Current Events in May 2016

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2016

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    Builder confidence steady for fourth straight month

    Low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand are big factors

    If you build them, they will come.

    That seems to be the outlook of the nation's home builders, who remain confident in the market for newly-built single-family homes.

    The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) is unchanged in May at a level of 58. A reading above 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

    “Builder confidence has held steady at 58 for four straight months, which indicates that the single-family housing sector remains in positive territory,” said NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. “However, builders are facing an increasing number of regulations and lot supply constraints.”

    The HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as "good," "fair," or "poor." The survey asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as "high to very high," "average," or "low to very low." Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index.

    The HMI components measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased three points to 65, while the component charting current sales conditions and the index gauging buyer traffic both held steady at 63 and 44, respectively.

    Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South and Midwest both registered one-point gains to 59 and 58, respectively. The West was unchanged at 67 and the Northeast fell three points to 41.

    “The fact that future sales expectations rose slightly this month shows that builders are confident that the market will continue to strengthen,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Job creation, low mortgage interest rates and pent-up demand will also spur growth in the single-family housing sector moving forward.”   

    If you build them, they will come.That seems to be the outlook of the nation's home builders, who remain confident in the market for newly-built single...

    Ajinomoto Windsor recalls not-ready-to eat frozen food items

    The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

    Ajinomoto Windsor is recalling various not-ready-to eat frozen food items.

    The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

    The company says no illnesses have been reported to date.

    The following products with a Use-By Date of November 5, 2017 or earlier are being recalled:

