ASA attacks natural health again! Big Tech is untrustworthy Fresh air reduces coronavirus spread Canadian smart community fails EFSA pesticide studies bomb Are lockdowns improving our diet? Call to ban marketing claims on infant formula
UK advertising standards watchdog attacks natural therapeutics… again
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have once again attacked businesses offering natural therapeutics to those wishing to support their immune systems naturally during the current pandemic. On 22 April it issued an enforcement notice warning it will be taking action against companies offering intravenous (IV) drips that could help to prevent or treat Covid-19. At the same time, it published three rulings against companies offering IV vitamin C for making medicinal claims. On 13 May a ruling against Chuckling Goat was made after they advertised the probiotic properties of their products as being supportive to the immune system. In a second ruling on 13 May, SkinSpaceUK was also challenged for offering IV vitamin C and IV B12 to those wishing to support their immune systems. The ASA has deemed both companies to be in violation of its rules by implying their products ‘prevent, treat or cure human disease.’ The ASA has proved itself no friend to natural health over the years and even teamed up with a militant skeptic group as far back as 2011 to attack natural medicine. EU/UK legislation prevents companies from making health benefit or medicinal claims for products without authorised health claims or medicinal licences. However, given the lack of any public health nutrition and lifestyle advice regarding immune support during the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread censorship online, it is understandable why companies are choosing to take the risk of informing citizens about their products at this time. Given what we know about vitamin C, in particular, these rulings are extremely short-sighted, if not dangerous. We call yet again for the ASA to take account of all available scientific and clinical evidence regarding natural therapeutics for immune health, rather than ‘cherry-picking’ to support its draconian rulings.
Big Tech can’t be trusted
A new survey from Doteveryone reveals people’s dissatisfaction with and distrust of Big Tech. Nearly half of those surveyed said there was no point reading terms and conditions attached to internet services as Big Tech companies will do what they want regardless. As we experience never-before-seen levels of censorship, 67% of those surveyed reported that they have searched for news outside of their ‘filter bubble’. Although 60% believe there is too little regulation of the tech sector, over 80% thought the internet has improved their lives, but half were pessimistic about the ways in which technology might impact their lives in future. Adoption of online technology has increased exponentially as a result of globally enforced lockdowns. Whether or not people will continue to use those technologies when they can once again socialise face to face remains to be seen. In the meantime, you can help us to circumvent the widespread and draconian censorship of anything but the ‘party-line’ by sharing our articles and information directly with your networks.
Fresh air and sunshine reduces coronavirus spread
Breaking news in the UK: being outside can reduce your risk of catching the coronavirus! Professor Alan Penn, a member of the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has finally acknowledged the benefits of spending time outside in the sun. Saying that the science suggests being outdoors, “…is highly protective against transmission of the virus” where it is less likely to survive for any length of time. Yet we are to maintain social distancing and, in the UK, are only allowed to meet one other person outside of our household in the great outdoors. A scientific advisor the US government also recently pointed out UV light’s potential to kill the virus in less than two minutes. Now lockdowns around the world are being relaxed it’s the best time to make the most of the great outdoors to get some much needed sunshine to top up your vitamin D levels, support your immune function and reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill without fear of the virus.
Canadian smart community bombs
A project in Toronto, Canada called Toronto Tomorrow, aiming to build a smart community, has failed miserably in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Google affiliate, Sidewalk Labs, has abandoned the project saying it’s no longer financially viable. The project has been subject to enormous criticism, in particular, regarding the proposed overwhelming levels of surveillance of residents, along with data safety and privacy issues. The project’s failure is somewhat ironic given the massive ramping up of surveillance levels arising out of the pandemic that threaten our human rights and signal an end to democracy and freedom.
EFSA pesticide studies not fit for purpose
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) studies into exposure levels to pesticides from our diet have been deemed not fit for purpose by the Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN). Fifteen years in the making, the first two studies from a collaboration between EFSA and the Dutch National Institute For Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) examined the chronic effects on the thyroid system and acute effects on the nervous system from cocktails of pesticides found on food. Both assessments concluded, “…consumer risk from dietary cumulative exposure is, with varying degrees of certainty, below the threshold that triggers regulatory action for all the population groups covered.” The conclusions come despite recent EFSA findings that more than 65% of common fruits such as strawberries, cherries and pears are contaminated with two or more pesticide residues. Central to PAN’s criticisms is the lack of experimental studies using combinations of pesticides. We urgently call on regulators to look at the effects of the combined load of toxins on human health and to stop claiming that chemical cocktails are safe without any supporting data.
Are lockdowns changing the way we eat?
A new report from Ecovia highlights the surge in demand for organic and sustainable foods during lockdowns as the pandemic brings the relationship between health and nutrition to the fore. Demand is expected to remain high once lockdowns are eased. A survey from FMCG Gurus suggests 72% of European consumers will make more effort to adopt healthy eating habits in future as a direct result of Covid-19. In the Netherlands, data from the Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) found only small changes in the way Dutch consumers eat. However, 7% of those surveyed said they were eating more junk foods during lockdown. In the UK, according to research commissioned by Flora, it’s reported that around 32 million people have improved their eating habits in an effort to become healthier. Despite the lack of any public health action since it’s become apparent that a major at-risk group for severe Covid-19 symptoms are those who have a BMI over 25 with metabolic dysfunction (e.g. type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease), citizens are taking action for themselves. If you know someone who might benefit from additional information on healthy eating, please share our Food4Health guidelines with them. These guidelines are specifically tailored to assist metabolic flexibility, reduce chronic low-grade inflammation, enhance microbial diversity and create health. Not just for lockdown, but for always.
Call to ban misleading marketing claims on infant formula
British doctors writing in the BMJ are calling for misleading nutrition and health claims attached to infant formula to be banned. The analysis criticises the use of aggressive marketing techniques to influence decisions over whether to breastfeed or not at a time when new mothers are particularly vulnerable. It also highlights the risks to the health of babies from the use of infant formula along with often weak and biased science used to support misleading claims. If a woman can breastfeed, then it’s the most natural nourishment for a baby, providing nutrient factors that are far too complex to mimic in a manufacturing facility. That’s why it’s imperative that marketing claims are tightly regulated and parents are given information that actively promotes and supports breastfeeding to allow for properly informed decisions about what’s best for their baby.
Teacher, health practitioner and founder of The New School, Lucy Stephens, shares her concerns about the impact the new proposals for schools could have on child development, emotional health and wellbeing