The Love Natural, Love Organic Show, Vitamin D and Pharma, kids food ads, saving bees, medical journal airs patients’ voice, smart meters, and GM update
Love Natural, Love Organic Show 2014
ANH-Intl is thrilled to be involved with the all-new Love Natural, Love Organic Show. If you’re interested in health it’s an absolute must for you too! Run over three days, 4-6 July 2014, the show is taking place at London’s Olympia exhibition centre in the Great Hall and will include yummy food and drink, beautiful skin, body and hair care, pure household and lifestyle products, and lovely clothes and accessories – all natural and organic. And that’s just the Love Natural, Love Organic Show! You may recognise it as the Allergy and Free From Show, but it has evolved enormously and now gives you the opportunity to visit 4 great shows in 1; along with The Love Natural, Love Organic Show, you can also access The Back Pain Show, V Delicious and The Allergy & Free From Show. ANH-Intl will be on stand L68A and would love to see you there. Do come and catch Rob Verkerk PhD speaking on all 3 days covering topics such as GMO’s, ‘organic’, ‘free from’ and physical activity for perfect health, and making changes through personal empowerment. You can download unlimited free tickets, courtesy of the Soil Association, by visiting the link: www.LNLO.co.uk/go/ANH. There’s no excuse, it’s going to be an amazing event!
Big Pharma muscling in on vitamin D
Beware and prepare. Big Pharma is flexing its muscles on vitamin D supplements! Hitherto the domain of the dietary/food supplement arena, suddenly as vitamin D takes on increased priority in the mainstream, Pharma’s gunning for only medically licensed vitamin D products to be allowed on the market. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance regarding vitamin D, and has recommended that the Department of Health (DoH) work closely with manufacturers to ensure wider availability. Vitamin D manufacturer, Internis Pharmaceuticals, argue that food supplement products are not licensed and could therefore put people at risk of receiving a sub-therapeutic or excessive dose. However executive and scientific director of ANH-Intl, Robert Verkerk PhD, commented that, “Food supplements are in fact subject to a range of laws, quality control and advertising standards that make it an offence to sell to a consumer something that is not as labelled or advertised. Food supplements have a remarkably safe history of use making them by far the safest things we consume, being many times safer than conventional foods. If governments are truly to address the prevention of disease, it is all the more important to keep a diverse range of products available to allow consumers to exercise their choice and maintain and enhance their health. Most sectors of the population only use licensed medicines once they become sick.”
Big Food bows to pressure to stop advertising to kids
Food giants, which include the likes of Kelloggs, Nestle, Coca Cola and Unilever have promised to stop adverts targeting children that do not fulfill a specific nutrition criteria. This is part of a health and wellness pledge and involves 25 manufacturers committing to Consumer Good Forum (CGF) targets. The firms have promised to:
Stop targeted advertising to under 12 for products that do not fulfill a specific nutrition criteria based on scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines by 2018
Industry-wide implementation of consistent product labelling and consumer information to help consumers make informed choices and usages by 2018
Make company policies public on nutrition and product formulation by 2016
Implement employee health and wellness programmes by 2016
Nestle’s chief executive officer, Paul Bulcke, commented that the industry needs to scale up its efforts, and hopes that the Forum will have a positive impact in this area.
All help to save the bees!
In the midst of National Pollinator Week President Barack Obama announced that a team will investigate the reasons behind the loss of bees, and will develop strategies to help save them. In a memorandum released by the White House the value of honey bee pollination to agricultural crops is noted, and that the “problem requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.” However, some environmentalists are concerned that the plan does not go far enough. The Organic Consumers Association has a few ideas of action you can take to do your bit, or if you are in London, UK, this weekend you could attend an introductory session to beekeeping!
BMJ includes patients in “peer review” publication process
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) is beginning to include patients’ voices in the pre-publication “peer review” process. As evidence based medicine has increasingly taken a battering for the way in which it is influenced in favour of powerful pharmaceutical interests, we join Dr John Briffa in saying “bravo” to the BMJ for recognising that medicine should be patient-centred. A short BMJ video is now available, which explains the process of registering on the BMJ database, in order to become a patient reviewer. Possible areas that they could become involved with could include, for example, relevant medical conditions, psychiatry, emergency medicine, shared decision making and self management.
European Commission reports on smart meter rollout
The European Commission has produced a benchmarking report on the deployment of smart meters in 27 Member States. Published on the 17th June, the report focuses on electricity, and measures "progress on the deployment of intelligent metering in EU Member States". Depending on costs and benefits, Member States are "required to prepare a timescale (of up to 10 years in the case of electricity) for the deployment of intelligent metering systems". The report looks at progress to date and "frames recommendations for the way forward". Approximately 45 million smart meters have already been installed in Finland, Italy and Sweden. Only 16 out of the 27 Member States are proceeding with large-scale roll-out to be completed by 2020, including the three mentioned countries. The cost benefit analysis in 7 other Member States was negative or inconclusive.
Residents of Oregon in the USA are taking comprehensive action over GMOs. Two Oregon counties have already successfully banned GMOs from their cities, and now it’s being reported that “the state plans to map out all GMO fields within its borders to help mitigate the damage of cross-pollination”. If this is successful, then Oregon will be the first state to have measures in place, which go some way towards protecting organic crops.
Development of a new GMO rye grass in Australia is reported to be causing concern among Australian farmers —both organic and non-organic. Although not available until 2020, the plan is to feed it to dairy cows in order to boost milk production. Opponents are concerned about contamination of neighbouring farms, labelling issues and the unknown effects of consuming milk from GMO-fed cows. General manager of the National Association for Sustainable Agriculture Australia said "many of Australia’s important grain customers, such as Japan, China and Korea, did not want GM in their food chains and had zero tolerance to GM contamination".
Australian researchers, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation claim to have developed a “super-enriched banana genetically engineered to improve the lives of millions of people in Africa”. That’s quite a claim. The orange-fleshed banana is genetically modified to produce higher levels of alpha and beta-carotene. It is due to be trialled for a mere six weeks on humans in the USA, to test its effect on levels of vitamin A. The plan is to then plant the crop in Uganda, by 2020. Professor Dale of the Queensland University of Technology project is reported to have said “We know our science will work”. Good science, or wishful thinking?