    Product #Description:Pack Size
    82071TAI PEI PDQ CHICKEN FRIED RICE9/14.2 oz. pail
    7007700807TAI PEI CHICKEN FRIED RICE8/14.2 oz. pail
    7007700816TAI PEI PEPPER BEEF8/14.2 oz. pail
    7007700859TAI PEI COMBINATION FRIED RICE8/12 oz. pail
    53051DAILY CHEF CHICKEN POBLANO FIRECRACKERS12/30 oz.
    56106GOLDEN TIGER SANTA FE CHICKEN ER 2 OZ100 ct. bulk
    56175JADE MOUNTAIN SW CHICKEN EGGROLL TWISTS100 ct. bulk
    56176PETITE CUISINE CHICKEN POBLANO FIRECRACKER6/30 oz. ctns.
    56181GOLDEN TIGER SW CHICKEN FIRECRACKER 1 OZ100 ct. bulk
    56403POSADA SW CHICKEN EMPANADA 1 OZ120 ct. bulk
    56704ORIGINAL APPETIZER COMPANY POBLANO FIRECRACKER8/8 oz.
    56757PETITE CUISINE SW CHICKEN FIRECRACKRS6/30 oz.
    56762TASTE OF INSPIRATIONS CKN POBLANO FIRECRACKERS6/8 oz.
    56838GOLDEN TIGER SW CHICKEN S/R 1.5 OZ6/27 ct. box
    235050PERKINS SOUTHWEST CRISPY ROLL 3 OZ80 ct. bulk
    564088ARCHER FARMS CHICKEN POBLANO FIRECRACKER6/8 oz.
    953397MOLLY'S KITCHEN CHICKEN POT PIE EMPANADAS4/27 ct.
    8881128CASA SOLANA SW CHICKEN EMPANADA 1 OZ120 ct. bulk
    5620393INNOVASIANS FRD RICE CHICKEN 2 LB12 ct. carton
    5620503TRADER JOE'S CHICKEN FRIED RICE24/20 oz. bags
    5620513INNOVASIANS CHICKEN FRIED RICE25 ct. bags
    5620533SIMMERING SAMURAI ORANGE CHICKEN FRIED RICE4/24 oz. ctns.
    5620543SIMMERING SAMURAI CHICKEN FRIED RICE4/24 oz. ctns.
    5620553HY VEE CHICKEN FRIED RICE12 ct. bags
    5620563FIRST STREET CHICKEN FRIED RICE12 ct. bags
    5620593AJINOMOTO CHICKEN FRIED YAKITORI RICE8/54 oz. ctns.
    5620603SIMMERING SAMURAI GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN FRIED RICE6/18 oz. ctns.
    5620613SIMMERING SAMURAI HIBACHI CHICKEN FRIED RICE6/18 oz. ctns.
    5620623SIMMERING SAMURAI SPICY HIBACHI CHICKEN FRIED RICE6/18 oz. ctns.
    5620633SIMMERING SAMURAI ORANGE CHICKEN FRIED RICE6/18 oz. ctns.
    5620643SIMMERING SAMURAI GENERAL TSO'S CHICKEN FRIED RICE6/18 oz. ctns
    5620653AJINOMOTO CHICKEN FRIED YAKITORI RICE Mexico8/54 oz. ctns.
    5620663AJINOMOTO CHICKEN FRIED YAKITORI RICE Canada8.54 oz. ctns.
    241920Jalapeno, Corn and Bacon Cornbread Pops6/2 lb. bags
    229650WAHOO-BATTERED VEGGIE FRIES6/2 lb. bags
    241120FRED'S BATTERED CORN NUGGET6/2 lb. bags
    241550PONDEROSA BATTERED SWEET CORN NUGGET6/2 lb. bags
    241620GOLDEN VALUE BATTERED CORN NUGGET4/3 lb. bags
    241720FRED'S SPICY BREADED CORN NUGGET w/JALAPENO6/2 lb. bags
    672685MOLLY'S KITCHEN BATTERED SWEET CORN NUGGETS6/2 lb. bags
    673692MOLLY'S KITCHEN BATTREED VEGETABLE STICKS6/2 lb. bags
    864964MOLLY'S KITCHEN SPICY BREADED CORN NUGT w/JALAPENO6/2 lb. bags
    82070TAI PEI MADE TO ORDER GARDEN VEGETABLE RICE8/18 oz. pails
    82072TAI PEI PDQ SHRIMP FRIED RICE9/12 oz. pails
    7007700806TAI PEI SHRIMP FRIED RICE8/12 oz. pails
    7007701045VIP-QP PETITE WHITE CORN12/16 oz.
    7007701048VIP-CORN CUT12/16 oz.
    7007701064VIP-GREEN PEAS12/16 oz.
    7007701065VIP-QP PETITE PEAS12/16 oz.
    7007701248VIP-CORN CUT12/32 oz.
    7007701264VIP-GREEN PEAS12/32 oz.
    7007706156VIP-STEAMWORKS COB CORN WITH BUTTER SAUCE12 pk./8 ct.
    7007706448VIP-STEAMWORKS ORGANIC SWEET CORN6 pk./24 oz.
    7007706464VIP-STEAMWORKS ORGANIC PEAS6 pk./24 oz.
    7007706476VIP-STEAMWORKS ORGANIC MIXED VEGEGETABLES6 pk./24 oz.
    7007706548VIP-STEAMWORKSSWEET CUT CORN12 pk./12 oz.
    7007706564VIP-STEAMWORKS GREEN PEAS SWEET12 pk./12 oz.
    7007706576VIP-STEAMWORKS MIX VEGETABLES12 pk./12 oz.
    56857OLD PARK SOUTHWEST VEGETABLE SPRINGROLL162 ct./1.5 oz.
    5650053AJINOMOTO VEGETABLE FRIED RICE9 ct./3 lb. bags
    5650203MINH VEGETABLE FRIED RICE4 ct./3 lb. bags
    5650213JADE MOUNTAIN VEGETABLE FRIED RICE4 ct./3 lb. bags
    5650233TRADER JOE'S VEGETABLE FRIED RICE24/1 lb. bags
    5650243FIRST STREET VEGETABLE FRIED RICE12/1 lb. bags
    5650263HY VEE FRIED RICE-VEGETABLE12/1 lb. bags
    5650273AJINOMOTO VEGETABLE FRIED RICE9/3 lb. bags
    275720Fred's Battered Green Beans (limited to date code 0945280 on the master case)6/2 lb. bags
    671850Molly's Kitchen Battered Green Beans (limited to date code 0945280 on the master case)6/2 lb. bags

    The recalled products were distributed in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

    What to do

    Customers who purchased the recalled products should discard them or return them to the store where purchased.

