Health Highlights: June 21, 2016

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

U.S Health Care Spending Could be Trillions Less Than Expected Over 5 Years: Study

Health care spending in the United States could be $2.6 trillion less over five years than originally projected after the Affordable Care Act was passed, an Urban Institute study says.

It said growth in health care spending appeared to slow after it spiked in 2014, CNBC reported.

It’s not clear if the Affordable Care Act is the reason for the 11 percent drop in projected health care spending between 2014 and 2019, or whether it’s the weak economy, according to the study.

It said if the Affordable Care Act is the reason for the savings, “then slower growth [in national health spending] may persist beyond current projections,” CNBC reported.


Lower-Fat Chocolate Produced Using Electricity

The use of electricity may enable companies to make chocolate with less fat.

Researchers found that running liquid chocolate through an electric field makes it flow more easily, reducing the amount of fat required, the Asssociated Press reported.

The Temple University team described their findings in a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Using this approach, the researchers were able to reduce the amount of fat in chocolate by about 10 percent, but believe they could reduce it by twice as much, the AP reported.


Chicken Recalled Due to Black Sand, Soil Contamination

Nearly 56,000 pounds of Gold’n Plump and Just Bare brand chicken have been recalled after black sand and soil was found in some of the products due to tampering by an employee.

The health risk posed by the contamination is high, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). It said there have not been any confirmed reports of illness or injury from the recalled chicken, CBS News reported.

“Contrary to initial reports, only one of the products being recalled is sold in the grocery store meat case, the rest are bulk and custom items sold through foodservice and institutional outlets,” St. Cloud, Minnesota-based GNP said in a statement.

The retail product being recalled is Just Bare Whole Chicken (UPC 024105594057) sold in four-pound poly-bags, with a use-by/freeze-by date stamp of 6/26/16, and the code P-322 inside the USDA mark of inspection.

Consumers who bought the chicken should throw it away or return it to the place of purchase for a refund, GNP said.

The company said the contamination is the result of tampering that occurred at its Cold Spring processing plant the week of June 6, CBS News reported.

“The individual responsible has been identified, their employment terminated, and the case turned over to law enforcement,” the company said. “Because the investigation is ongoing, GNP Company is not able to provide additional details about the case.”