Dr. Rath Health Foundation

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Health news and comment from around the world.

December 28, 2007

UK tells pregnant women to boost vitamin D intake
The British government has told pregnant and breastfeeding women to increase their intake of vitamin D during the darker winter months to reduce the risk of seizures and the bone disease rickets in their children. The Department of Health said doctors were reporting increasing numbers of cases of vitamin D deficiency in children. It said that children from Asian, Afro-Caribbean and Middle Eastern backgrounds could be at greater risk. Dark skinned people do not absorb as much sunlight -- a source of the vitamin -- through the skin, and may also cover up most exposed parts of their body for cultural reasons, it said.
Read article at reuters.com

December 27, 2007

Nuclear Plants Raise Leukaemia Threat
On Dec. 8, physicians and health researchers from the University of Mainz, 425 km southwest of Berlin, said children living within a radius of five kilometres from nuclear power plants are at higher risk of contracting leukaemia.
Read article on the Inter Press Service News Agency website

December 19, 2007

Are you getting enough vitamin D?
The sunshine vitamin: Researchers sound alarm over shortage among non-whites
Vitamin D tests conducted on a group of University of Toronto students have found that virtually all non-whites had insufficient levels of the sunshine vitamin, putting them at elevated risk of debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes. The research, which is awaiting publication in a medical journal, found that 100 per cent of those of African origin were short of vitamin D, as were 93 per cent of South Asians (those of Indian or Pakistani origin), and 85 per cent of East Asians (those of Chinese, Indochinese or Filipino origin, among other countries). The findings have alarmed the researchers, who say that if the results are typical of Canada's growing non-white population, the country could be facing a public health crisis.
Read article in the Globe and Mail (Canada)

December 19, 2007

Scans put people at risk of cancer, experts say
The 'worried well' are putting their health at risk by going for expensive body scans which use dangerous blasts of radiation, according to Government experts. Private clinics should stop offering whole body computed tomography (CT) scans and regulation of the industry should be tightened, Government advisers will say in a new report. The scans could even be banned. The risks of massive doses of radiation used to carry out the scans do not outweigh the risks for people who are not displaying symptoms, the report from Committee on the Medical Aspects of Radiation will say.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

December 18, 2007

Lung cancer 'link to lack of sun'
Lack of sunlight may increase the risk of lung cancer, a study suggests. Researchers found lung cancer rates were highest in countries furthest from the equator, where exposure to sunlight is lowest. It is thought vitamin D - generated by exposure to sunlight - can halt tumour growth by promoting the factors responsible for cell death in the body. The University of California, San Diego study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

December 18, 2007

Cancer Kills Over 20 Thousand People A Day Says Global Report
A new global cancer report by a leading US health organization estimates that cancer will kill 7.6 million people worldwide this year (about 20,000 cancer deaths a day), and more than 12 million people will find out they have the disease.
Read article at medicalnewstoday.com (UK)
Comment: Scientific and clinical evidence shows that the use of vitamins and other essential nutrients are of paramount importance in the battle against cancer and, moreover, that this disease could be largely unknown to future generations if these findings were implemented into public health policies. The biggest obstacles preventing the building of a world without cancer are the multi-trillion dollar pharmaceutical drug cartel and its "business with disease."

December 13, 2007

Increase folic acid dose to prevent birth defects, society urges
Women planning pregnancy should boost their intake of folic acid even more, as it could play a key role in reducing as many as half of certain birth defects, according to new guidelines released Wednesday. The recommendations were produced for health-care professionals by a multidisciplinary panel of experts from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. Women with no personal health risks, a planned pregnancy and a diet of foods rich in folate should take a multivitamin containing between 0.4 and one milligram of folic acid at least two to three months before conception and throughout pregnancy, the recommendations say. However, women who are at higher risk, including those who are smokers, obese, diabetic or with previous history of spina bifida in the family should be supplementing their diet with multivitamins containing five milligrams of folic acid, three months prior to and up to 12 weeks following conception.
Read article on the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Eating Less Red And Processed Meat Likely Reduces Cancer Risk, Study
A new study by researchers in the US suggests that people who eat the least red and processed meat are the least likely to develop cancer compared to people who eat the most.
Read article at medicalnewstoday.com

December 12, 2007

I quit the cancer treatment and got better my own way
Two years ago, Alison Kelly was at death's door. She had initially been told the lump on her left breast was benign and not to lose a night's sleep over it. Subsequently, she was found to have advanced-stage cancer and underwent a mastectomy. But it wasn't the disease, she believed, that was in danger of killing her; it was the cure. After suffering a profoundly negative reaction to chemotherapy, the 47-year-old Drogheda woman did something that most cancer patients wouldn't contemplate. She abandoned her treatment and walked away from conventional medicine.
Read article in the Irish Independent (Ireland)

Maximum levels should not be based on RDA, group says
A petition will today be handed to the Minister for Health in Ireland against a proposal to base the maximum levels for vitamins and minerals on recommended daily allowances - a concept which has been criticised as being 40 years out-of-date. The Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) said they have a gathered tens of thousands of names demanding the Irish government and European Commission to "respect the right" of consumers to have high level doses. More than 60,000 people - some 1.5 per cent of the population of Ireland - have signed-up to the petition which will be handed to Minister Mary Harney. The sheer volume of signatures shows how important the issue is being taken, and IAHS is expecting more to come onboard.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: Click here to read the Irish Association of Health Stores’ press release, “TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CONSUMERS APPEAL TO MARY HARNEY”.

Vitamin D dose study adds weight to intake increases
Doses of vitamin D3 of 2,000 International Units (IU) - the current tolerable upper intake level (UL) in Europe and the US - are needed to ensure blood levels of the vitamin amongst post-menopausal African-American women, says a new study. Over 200 women took part in the three year study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which adds to an ever-growing body of science suggesting an urgent need to review current daily intakes of the vitamin.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

December 10, 2007

Cosmetics threat to drinking water
Britain's drinking water is under threat from medicinal chemicals and cosmetic products flushed down the drains of millions of households, a report has claimed.
Experts warned that treatment works are currently unable to remove all these substances, leaving some of them to contaminate water supplies.
Read article at Channel 4 News (UK)
Comment: Chemical drug medicines found in the UK water supply now include anti-depressants, painkillers and chemotherapy drugs.

December 8, 2007

"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic
Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t
What leads the Gates and Rockefeller foundations to at one and the same time to back proliferation of patented and soon-to-be Terminator patented seeds across Africa, a process which, as it has in every other place on earth, destroys the plant seed varieties as monoculture industrialized agribusiness is introduced? At the same time they invest tens of millions of dollars to preserve every seed variety known in a bomb-proof doomsday vault near the remote Arctic Circle ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future’…
Read article by F. William Engdahl at globalresearch.ca
Comment: The other sponsors of the vault include Monsanto Corporation, the Syngenta Foundation and the US agribusiness giant DuPont/Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the world’s largest owners of patented genetically-modified (GMO) plant seeds and related agrichemicals.

December 6, 2007

EU to release proposed list of banned herbs imminently!
Something many of us have been concerned about for years is now imminent - the intention of the European Union to ban a range of botanicals, including some that have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years in traditional systems of healthcare.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

France suspends commercial GMO seed use, studies safety
France formally suspended on Thursday the commercial use of genetically modified (GMO) seeds in the country until early February and ordered a biotech safety study.
Read article at reuters.com

December 5, 2007

Study finds fitness level, not body fat, may be stronger predictor of longevity for older adults
Adults over age 60 who had higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness lived longer than unfit adults, independent of their levels of body fat, according to a study in the December 5 issue of JAMA.
Read article at physorg.com

December 4, 2007

Is cooked food dangerous?
Shock news from the world of dietary research: raw-food fanatics may not be so deranged after all. Research has emerged showing a direct link between a chemical called acrylamide and womb and ovarian cancer in women. Acrylamide is produced when we roast, fry or bake our food.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)
Comment: Chips, crisps, fast foods and processed foods contain the highest levels of acrylamide. The researchers found that women who eat crisps or chips every day may double their chances of ovarian or womb cancer.

December 3, 2007

You are what your mother eats: study
A mother's likes and dislikes, particularly for fruit and vegetables, is passed on to her infant during breastfeeding, suggests new research from the US. A study of 45 infants, just under half of which were breastfed, showed that a baby's preference for a certain food is dependent on its mother's tastes, but only if the baby is breastfed, report researchers in this month's issue of Pediatrics.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

November 30, 2007

All farming will be "organic" 100 years from now – oil expert
An alarming vision of how the world will look after the oil runs out – but also of a crucial role for organic farming – has been given by a leading "peak oil" expert.
Read article at Natural Products Online (UK)

November 29, 2007

Hospital blunders 'kill 90,000 patients'
More than 90,000 patients die and almost one million are harmed each year because of hospital blunders, research suggests. Errors during surgery, misdiagnosis, falls, infections and complications are all to blame for the problems that contribute to the death and injury tolls in England each year. Researchers found that between 8.7 per cent and 10 per cent of hospital stays involved such mistakes and up to a half were preventable. Prof Trevor Sheldon, the author of the study published in the British Medical Journal, said a stay in hospital was as "risky as bungee jumping".
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

November 27, 2007

Malnutrition 'a widespread risk'
A quarter of all adults admitted to hospital and care homes in the UK are at risk of malnutrition, a major survey has found. The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (Bapen) collected data on 11,665 new admissions to 372 institutions over three days. The association is calling for nutrition screening on admission as standard for all patients.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: We should not mislead ourselves into thinking that it is only adults admitted to hospital and care homes who are at risk of malnutrition. A recent report suggested that up to 6 per cent of the UK population could now be suffering from serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

November 26, 2007

France, Germany seek to break deadlock on GMO foods
Agricultural powerhouses France and Germany sought on Monday to break the deadlock that has kept genetically modified crops out of most of Europe, saying rules must be changed to ease their approval. "This authorisation process of GMOs is highly unsatisfactory and worrying, it cannot stay like this," German Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer told reporters on arriving for a meeting of EU farm ministers.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)
Comment: Further evidence that the EU is intent on overriding the wishes of its own citizens, the vast majority of whom remain resolutely opposed to consuming foods containing GMOs.

November 22, 2007

WTO gives EU more time on genetically modified foods
Adding to the uncertainty over European policies toward genetically modified foods, the World Trade Organization said Thursday that the European Union would be given more time to end blockages on imports of engineered foods like corn. "The period during which the EU was meant to have worked this out expired, and the parties decided to extend the deadline to Jan. 11," said Keith Rockwell, a spokesman for the WTO. The EU had been due to end the blockages by Nov. 21. The agreement came after EU officials held a series of talks with their counterparts in the United States, Argentina and Canada over the past weeks, said Peter Power, a spokesman for the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson. Argentina, Canada and the United States have sued the European Union at the WTO, which ruled last year that a de facto EU ban on imports of genetically modified foods between 1984 and 2004 was illegal.
Read article in the International Herald Tribune

November 22, 2007

South Africa: Health Director-General Defends Traditional Medicine
Health department director-general Thami Mseleku yesterday defended the government's slow progress in regulating complementary and African traditional medicines, taking on critics who wanted these remedies to be controlled in the same manner as western pharmaceutical products. "There is a war on African traditional medicines in SA," he said. "You have people who are out to discredit these medicines despite the fact that Africans in their millions use them. We have to regulate rather than condemn." As in Europe and the US, South African consumers are increasingly seeking alternatives to western pharmaceuticals, including herbs and nutritional supplements such as vitamins.
Read article at allafrica.com
Comment: Millions of African people increasingly prefer natural alternatives to the pharmaceutical industry's toxic patented chemical drug medicines, recognizing that they are safer and more effective than putting their health into the hands of the multi-billion dollar "business with disease".

November 21, 2007

EU officials propose ban on genetically modified corn seeds
European Union environment officials have determined that two kinds of genetically modified corn could harm butterflies, modify food chains and disturb life in rivers and streams, and they have proposed a ban on the sale of the seeds, which are made by DuPont Pioneer, Dow Agrosciences and Syngenta. The preliminary decisions, seen by the International Herald Tribune, are circulating within the European Commission, the EU executive, which has the final say. Some officials there are skeptical about a ban that would upset the powerful biotechnology industry and could exacerbate tensions with important EU trading partners like the United States.
Read article in the International Herald Tribune

November 20, 2007

Cancer studies 'wasted millions'
Millions of pounds of charity donations and taxpayers' money have been wasted on worthless cancer studies, the BBC has learned. File On 4 has discovered thousands of studies have been invalidated. It found some scientists have failed to carry out simple and inexpensive checks to ensure they are working with the right forms of human tumour cells.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: This story largely misses the point, in that, globally speaking, countless billions of pounds of charity donations and taxpayers' money have now been wasted on worthless cancer studies. As the two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling once put it: "Everyone should know that most cancer research is largely a fraud and that the major cancer research organisations are derelict in their duties to the people who support them." In sharp contrast to the fraudulent nature of the so-called "war on cancer", Dr. Rath and his team of researchers at the Dr. Rath Research Institute have identified a specific combination of nutrients that work synergistically to stop the spread of cancer cells. To learn more, click here.

November 18, 2007

CODEX MOVES CLOSER TO EU BLUEPRINT
The 29th session of the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, held at Bad Neuenahr, Germany, ended on Friday, November 16, 2007, following a week of deliberations. This Codex committee, more than any other, is deciding the fate of international principles, guidelines, and standards affecting natural health products and health claims. The U.S.-based, international non-governmental organization (INGO), the National Health Federation (NHF), was the only INGO present representing consumers' rights to freedom of choice in healthcare, and its three-person delegation was responsible for more interventions during the course of the meetings than all other INGOs put together.
Click here to read the National Health Federation's press release.

November 16, 2007

Public 'Eating GM Food Without Knowing'
Supermarkets are deceiving their customers by widely stocking goods sourced from animals fed genetically-modified soya and maize, a campaign group has warned. According to the Soil Association, the practice means GM food is entering the UK "by stealth" via feed given to animals reared for dairy and pork products.
Read article at Sky News

November 16, 2007

Exposure to GM foods linked to Morgellons disease
Researchers at the State University of New York believe exposure to GM foods may be causing new cases of Morgellons disease, reports Metro. The researchers say that Agrobacterium, a bacterium that causes tumors in plants, has been found in Morgellons sufferers. Agrobacterium is well known for its ability to transfer DNA between itself and plants, and for this reason it has become an important tool for plant improvement by genetic engineering. Morgellons disease is a largely unexplained skin condition (named in 2002) that leads crawling, biting, and stinging sensations. Sufferers also frequently report finding fibres on or under the skin and experience persistent skin lesions. In addition to skin manifestations, some also report fatigue, mental confusion, short-term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision.
Read article at Natural Products Online (UK)

November 14, 2007

Study Finds Physicians And Nurses Both Take And Recommend Dietary Supplements
The landmark "Life...supplemented" Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study found that more than three quarters of U.S. physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients. The study also shows that an almost equal number -- 72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses -- personally use vitamin, mineral, herbal and other supplements either regularly, occasionally or seasonally, which is a higher percentage than the 68 percent of adults who report they take nutritional or dietary supplements. With mainstream use of dietary supplements in the U.S. -- more than 150 million Americans take them each year -- the 2007 "Life ... supplemented" HCP Impact Study on dietary supplements was designed to evaluate the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by physicians and nurses and to determine if those factors impact whether they recommend supplements for their patients.
Read article at medicalnewstoday.com

November 12, 2007

CODEX MEETING IN GERMANY SET TO DECIDE FUTURE FOR VITAMIN CONSUMERS AROUND THE WORLD
Read press release on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

November 10, 2007

Luxembourg Appeal: Towards an International Ban on Mercury in Dental Amalgam
Invited by the "Aktionsgruppe für Umwelttoxikologie (AKUT asbl)" in Luxembourg and the "European Academy for Environmental Medicine" (EUROPAEM) and under the patronage of the Ministry of Health Luxembourg, renowned scientists, researchers, doctors specialized in environmental medicine, physicians, and dentists as well as politicians, NGOs, and patient groups met on the 10th of November 2007 to draw attention to the serious risks for health and environment coming from mercury out of dental amalgam. Following this international conference, they published unanimously this urgent appeal addressing the European Commission, the European Parliament, and all national health authorities within and outside of Europe to ban mercury in dental amalgam.
Click here to read the text of the appeal

November 9, 2007

Food on agenda for US-EU trade talks
The first meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) takes place in Washington this week, with the freeing up of the food trade on the cards. The trade talks aim to improve trade relations between the two powerhouses in an effort to remain competitive on a global basis, particularly in view of growing pressures from Asian traders. US and EU negotiators say they hope to reach deals on regulatory rules that limit trade in food during the two day talks, which begin in Washington tomorrow.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Comment: Signed in April 2007, the transatlantic economic integration agreement that created the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) threatens the harmonizing of U.S. dietary supplement legislation to restrictive European regulations. To learn more, click here.

November 2, 2007

Study Shows Vitamin "Pill-Poppers" Are Healthier
New research indicates that NOT taking supplements may be harmful to your health, and that a single daily multi-vitamin is inadequate. A study of hundreds of persons who take a number of different dietary supplements has found that the more supplements they take, the better their health is. The study authors reported that a "greater degree of supplement use was associated with more favorable concentrations of serum homocysteine, C-reactive protein, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as lower risk of prevalent elevated blood pressure and diabetes."
Read news release at orthomolecular.org

November 1, 2007

NHS cancer plan is 'ineffective'
Rates of avoidable deaths from cancer in England and Wales are not falling as fast as the NHS Cancer Plan predicts, a report warns. Between 1999 and 2005 the decline in deaths from cancer which should have been treatable slowed year on year, analysis by think-tank Civitas shows. The figures suggest the £2bn injection in funding in cancer services is not having an impact, they concluded.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Cancer can be controlled, but the British government's £2bn injection in funding has been totally wasted. Why? Because the sole beneficiaries from the sale of patented synthetic toxic chemical drugs for the treatment of cancer are the gargantuan bank accounts of the pharma cartel. To learn how cancer can be eradicated naturally, without the devastating side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, click here.

October 30, 2007

Nutrition plans 'doomed to fail'
Government plans to tackle malnutrition among hospital and care home patients are doomed to failure, a patients' group has claimed. Ministers will launch what they are calling a "groundbreaking" drive to improve the nutrition of the elderly. It will call on NHS and social care providers to weigh patients to keep track of whether they eat properly. But Patient Concern said it failed to instil a culture of accountability and was likely to be just "words on paper". Research has shown that about a third of hospital and care home patients are malnourished.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: A recent report showed that up to 3.6 million people in the UK now suffer from malnutrition. As a result, according to the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, malnutrition currently costs the UK's National Health Service more than £7.3bn (€10.8bn / US $14.8bn) a year. The estimates suggest that up to 6 per cent of the UK population could be suffering from serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies, whilst UK hospital figures now show malnutrition to be found in all age groups, including newborn babies.

October 30, 2007

Rickets cases rise among Asians
Vitamin supplements are to be handed out in Lancashire after 56 reported cases of rickets. The cases of the disease, which can cause bow legs, have been reported in Asian communities in East Lancashire.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: The incidence of rickets, a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin D, appears to be on the rise in a number of Western countries. Although our bodies can produce vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, the use of sunscreens – which has increased in recent years – along with recommendations to limit our exposure to sunlight may perhaps be contributing to an increased incidence of vitamin D deficiency. A lack of vitamin D has been linked to the development of multiple sclerosis, diabetes and cancer, amongst many other diseases.

