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6.5 Million Pounds Of Beef Have Been Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk

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CHICAGO/SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A U.S. unit of Brazil’s JBS SA is recalling 6.5 million pounds of beef products processed through an Arizona plant because the meat might be contaminated with salmonella, U.S. government officials said on Thursday.

U.S. investigators have identified at least 57 people in 16 states who have become ill due to consuming contaminated ground beef products made from meat traced back to JBS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

JBS shares fell as much as 5 percent to around 8.80 reais on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange.

JBS Tolleson Inc, part of JBS USA, the U.S. arm of the world’s largest meatpacking company, was voluntarily pulling ground beef and other raw beef products that had been shipped to stores across the country, the USDA said.

Salmonella can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain, and can be fatal to young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

Hundreds of beef products are part of the recall, including products sold under the Walmart brand. The products were packaged from July 26 to Sept. 7.

“We are working in close partnership with USDA to make sure all potentially impacted product is removed from stores and homes,” JBS said in a statement.

This is the second time JBS USA has recalled beef products this year.

In May, the company recalled almost 35,500 pounds of raw ground beef processed through its Lenoir, North Carolina, plant after a consumer found bits of blue hard plastic in the meat, which JBS had produced for grocery chain Kroger Co, according to the USDA.

It is also the second major meat recall in recent weeks by a top U.S. beef processor. In September, Cargill Inc’s meat division recalled about 132,606 pounds of ground beef shipped in the United States due to possible Escherichia coli (E. coli) O26 contamination.

Federal and state investigators found that Cargill’s ground beef products were the probable source of the death of one person and 17 people who fell ill due to raw ground beef, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The parents of a young Tennessee girl are suing Cargill Meat Solutions, alleging their daughter was hospitalized and developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) after eating the contaminated ground beef purchased from a Publix supermarket, according to a lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Minnesota.

HUS, which can lead to kidney failure, can be fatal.

“Cargill and our employees are distressed that someone may have become sick from ground beef we produced,” the company said in an email statement. “While we can’t discuss the specifics of the lawsuit, we understand the person continues to recover and her health is everyone’s top priority right now.”

Reporting by Ana Mano in Sao Paolo and P.J. Huffstutter in Chicago; editing by Christian Plumb, Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis

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Ontario’s new automated speed enforcement explained

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(NC) To wage the war against speeding, many municipalities across Ontario have turned to automated speed enforcement. Most recently introduced in Toronto, speed cameras are a high-tech solution to reduce speeding and are considered one of the most effective ways to create safer roads and save lives.  

Recognizing police officers cannot catch all speeders, these cameras fill the gap, providing monitoring in specific locations around the clock. When a car’s speed is even one kilometre over the posted amount, it will take a picture of the offending vehicle’s license plate, using the captured photo as indisputable evidence. A ticket is then served to the vehicle’s owner, regardless of who was driving. 

With a focus on high-risk areas, Ontario’s automated speed enforcement cameras are located in two specific municipal areas: school and community safety zones. School zones are designated streets close to a school, featuring reduced speed limits as dictated by local bylaws. Community safety zones are high-risk corridors and intersections, subject to increased fines and penalties.  

While the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines the use of automated speed enforcement, municipalities can decide when and where to use cameras to curb speeding. The act does dictate financial penalties for speed violations captured with cameras, which vary depending on the number of kilometres caught over the speed limit.  

Speed enforcement is not new, but part of a broader, integrated road safety strategy that includes infrastructure improvements, awareness campaigns and new uses of technology. City officials hope for a halo effect, inspiring better driving behaviour across entire communities, not only in areas with cameras. A controversial topic, some critics take exception to speed cameras, labelling them as sneaky cash grabs for municipalities. Governments think the opposite. 

Safety advocate and auto insurance provider Onlia is hopeful that the cameras will provide drivers with a reminder to slow down, especially in high-risk areas like school and community safety zones.  

For those who obey the speed limit, automated speed enforcement shouldn’t change anything about your driving style, says Alex Kelly, Safety Ambassador at OnliaDrivers have fair warning as they approach areas with speed cameras, as mandatory signs provide reasonable notice of upcoming automated speed enforcement. Regardless of warnings, the best speed is the posted speed. 

You can start to understand your speeding style by downloading the insurance provider’s new safe driving app that coaches and rewards for you for safe driving habits.

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Online banking: How to protect yourself from fraud

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(NC) Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of consumers are regularly using mobile and online banking to paybill payments, transfer money and make purchases.

Although these tools can give you easy access to your personal finances on demand, there are also some risks involved. For instance, your banking information—such as your debit or credit card number, user name, or personal identification number (PIN)—could be stolen. If criminals have access to your online banking information, they can steal your money, which is why it’s so important to be  vigilant when you bank online.

Follow these tips to help protect your personal and banking information:

  • For your online bank accounts, use a strong password that can’t be easily guessed, and never share your user name or password with anyone.
  • Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no transactions you didn’t make or authorize.
  • When making online purchases, never authorize a website to save your credit card information, password or other personal information. Giving websites this permission will save you some time the next time you access the site, but it poses a real threat if a hacker manages to access your information.

Most financial institutions have policies to protect you from transactions that you didn’t make.

However, you are responsible for protecting your online and mobile banking information. If you give your details to anyone—including your spouse or partner, a family member or a friend—your financial institution may hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions in your account, and even strip you of protection from unauthorized transactions in the future.

If you suspect your information may have been compromised, change your passwords immediately, and check your account and credit card statements for anomalies and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has created resources to help you protect your online banking information.

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Payday loans: Not the best way to borrow money

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(NC) Payday loans are a very expensive way to borrow money. Even if you’re struggling financially, think twice—and crunch the numbers—before getting this type of loan.

Depending on the rules in your province, payday lenders can charge fees of $15 to $25 per $100 that you borrow.

As an example, let’s say you borrow $300 for home repairs. The payday lender charges you $51 in fees, or $17 for every $100 borrowed. Your loan balance is therefore $351, which amounts to an interest rate of 442 per cent.

There can be serious consequences if you don’t repay your loan by the due date. These may include the following:

  • The payday lender may charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • Your financial institution may also charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • The total amount that you owe, including the fees, continues to increase.

There are better options out there

Payday loans should be your last resort to borrow money. Consider cheaper ways of borrowing money, such as:

  • Cashing in vacation days or asking for a pay advance from your employer.
  • Getting a line of credit, a cash advance on a credit card or a personal loan from your financial institution.
  • Getting a loan from family or friends.

Before getting a payday loan and to avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, consider other, less expensive ways to borrow money.

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