    Consumers with questions may call the firm's consumer affairs hotline at (855) 742-5011 Monday through Sunday from 7 am – 5 pm (PDT).

    Ajinomoto Windsor is recalling various not-ready-to eat frozen food items. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Th...

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      Pilgrim's Pride expands recall of poultry products for a third time

      The products may be contaminated with foreign matter

      Pilgrim’s Pride of Waco, Texas, is recalling an additional 376,380 pounds of fully cooked chicken products

      The products may be contaminated with extraneous materials.

      There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of the recalled products.

      The following items, produced on July 11, 2015, September 15-16, 2015, are being added to the recall:

      • 25-lb boxes containing 3 – 8.33-lb clear bags in a box of “Pierce Chicken/ Wing Zings Fully Cooked Hot and Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings 1st and 2nd Sections” with use by/sell by date of 09/15/2016 and a packaging date of 09/15/2015;
      • 15-lb boxes containing 2 – 7.5 clear bags in a box of “Pierce Chicken/ Wing Zings Fully Cooked Hot and Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings” with a use by/sell by date of 07/11/2016 and a packaging date of 07/11/2015;
      • 15-lb boxes containing 2 – 7.5-lb clear bags in a box of “Pierce Chicken/ Wing Zings Fully Cooked Hot And Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings” with a use by/sell by date of 09/16/2016 and a packaging date of 9/16/2015;
      • 10-lb boxes containing 2 – 5-lb clear bags in a box of “Sweet Georgia Brand Fully Cooked Hot and Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings” with a use by/sell by date of 07/11/2016 and a packaging date of 07/11/2015;
      • 10-lb boxes containing 2 – 5-lb clear bags in a box of “Sweet Georgia Brand Fully Cooked Hot and Spicy Breaded Chicken Wings 1st and 2nd Sections” with a use by/sell by date of 09/15/2016 and a packaging date of 09/15/2015;
      • 25-lb boxes containing 3 – 8.33-lb clear bags in a box of “Pierce Chicken/ Wing Zings Fully Cooked Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings 1st and 2nd Sections” with use by/sell by date of 09/15/2016 and a packaging date of 09/15/2015.

      The initial recall was issued in early April, with expansions in late April and mid-May.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

      Consumers with questions may contact James Brown at (800) 321-1470.  

      Pilgrim’s Pride of Waco, Texas, is recalling an additional 376,380 pounds of fully cooked chicken products The products may be contaminated with ex...

      Harris Teeter recalls frozen organic corn and mixed vegetables

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Harris Teeter is recalling its brand of frozen organic corn and frozen mixed vegetables.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      The following products are being recalled:

      • Harris Teeter Frozen Organic Corn, UPC number 7203676395
      • Harris Teeter Frozen Organic Mixed Vegetables, UPC number 7203676393.

      The recalled products may have been sold in Harris Teeter stores between October 19, 2015, and December 24, 2015.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but return them to Harris Teeter for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may call the CRF recall call center at 844-551-5595.

      Harris Teeter is recalling its brand of frozen organic corn and frozen mixed vegetables. The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogen...

      Graco recalls TurboBooster booster seats

      The instructions for the booster seats are incomplete

      Graco Children's Products is recalling 20,505 Graco TurboBooster booster seats, models 1967886, 1963973, 1963974, 1963975, 1963976, and 1975173, manufactured between December 22, 2015, and April 5, 2016.

      The instructions for the booster seats are missing the information that the seats should be securely belted to the vehicle at all times, even if the seat is unoccupied. As such, these seats fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, "Child Restraint Systems."

      In the event of a vehicle crash, an unoccupied and unsecured child restraint may strike other occupants and cause injury.