October 30, 2007

Doctors Say, Raise the RDAs Now
The US Recommended Daily Allowance/Daily Reference Intakes are too low and most should be raised immediately, says an independent panel of physicians, academics and researchers. In a statement this week, the Independent Vitamin Safety Review Panel said: "Government-sponsored nutrient recommendations, such as the US RDA/DRIs, are not keeping pace with recent progress in nutrition research. While current official recommendations for vitamin A, iron, calcium, and some other nutrients are generally adequate, the public has been asked to consume far too little of many other key nutrients. Inadequate intake, and inadequate standards to judge intake, have resulted in widespread nutrient inadequacy, chronic disease, and an undernourished but overweight population." Citing a large number of physician reports and clinical studies, the IVSRP called for substantial increases in daily intake of the B-vitamins, vitamins C, D and E, and the minerals selenium, zinc, magnesium and chromium. "Raising the RDA/DRI will save lives and improve health," the Panel said. "Clinical and sub-clinical nutrient deficiencies are among the main causes of our society's greatest healthcare problems. Cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and other diseases are caused or aggravated by poor nutrient intake. The good news is that scientific evidence shows that adequately high consumption of nutrients helps prevent these diseases."
Read news release at orthomolecular.org

October 29, 2007

Massive rise in Europe GM crops
Figures to be published later on Monday show the area planted with genetically modified crops in Europe has grown by 77% since last year. This year over 1,000 sq km of GM maize was harvested.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

October 28, 2007

GM: The Secret Files
Ministers are secretly easing the way for GM crops in Britain, while professing to be impartial on the technology, startling internal documents reveal. The documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that the Government colluded with a biotech company in setting conditions for testing GM potatoes, and gives tens of millions of pounds a year to boost research into modified crops and foods. The information on funding proved extraordinarily difficult to get, requiring three months of investigation by an environmental pressure group, a series of parliamentary questions, and three applications for the information. Friends of the Earth finally obtained still partial information last week which shows that the Government provides at least £50m a year for research into agricultural biotechnology, largely GM crops and food. This generosity contrasts with the £1.6m given last year for research into organic agriculture, in spite of repeated promises to promote environmentally friendly, "sustainable" farming.
Read Geoffrey Lean's article in the Independent on Sunday (UK)

October 28, 2007

Official: organic really is better
THE biggest study into organic food has found that it is more nutritious than ordinary produce and may help to lengthen people's lives. The evidence from the £12m four-year project will end years of debate and is likely to overturn government advice that eating organic food is no more than a lifestyle choice. The study found that organic fruit and vegetables contained as much as 40% more antioxidants, which scientists believe can cut the risk of cancer and heart disease, Britain's biggest killers. They also had higher levels of beneficial minerals such as iron and zinc.
Read article in the Sunday Times (UK)

October 24, 2007

EU COMMISSION'S PROPOSALS TO LIMIT VITAMIN AND MINERAL DOSES NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE
A group of scientists and doctors, led by Scientific Director of the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH), Dr Robert Verkerk, and ANH's Medical Director, Dr Damien Downing, is calling for the European Commission to review the methods it is contemplating using to set maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements and fortified foods. The scientists claim that the methods being considered are both "unscientific" and "flawed".
Read press release on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

October 20, 2007

'Traditional medicines help serious illness'
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said on Saturday traditional medicines had huge potential to produce new and alternative treatments for serious health conditions. "People are using traditional medicines and natural therapies in alleviating conditions associated with HIV and Aids, diabetes, malaria and other serious health conditions affecting them," said Tshabalala-Msimang.
Read article at iol.co.za (South Africa)

October 17, 2007

China's health minister calls for more respect to traditional Chinese medicine
China's Health Minister Chen Zhu has called for respect to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the scientific value of which is doubted by some people. "A prudent scientist should not judge TCM in haste if he did not understand its meaning, advantage and core theories," Chen, a Paris-trained hematology scientist, said in Beijing on Monday at a health forum.
Read article in the People's Daily (China)
Comment: About 3,000 hospitals in China provide TCM treatments to nearly 234 million patients each year.

October 16, 2007

Donegal study shows seven out of ten people getting too much fluoride
Seven out of ten people in Co Donegal are getting too much fluoride, says VOICE campaigner Robert Pocock. His comments are backed up by results from a survey involving volunteers from three different fluoridated areas of County Donegal, who monitored their urinary fluoride intake over a 24-hour period. The survey was carried out by Clane GP, Dr Andrew Rynne who engaged an EU accredited pathology laboratory to obtain the results. Urine samples from Inishowen, Letterkenny and Stranorlar were obtained from people aged between 19 and 68 and evenly split between men and women. 72% of the subjects tested in Co Donegal were at or above the safe intake of fluoride. The safe level was based on the UK Food Standard Agency guideline value based on daily fluoride intake related to body weight. The proportion at or above the safe limit in largely unfluoridated UK is 20%, suggesting that the addition of fluoride to Irish drinking water is completely unjustifiable.
Read press release on the Voice of Ireland Concern for the Environment (VOICE) website (Ireland)

October 15, 2007

Vitamin D deficiency linked to greater pain
A new study has linked vitamin D and a reduction of chronic pain, lending to voices calling for increased fortification or supplementation of the nutrient in diets. The study, presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists 2007 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, found that one in four patients who suffer from chronic pain also have inadequate blood levels of vitamin D. As such, the researchers put forth that the vitamin D deficiency possibly contributed to the patients' ongoing pain.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

October 15, 2007

U.S. Cancer Death Rates Are Found to Be Falling
Death rates from cancer have been dropping by an average of 2.1 percent a year recently in the United States, a near doubling of decreases that began in 1993, researchers are reporting.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)
Comment: The vast bulk of these decreases have taken place since the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was passed by Congress in 1994. DSHEA classifies supplements as foods and places the burden of proof on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to show that any particular dietary supplement is unsafe. The text of DSHEA makes specific reference to Congress having found that there is a link between the ingestion of dietary supplements and the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. It also states that preventive health measures, including appropriate use of safe nutritional supplements, will limit the incidence of chronic diseases, and reduce long-term health care expenditures. 52 percent of Americans now identify themselves as regular users of dietary supplements.

October 12, 2007

Journal editor attacks nutraceutical industry
Mark Ridinger, editor of the journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics launched a stinging attack on the nutraceutical industry. ANH responds…
Mark Ridinger, editor of the scientific journal Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, a publication of the esteemed Nature group, has launched a stinging attack on the nutraceutical industry, which he refers to as the "nutraceutical-industrial [N-I] complex". He's effected the attack through the pages of the very journal of which he is editor - call it editorial license if you like. The good news is it likely means that our failure to stop taking our nutrients, herbs and other natural concoctions with which we have evolved over thousands of years is really starting to get on the goat of those who'd like us to submit to what they seem to profess is "pharmaceutical heaven".
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

October 11, 2007

How Corporations Engineered the Non-Regulation of Dangerous Genetically Modified Foods
Government officials around the globe have been coerced, infiltrated, and paid off by the agricultural biotech giants. In Indonesia, Monsanto gave bribes and questionable payments to at least 140 officials, attempting to get their genetically modified (GM) cotton approved.
Read article on the website of the Organic Consumers Association (USA)

October 10, 2007

How Hospitals Systematically Harm People
Visiting the hospital is supposed to heal people, but it's hard to get better in a place that uses toxic chemicals and serves processed food. Is change on the way?
Read article at alternet.org
Comment: In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2 million people a year contract infections in hospitals, and nearly 100,000 are expected to die from them this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

October 10, 2007

Low zinc levels may raise pneumonia risk in the elderly
Low blood levels of zinc may be linked to an increased risk of pneumonia amongst the elderly, suggesting the benefits of supplements for this at risk population, says new research. "Normal serum zinc concentrations in nursing home elderly are associated with a decreased incidence and duration of pneumonia, a decreased number of new antibiotic prescriptions, and a decrease in the days of antibiotic use," wrote lead author Simin Meydani in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "Zinc supplementation to maintain normal serum zinc concentrations in the elderly may help reduce the incidence of pneumonia and associated morbidity."
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Comment: Bearing in mind additional research, published earlier this year, showing that a daily zinc supplement may significantly reduce infections in the elderly and have implications for boosting "healthy ageing", it is surely high time that these findings were acted upon and implemented into national public health policies.

October 9, 2007

Public 'misled' on exercise needs
"Misleading" government guidelines have led to many Britons wrongly believing that moderate exercise is as beneficial as a vigorous workout, a study alleges. In a survey of nearly 1,200 people, around half of men and three quarters of women thought moderate exercise conferred the greatest health benefits. Guidelines urge 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day five days per week. But the authors of the study, published in Preventive Medicine, said vigorous exercise was best for averting disease.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: The study's lead author said that he found it extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy. He added that whilst brisk walking offers some health benefits, vigorous activities such as jogging or running offer maximal protection from disease.

October 8, 2007

Should We Discard Herbal Medicine - Unless Provided by Pharma?
An examination of three randomized trials involving individualized herbal remedies was sufficient for two researchers to suggest that herbal medicine should be discarded. Call me biased, but could it be that the "study" involving a total of three research papers and a well-known antagonist of alternative medicine, Prof Edzard Ernst, has been thrown together in a great hurry for the express purpose of influencing the imminent new law (statutory regulation...) for the herbalist profession? There are many interesting comments from readers on the newspapers' sites. One reader's letter and comment on the study that was sent to the papers carrying the story did not make it through to actual publication. It does however provide a glimpse of the interests that could be hiding behind this story ... perhaps it is all a question of money.
Read article and comments from readers of UK newspapers at newmediaexplorer.org

October 5, 2007

Senior doctors allege lack of evidence on fluoride safety
The government is accused by senior doctors today of selectively using inadequate evidence to promote the use of fluoride in the water supply. The public health measure, intended to improve the country's teeth, has attracted huge controversy. Anti-fluoride campaigners claim the chemical has potentially harmful side-effects, while dentists and some public health experts insist it is entirely beneficial and saves children from tooth decay. In the British Medical Journal today, Sir Iain Chalmers, editor of the James Lind Library, which was set up to help people understand the evidence base of medicine, KK Cheng, professor of epidemiology at Birmingham University, and Trevor Sheldon, professor and pro-vice-chancellor at York University, say there is not enough evidence either way.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

October 5, 2007

Irish tap water not suitable for baby formula
The State's 18 maternity hospitals were warned yesterday by VOICE spokesman Robert Pocock that Irish tap water is not suitable for making up infant formula. The timing of this warning is important as this is National Breastfeeding Week. Breast-fed babies in Ireland are in a minority, with most receiving infant formula. At 40% Ireland has the lowest rate of breast-feeding in all Europe, with Nordic countries in the high 90% range. The advice refers to new research which reveals that the risk of dental fluorosis (the only cause is over-exposure to fluoride) starts from birth and not, as previously believed, only in later infant years. Dental fluorosis has increased eightfold among Irish teenagers since 1984. With four in ten now affected, it is described by Irish Dentists Opposing Fluoridation as an epidemic.
Read press release on the Voice of Ireland Concern for the Environment (VOICE) website (Ireland)

October 5, 2007

Cosmetics could be killing you
THE average woman absorbs two kilograms of chemicals from cosmetics every year - from cancer-causing compounds in face cream to arsenic in eyeshadow. A  typical woman's daily beauty regime may involve applying as many as 175 chemical compounds to their skin and hair. Of course, the manufacturers would say these chemicals and resulting products are safe, but a growing school of thought begs to differ.
Read article from the Daily Telegraph at news.com.au (Australia)

October 5, 2007

EU LEGISLATION AND NATURAL HEALTH
The good, the bad and the ugly
You might think that getting your head around the tsunami of regulation set to bombard the natural health shores over the next decade is more than you can, or want, to get your head around. But in this guide, the Alliance for Natural Health has taken the mystery out of the legal jargon and condensed the potential ramifications of key pieces of European legislation into succinct points. We give the key take-home points on the good, the bad and the ugly of the Big Four EU laws on natural health that are in the process of impacting the natural health sector.
Read PDF on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

October 5, 2007

Consumers taking dietary supplements more regularly, says survey
More consumers say they take dietary supplements on a regular basis than before, according to a new poll conducted for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). The trade association commissioned an online survey undertaken by market researcher, Ipsos-Public Affairs. The research revealed 52 percent of Americans identify themselves as regular users of dietary supplements, up from 46 percent in 2006.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

October 4, 2007

New attack on herbal medicine by Prof Ernst and colleagues
CAM bashing seems to have become a sport for Prof Ernst and colleagues at Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter. This instance reminds us just how far the science needs to be twisted for Prof Ernst to have managed to make headlines over the risks and lack of efficacy of herbal medicines.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)
Comment: Guo, Canter and Ernst have entitled their paper: "A systematic review of randomised clinical trials of individualised herbal medicine in any indication." You would be forgiven for thinking that this was a review of dozens or even hundreds of studies. But just three? Yes, although Prof Ernst and colleagues started their review with a hopeful 1345 references in the peer reviewed literature, their particular and harsh inclusion criteria managed to whittle away some 98.8% of the references leaving just 0.2% - i.e. three! How the journal allowed this paper to be titled a "systematic review" and how they allowed the title to include its relevance to "any indication" is anyone's guess. This truly is an abuse of science.

October 3, 2007

High white cell count may predict cancer: study
Postmenopausal women with elevated white blood cell (WBC) counts appear to be at increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, endometrial, and lung cancers, a new study shows. Higher WBC counts also raise the risk of dying from cancer, according to the study.
Read article at reuters.com

October 1, 2007

BOOZE & BREAST CANCER
The news Friday suggesting that even a glass or two of wine a day will leave women at risk of breast cancer is, well, sobering. Does this mean that women, young and old, invite disaster if they participate in happy hour? No: The headlines not only overhype the danger, they omit a reliable countermeasure.
Read article in the New York Post (USA)
Comment: The important fact left out of Friday's stories was that a high intake of folic acid and high plasma folate levels appear to completely mitigate the excess risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol intake.

September 28, 2007

Centenarians reach a record high
The number of people living beyond 100 years has reached a record high in England and Wales, according to official figures. The Office for National Statistics says there are now 9,000 "centenarians" - a 90-fold increase since 1911. Estimates suggest this will carry on rising to 40,000 by 2031. The rapid increase in the number of very elderly people began in the 1950s and is due to improvements in housing, healthcare, nutrition and sanitation.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Discussing these figures, Dr Lorna Layward, from Help the Aged, repeated an oft-heard misperception when she said: "It's hard to know whether these extra years are providing extra years of good health." In fact, however, research done at Boston University in the New England Centenarian Study has found that centenarians disprove the perception that "the older you get the sicker you get." Instead, say the researchers, centenarians teach us that "the older you get the healthier you've been." As such, whilst the increasing number of dangerous patented pharmaceutical drugs taken by elderly people with health problems continues to concern us, we remain convinced that if scientific advances in the areas of vitamin research, cellular health and other non-patentable natural therapies were implemented into national healthcare systems, a long healthy extended lifespan would become the norm rather than the exception.

September 27, 2007

Against the grain: 'Economics, not common sense, drives GM crops'
Dr Michael Antoniou argues that genetically modified crops are dangerous and unnecessary
Genetic modification technology is a great research tool but it's crude. Some scientists claim that GM is just an extension of natural evolution, a development of cross-breeding, but this is, technically, totally inaccurate. The way genetic modification has been used to manufacture GM crops causes thousands of changes in the DNA of the plants' cells, variations of a different quality and quantity to cross-breeding. Some of these are benign, but some are going to disrupt one or more functions of the plant. So it may now be herbicide resistant, but unable to stand heat, its nutritional value may be lowered, known toxins increased, or even new toxins introduced into the plant.
Read article by Dr Michael Antoniou in The Independent (UK)

September 24, 2007

Michael Caine and co join vitamin plea to Brown
Celebrities have added their weight to the Save Our Supplements campaign which today sent an open letter to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling for high levels for vitamin supplements to remain on the market. Stars including Cilla Black, Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Sir Cliff Richard, and Sir Michael Caine have backed the campaign which is asking for the EU's proposed Food Supplements Directive to continue allowing high levels of minerals and vitamins.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

September 24, 2007

EU law bitter pill to take
OVER 100,000 people nationwide have signed a petition opposing EU plans to place restrictions on vitamins and minerals sold in health food stores. The petition is part of a campaign to stop the EU Supplements Directive coming into force here in less than two years.
Read article at independent.ie (Ireland)
Comment: The Irish Association of Health Stores, the GM-free Ireland group and other umbrella groups are now threatening a 'no' vote in Ireland's EU Treaty referendum.

September 22, 2007

Garden project launched in rural KZN town
In a bid to create a better quality of life for residents of Centocow in southern KwaZulu-Natal, health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has launched a food and gardening project in the area. The area was specifically chosen as it has an infant mortality rate higher than the provincial rate of 67 deaths per 1 000 births. The garden project, which employs about 100 community members, aims to bring relief to the malnourished residents through the development of skills such as gardening. The intention is also that the project will eventually supply the local Appollinaris Hospital with fresh produce. Tshabalala-Msimang says apart from the nutritional benefits, the programme will contribute towards food security and job creation.
Read article at sabcnews.com (South Africa)

September 22, 2007

Vitamin E trials 'fatally flawed'
Generations of studies on vitamin E may be largely meaningless, scientists say, because new research has demonstrated that the levels of this micronutrient necessary to reduce oxidative stress are far higher than those that have been commonly used in clinical trials. In a new study and commentary in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, researchers concluded that the levels of vitamin E necessary to reduce oxidative stress – as measured by accepted biomarkers of lipid peroxidation – are about 1,600 to 3,200 I.U. daily, or four to eight times higher than those used in almost all past clinical trials. This could help explain the inconsistent results of many vitamin E trials for its value in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease, said Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and co-author of the new commentary along with Jeffrey Blumberg, at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Whilst these findings are certainly interesting, they do not take the concept of nutrient synergy into account. The latest clinical studies and lab research, for example, show us that it is not the intake of any one single nutrient that ensures full health, but the intake of a complete spectrum of various different micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace elements. Cellular Health research therefore focuses on nutrient synergy as the most effective approach to optimizing cellular metabolism and restoring its balance, and has repeatedly shown that this approach is more effective than using individual nutrients, or their random combination. As such, we would argue that lower levels of vitamin E than 1,600 to 3,200 I.U. daily may be able to reduce oxaditive stress if accompanied by a scientifically targeted combination of additional nutrients.

