Tell people what to eat, and lose the vote

The German Green Party, that currently holds around 11% of seats in the national parliament, has been forced to swallow a bitter pill. Not a supplement, but the loss of support that followed the Green Party’s announcement of its ‘Veggie Day’ proposal. It seems many Germans feel that having a government telling them what they can and can’t eat is one step too far. It allowed Chancellor Angela Merkel to score easy points, and support for the Greens slipped from around 15% to just 9% as a result, prior to Mrs Merkel’s victory in the German elections. It seems some political parties have yet to understand the scale of public support for the notion of political liberalism, coupled with individual and social responsibility. With Germany the biggest consumer of food supplements in the EU, we might optimistically expect a similar backlash if supply routes for efficacious products are hindered by overly zealous, harmonised EU legislation that plans to restrict maximum vitamin and mineral levels, among other things.

Will benefits be removed from families who don’t vaccinate?

Earlier this week, British people woke up to media headlines telling them if Labour were to win the 2015 election, child benefit payments would be withdrawn from families whose children were not up-to-date with their combined measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccinations. It seems the idea was to arrest the plummeting decline in MMR vaccination rates since Andrew Wakefield and others hinted at a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Scary stuff indeed. So scary, in fact, that it created a public outcry. It begs the question: was this a hare-brained idea from the Labour party’s policy review team that accidentally found its way to the lips of the senior Labour MP who is heading the review? Or was the party testing the waters of public opinion? Whatever the reason, one that most of us will never know, it’s now clear that the Labour Party has no option but to distance itself from the policy if it wants to win the next election. It also provides a stark reminder of just how important it is for us to make our opinions known.

Opinions on vaccination

Speaking of opinions, the battle over whether or not to vaccinate is raging elsewhere, including in the US. KPCC, for example, a southern Californian radio station, is conducting a poll which asks if anti-vaccine parents should be held accountable if their child spreads illness. Make your opinion known, as every opinion counts.

Upping the ante is the challenge made by Alex Jones of Infowars to Piers Morgan, British journalist-cum-celebrity, to receive 1000 vaccinations over a 2-week period. The idea stemmed from claims by vaccine manufacturers that there is no upper safety limit for vaccines, and children could safely receive 10,000 or even 100,000 vaccinations at once. The challenge is made more poignant given Morgan’s 600,000-strong US audience on Piers Morgan Live on CNN.

Universal vaccine

We can expect more and more pressure from the pro-vaccination lobby as the vaccine industry aspires to produce so-called 'universal vaccines' for diseases like influenza, as promoted in a major research paper published this week in Nature Medicine.

Hospitals — are they safe?

It seems not. Following our ANH exclusive last year that revealed EU hospitals are twice as deadly as either cancer or smoking, a similar finding has emerged in the US.  The new study shows that more Americans die from preventable mistakes in hospital than those killed by strokes and accidents combined.

A win against Monsanto protection

In a bid to protect the interests of Big Biotech, the US House of Representatives pushed for an 11-week extension to a law passed last spring that enables farmers to keep growing GM crops even if they are being challenged in court. The law has been dubbed the 'Monsanto Protection Act' and intends to give farmers confidence that they will be able to sell their crops even if a court throws up safety issues, so keeping them free of any legal wrangling. 

However, the Senate has backtracked on this to ensure that the 'Monsanto Protection Act' will expire, as originally planned, at the end of the month.