The HPV vaccine, food labelling, muscle mass related to lower risk of death, the mumps vaccine, GM pollen in honey, meningitis vaccine, and the ASA
Japanese government hearing into HPV vaccine dangers
A public hearing sponsored by the Japanese government took place last month, to hear scientific and medical evidence of the risks of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccinations. Evidence was presented by international scientists and medical experts, led by Dr Harumi Sakai, a former Professor from Tokai University School of Medicine. In attendance, were medical academic members of the Japanese government’s Advisory Council on the Alleged Adverse Reactions to HPV Vaccines, top ranking Japanese Health Ministry bureaucrats as well as journalists from Japan’s major news outlets.
Japanese government policy with regard to the controversial HPV vaccines Cervarix and Gardasil, is under debate following a partial suspension of the vaccination program by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare in June 2013. Promotion of the vaccine was halted in Japan, due to numerous adverse advents following vaccination of teenage girls.
European consumers set to become the most informed about food
From December 2014, European consumers will become some of the best informed about the food they purchase, as the new ‘provision of food information to consumers’ (FIC) regulation comes into effect. EU Regulation No 1169/2011 becomes mandatory by December 2016 and will require mandatory nutrition information, which includes origin labelling of unprocessed meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry, the highlighting of allergens e.g. peanuts or milk in food ingredients lists, better legibility, and provision of allergen information for foods sold in restaurants and cafés.
The increasing incidence and recognition of food allergies has prompted the UK Food Standards Agency to commission food allergy research on eating out behaviours. The University of Bath study aims to develop an understanding of “the choices and eating behaviours of food allergenic and intolerant consumers when eating out”. The study will explore various ways in which information could be provided in respect of 14 allergens. “The fourteen allergens as listed in the EU FIC are cereals containing gluten, crustaceans, molluscs, eggs, fish, peanuts, nuts, soya, milk, celery, mustard, sesame, lupin, and sulphur dioxide at levels above 10mg/kg or 10 mg/litre.”
Maintaining muscle mass lowers risk of death
Research conducted on around 4,000 participants over the age of 55 (65 for women) from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III demonstrates a link with longevity and reduction in all-cause mortality. Protecting against sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) and actively building muscle mass in older adults decreases metabolic risk and is a predictor for longevity. The conclusion of the study highlights the importance of looking not only at Body Mass Index (BMI), but at overall body composition, which includes muscle mass. The study’s co-author, Dr. Arun Karlamangla, explained the results in very simple terms, “In other words, the greater your muscle mass, the lower your risk of death. Thus, rather than worrying about weight or body mass index, we should be trying to maximize and maintain muscle mass.”
Efficacy of mumps vaccine in question
Following a mumps outbreak at and around Ohio State university questions are being raised over the efficacy of the vaccine. Reports that the vaccination may not safeguard people from catching the disease are circulating following 21 recent cases affecting mainly students and staff, most of which had been vaccinated. Many potential carriers have now left the campus for spring break, but given the incubation period of 15-25 days, the risk of it spreading further is high. Spokesman for Columbus Public Health, Jose Rodriguez, has notified health departments across the country. Rodriguez admits that, “Even within folks that are vaccinated, they are still at risk of illness.” Despite this he still encourages those who have not been vaccinated to do so immediately, and for everyone to practice common sense and good hygiene. Although it’s not thought to be related, there was another mumps outbreak at Fordham University in New York State.
EU MEPs wriggle out of labelling GM pollen in honey
In January of this year (2014), MEPs voted to hide genetically modified pollen in honey. On Wednesday 19th March 2014 MEPs endorsed draft rules that define pollen as a natural constituent of honey and not an ingredient. This labelling means that producers only have to include it on the label if its GM content is over 0.9%. British MEP Julie Girling from the European Conservatives and Reformist (ECR) said “The ingredient/constituent argument has arisen due to the labelling implications of each option. If pollen continues to be considered a ‘constituent’, any GM pollen present would not need to be labelled. This is because, according to the GM regulation, only GM content above 0.9 % needs to be labelled. Since pollen only forms around 0.5 % of any batch of honey, it would never exceed the labelling threshold." Ilaria Passarani, head of the European Consumer Organisation's (BEUC) Food and Health Department, believes honey shouldn’t escape GM labelling, and that when the text is voted on in the Strasbourg plenary, Parliament should consider the consumers right to know very closely.
Every UK child to get a free meningitis B
The UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has announced that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) will soon offer free meningitis B jabs for children. The Department of Health had initially decided not to offer this vaccination for free saying it was not cost-effective, but has recently made a dramatic U-turn. The U-turn follows petition pressure from leading scientists and researchers, as well as the Meningitis Now foundation, plus a personal warning from Prime Minister, David Cameron, to Jeremy Hunt on potential political damage. The disease is described as “a parent’s greatest fear” and “an unnecessary life-threatening lottery”, but there are still questions over the efficacy of the meningitis jab.
CAMpaign to close the current Advertising Standards Agency
Following the release of her movie ‘Alyssa Spills All’, Alyssa Burns-Hill has stepped up her campaign further by sending out a press release pushing for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to be closed down in favour of a new Government regulated agency. Within the press release she stresses that the campaign “is not about giving credence to people who practice without qualifications or make claims that are false or misleading” but more a movement to “stop the massacre of natural health practitioners under the pretext of misrepresentation of natural health’s science and practice.” We urge you to support her campaign, watch the movie and sign the e-petition.