September 20, 2007

Low vitamin D linked to higher risk of hip fracture
Women with low levels of vitamin D have an increased risk of hip fracture, according to a study led by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health presented this week at the 29th annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research at the Hawaii Convention Center.
Read article at physorg.com

September 19, 2007

'Health disaster' in French Caribbean linked to pesticides
The indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides on banana plantations in the French Caribbean has left much of the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe poisoned for a century to come, a report to the French parliament warned yesterday. The two islands and their 800,000 inhabitants faced a "health disaster", with soaring rates of cancer and infertility, said Professor Dominique Belpomme, a French cancer specialist. Based on present trends, half the men of Martinique and Guadeloupe were likely to develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives, Professor Belpomme said. Birth defects in children were also becoming far more common, he warned.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

September 19, 2007

Academics urge food agency to act tougher on additives
· Consumers should come before industry, says letter
· Warning that watchdog is at risk of losing credibility
The government's Food Standards Agency today comes under fresh attack from two leading academics who have joined forces to urge the watchdog to act "more firmly and responsibly" on behalf of consumers over the dangers of chemical food additives. On the eve of a crucial FSA meeting tomorrow, they have written to its 13 board members expressing concern that the watchdog is not being proactive enough on an important scientific issue which has ramifications for public health.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

September 18, 2007

Restricting pesticides could greatly reduce suicide rates worldwide
National and international policies restricting the pesticides that are most toxic to humans may have a major impact on world suicides, according to new research from the University of Bristol published this week in the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE). Professor David Gunnell of the University's Department of Social Medicine and colleagues from the South Asian Clinical Toxicology Research Collaboration in Sri Lanka found that Sri Lanka's import restrictions on the most toxic pesticides were followed by marked reductions in suicide.
Read article at physorg.com

September 17, 2007

Some pesticides cause asthma in farmers: study
Farmers' use of certain pesticides can cause asthma, a breakthrough study presented in Stockholm at an international conference on respiratory diseases showed.
Read article at physorg.com

September 17, 2007

Monsanto, Dow join forces for new GM corn
Biotechnology companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have teamed up to launch what they claim to be the industry's first eight-gene stacked combination in corn, which the firms say will further expand their presence in the GM market for the crop. SmartStax, which is designed to be the "all-in-one" answer to yield protection from weed and insect threats, could be commercially available as early as the end of the decade, the companies said last week. "The combination of these trait technologies signals the start of the next generation of products with improved plant protection and yield increases for the farmer," said Jerome Peribere, president and CEO of Dow AgroSciences. The new variety will incorporate eight different herbicide tolerance and insect-protection genes from both of the companies.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Comment: If Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences think that consumers actually want to eat eight-gene stacked corn products, then they are mistaken.

September 17, 2007

Organic lobby targets 'dangerous' E-numbers
· Trade group urges ban for chemical additives
· Anger over burden on parents to check labels
The government will this week come under fresh pressure to protect children by moving towards an outright ban on potentially "hazardous" chemical additives in food, following the intervention of the influential organic food industry. A powerful coalition of companies - whose members include the supermarket Waitrose, baby food manufacturer Organix, chocolate maker Green and Black's, and Britain's biggest organic brand, Yeo Valley - has accused the government's Food Standards Agency of failing to consult it over new guidance for parents on the side-effects of E-numbers, and of ducking the opportunity for tighter regulation. In a strongly-worded letter sent to Dame Deirdre Hutton, chairwoman of the FSA, at the weekend, the Organic Trade Group said it was unacceptable that the FSA was not making full information available to parents about crucial new research, adding that its new advice was flawed.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

September 17, 2007

Return of GM: ministers back moves to grow crops in UK
Climate concerns will reduce chance of new public backlash, says industry
Government ministers have given their backing to a renewed campaign by farmers and industry to introduce genetically modified crops to the UK, the Guardian has learned. They believe the public will now accept that the technology is vital to the development of higher-yield and hardier food for the world's increasing population and will help produce crops that can be used as biofuels in the fight against climate change. "GM will come back to the UK; the question is how it comes back, not whether it's coming back," said a senior government source.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)
Comment: Recent polls show that about 70% of the European public remains opposed to GM foods. Nevertheless, it would seem that the British government sees the wishes of the GM industry as more important than the concerns of its own citizens.

September 14, 2007

Pharmacist fined for natural therapies
A Tennessee pharmacist has received a $1 million fine for treating customers at his health-food store with juices and dietary supplements. The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners ruled in May that Larry Rawdon's practice of treating ailments such as cancer with alternative therapies is harmful, The Nashville Tennessean reported Thursday. The $1 million fine is the largest the board has ever handed out, the newspaper said.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Far from being "harmful", the practice of treating ailments such as cancer with natural therapies is supported by an abundance of knowledge and scientific data that has been available for 50, 60, 70 even 80 years. As such, by fining this pharmacist $1 million, the only thing that the "business with disease" has proven is that the attempts to protect its global pharmaceutical market - currently valued at an annual $643 billion - are becoming increasingly desperate.

September 14, 2007

PUBLIC VIEW FOOD SUPPLEMENTS DIRECTIVE AS REASON TO VOTE "NO" IN REFERENDUM ON EU TREATY
At a public meeting about the Food Supplements Directive held in Dublin on Wednesday and attended by over 100 people, serious concern was expressed about the control being exerted over the lives of Irish citizens by the EU.  Politicians, consumers and nutritional therapists were amongst those attending. MEP Kathy Sinnott, who addressed the meeting, commented that the EU "is about economics" and stated that experts attached to EU working groups are frequently sourced from industry, resulting in victory for vested interests. Citing her own personal experience in restoring the health of her son, Jamie, by the use of supplements, Ms. Sinnott expressed the view that the impact of the Food Supplements Directive could lead to a monopoly by the pharmaceutical industry.
Read press release on the website of the Irish Association of Health Stores (Ireland)
Comment: Jill Bell, President of the Irish Association of Health Stores summed up the feelings of those present at the meeting: "Outrage about the Food Supplements Directive has reached such a pitch now, that it looks likely that the 2.5% of the population who have signed the petition will be unwilling to give a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum to be run on the EU Treaty." She added "The Food Supplements Directive seems to have stirred a hornet's nest in relation to people's feelings about the EU. People are becoming angry about the degree to which Brussels is interfering with our basic freedoms."

September 12, 2007

Organisations accuse UK regulator of industry bias
Three consumer organisations have accused the UK regulator of having "misled" the public and of being in the pocket of manufacturers over its approach to a major study on food additives. The accusation by three major organisations could damage the credibility of the regulator, further eroding public trust in the safety of processed foods. In a joint letter to Deirdre Hutton, chair of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Soil Association, the Hyperactive Children's Support Group, and Sustain alleged that the regulator had "misled the public" by failing to explain clearly that all children can be affected by artificial food colourings.
Read article at foodnavigator.com
Comment: By actively supporting unnecessary restrictions on the sale of food supplements, such as the European Union's Food Supplements Directive and the Codex Guidelines on Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements, the UK's Food Standards Agency has already proven that its policies are biased towards the interests of big business, especially the pharma industry. As such, the Agency's approach to food additives - many of which are manufactured by the pharma industry - is entirely consistent with its ongoing support for the business with disease.

September 7, 2007

US FDA Guidance on health claims signals possible end-run of DSHEA
The American Association for Health Freedom (AAHF) in association with its international affiliate, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) have today submitted a powerful critique of the US Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) proposal for evaluation of health claims which has been open to public consultation. Since the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act in 1994, American citizens have enjoyed one of the most liberal regimes for dietary supplements anywhere in the world. This legal regime was won only after unprecedented public lobbying of Congress, stimulated by concerns over unnecessary restrictions on natural products. The FDA was forced to re-consider its approach to health claims following a Court of Appeals decision which followed the Pearson v Shalala case in 1999. The AAHF acted as joint plaintiffs in this ground-breaking case which challenged the FDA's decision to disallow four substance/disease relationship claims. However, this latest proposal by the FDA is set to create a situation where only the largest, most well funded companies, such as pharmaceutical corporations, will be able to afford the evidence-based, stringent data requirements for health claims. These requirements would prevent smaller companies, which have historically been the key pioneers and innovators in the natural health field, from making claims as they would not be able to afford the cost of substantiation.
Read press release on the website of the Alliance for Natural Health (UK)

September 7, 2007

NHF MISSION: STOP FDA FROM TREATING SUPPLEMENTS LIKE DRUGS
Much has been made about the threat posed by the food-safety provisions contained in the FDA Revitalization legislation now pending before Congress (S.1082 and H.R.2900) and the yet-to-be-finalized decisions on this legislation.  House and Senate Conferees will be appointed when Congress returns from its August recess in the next few days. These threats circulating in the community were also long ago recognized by the National Health Federation (NHF), which is following up on its previously successful lobbying efforts to get a pro-supplement colloquy on the floor of the U.S. Senate about this legislation.  While some – who, interestingly enough, previously denigrated the colloquy – are now claiming sole credit for it through their letter-writing campaign, they forget that without the NHF's lobbying connection to actually get Harkin and Hatch to do the colloquy and "close the loop," the letter-writing campaign, which was directed to another goal anyway, would not have been successful. Now, the NHF is using the FDA Revitalization legislation as an opportunity to prevent future Food and Drug Administration actions that really could go against the core of our health-freedom beliefs.  In this case, it means putting controls on how an otherwise-unaccountable FDA, conducts any future actions to ban supplements based on its own illegitimate bureaucratic misinterpretation of the DSHEA law.
Read press release from the National Health Federation (USA)

September 6, 2007

Scientists Find Organic Agriculture Can Feed the World & More
Two usual objections are levelled against the proposal that organic agriculture can feed the world. Organic agriculture, opponents claim, gives low yields, and there isn't enough organic fertilizer to boost yields substantially. A team of scientists led by Catherine Badgley at the University of Michgan Ann Arbor in the United States has now refuted those common misconceptions about organic agriculture. Organic agriculture gives yields roughly comparable to conventional agriculture in developed countries and much higher yields in developing countries; and more than enough nitrogen can be fixed in the soil by using green manure alone.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

September 6, 2007

Parents warned of additives link
Parents have been warned of the effects of food additives on their children's behaviour after new research found a possible link to hyperactivity. A Food Standards Agency (FSA) study of 300 random children found they behaved impulsively and lost concentration after a drink containing additives.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

September 4, 2007

Deodorants 'may be linked to breast cancer'
Scientists have discovered a potential link between deodorants and breast cancer. High levels of aluminium, which makes up 90 per cent of the anti-perspirant part of most products, were found in the breast tissue of cancer patients who had undergone mastectomies. The element has been linked to the disease by earlier studies. Scientists have previously warned that aluminium could be absorbed through the skin, particularly after the armpits are shaved.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

August 31, 2007

UnLucky Me
Last week during my latest 5-day stay in Puerto, I noticed that Lucky Me has a new design for the billboards they have put up in the schools of the city.  This and the previous one had the same message:  Lucky Me instant noodles are good for children. Lucky Me deserves a prize, or at least a nomination, for creativity and good advertising and PR.  One is reminded of how generations of Filipinos actually believe that Star Margarine can make one grow tall.  Studies now tell us that margarine is actually so bereft of nutrients that cockroaches do not even bother to touch them.
Read Vic Milan's article in the Palawan Sun Newsweekly (Philippines)

August 30, 2007

African Traditional Medicine conference underway
Details of South Africa's first approved human clinical study on traditional medicine has been revealed at the three-day African Traditional Medicine conference underway in Durban. The conference is aimed at formulating a national policy on traditional medicine. It is expected to be finalised in less than a year. Traditional leaders are discussing the use of medicinal plants and how they can help treat infections.
Read article at sabcnews.com (South Africa)

August 30, 2007

Lead may have hastened Beethoven's death
An Austrian scientist says a sample of composer Ludwig van Beethoven's hair taken after his death indicates medical treatment hastened his death.
Read article at physorg.com
Comment: Beethoven died in 1827. Isn't it astonishing, therefore, that, 180 years later, orthodox medicine is still hastening the deaths of its patients via the use of dangerous, and mostly ineffective, treatments?

August 28, 2007

Chinese astronauts test traditional Chinese medicines in space
China's astronauts have been testing new varieties of traditional Chinese medicine that could help treat osteoporosis, insomnia and improve immunity. Doctors with the China Astronaut Research and Training Center say the new remedies will be prepared for sale after further tests during the country's third manned space program in 2008. The medicines have been packaged in pill and capsule forms for the first time so astronauts will be able to take them in space.
Read article in the People's Daily (China)

August 27, 2007

Police tear-gas farmers in clash over French GM crops
Growing tensions in France between opponents and supporters of genetically modified crops have led to violent confrontations. Gendarmes used tear gas and batons to prevent pro-GM farmers from invading a picnic for militant opponents of genetically modified maize at the town of Verdun-sur-Garonne in south-west France over the weekend. Hardly a day has gone by this summer without opponents of GM maize – both environmental campaigners and small farmers – invading fields and trampling or cutting down crops. The protesters, led by the small- farmers' leader, José Bové, claim a citizens' right to destroy crops which, they say, threaten ecological calamity and the subjection of farmers to the whims of agro-industrial, multinational companies.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

August 26, 2007

Beginning of the End for Patents on GM Crops?
Monsanto has just lost four patents on GM crops in less than five months, thanks to the challenge mounted by the Public Patent Foundation. The patents were all on gene sequences involving the cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) promoter, which is crucial for getting engineered genes to work. It is in practically all of Monsanto's GM crops grown commercially. The US patent office ruled that the patents should not have been granted, because the claims were not new, or were so obvious that patents were unwarranted. This could be the beginning of the end for GM crop patents, if not GM crops, and is likely to undermine Monsanto's notorious court cases against farmers whom they accuse of patent infringement by replanting seeds from GM crops.
Read press release on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

August 23, 2007

ANH forced to publicly rebuke US based Natural Solutions Foundation
In an unusual move the ANH has felt compelled to prepare a rebuttal to an email sent out by the US based Natural Solutions Foundation which in our view, wrongly interprets the ANH's recent work in protecting natural sources of vitamins and minerals in Europe.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)
Comment: For further information about the Natural Solutions Foundation and its President, Major General Albert (Bert) N. Stubblebine III (U.S. Army, Retired), click here.

August 17, 2007

Exercise 'must be tough to work'
To be healthy, you really do need to break into a sweat when you exercise, say experts. American College of Sports Medicine members are concerned official advice to do 30 minutes of gentle exercise each day is being misconstrued. Some may take this to include a mere stroll to the car, Circulation reports. People should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous exercise, like jogging, three days a week, they say.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

August 10, 2007

ANH PRESS RELEASE: Natural Sources of Vitamins and Minerals protected from potential bans
Alliance for Natural Health's initiative opens the door to natural sources of vitamins and minerals in functional foods and supplements.
Since the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in July 2005, the ANH, seemingly a lone voice in the crowd, has firmly upheld that natural sources of vitamins and minerals were outside the scope of the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). Almost exactly two years to the day since the ruling, this has now been confirmed by the European Commission, in what promises to be a critical victory for natural health. The ANH has received a letter this week, jointly signed by two heads of unit at the European Commission, which indicates clearly that all natural sources of vitamins and minerals, which could have been subject to a ban EU-wide, will escape the draconian EU Food Supplements Directive, and will now be regulated as foods.
Read press release on the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) website (UK)

August 9, 2007

International experts condemn Irish water treatment practices
Ireland has been heavily criticized by top medical, dental, scientific and environmental professionals, including a Nobel Prize winner for Medicine. Six hundred international experts signed an online petition in a bid to stop the practise of fluoridation. They condemned the few countries that still fluoridate drinking water, including Ireland, claiming it is an outdated and unscientific practice.
Read article on the Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE) website (Ireland)

August 6, 2007

Another Supposed Health-Freedom Crisis – The Real Facts on Durbin's Amendment
A recent send-out by a health-freedom organization claims that a new health-freedom crisis exists.  This supposed crisis disaster relates to the inclusion or exclusion of Senator Dick Durbin's food-safety amendment in the FDA user-fee and reform legislation pending before Congress.  S.1082 passed the Senate and H.R. 2900, also known as the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, passed the House of Representatives. A joint House/Senate conference committee has yet to be appointed to approve a final bill, before being re-passed by both chambers. The supposed crisis is that if the Durbin amendment is not included in the final bill approved by Congress, its absence will have a decisive difference in federal nutritional foods and supplements policy. In the Congressional-legislative domain, telling members of Congress to support anything Senator Durbin does – as this group suggests people do – especially when it does not relate to a real health-freedom peril, helps Durbin in his future efforts to legislate for more FDA control over whole foods and supplements. Why would any health-freedom group knowingly want to proactively support Senator Durbin in these efforts?  The answer is:  A real health-freedom group would not.
Read article on the website of the National Health Federation (NHF)

August 3, 2007

Unfair to criticise traditional health cures – minister
HEALTH Minister Manto Tshabala-Msimang and her director-general yesterday stridently defended the role of traditional medicines. Traditional African remedies were being criticised by conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry in a way other remedies were not, she said.
Read article at businessday.co.za (South Africa)

August 2, 2007

Irish retailers mount consumer campaign on FSD "Violation"
The Irish Association of Health Stores (IAHS) is spearheading a major consumer campaign to counter moves within the EU to dramatically cut maximum allowable levels of vitamins and minerals. The IAHS says that any attempt by Brussels to peg levels at recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) levels would amount to a "violation of the consumer's right to choose". And it argues that higher potency VMS products have been on sale in Ireland and the UK for many years without any serious side effects.
Read article at Natural Products Online (UK)
Click here to sign the Irish Association of Health Stores' petition.

August 1, 2007

Gates Philanthropy in Stem Cell Transplant for Damaged Heart
Dr. Lilian Joensen exposes the Gates Foundation's betrayal of public trust in Argentina.
Read press release on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

July 30, 2007

Philanthropy Gates Style
The world's biggest philanthropic foundation is reaping huge profits investing in companies responsible for causing the problems it tries to solve; its grant-giving is also doing more harm than good in undermining health and agricultural systems, distorting national and global priorities, and preventing the necessary paradigm change that could help secure the future of the planet.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

July 26, 2007

Transgenic Plum Gets USDA Non-regulated Status Based on False Claims of Safety
USDA deregulates its own transgenic plum despite overwhelming public objection
The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) has recently granted non-regulatory status to a transgenic plum resistant to plum poxvirus after receiving 1 725 comments from state farm bureaus, organic growers, growers associations, consumer groups, agriculture support industries, academic professionals and individuals, with respondents against the petition (1 708) outnumbering those in favour by a factor of 100 to 1.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

July 26, 2007

Hundreds of hospital fatalities 'avoidable'
One third of deaths in hospital investigated by a patient safety watchdog could have been avoided, claims a report released today.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

July 25, 2007

Companies really know beans about moving genes
The trans-national seed, pesticide, and drug corporations have known for five or 10 years that the scientific foundation on which genetic engineering is built is false, but with billions of dollars riding on it they, with the support of our governments, continue to mislead us. In 1956, Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule, posited his central dogma of molecular biology, that each gene in the human genome contained the code to construct one protein that contributed one characteristic to a human. An article published by a large group of scientists in the journal Nature (June 14, 2007), exposes this as wrong.
Read article at cowichannewsleader.com
Comment: The collective work of 80 organizations worldwide states conclusively that, "the findings challenge the traditional view of our genetic blueprint as a tidy collection of independent genes, pointing instead to a complex network in which genes, along with regulatory elements and other types of DNA sequences that do not code for proteins, interact in overlapping ways not yet fully understood." A good reason to avoid GMOs, in other words…

July 18, 2007

GM Safflower with Human Pro-Insulin
Regulators show cavalier disregard for the safety of threatened species as well as human beings in proposed release of the GM pharm crop.
Read article on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

July 18, 2007

Calls get louder to raise vitamin D levels
Recommended daily intakes of vitamin D should be quadrupled to 800 International Units, says a leading US expert from Boston University School of Medicine. The review, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, increases the need for policy makers to review current guidelines for the vitamin, and could open opportunities for food fortification and supplements. Dr. Michael Holick states that current recommendations of 200 IU per day for children and adults up to 50 years of age for vitamin D need to be increased to 800 - 1000 IU vitamin D3. "However, one can not obtain these amounts from most dietary sources unless one is eating oily fish frequently," said Holick. "Thus, sensible sun exposure (or UVB irradiation) and/or supplements are required to satisfy the body's vitamin D requirement."
Read article at nutraingredients.com

July 18, 2007

New review bashes vitamin C – unjustifiably
A press statement issued yesterday, pre-empting the release of an updated review by the medical review group, the Cochrane Collaboration, has precipitated headlines around the world such as "Vitamin C does not stop colds". The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) challenges this interpretation and says that this appears to be little more than another cynical attempt to attack high dose vitamin C supplementation.
Read press release on the Alliance for Natural Health website (UK)

July 18, 2007

Seed sense
Hundreds of vegetable varieties have been lost from UK soils and are now illegal to grow.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)
Comment: If a variety has been dropped from the European Union's approved common catalogue, then its seeds cannot be bought or sold in the EU. The key beneficiaries from these restrictions are the GM industry and their close allies in the pharma industry, the long-term profits of whom are threatened by the continued existence of non-patentable and organic seeds.

