Governments warn that babies should not eat honey because of the risk of botulism and prepare to irradiate more of our food. Vaccines are pushed for all they’re worth, regardless of how effective and dangerous they are, while natural immunity is scorned and overlooked. Do we need to rethink our current ‘war on germs’?

Honey, should we be worried about botulism?

An everyday adventure into the unknown, child rearing is fraught with fist-gnawingly difficult decisions over how best to keep little Joan safe from the threats to her safety lurking in the kitchen, hiding in the bathroom, floating in the atmosphere and just generally making a nuisance of themselves.  Spores of Clostridium botulinum, the source of deadly botulinum toxin, have been found in honey and have, since 1979, been linked to infant botulism. Today, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) advises that, “It’s best not to give your child honey until they’re one year old”.  

No, not really

But wait a minute. Even the 1979 paper that first alerted the world to the presence of C. botulinum spores in honey described the bacterium as ‘ubiquitous’; in other words, it’s everywhere, including in the air we breathe. It wasn’t until 2010 that C. botulinum spores were identified both in an infant with botulism and a sample of honey eaten by the infant. Furthermore, since infant botulism is a very different condition to adult botulism, with a far lower mortality rate, parents should not be dissuaded from feeding it to their babies on such a tenuous basis. Fortunately, UK parents appear to see through this official over-reaction.

Irradiation and zero-risk food

The official conviction that germ-free food is better for our health extends to food irradiation. Never mind that zapping life-sustaining food with potentially unlimited doses of ionising radiation has been shown to nutritionally degrade food and pose health risks of its own. As long as there are no nasty microbes in it, our food is safe, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others. 

Vaccines: the mask is slipping

While microbes in our food and the environment are declared an enemy of humanity, however, officialdom is only too happy to inject as many people as possible with vaccines containing live, killed or attenuated viruses and bacteria, both whole-cell and fragmented, in the pursuit of inoculation

The obsession continues even despite convincing evidence that vaccines are not responsible for many of the public health miracles attributed to them, and that over-vaccination of children leads to increased hospitalisation and death.  The broken concept of evidence-based medicine is elbowed aside entirely in favour of widespread vaccination.  Also on the receiving end of a damning Cochrane review, Tamiflu has been approved in the US for treatment of flu in infants as young as 14 days. When authorities are forced to invent statistics to gain public support for their science-free decisions, and decide that mercury in vaccines is a good idea, after all, questions must surely be asked.  

Truly callous disregard

Asking those questions is a researcher named Lucija Tomljenovic, PhD, who used Freedom of Information requests to expose the workings of the UK’s highly secretive Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – the body that decides the country’s vaccine policy.  We urge you to read the whole Tomljenovic report, but here’s a flavour of its contents: “The JCVI made continuous efforts to withhold critical data on severe adverse reactions and contraindications to vaccinations to both parents and health practitioners in order to reach overall vaccination rates...”. 

Germ theory and natural immunity

Forgotten for a constellation of reasons including ideology, conflicts of interest, regulatory capture, profit-seeking and more is the fact that an immune system maintained in optimal health through natural methods is by far the best way of avoiding infectious diseases. If our modern societies are to develop safer and more effective ways of dealing with infectious diseases, not to mention an attitude where we treat natural, nutritious food as our friend rather than as something suspicious, we need to look again at our relationship with microbes.

Perhaps, as researcher Charles D Raison put forward in the context of depression, modern, city-dwelling, sanitised humans need to restart a ‘conversation’ with beneficial microbes that train the immune system to differentiate between dangerous and non-threatening micro-organisms. Put simply, kids should be allowed to play outside in the mud and dirt! A mountain of emerging science is already forcing orthodox medicine to recognise the central role of gut microbes in health and disease.

Wanted: microbes for a close, symbiotic, fundamental relationship

In fact, we believe that the entire ‘germ theory’ concept is overdue some serious reappraisal. Although his famous theory proposed that most infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microbes invading the body, Louis Pasteur is said to have admitted at the end of his life that, “The terrain is everything; the germ is nothing”. In this, he belatedly recognised the work of his contemporary, Antoine Béchamp, who showed that micro-organisms change form throughout their lives within the host in response to the bacterial environment. According to Béchamp, pathogenic microorganisms arise when the conditions favour them, i.e. when the host’s internal environment is sufficiently unbalanced.  An excellent book on Béchamp’s life and work is Béchamp or Pasteur: a lost chapter in the history of biology, by Ethel D Hume.

Microbes are, in many cases, our friends. They are at best misunderstood. A better world will emerge when humans recognise these simple facts and act accordingly.

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