Health Highlights: July 15, 2007

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:

Gerber Recalls Two Rice and Oatmeal Cereals

Baby food maker Gerber has issued a national recall for two of its popular 8 ounce cereals, ORGANIC Rice and Gerber ORGANIC Oatmeal because of a possible chocking hazard.

The company announced the recall on its Web site and said there had been complaints of choking by product users, but there had been no reported injuries.

WHAT TO KNOW
    • Gerber Recalls Rice and Oatmeal Cereals
    • Faulty Defibrillator Class Action Lawsuit Settled
    • China Rejects U.S. Meat, Poultry Imports
    • $35 Billion Cigarette Tax Increase Approved By Senate Committee
    • Big Increase in Reports of Avandia-Related Side Effects
    • Dairy May Lower Men's Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease

The company says the problem may be that some of the cereal remains lumpy and won't dissolve in milk or other liquids. The products with all UPC codes, 15000 12504 for Gerber ORANIC Rice UPC Code, and 15000 12502 for Gerber ORAGNIC Oatmeal are subject to the recall.

Consumers also can call the Gerber Parents Resources Center at 18004437237 or 1-231-928-3000 to return the product and get a full refund.

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Faulty Defibrillator Class Action Lawsuit Settled

The lawsuit against the maker of the Guidant defibrillator has been settled, the New York Times reports.

Boston Scientific Corporation, which owns Guidant, has agreed to pay $195 million to settle claims brought by about 4,000 patients who claimed they weren't alerted to possible flaws in one of the company's most widely-used defibrillators, even though the Guidant Corporation had known about the defect for at least three years, the newspaper said.

The device in question is the the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861, an implantable defibrillator. The defibrillator works by monitoring a patient's heart rhythm and delivering electrical pulses to the heart when it beats abnormally to bring it back into correct rhythm.

The Times reported in 2005 that the Ventak Prizm 2 Model 1861 failed to work because of faulty insulation. Guidant was aware of the problem as early as 2002 but didn't alert the medical community until the newspaper article was published, the Times said.

Boston Scientific spokesman Paul Donovan told the newspaper that the settlement will resolve all civil claims. But, he added, the U.S. Justice Department's investigation into possible criminal activity is continuing.

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China Rejects U.S. Meat, Poultry Imports

In an act of apparent retaliation to the United States' cracking down on imports of many of its food products, China has suspended importing a number of U.S. meat products, including poultry from the world's largest producer, Tyson Foods of Arkansas.

The Associated Press reports that that the Chinese government, following months of U.S.-rejected imports ranging from pet food additives to toothpaste, announced late last week that many U.S. meat products contained substandard materials, including Tyson frozen poultry, which the Chinese agency known as the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said contained salmonella bacteria.

Other banned meat products contained residue of an anti-parasite drug in pork and a leanness-enhancing food additive, the AQSIQ said. Representatives from Tyson Foods had not responded to the A.P. late Saturday.

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