Health Highlights: May 9, 2007

The cough medicine was tainted with a poisonous industrial solvent called diethylene glycol, that was falsely identified as glycerin, a sweet-tasting syrup widely used in medicine, The New York Times reported.

On Tuesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the neither the chemical company that made the toxic syrup -- the Taixing Glycerine Factory -- nor the state-owned trading firm that exported it -- CNSC Fortune Way -- were under the regulatory supervision of China's State Food and Drug Administration.

The Chinese agency conducted an investigation in response to a request from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Times reported.

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Cracker Barrel Pulls Hamburgers After Woman Injured

The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store restaurant chain has removed hundreds of hamburgers from its stores after a customer in Myrtle Beach, S.C. said she cut her mouth on a piece of metal in a patty, the Associated Press reported.

The restaurant chain removed more than 300 burgers made at or around the same time as the one involved in the incident. The burgers, which are frozen and pre-formed, were made by Cargill Meat Solutions of Wichita, Kan.

An investigation is being conducted by Cracker Barrel, the burger supplier, and police, the AP reported.

The 56-year-old female customer went to a hospital Saturday night after she began bleeding from the mouth and said something was stuck in her throat after eating part of a burger.

A police report said the restaurant manager found a piece of razor blade in the middle of the woman's half-eaten burger patty. Another piece of razor blade was later found in the patty.

The woman did not require stitches. Her husband said she was waiting to hear whether she need more medical tests, the AP reported.

Cracker Barrel has 557 restaurants in 41 states.

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FDA Approves Respirators for Use in Flu Pandemic

Two filtering facepiece respirators have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in an influenza pandemic and other public health emergencies. They're the first to receive such approval.

The respirators, which help reduce a user's exposure to airborne germs, are available without a prescription. They're made by St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Company.

The 3M Respirator 8612F and 8670F fit tightly over the nose and mouth and are made of fibrous material designed to filter out at least 95 percent of very small airborne particles.

"While the exact nature and concentration of the biological agent or germ may not be known in a public health medical emergency, we believe that minimizing exposure will help reduce risk," Dr. Daniel Shultz, director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a prepared statement.

"These respirators are only one part of a combination of approaches that can be used to help reduce the spread of infection between individuals during such events," Schultz said.

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