Member since: Wed Feb 10, 2010, 12:12 PM
Number of posts: 2,287
Number of posts: 2,287
The parallels to the unfolding GMO story are evident.
Food Industry Ditches Trans Fats, Kids' Cholesterol Levels Drop
By Tom Philpott| Tue Aug. 21, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
"0 grams trans fats." That promise appears prominently on packaging for that classic American junk food, the Lay's Potato Chip. McDonald's iconic French fries? Trans-fat free—as are its Chicken McNuggets.
It wasn't always thus. As recently as 2006, journalist Nina Teicholz could report that consuming a large order of McDonald's fries and McNuggets in one sitting meant taking in nearly 10 grams of trans fats, a "substance considered so unhealthy that the National Academy of Sciences concluded, in 2002, that the only safe amount of trans fats in the diet is zero."
Trans fats are made through a process known as partial hydrogenation—basically, when you add hydrogen to ordinary vegetable oil, it becomes solid at room temperature, making it a cheap substitute for butter.
According to Teicholz, probably the journalist most responsible for exposing the ill effects of the once-ubiquitous, now-scarce substance, "A daily intake of five grams of trans fats increases the risk of contracting heart disease 4 percent to 28 percent."
Teicholz reported trans-fat production was dominated by agribusiness giants Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland, and Bunge. These companies ran a trade group called the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO), which "for decades" worked "behind the scenes to squelch bad news about trans fats." Teicholz reported:
As far back as 1968, the ISEO was mentioned in an internal memo written by the medical director of the American Heart Association: According to the memo, the ISEO objected to the AHA’s intention to include a warning about trans fats in its dietary guidelines; subsequently, the AHA took it out.
And the food industry, too, actively sought to repress research showing trans fats' ill effects. According to Teicholz, independent-minded scientists examining the topic had to "deal with the tidal wave of industry pressure unleashed against them at meetings, conferences, and events. Their papers were rebutted with unusual ferocity, and their research funding was scarce." The pressures came from the industry's highest levels:
Dr. Thomas Applewhite and Dr. J. Edward Hunter, industry scientists employed, respectively, by Kraft and Procter & Gamble (which held the original U.S. patent for trans fats), were the principal forces behind this criticism. Given that they worked for two food giants, the potential for bias was apparent, but their ability to fund research (as well as their own encyclopedic knowledge of the field) meant they could exercise considerable influence.
With independent science about its health effects virtually nil, trans fats took on a healthy sheen, promoted by a food industry that was happy to have found a cheap replacement for butter that also worked well in deep frying. By the '70s, "margarine manufacturers used the slogan 'Healthy for Your Heart' and marketed the product like a drug to doctors," Teicholz reported.
Meanwhile, damage to public health was severe. Teicholz cited Harvard epidemiologist Walter Willett, who reckoned that "of the half million Americans who die prematurely each year from heart disease—the leading cause of death in this country—at least 30,000 are killed by trans fats."
The breaking point came in 2002, when a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences produced a scathing report on the effect of trans fats. Spurred by the NAS document, the FDA had little choice but to move on labeling, which it began to require in 2006. Then came bans on using trans fats in restaurants in New York City, Philadelphia, and California. The drop in trans fat consumption was swift—a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that trans-fat levels in the blood of white adults plunged by 58 percent between 2000 to 2009. (The fats the industry has seized upon to replace trans fats, palm oil and interesterificated vegetable oil, may present their own problems, both to health and the environment, but that is a topic for another post.)
Although a long time in coming, the melting away of trans fats in the American diet shows that progress can be made—that when independent science can cut through industry-induced fog, and when regulators are compelled to do their job—the American diet can improve. But as the Journal of the American Medical Association article shows, things are still dire. Kids' cholesterol levels are coming down, the article notes, but obesity and overweight levels remain stubbornly high.
That unhappy fact, I think, stems from another practice the food industry picked up in the late '70s—adding massive amounts of empty sweeteners to processed food. As the journalist Gary Taubes has shown, the food industry has largely managed to bury a growing body of research on the harms of that habit.
Recommended comment: birdmechanical @ 09:41 AM yesterday.
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Fri Aug 24, 2012, 11:11 AM (0 replies)
August 1, 2012
Sign Daniel Ellsberg’s petition to free Bradley Manning
Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Bradley Manning Support Network call on you to sign our petition to free Bradley Manning.
Pentagon Papers whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg asks you to sign this petition to free Bradley Manning.
Petition link: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_human_rights_whistleblower_Bradley_Manning/?cCTAqdb
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Sun Aug 5, 2012, 10:34 PM (1 replies)
I haven't checked out the first link at all yet, but include it because it legitimizes the relevance of food to women/feminists. Do women control household spending, generally, and food spending, specifically? Inspired by the 'P&G salutes mothers' advertising theme during the Olympics, why don't women give the food issue the traction it needs to force responsible corporate change?