      What to do

      Graco will notify registered owners and provide the missing printed instructions, free of charge.

      Non-registered owners may obtain the missing printed instructions by contacting Graco customer service at 1-800-345-4109. The recall is expected to begin on, or about, June 10, 2016.

      Graco Children's Products is recalling 20,505 Graco TurboBooster booster seats, models 1967886, 1963973, 1963974, 1963975, 1963976, and 1975173, manufactur...

      Chevrolet Sonic, Trax and Spark vehicles recalled

      The radio may fail to provide an audible warning chime

      General Motors is recalling 317,572 model year 2013-2016 Chevrolet Sonic and Trax vehicles and 2013-2015 Chevrolet Spark vehicles equipped with a Bring Your Own Media radio.

      The radios may fail to provide an audible warning chime when the driver, after turning off the ignition and leaving the key in the cylinder, waits 10 minutes or longer to open the door. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 114 "Theft Protection."

      Without audible indicators, the driver may leave the key in the ignition, increasing the risk of theft.

      What to do

      GM will notify owners, and dealers will update the radio software, free of charge. The manufacturer has not yet provided a notification schedule.

      Owners may contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020. GM's number for this recall is 17130.

      General Motors is recalling 317,572 model year 2013-2016 Chevrolet Sonic and Trax vehicles and 2013-2015 Chevrolet Spark vehicles equipped with a Bring You...

      High folate in pregnancy ups autism risk, study finds

      The risk for women with high levels of folate and vitamin B12 were 17.6 times higher than average

      For women looking to become pregnant, there are many nutrients that need to be taken in order to promote the healthy growth of their future baby. One such nutrient, called folate, has long been considered a staple for proper development, but researchers are now questioning whether too much of it may be a bad thing.

      Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a study and found that women who had folate levels that were too high right after birth were much more likely to bear children who would later develop an autism disorder. These findings suggest that expecting mothers need to walk a line between having enough folate for development, but not having too much to the point that it may be harmful.

      “Adequate supplementation is protective: That’s still the story with folic acid. . . We have long known that a folate deficiency in pregnant mothers is detrimental to her child’s development. But what this tells us is that excessive amounts may also cause harm. We must aim for optimal levels of this important nutrient,” said Dr. M. Daniele Fallin, one of the senior authors of the study.

      Increased chance of autism

      For the purposes of the study, researchers examined nearly 1,400 mother-child pairs from the Boston Birth Cohort between 1998 and 2013. Researchers measured each mother’s blood folate level within three days after the time of birth, after which each mother and child was tracked over the course of several years.

      The researchers found that mothers who had very high folate levels right after giving birth (more than four times the adequate level) had double the risk of bearing a child that would later develop an autism spectrum disorder; women who had high levels of vitamin B12, another important nutrient for development, had triple the risk of having a child that would develop an autism spectrum disorder.

      If levels of folate and vitamin B12 were both high right after birth, the risk that the child would develop an autism spectrum disorder was 17.6 times higher.

      Diet and genetics

      The researchers note that there could be many possible explanations for the high levels of folate or vitamin B12. Many of the mothers who participated in the study reported that they were taking multivitamins throughout their pregnancy, many of which contain folic acid and vitamin B12.

      Other explanations for the high levels could be tied back to eating habits or genetic predispositions. Many fruits and vegetables naturally contain folic acid, and other products like cereal, bread, rice, and pasta are fortified with it. Consuming too many of these foods during pregnancy could result in high levels, especially if an individual is predisposed to absorbing more of the nutrient or metabolizing it more slowly.

      Too much of a good thing

      The researchers want to stress that pregnant women should not actively avoid consuming food products or supplements containing folate or vitamin B12.

      “This research suggests that this could be the case of too much of a good thing. . . We tell women to be sure to get folate early in pregnancy. What we need to figure out now is whether there should be additional recommendations about just what an optimal dose is throughout pregnancy,” said study lead author Ramkripa Raghavan.

      The findings of this research are due to be presented on May 13 at the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore, Maryland.

