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Health Highlights: Dec. 12, 2011

Cilantro Recalled in Seven States Cooked Chicken Breasts Recalled by N. Carolina Company Mutant Bird Flu Virus Causes Concern N.C. Task Force Mulls Restitution for Sterilization Victims

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

Cilantro Recalled in Seven States

Concern about possible salmonella contamination has triggered the recall of 6,141 cartons of cilantro that were shipped to seven states by California-based Pacific Cilantro.

The company said the cilantro is being recalled as a precaution after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found salmonella in a sample of the herbs, the Associated Press reported.

The cilantro, which was grown by Salt River Farming in the Phoenix-area, was distributed in Arizona, California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey and South Carolina. Each bunch has "Pacific" on the twist tie and the UPC code 33383 80104.

Consumers are being told to return cilantro that was bought after Nov. 16 and before Dec. 10, the AP reported.


Cooked Chicken Breasts Recalled by N. Carolina Company

About 4,000 pounds of cooked chicken breasts that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes have been recalled by the House of Raeford Farms of North Carolina.

The recall includes 18- to 22-pound boxes that contain two 9- to 11-pound "boneless oven roasted chicken breasts" per box, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CNN reported.

The recalled products have the serial number "P-239A" inside the USDA mark of inspection, a product of "94268" and a package date of "1270" (Sept. 27, 2011). The chicken breasts were distributed to delicatessens and food service institutions in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The USDA said there have been no reported cases of illness associated with the recalled chicken breasts, CNN said.


Mutant Bird Flu Virus Causes Concern

A mutant version of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus that's contagious among humans and other mammals has been developed by Dutch scientists.

The announcement by the team at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam triggered concern that the mutant virus could find its way into nature or that publication of the research on how the virus was mutated could be used by terrorists, Agence France-Presse reported.

But Dutch authorities have offered assurances that the mutant virus is secure, European Union Health Commissioner John Dalli told journalists.

The H5N1 bird flu virus is fatal in 60 percent of human cases but has killed only 350 people so far because it is not easily transmitted between humans, AFP reported.


N.C. Task Force Mulls Restitution for Sterilization Victims

A North Carolina task force is trying to decide how to compensate the estimated 7,600 people who were sterilized as part of an aggressive eugenics program that operated in the state between 1933 and 1977.

Eugenics is a form of social/genetic engineering once considered a legitimate method for improving the gene pool and eliminating poverty. North Carolina was just one of many states with eugenics programs.

In North Carolina, girls and women accounted for about 85 percent of those sterilized, and nonwhite minorities about 40 percent, The New York Times reported.

Blacks were disproportionately affected by the program because they were more likely to be poor and uneducated and to be from large rural families.

"The state owes something to the victims," said Governor Bev Perdue, who campaigned on the issue, The Times reported.

The task force has been meeting since May and is expected to submit a final report by February.

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