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U.S. suspends Brazilian beef imports over safety concerns

All imports of fresh beef from Brazil have been halted because of recurring concerns about the safety of the products intended for the American market, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said Thursday.

The suspension of shipments will remain in place until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds satisfactory.

The action comes three months after a major scandal erupted in Brazil over allegedly corrupt inspectors at slaughter and processing facilities. Brazilian officials said then that meat companies paid inspectors to overlook violations and certify tainted or rotten meat or not make inspections at all.

>> Read more trending news

However, before the crackdown, rotten meat was distributed in Brazil and exported to Europe.

Since March, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has been inspecting 100 percent of all meat products arriving in the United States from Brazil. FSIS has refused entry to 11 percent of Brazilian fresh beef products.

That figure is substantially higher than the rejection rate of one percent of shipments from the rest of the world. Since the implementation of the increased inspection, FSIS has refused entry to 106 lots (approximately 1.9 million pounds) of Brazilian beef products due to public health concerns, sanitary conditions, and animal health issues. It is important to note that none of the rejected lots made it into the U.S. market.

The Brazilian government had pledged to address those concerns, including by self-suspending five facilities from shipping beef to the United States. Today’s action to suspend all fresh beef shipments from Brazil supersedes the self-suspension.

Secretary Perdue issued the following statement:

“Ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply is one of our critical missions, and it’s one we undertake with great seriousness. Although international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers. That’s what we’ve done by halting the import of Brazilian fresh beef. I commend the work of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for painstakingly safeguarding the food we serve our families.”

>> Read the full news release here

The U.S. is not a major importer of beef from Brazil because the U.S. produces more beef and veal than Brazil does. This year, U.S. beef and veal production are expected to grow 5 percent to more than 12 million tons, reaching a nine-year high, according to USDA reports.

In 2016, the U.S. exported $6.3 billion in beef and beef products globally. The major importers of beef to the U.S. are Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, with Brazil ranking fifth.

In May, Brazil re-opened its doors to U.S. fresh beef exports after a 13-year hiatus, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service reported.

In 2003, Brazil closed its market fresh beef imports from the U.S. over concerns about bone spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Farmers Union applauded the decision to suspend the importation of Brazilian beef and said it has long had concerns about the importation of fresh beef from Brazil.

“Since the 2015 repeal of Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), food safety scandals can undermine consumer confidence in the entire beef industry, harming American producers’ bottom line. This incident underscores the importance of COOL to protect American beef producers and consumers alike,” NFU officials said in a statement.

Monday, several cattle-ranching groups sued the USDA in Spokane, asking that it overturn its decision to not require country-of-origin labeling on meat imports. Without the labeling, imported meat can be sold as a U.S. product.

Oreo to unveil candy canes for Christmas

It is still six months until Christmas, but Oreo cookies could be part of your holiday tree decorations.

>> Read more trending news

The cookie maker is unveiling candy canes for Christmas, Country Living reported.

The Candy Hunting Instagram account revealed that Oreo Cookies & Creme Candy Canes will be available in time for Christmas. However, Nabisco, the parent company for Oreo, has not confirmed the product’s release.

Candy Hunting conceded in its post that “I highly doubt these will taste like Oreos, but hey, why not brand everything with Oreo to boost sales?”

Burger King introduces Lucky Charms milkshake to menu

Burger King is adding another unique creation to its fast food menu.

Fortune reported that the burger chain introduced the Lucky Charms milkshake on Monday.

>> Read more trending news

The limited-edition drink will have crushed pieces of Lucky Charms oat cereal, its famous marshmallows and vanilla soft serve. It will also include sweet syrup.

Related: 10,000 marshmallow-only Lucky Charms boxes up for grabs in giveaway

“Our guests can’t get enough of our cereal shakes, so we’ve extended the platform to include the Lucky Charms Shake,” Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, said in a news release. “The mashup of our velvety vanilla-flavored soft serve and one of America's classic breakfast cereals is something we think our guests are going to love.”

The treat will sell for $2.99 at participating locations. Burger King previously introduced a Froot Loops shake to its menu.

Chick-fil-A introduces new gluten-free bun

In response to customer requests, Chick-fil-A announced the addition of a new gluten-free bun option to its menu, making it one of the first fast food restaurants to offer the item.

>> Read more trending news 

The 150-calorie bun, made with premium ingredients like quinoa and amaranth and lightly sweetened with molasses and raisins, is now available in restaurants nationwide, according to a company news release.

>> Related: Chick-fil-A adds new sandwich, lemonade to summer menu

It comes individually packaged and can be ordered with any Chick-fil-A sandwich for an additional $1.15.

