CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Prep for phones before Hurricane Dorian, stem cell therapy company warned by FDA, and 24,000 pounds of beef recalled

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- How the FCC and wireless carriers are preparing for Hurricane Dorian -- and how consumers should prep their own phones

The Federal Communications Commission is working with major wireless carriers to ensure those in the path of Hurricane Dorian can still communicate during the emergency.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement that the FCC and FEMA have reached out to wireless carriers and broadcasters to coordinate their efforts in responding to the storm.

For their part, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have said they're taking steps to ensure their customers can stay connected. Verizon is offering unlimited calls, text, and data for those in the hurricane's path, AT&T and Sprint are waiving some overage fees, and T-Mobile is working to ensure their customers with unlimited plans receive that service.

USA Today released a list of ways for consumers to prepare their own phones for the storm - a useful guide for other emergencies as well. The guide suggests researching and downloading emergency preparedness apps well before they are needed, such as those offered by the Red Cross and FEMA. Consumers can also download apps in order to make calls when they have wifi but no cell service, such as Skype and Viber. It's also important to note that phones without active service plans can still call 911 at any time.

The guide also urges consumers to take steps to waterproof and protect their phones from physical damage, and to have backup power sources in order to recharge.



Stem cell therapy company Stemell warned by FDA for selling unapproved products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning to a company manufacturing and distributing unapproved products derived from human umbilical cord blood.

Stemell, Inc. of San Juan Capistrano, was cited for deviating from FDA standards when it came to collecting and manufacturing their stem cell therapy products, StemL UCB-Plus and StemL UCT-Plus. The FDA warned them to stop selling these products, which purported to "work with the body's cellular system to repair damage," according to the Stemell website.

An FDA inspection last March found that Stemell was using human umbilical cord blood in patients not related to the donors, and that the manufacturing process did not meet their screening and safety standards. Also, because the products "are not intended for homologous use only (i.e., to perform the same basic function or functions in the recipient as in the donor)" the treatment is considered both a drug and a biological product, so certain licensing is required. Stemell has no such licenses.

"This company failed to take appropriate measures to protect patient safety. The FDA will be increasing our oversight related to cell-based regenerative medicine as part of our comprehensive plan to promote beneficial innovation while protecting patients," said Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D.



American Beef Packers recalls over 24,000 pounds of beef products

Chino's American Beef Packers is recalling over 24,000 pounds of raw beef products deemed "unfit for human consumption."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that a carcass that was pending lab tests was unintentionally released and processed along with other beef products. There have been no reports of adverse effects, but consumers are advised to check their fridges and freezers, and to throw the affected products away or return them to their place of purchase.

American Beef Packers products subject to recall have an "establishment number" of 34741 inside the USDA mark of inspection. More information can be found on the USDA website.



Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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