Health Highlights: Sept. 13, 2011

U.S. Testing of E. Coli Will Be Expanded Ear Implants Recalled

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

U.S. Testing of E. Coli Will Be Expanded

In an attempt to squelch outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to broaden its testing of E. coli in meat next year.

Beginning in March, the government, which now tests for one strain of E. coli, will test for seven strains of the pathogen in beef trimmings used for ground beef, the Associated Press reported. Eventually, other meats may be included.

"We are gratified that the Obama administration finally put public health ahead of industry interests by giving the USDA the authority to take action against these other pathogens," said Wenonah Hauter, director of the Food & Water Watch advocacy organization, told the news agency.

It was expected that the USDA would announce the new testing policy Tuesday.

The decision follows a deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe this summer that was caused by a new strain. However, that novel strain is not among those that will be screened, the AP said.

The meat industry, opposing the decision, has said increased testing is too costly and will provide little benefit.


Ear Implants Recalled

Cochlear Ltd, an Australian maker of cochlear ear implants -- used to improve hearing -- is recalling its biggest selling devices because some units suddenly stop working, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Problems with the CI512 model of its Nucleus CI500 devices have led to a voluntary global recall of the entire line. Cochlear has said it will provide replacements for re-implantation.

The company said the defective devices were unlikely to cause any health problems, the AP said. And those who have the CI500 implants but have not had difficulties can continue using the artificial ear, the company advised.

In addition to the CI512 unit, the recall includes the CI513, CI551 double array implant and ABI 541 auditory brainstem implant, the AP said.

"We don't know what the cause is," Cochlear chief executive Chris Roberts Roberts said.


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