WebMD's 10 Top Health Stories of 2007
Recalled Toys, Unsafe Food, Bad Bugs, New Stem Cell Source Top List
Nobody was laughing, however, when Castleberry Foods warned customers that some of its canned products -- including hot dog chili sauces -- carried deadly botulism bacteria. At least four people were hospitalized with serious botulism poisoning. It was the first U.S. case of botulism in commercially canned goods for several decades.
But not the last. A few days later, Castleberry expanded the recall to include more than 80 canned products for humans (as well as four pet products).
Consumers were rattled. A few days before the botulism warning, Americans were stunned to learn that an upscale hotel amenity, toothpaste, contained a dangerous chemical. Manufacturer Gilchrest & Soames said the chemical did not belong in the Chinese-made toothpaste.
And a few days after the botulism warning, Americans learned that one of their favorite healthy snacks -- bags of ready-to-eat baby carrots -- might carry shigella bacteria. Within a week, we learned that bags of fresh spinach might carry salmonella. And in September, Dole recalled bags of fresh bagged salad suspected of E. coli 0157:H7 contamination.
In the fall, Topps Meat Co. announced the recall of 331,000 pounds of frozen ground beef due to E. coli 0157:H7 contamination. That seemed like a lot of beef -- until Oct. 1, when the recall swelled to include 21.7 million pounds of frozen hamburgers carrying the dangerous bacterial strain.
Beef patties weren't the only thing in our freezers harboring bad bugs. On Oct. 10, we learned that frozen chicken and turkey pot pies bearing Banquet or generic labels (all made by ConAgra) might be contaminated with salmonella.
Even then, our freezers weren't safe. On Nov. 1, we had to check them again to see if we'd bought any of the nearly 5 million Totino's and Jeno's Pepperoni Pizzas recalled by General Mills due to possible E. coli lurking in the pepperoni.
No. 3: Bad Bugs
Two emerging infections captured America's attention in 2007.
MRSA -- methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- didn't exactly appear overnight. It's been growing into a huge problem for hospitals for years. Were we too complacent? It now seems so.