Ripe Bites: November Food News and Products

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

FDA Warns Against Use of Homeopathic Teething Tablets, Gels

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says homeopathic teething tablets and gels may pose a risk to infants and children, and recommends parents stop using them.

Homeopathic teething tablets and gels are distributed by CVS, Hyland’s, and possibly others, and are sold in retail stores and online. Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels.

“Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 

The FDA is analyzing adverse events reported to the agency regarding homeopathic teething tablets and gels, including seizures in infants and children who were given these products. The agency is currently investigating and testing product samples. 

Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. The agency says it is also not aware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children.

A free new keyboard allows parents and kids to talk about food allergies in a language they know well — emojis. The Nimoji keyboard, available free via Apple’s App Store, offers nearly 50 emojis for people who are gluten-free, vegan, kosher or intolerant to certain foods to positively express their food identity and better manage their dining experiences. The app was developed by Nima Labs, a company that created a portable device that can test a person’s food for gluten in 2 minutes.

Healthy Meals On the Go Without a Microwave

Enjoy warm, healthy meals no matter where your day takes you with the Hot Logic Mini. This lunchbox-sized portable oven plugs into a standard outlet and uses low, slow conduction to evenly cook or reheat (but not boil or overcook) a meal and keep it at a safe serving temperature for up to eight hours. Place foods in a flat glass container, place the container in the Hot Logic, zip the lid, plug it in, and enjoy when it’s ready. $39.95.

You’re going to be using many a measuring cup and spoon this season, why not use great ones?

T-fal’s Ingenio Measuring Cups and Spoons sets easily nest inside each other for a small footprint, sport arched handles that rest on a countertop preventing tips and spills, and are clearly marked to ensure you grab the one you need. Measuring cups ($8.71), measuring spoons ($11.99).

With no plastic containers or bags, PlanetBox is a good-for-you and good-for-the-earth way you and the kids can take lunch on the go.   

Made of built-to-last stainless steel (it comes with a five-year warranty) and dishwasher safe, PlanetBox cleans up quickly and easily, and doesn’t retain stains or smells like plastic containers. PlanetBox also comes with a magnet set of your choice, so kids can customize the cover to their liking. $39.95 and up.


 Have you noticed a foul smell coming from your refrigerator lately? It could be that you need to do a “quick fix” in your fridge. Follow these 10 simple tips, and you will be guaranteed your refrigerator will be smelling clean and fresh all the time.

Tip 1 — Make sure all temperature settings are where they should be. Having the fridge temperature set too high can make foods spoil quicker. If it’s set too low, you can also ruin the food. Some refrigerators get so cold they freeze liquids. Your temperature settings should be between 35 and 38 degrees. Get a thermometer for the inside of your refrigerator. Don’t guess with the settings that say “Cold” or “Colder” — you need to know the exact temperature.

Tip 2 — Wipe down spills as soon as they happen. Leaky milk cartons and stick jelly should be wiped before you put them back into the refrigerator, and anything that leaks onto the shelf should be wiped with a damp microfiber cloth. Spills will cause bacteria to grow, which lead to bad smells.

Tip 3 — Organize your refrigerator so that things that will spoil are placed in the cooler areas (back and bottom). Placing your milk on the door may be convenient, but every time the door opens, warmer air is affecting the temperature of the milk. Place things less likely to spoil on the door; such as sodas, jellies, and condiments. Meats and dairy should be placed deep inside the shelves.

Tip 4 — Store all meat products in a deep glass or plastic container. Foam containers from the grocery store are not deep enough to prevent spillage onto the shelves of your refrigerator. For extra protection, place them on the bottom shelf, so that if there is a leak, it will only affect the bottom area. 

Tip 5 — Did you know that charcoal is a great odor absorber? Purchase a small bag of charcoal bricks and put a few in a glass bowl. Place the bowl in the back corner of the refrigerator. You should replace the charcoal briquettes once a month.

Tip 6 — Purge your refrigerator on a set schedule. Going through your refrigerator on a scheduled day of the month will prevent items rotting and molding in those hidden places. 

Tip 7- —Date your purchases. The expiration dates on items are so hard to find that most of us never realize how old things really are. Instead, use a permanent marker and write the date on the lid. Having the date on the lid will remind you of its age each time you use it and whether it’s time to throw it away.

Tip 8 — Instead of using a box of baking soda to keep your refrigerator smelling fresh, try switching to coffee grounds. Coffee does a great job neutralizing smells. Perfume counters use coffee beans to clear your sense of smell before trying a different scent. It will do the same thing in your refrigerator.

Tip 9 — Here’s another use for that box of baking soda. Never use any chemicals when cleaning your refrigerator. The chemicals in your cleaning products can leach into your food. Instead, use food items to clean the shelves and drawers. Baking soda and white vinegar will do a great job to clean the spills and leave the fridge smelling fresh and clean.

Tip 10 — Empty and clean your freezer once every 3 months. Most of us no longer have to defrost our freezers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to clean them out on a regular basis. Items that spill inside the freezer can lead to bad smells. And since freezers are connected to refrigerators, the smells inside the freeze leak into the refrigerator. Plan to empty and wipe down the inside of the freezer on a regular schedule and purge old items at that time.