      For women looking to become pregnant, there are many nutrients that need to be taken in order to promote the healthy growth of their future baby. One such ...

      Grumbling about airport security delays gets louder

      Transportation Security Administration says passengers need to be better prepared

      With an improved economy, more consumers are taking to the skies. Air traffic is up in early 2016 and is expected to break records this summer.

      As we reported this week, J.D. Power's latest survey shows passengers are more satisfied with the nation's airlines than they have been in the last 10 years. But the survey didn't ask about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) check-in system.

      There, complaints have been mounting, and not just from frustrated passengers. Gizmodo reports that even the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has taken TSA to task, where wait times at New York area airports reportedly approached an hour during the spring.

      Viral YouTube video

      Now there's an infamous YouTube Video (below), shot Thursday at Chicago's Midway airport, that purports to show an endless line of passengers waiting to get through the security check point. To say the video has gone viral is something of an understatement – more than a million views in less than 24 hours – so it has apparently touched a nerve.

      Please note that the video does contain strong language.

      Congress gets on board

      If there's one thing that gets Congress' attention and promotes bipartisan action, it's crowded airports and the inability to make a speedy getaway on a Thursday afternoon. This week, lawmakers approved TSA's request to hire more than 700 new screeners and get them in place before the summer.

      TSA, meanwhile, is pushing back against some of the criticism, suggesting at least some of the delays at checkpoints could be alleviated if passengers were better prepared when they show up.

      In a press release directed at passengers traveling through New York area airports, TSA said the reasons for checkpoint delays include a significant increase in passengers, more people with carry-on bags -- many of which have more than the limit of one carry-on bag and one personal item per passenger, and budget cuts that have reduced the ranks of screeners.

      Be prepared

      The agency said the best way for passengers to help speed things along is to show up prepared.

      “Passenger preparedness can have a significant impact on wait times at security checkpoints nationwide,” the agency said in its release. “To facilitate the security screening process, travelers should arrive at the airport two hours in advance of a domestic flight and three hours prior to an international flight to ensure that they have time to park their cars (or return rental cars), check their bags with their airline, get their boarding pass, and make their way through the security screening process.”

      TSA says being prepared means getting there early, having ID handy, knowing what you can and cannot take on board the aircraft, and not packing banned items in bags.

      With an improved economy, more consumers are taking to the skies. Air traffic is up in early 2016 and is expected to break records this summer.As we re...

      Fruits and vegetables early in life linked to lower risk of breast cancer later

      Findings indicate that high consumption rates can reduce the risk by 25%

      You may have heard of the old adage that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but it may be more true than many of us realized. A new study has linked higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in adolescence with lowered risk of breast cancer later in life.

      Up until this point, some experts had posited that eating fruits and vegetables affected breast cancer risk, but many established studies had only analyzed these eating habits for middle-aged or older individuals.

      In order to rectify this, a team of researchers followed a group of 90,000 nurses in early adulthood over the course of 20 years, asking the participants to report on their diets and recall how they ate when they were younger. They found that those who consumed a high amount of fruits and vegetables (2.9 servings per day versus .5 servings per day) had a 25% lower risk of breast cancer when they reached middle-age.

      The researchers also found that certain fruits and vegetables had particularly strong ties to lower risks of breast cancer. They included foods like apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and kale.

      Interestingly, consumption of fruit juices in adolescence did not have any tangible effect on breast cancer risk, suggesting that eating the whole versions of these products was more beneficial.

      The full study has been published in The BMJ.

      You may have heard of the old adage that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but it may be more true than many of us realized. A new study has linked h...

      Retail sales post solid gain in April

      The advance was the strongest in a year

      Retail sales rose in April for the first time in four months.

      According to the Commerce Department, sales totaled $453.4 billion -- up 1.3% from March and are 3.0% ahead of the same time a year ago. At the same time, the government revised its March report to show a sales drop of 0.3% rather than the 0.4% initially reported.

