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New cath lab; new food safety rules; flu cases rise

St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock is holding an open house and blessing for its new cath labs at the Stephens Heart Institute. The government proposes new rules to make the food you eat safer. The CDC says flu activity continues to increase in the U.S. with no signs of a peak.
St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock is holding an open house and blessing for its new cath labs at the Stephens Heart Institute.

The hospital opened the state's first and only hybrid operating room dedicated to cardiovascular procedures.

The 36-million dollar project includes six new electro-physiology labs and 24 recovery rooms.

New FD food safety rules

The government proposes new rules to make the food you eat safer. The changes are part of legislation passed two years ago today.

The government is working to keep food in the U.S. healthy instead of deadly.

The Food and Drug Administration is proposing two new rules -- some of the most sweeping in decades.

The FDA proposals would affect farmers and companies that manufacture, process or hold food.

Every year, an estimated 3,000 people die from food-borne illnesses. Recently, the U.S. dealt with outbreaks tied to salmonella, e-coli and listeria tied to contaminated cantaloupes and peanut butter.

One rule requires farmers to take new precautions against contamination, including making sure workers hands are washed and the water used on crops is clean by national standards.

The second rule: food companies would have to submit safety plans to the government to show they are keeping the operations clean and safe. It would also require them to have a plan in place for correcting any problems that arise.

Illinois senator Dick Durbin says, "What we're saying to each food producer is come up with a plan to make sure the food you produce is safer, and we will monitor your activities."

The new rules part of the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law two years ago.

Senator Durbin was one of the lawmakers instrumental in creating the legislation.

Durbin says, "With this new bill and this new law, the food supply in America will be safer...and it's absolutely essential that we focus as a nation on having the safest food supply in the world."

Flu cases rise

The CDC says flu activity continues to increase in the U.S. with no signs of a peak.

As of last week -- more than 2,000 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 18 children had died from complications of the illness.

This spike in activity is happening weeks before the peaks of previous flu seasons over the past decade.

41 states are reporting widespread flu activity -- up from 31 states the week before.

The CDC says it's about five weeks ahead of the average flu season.

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