On April 12 and 13, 2007, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University’s fifth annual gender conference explored the relationship between food and gender, from production, to preparation, to consumption. Panels considered the variety of ways in which men and women shape food, and how, in turn, food and foodways shape men and women. The extraordinary culinary collection of the Schlesinger Library provided inspiration for the conference and its investigation of such topics as cooking, eating, famine, nutrition, obesity, anorexia, food writing, and food studies.
Why a Major Food Organization Is Teaming Up With Monsanto and Friends to Block Your Right to Know What's in Your Food
By Ronnie Cummins
Alternet, July 31, 2012
Straight to the Source
For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, and our California News page.
The California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered food is "a serious, long-term threat to the viability of agricultural biotechnology. Defeating the Initiative is GMA's single highest priority this year."
-- Pamela Bailey, President of Grocery Manufacturers Association, speech to the American Soybean Association, July 9, 2012
This November, Californians will vote for or against Prop 37 , the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. The outcome of that vote will likely determine whether the U.S. will one day join the nearly 50 other countries that allow their citizens to choose between genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered food through the enactment of laws requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The election is three months away, but the battle lines were drawn months ago. Lining up against the consumer's right to know -- and throwing plenty of money into the fight -- is a long list of industry front groups, food conglomerates and biotech companies. Near the top of that list is the powerful Washington, DC-based Grocery Manufacturer's Association (GMA), a multi-billion-dollar trade association. The GMA represents America's $1.2 trillion "Big Food" industry, led by supermarket chains, Monsanto and other biotech companies, animal drug companies, multinational food manufacturers, and junk food restaurants -- all of whom rely on the use of dangerous chemicals, pesticides, animal drugs, and GMOs to produce cheap, contaminated food.
FSA Public Information on GM DNA in Food Out of Step with Science
GM Freeze, 31 Jul 2012
Feeding studies (peer reviewed journal publications) reported earlier this year by the international GMSAFood project found genes from GM Bt maize present in the blood of animals fed on the crop, as well as in the flesh of salmon fed on GM feed. The project also found GM proteins and, critically, antibodies to those proteins, in the blood of rats fed Bt maize, indicating an immune response to the GM proteins.
This means current safety assessments of foods from animals fed a GM diet are not sufficiently rigorous to ensure safety – long-term feeding studies are not required for meat, milk or eggs from GM-fed animals.
Pete Riley of GM Freeze said:
"The FSA must keep its public information up-to-date and accurate or people will lose confidence in it. The latest research found whole genes and proteins in the blood and flesh of animals fed GM, so the FSA can't go on telling the public 'it is possible DNA fragments may occasionally be detected'. This is not the first time we have had to point out to the FSA its public information on GM is inaccurate.
"The worrying discovery of GM proteins and antibodies to those proteins, indicating an immune system response, means food safety testing must start looking at the long-term health implications of eating GM and eating animals that are fed GM. The current system simply doesn't look for such problems, so it's not surprising it doesn't find them.
"The FSA is supposed to be the public watchdog for food safety. It needs to be honest about the scientific uncertainties surrounding GM food and feed. If GM genes and proteins are getting into people's blood streams, we have a right to know."
1. GMSAFood Conference, Medical University of Vienna, 6-8 March 2012. "Genetically Modified Organisms GMO Safety and Post Market Monitoring." Professor Ashild Krogdahl of the Norwegian Veterinary School presents the research findings at a press conference via YouTube.
2. FSA, 11 April 2012. "GM Material in Animal Feed" (accessed 31 July 2012)
3. GM Freeze, 31 July 2012. "Food Standards Agency (FSA) position and public information on the presence of GM DNA material in animal products". (letter)
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduces a GMO Labeling amendment to the Farm Bill
Posted: June 14th, 2012
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Aug 1, 2012, 03:29 PM (3 replies)
Looks as though Child Protection Act of 2012 will pass with strong bipartisan support. Vote delayed now for lack of quorum, though.
15 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite
Incredibly eloquent statement by @DWStweets on behalf of HR 6063. "I have learned far too much about the world of child pornography."
15 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite
House debate on Child Protection Act of 2012 next up on C-SPAN.
16 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite
Tell Congress children R important to you & ask your Rep. to vote "YES" on our Child Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 6063) http://bit.ly/PksKe0
22 hours ago · reply · retweet · favorite
The Boston Globe has published an excellent, lengthy article reporting Homeland Security's operations to locate and rescue children from a global network of predators. This is the greatest form of "homeland security" there is. PROTECT is in the middle of a campaign now to get Congress to increase funding for these operations. This is why we fight. Warning: disturbing details. http://bo.st/Qq3WIs
Sunday at 1:10pm.
We're thinking today of the men and women on the front lines fighting child pornography. They go home every night with sights and sounds in their heads that could destroy the mental health of most people. They are truly our eyes and ears in hell, and the lifeline for untold thousands of children. Please thank them every chance you get... and demand our government support them.
July 27 at 12:52pm
Posted by proverbialwisdom | Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:40 PM (3 replies)
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