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NHRI Chicago Symposium Heralds A New Era for Dietary Supplements

By James J. Gormley

The ballroom was packed at the Natural Health  Research Institute (NHRI) 6th Annual Scientific Symposium in Schaumburg, Illinois on October 28th, as well it should have been not only considering the event title, which was “Cutting Healthcare Costs Through Prevention: Measuring the Efficacy, Safety, and Cost Savings of Dietary Supplements,” but also given the stellar lineup of world-class experts.

The speakers were:
Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, Department Chair and Professor of Integrative Health Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and Director of Integrative Practice at the Health Medicine Institute;
Mark Blumenthal, Founder and Executive Director of the American Botanical Council (ABC) and Founding Member of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
Allen Dobson, PhD, Health Economist and President of Dobson DaVanzo and Associates;
Artemis Simopoulos, MD, Founder and President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health; and
Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, Fellow of the Health Studies Collegium and Founder of PERQUE.

Dr. Jordan, whose presentation was entitled “Let Sanity Reign: The Undeniable Health-Wealth Connection for a Happier, Healthier Society,” electrified the audience with what could have been an indictment of how unhealthy the U.S. is but, instead, pointed the ways we can build a well-being society that takes into account: spirituality, nutrition-food, physical health, social belonging, intimacy and love, financial well-being and occupation-livelihood.

Mark Blumenthal’s talk was entitled: “Review of Safety and Benefits of Numerous Herns and Phytomedicinal Dietary Supplements as Demonstrated by Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Controlled Clinical Trials.” Mr. Blumenthal stunned many attendees with the statement that over a 3-year period, the annual number of herbal medicine papers rose from 739 in 1977 to 6,364 in 2007, most of which were scientific reviews and randomized controlled trials. He compared thenumber of studies with the imbalanced, typicaly negative coverage of herbal studies by the mainstream press, especially noticeable in journals that have the highest ratio of pharmaceutical ads, and reviewed the worldwide research on a wide range of medicinal plants.

Dr. Dobson’s presentation, “Discussion of Methods Used to Study the Reduction in Health Care Cost Through Dietary Supplements,” reviewed the billions of dollars in healthcare savings that could be achieved by widespread public-health promotion of a number of nutrients (including: calcium with vitamin D; folic acid; omega-3 fats; and lutein with zeaxanthin). Of great interest to many in attendance, he punched a number of holes in the recent multivitamin and vitamin E studies that have achieved such infamy.

Dr. Simopoulos’ talk was entitled: “Economic and Health Implications of Changing America’s Oil: The Omega-3 Opportunity.” She outlines the many downsides of the dramatic decrease in omega-3 fat consumption over the past 150 years due to agribusiness and food processing and the reasons why it is utterly imperative that we, as a society, significantly increase our consumption of omega-3 fats and decrease our intake of omega-6 fats.

Dr. Jaffe closed out the presentations with a talk entitled, “Evidence of Savings Through Application of Supplements to Treat Dietary Deficiencies.” He explained how by our correcting essential nutrient deficits relating to diabetes alone could save $135 billion each year, and that supplements for other health areas can save America an additional $50-100 billion annually, all while improving quality of life.

With the event having been organized by the NHRI and the American Nutrition Association, the NHRI is an independent, non-profit organization that supports science-based research on natural health and wellness. It is “committed to informing consumers, scientists, the media, policymakers and legislators about scientific evidence on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of diet, supplements and a healthy lifestyle in order to improve health and wellness, and reduce disease, around the world.”

Federal Judge Rules Against Corn Processors

Contact: Gene Grabowski
(202) 270-6560
Email: ggrabowski@levick.com

 Consumer Deception at Issue in False Advertising Case

LOS ANGELES — (October 22, 2011) – A federal judge has ruled that the case brought by American sugar farmers against big corn processors to stop their false advertising about high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) must go forward.

According to U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall, who issued two opinions comprising her ruling on Friday, “Plaintiffs have met their burden in showing a reasonable probability of success on their argument that the statements are false.” The judge also ruled that the challenged statements in Corn Refiners Association’s multi-million dollar campaign “constitute ‘commercial speech.’”

Judge Marshall made these rulings, in part, based on documents the CRA and its members had previously submitted to the Mexican government involving a regulatory issue in that country. “There is evidence in the record indicating that Defendants have themselves made statements about the different chemical make-up between table sugar and HFCS,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiffs have also submitted studies and papers that support its allegation that CRA’s claim that HFCS is sugar and/or natural is false and/or misleading.”

According to the lawsuit, consumers have increasingly sought to avoid products containing HFCS because of a wide range of health concerns. The lawsuit claims that the CRA has engaged in false advertising about these concerns. As part of this effort the CRA has advertised that HFCS is “corn sugar,” equated it with real sugar and called it natural – none of which is true.

While the corn processors have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to substitute “corn sugar” for “high-fructose corn syrup” on ingredient labels, the sugar-producing plaintiffs assert that the defendants did not even wait for the FDA’s response – which is still pending – before beginning their “corn sugar” re-branding efforts.

“We are gratified by Judge Marshall’s ruling and we look forward to a final resolution of our case so that the Corn Refiners Association is forced to end its deceptive campaign aimed at misleading American consumers,” said Adam Fox of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, who argued the case before the court.

For a copy of the Court’s rulings filed Friday, Oct. 21, or the original lawsuit, contact Justin Wilson at jwilson@levick.com.

Millions of American Consumers are Food Identity Theft Victims

 Food Packaging Deceptions Threaten National Food Integrity

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez                                                          
Hollenbeck Associates                                              
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10                                                   
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Even as more American families are trying to make healthier diet choices, many duplicitous food makers are contributing to the spread of Food Identity Theft.  Despite government safeguards and restrictions, dozens of food producers are misleading consumers with deceptive packaging or attempting to conceal questionable ingredients on labels.