The company tested the option in three U.S. cities in 2016 and found the bun to be the most commonly ordered item with the grilled chicken sandwich and grilled chicken deluxe sandwich.

“Our hope is that the gluten-free bun addition opens up options for gluten-sensitive customers to enjoy more of our menu, Leslie Neslage, senior consultant of menu development at Chick-fil-A, said.

Gluten-free items are most commonly consumed by people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, as if it were a poison.

Click here to read more information on the gluten-free bun and other gluten-free options at Chick-fil-A.

Woman sues Texas restaurant after flaming queso burns her

A 27-year-old woman suffered second- and third-degree burns after the flaming queso she ordered in May at a Mexican restaurant in Cedar Park, Texas, blew up in her face, according to a lawsuit.

>> Read more trending news

The woman sued Dos Salsas and its manager, William Plata. Plata could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The woman, an Austin resident, was eating at the restaurant on May 20 with her family when the incident happened, said her lawyer, Adam Loewy.

She ordered an appetizer called “Quesos Flameados,” the lawsuit said.

>> Related: Man dies after eating gas station nachos

The waitress serving the dish at the restaurant usually brings it to the table already on fire and sprays a chemical on it that makes the flames go straight up, Loewy said. That didn’t happen in this case, he said. A waitress brought it out and sprayed the chemical but instead of going up, the fire “went sideways and engulfed (the victim) in flames,” he said.

The woman who was burned dived to the ground and her family doused her with water, Loewy said. She was burned on her face, chest, neck and arms and was taken to a burn unit in San Antonio, he said.

The victim, who works in the insurance business, has been unable to return to work but has been released from the hospital, Loewy said. He said she will need plastic surgery.

The victim is suing the restaurant and its manager for more than $1 million.

“I think this is the height of negligence they would have a dish like this in which they have no fire training for the waitress,” said Loewy. “I think the evidence will show something like this was bound to happen.”

The lawsuit was filed Friday.

WATCH: Woman fights McDonald's employee over McChicken in viral video

Sometimes fast food just doesn’t come out fast enough for some people. That apparently was the case at a Des Moines, Iowa, McDonald’s on Saturday when a woman who couldn’t wait any longer for her McChicken reportedly became enraged and started a brawl at the restaurant.

KCCI reported that Valerie Anne Shepherd, 21, and Jesse James Downs, 24, were arrested on assault and disorderly conduct charges in connection with the incident.

Video of the altercation was captured by 34-year-old Amanda Gravely, who was waiting at the drive-through window, according to the Des Moines Register, Gravely described the impatient customer as an “extremely hangry [hungry and angry] woman." The video shows the woman shouting at the employee at the counter.

>> Watch a censored version of the video here (Viewer discretion advised)

In the video, the woman, who was accompanied by two men, screams, “Give me my [expletive]!” Then she’s heard screaming, “Give me my money, and I will leave! Give me my money, and I will leave!”

The woman then appears to hop on the counter while she continues to scream at the employees about getting her McChicken. Soon, the woman is behind the counter, appearing to flail her arms at the employees as they try to grab her and calm the situation.

One of the men with her can be heard saying, “Grab her hair" as the brawling continues behind the counter.

>> Read more trending news

The video then shows the McDonald’s manager handing over the McChicken sandwich to the woman, who throws it back over the counter and in the employee’s face.

Gravely, who recorded the incident, told the Register that the McDonald’s appeared to be short-staffed and that the drive-through line was packed.

Gravely, who was with her husband and kids in the car, said the woman in the video “screamed and yelled a lot more” before the recording began. Gravely thought the altercation was “crazy” and was worried about her kids hearing and witnessing it.

“[I] wanted to record in case it escalates,” Gravely told the newspaper.

Gravely received her McFlurry moments after the brawl concluded.

“Now we have to think twice: Just how important is that chicken sandwich?” Gravely said.

Tuna recalled over possible hepatitis A contamination

A Hawaii-based company is recalling frozen yellowfin tuna after samples tested positive for hepatitis A.

Restaurants in at least three states – California, Texas and Oklahoma – are believed to have received shipments of the fish, according to a Food and Drug Administration press release

>> Read the press release

According to the press release, Hilo Fish Co. "began recalling tuna sourced from Sustainable Seafood Co. and Santa Cruz Seafood” on May 18 after the tuna tested positive for the hepatitis A virus. In Texas, three Sysco locations received shipments of the tuna, which means that it could have gone out to any number of restaurants. While one shipment did go to New York, the New York State Department of Health stated that the product was not served. The Centers for Disease Control is not currently aware of any illnesses stemming from the tuna but noted that people who have been vaccinated for hepatitis A are not at risk of contracting the virus.