July 18, 2007

Is vitamin K deficiency more common than thought?
Many apparently health people may be vitamin K deficient, says a new review, potentially increasing the risk of bone loss and also for arterial calcification.
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: Lead author Ellen Cranenburg suggests that the research "raises the intriguing question of whether all (or: most) apparently healthy adults are subclinically vitamin K deficient."

July 17, 2007

Low vitamin D levels may increase metabolic syndrome risk
Low blood levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome among obese people, suggests a new study from Spain. The research, published online in the journal Clinical Nutrition, adds to an ever-growing body of science linking vitamin D deficiency to increased risk of certain diseases, including certain cancers, type-2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

July 16, 2007

A MEETING OF ONE
Let's cut to the chase.  The 30th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in Rome, Italy just ended (July 2-7, 2007) and heaping platefuls of Codex standards and guidelines were advanced to their final stages as if starving people were gathered around a banquet table.  It did not matter what was heaped on the plate, it got passed to the table regardless.  It also did not matter that there were some 451 country delegation members and another 61 INGO delegate-observers from around the World in attendance or pretend attendance, the CAC Chairman, Dr. Claude Mosha, plowed forward on a one-man mission from God pushing aside any and all objections - excuse me, he called them "reservations" - that were made.  It would not have mattered if a plate of rotten tomatoes had been presented to him for approval, he would have approved them too.  In this one meeting, the Commission was rendered irrelevant as a meaningful "approving" body, for it merely rubberstamped without thought what had been done by others. 
Read press release on the website of the National Health Federation (USA)

July 16, 2007

Ministers wary of hot GM potato
The European Union is expected to sidestep hostile public opinion by approving the cultivation of a genetically modified crop via the "back door" of a bureaucratic Brussels procedure. Europe's farm ministers meet in Brussels today to consider a European Commission proposal to allow a new antibiotic-resistant GM potato, the first biotech crop released for planting since 1998. EU officials predict that ministers, running scared of anti-GM public opinion across Europe, will fail to agree to either block or approve the potato. This will mean that the "proposed act shall be adopted by the Commission" via the obscure process of "comitology", allowing governments to pass the buck to unelected officials.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

July 16, 2007

Joint therapeutic agency plans shelved
New Zealand has shelved plans to set up a controversial joint agency with Australia to regulate therapeutic products, amid claims it would have grossly inflated the price of vitamins and other herbal remedies. New Zealand State Services Minister Annette King said the Therapeutics Products and Medicines Bill would be postponed until there was more support in parliament for the scheme.
Readarticle in The Age (Australia)

July 13, 2007

Daily allowances for vitamins need to be changed, study says
New recommended daily allowances for micronutrients need to be set if European regulation on the maximum levels of vitamins and minerals is to be successful, a study has said. The work by Dr Jaap Hanekamp and Professor Dr Aalt Bast, published in Environmental Liability, concludes that current recommended daily allowances (RDAs) are an inadequate tool to manage a "healthy lifespan."
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: In their previous articles, Dr Hanekamp and Professor Bast have criticized the European Commission for being "overtly and unduly precautionary in terms of its focus on risks of over-exposure to food supplements." In this study, they call for new RDAs which will have a greater impact on long-term health.

July 10, 2007

Organic farming yields as good or better: study
Organic farming can yield up to three times as much food as conventional farming in developing countries, and holds its own against standard methods in rich countries, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday. They said their findings contradict arguments that organic farming – which excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – is not as efficient as conventional techniques. "My hope is that we can finally put a nail in the coffin of the idea that you can't produce enough food through organic agriculture," Ivette Perfecto, a professor at the University of Michigan's school of Natural Resources and Environment, said in a statement.
Read article at reuters.com

July 10, 2007

Kids in northern climes at risk of low vit D levels
About 55 per cent of seemingly healthy adolescents may be vitamin D deficient, says a US study, and are at increased risk of osteoporosis and other health problems later in life. Amongst African-American adolescents the proportion of children with low vitamin D levels was over 90 per cent, said the researchers, led by Babette Zemel, director of the Nutrition and Growth Laboratory, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

July 5, 2007

Organic food 'better' for heart
Organic fruit and vegetables may be better for you than conventionally grown crops, US research suggests. A ten-year study comparing organic tomatoes with standard produce found almost double the level of flavonoids - a type of antioxidant. Flavonoids have been shown to reduce high blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

June 29, 2007

Food safety agencies to sign cooperation agreement
In a ground-breaking move to improve food safety, the European Food Safety Authority and the US Food and Drug Administration will team up to share scientific information. The two entities will sign an agreement on 2 July in Brussels to co-ordinate their research efforts into food safety issues.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com
Comment: The signing of this cooperation agreement is not merely about food safety and is closely related to the recent signing of the Transatlantic Economic Integration Agreement and the planned US-EU single market. Rather than consumers, the key beneficiaries of these agreements will be some of the world’s richest and most powerful corporations - including the pharmaceutical industry.

Low B6 intake linked to colorectal cancer study
Low intake of vitamin B6 may increase a man's risk of colorectal cancer by 31 per cent, suggests a study from Japan . The study, published in this month's Journal of Nutrition, evaluated the intake of range of B-vitamins among 81,184 subjects taking part in the Japan Public Health Center-based Prospective Study. The results also appeared to show that men with higher alcohol intake also benefited from the potentially protective effects of vitamin B6.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

June 26, 2007

Children Sicker Now Than in Past, Harvard Report Says
The number of American children with chronic illnesses has quadrupled since the time when some of their parents were kids, portending more disability and higher health costs for a new generation of adults, a study estimates. An almost fourfold increase in childhood obesity in the past three decades, twice the asthma rates since the 1980s, and a jump in the number of attention-deficit disorder cases are driving the growth of chronic illnesses, according to researchers at Harvard University in Boston. The report is published in a themed issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association focusing on children's health.
Read article at bloomberg.com (USA)

GM crops: 'Point of no return in ten years'
EUROPE will increase its genetically modified (GMO) crop area by 50,000-100,000 hectares a year over the next decade, US biotech giant Monsanto has said. "It will be slow but within ten years GMOs will have reached the point of no return," said Jean-Michel Duhamel, Monsanto's director for southern Europe.
Comment: Whilst this is what Monsanto and its friends in the pharma industry want, poll after poll has repeatedly shown that it is the exact opposite to what consumers want.
Read article in The Scotsman (Scotland/UK)

June 25, 2007

The G(e)nomes of Zurich : Civil Society Calls for Urgent Controls on Synthetic Life
Scientists and industrialists in the controversial new field of synthetic biology (building life-forms from scratch) are meeting in Zurich , Switzerland this week amidst claims that the world’s first entirely human-made organism may be only weeks away from creation. Swiss and international civil society groups are calling for swift action to control this technology but the scientists themselves are advancing pre-emptive proposals to evade regulation.
Read article at etcgroup.org

June 23, 2007

HIV infection theory challenged
A longstanding theory of how HIV slowly depletes the body's capacity to fight infection is wrong, scientists say.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

June 22, 2007

Fitness level 'predicts heart problems'
Cardiovascular fitness may predict the odds of a future heart attack in men and women with no apparent signs of heart disease, a large study suggests. Researchers found that of more than 26,000 adults with no symptoms of heart disease, those who showed the greatest endurance on exercise tests had the lowest risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years. Men with the highest fitness levels were 31 per cent less likely than their least-fit counterparts to have a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, or to require an invasive procedure for heart artery blockages. The risk for men with moderate fitness levels fell between the highest and lowest fitness groups. A similar pattern emerged among women, the study authors report in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Read article on the National Nine News website (Australia)

Toxic industrial fluorides petition registered with EU Petitions Committee
The EU Petitions Committee has registered a petition regarding toxic industrial fluorides from Robert Pocock of Irish environmental group VOICE. The petition accuses the government of wilful negligence by administering a toxic concoction in its citizens’ drinking water. Pocock says: “The fluoride contaminants added to Irish drinking water are hazardous chemicals, they have never been toxicologically tested as safe for ingestion in Europe or elsewhere. We are delighted that the EU Petitions Committee has now registered our petition (No 210 of 2007) and will investigate it alongside the Kilkenny farm where similar industrial fluorides emitted into the air have been blamed for the ill-thrift of nearby farm animals.”
Read article on the Voice Of Irish Concern for the Environment (VOICE) website (Ireland)

June 21, 2007

Children 'put at risk of rickets'
Children are being put at risk of rickets because policies on vitamin D supplements are not been adhered to, experts have warned. Doctors in Dundee write in the British Medical Journal that they recently diagnosed five infants with rickets - which can stop bones forming properly. The government recommends that pregnant women should use vitamin D supplements. Babies from Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean or Middle Eastern backgrounds are particularly at risk. The paediatricians at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee said none of the mothers of the five children they had recently diagnosed had received vitamin D supplements. They warned parents were unaware of the risk because it was rarely mentioned by GPs or health visitors. Government recommendations state that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should take vitamin D supplements. They are also recommended for infants in high-risk groups.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

SA and OF&G will ignore 0.9% GM threshold for organic
The UK ’s two leading organic certifiers say they will ignore a new ruling from the EC which will allow GM contamination of organic food of up to 0.9% with no requirement for labelling. This week the Soil Association and Organic Farmers & Growers will tell the environment minister David Miliband that they will maintain their current non-GM standards for organic food, at the effective minimum level of 0.1% GM however the Government decides to implement the new ruling. The organic certifiers, along with a delegation representing 70 organic businesses, will argue that maintaining non-GM policies for organic is entirely in line with consumers wishes, and vital to ensure continuing trust in organic food.
Read article at naturalproductsonline.co.uk

Scientists and MEPs for a GM free Europe
Independent scientists, MEPs, farmers and citizens united at the European Parliament condemning GMOs; the European Food Safety Authority to be sued
Scientists from six countries joined forces with Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to call for a Europe wide and worldwide ban on growing GM crops at a special briefing in the European Parliament in Brussels on 12 June 2007 . The briefing, organized by ISIS, Third World Network and Green Network, and hosted by Janusz Wojciechowski, MEP, the vice-Chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development for the European Union, coincided with the publication of key scientific papers, GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham (ISIS scientific publication) and New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity (CRII-GEN) on how national and international regulators have been ignoring damning evidence against the safety of GM food and feed while colluding with industry to manipulate scientific research to promote GM crops. The papers were presented at the briefing together with a comprehensive dossier containing more than 160 fully referenced articles from the Science in Society archives documenting the serious hazards ignored, the scientific fraud, the regulatory sham and violation of farmers' rights.
Read press release on the Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

June 20, 2007

Duma Drafts Tough GM Food Bill
The Russian Duma’s Security Committee has drafted a bill banning production and sale of genetically modified food. Moscow authorities threw their support behind the legislation. Moscow Duma deputies were among the drafters while Mayor Yuri Luzhkov called on President Vladimir Putin to address the GM food issue head-on.
Read article at kommersant.com (Russia)

June 17, 2007

EU health claims: ANH provides comments to EFSA
The European Food Safety Authority has asked for public comments on its planned procedures for allowing disease risk reduction claims for foods. Sounds promising, but ANH argues this is a passport system for big business...
Read submission by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)

June 15, 2007

Committee fails to reach agreement on therapeutics bill
The select committee charged with considering the polarising Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill has been unable to reach agreement, it reported today. The government administration select committee said it had examined the bill and was unable to reach agreement, and therefore could not recommend the bill be passed. The impasse leaves the bill in the hands of the Government. It had become increasingly unlikely the bill would be passed in its present form. The bill squeaked through its first reading on a vote of 61 to 60, but the Government's ability to pass it has been in doubt since independent MPs Taito Phillip Field and Gordon Copeland said they would vote against it. The bill has been deeply divisive, with those from the medical devices and pharmaceutical industries largely for it, but many in the complementary health sector against it. Under the regime, a joint Australia/New Zealand agency would regulate therapeutic products.
Read article in the New Zealand Herald

June 14, 2007

EU must accept biotech crops, trade commissioner says
The European Union must accept more genetically modified foods to avoid renewed complaints about market barriers at the World Trade Organization, the EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson, said Thursday. Any EU delay over the approval of genetically modified crops declared safe by scientists risks prompting legal challenges from farm exporters like the United States , Canada and Argentina , Mandelson said. In a case brought by these three countries, the WTO ruled last year that a 1998-2004 EU ban on new genetically altered foods was illegal.
Read article in the International Herald Tribune

New Irish government adopts GM-free policy
IRELAND AIMS TO BECOME A GMO-FREE ZONE
Following last night's Green Party historic agreement to form a coalition government with Fianna Fail, the two parties revealed their agreed policy "to negotiate for the whole island of Ireland to become a GMO-free zone." The announcement was received with jubilation by farmers and food producers on both sides of the border who have spent the last nine years campaigning to achieve this goal.
Read press release at gmwatch.org

Human genome further unravelled
A close-up view of the human genome has revealed its innermost workings to be far more complex than first thought. The study, which was carried out on just 1% of our DNA code, challenges the view that genes are the main players in driving our biochemistry. Instead, it suggests genes, so called junk DNA and other elements, together weave an intricate control network. The work, published in the journals Nature and Genome Research, is to be scaled up to the rest of the genome.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: To a number of scientists, the notion that some DNA should be classified as “junk” has long been contentious…

June 12, 2007

Ministers open door for GMOs in organic food
GM contamination in imports affects EU organic standard
At the Agriculture Council today EU Ministers decided to allow contamination of organic food with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Ministers adopted a new law which allows organic food containing up to 0.9 percent "adventitious or technically unavoidable" GMO content to be classed and labelled as organic. Environmental groups criticised the decision as it goes against the principle of consumer choice. Organic farming is the most competitive and environmentally friendly agricultural sector. In Europe it is creating new jobs and has wide public support. Helen Holder, GMO Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "Now that the EU has declared traces of genetic contamination in organic crops acceptable, organic farmers will find it increasingly difficult to keep their crops GM-free. The EU must urgently introduce cross-border legislation to protect organic and conventional farmers from genetic pollution." The European Parliament and environmental groups had called for the threshold of contamination of organic food to be 0.1 percent, which is the lowest level at which genetically modified organisms can be technically detected.
Read press release on the Friends of the Earth Europe website

June 7, 2007

EU Directive could close 700 health stores
Over half of Britain ’s health food stores could be forced to close if the European Commission imposes tough new limits on daily vitamin and mineral doses under the Food Supplements Directive (FSD). That’s the stark warning from the National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) which recently polled retailers on the likely impact of the FSD on their businesses and on customer choice. The NAHS says its survey confirms that in the worst-case scenario — in which maximum permitted levels (MPLs) are pegged to very low levels across Europe — the UK market would be “decimated” and that “millions of consumers would be denied products of their choice as many higher dose specialist supplements are removed from sale”. The NAHS warns that this worst-case scenario is now regarded as the most likely option to be adopted by the Commission, which has indicated that it is prepared to “sacrifice” higher potency products to achieve EU harmonization on MPLs.
Read article at naturalproductsonline (UK)

Choline recommendations may be too low, study
Current choline recommendations may not be enough for some people, suggests a new study which found requirements differed between men and women, and pre- and post-menopausal women.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

June 4, 2007

Brain tumour link to pesticides
Agricultural workers exposed to high levels of pesticides have a raised risk of brain tumours, research suggests. The French study also indicated a possible higher risk among people who used pesticides on houseplants. All agricultural workers exposed to pesticides had a slightly elevated brain tumour risk, it suggested. But the Occupational and Environmental Medicine study found the risk was more than doubled for those exposed to the highest levels. The risk of a type of central nervous system tumour known as a glioma was particularly heightened among this group - more than three times the risk in the general population.
Read article at BBC News (UK)
Comment: Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, some of the same companies that manufacture pesticides also produce pharmaceutical drugs to treat brain tumours...

June 3, 2007

China corners vitamin market
If you pop a vitamin C tablet in your mouth, it's a good bet it came from China . Indeed, many of the world's vitamins are now made in China. In less than a decade, China has captured 90 percent of the U.S. market for vitamin C, driving almost everyone else out of business. Chinese pharmaceutical companies also have taken over much of the world market in the production of antibiotics, analgesics, enzymes and primary amino acids. According to an industry group, China makes 70 percent of the world's penicillin, 50 percent of its aspirin and 35 percent of its acetaminophen (often sold under the brand name Tylenol), as well as the bulk of vitamins A, B12, C and E.
Read article in the Seattle Times (USA)

June 2, 2007

Michael Moore Applauds French Medical Hegemony
A recent interview with Michael Moore, 'Sicko' spawns Moore fever in Cannes , by Jill Lawless, concludes, after lavishly praising the Cuban, British and French healthcare systems: "Are there flaws in those systems? Absolutely. But those are flaws for the people in those countries to correct, not me." And with that, he disappeared into another cheering crowd. Speaking as an ex-patient who has lived many years in France, I'd like to know how 'we' are supposed to correct the fact that our system of government-controlled universal healthcare has effectively outlawed naturopathy by making it illegal for anyone other than a vaccination-chemo-ARV-pushing allopathic doctor to practise 'natural therapies'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to correct the fact that you can go to jail for not 'immunising' your children with poisonous vaccines, and how we are supposed to recover the right to self treat with herbal remedies from our back gardens when it has been made an offence under the laws forbidding the 'illegal practice of medicine'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to stop the medical authorities from harassing the true naturopathic practitioners, such as yoga instructors, closing down their workshops, accusing them of being 'gurus of dangerous sects'. Moore 's film is clearly praise for the drug industry masquerading as criticism.
Read article at candida-international.blogspot.com

GM and non-GM crops too close, study says
Field trials could be underestimating the potential for cross-pollination between genetically modified and conventional crops, according to researchers from the University of Exeter .
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 29, 2007

Pesticides 'up Parkinson's risk'
Exposure to pesticides could lead to an increased risk of contracting Parkinson's disease, a study has found. Researchers discovered that high levels of exposure increased the risk by 39%, while even low levels raised it by 9%.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

Ireland recommends vitamin D supplements for infants
The Irish Food Safety Authority (FSAI) has recommended the implementation of a national policy of vitamin D supplementation in all infants aged 0-12 months. The authority's report, Recommendations for a National Policy of Vitamin D Supplementation for Infants in Ireland, comes in response to observations that many of the country's infants, adults, adolescent girls and pregnant women had poor vitamin D status, placing them at risk of health problems later in life. "It is evident that low intakes of vitamin D are prevalent among all age groups throughout Ireland and that the recommended daily intake of 5micrograms of vitamin D per day is not being met," said Dr Mary Flynn, chief specialist in public health nutrition, FSAI.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

Fresh health fears hit benzoate in soft drinks
Common preservative sodium benzoate, used widely in soft drinks and other foods, is again at the centre of health concerns after research emerged linking it to cell damage. News of the research, conducted by professor Peter Piper at the University of Sheffield, prompted prominent UK politician Norman Baker to call for an immediate inquiry into the safety of sodium benzoate in foods. Professor Piper's research, which suggests benzoate contributes to faster ageing and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, increases the pressure on soft drinks makers to find alternative ways to preserve their products. 
Read article at nutraingredients.com
Comment: This is the third time in around 12 months that sodium benzoate, also known as E211 in the EU, has been publicly linked with health concerns.

