Category Archives: Food Safety

Florida Winn-Dixie, Publix recall ground beef for possible E. coli

In response to possible E.coli contamination, Winn-Dixie and Publix supermarkets in Florida pulled some store brand ground beef from their shelves. At this time, no illnesses have been reported. For the full story, click here.

Note: At Native Sun, we purchase meat from privately owned and operated cattle ranch Cowboy Meats. Nestled in the heart of Glen St. Mary’s, Florida, Cowboy Meats relies on rotational grazing, allowing cattle to forage freely while supplementing their diets with fresh alfalfa grass hay. We have worked to develop a relationship with both the farmers and the slaughterhouse to ensure the quality of the ranch and slaughterhouse conditions as well as that of the meat we provide to our customers. Each week, Brad, our meat and seafood manager places an order with Cowboy Meats, literally ordering an entire cow before processing the beef into the cuts needed to satisfy customer demand. The ground beef packaged under the Cowboy Meats brand comes from a single cow, providing a clean, safe alternative to feed lot ground beef, which often comes from multiple cows and increases the risk of spreading bacteria and disease. If you’re keen on ground beef, stop by either Native Sun location and make the switch to local, grass fed beef!

Chemical Bug Spray Repels More Than Just Bugs!

As summer approaches, we venture outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. Along with the lazy, sun drenched afternoons spent lounging on deserted beaches (hey, we can pretend, right?), comes a swarm of insects and other pests ready to turn your summer dreams into a bug-bitten nightmare. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbeque or settling in around a smoldering campfire, selecting a bug repellent to ward off mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and other pests remains an important part of enjoying outdoor activities.

However, as we coat ourselves in glossy layers of foul-smelling repellants formulated to protect us from unwanted pests, we must consider the equally harmful ingredients found in many insect repellent products. Dripping with DEET and other chemicals, mainstream bug sprays may actually be as damaging to our bodies and the environment as they are to insects.

We don’t want to make this post any longer than it has to be, but Let’s take a look at DEET, one of the more nefarious ingredients found in many insect repellants:


Known offenses:

Registered pesticide (US EPA 2007).

Often used in rubber and plastic cements as well as paint removers (EHANS 2003).

Caused the impairment of Central Nervous system function in rats given normal human dosage as documented by a Duke University Study (EHANS 2003).

Possible Offenses:

Memory loss, headache, weakness, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, tremors, and shortness of breath in humans after heavy exposure or prolonged use (Quantum Health).

Increases in toxicity when used in conjunction with other chemicals often found in bug repellents (EHANS 2003).

Native Sun Verdict: Regardless of the arguments for or against DEET, I would prefer to enjoy my outdoor endeavors without the possibility of losing basic motor functions controlled by my central nervous system after coating myself in bug spray (Canoeing is hard enough without battling pesticide induced memory loss or shortness of breath. Who knew paddling was so hard? And why can’t I remember where our campsite was?). When there are plenty of natural bug repellents available, not using DEET seems like a no-brainer.

So you’ve decided to go natural. Now what?

At Native Sun we have several ready-made bug repellants free of DEET, Parabins, GMOs, synthetic chemicals and fragrance oils:

All Terrain Herbal Armor Spray $9.49 (4oz)

Badger Anti-Bug Spray $11.39 (4oz)

Botanical Solutions Biteguard Jr. $11.89 (4oz)

Burt’s Bees Herbal Insect Repellent $6.89 (4oz)

Jade & Pearl Beat It Spray $11.39 (4oz) / $14.99 (8oz)

Jason Quit Buggin Me Lotion $3.79 (3oz)

Quantum Health Buzz Away Extreme $8.39 (4oz)

Still not satisfied? We have a great selection of essential oils that can turn the tide in the fight against biting insects! The following oils are recognized for their natural bug repelling abilities:

Note: Some essential oils can irritate the skin. Make sure to follow label precautions and dilute oils accordingly.

Citronella $3.89 (.5oz)

Eucalyptus $5.39 (.5oz)

Lavender $9.97 (.5oz)

Lemon $5.39 (.5oz)

Peppermint  $7.79 (.5oz)

Rosemary $5.49 (.5oz)

Directions: Add 1 ounce of essential oil to 10 ounces of witch hazel, vodka, or a carrier oil (Example: olive oil). Shake. Repel Bugs!

Eden Foods Addresses Nuclear Radiation Concerns

With Japan recognized by many as the leader in the production and supply of macrobiotic products, the recent threat of nuclear contamination has left manufacturers and retailers concerned about the long term effects of the earthquakes and tsunami. In response to the growing concern, Michael J. Potter, President of Eden Organic, purveyor of traditional Japanese foods, released a statement emphasizing the steps the company has taken to prevent possible radioactive contamination as they work diligently to ensure their products remain of the highest quality.