>> See a list of establishments that may have been affected

Specifically, the recalled products include vacuum packed 8-ounce tuna steaks with an expiration date of Oct. 1, 2018, and 15-pound cases of frozen tuna cubes dated April 1, 2019.

Hepatitis A is a liver disease that causes fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain and a number of other symptoms. Individuals who are worried that they might have contracted the virus are advised to contact a health professional.

>> Read more trending news

The tuna apparently originated in Indonesia, and the Hawaii Department of Health notified the FDA on May 1 that one of the cubes tested positive for Hepatitis A. Another company, Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC, quickly recalled fish sent to customers in Oahu, but the FDA reported that “U.S. mainland and other Hawaiian islands were not affected by the recall.”

Read more here.

9 healthy-sounding foods that have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut

American Heart Association experts recommend men shouldn’t eat more than 36 grams of added sugar a day and women should limit their sugar consumption to 25 grams.

>> Read more trending stories  

So a single Krispy Kreme doughnut, which has 10 grams of sugar, takes up a good bulk of your recommended daily intake.

>> Shaquille O'Neal buys Krispy Kreme store

But healthy-sounding snack replacements like yogurt and raisins actually rack up more sugar than you might think. And several options even have more than double the sugar of a Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.

>> Related: National Doughnut Day 2017 deals and freebies 

Here are 11 foods and drinks with more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut:

To learn more about added sugars and your recommended intake, visit heart.org.

Ben & Jerry’s celebrate Bob Marley with One Love flavor

Ben & Jerry’s is always making additions to its collection. But it’s latest creation is serving up a scoop of yummy ice cream while celebrating one of music’s most beloved artists.

>> Read more trending news

The company is paying homage to reggae icon Bob Marley with One Love, a banana-flavored ice cream with graham cracker swirls and fudge peace signs.

Partnering with the late singer’s son, Ziggy, the chain held an event to launch its newest frozen treat. The occasion featured performances from Ziggy Marley, a kid’s choir and samples of the dessert.

»Related: 15 Ben & Jerry's flavors inspired by celebs and pop culture 

“I’ve been a fan of Ben & Jerry’s for a long time before even this was happening,” Ziggy Marley told Forbes. “It’s a simple thing, but you don’t know how significant that can be. A child eating an ice cream can see that, ‘Oh, daddy, what’s this thing?’ ‘Oh, it’s a peace sign.’ Then discussions start, explanations, so these things can be more than a simple ice cream.”

>> Related: Ben & Jerry's co-founders arrested during protests at U.S. Capitol

The limited edition flavor won’t only satisfy taste buds, it will also benefit one of the legend’s foundations. Proceeds will go towards the Bob Marley One Love Youth Camp

>> Related: Ben & Jerry's says 'Black lives matter' 

>> Related: Police group boycotts Ben & Jerry's after company announces support for Black Lives Matter

FDA: Cashews, Kroger macadamia nuts recalled over listeria scare

The Food and Drug Administration has made two unrelated recalls of Simple Truth Dry Roasted Macadamia Nuts and Ava’s Organic Cashews Roasted & Salted for possible listeria contamination. No illnesses have been reported yet.

» Related: Nathan's, Curtis hot dogs recalled for possible metal contamination 

The macadamia nuts, which were packaged in clear 12-ounce plastic, were sold in Kroger, Bakers, Gerbes and Dillons stores in six states: Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Indiana.

Kroger said it has removed the macadamia nuts from stores where the item was sold.

>> Read more trending news

The Simple Truth nuts have a May 2, 2018, expiration date and UPC of 1110-02478.

If you’ve purchased a package, either throw the item away or take it back to the store for a refund or replacement.

» Related: Banquet chicken nugget meals possibly contaminated with salmonella 

Less than 225 units of Ava’s Organic Cashews Roasted & Salted, packaged in 8-ounce plastic tubs, were sold in the U.S. (Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania).

The cashews have a best-by date of April 28, 2018, UPC number of 8-10111-01035-1 and lot number of 11817-L2.

Test results for the cashews came out negative for listeria, but the FDA has chosen to recall the item “out of an abundance of caution” after an investigation at Hampton Farms, where the cashews came from, revealed a contaminated piece of equipment was used during production of other Hampton Farms products.

Like the macadamia nuts, the cashews can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund.

» Related: Nearly 1 million pounds of chicken may be contaminated with metal 

According to Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year and approximately 260 people die.

Those with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and their newborns and adults ages 65 and older are most at risk.

Here are some common listeria symptoms, according to the CDC:

  • Pregnant women: fever, flu-like symptoms (fatigue, muscle aches)
  • Others: headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, convulsions, fever, muscle aches

See more FDA recalls.

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