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Entries in Walmart (3)

Tuesday
Feb072012

Walmart Labels Healthier Foods 'Great For You'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Walmart, the largest food retailer in the United States, announced Tuesday plans to label its healthier foods with a new green label, “Great For You,” in an effort to make healthier products easier for shoppers to distinguish. Customers will begin to see the new label on products starting in the spring.

“Moms are telling us they want to make healthier choices for their families, but need help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products,” said Andrea Thomas, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart.

The company will put the new label on select products in its Great Value and Marketside lines that meet defined criteria. The company says the “Great For You” products meet the rigorous nutrition criteria established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Institute of Medicine.

For a complete list of the detailed system of what gets the label and what doesn’t, visit www.walmartgreatforyou.com.

Walmart is not putting a restriction on the new labeling system and says other grocers are welcome to use the system.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec222011

Walmart Pulls Formula following Baby's Death

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News(WASHINGTON) -- The death of a 10-day-old Missouri infant from what early tests indicate was a bacterial infection has prompted Walmart to pull cans of infant formula from 3,000 of its stores nationwide.

The company pulled 12.5 ounce cans of Enfamil Premium Newborn formula, lot number ZP1K7G, after it learned that infant Avery Cornett had consumed the formula before he became sick. Preliminary tests show he developed a rare infection from Cronobacter sakazakii, a bacteria that has previously been found in powdered infant formula.

"This is not a formal government recall. We just did this out of an abundance of caution, and we're currently holding the product until the investigation is complete. The product could possibly be returned to shelves at a later date," a Walmart spokesperson told ABC News Radio.

Customers who purchased the formula should discard it or return it to the store.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement samples of the formula were sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for testing.

The FDA said so far, they "don't have anything that indicates this is linked to Enfamil." However, the agency is testing samples from the open packet of formula fed to the infant, an unopened packet of the formula and the water used to mix the formula. They expect results by the middle of next week.

Avery is the second infant to develop a Cronobacter sakazakii-related infection in a Missouri hospital in the past month, the department said on its web site. The second infant recovered.

A spokesman for Mead Johnson Nutrition, the manufacturer of Enfamil formulas, said the company routinely tests its formula for Cronobacter.

The spokesman also said officials investigating the infant's death would also be testing other sources to determine where the bacteria came from, including the water used to prepare the formula.

Cronobacter sakazakii, once known as Enterobacter sakazakii, is a bacteria found in powdered infant formula as well as in plant material and the environment, according to the CDC.

The World Health Organization says there have been about 120 documented cases of Cronobacter sakazakii infection worldwide. In 50 to 80 percent of cases, powdered infant formula is the source of Cronobacter illness. There have been several outbreaks of disease in neonatal intensive care units around the world.

Newborns are at highest risk for serious illness from the bacteria, which can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections. The fatality rate in infants is very high.

"It's introduced somehow during the manufacturing process, but they haven't quite figured out how that happens," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "Infant formula has all kinds of nutrients, so it's a particularly appropriate environment for these bugs to grow [in]."

According to WHO, the bacteria could be introduced in three ways: through the raw ingredients before production, through contamination after pasteurization and through contamination during preparation of the formula by caregivers.

Referring to published case studies, Schaffner said many of the infants became ill because the formula wasn't prepared properly. Powdered infant formula is not sterile and must be handled carefully to avoid contamination.

"Caregivers sometimes haven't followed the instructions very meticulously," he said.

He said in order to minimize the risk of infection, caregivers should take careful precautions.

"Sterilize bottles, spoons and nipples in boiling water. Infant formula should be freely prepared for each feeding, and remaining milk should be discarded. Water should be boiled and allowed to cool before preparing the formula," Schaffner explained.

In addition to meningitis and bloodstream infections, Cronobacter sakazakii can cause necrotizing enterocolitis, a condition in which the intestinal lining dies off.

Symptoms of necrotizing enterocolitis include bloody stool, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and intolerance to feeding.

Symptoms of meningitis in infants include high fever, neck and body stiffness, constant crying and seizures.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov092011

Is Doctor Walmart in the Future?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/Stockbyte(BENTONVILLE, Arkansas) -- Walmart has been working under the radar to be the “largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation,” according to a request for health care partners leaked online Wednesday by NPR.

The 14-page request details the superstore’s mission to “expand access to high quality health services” and “dramatically lower the cost of healthcare.”

The plan would see primary care clinics popping up throughout  Walmart’s 3,500-store empire just in time for health care reform, which will mean millions more insured customers.
But before you start looking up your Walmart doctor, the retail giant is denying the claims.

“The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect. We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care health care platform,” Dr. John Agwunobi, senior vice president and president of Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness, told ABC News in a statement.

Walmart spokespeople would not expand on whether the chain is attempting to increase its health care services in other ways. Walmart is already home to 140 primary care clinics — far fewer than CVS’ 550 and Walgreens’ 355.

Health care is the only large sector of the American economy that is growing at a consistent high rate, year after year, noted Dr. Mark Fendrick, professor of internal medicine and health management policy at University of Michigan.

Coupled with a large influx of newly insured patients expected after the Affordable Care Act comes into play in 2014, retail stores like Walmart may be the only place patients can go since primary care is so overstretched in the U.S. already.

“For those in areas of the country where there are not enough primary care providers, proximity to a retail store like Walmart should offer opportunities to expand access,” said Fendrick.

Another important piece is the business tactic: the clinics will bring customers to the store.

But some family doctors are skeptical about in-store clinics that seem to be popping up more and more.

The American Academy of Family Physicians opposes retail health clinics, particularly for the treatment of chronic medical conditions.

“The AAFP is committed to the development of a health care system based on strong, team based patient centered primary care defined as first contact, comprehensive, coordinated and continuing care for all persons and believes that the RHC model of care further fragments health care,” the AAFP said in a statement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio