Omega 3-rich krill oil and stevia sweeteners among the latest proposed revisions to Food Chemicals Codex
ROCKVILLE, Md. — To help ensure the quality of popular food ingredients increasingly being incorporated into products sold in the United States and worldwide, standards for omega 3-rich krill oil and natural, low-calorie stevia sweeteners are among the latest proposed revisions to the Food Chemicals Codex, the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention that publishes the codex announced Wednesday.
“Ensuring the quality of the food ingredients that make up so much of our global food supply is not only part of responsible business practice, but is critical to the health of consumers,“ stated Srini Srinivasan, EVP global science and standards at USP. “Public standards defining the identity, quality and purity of ingredients incorporated into finished products can be an important resource for manufacturers as they source ingredients from suppliers around the world, offering some assurance that they are receiving the ingredients they expect by providing public specifications to which they can be compared."
The proposals are contained in the most recent FCC Forum. The proposed standards are available for public review for a 90-day comment period, which closes March 31, 2013.
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NCPA: Congress’ ‘fiscal cliff’ bill could force independents out of Medicare diabetes business
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — While the "fiscal cliff" bill heads off the most severe tax implications for most Americans, the 25.8 million Americans with diabetes may find this bill a bitter pill to swallow, suggested the National Community Pharmacists Association in a press release issued Wednesday.
“NCPA strongly opposes language in the legislation that would effectively force many community pharmacists to stop providing diabetes test supplies to Medicare beneficiaries," noted John Coster, SVP government affairs NCPA. "The bill would do this by applying DTS reimbursement rates to local pharmacies that are effectively set by large mail order operations," he said. "NCPA has repeatedly outlined to Congress and Medicare officials the shortcomings in such an approach. Round one of the competitive bid program has validated NCPA’s concerns, including waste in mail order and patients’ strong preference for a face-to-face health care experience with a local provider."
NCPA lobbied Congress to amend the legislation exempting independent pharmacies.
Not all of the bill is bad, however, NCPA noted. "We commend the temporary delay in the cuts to Medicare and the TRICARE program," Coster said. "In addition, the bill features tax provisions that, when compared to the policies that would otherwise take effect in 2013, would make it easier for family-owned independent community pharmacies to be passed from one generation to the next to continue serving their patients and contributing to their local economies."
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CDC: Influenza-like illness rates reaching 4.2% nationwide
ATLANTA — The incidence of influenza continued on an upward trajectory heading into the Christmas holiday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday. Nationwide for the week ending Dec. 22, 4.2% of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network were due to influenza-like illness, above the national baseline of 2.2%.
New York City and 16 states experienced high ILI activity, primarily across the south, while eight states experienced moderate ILI activity. States along the West Coast reported minimal ILI activity.
Data collected in ILINet are used to produce a measure of ILI activity by state. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits in a state due to ILI and are compared to the average percent of ILI visits that occur during spring and fall weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation. Activity levels range from minimal, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being below the average, to high, which would correspond to ILI activity from outpatient clinics being much higher than average.
ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F or greater) and cough and/or sore throat. Region specific data is available here.
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