Bayer/Monsanto trial settlement

Bayer’s legal team is attempting to slip off the hook by negotiating pre-hearing settlements in the thousands of pending court cases against Monsanto. What should have been the fourth Roundup cancer trial in the US was, last week, reported to have been postponed indefinitely as Bayer seeks to negotiate a final settlement with all parties. However, while some lawyers have accepted settlement terms it appears that two legal firms are not budging on their demands causing speculation that the trial could resume in February. Despite Bayer’s actions, there is still a trial in California proceeding, although negotiations continue to try and achieve a settlement. As Bayer continues to flex its financial might it seems a return to business as usual is on the cards, meaning that there is even more of an imperative for citizens’ voices to be heard.

GM plants for ‘plant factories’

As we alluded to in our log cabin chat last week on novel foods, ‘plant foods’ of the future are to be produced in ‘plant factories’, with many being genetically modified. Well that’s the view of Prof Huw Jones from Aberystwyth University. In an interview with FoodNavigator he predicts this is the way forward to feed a burgeoning global population. He also suggests that as vertical farming technologies advance, seeds bred to grow in living soil will need to be genetically modified. We, and many others, obviously have a different view, understanding that such food production systems will only move us further and further away from traditional foods and farming methods that protect and nurture natural environments, likely posing as yet unknown threats to our health.

Baby food companies dodgy sales tactics in India

The Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India (BPNI) has made a complaint to the Indian Ministry of Health & Family Welfare alleging Danone Nutricia and Abbott Nutrition are unduly influencing doctors to recommend its baby products, including infant formula. Nestlé were also recently pulled up for similar infringements, which is being investigated by the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development (WCD), set up to promote breastfeeding in India. The practices are being seen as a breach of the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods Act (IMS Act) designed to prevent misleading marketing for baby food. Their continued efforts to prevent breastfeeding goes against one of nature’s most primordial and instinctive behaviours as it chases profits over human health.

Deliberate industry moves to influence US dietary guidelines

A new industry funded study seeking to influence US dietary guidelines has been published in the journal Nutrients. In its press release the Grain Foods Foundation says the study seeks "to inform the development of the first-ever Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) to include specific recommendations for infants", by highlighting the health benefits (and potential risks of excluding them) of grain consumption to infants. Publication of the study continues a long-established corruption of science in the pursuit of financial gain regardless of the impact on future generations.

Pharma reaches deep into patient groups

A new review reveals the deep and extensive conflicts of interest between patient groups and the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Published in The BMJ, the authors call for greater transparency over industry ties to patient advocacy groups as they estimate up to 80% of patient groups have some sort of relationship with such companies. A linked article also comments on the level of funding provided to doctors by this same industry. This begs the question that however well-meaning such groups are, can they truly be an unbiased source of support and information for patients desperately seeking help when they most need it?

Alzheimer’s research refocuses on sugar

Researchers are finally cottoning on to the role that diet and lifestyle plays in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. The number of dementia sufferers globally continues to climb unabated by conventional treatment options, despite huge sums of money being pumped into research. It’s now painfully clear that the amyloid plaque theory doesn’t hold much water leading researchers to look at alternatives. Published in JAMA, a new article reveals that researchers are turning their attention to look at glucose metabolism and what role it may play in the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. However, this is far from being a new theory, as previous researchers coined the term “Type 3 Diabetes” back in 2005 to describe the phenomenon. The bottom line is that dementia is not an inevitable part of ageing that we should just accept. Taking early action to make better diet and lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk of developing dementia and related conditions, as well as helping you live a longer, more vital, life.

Gut health news in brief

Researchers at San Diego State University have found a 'new' way to use food as medicine to ‘landscape’ the gut microbiome to reduce harmful microbes and support the growth of beneficial species. A new study published in mBio reports children who struggle with behavioural issues had significant differences in the composition of their gut microbes compared to children with fewer problems. In other research artificial sweeteners, common household cleaning products and food additives have been implicated in the development of inflammation in the gut. The changes seen were similar to those found in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease or obesity. The ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines provide advice and guidance to help you eat in ways that help optimise your gut, as well as general health.