EU should block Bayer/Monsanto merger

A new study from University College London has said the proposed merger between Bayer and Monsanto should not be allowed under EU competition law. The authors conclude that the merger would reduce competition, raise prices and farmer dependency on the company’s products, stifle the growth of alternative businesses and that the proposal to sell assets will not help. The report says that, “this merger is about control of the global food value chains as well as of the direction of the innovative effort in this industry in the next few decades”.

Education not new processed foods

In an initiative designed to tackle childhood obesity the Welsh Government and Innovate UK have given funding to four Welsh companies to develop food and drinks for children that are lower in salt, sugar and saturated fat. They also aim to provide foods with increased levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre. Childhood obesity is a global issue and one that governments around the world should be tackling through education on healthy eating based on whole nutrient dense foods, not processed, manufactured foods. The ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines give advice on how to use food to combat the risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight and metabolism.

Government responds to petition on NHS homeopathy

As more and more NHS organisations look to reduce their costs by stopping funding treatments such as homeopathy, the UK Government has responded to a petition calling for homeopathic medicine to remain available to patients, despite a three-month public consultation that's still underway. The statement acknowledges the role complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments can have, but states, “The Department of Health supports an approach to evidence-based prescribing […]. We are not aware of any evidence that demonstrates the therapeutic effectiveness of homeopathic products.” This is fundamentally incorrect, as there are 5 systematic reviews that provide evidence of the beneficial effects of homeopathy. Added to which is the bold statement from the Swiss Government in 2012 declaring that homeopathy both works and is considerably more cost effective than conventional medicine. There is still time to sign the petition and have your say in the consultation if you believe homeopathy should stay available on the NHS.

‘New’ Monsanto herbicide kills all before it

Even before a new version of the herbicide Dicamba became available, Monsanto was selling seeds engineered to be resistant to the herbicide. However, because the reformulated product was not available farmers used an older, more volatile version, that is far more likely to drift, damaging and destroying all that stands before it — apart from the genetically engineered soy and cotton crops! It is estimated that more than 3 million acres of other crops were damaged when the herbicide drifted away from its target fields. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Monsanto, BASF and DuPont on measures to reduce the problem with drift. Whilst this may reduce the problem, it doesn’t actually deal with the overuse of both pesticides and herbicides, which is leading to increasing problems of resistant weeds and insects, as well as the potential adverse health impacts on humans.