel are
available at PCCs to provide specific medical management advice and will make
appropriate referral to state and local health authorities.
Health care professionals and consumers are also encouraged to report adverse
events to the FDA's MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088 or online at
Red Tide Information
What is a Florida red tide?
A red tide is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga
(plant-like organisms). In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is
Karenia brevis. This organism produces a toxin that can affect the central
nervous system of fish. At high concentrations (called a bloom), the organisms
may discolor the water. However, red tides are not always red. They can appear
greenish, brownish, and even purple in color. The water can even remain its
normal color during a bloom.
Can red tide affect me?
Yes. As the red tide blooms approach coastal areas, the breaking waves can
cause the toxin to become mixed with sea spray. People in the coastal areas
experiencing red tide blooms can experience varying degrees of eye, nose, and
throat irritation similar to cold symptoms. When a person leaves the red tide
area, the symptoms usually go away. People with severe or chronic respiratory
conditions such as asthma or chronic lung disease are cautioned to avoid red
Is it okay to eat shellfish
during a red tide?
No. Shellfish like the bivalve mollusks; clams, oysters, and coquinas that
are harvested from red tide areas should not be eaten. These molluskan shellfish
are filter feeders that can filter large amounts of the red tide algae from the
water and concentrate the toxin producing algae in their gut. Other seafood also
commonly called shellfish such as crabs, shrimp, and lobster can be eaten
because they do not filter water and will not concentrate the toxin. Scallops
can be eaten if only the scallop’s muscle is eaten, as is normally the case.
Scallop stew, which would use the whole animal, should not be eaten.
Do red tides occur anywhere
Yes, red tide organisms occur elsewhere. Although the organism that causes
Florida's red tide is found almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico, blooms
have been found off the east coast of Florida, and a bloom was detected off the
coast of North Carolina in 1987. Scientists believe the Florida Current and Gulf
Stream Current carried K. brevis out of the Gulf of Mexico, around South
Florida, and up to the Carolina coast. Other types of microorganisms cause
different kinds of red tides (now called harmful algal blooms) in other parts of
the world as well.
Is it safe to swim during a
Yes, swimming is safe for most people. However, red tide can cause some people
to suffer from skin irritation and burning eyes. Use common sense. If you are
particularly susceptible to irritation from plant products, avoid red tide
water. If you experience irritation, get out of the water and thoroughly wash.
Do not swim among dead fish because they can be associated with harmful
Does cooking destroy the red
No, cooking does not destroy the red tide toxin.
For more information on red
tide and other harmful algal blooms, visit:
Florida Fish and
Florida DOH- Div of Env Health:
NOAA - CSCOR:
For more local health information and announcements not listed on this page, visit the Brevard County Health Department Hot Topics Page.
For more statewide and national health advisories and announcements not listed on this page, visit the Florida Department Of Health's Bulletins Page.