Eden Organic’s integrity and initiative have made them a trusted brand on Native Sun’s shelves for years and we continue to stand behind them as they labor through the aftermath of the disaster in Japan. We also ask that you keep Japan in your thoughts as the country struggles to recover from the devastation of the earthquakes and tsunami.

Below you will find an excerpt from the Eden statement. Follow this link to read the entire statement.

Eden Traditional Japanese Foods
Nuclear Radiation Food Safety and Related Concerns

13 April 2011

To all concerned,

Eden has been supplying traditional Japanese foods for forty-three years. We eat them, and feed them to children and grandchildren. We share concern about ongoing nuclear meltdowns, how they impact Japanese foods, and the wellbeing of all of us.

The situation is fluid and earthquakes continue. Radiation from Japan spread around the entire northern hemisphere in the first two weeks of the nuclear crisis, according to the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

One of the first things we did was acquire two radionuclide detectors and training in their use. We have recorded baseline numbers at Michigan and California Eden facilities for Japanese items that we received prior to the March 11 event. We are updating SOPs and continuing training.

Click here to continue reading

Native Sun @ Baymeadows & 9A Closed March 21

Our Baymeadows location is closed today (Monday, March 21) due to technical difficulties, but will re-open tomorrow at 8am. Please note that our Deli, Dairy, Produce, Meat and Seafood Departments may be out of a handful of items due to lack of availability or short notice. We apologize for the inconvenience. For any immediate needs, please visit our Mandarin location at 10000 San Jose Blvd., or call (904) 260-6950.

The Cost of Being Green
As a “green” company we do things differently than most. Sometimes that means doing something that no one has ever done before – and with that, dealing with problems that no one has ever dealt with before. Native Sun was the first in the US to install a Gravity Feed Glycol Refrigeration System instead of pumping harmful refrigerants into the environment. Unfortunately, this unique system went down on Sunday, March 20 and affected products in our Deli, Dairy, Produce, Meat & Seafood coolers. 

Please rest assured that we have multiple safe guards in place and are taking extra measures as we speak to guarantee this incident does not happen again.

As part of our commitment to food safety and quality, we are following a very strict protocol for identifying, disposing of and documenting any and all spoiled product. When we re-open tomorrow, all of the affected departments will have been cleared out, cleaned and re-stocked with fresh, new product.

Huge thanks to all of our vendors for preparing special orders for us in this time of need and to our customers for your patience & support. We really appreciate it!

Voluntary Recall of Select Annie’s Bunny Grahams

Annie’s has decided to voluntarily recall Honey & Chocolate Chip Bunny Grahams with Best By dates from February 2011 through July 2011 due to recent reports of off-odors. They determined this is not a health risk, but asked retailers to pull affected products to ensure a positive customer experience. Annie’s Chocolate, Cinnamon and Friends grahams are NOT affected.

If you have any problems or questions, Annie’s can be reached at 1-800-299-1089.

O.N.E. Coconut Water Recalled for Possible Mold

ONE World Enterprises, LLC is recalling O.N.E. Coconut Water due to the potential oxidation of the product that may permit the growth of mold. The affected product was distributed to various retail outlets in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New York, South Carolina, and Tennessee. No illnesses have been reported to date.

The affected product is isolated to a single lot number. Dates and codes can be found stamped on the top of the packaging.

Product Description
Product: O.N.E. Coconut Water
Container: 11.2 oz Tetra Pak cartons
Lot: Lot code 12E1004, UPC # 894991001104
Sell-by date: May 1, 2011

Consumers should return any of this product to the retail store where it was purchased for a full refund or credit. Consumers with questions may contact ONE World Enterprises, LLC at 888-ONE-COCO (888-663-2626) between 9 am and 5 pm P.T. Monday through Friday for further information.

Click here to see the full recall details.

Action Alert: Dairy in Distress!

Genetically engineered alfalfa puts the organic dairy industry in a bad MOO-d.

What’s the issue?

  • On January 27th 2011, the USDA announced that the genetically engineered alfalfa grass developed by Monsanto Company and Forage Genetics will once again enter the agricultural industry as a non-regulated crop (USDA, 2011).

Why should you be concerned?

  • Alfalfa grass is used as feed in most organic dairies.
  • Given the impossibility of preventing natural cross-pollination and seed mixing, it may soon become difficult for organic alfalfa farmers to prevent the contamination of their crops with genetically engineered alfalfa.
  • With organic dairies unable to purchase organic alfalfa, organic dairy products could disappear from store shelves. 

How can you help?
Despite the best efforts of Native Sun’s blog, Twitter, and Facebook updates, the voice of owner Aaron Gottlieb, the Native Sun staff, and countless Americans concerned about their food supply, we failed to alter the decision to allow GE alfalfa to enter the agricultural industry.

Although the petition may have been granted, it’s not too late! We need your help!

Visit the Organic Trade Association’s website to let the White House know that you do not support the deregulation of GE alfalfa. 

If you would like to make a donation to the legal effort dedicated to fighting against GE alfalfa, visit the Center for Food Safety’s website or call (202) 547-9359.

