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US: Private Food Safety Labs Hide Negative Tests

June 1, 2008 Health, News Comments Off on US: Private Food Safety Labs Hide Negative Tests

Some private U.S. laboratories are under investigation by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce for withholding samples of tainted food and allowing importers to continue to bring their contaminated products into the U.S., the Chicago Tribune reported last week. A letter by the Congressional committee to the labs suggests that importing companies pressured them to toss out results that failed Food and Drug Administration standards. “We’re gathering information from both the FDA and private industry about the labs almost being complicit in helping importers game the system,” investigations subcommittee chairman Bart Stupak (D-MI) told the Tribune. “Someone told us you pay for the result you want to get from the labs.”
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India’s Colourless Revolution: Replacement of Traditional Oils by Soy and Palm Oils

May 12, 2008 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Commentaries, Health Comments Off on India’s Colourless Revolution: Replacement of Traditional Oils by Soy and Palm Oils
Replacement of Traditional Oils by Soy and Palm Oils

Dr Rashmi Sharma, Dept. of Chemistry, S.D. Govt. College, Beawar, India

The interrelationships between agriculture, food, cooking and health are highly complex and profoundly significant. A characteristic of complex relationships is that a change in any one component will have effects on the viability and functioning of each of the others. In India, where native seeds such as mustard, groundnut, sesame (til) and coconut are traditionally cultivated for their oil, this linkage can be clearly seen. With a high oil content, these seeds are traditionally extracted by cold pressing, an activity suited to small scale production and which utilises non-hazardous low-impact technologies. The resulting oils are nutritious, and high in natural flavours. And since they are traditionally used and stored in their unrefined state, they are long-lasting (1-4).

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Pew Commission Report: Industrial Animal Farming Poses “Unacceptable” Risks for Public Health and the Environment

May 4, 2008 (Un)Sustainable Farming, Health, News Comments Off on Pew Commission Report: Industrial Animal Farming Poses “Unacceptable” Risks for Public Health and the Environment

Pew Press Release is reproduced below:

The current industrial farm animal production (IFAP) system often poses unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the welfare of the animals themselves, according to an extensive 2½-year examination conducted by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production (PCIFAP), in a study released today.

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Civil Society Statement on Nanotechnology: Guiding Principles for Regulation

March 14, 2008 Environment, Health, News Comments Off on Civil Society Statement on Nanotechnology: Guiding Principles for Regulation

An international coalition of 44 food, environment and labour organisations is calling for urgent precautionary management of nanotechnology’s toxicity risks to human health and the environment, and its significant social challenges. The group has released a joint statement that details the principles which should underpin precautionary and democratic management of this powerful new technology.
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Farm Bill Amendment calls for NAS to Study Safety and Impacts of Cloned Meat and Animals

December 18, 2007 Health, News Comments Off on Farm Bill Amendment calls for NAS to Study Safety and Impacts of Cloned Meat and Animals

Press Release of the Center for Food Safety
FDA APPROVAL OF CLONES STALLED BY PASSAGE OF MIKULSKI-SPECTER AMENDMENT IN FARM BILL

Bill Passes by an Overwhelming Majority of 79 to 14; Coalition of Consumer,
Farmer, and Animal Welfare Groups Praise the Senate’s Action
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What is Nature Biotechnology good for?

December 4, 2007 Biotechnology, Commentaries, Health, Science Media Comments Off on What is Nature Biotechnology good for?

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

The case of Irina Ermakova

Quite likely it surprised many regular readers of Nature Biotechnology that for the September (2007) issue their journal had invented a new article format specifically in order to describe, and then extensively criticise, the work of a researcher that most of them had never heard of before (1). That surprise will only increase if they read the translation, featured on our website, of a Nov 1st article (The excommunication of a heretic) in the Swiss Newspaper WOZ. Readers who thought this new format was simply a curious, if rather aggressive, literary innovation, can now see that this was a story with a disturbing history. Even more interesting however than the ethical shenanigans behind the publication of the interview with Dr Ermakova, is a point not raised by the Swiss newspaper article.

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The Excommunication of a Heretic

November 26, 2007 Biotechnology, Health, News, Science Media Comments Off on The Excommunication of a Heretic

by Roland Fischer

The article below is translated from an original article in the Swiss German-language newspaper WOZ

An unusual article was published in the September printed edition of the science magazine “Nature Biotechnology”. The editor of the magazine had arranged a sort of “triangular” interview. In one corner he had invited a Russian scientist to answer a few critical questions about her feeding study of GM soybeans. That was researcher Irina Ermakova, who had already presented her initial results at conferences, and who now gladly agreed to help. The study had created considerable controversy, since Ermakova had reported toxic effects on the offspring of laboratory rats, leading to stunted growth and low survival rates.
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Corn Fakes

November 2, 2007 Biotechnology, Health, News Comments Off on Corn Fakes

The article below is reprinted from the British magazine Private Eye, No. 1194, 28 September-11 October 2007. The ‘heavy-handed’ libel threats referred to below temporarily closed the GM Watch website this summer.

Heavy-handed libel threats on the part of a biotech researcher have done little to silence criticism of a scientific paper claiming that shoppers prefer GM produce.
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Commentaries

The Meaning of Life (Part I)

DNA double helix

by Jonathan Latham, PhD Many people date the DNA revolution to the discovery of its structure by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953. But really it began thirty years before, conceived by the mind of John D Rockefeller, Sr. Thus it is fitting that DNA is named after him. …

The War Over Mangoes

Mangoes from Mexico

by Meredith Rector (Committee on U.S.-Latin American Relations (CUSLAR)) Growing mangoes in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has racked up an enormous socio-political expense for the region far greater than the price tag on the fruit in the supermarket. For a Mexican drug cartel desperate to move product, hiding …

Gene Drives: A Scientific Case for a Complete and Perpetual Ban

Mosquito and DNA

by Jonathan Latham, PhD One of the central issues of our day is how to safely manage the outputs of industrial innovation. Novel products incorporating nanotechnology, biotechnology, rare metals, microwaves, novel chemicals, and more, enter the market on a daily basis. Yet none of these products come with an adequate …

Genetics Is Giving Way to a New Science of Life

Phytoplankton

by Jonathan Latham, PhD Test your understanding of the living world with this simple question. What kind of biomolecule is found in all living organisms? If your answer is “DNA”, you are incorrect. The mistake is very forgiveable though. The standard English-language biology education casts DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) as the …

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Reviews

Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA

Poison Spring Evaggelos Valllianatos

Book Author: Evaggelos Vallianatos with McKay Jenkins Reviewed by: Carol Van Strum “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts,” Richard Feynman famously declared in 1966. Ever quick to challenge accepted wisdom, he distinguished the laudable ignorance of science, forever seeking unattainable certainties, from the dangerous ignorance of experts …

The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food

The Real Cost of Fracking book cover

Book Authors: Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald Reviewed by Allison Wilson (The Bioscience Resource Project) The first researchers to systematically document ill health in livestock, pets, and people living near fracking drill sites were Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald. Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at …

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