May 26, 2007

Organic move to cut food flights
Food flown into the UK may be stripped of organic status in a move being considered by the Soil Association. The organisation, which certifies which foods are organic, says it is looking at a number of proposals because of concern about greenhouse gas emissions. It will outline a series of options, including an outright ban, in a consultation document next week. Other proposals include labels showing a product's country of origin as well as carbon offsetting schemes.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

May 25, 2007

'Used as HIV guinea pigs but no-one even told us we had been infected'
PATIENTS of a leading haemophilia consultant were used for early research into HIV and AIDS without being told they had the condition, it was claimed yesterday. The UK's first independent inquiry into how blood product contaminated with HIV and hepatitis was given to haemophiliacs heard patients had been used for years in a study without knowing about the research or that they even had HIV. Robert Mackie, a haemophiliac, said he contracted HIV in 1984 but was not told of his condition by his consultant, Professor Christopher Ludlam, until 1987. The 57-year-old said he and others had been used as part of an experiment and exposed to a virulent strain of HIV. He accused the consultants involved of "murder" in an emotional evidence session before Lord Archer of Sandwell.
Read article in The Scotsman (Scotland/UK)

May 21, 2007

Polish medics strike for pay rise
Doctors in Poland have started an indefinite general strike, demanding pay rises and reform of the nation's heavily-indebted public health system. About a third of Poland's public hospitals are taking part in the strike, seeking a 100% pay increase. In those hospitals, only emergency services are being provided.  The government has said the strikers' demands are unrealistic and would wreck its spending plans. Basic health care is free in Poland.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

Scientists for a GM free Europe
An international coalition of independent scientists will present comprehensive scientific evidence for a Europe-wide and a worldwide ban on the release of GM crops. They will document how national and international regulators have been ignoring the precautionary principle, misusing science, sidestepping the law, and helping to promote GM technology in the face of massive public opposition and damning evidence piling up against the safety of GM food and feed. The briefing meeting will be held on 12 June 2007 at the European Parliament. The speakers will explain to MEPs why a vote against GM in Europe is vital for a sustainable future for the world. Issues covered will include the health and environmental impacts of GM crops, demise of bees, no patents on life, biofuels, transgene contamination, the degradation of soils and rural economies.
See the Institute of Science in Society website for further details.

EU to approve support for failing GM crops sector
The EU is poised today to approve further financial and political support for genetically modified (GM) crops, despite growing evidence that the sector is failing. 
Read press release on the Friends of the Earth Europe website

May 19, 2007

A menu for murder
In 1952, Sir Jack Drummond, a pioneering food scientist, was shot dead while on holiday in France . A local farmer was convicted of the killings. But was he really guilty - or was a more sinister plot at work, involving agribusiness?
Click here to read an edited extract from ‘The Vitamin Murder: Who Killed Healthy Eating In Britain ? ’ by James Fergusson, published in the Guardian (UK).

May 18, 2007

Food Safety Authority Of Ireland Advises On National Policy For Vitamin D Supplementation For Infants
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) have published a report recommending the implementation of a national policy of vitamin D supplementation in all infants aged 0-12 months in Ireland. This recommendation follows a review undertaken by the FSAI's Scientific Committee which highlights the re-emergence of rickets in infants in Ireland, a medical condition caused by severe vitamin D deficiency. The report, entitled Recommendations for a National Policy of Vitamin D Supplementation for Infants in Ireland, identifies poor vitamin D status amongst infants, adults, adolescent girls and pregnant women living in Ireland. It recommends a Government policy of vitamin D supplementation for infants aged 0-12 months living in Ireland.
Read article at medicalnewstoday.com

Nationwide Protests Against The ‘Anti-Vitamin Bill
Nationwide Protests Against The ‘Anti-Vitamin Bill’ Continue Tomorrow
Turnout across New Zealand expected to double, organisers say
A second round of nationwide protest action against the proposed Therapeutic Products and Medicines Bill will be held tomorrow (Saturday, May 19) with organisers expecting numbers to treble in Auckland. Opponents of the controversial bill will congregate at red umbrella marches and rallies once again in Auckland, Christchurch, Whangarei and Tauranga, and for the first time tomorrow protests will also take place in Dunedin and New Plymouth. Thousands of New Zealanders took to the streets during the first round of nationwide protests on Saturday, April 28.
Read press release at scoop.co.nz (New Zealand)

May 16, 2007

M&S and Asda to axe E-numbers
Artificial colours and flavours are being phased out by two major food chains, it was revealed yesterday. All 9,000 of Asda's own-label food and soft drink products will be free of E-numbers by the end of 2007. Marks & Spencer is removing artificial colours and flavours from 99% of its 4,500 own-brand lines over the same period. The changes follow concerns over the effect of certain E-numbers on children's health. They come after rival food chain Sainsbury's last month pledged to remove artificial colours and flavours from its 120 own-label soft drinks.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

May 15, 2007

Tempests in a Teapot Brew and Subside,
and Other Real and Accurate Alternative Medical News
As I reported on May 1 , a classic tempest in a teapot was brewing all spring as a number of self-styled “health freedom” groups and individuals attempted to foment a massive Internet-driven e-uprising to challenge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) supposed intention to regulate complementary alternative medicine (CAM). In the midst of the unprecedented e-hysteria, even long time observers of the politics of alternative therapies had a difficult time analyzing the situation accurately, and separating the reality from the increasingly overblown and hyped up warnings. Every stakeholder, it seemed, had a spin, with the differences ranging from slight to vast, on the issue in question – based on a 17-page government document titled “FDA Guidance for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Products” (PDF version here).
Read article by Peter Barry Chowka at google.com

US health system ranks last compared to other countries: studies
The US health care system ranks last among other major rich countries for quality, access and efficiency, according to two studies released Tuesday by a health care think tank.
Read article at Yahoo News

Supreme Court denies ephedra appeal
Utah-based Nutraceutical Corporation has lost its fight for banned herbal, ephedrine, after filing a petition for rehearing in front of the entire tenth circuit of the US Court of Appeals. On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a "certiorari denied" without comment in the case of Nutraceutical Corp vs. Eschenbach, meaning it is refusing to consider an appeal. The decision, which came on the heels of a federal appeals court decision, represents a nail in the coffin for ephedra and the series of court rulings that played out its fate.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

May 14, 2007

Go-ahead given for GM trial site
Ministers have approved a site in East Yorkshire for GM potato trials. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs agreed to allow biotech company BASF Plant Science to test the plants at a farm in Hedon. The company will have the licence to carry out the experiments until 2011, it was announced on Monday. A BASF spokeswoman said the firm would not start the tests until at least next year after having discussions with neighbouring farmers. Environmental campaigners criticised the government's decision to go ahead with the plans.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

May 13, 2007

HEALTH FREEDOM PROTECTION ACT H.R. 2117
Representative Ron Paul (along with Representatives Rosco Bartlett, Dan Burton, John Duncan, and Christopher Shays) has reintroduced the Health Freedom Protection Act, H.R. 2117. This is a true health-freedom bill that the NHF has lobbied for, and it deserves the support of the health-freedom community. For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have continued to censor and engage in heavy-handed attempts to restrict access to supplements and educational information for Americans.  This bill would stop the FDA from censoring truthful claims about the curative, mitigative, or preventative effects of dietary supplements. A grass-roots advocacy letter-writing campaign is needed to help the NHF's lobbying efforts to educate Congressional members on the need for this legislation. The NHF will once again be seeking to have a companion bill introduced in the Senate. As of May 2, 2007, the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Read press release on the National Health Federation website (USA)

May 10, 2007

Psychiatrists Retained by Drug Industry Undermine Children's Health (NYT)
"Psychiatrists, Troubled Children and Drug Industry's Role," a front page-center report in The New York Times, blows the lid off psychiatry's commercially compromised clinical practice which is governed by the psychotropic drug industry. The most irresponsibly prescribed drugs in psychiatry are the antipsychotics-a.k.a. neuroleptics which are undermining the mental and physical health of children. Indeed, children prescribed antipsychotics suffer drug-induced permanent harm on a massive scale. The Times' analysis of Minnesota public records (2000-2005) confirms what critics have been saying for two decades: psychiatry is a commercial enterprise driven entirely by financial interests. Psychiatry's academic leadership and practitioners alike are financially indebted to psychotropic drug companies-and their influence is documented in the spiraling prescribing of antipsychotics, the most toxic, and most expensive drugs for children for whom they were not approved because of lack of evidence of safety or effectiveness.
Read article at ahrp.blogspot.com

Beijing issues call for better supervision of food industry
China 's government has called for stronger super-vision of its food industry, saying officials should "grasp well" the task of cracking down on illegal fertilisers, pesticides, livestock drugs and feed additives. The order from the State Council, or cabinet, comes amid international concern about the safety of Chinese food products, following the deaths of US cats and dogs that ate pet food made with contaminated wheat gluten and rice protein imported from China.
Read article in the Financial Times (UK)

May 9, 2007

Why Do Prisoners Get Better Food Than Patients?
Prisoners are having four times more money spent on their meals than hospital patients, it has emerged. The taxpayer is having to spend £12 per day to feed each inmate kept in emergency accommodation, thanks to the Government’s shambolic handling of the prisons crisis. It dwarfs the £3 spent per patient in some of our hospital wards and is six times the average cost of feeding prisoners in established jails. Schools around the UK spend a minimum of just 60p per day providing a lunch for pupils.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

The Only Truly Accurate Codex Report ( Ottawa , Canada )
Click here to read the National Health Federation’s press release on the 35th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling that took place in Ottawa , Canada , April 30 - May 4, 2007 .

Politicians raise acrylamide scare in Holland
Politicians in Holland have called on government to set maximum consumption limits for acrylamide, potentially leading to legislation that would force processors to reduce the potential carcinogen in their products. Halbe Zijlstra and Janneke Snijder-Hazelhoff, two members of the Dutch House of Representatives,  have publicly expressed their concerns over the substance, which some scientific studies indicate may be carcinogenic. In a series of questions fired at the ministers responsible for food quality and for health, the two query why government has not set a maximum limit for acrylamide levels in food.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com
Comment: Using calculations from the Bundesamt für Verbraucherschutz und Lebensmittelsicherheit in Germany , the two legislators determined that a child at the age of three would have consumed about eight times the World Health Organization limit if he ate a 50 gram bag of chips.

FDA's CAM guidance ripe for misinterpretation, CRN
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) has reported that the US Food & Drug Administration's CAM guidance fosters misinformation that certain Complementary and Alternative Medicine products should be regulated as drugs. The trade association is the latest to join public discourse on FDA's draft "Guidance for industry on complementary and alternative medicine products and their regulation by the food and drug administration". In February, FDA opened a comment period and announced the availability of the guidance, asserting it is just a point of reference and not in fact regulation. But the dietary supplement industry has voiced its fear that the document will engender confusion about which products apply, and who in fact regulates them.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Click here to read the CRN press release

May 8, 2007

Study suggests cancer risk from depleted uranium
Depleted uranium, which is used in armour-piercing ammunition, causes widespread damage to DNA which could lead to lung cancer, according to a study of the metal's effects on human lung cells. The study adds to growing evidence that DU causes health problems on battlefields long after hostilities have ceased.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

New fears over additives in children's food
Potential link to behaviour problems prompts advice to parents over diet
Food safety experts have advised parents to eliminate a series of additives from their children's diet while they await the publication of a new study that is understood to link these ingredients to behaviour problems in youngsters. The latest scientific research into the effect of food additives on children's behaviour is thought to raise fresh doubts about the safety of controversial food colourings and a preservative widely used in sweets, drinks and processed foods in the UK. But the Guardian has learned that it will be several months before the results are published, despite the importance of the findings for children's health.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

May 7, 2007

Dental workers file claims
Several hundred dental assistants are expected to seek state compensation for poor health that's believed to be a result of years of working with mercury-infested amalgam. State officials, they claim, were aware of the potential for mercury poisoning, but failed to issue adequate warnings. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported two years ago that many dental assistants who handled amalgam had become seriously ill.
Read article at aftenposten.no (Norway)

May 6, 2007

Junk food nation
3.6 million people in Britain suffer from malnutrition
Hospitals see 44% rise in cases as cost to the NHS hits £7.3bn
Alarming levels of malnutrition have been recorded in Britain, The Independent on Sunday has learned, prompting further medical concern at the effects of the nation's addiction to salty, fatty, junk food. Despite high-profile campaigns by the Government and celebrity chefs to improve eating habits, new figures reveal that there has been a 44 per cent increase in hospital cases of malnutrition over the past five years.
Comment: The British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition estimates malnutrition costs the NHS more than £7.3bn a year, double the annual obesity bill. Doctors estimate that up to 6 per cent of the population could be suffering from malnutrition and serious vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by poor diet.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

May 4, 2007

Pill that ends periods sparks health row
The imminent launch of the first contraceptive pill which promises to free women from the constraints of menstruation has pitched specialists on both sides of the Atlantic into a battle over what is "natural" and safe. Lybrel, the first pill designed to eliminate the fertility cycle, putting an end to the mood swings and discomfort associated with periods, is expected to win a licence from the Food and Drug Administration in the US this month. In the UK , where it will be marketed as Anya, the US manufacturer Wyeth has applied for a licence which it expects to be granted next year. The drug is designed to be taken continually unlike other oral contraceptives which are taken for 21 days a month with a break of seven days during which the woman has her period, preserving, albeit artificially, the biological rhythm.
Read article in the Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland)

Judge upholds Monsanto alfalfa ban
A US judge yesterday stood by his initial decision to ban the planting of a genetically modified variety of alfalfa developed by Monsanto, on the grounds that it poses a contamination threat. District Court Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California said his initial injunction against planting the biotech giant's herbicide-resistant Roundup Ready alfalfa should stay in place until government studies on its environmental effects are concluded.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com

Smoked, BBQ meat linked to breast cancer
Postmenopausal women who regularly consume smoked and barbecued meats may be increasing their risk of breast cancer by at least 50 per cent, suggests a new study.
Read article at foodnavigator-usa.com

Supplements could save $24b in healthcare costs, DSEA
A recently released study supports what the dietary supplement industry has been saying all along: the industry could save the nation billions of dollars in healthcare expenditure. The study was commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance (DSEA) and outlined how over the next five years, a strategic use of certain dietary supplements could improve the health of Americans and save over $24b in healthcare. The report highlights the use of the supplement combinations calcium and vitamin D, lutein with zeaxanthin, and the individual supplementation of folic acid as well as omega-3.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com
Comment: Click here to read the study's final report.

May 3, 2007

FDA Flooded with 130,000 Letters from OCA & Public Interest Groups Opposing Cloned Animals in Food Chain
A coalition of consumer, environmental, and animal welfare organizations Thursday submitted to the Food and Drug Administration more than 130,000 comments from consumers opposing the agency's proposed plan to introduce food from cloned animals into the U.S. food supply. The announcement comes hours before the public comment period expires that began in January in response to FDA's proposal to allow products from cloned animals into the food supply unlabeled.
Read article on the website of the Organic Consumers Association (USA)

Mentally ill die 25 years earlier, on average
Adults with serious mental illness treated in public systems die about 25 years earlier than Americans overall, a gap that's widened since the early '90s when major mental disorders cut life spans by 10 to 15 years, according to a report due Monday. "We're going in the wrong direction and have to change course," says Joseph Parks, director of psychiatric services for the Missouri Department of Mental Health. He's lead author of the report from eight states — Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Utah and Arizona — that will be released at a meeting of state hospital directors in Bethesda, Md.
Read article in USA Today

REVOKED!! Monsanto Monopoly Nixed in Munich
but little joy in foiling soy ploy at this late date
The European Patent Office today put the brakes on Monsanto’s over-the-top corporate greed by revoking its species-wide patent on all genetically modified soybeans (EP0301749) – a patent unprecedented in its broad scope. ETC Group, an international civil society organization based in Canada, won its 13-year legal challenge against Monsanto’s species-wide soybean patent when an EPO appeal board ruled that the patent was not new or sufficient (i.e., the invention claimed was not sufficiently described for a skilled person to repeat it). The patent challenge was supported by Greenpeace and “No Patents on Life!” Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher of UK-based EcoNexus also joined the opposition team in Munich as a scientific expert.
Read article at etcgroup.org

May 2, 2007

EU Botanical Forum's Maximum Level For Botanicals Challenged As Barrier In Internal Market
International Nutrition Company (INC) has taken the initiative to challenge a model recently proposed by the EU Botanical Forum as way to distinguish foods from medicines. The Forum’s model, which was presented in the article Use of Botanicals in Food Supplements was widely interpreted as a safety model for “botanicals”. INC feels that EBF’s proposal harbors a largely unnoticed maximum level criterion which, if implied, would seriously upset botanical food supplement markets not only in the liberal Member States, but in the entire internal European market as well. In cooperation with co-authors professor Aalt Bast of Maastricht University and independent researcher Dr. Jaap Hanekamp, and in collaboration with two prominent attorneys, both well versed in EU food law, INC reviewed the scientific and legal merits of the Forum’s proposal. The result of this joint research effort can be found in the article The European Regulation of food supplements and food Fortification as recently published in issue 19 of Environmental Law & Management. The Forum’s proposal, so conclude the authors, conflicts with the European regulations that currently organize and regulate the internal European markets of foods and food supplements and the products’ free movement therein.
Click here to read the press release and here to read the article

May 1, 2007

CODEX ADVENTURES IN OTTAWA
The National Health Federation (NHF) has International Nongovernmental Organization (INGO) observer status at all Codex Alimentarius meetings and represents the interests of health-conscious consumers. There were numerous countries and other INGOs present, interested in various matters from labeling of genetically-modified foods to the labeling of organic foods. Importantly, too, the subject of the FAO/WHO's Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health was discussed. On the opening day (April 30th) of the 35th Session of the Codex Committee on Food Labeling here in Ottawa, Canada, Dr. Margaret Cheney of the World Health Organization discussed, among other things, the amendment of the Purpose of the Codex Guidelines on Nutrition Labelling to allow the addition onto food labels of information that would inform consumers as to which foods could help protect them from noncommunicable diseases. If accepted by the Committee, this proposal would be a major victory for the rights of consumers to be informed about certain beneficial health information. At Codex meetings, country members always get to speak first and they did so with Mauritania, Costa Rica, and Canada speaking up in favor of the FAO/WHO proposal. But, Korea , Mexico , Malaysia , Germany , Brazil , Thailand , Switzerland , Indonesia , and of course the United States spoke up against the proposed language.
Read press release on the National Health Federation website (USA)
Click here to read the World Health Organization’s proposal.