      Eleven of 13 categories posted gains, with most of the strength coming in sales by auto and other motor vehicle dealers, which surged 3.5% followed by gas stations (+2.2%), nonstore retailers (+2.1%), and grocery stores (+1.1%).

      The only category to post a decline was building material & garden equipment & supplies dealers, whose sales dipped 1.0%

      Sales at general merchandise stores were flat.

      The complete April retail sales report is available on the Commerce Department website.

      Retail sales rose in April for the first time in four months.According to the Commerce Department, sales totaled $453.4 billion -- up 1.3% from March a...

      TwinGo recalls baby carriers

      The waist buckle can break, posing a fall hazard

      TwinGo of Mclean, Va., is recalling about 4,200 baby carriers in the U.S. and Canada.

      The waist buckle can break, posing a fall hazard to children in the carrier.

      The firm has received 13 reports of buckles breaking worldwide, including 10 in the U.S., one in Canada and two in the UK. No injuries have been reported.

      The Twin Go Original Carrier is an infant carrier designed to carry one or two babies against the caregiver’s body at the waist. It is intended for babies that are from 10 to 45 pounds.

      “Twin Go” is printed on a label located on the front of the carrier and an 11-digit batch number is printed on a label sewn to the waistband. Batch numbers included in this recall: 23014024003, 01515026003, and 21615019001.

      They were sold in fabric that is black on the outside and blue or orange on the inside.

      The carriers, manufactured in China, were sold at boutique stores nationwide and online at Amazon.com and TwinGoCarrier.com from December 2014, through May 2016, for about $215.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately stop using the infant carrier and contact TwinGo for a free repair kit. A free replacement buckle will be provided with instructions. A repair video is also available at http://twingocarrier.com/pages/repairkit.

      Consumers may contact TwinGo toll-free at 888-288-9342 from 9am-5pm (EST) Monday-Friday, by email at safety@twingocarrier.com or online at www.TwinGoCarrier.com and click on “Product Recall” at the bottom of the page for more information.

      TwinGo of Mclean, Va., is recalling about 4,200 baby carriers in the U.S. and Canada. The waist buckle can break, posing a fall hazard to children ...

      Twin City Foods recalls frozen organic peas and mixed vegetables

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Twin City Foods of Stanwood, Wash., is recalling items containing organic peas it received from CRF Frozen Foods.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses to date have been reported.

      The following products, shipped to distribution centers in California, Texas and Washington, are being recalled:

      UPCProduct NameNet Wt.Packing Code
      4122010240Central Markets Organics Green Peas16 oz.Best Used By DEC.09.2017
      4122081674Central Markets Organics Green Peas12 oz.Best Used By JAN.08.2018
      4122010249Central Markets Organics Mixed Vegetables16 oz.Best Used By DEC.05.2017
      Best Used By JAN.11.2018
      4122004013HEB Organics Mixed Vegetables16 oz.Best Used By MAR.04.2018
      Best Used By MAR.25.2018
      7307381875Sweetfrost Mixed Vegetables16 oz.20886
      4256300160Woodstock Organic Mixed Vegetables10 oz.Best Used By JAN.11.2018

      The Best Used By date or Package Code is located on the back of the package in black ink.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products are urged not to consume them, but return them immediately to the store where purchased for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact Chad Bernard at (804) 775-1939, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET) or by email at cbernard@mwcllc.com.

      Twin City Foods of Stanwood, Wash., is recalling items containing organic peas it received from CRF Frozen Foods. The products may be contaminated ...

      Ford recalls F-250, F-350, F-450 and F-550 trucks

      The inner sidewall of the trucks' tires may be damaged

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 2,288 model year 2016 Ford F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 trucks manufactured April 5, 2016, to April 11, 2016.

      The tires installed during assembly of the vehicles may have sustained damage to the inner sidewall, possibly resulting in a loss of air or a tire rupture.

      A rapid loss of air or a tire rupture while the vehicle is being driven may cause a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash.

      What to do

      Ford will notify owners, and dealers will inspect the tires for damage and replace them as necessary, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin in May 2016.

