Monsanto v the People!

You won’t believe what Monsanto just sent Avaaz” read this Sunday’s email headline to Avaaz supporters. Having repeatedly bloodied Monsanto’s nose over the years with numerous campaigns focused against them, lawyers for the controversial agrochemical corporation have hit out at the highly successful online campaign group with a subpoena. In it they demand Avaaz hand over “every private email, note or record” they hold in regard to the ‘most evil corporation in the world’. The justification for this? Monsanto need to collect individual’s private information so they can fight class-action lawsuits against the civilian claims that glyphosate has caused cancer. Given only days to respond to the demand, Avaaz have decided to fight back. Their aim – to send Monsanto a message; they may have unlimited resources to intimidate, but the People are no longer afraid. It’s likely to be a bloody battle, given that Monsanto has the backing of a US Court and huge resources. You can support the Avaaz campaign by making a donation and help send the message to Monsanto — “Every time they come at us, they'll only make us stronger.”

Prof Noakes in the South African courts again

Despite Prof Tim Noakes winning his long-fought battle against the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) he is on trial once again. This time for his views on the use of low carb/high fat (LCHF) diets after the HPCSA launched a further appeal against the not guilty verdict. Noakes was originally put on trial following a complaint from a dietician about advice he gave to a breastfeeding mother on Twitter about the best foods to wean her baby on. This new legal onslaught comes at a time when governments are reviewing the science around LCHF diets for use with diabetic patients. Given tangible results from so many, diabetes charities are already promoting the LCHF dietary shift for managing type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity. It’s a dietary strategy with clear benefits for public health, but hurts Big Food where it counts – in the wallet. As always, follow the money. Thankfully Prof Noakes has many friends and supporters round the world. The LCHF wheels are spinning and it’s too late stop them now.

Radical Californian Clean Environment Initiative introduced

A groundbreaking new initiative has been announced by Californian Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The so-named, ‘Californian Clean Environment Initiative’, will, “Prohibit genetically engineered plants and animals and over 300 listed substances from being used or released into the environment. Creates new state entity to regulate environmental activities, modify projects having pollution and radiation impacts, and test and approve substances before they can be introduced in California. Prohibits treatment of water with fluoride or chlorine. Regulates vaccine ingredients and eliminates vaccination as a prerequisite for attendance at schools and day care facilities. Provides criminal and civil liability for violations, with no statute of limitations.” Supporters of the measure now have 180 days to collect signatures from 365,880 registered voters for it to qualify for ballot. Will Cheriel Jensen, a retired urban planner who introduced the initiative, be able to collect the signatures she needs? She already faces opposition from sceptics, but following the introduction of strict, and unpopular, vaccination laws in 2016, she may gain more support than she would have previously.

Unknown consequences of HPV vaccine

A new study evaluating type-replacement following HPV vaccination is being used to hail the ‘success’ of the HPV vaccine in preventing cancer, despite a stark lack of evidence. Indeed, previous studies have shown that high-risk HPV types are replacing those targeted by the HPV vaccine. However, the scientific debate is far from settled on this point but, given the apparent increase in cancers attributed to HPV infection, more research is clearly indicated. Campaigns in pro-HPV vaccine countries continue, but in our view it’s far too soon to be giving the HPV vaccine such stellar plaudits given the high levels of adverse events and the, as yet unknown, risks of type replacement.

USDA sanctions hydroponic systems as organic

The Cornucopia Institute, have accused the USDA of “wilfully attempting to misinform the public” after an announcement last month that the, “Certification of hydroponic, aquaponic, and aeroponic operations is allowed under the USDA organic regulations, and has been since the National Organic Program (NOP) began.” In Europe too the majority of salad crops bought in supermarkets are now being grown in hydroponic systems. However, the overriding organic principle re plants obtaining nutrients from the soil remains heavily in force. In the US, hydroponic crops can be misleadingly labelled as organic, which for many, goes against the very ethos of organic production. Once again, profits seem to be taking priority over ecological sustainability. This erosion of organic standards erodes consumer confidence, which will end up hurting farmers and dissuade them from going organic. Perhaps it’s time to look at a new labelling system for hydroponic-grown plants so that the consumer is free to choose?