New Controversies Challenge the Health Freedom Movement
Health Freedom Rights and Universal Health Care Make It to National Talk Radio
In recent weeks, few Internet users have not been subjected to a large number of “sky is falling” e-mails, emanating from a variety of groups, calling attention to alleged imminent threats to Americans' continued access to nutritional supplements and other CAM (complementary alternative medicine) modalities at the hands of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and, more recently, the Congress in the form of a Senate FDA reform bill , S. 1082. A number of blogs have now taken up the cause, this one at Daily Kos being an example. The ball got rolling in this area on April 5, when something called the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF) began sending out hyperbolic-sounding mass e-mails on a sensational new subject. The first one, ominously titled “Act Now: FDA Forbidding All Alternative HealthCare,” began: The US FDA is at it again. They have been notorious for decades for their biased attacks and uneven handling of natural, non-drug/surgery/radiation based health options. This time, though, they are playing for keeps.
Read article by Peter Barry Chowka at google.com
To learn more about the Natural Solutions Foundation, click here

April 28, 2007

Scientists find missing link to understand how plants make vitamin C
A group of Dartmouth and UCLA researchers, who normally work on genes involved in aging and cancer in animals, discovered the last piece of the puzzle, they report in a study published online April 26 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Dr. Steven Clarke of the UCLA Molecular Biology Institute and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry explains, “We were working on an interesting gene in worms.” One insight led to another until, “We uncovered the last unknown enzyme in the synthesis of vitamin C in plants,” said Dr. Charles Brenner of Dartmouth Medical School’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center and Department of Genetics. An essential vitamin for people, vitamin C is well known as an antioxidant and enzyme cofactor. Humans lost the ability to make vitamin C and need to take it up from dietary sources, particularly from plants.
Read article at physorg.com

April 27, 2007

Letter to FDA: Why are you lying about aspartame?
Betty Martini has written an open letter to the Laura Tarantino of the FDA regarding the press release that negates cancer-causing effects of aspartame, an artificial sweetener also known as nutra sweet, equal, canderal and spoonful.
Read the open letter at laleva.org

April 24, 2007

Australia adopts NZ nutrient levels
A joint agency agreement between Australia and New Zealand edged closer after Australia moved to adopt New Zealand limits for selenium, vitamin A and niacin (vitamin B3). The move has been welcomed by the New Zealand natural product industry, and is seen as eliminating a hurdle for New Zealand manufacturers of health supplements. By falling inline with New Zealand levels, the Australian permitted levels of vitamin A will be raised to 10,000 International Units (IU), niacin will now be 100 mg, and selenium will be raised to 150 micrograms, up from 26 micrograms.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

Store's soft drinks pledge
Sainsbury's is to be the first supermarket to remove artificial colours and flavours from its own-brand soft drinks. The supermarket announced that from June, its range of 120 fizzy drinks and cordials will contain only natural ingredients.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

Healers going back to roots
Gauteng ’s traditional healers are to be taught new methods to cultivate plants and harvest them from the wild, in an attempt to ensure that the local medicine chest remains full for future generations. Indigenous medicinal plants have been used for centuries but there is growing concern that wild supplies of some species are being harvested into extinction, or gathered in a way that damages the environment. About 80% of South Africans consult traditional healers, who count local plants among the remedies they sell to their clients.
Read article at businessday.co.za (South Africa)

Moz AIDS patients abandon treatment
More than 70 HIV/Aids patients out of 775 people receiving antiretrovirals in Mozambique ’s Niassa province have abandoned their treatment in preference for traditional medicine, Vista News reported on Friday.
Read article at citizen.co.za (South Africa)

April 23, 2007

FDA Was Aware of Dangers To Food
Outbreaks Were Not Preventable, Officials Say
The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show. Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents. Congressional critics and consumer advocates said both episodes show that the agency is incapable of adequately protecting the safety of the food supply.
Read article in the Washington Post (USA)

Low vitamin D levels linked to poor physical performance
Older people with low levels of vitamin D may be at increased risk for poor physical performance and disability, suggests a new study highlighting the need for better targeting of the vitamin to the older generations. "With a growing older population, we need to identify better ways to reduce the risk of disability," said lead author Denise Houston, from Wake Forest University. "Our study showed a significant relationship between low vitamin D levels in older adults and poorer physical performance." Calls for raising the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin have been growing after reports that higher intakes could protect against osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

FDA seeks to remove labeling requirements for irradiated foods
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new federal regulations that will allow manufacturers and retailers to sell controversial irradiated foods without labeling them, as previously required by law.
Read about the campaign opposing the FDA's plan on the website of the Organic Consumers Association (USA)

April 20, 2007

New alert over dangers in fruit
Toxic chemicals have been found on fruit given to millions of schoolchildren every day under a Government healthy-eating scheme. Three quarters of the fresh produce provided free to youngsters is contaminated with potentially harmful pesticides, tests revealed yesterday. Apples, bananas and pears were among the most polluted. The results raise fears that pupils as young as four are being exposed to a “cocktail” of cancer-causing chemicals.
Read article in the Daily Express (UK)

April 19, 2007

Pan Pharmaceuticals court action "a witchhunt"
The Australian Democrats has demanded the federal government apologise for forcing Pan Pharmaceuticals to conduct a mass product recall four years ago, sending it into administration. Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison said the recall was ordered because of inconsistent quality concerns, not because of adverse reactions. "It was a pointless exercise targeting complementary medicines and it sent hundreds of small businesses broke," she said.
Read article at ibnnews.org (Australia)
Read the Australian Democrats’ Press Release
Comment: To find out what was really behind the world’s largest recall of health care products, click here.

April 17, 2007

Nanoparticles can damage DNA, increase cancer risk
Tissue studies indicate that nanoparticles, engineered materials about a billionth of a meter in size, could damage DNA and lead to cancer, according to research presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Nanoparticles are small enough to penetrate cell membranes and defenses, yet they are large enough to cause trouble by interfering with normal cell processes, researchers at the University of Massachusetts say. Such nanoparticles are currently in use in electronics, cosmetics, and chemical manufacturing, among others industries. Because of their extremely small size, they can be difficult to isolate from the larger environment, as they are much too small for removal by conventional filtering techniques.
Read article at physorg.com

New Study by Ramazzini Institute Confirms Aspartame Carcinogenic
Dr. Morando Soffritti of the European Ramazzini Foundation will present the results of a new study confirming the carcinogenicity of Aspartame on April 23, 2007 at the Mount Sinai Medical School of New York, where he also will receive the prestigious Irving J. Selikoff Award.
Read article at newmediaexplorer.org

Low vitamin D levels again linked to cancer risk
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of cancer, researchers have told attendees at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, with results from a clinical trial hoped to show benefits of high-dose vitamin D replacement in individuals with high risk of lung cancer.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

April 16, 2007

Scientist says GE crops don't live up to promise
Crop and Food Research is being accused of tunnel vision on genetic engineering (GE) by one of its former scientists. Biotechnologist Dr Elvira Dommisse, who worked on the early stages of Crop and Food's GE onion experiments before the current field trials began, says GE crops have not lived up to their initial promise and the Crown research institute should invest more in conventional plant breeding. The institute's application to carry out a 10-year Lincoln field trial of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and forage kale genetically engineered to contain a natural pesticide to kill caterpillars was heard by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (Erma) in Christchurch last week. Dommisse worked for the old Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and then Crop and Food from 1985 to 1993. She left because she found the work unrewarding and could not see it solving the problems people said it would. She was critical of the "lack of precaution and lack of thinking" in Crop and Food's application to Erma, and said scientists working in the GE area were under pressure to develop lines that would become commercially viable.
Read article at stuff.co.nz (New Zealand)

April 14, 2007

Info body gives bio-tech dept a RTI power-punch
In a verdict which may have a far-reaching consequence in the future, the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Friday directed the department of bio-technology (DBT) to make public the data generated from the tests carried out on transgenic crops by agro-biotech companies. Chief commissioner Wajahat Habibullah delivered this right to information (RTI) power-punch, in response to an petition filed by Greenpeace India, after the review committee on genetic modification (RCGM) under DBT consistently refused to part with this closely guarded secret for over a year. Striking down the DBT's contention that the data falls under Section 8.1.(d), Habibullah pointed out that the request of the applicant for toxicity and allergenicity tests on genetically modified (GM) rice, mustard, okra and brinjal cannot be refused under the RTI Act.
Read article in the Financial Express (India)

April 13, 2007

All Not Well With Global AIDS Vaccine Trials
W hy were phase-1 safety trials for an HIV vaccine started in India days before the release of the results of the same trial in Belgium and Germany? And why were phase-2 trials of the same vaccine conducted in Africa? These are some of the questions that scientists and ethicists knowledgeable about the HIV/AIDS vaccine trials in India are asking about phase-1 trials here of tgAAC09, a recombinant adeno-associated viral vector-based candidate vaccine against HIV infection.
Read article at notaids.com

Report sets out supplements role in fighting malnutrition
Increasing use of food supplements and fortification would play a key role in reducing vitamin and mineral deficiencies around the world, says a new report that sets out a 10-year strategy for addressing the problem. According to the report produced by the AED Center for Nutrition and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, vitamin A deficiency is a public health problem in 118 countries; anemia caused by iron deficiency affects as many as two thirds of children and pregnant women in some countries. Iodine deficiency affects around 13 per cent of the world's population; and 20 per cent is at risk of zinc deficiency. And deficiencies do not just affect the developing world: folic acid deficiency, which has been linked to increased risk of neural tube defects in unborn infants, remains a big problem in some developed countries - particularly those with no mandatory food fortification program.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

April 12, 2007

Pesticides and pollution linked to diabetes
Exposure to pesticides and industrial pollutants could trigger type 2 diabetes, scientists say. While obesity is believed to be the major cause, researchers found people with higher levels of some toxic man-made chemical compounds were at greater risk of developing insulin resistance.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 11, 2007

Iraq situation 'ever worsening'
The situation for civilians in Iraq is "ever worsening", the International Committee of the Red Cross says. Although it is difficult to determine the numbers of people killed in shootings, bombings and military operations, it is clear that the overall situation in the country has been steadily deteriorating, an official said on Wednesday. Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the operations director at the International Committee of the Red Cross, (ICRC) said: "Numbers of refugees are swelling, medical staff fleeing and other problems are growing.
Read article at aljazeera.net

European Commission to support failing biotech crop sector
The European Commission intends to promote genetically modified (GM) crops in Europe , even though it admits that that the European public does not want to eat GM foods, warned Friends of the Earth Europe today. The European Commission's mid-term review of the EU's Biotech Strategy today called for increased financial and political support for biotechnology applications - including GM crops - while acknowledging the poor performance of the GM crop sector and its widespread public opposition. Helen Holder, GMO Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe said, "The European Commission's own research shows that the use of GM crops is an economic failure. But instead of scrapping its support, the Commission is instead ignoring the wishes of the majority of the European public and asking for looser regulation and more taxpayers' money for genetically modified crops."
Read press release on Friends of the Earth Europe website

Presidential Candidate: U.S. In Danger of Dictatorship
Congressman Ron Paul warns elite believe they own us and are "always prepared" to take our liberties
Presidential candidate Ron Paul has warned that the US is now at a crisis point because the people have been so neglectful of protecting their liberties and big government has been so effective in eroding them. He warned that the elite are prepared to concoct events to scare the American people and asserted that the 2008 Presidential election is a contest between the people who care about their freedoms and those who are willing to succumb to the temptations of dictatorship.
Read article at infowars.net (USA)

April 10, 2007

Ephedra risk-benefit analysis endangers supplements, NPA
The most recent court ruling on ephedra blurs the distinction between supplements and drugs and could force the industry to conduct clinical tests, says the Natural Products Association, which has filed an amicus curiae with the Supreme Court.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

Ecological Apocalypse: Why Are All The Bees Dying?
The alarming decline in bee populations across the United States and Europe represents a potential ecological apocalypse, an environmental catastrophe that could collapse the food chain and wipe out humanity. Who and what is behind this flagrant abuse of the eco-system? Many people don't realize the vital role bees play in maintaining a balanced eco-system. According to experts, if bees were to become extinct then humanity would perish after just four years. "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man," said Albert Einstein.
Read article at prisonplanet.com (USA)

AIDS Inc. (Trailer)
Six minute trailer to documentary film on AIDS by Gary Null.
Watch trailer at youtube.com

April 9, 2007

6.5 million farmers want to join case against GMOs
There's been another major development in the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) brought by Aruna Rodrigues and three co-Petitioners before India 's Supreme Court. Over 6.5 million farmers from every state in India are asking the Supreme Court to let them join the case before the Court, saying GM crops risk irreversibly damaging India's farmland and biodiversity. This new move follows on from the application already filed in the Supreme Court by the Association of the Rice Millers and Exporters in India, who want a GM moratorium to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to grow and consume GM-free crops, as well as to ensure - in their interest and in the national interest - that exports don't suffer because of GM contamination.
Read article at gmwatch.org

April 5, 2007

Organic fruit has more vitamin C, study finds
Further evidence in support of the health benefits of organic fruit and vegetables has been published by an international team of researchers They found that organic carrots, apples and peaches contained higher levels of vitamin C and flavonoids, compounds with antioxidant properties said by some scientists to protect against heart attacks and cancer. Last week US researchers revealed that organic kiwi fruit have significantly more vitamin C and polyphenols - linked to reduced cholesterol, improved circulation and lower cancer risks - than non-organic produce.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

April 4, 2007

EU Food Supplements Directive: Scientists Challenge Philosophy of Precaution
Two Dutch scientists, Aalt Bast of the University of Maastricht and Jaap Hanekamp of the HAN Foundation are challenging the philosophy of caution and control of the European directive that regulates food supplements, healthy products containing vitamins, minerals and other bio-ingredients useful to human health. In their article published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, they charge that the real effect of the directive is not so much protection of consumer health but a kind of "secondary protection", a shield for the good repute and careers of lawmakers, administrators and scientists. What those authors of the directive have really done, according to Bast and Hanekamp, is that they covered themselves. They have 'done something', just in case anything might go wrong with supplements.
Read article at newmediaexplorer.org

April 3, 2007

Sharks deserve the conservation status we give to the giant panda
Marine predators are on the verge of extinction, but the fishing industry still rips the environment to shreds with impunity
If these animals lived on land there would be a global outcry. But the great beasts roaming the savannahs of the open seas summon no such support. Big sharks, giant tuna, marlin and swordfish should have the conservation status of the giant panda or the snow leopard. Yet still we believe it is acceptable for fishmongers to sell them and celebrity chefs to teach us how to cook them.
A study in this week's edition of Science reveals the disastrous collapse of the ocean's megafauna. The great sharks are now wobbling on the edge of extinction. Since 1972 the number of blacktip sharks has fallen by 93%, tiger sharks by 97% and bull sharks, dusky sharks and smooth hammerheads by 99%. Just about every population of major predators is now in freefall. Another paper, published in Nature four years ago, shows that over 90% of large predatory fishes throughout the global oceans have gone.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

Monsanto Declares War on 'rBGH-free' Dairies
Monsanto issued a lie filled press release today formally asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to punish dairies that label their milk "rBGH-free". Monsanto has a long history of trying to intimidate independent-minded dairies and bottlers who do not want use their dangerous growth hormones.
Read article and press release on the Organic Consumers Association website (USA)

Red meat 'ups breast cancer risk'
Eating red meat significantly increases a post-menopausal woman's chance of breast cancer, research suggests. A University of Leeds team monitored 35,000 women over seven years. Older women who ate one 2oz portion a day (57 grams) had a 56% increased risk compared with those who ate none, the British Journal of Cancer reports. And those who ate the most processed meat, such as bacon, sausages, ham or pies, had a 64% greater risk of breast cancer than those who refrained.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

Groups hail Euro vote to keep GM out of organic foods
Organic food and environmental groups have welcomed a European Parliament decision to set the threshold for genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in organic food at the lowest level possible - quelling fears that higher levels in some countries could destroy the market. The European Parliament voted on a proposal for a council regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products that Friends of the Earth Europe says would have allowed traces of GMOs in organic food.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

April 2, 2007

Canned foods found to contain dangerously high level of toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA)
A new study spearheaded by the Environmental Working Group found the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in over 50 percent of the name-brand canned goods tested. In some cases, a single serving was enough to expose a woman or infant to BPA levels that were 200 times higher than the government's safe level for industrial chemicals.
Read article at newstarget.com

Let’s Not Be the Next Big Pharma
How the natural health industry risks its credibility and cohesion by behaving as if it were nothing more than the world market replacement for Big Pharma.
Read article at candida-international.blogspot.com

Kyowa Hakko U.S.A hikes L-amino acid prices
Kyowa Hakko has announced a ten percent price increase for its line of L-Amino acids owing to increased demand combined with shrinking margins. One of the world's two leading amino acid suppliers (the other being Ajinamoto), the Japanese-owned company supplies all 20 of the common L-amino acids for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical uses.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

April 1, 2007

HIV patient names to be tracked in all 50 states by year's end
The names of people infected with HIV will be tracked in all 50 states by the end of 2007, marking a victory for federal health officials and a quiet defeat for AIDS advocates who wanted to keep patients' names out of state databases. Vermont, Maryland and Hawaii, the last states not tracking the names of HIV-positive people, are quickly moving toward adopting names-based surveillance. Eight other states and Washington, D.C., began collecting the names of HIV patients last year, and Massachusetts switched in January. The states are bowing to federal pressure so they will not lose money for medications and health services for patients.
Read article in the International Herald Tribune

Food for thought: Russia joins the battle over GM products
On July 1, the city of Moscow will introduce a voluntary system of food labels indicating that a product does not contain genetically modified (GM) ingredients.
Read article on the Russian News & Information Agency website
Comment: Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, believes that GM products are hazardous. "With our entry into the WTO, certain issues have to be addressed," he said in January. "American and Canadian products, which are, as a rule, genetically modified, are competing on the world agricultural market." He added that "...we can use Europe's experience" and "...we must inform people about the hazards of GM products." Putin proposed to set up a council to regulate GM food.

