UK Chinese medicine practitioner group go legal over herbal products

The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture UK (ATCM) has indicated its intention to challenge the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), who have now announced the end of the sell through period for unlicensed herbal medicine products. The EU’s Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD) requirements have made it almost impossible for complex non-Western traditions to obtain traditional herbal registrations (THRs) for their products. UK national rules over THMPD implementation now require removal of unlicensed products from the market, which flies in the face of the dual regime for botanicals espoused by the European Commission. Commenting in Nutraingredients, Rob Verkerk PhD said: "The MHRA appears to have completely ignored the fact that representatives from the traditional medicines sector have made clear that many manufactured products have shelf lives that are as long as five years. The MHRA and the Department of Health have now created a very uncertain future for products sold in the UK that are neither eligible for THMPD — that even the European Commission considers not fit for its originally intended purpose — and those that benefitted previously from exemption under the now defunct Section 12(2) of the (UK) 1968 Medicines Act".

Organic is good for you

New research shows that after switching to at least 80% organic food for a week, pesticide levels in urine were reduced by nearly 90%. Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are commonly used in conventional farming and are associated with adverse health effects. Two groups were studied; one eating on average 93% organic food for 7 days and the other eating conventional. Leader of the Australian study Dr Liza Oates commented that “the people in the organic phase (of the study) still did have some exposure, so there are obviously some alternate routes of exposure.”  Rosemary Stanton, a nutritionist from the University of New South Wales, believes that the study may support the notion that organic food is a healthier option.  However, in the US, the Department of Agriculture is currently attacking the integrity of organic standards by allowing synthetic ingredients in organic foods. Support the organic industry by signing this petition!

Malaysia says NO to Gardasil vaccinations

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has said the National Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination Programme for 13-year-old Malaysian girls is irrelevant, has deadly side-effects and should be scrapped. The leading argument is that out of the 200 HPV types, 40 have the potential to cause cancer and the HPV vaccine protects against just 2-4 of these. Also targeting 13-year-olds is thought to be pointless as HPVs are spread through sexual activity and the vaccine only ‘protects’ for 4 years. CAP maintains its stance that HPV should be tackled through education and instilling religious and moral values.

China slams its foot down about GM soy

The Chinese government are moving towards a total ban on all GM soybean imports following a paper entitled ‘Must face up to the harm caused by imported GM soybeans to the health of 1.3 billion Chinese people’ published in Science & Technology Abstracts Newspaper. The paper highlights the damage GM soy beans can cause and stresses that “China must adopt strong preventative measures to assure bottom line protection for the life safety and health safety of the people”. Currently China is the main export market for GM soybean farmers, but this paper acknowledges the general decline in global acceptance, and another recent report, Who Benefits from GM Crops?, makes it look likely that a dramatic shift is on the cards. 

EU maintains water does not prevent dehydration

German professors Moritz Hagenmeyer and Andreas Hahn challenged the rejection of their water-hydration health claim from 2011 but the challenge has been thrown out. Professor Hagenmeyer diplomatically commented that “…the court [had] not rejected [their] action for substantive, but rather formal reasons,” and the court “…expressly [stated] that that its judgement does not impose an absolute ban of [their] claim.”  The professors are going to carefully examine whether the judgement is worthy of an appeal. Until such time, it’s worth remembering that in Europe, water does not prevent dehydration!

EFSA board riddled with Big Food lobbyists

EU watchdogs say “don’t appoint them” as two food industry lobbyists are short-listed as top candidates for seven possible places on the Board of the EU's Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The board is responsible for the risk assessment of all food and feed safety issues in the EU including genetically engineered plants, pesticides and food additives. Tighter ties with the Big Food industry who stand to make huge gains could complicate objective impartiality. EFSA already has conflicts of interests among its scientific panels and two current members of the Board with strong ties to the agro-food industry are re-applying for their positions. Researcher and campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Martin Pigeon, said : ''EFSA's reputation is already really bad; why add to the damage? It is unlikely that appointing lobbyists whose job is to influence food-related decisions for the private benefit of the food industry at the agency's Board is going to help the agency regain credibility.'' Several European NGOs, including the CEO sent an open letter in early April to Member States asking that food industry interests are not given seats on the Board of the EU's Food Safety Authority.

Opposition to smart meters is growing

A recent blog article features a document authored by biochemist Richard H Conrad, Ph.D., "intended as a letter addressed to a utility company considering the installation of smart meters". Entitled "Nine reasons Why Today's Smart Meter Systems are a Mistake", Conrad explores all the privacy, security and health issues of the new technology used to track and record consumers' energy usage, and transmit the data wirelessly to utility companies, at microwave frequency. As a result of such concerns, and people's negative experiences, there is worldwide opposition to the technology, and according to Conrad, "the opposition is growing and persistent". There are now over 200 smart meter opposition groups world-wide. In addition "fifty-seven jurisdictions in the US are opposed to mandatory smart meters. Fifteen jurisdictions in California have made smart meter installations illegal". Refresh yourself with the facts, and support your local opposition group.

Trans Pacific Partnership campaign shines spotlight on secretive trade deal

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) secretive deal that threatens to censor the Internet, undermine environmental safeguards, remove democratic rights and benefit only big corporations is causing ever growing concern as more people find out that this is being fast-tracked in secrecy. is a growing campaign hosted and supported by several well-known organisations. So far, over 3 million concerned people worldwide have got behind it. Their latest campaign update states: "Together we grabbed the attention of decision-makers by projecting a Stop The Secrecy petition number on key buildings in Washington D.C. Now we need you to amplify our action by making it go viral online. Congress Member Ron Wyden, who leads U.S. trade legislation, has just joined with us to stand against TPP Secrecy”. Sign the petition.

Paul Connett sums up “The Arrogance of Fluoridation”

Paul Connett, PhD, the director of the Fluoride Action Network, has written a powerful new review, further presenting the case against fluoride. Entitled “The Arrogance of Fluoridation”, Connett begins “The practice of artificial water fluoridation is the height of arrogance when one considers the following undisputed facts and scientifically supported arguments”. He then sets out twenty key points, some of which are simple and straightforward, but nevertheless are well made, and demand serious attention. Connett recently gave a presentation on fluoridation in Seattle, Washington.

There is some good news for residents of Dallas, Texas, who we understand have endured no less than five decades of water fluoridation.  At the end of April, Dallas City Council members voted to end the unhealthy and expensive practice of adding fluoride to the city water supply — it is reported that this will result in savings to the tune of $1 million per year, and that’s only the money!

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