You can also sign up to receive up to date information from the Center for Food Safety by registering here.

References:  United States Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. (2011). USDA Announces Decision to Fully Deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa (Release number 0035.11). Permalink.

Take Action Against Genetically Engineered Alfalfa!

The USDA is about to approve Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa. One of the biggest concerns is contamination of other crops, including organic alfalfa, which is used by most organic dairy farms.

Food & Water Watch further explains that “if the U.S. Department of Agriculture decides to allow GE alfalfa to be planted, it sets a bad precedent for future decisions about GE crops and puts organic farmers at risk of widespread GE contamination. Rather than rushing through this process, the agency needs to slow down and do a real assessment of the harm that GE alfalfa could do.”

So far they’ve had over 23,000 supporters email President Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging them to slow this approval down but they still need our help. Please take a few seconds to take action by clicking here!!

GT’s Raw Kombucha is Back!

After months of research & reformulation to address alcohol content issues, GT is back with a new interpretation of their original kombucha formula called GT Enlightened Synergy Kombucha.

Although packaging looks the same (for now), these new kombuchas have a lighter and smoother taste. They are still raw – GT bottles everything straight from the batch without any pasteurization, filtration, or dilution – and they offer the same high nutritional value that you have come to expect from GT’s Kombucha. However, the company did change the probiotic ratio of the product and shortened the shelf life to ensure the inherent alcohol levels do not raise above the legal limit.

We currently have six flavors of GT’s New “Enlightened Synergy” Kombuchas in our Grab n Go coolers at both stores. Choose from Cranberry, Gingerade, Gingerberry, Multi-Green, Original and Trilogy.

GT does plan to re-launch their original formula in the near future, but due to recent concerns, it may have to be sold as an “over 21” product.

Help Us Stop the FDA Approval of GE Salmon!

If approved, GE salmon would be the first “transgenic” animal allowed into our food supply. It’s also unlikely that it would have to be labeled, so you might not even know you’re eating it.  – Food & Water Watch

 10 Reasons to Reject a Suspicious Fish from

 1.    The FDA’s data is one-sided. Critical studies that were given “primary deference,” according to the FDA, were conducted by AquaBounty Technologies or their contractors. No independent studies have been conducted, nor has the FDA conducted their own research.

2.    The FDA continues to fail us when it comes to food safety. We need a safe food system more than we need genetically engineered food, particularly in the wake of one of the largest food recalls in history. The FDA should commit its already slim resources to ensuring the safety of our current food system.

3.    AquaBounty’s claims are misleading and contradictory. AquaBounty states that GE salmon could never interact with wild salmon populations — an occurrence that would endanger wild fish populations and a claim that would be impossible to ensure since salmon escapes are typical in open ocean aquaculture. AquaBounty contradicts this claim in their own environmental assessment by acknowledging, “No single containment measure can be assured of 100% effectiveness.” The FDA has sited that these claims are “potentially misleading.”

4.    Consumers don’t want it. More than 60 percent of consumers polled by Consumer Reports National Research Center said they would not buy meat or milk products from GE animals. Nearly 80 percent of consumers from a recent Washington Post user poll said they would not eat GE salmon due to potential health and environmental risks.

5.    FDA is treating GE salmon as a drug, not food. FDA plans to regulate GE salmon as a veterinary drug, not food. If GE salmon is being treated like a drug, than it is obviously not exactly the same as wild salmon, as the FDA claims.

6.    Lack of transparency. Treating GE salmon like a drug is a loophole that enables the FDA to effectively approve it in secret since approval of new drugs requires confidentiality. This lack of transparency regarding a controversial food product should make consumers wary.

7.    If GE salmon is approved, the gates immediately open for other GE foods and clones. All eyes are on AquaBounty right now, but there are many more companies like them waiting to see if GE salmon gets the go-ahead — companies that are trying to approve GE pigs and cloned animals for the marketplace.

8.    15 years of closed research, yet the public only has a few weeks to weigh in. The FDA has spent 15 years working with AquaBounty to create a regulatory process for genetically engineered animals behind closed doors. They expect the public to read and process their data in just a couple of weeks before the approval process moves forward. If they have truly conducted thorough research, they should provide more time for the public sector to weigh in.

9.    GE salmon threatens the environment. Up to five percent of AquaBounty’s GE salmon eggs could potentially be fertile. If GE salmon mate with wild fish or compete with natural populations, the results could be devastating.

10.   Inconclusive studies. The FDA doesn’t truly know if GE salmon is safe for human consumption. They do not have the capacity to determine its safety and the testing that has been conducted has not included potential impacts and risks on human health or the environment.

If there is any doubt in our minds concerning the potentially negative impact GE salmon could have on our health and environment, it is our responsibility to do something about it now. This is a critical issue that deserves attention from a well-informed public. Until we have enough information, we need to stop the FDA from approving GE salmon.