March 30, 2007

The right to protest
The European Patent Office’s decision to grants patents to conventional crops is worrying farmers’ groups
The European Patent Office (EPO) has opened a Pandora’s box by deciding to grant patent rights to seeds developed through conventional breeding processes. They have begun to grant both product and process patents for these, and as an interim ruling, EPO’s Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has decided to grant a general patent on broccoli. The development is of special concern to India because farm exports from the country, as also from other developing countries, to Europe would be at stake, as such a measure may lead to patenting of a large number of crops. Trade disputes may, therefore, become inevitable, according to experts.
Read article at indianexpress.com

March 29, 2007

Three suspects held in Brussels over corruption
Three men were arrested in Brussels yesterday on suspicion of involvement in a "very big" case of corruption, prompting renewed questions about the European Commission's handling of public money. The men - a Commission official, a businessman and an MEP's researcher - are accused of giving and accepting kickbacks on the rental of offices for Commission delegations outside the EU.
Belgian prosecutors who made the arrests after dawn raids in four countries on Tuesday said the three - all Italian - were suspected of defrauding European taxpayers of several million euros over more than a decade.
Read article in the Financial Times (UK)

EC plans legal challenge over Spanish herbal ban
The European Commission is set to challenge Spain over its ban on the import of herbal products before the European Court of Justice - a policy it says is an unjustified and disproportionate barrier to EU trade.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

March 28, 2007

A monstrous war crime
With more than 650,000 civilians dead in Iraq , our government must take responsibility for its lies.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

On Quitting HIV
A powerful indictment of the HIV causes AIDS hypothesis from a mathematician who worked on it for ten years.
Read article on Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

March 27, 2007

Beef diet 'damages sons' sperm'
Scientists have produced evidence to suggest that Europe was right to ban the beef industry from using growth promoters to increase yield. A US study has linked use of the chemicals to damage to human sperm. The University of Rochester found men whose mothers ate a lot of beef during pregnancy had lower sperm counts.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

March 26, 2007

Iraqi deaths survey 'was robust'
The British government was advised against publicly criticising a report estimating that 655,000 Iraqis had died due to the war, the BBC has learnt. Iraqi Health Ministry figures put the toll at less than 10% of the total in the survey, published in the Lancet. But the Ministry of Defence's chief scientific adviser said the survey's methods were "close to best practice" and the study design was "robust". Another expert agreed the method was "tried and tested".
Read article at BBC News (UK)

Organic IS healthier, say food scientists
As the debate rages on about whether organically grown food is better for us than the "conventional" produce we have become used to, a new study sides firmly with organic. Scientists found that some organic food is more healthy after tests on kiwi fruit grown by both methods. The American researchers discovered that organically grown kiwis had significantly higher levels of vitamin C and polyphenols - compounds associated with health benefits including reducing cholesterol, improving circulation and preventing cancer.
Read article in the Daily Telegraph (UK)

March 23, 2007

Doctors attack Lancet owner's arms fair links
The publishers of The Lancet are under fire from leading doctors who are complaining about their escalating involvement in arms fairs. Across three pages of today's edition the medical journal publishes letters from top doctors, led by the Royal College of Physicians, who say that Reed Elsevier's commercial interest in the arms trade undermines the journal's efforts to improve health worldwide. The editors of the journal also call on their proprietor to drop its work with the defence industry, claiming that the association is damaging The Lancet's reputation. The Lancet's international advisory board is now considering an "organised campaign" against its own publisher.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)

EFSA surprised at legal threat over dossier assessment
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has said that it will not bow to industry pressure over scientific assessment of vitamins and minerals submitted for the positive list of the 2002 food supplements directive. Last week the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) said that it has made 15 'test' submissions to the positive list for vitamins and minerals in the annexes of the 2002 food supplements directive. Since the alliance is confident that it has met all the criteria and demonstrated the safety of the proposed uses, legal director Robert Collins said that it "will be taking any refusals to the courts so that proper precedents can be developed according to the procedure made law by the European Court."
Read article at nutraingredients.com

March 22, 2007

AHPA urges dietary supplements for underprivileged
The American Herbal Products Association is backing two bills introduced to Congress to expand the use of food stamps to include nutritional supplements, as well to provide tax breaks for some products. The Food Stamp Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act would amend the 1997 Food Stamp Act to allow those who qualify for food stamps to use them toward nutritional supplements that provide a vitamin or mineral, in addition to the present conventional foods. At the heart of the issue is the lack of proper nutrition in many American diets, as well as the fact that dietary supplements are not being fully made available to help bridge this gap.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

FDA's cloned food risk assessment flawed, claims review
The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) risk assessment on meat and milk from cloned animals is based on "flawed assumptions and misrepresented findings", according to an independent review released yesterday. The new report, issued by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), claims that FDA found virtually no scientific evidence to support the commercial release of these experimental foods.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

NIH launches creatine-Parkinson's clinical trial
The NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is launching a large-scale clinical trial to assess whether the ingredient creatine can slow the progression of Parkinson's disease.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

March 21, 2007

MIT biologists solve vitamin puzzle
Solving a mystery that has puzzled scientists for decades, MIT and Harvard researchers have discovered the final piece of the synthesis pathway of vitamin B12-the only vitamin synthesized exclusively by microorganisms. B12, the most chemically complex of all vitamins, is essential for human health. Four Nobel Prizes have been awarded for research related to B12, but one fragment of the molecule remained an enigma-until now. The researchers report that a single enzyme synthesizes the fragment, and they outline a novel reaction mechanism that requires cannibalization of another vitamin. The work, which has roots in an MIT undergraduate teaching laboratory, "completes a piece of our understanding of a process very fundamental to life," said Graham Walker, MIT professor of biology and senior author of a paper on the work that will appear in the March 22 online edition of Nature.
Read article at physorg.com

NEW CFS REPORT SAYS FDA PLAN TO APPROVE SALE OF FOOD FROM ANIMAL CLONES IS BASED ON WISHFUL THINKING, NOT SCIENCE
Center for Food Safety Reveals that Milk and Meat from Clones is Untested and May Pose Health Risks to Consumers
The Center for Food Safety today issued a report critical of the Food and Drug Administration's recent risk assessment on animal clones.  The Center's review reveals that the risk assessment (which claims to show the safety of cloned food) relies almost entirely on unsupported assumptions and is based "more on faith than science." The Center is calling on FDA to issue a mandatory ban on the use of clones in food production until long-term studies demonstrate the safety of these foods and the vitally important ethical and animal welfare issues in cloning are resolved.
Read press release at centerforfoodsafety.org (USA)

March 20, 2007

NHS may be restricted to core services
The prospect that the National Health Service might provide only core services, with patients forced to pay for any other treatment or meet it from private insurance, was raised by the government yesterday. News that ministers were examining the possibility of defining the services that the NHS is obliged to provide free to everyone was disclosed in the small print of the public services policy review launched yesterday by Tony Blair, the prime minister, and Gordon Brown, the chancellor. It says the government should "look at the possibility of drawing up a package of services that all users are entitled to".
Read article in the Financial Times (UK)

March 19, 2007

Court Reviews Ephedra Ban, OK’s FDA’s Decision
Nutraceutical Corp.’s latest move in its battle against the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on ephedra dietary supplements met with an unfavorable decision. The company requested, and won, a summary review of the case, specifically alleging FDA failed procedural rules in not issuing a proposed rule accompanying a public comment period on the use of risk-benefit analysis in the ban, in addition to “arbitrarily and capriciously” excluding ephedrine-containing foods and traditional Asian medicines from the ban. The U.S. District Court, Central Utah, agreed to the request for review, instead clarifying it as a cross appeal after the defendants successfully argued a summary review of a government agency in district court must be treated as an appeal. On March 16, the Central Utah court—which had originally ruled in Nutraceutical’s favor, before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with FDA—concluded Nutraceutical failed to show FDA violated procedures or acted unfairly in its ban of ephedra supplements.
Read article at naturalproductsinsider.com

Americans not eating enough veggies – study
Americans are still not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to two recent studies. Since 1990 the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has recommended consuming at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily. However, two studies published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine suggest that Americans are not meeting the mark.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

ANH pledges scrutiny and pressure over EC positive list
The Alliance for Natural Health has informed the European Commission that it is scrutinising its procedures on food supplements and those of EFSA, and may launch a legal challenge if any of its 15 'test' submissions to the positive list for vitamins and minerals are denied.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

March 17, 2007

Court 'can envisage' Blair prosecution
Tony Blair faces the prospect of an International Criminal Court investigation for alleged coalition war crimes in Iraq . The court's chief prosecutor told The Sunday Telegraph that he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague. Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued. Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations said that his country was actively considering signing up.
Read article in the Sunday Telegraph (UK)

March 16, 2007

ANH puts spotlight on European Commission over food supplement procedures
The European institutions appear to be ignoring the European Court of Justice judgment of 12 July 2005 on the ANH case. This means that the ban feared in August 2005 could occur at any time in the next two years. Find out how the ANH is attempting to create a new legal precedent...
Read press release at alliance-natural-health.org (UK)

Does seawater improve a tomato's antioxidant punch?
Growing tomatoes in diluted seawater significantly increased the levels of antioxidant vitamins C and E, says new research from Italy . The research, focusing on standard 'salad' tomatoes and varieties genetically engineered for ripening, suggests opportunities for antioxidant-enhanced fruit and extracts produced in parts of the world with critical water shortages. "The controlled use of alternative water resources, such as diluted seawater, could be a valid tool to face drought in the Mediterranean region," wrote the authors, led by Riccardo Izzo, in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

March 13, 2007

Texas House nixes governor's HPV vaccine order
The Texas House voted Tuesday to unravel Gov. Rick Perry's order that all sixth-grade girls be inoculated against the virus that can cause cervical cancer, giving overwhelming support to a bill that only allows the Legislature to mandate the vaccine in the future. After an emotional and confrontational three-hour fight over the issue, House members voted, 119-21, to endorse the bill by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, that says the vaccine for human papillomavirus cannot be required by the state as a condition for school entry. Once it's finally approved, which is expected Wednesday, the bill goes to the Senate, where it has strong support. It is still vulnerable to a gubernatorial veto, though Perry has not said if he'll do that.
Read article in the Kansas City Star (USA)

US judge orders injunction against Monsanto seed
A federal judge yesterday overturned the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) approval of a biotech alfalfa variety, ordering a preliminary injunction to ban the sale and planting of the seed. The injunction follows a ruling last month that found USDA failed to abide by federal environmental laws when it approved the crop, developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics, without conducting a full Environment Impact Statement. On Monday US District Court Judge Charles Breyer of the Northern District of California vacated the agency's 2005 approval of the Roundup Ready alfalfa , and ordered an immediate halt to sales of the seed, on the grounds that the genetically engineered gene could contaminate organic and conventional alfalfa.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

March 9, 2007

GM Food Nightmare Unfolding in the Regulatory Sham
Regulator agencies like the European Food Safety Authority and the UK Food Standards Agency have been ignoring the precautionary principle, manipulating and corrupting science, sidestepping the law, and helping to promote GMOs in the face of massive public opposition and damning evidence piling up against the safety of GM food and feed These charges are made in a devastating report released today by the Institute of Science in Society. The report has been submitted to the European Food Standards Agency, the World Health Organisation/ Food and Agriculture Organisation Expert Consultation on GM Food Animals, and the UK Food Standards Agency, and it has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The 19-page report contains more than 130 references. It draws together evidence from all over the world indicating that GM food and feed may be inherently hazardous to health, regardless of the plant species or the genetic modification involved.
Read article on Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

Vitamin D level reassessment high priority, say experts
International agencies should reassess as a matter of highpriority dietary recommendations for vitamin D, experts have said, because current advice is outdated and puts the public at risk of deficiency. Fifteen experts from universities, research institutes, and university hospitals around the world, led by Reinhold Vieth from Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "We call for international agencies such as the Food and Nutrition Board and the European Commission's Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General to reassess as a matter of high priority their dietary recommendations for vitamin D, because the formal nationwide advice from health agencies needs to be changed. The balance of the evidence leads to the conclusion that the public health is best served by a recommendation of higher daily intakes of vitamin D.”
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

March 6, 2007

Human genes in rice spark new GM row
Genetically modified rice containing human genes has received preliminary approval in the US, sparking new concerns and fears on both sides of the Atlantic. California-based Ventria Bioscience has received approval from the US Department of Agriculture to cultivate over 3,000 acres of the rice in Kansas.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

March 5, 2007

JAMA - 'vitamins kill' - no they don't!
On 28th February we saw headlines around the world once again condemning vitamin supplements. The stimulus? A Serbian doctor, Goran Bjelakovic, who was involved in an earlier canning job on vitamins � in 2004 on vitamin supplements for reducing risk of gastrointestinal cancers (Lancet 2004; 364: 1219�28) �  somehow found himself doing it all over again. This time he published in the US-based Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). On both occasions, his papers triggered headlines around the world which appeared to have just one purpose: getting people to stop taking vitamin supplements. Interestingly, in a bout of apparent schizophrenia for JAMA, Bjelakovic and colleagues� views are fundamentally opposed to those of Fairfield and Fletcher published in the same journal some two years earlier (JAMA 2002; 287:3116-3126). Fairfield and Fletcher broke the long-standing anti-supplement agenda of the JAMA by supporting supplementation as a means of reducing risk of key chronic diseases. But it seems it's now back to business as usual for JAMA.
Read article at alliance-natural-health.org

March 4, 2007

Sick people used like laboratory rats in GM trials
Genetically modified potatoes developed by Monsanto, the multinational biotech company, have been fed to sick patients in an experiment. Rats that ate similar potatoes in the research suffered reductions in the weight of their hearts and prostate glands. Dr Michael Antoniou, reader in molecular genetics at Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, said use of humans was "irresponsible and totally unethical, especially when already ill subjects were enrolled. These people truly were guinea pigs."
Read article in the Independent (UK)

March 1, 2007

Ethical Food Boom May Benefit UK Farming
Supermarkets should tap into surging consumer demand for so-called ethically traded food to rebuild damaged relations with UK farmers, Steven Esom, managing director of retail chain Waitrose, said on Tuesday Esom told the National Farmers Union annual conference that retailers should offer long-term commitments and encourage farmers to provide food that would appeal to ethical consumers. He said the future of farming in Britain was to supply "differentiated produce - be it local, organic, seasonal or food with high animal welfare and environmental standards" in partnership with food retailers. "I think there's a real argument for using customers' enthusiasm for ethically traded products by extending these principles to domestic farming more generally, not just to the developing world," he said.
Read article at naturalmatters.net

AIDS specialist called to explain evidence
AN eminent doctor was yesterday hauled back into a Supreme Court witness box to explain comments he made in private that appeared to conflict with his sworn testimony. Emeritus Professor Peter McDonald, of Flinders University in Adelaide, had testified early last month that he “had no doubt” that HIV was the cause of AIDS. His evidence was part of series of high-powered prosecution experts against an appeal of a HIV-positive man, Andre Chad Parenzee, convicted last year of exposing three women to HIV.
Read article at theaustralian.news.com.au (Australia) 

Approval of GM Crops Illegal, US Federal Courts Rule
In a surprising development that may well stump the further approval of GMOs, Federal Courts in the US have ruled against the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in three successive cases for failing to carry out proper environment impact assessment, making the original approvals of GM crops illegal.
Read article on Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website (UK)

February 28, 2007

Meta-Analysis on Antioxidants Provides Muddled Conclusions-Body of Scientific Research Shows Antioxidants Provide Benefits for Maintaining Good Health
A new meta-analysis examining the effect of antioxidant supplements on all-cause mortality published in the Feb. 28, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) misuses meta-analysis methods to create generalized conclusions that may inappropriately confuse and alarm consumers who can benefit from supplementing with antioxidants, said the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry. "Healthy consumers can feel confident in continuing to take antioxidants for the benefits they provide. This meta-analysis does nothing to change those facts," said CRN's Andrew Shao, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs. "While meta-analyses can be useful when the included studies are very similar in design and study population, this meta-analysis combined studies that differ vastly from each other in a number of important ways that compromise the results."
Read article at LEF Daily News (USA)

Current vitamin D levels not enough in pregnancy, study
Pregnant American women do not get enough vitamin D and prenatal multivitamins are not filling the gap, according to a University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences study. The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition, evaluates data from 200 black women and 200 white women, randomly selected between 1997 and 2001. The study found 92.4 percent of African-American newborns and 66.1 percent of white babies had insufficient vitamin D levels at birth.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

February 27, 2007

23 YEARS OF DOCUMENTED VITAMIN SAFETY
Over a twenty-three year period, vitamins have been connected with the deaths of a total of ten people in the United States. Poison control statistics confirm that more Americans die each year from eating soap than from taking vitamins. Where are the bodies? A 23-year review of US poison control center annual reports tells a remarkable and largely ignored story: vitamins are extraordinarily safe.
Read press release at orthomolecular.org

Bill would hold makers of engineered crops liable for damage
Stepping into the middle of a growing debate, a freshman assemblyman has introduced legislation that would make companies developing genetically engineered crops liable for damages if their work results in contamination of other fields. The bill by Assemblyman Jared Huffman also would ban open-field production of genetically engineered crops used in the development of medications. And it would require growers to give county agriculture commissioners at least 30 days notice before engaging in open-field development of other genetically modified plants. Huffman, D-San Rafael, said the measure is needed to protect California farmers against significant losses if their conventional or organic crops are contaminated by genetically engineered plants, seeds or pollen.
Read press release at fresnobee.com

Truehope Drags Health Canada into Federal Court
On the heels of a Provincial court win, beating back criminal charges brought against them by Health Canada, Truehope founders David Hardy and Anthony Stephan are seeking a permanent injunction against Health Canada in the federal courts. "Health Canada breached constitutional rights, causing deaths and hospitalizations. Canadians deserve protection from an unaccountable bureaucracy," Stephan says. Truehope was charged with selling its vitamin-mineral formula (EMPowerplus) without a drug identification number (DIN) in 2003. In spite of having the Minister of Health's approval and complying fully with new 2004 regulations, under which Truehope no longer required a DIN, Health Canada proceeded with criminal charges in 2006.
Read press release at ccnmatthews.com

February 25, 2007

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if  the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly  placed defence and intelligence sources. Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming  increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday  Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign  rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.
Read article in the Sunday Times (UK)

NHS facing dementia time bomb
The number of people suffering from dementia in the UK - now 700,000 - will rise by a million to 1.7m by 2050, creating a crisis in medical and social care. A groundbreaking study, 'Dementia UK', to be published this week, will reveal the impact of the disease on the ageing population. It also reveals that carers of those with dementia save the state £6bn a year.
Read article in the Observer (UK)

February 24, 2007

Keep Basmati rice areas free from GM crop trials: commerce ministry
NEW DELHI, FEB 23:  The Union commerce ministry has decided to intervene and ask the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) not to approve field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in Basmati rice growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh.
Read article at financialexpress.com (India)

February 23, 2007

NO DEATHS FROM VITAMINS: Poison Control Statistics Prove Supplements’ Safety
There was not even one death caused by vitamins in 2005, according to the most recent statistics available from the US National Poisoning and Exposure Database. The 129-page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers published in the journal Clinical Toxicology shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins; zero deaths from any of the B vitamins; zero deaths from vitamins A, C, D, or E; and zero deaths from any other vitamin. Over half of the U.S. population takes daily vitamin supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet per day, that makes 145,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of over 53 billion doses annually. Since many persons take additional vitamins, the numbers are considerably higher, and the safety of vitamins all the more remarkable.
Read press release at orthomolecular.org

Update on GM rice UK judicial review
UK Foods Standards Agency claims win in the courts, but threat of legal action from UK based Friends of the Earth forced positive change in advice to British retailers.
Friends of the Earth brought a Judicial Review challenge against the Food Standards Agency regarding the application of EU law in handling the issue of contamination of US long grain rice with an unauthorised genetically modified rice. The hearing took place on Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 February and judgement was given this afternoon. The FSA vigorously defended the challenge on the basis that the UK complied fully with its obligations under EU law. The review found in favour of the FSA. The Agency is pleased with this judgement and will reflect on the judge ’ s comments and issue a more detailed statement in due course.