      Owners may contact Ford customer service at 1-866-436-7332. Ford's number for this recall is 16S17.

      Ford Motor Company is recalling 2,288 model year 2016 Ford F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 trucks manufactured April 5, 2016, to April 11, 2016. The...

      Stahlbush Island Farms recalls IQF green beans

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Stahlbush Island Farms of Corvallis, Ore., is recalling 10-oz. Stahlbush IQF Green Bean retail packages.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      No illnesses have been reported to date.

      The following frozen products, with the UPC code 6 38882 00053 7 and distributed throughout the U.S. and Canada, are being recalled.

      • #16034001, with a “best buy” code date of 02/03/18.
      • #15097001, with a “best buy” code date of 04/07/17.
      • #14328001, with a “best buy” code date of 11/24/16.
      • #15362001, with a “best buy” code date of 12/28/17.
      • #14310002, with a “best buy” code date of 11/06/16.

      The lot numbers are found on the back of the package.

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should not consume them, but return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at customerservice@stahlbush.com or call

      (541) 757-1497, Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm (PDT).

      Stahlbush Island Farms of Corvallis, Ore., is recalling 10-oz. Stahlbush IQF Green Bean retail packages. The products may be contaminated with List...

      Dieselgate may spread to General Motors, European press reports say

      Defeat devices reportedly found on Opel Group cars in Germany

      Sit in any traffic court and you will hear drivers say that everyone else was speeding too. That's a defense that doesn't usually fly, but it may be sounding attractive to Volkswagen now that German press reports say emission defeat devices have been found on GM's Opel cars.

      Germany's Der Spiegel is reporting that the devices cause “the exhaust gas treatment in those cars to be severely limited, allowing the emissions of more poisonous NOx than permissible by law. Experts say this is illegal,” according to a Fortune report.

      The report follows an earlier admission that several European automakers were taking a liberal interpretation of a rule that allows diesel emission control devices to be turned off at temperatures that could damage the catalytic converter.

      Opel issued a statement saying it does not "deploy any software that recognizes whether a car is undergoing an exhaust emissions test.” But Der Spiegel said the effect is the same, “namely that the exhaust treatment only works when the car is being tested.”

      The Der Spiegel report says that Opel's exhaust treatment is switched off when the engine is running about 2400 rpm, at elevations above 2,788 feet and at speeds above 90 miles per hour.

      A German environmental group has scheduled a news conference tomorrow to discuss the allegations against what it calls “Europe’s dirtiest diesel car.” 

      VW closing in

      Volkswagen, meanwhile, is said to be closing in on a solution for its 85,000 U.S. Audi, Porsche, and VW models equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines. European regulators have already accepted the company's proposal and it is said to be in the final stages of negotiations with federal and state agencies in the United States, Autoweek reports.

      VW is still working on the details of its plan to buy back some of the nearly half-million 2.0-liter diesels, although it may be a hard sell getting consumers to go along.

      VW dealers say many consumers are saying they like the cars and don't want to give them up or accept a technical solution that degrades performance or gas mileage.  

      That feeling is far from universal, however. Consumers like Passat owner Holly of Oak Harbor, Wash., want nothing more than to be rid of their TDIs.

      "It has depreciated so much you can't pay anyone to take it yet. You can't drive it because it is so unreliable. Volkswagen didn't care they already have your money and they continue to lie, cheat and steal as we the consumers are stuck with their crap. Buy back is a must," Holly fumed in a recent ConsumerAffairs review

      Sit in any traffic court and you will hear drivers say that everyone else was speeding too. That's a defense that doesn't usually fly, but it may be soundi...

      Just how good is “good” cholesterol?

      Study concludes that it's been "hyped-up."

      For years doctors have made a distinction about cholesterol. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) was bad, and needed to be controlled through diet, and often medication.

      HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), on the other hand, is often described as “good” cholesterol, and is believed to help guard against heart disease.

