EU approves GM soybeans, Infant formula marketing laws get criminalised, Is mass medication really the answer?, Glyphosate alters human DNA, Supplements fight heart disease, An African diet for cancer prevention?
EU approves GM soybeans
Despite unresolved concerns over health risks the EU commission has allowed the import of genetically modified soybeans. The soybeans, produced by Bayer and Monsanto, can be used in food for human consumption as well as animal feed, and are capable of being, “sprayed with a combination of glyphosate and other herbicides such as dicamba or isoxaflute”. This decision has been made despite the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) just recently stating that, “The health risks resulting from herbicide residues cannot be properly assessed, and that safety levels cannot be defined since the relevant data are missing”. Another case of EFSA’s revolving doors?
Infant formula marketing offences criminalised
“The UK government has introduced legislation that would make a company’s failure to fall in line with EU infant formula and baby food marketing laws a criminal offence subject to fines”. The move has been welcomed by breastfeeding campaign group Baby Milk Action who explain that the regulation, “brings formula and baby food marketing laws in line with the new EU regulations” which is “particularly important in ‘this confusing post-Brexit time’”.
Is mass medication really the answer?
In mid-October 2016 Mozambique are planning to introduce the mandatory fortification of flour, corn meal, cooking oil, sugar and salt in an attempt to tackle malnutrition. In 2010, when the Mozambican government approved plans to tackle malnutrition, the National Committee for Food Fortification in Mozambique (CONFAM) was formed. The committee developed standards between 2012 and 2015, and started to introduce voluntary food fortification from 2013 upwards. Food fortification may be widely recognised as on of the most effective public health interventions available to combat micronutrient deficiencies, however ANH-Intl has repeatedly shone a light on some of the less publicised pitfalls. Some studies have suggested that folic acid fortification can in some instances be linked to an increase in cancer risk, which has led us to ask whether, “mass medication is really appropriate or necessary?”
Glyphosate alters human DNA
A new review of scientific literature has linked glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto’s number one selling herbicide, Round Up, to a range of different diseases through a new mechanism that modifies DNA functioning. The authors of the study found that, “Glyphosate acts as a glycine analogue that incorporates into peptides during protein synthesis. In this process, it alters a number of proteins that depend on conserved glycine for proper function. According to the authors, glyphosate substitution for glycine correlates with several diseases, including diabetes, obesity, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease, among others.” If this isn’t enough to prove that the ‘probably carcinogenic’ chemical should be actively avoided in our diet then we wonder what is?
Supplements fight heart disease
A recent study has suggested that nutraceuticals could have a significant positive impact in the fight against heart disease. The authors reviewed many existing studies and found beneficial effects from “a number of well-known nutraceuticals such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, hydroxytyrosol present in olive oil, dietary fibre, allicin present in garlic, phytosterols in plants, and flavonols in green tea and cocoa products”. The authors go so far as to say that, “The current literature points to immense promise on the use of nutraceuticals as a complementary strategy to current therapies in both the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis”.
Can an African diet can help prevent cancer?
Recent research is suggesting that an ‘African diet’, low in protein and fats and high in whole food carbohydrates, resistant starch and fibre can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. The study nicknamed The African Diet Swap took individuals from Pittsburgh and rural South Africa, swapping their diets under tightly controlled conditions for two weeks. During the process the researchers measured biological markers that indicate colon cancer risk and studied samples of bacteria taken from the colon. “After two weeks on the high-carb, high-fiber African diet, the African American group had significantly less colon inflammation and a dramatic drop in multiple risk factors for colon cancer. In the rural African group eating American food rich in animal proteins and fats, cancer risk markers increased dramatically after two weeks on the western diet.”.
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