Comment from the Alliance for Natural Health:
The Foods Standards Agency in their release today omit to say that the threat of Friends Of the Earth legal action caused them to alter their advice in October 2006.
Read article on the Alliance for Natural Health website (UK)

February 21, 2007

Doctors expected to lose the right of self-regulation
Doctors are expected to lose the right to vet themselves under a shake-up of their professional regulation which will be announced by Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, today. The medical regulator, the General Medical Council, is set to be stripped of its powers to discipline doctors and prevent them from practising under reforms aimed at preventing a repeat of the Harold Shipman scandal, and at restoring public confidence following a spate of cases involving unscrupulous doctors. Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, who has been charged with producing the reforms, has been concerned that doctors should not be seen both to investigate themselves and to adjudicate.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)

February 20, 2007

Privacy row as checks on phones and e-mails hit 439,000
Almost 450,000 requests were made to monitor people’s telephone calls, e-mails and post by secret agencies and other authorised bodies in just over a year, the spying watchdog said yesterday. In the first report of its kind from the Interceptions of Communications Commissioner, it was also revealed that nearly 4,000 errors were reported in a 15-month period from 2005 to 2006. While most appeared to concern “lower-level data” such as requests for telephone lists and individual e-mail addresses, 67 were mistakes concerning direct interception of communications. Sir Swinton Thomas, the report’s author, described the figure as “unacceptably high”.
Read article in The Times (UK)

Superberry may be squashed by EU rules
Goji berries, the latest super-food advocated by celebrities such as Madonna, Kate Moss and Liz Hurley, may have to be removed from sale. The berries, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and little-known on the high street two years ago, have become such a fashionable “miracle” food that they have caught the attention of the regulators. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned supermarkets and health food shops that it may ban the fruit unless it receives proof that the berry has been commonly eaten in Britain , or another European Union country, for more than ten years. The move follows a sudden boom in sales of the berries, said to help to combat heart disease, cancer and skin damage from the sun — even though they have been eaten for centuries in China and other parts of Asia, where they are known as wolfberries.
Read article in The Times (UK)

FSA challenged in court over GM contamination
A pressure group plans to legally challenge the UK 's Food Standards Agency (FSA) over its alleged failure to act over imports of illegal GM rice. The Judicial Review, called for by Friends of the Earth (FoE), is due to be heard in court today. The case centres on the contamination of long grain rice with an experimental and GM strain grown in the US. On 18 August last year, the US Department of Agriculture announced that an illegal GM rice strain, unapproved for human consumption, had been found in long grain rice supplies destined for export.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

February 17, 2007

Exercise may help prevent breast cancer
A few hours of daily exercise may help prevent breast cancer and also help those who are suffering to cope, said studies. In one study, researchers surveyed 15,000 women and found that those who indulged in over six hours of strenuous exercise a week and have no family history of breast cancer may be 23 percent less likely to develop the disease than women who don't exercise at all. Another study showed that a 12-week group exercise programme might lift moods and boost physical functioning in women with early-stage breast cancer, reported an online edition of health magazine WebMD.
Read article at rxpgnews.com

Suppressed report shows cancer link to GM potatoes
Campaigners against genetically modified crops in Britain last are calling for trials of GM potatoes this spring to be halted after releasing more evidence of links with cancers in laboratory rats. UK Greenpeace activists said the findings, obtained from Russian trials after an eight-year court battle with the biotech industry, vindicated research by Dr Arpad Pusztai, whose work was criticised by the Royal Society and the Netherlands State Institute for Quality Control.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

February 16, 2007

Study underlines global organic growth
A study showing that nearly 31 million hectares are currently certified according to organic standards will be presented tomorrow at BioFach 2007. The results, gathered by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and the Foundation for Ecology and Farming (SÖL), underline the growing importance of this sector. The global market for organic products reached a value of €25.5 billion in 2005, with the vast majority of products being consumed in North America and Europe, according to the market research experts of Organic Monitor. For 2006, the value of global markets is estimated to be at more than €30 billion.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

February 15, 2007

USDA pulled up over GM approval
A Federal Court has ruled that the USDA failed to abide by federal environmental laws when it approved a genetically engineered crop without conducting a full Environment Impact Statement (EIS). The Center for Food Safety reported that US district court judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California decided in favor of farmers, consumers, and environmentalists who filed a suit calling the USDA's approval of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa a threat to farmers' livelihoods and a risk to the environment. Judge Breyer ordered that a full Environmental Impact Statement be carried out on "Roundup Ready" alfalfa, the GM variety developed by Monsanto and Forage Genetics.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

When It Comes to GM Food, Some Say Ignorance is Bliss
At a recent two-day meeting in Oslo , Norway , a sizeable group of delegates met to discuss establishing international Codex Guidelines for disclosing on food-product labels whether or not a food was genetically modified (GM).  Amazingly enough, a number of important countries’ delegates argued that consumers were not smart enough to understand and handle such information.  Ignorance is bliss, they essentially claimed.
Read press release on National Health Federation website (USA)

Debate Over Children and Psychiatric Drugs
Early on the morning of Dec. 13, police officers responding to a 911 call arrived at a house in Hull , Mass. , a seaside town near Boston , and found a 4-year-old girl on the floor of her parents’ bedroom, dead. She was lying on her side, in a pink diaper, the police said, sprawled across some discarded magazines and a stuffed brown bear. Last week, prosecutors in Plymouth County charged the parents, Michael and Carolyn Riley, with deliberately poisoning their daughter Rebecca by giving her overdoses of prescription drugs to sedate her. The police said the girl had been taking a potent cocktail of psychiatric drugs since age 2, when she was given a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and bipolar disorder, which is characterized by mood swings. The parents have pleaded not guilty, with their lawyers questioning whether the child should have been prescribed such powerful drugs.
Read article in the New York Times (USA)

February 13, 2007

Iran's anti-AIDS medicine to enter market in two months
Secretary of the Iranian Pharmacists Society Saeed Vaqefi said Monday that the newly discovered Iranian herbal medicine for HIV/AIDS is set to enter the domestic market within two months. Speaking to IRNA, the official said that the government was planning certain financial measures to give AIDS sufferers access to the medicine free of charge. The medicine, called IMOD, was developed from locally grown medicinal plants by young Iranian scientists in 15 different research centers after four to five years of hard work.
Read article from Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran)

February 12, 2007

Over One-Third of Americans Now Using Alternative Medicine
More than 37 percent of U.S. households regularly turn to alternative treatments for everything from headaches to diabetes…
Read article at thomson.com

Monsanto dumped toxic waste in UK
Evidence has emerged that the Monsanto chemical company paid contractors to dump thousands of tonnes of highly toxic waste in British landfill sites, knowing that their chemicals were liable to contaminate wildlife and people. Yesterday the Environment Agency said it had launched an inquiry after the chemicals were found to be polluting underground water supplies and the atmosphere 30 years after they were dumped. According to the agency it could cost up to £100m to clean up a site in south Wales that has been called "one of the most contaminated" in the country.
Read article in The Guardian (UK)

Canada 's new Food Guide includes dietary supplements
For the first time, Canada 's official Food Guide has made provisions for supplements. A trade association has endorsed these changes though it is calling on the government to give dietary supplements more play in the document. Health Canada, a branch of the federal government, issues a guide similar to the United States Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid. The latest version of Canada's Food Guide makes vitamin recommendations for women of childbearing age as well as for older people. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) expressed its approval of these changes.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

February 10, 2007

New bird flu outbreak in S Korea
Health workers in South Korea have begun to cull thousands of chickens after a new bird flu outbreak was discovered near the capital, Seoul . Chickens began dying on Tuesday at a poultry farm near Ansung, 80 km (50 miles) south of Seoul, officials said. The outbreak is the country's sixth since bird flu reappeared there three months ago after a three-year absence.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

February 9, 2007

First large-scale HIV trial launched in Africa
Study collaborators in the US and South Africa have reported the launch of the first ever large-scale study to evaluate a HIV vaccine on the African continent. The vaccine is manufactured by US company Merck & Co. The trial will involve up to 3,000 participants at five sites throughout South Africa and is expected to continue for four years.
Read article at pharmaceutical-business-review.com

Folic acid on the EU agenda
Debate over fortification of certain foods with folic acid has been initiated at EU-level, as various member states mull public health strategies for reducing pregnancies affected by neural tube defects. Deficiency of folic acid, a B vitamin that occurs naturally in foods such as grains, lentils, chick peas and green leafy vegetables, in the very early stages of pregnancy can lead to neutral tube defect, such as spina bifida, in the infant. Mandatory fortification of grain products with folic acid in North America since 1998 has led to a significant reduction in NTD incidence.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

February 8, 2007

Organic food sector under threat from new GM rules
New UK government proposals to allow up to 0.9 per cent GM in organic food without it being labelled threatens a highly lucrative industry, claim campaigners. The Soil Association said that businesses with turnover of £950m were "left in the cold" by the government consultation, which examined the coexistence between GM crops, non-GM crops and organic crops in England . A delegation representing 74 organic businesses met at the House of Commons to express their concerns this week.
Read article at nutraingredients.com

February 7, 2007

The Pill and HRT could be sold over the counter
The pill and hormone replacement therapy could be made available over the counter following a debate today set up by the organisation that regulates drugs and treatments. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is conducting a seminar in London as part of a campaign to improve women's health. Since 2002 it has been easier to change the designation of drugs from prescription-only medicines to those that can be sold under the supervision of a pharmacist. The emergency contraceptive Pill can already by bought from the chemist.
Read article in Daily Telegraph (UK)

Cancer 'to become bigger burden'
Rising rates of cancer diagnosis will put an increasing strain on health care systems across Europe , experts warn. An Annals of Oncology study estimates there were 3.2 million new cases of cancer in Europe in 2006 - up from 2.9 million in 2004.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

February 6, 2007

S.Africa orders probe into botched HIV gel trials
South Africa said on Tuesday it had ordered an inquiry following reports that participants in the clinical trial of a microbicide gel to help prevent HIV infection among women had instead contracted the virus. The U.S. reproductive health group CONRAD said last month it was halting trials of Canada-based Polydex Pharmaceutical's ushercell gel which were underway in South Africa , India , Benin and Uganda . Johannesburg 's City Press reported on Sunday that some of the 600 women in the South Africa trial had reported contracting HIV after using the gel, which is applied to the vagina an hour before sexual intercourse.
Read article at alertnet.org

Study shows increase in mental disorders among children
Mental disorders in children are on the rise, according to a study of nearly 700,000 young people. Researchers have known for several years that diagnoses of autism are increasing, but the new research suggests that Tourette syndrome and hyperkinetic disorder are also being more commonly identified in children. The researchers say it is not clear if the apparent rise is real and caused by environmental factors or whether it is due to increased awareness and diagnosis of child mental health problems by doctors.
Read article in the Guardian (UK)

February 5, 2007

Iranians Claim to Have "Cure for AIDS"
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran , claims "giant achievements" in his country, including an Iranian breakthrough in a "cure for AIDS." Yaakov Lappin of Ynet News covered the story released by the Iranian Fars news agency on Saturday. "The world should know today that the capable Iranian nation, relying on its own youths and scientists, has now conquered the peaks of knowledge and science," Ahmadinejad declared during his speech. "After seven long years of arduous work, Iranian scientists here on Saturday introduced a herbal medicine which cures Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)," Fars reported.
Read article at associatedcontent.com

Call to vaccinate all flocks as vets race to contain bird flu outbreak
Vaccination of all poultry flocks in Europe against avian flu should be considered in the wake of the outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus on a turkey farm in Suffolk, a senior European public health expert said yesterday. As the operation to gas almost 160,000 birds on the Bernard Matthews farm in Holton continued, Professor Koos Van der Velden, the chairman of the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme, in Utrecht, Netherlands, said the outbreak would increase the pressure on European governments to step up counter-measures.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

February 3, 2007

Medical research trial guinea pigs contract HIV
THE Medical Research Council (MRC) this week began a frantic search for more than 600 people, amid fears that the gel they were testing as a preventive measure against contracting HIV, was in fact increasing the risk of infection. Hundreds of women in South Africa , Benin , Nigeria , Uganda and India , who are being used as human guinea pigs in the US-funded research on HIV prevention, are feared to have contracted the virus during the course of the trials.
Read article at news24.com (South Africa)

Texas Is First to Require Cancer Shots for Schoolgirls
Texas on Friday became the first state to require all 11- and 12-year-old girls entering the sixth grade to be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. Averting a potentially divisive debate in the Legislature, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, signed an executive order mandating shots of the Merck vaccine Gardasil as protection against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, starting in September 2008.
Read article in New York Times (US)

February 1, 2007

WHO pulls plug on HIV trial
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been forced to abandon the clinical trial of a microbicide cellulose sulfate designed to help stop the spread of HIV. In a statement issued this morning, the WHO said higher rates of HIV transmission had been detected among the women using the microbicide compared to those on a placebo.
Read article at inthenews.co.uk

Air pollution link to heart risk
Air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, a study says. Researchers studied 66,000 women in and around 36 US cities, finding pollution levels varied between four to nearly 20 micrograms per cubic metre. The University of Washington team said each 10 microgram rise was matched by a 76% rise in the chances of dying from heart disease or stroke. It was not clear whether women are more susceptible to pollution than men, the New England Journal of Medicine said.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

'Anti-Aids gel' trial is stopped
Clinical trials of a new drug designed to help prevent women contracting the Aids virus have been stopped. The World Health Organisation said the drug - involving a gel known as a microbicide - did not help the women and made them more vulnerable. The tests were carried out on more than 1,300 women in South Africa, Benin, Uganda and India.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

January 31, 2007

Food retailers act to reduce heart disease
The country's biggest retailers announced today that they will stop adding harmful fats to their own-brand products in a move that could cut heart disease. Trans-fats, in the form of hydrogenated oils, have been added to bakery and dairy products for years, to extend shelf-life and improve texture. They are also used by the fast-food industry, although they do also occur naturally in some meat and dairy products. They have been linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and health authorities around the world have recommended their consumption be slashed.
Read article in The Independent (UK)

NY State dietary supplements safety committee proposed
A second bill pertaining to dietary supplements has been introduced at both levels of the New York State legislature, signifying political efforts to change current regulations are in fact serious. Bringing a bill simultaneously to both houses signifies it is well backed. This latest bill calls for the establishment of a dietary supplements safety committee, comprised of 18 members, for the state. In January, two bills concerning dietary supplement labeling were introduced to both the New York state assembly and senate.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

CBS News Doing Spin For Big Pharma In Latest Supplement Attacks
Remember the forged documents reported as “news” by Dan Rather at CBS Evening News just prior to the last Presidential election?  Rather was out the door sometime thereafter. The names and faces may have changed but the making up the news as they go remains the same at CBS Evening News. Several attack pieces on dietary supplements were launched in the guise of “news” during the course of last week’s CBS Evening News broadcasts.
Read article at healthtruthrevealed.com

January 29, 2007

Global GM Crops Area Exaggerated
The biotech industry’s mouthpiece, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agrobiotechnology Applications (ISAAA), has been exposed for grossly inflating the figures of GM crops grown globally. Its latest report lists countries growing GM crops that do not grow them, or that have banned them. For example, Iran is down as having grown tens of thousands of hectares of commercial GM rice in 2006, despite the fact Iran has never approved or grown GM rice on any commercial scale.
Read article on Institute of Science in Society (ISIS) website

Kids’ fruit, veg consumption inadequate, new study
Less than one in ten US children are eating the recommended levels of fruit and vegetables per day, according to a new study. Published in next month's issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the latest information adds to the growing body of evidence indicating that most adolescents fail to meet the nation's dietary guidelines. According to the study, which analyzed the behavior of almost 900 children aged 11 to 15, only 12 percent of participants consumed the recommended five or more daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

January 26, 2007

Hewitt: Get out of hospital before it kills you
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt yesterday admitted that staying in hospital can be fatal. She urged patients to leave as soon as possible to cut the risk of catching MRSA in the superbug crisis gripping the NHS. In a startling address to business leaders, Ms Hewitt said the longer a patient was in hospital, the more likely they were to be struck down.
Read article at Daily Express (UK)

January 22, 2007

Labelling bill pushed in New York state
A bill calling for dietary supplements to be explicitly labeled as not having been tested by the US Food & Drug Administration has been introduced at both levels of the New York state legislature. The companion bills were introduced by assemblyman Felix Ortiz to both the New York state assembly and the New York state senate. Critics of the dietary supplement industry accuse it of being unregulated, but the industry has repeatedly insisted that the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA) is a sufficient regulatory safeguard.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

January 21, 2007

Lee Evans Speaks Out about the HIV Tests
Lee Evans won two Olympic gold medals, held the world record in three different events, and is a member of both the USA Olympic Hall of Fame and the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Click here to view the video.

January 20, 2007

Vitamin pill for prostate cancer
Scientists have developed a vitamin D pill to treat advanced prostate cancer. Exposure to Vitamin D from sunlight is known to improve the prognosis of certain cancers. US drug company Novacea has produced a pill which delivers a concentrated dose of the vitamin without running the risk of side-effects from an overdose. Chemistry and Industry magazine reports that if clinical trials of the drug - Asentar (DN-101) - are successful it could be available by 2009. The drug would be given to patients in the advanced stages of the disease, along with chemotherapy drugs.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

January 18, 2007

Women legislators back supplements for schools
The nutrition supplement industry has received formal support from the National Foundation for Women Legislators (NFWL) in the form of a resolution recommending local governments to provide dietary supplements to children. NFWL's National Policy Committee on Education and Training consulted with the non-profit organization Vitamin Relief USA in drafting the document entitled “Resolution on Improving the Health and Educational Status of At-Risk Children with Daily Multi-vitamin/Mineral and Essential Fatty Acid Supplements”.
Read article at nutraingredients-usa.com

January 17, 2007

Doctors Say: US National Library of Medicine is Censoring Access to Nutritional Research
The world's largest medical library is biased, say physicians and educators. The US National Library of Medicine indexes most medical journals, and makes them instantly accessible through NLM's electronic Medline database. However, the peer-reviewed Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, continually published for 41 years, remains conspicuous by its absence from the library's listings. JOM publishes high-dose vitamin therapy studies and is read by physicians and scientists in over 35 countries. Some critics are now accusing NLM of information censorship, which, they maintain, is grossly inappropriate for a taxpayer-funded public library.
Read press release at orthomolecular.org

January 16, 2007

Doctors and Nobel Laureate suggest HIV-AIDS is bio-terrorism
Has HIV-AIDS been created in laboratories funded by neo-conservative ideologues and "religious fascists" to depopulate vulnerable target groups, including blacks and other minorities, homosexuals, and perceived "decadent" sexually active individuals? Wangari Maathai suggests that HIV-AIDS is "man-made", and consistent with depopulation policy agenda. Depopulation has been a pivotal agenda of the neo-conservative American Eugenics Movement, in order to "free-up" resources for rich elites, and away from "inferior groups". The first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, spoke out on the AIDS virus saying it was man-made and deliberate ploy created as a weapon of 'biowarfare'.
Read article at agoracosmopolitan.com (The Canadian)

Canadian study shows bilingualism has protective effect in delaying onset of dementia by four years
Canadian scientists have found astonishing evidence that the lifelong use of two languages can help delay the onset of dementia symptoms by four years compared to people who are monolingual. There has been much interest and growing scientific literature examining how lifestyle factors such as physical activity, education and social engagement may help build "cognitive reserve" in later years of life. Now scientists with the Rotman Research Institute at the Baycrest Research Centre for Aging and the Brain have found the first evidence that another lifestyle factor, bilingualism, may help delay dementia symptoms. The study is published in the February 2007 issue of Neuropsychologia (Vol.45, No.2).
Read article at Life Extension News (US)

January 12, 2007

Mental health drugs overused
Up to one in three mental health patients are being over-prescribed drugs, says the Healthcare Commission. A report found mental health patients were more likely to have problems with medicines than those in other trusts. The healthcare watchdog said management of mental healthcare patients' medicines must improve, and pharmacists should be involved in patient care.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

January 11, 2007

Low Maternal B12 Increases Children’s Risk of Heart Defects
Low periconceptional levels of B12 in women may increase the risk of their children having a congenital heart defect (CHD).
Read story at NaturalProductsInsider.com (US)

January 10, 2007

Uranium 'killing Italian troops'
Italian soldiers are still dying following exposure to depleted uranium in the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, their relatives say. Troops who served during the wars in the 1990s believe they have contracted cancer and other serious illnesses from extended exposure to the munitions.
Read story at BBC News (UK)

January 05, 2007

Additives lurk in everyday diets
People in Britain consume on average 20 different food additives every day, with some eating up to 50, a study has suggested. Yet many people are unaware of this figure, with nearly half of the 1,006 people surveyed thinking they ate only 10 additives each day. The research also found that many people do not understand which foods are most likely to contain additives.
Read article at BBC News (UK)

January 03, 2007

Mental illness drug payments call
Paying people with severe mental illnesses to take medication may encourage some to stick to their drug regime, a team of London doctors says. They have quoted four cases where payments reportedly increased use of medication and cut hospital admissions. But campaigners said the Psychiatric Bulletin study did not offer a "real solution" for improving medication use.
Read article at BBC News (UK)