New petition demands regulatory freedom for healthy food

Europe’s Novel Food Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 258/97) was originally developed to protect citizens from the new-to-nature genetically modified organisms coming onto the food market.  Now it’s effectively being used as a barrier to innovation in the natural health sector, especially if botanical in nature.  Food ingredients and foods supplements may be classified as novel due to their origin, manufacturing process or composition if they were not on ‘significant’ sale in Europe prior to 15th May 1997.  This effectively means that food or botanical ingredients that may be very common in other parts of the world, are now effectively barred from European markets unless companies have the money to get through the costly novel food authorisation process.  Our friends at the German trade and practitioner association NEM are calling on the European Parliament and the European Council to intervene and prevent this regulation from continuing as a barrier to scientific innovation and market growth.  Please show your support and sign the petition to send an unequivocal message to European lawmakers

GM scientists receive freedom of information requests

Six scientific researchers from the Universty of California (UC) have been approached with freedom of information requests regarding GMOs. The requests ask that any correspondence between a dozen academic researchers and a handful of agricultural companies, trade groups, and PR firms be handed over. One of the scientists targeted, geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam PhD, stated, “It seems like a fishing expedition to me. I am very worried [the correspondence] is going to be used to sully the reputations of scientists.” The non-profit group responsible for the requests is the U.S. Right to Know (USRTK) of Oakland, California, and which has made clear it has no vendetta. Executive Director of USRTK, Gary Ruskin, seeks correspondence exchanged after 2012 between the scientists, and 14 companies and groups, including the likes of Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont, major biotech and grocery trade groups, and communications firms. Many researchers are awaiting advice from university lawyers on how to respond, and USRTK says it just wants to promote transparency in a controversial research arena.

Are you keen to stand up for your rights as a consumer to know what’s in your food? Then use Friends of the Earth’s sample script and tell your representative!

HRT increases the risk of ovarian cancer

An analysis of 52 separate studies published in the Lancet has found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk of ovarian cancer. The University of Oxford research found that taking HRT for five years is linked to one extra case of ovarian cancer per 1,000 women. A leading cancer charity said this was a "modest increase on a relatively uncommon cancer", and the risk did fall after HRT stopped. Lead researcher, Prof Sir Richard Peto, said, "It’s a risk, about a million women in this country [the UK] have HRT and 1,000 will get ovarian cancer from it." Some women are naturally very concerned about the findings as they suffer badly from the side effects of menopause and say that their life would be unbearable without HRT. Unfortunately, relatively few women are aware of natural alternatives to HRT.  The UK’s medicine’s regulator the MHRA said it advised using the lowest effective dose of HRT for the shortest possible time.

Research shows Roundup can cause adverse health effects in wild fish population

Research carried out at the University of Exeter has found that exposure to the world’s number one herbicide, Roundup, can cause stress responses in brown trout. There have been increasing concerns about potential environmental and human health impacts due to the active ingredient, glyphosate, and other formulation ingredients. This study aimed to characterise and compare the global mechanisms of toxicity of glyphosate and Roundup in the liver of brown trout (Salmo trutta). Other research has shown that glyphosate and Roundup can induce a broad range of biological effects in exposed organisms, particularly by generating high levels of oxidative stress. This study concludes, “The significant alterations in transcript expression observed at the lowest concentrations tested raises concerns for the potential toxicity of this herbicide to fish populations inhabiting contaminated rivers.”

Weight loss treatment with a side order of cancer

A pharmaceutical ‘diet pill’ that is being touted as life-changing still has serious and unanswered questions about its safety. Liraglutide has been used for over five years to treat type 2 diabetes and now could be available on NHS to target the obesity crisis, even though it has been linked both with a raised risk of thyroid cancer and with a condition which can lead to cancer of the pancreas. Those looking to ‘slim’ will receive double the dose of those taking it for diabetes; this will inevitably increase risk further. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said, “The mechanism by which liraglutide treatment results in weight loss is not entirely understood, but it appears to regulate the appetite by increasing feelings of fullness and lowering feelings of hunger.” Zoe Harcombe points out in her article that the “mechanism could be the nausea and diarrhoea, which are listed as “very common” side effects.” She also states that the 1lb of weight loss every 3 weeks leaves her feeling completely underwhelmed. For most people, simple diet and lifestyle change can easily better these targets, without risk. Paying attention to the ANH Food4Health plate, fasting in between meals, drinking lots of water, exercising portion control, and just plain increasing physical activity would definitely yield those results (and more!) and cost a great deal less.

The corporate threat to African agriculture

A new report has been drawn up jointly by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) and GRAIN. It is entitled “Land and Seed Laws Under Attack Who is pushing changes in Africa?” The detailed report warns: “Governments, corporations, foundations and development agencies are pushing hard to commercialise and industrialise African Farming”. The report provides an overview of the names behind a pattern of changes on the continent which are set to help agribusiness “become the continent’s primary food commodity producer”. In order to do this, “they are not only pouring money into projects to transform farming operations on the ground —they are also changing African laws to accommodate the agribusiness agenda”. All this despite evidence such as that provided by ISTAAD and the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food — which revealed the key role of agroecology in meeting the current challenges in the area of food security and nutrition.

New movie tells life story of Vitamin B12 campaigner

A new film — “Sally Pacholok the movie” is being featured in the upcoming US DC Independent Film Festival. The world premiere screening of the movie will be in Washington D.C. on February 28th. It features two decades in the life of nurse Sally Pacholok who began a Vitamin B12 awareness campaign, and co-wrote the book: “Could It Be B12? An Epidemic Of Misdiagnoses”, after her own unfortunate experience with B12 deficiency. Sally has also just completed  a new B12 book “specifically geared for children and mothers”, entitled “What’s Wrong with My Child?”, co-written with Jeffrey J. Stuart D.O. See also our earlier article on Vitamin B12.

 

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