What We’re Reading: Panel to Hear J&J EUA Application; Senate Passes Relief Package; Heavy Metals in Baby Food

The FDA is scheduled to hear Johnson and Johnson's request for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for their coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine later this month; Senate passes economic relief package; heavy metals found in some baby food.

J&J Submits COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Application

Johnson & Johnson has asked the FDA to issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) for its investigational coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, CNN reports. Should the single-dose vaccine be approved it will be the third to enter the US market. The FDA scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, comprised of an independent group of experts, for February 26. On that date the group will make a recommendation on the vaccine that the agency will take into consideration when it makes the decision, meaning an EUA will likely not be issued before the end of the month.

Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion Economic Relief Package

The Senate passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stimulus package early this morning with Vice President Kamala Harris issuing the tie-breaking vote, which split along party lines, The New York Times reports. The House will now have to approve the measure, although Republican support is not required for it to pass. The package does not include a federal minimum wage increase to $15 nor does it allow any stimulus money to be distributed to undocumented immigrants.

Report Finds Toxic Levels of Heavy Metals in Some Baby Food

A staff report from the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy found dangerously high toxic levels of heavy metals in some baby food, according to The Hill. Specifically, arsenic, lead and cadmium were present in baby food made by HappyBABY, Beech-Nut Nutrition Company, Hain Celestial and Gerber, which are all owned by Nurture Inc. The report also found the FDA previously received a slide presentation from Hain, noting the company’s corporate policy is to test only ingredients and not final products, which lead to underrepresentation of the levels of heavy metals in the foods. In response, the company said it met with the agency in 2020 and taken steps to reduce metal levels in finished products.