      The American Heart Association states the prevailing view on its website, touting HDL's helpful role in removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

      “Experts believe HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body,” the Heart Association says.

      It says a healthy level of HDL cholesterol may also protect against heart attack and stroke, while low levels of HDL cholesterol have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.

      Second thoughts

      But health researchers conducting a study in Baltimore are expressing second thoughts about that prevailing belief. At least, they think there should be a couple of caveats. They conclude that the protection you get from HDL all depends on the levels in the body of two other blood fats.

      If these fats are not within normal levels, they say HDL loses much of its protective power.

      “There’s no question that HDL does have a protective role, as we also confirm in the study, but HDL has been hyped-up,” said senior author Michael Miller, MD.

      Miller, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine says HDL really should be viewed as a third priority. Reducing LDL should come first, followed by a reduction in triglycerides.

      Questions and answers

      The researchers set out to answer a number of questions; they wanted to know if the level of HDL by itself determined the risk of a person developing heart disease. They also wanted to know how risk factors are affected if LDL and triglyceride levels are abnormal.

      “Nobody has really looked at an isolated low and isolated high HDL, and whether or not other factors, such as triglycerides and LDL, make a difference in the risk of cardiovascular disease,” Miller said.

      The study concluded that “good” cholesterol levels were not always a good predictor of heart disease risk. It also found triglyceride and LDL levels were a bigger influence on heart disease risk, regardless of whether or not the patient had high or low levels of HDL.

      For years doctors have made a distinction about cholesterol. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) was bad, and needed to be controlled ...

      Eating healthy, not just lower calories, a challenge when eating out

      The healthier choice isn't always obvious

      Most restaurant meals are designed to be filling and satisfying. That, after all, is how restaurants fill tables.

      For that reason, restaurant meals tend to be high in calories and filled with good-tasting ingredients that might not be all that healthy.

      For those trying to eat a healthier diet, choosing a restaurant can be a frustrating process. The healthier choice might not be obvious at first glance.

      For example, researchers at the University of South Carolina say the caloric content of fast casual restaurants like Chipotle and Panera Bread is often higher than at fast food outlets like McDonald's and Burger King, even though the latter has a reputation for calorie-laden meals.

      200 more calories

      Their findings, written up in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, reports an average fast casual meal has 200 more calories than a typical fast food meal. When it comes to menus, the study found more high-calorie options at fast casual establishments than the fast food restaurants.

      "We were surprised that there were higher calories at fast casual restaurants, but one of the main takeaways from the paper is that there are a lot of high-calorie options at both kinds of restaurants," said lead researcher Danielle Schoffman.

      The South Carolina study reached much the same conclusion as one at Tufts University in January. That study, which focused on fast casual and independent restaurants, found 92% of the 364 measured restaurant meals from both categories had more calories than the recommended number for a single meal.

      In a third of the restaurants, at least one meal on the menu packed more calories than a person should consume in a single 24-hour period.

      What to do

      If you are maintaining a healthy diet at home, is it possible to eat in a restaurant without packing on the pounds? Most nutritionists will tell you that one restaurant meal will not kill a diet, and a treat every once in a while might not be a bad thing.

      It becomes a problem when restaurant meals are a staple of your weekly diet. For example, traveling for an extended period will require you to exercise some discretion and self-control.

      For starters, choose restaurants that post calorie information on the menu, and use that information when choosing what to order. Some fast casual chains, like Applebees, highlight items on the menu that have fewer calories and less saturated fat.

      Also, use common sense when selecting food. Weigh calories against nutritional content. Researcher Brie Turner-McGrievy says that sometimes the higher calorie meal is the better choice if it is more nutritious.

      "A burger on a white bun may have fewer calories, but when you're talking about cancer prevention or other chronic diseases, you have to look beyond calories," Turner-McGrievy said. "We don't want the message to be, 'Go eat hamburgers and don't eat guacamole and beans and brown rice.' "

      Most restaurant meals are designed to be filling and satisfying. That, after all, is how restaurants fill tables.For that reason, restaurant meals tend...