While some of the deceptions are subtle, others are much more serious. Some make claims that are simply untrue, while others are in direct violation of Food & Drug Administration policies. Food Identity Theft issues include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup trying to change its name to “corn sugar” in order to conceal itself from consumers;
  • “Blueberry” muffin mixes, breakfast cereals and pastry products that have absolutely no blueberries in them;
  • Spaghetti sauces “Made from California Vine-ripened Tomatoes” that are made using industrial tomato concentrate (tomato paste and water).

“These companies are knowingly trying to pull a con on American families,” said Jim Turner, who chairs the non-profit consumer protection group, Citizens for Health. “We have the right to know what’s in the products we’re buying, and that means clear, accurate, and truthful package labeling.”

Citizens for Health has launched a new website, www.FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert consumers about these deceptive practices. With important information, links to the latest news stories, videos, and regulatory updates, site visitors will be aware of the most flagrant Food Identity Theft culprits.

Numerous consumer action groups, including the National Consumer League, the Consumer Federation of America, and the Center for Food Safety, have all publicly denounced Food Identity Theft deceptions.  Many businesses, including Whole Foods Markets, Jason’s Deli and Stonyfield Farm, actively support truth in food labeling practices.

“Americans who want to eat healthier need to know that companies like Betty Crocker, Smucker’s, Kellogg’s, Contadina and General Mills, and trade groups like the Corn Refiners Association, are attempting to mislead them on food package labels,” said Linda Bonvie, Senior Editor at FoodIdentityTheft.com.

About Citizens for Health

Funded by concerned consumers, non-profit partners, food growers, and businesses, Citizens for Health is a non-profit organization that provides over 100,000 supporters with consumer news, action alerts, and ways to demand access to healthy food, non-toxic products, and truthful, non-misleading health information.  More information is available at www.citizens.org.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

 

CFH Posts Its Comments to the FDA re the Corn Sugar Sham

By now you are all familiar with the all-out campaign by the Corn Refiners Association (CRA) to change the name of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to “corn sugar.”

In March we alerted you to their petition to the FDA, which they claim is in the interest of “consumer clarity.”

This week CFH submitted its official comments to the FDA, and you can read the letter here.

We will repeat a question here we’ve asked many times over: How can changing the name of a product consumers have become familiar with over nearly three decades actually lead to greater clarity?

Quite simply, it won’t.

It is a misguided effort by the corn refining industry leadership to hide an ingredient (HCFS) that grows more unpopular by the day.

Sales of HFCS are down 11% and an ever-increasing number of manufacturers, markets, and schools are rushing to eliminate the man-made sweetener. The more aware and informed consumers become about HFCS, the more they seek alternatives or avoid products containing HFCS altogether.

The CRA is feeling the pinch and is naturally eager to protect the bottom line of its refiner members. CFH is leading the way in the fight against this corn sugar sham.

Last week we launched a new website dedicated to protecting your right to know what is contained in what you eat and drink – FoodIdentityTheft.com – and CFH supporters have sent more than 21,000 messages to decision-makers, from Congress to the FDA, urging them to deny the CRA’s petition.

Please take a moment now and submit your own comments to the FDA telling them to resist this “corn sugar sham.”

If you haven’t already sent a message, please do so! Consumer input and participation is the most critical part of our multi-pronged campaign to preserve your access to truthful, non-misleading health and nutrition information.

Also be sure to check back often at Citizens.org and FoodIdentityTheft.com for updates and further opportunities to take action.

Citizens for Health Launches New Website!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Primary Media Contact:
Kevin Sanchez
Hollenbeck Associates
(415) 227-1150 ext. 10
kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com

FoodIdentityTheft.com Alerts Consumers to Deceptive Product Packaging

WASHINGTON, DC – As the nation’s food integrity is under attack by profit-hungry corporations, and consumers are being targeted by deceptive packaging practices, Citizens for Health, has launched a new website, FoodIdentityTheft.com, to alert and inform Americans about misleading labeling on many food, beverage and health products.

Since 1993, Citizens for Health, “the Voice of the Natural Health Consumer,” has provided information about the threats posed by hundreds of everyday products.  By supplying facts, links to news stories and videos, legislative updates and more, the non-profit organization helps shoppers make informed decisions about the products they buy for themselves and their families.

“Many consumers believe that the U.S. government will protect us from false advertising or stop corporations from making unproven claims about their products,” said FoodIdentityTheft.com Senior Editor, Linda Bonvie.  “But the truth is, corporations and their lobbyists have a huge influence in Washington.  We as consumers have to protect ourselves, stay informed, and tell our legislators and government agencies that we won’t accept being lied to.”

FoodIdentityTheft.com will provide current information on many vital issues, beginning with the controversy surrounding the proposed name change of High Fructose Corn Syrup. The trade association for this man-made sweetener has asked the U.S. government to legally change the name of High Fructose Corn Syrup to the misleading and inaccurate name “corn sugar.”

According to Bonvie, “We’re not advocating the benefits or decrying the harm of this product. We simply believe there is no valid reason for the name change. It would only confuse consumers and allow food makers to conceal the identity of this product on ingredients labels.”

“Every day we see stories about food makers trying to pull a fast one on consumers,” said Jim Turner, Chairman of Citizens for Health. “Resources like FoodIdentityTheft.com are necessary to ensure that consumers are aware of the deceptive practices some corporations are using.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a representative from Citizens for Health, please contact Kevin Sanchez of Hollenbeck Associates at 415-227-1150 ext 110 or via e-mail at kevin@hollenbeckassociates.com.

GOP Debate Spotlights Vaccination Safety, Choice

Contact: Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota / Nancy Hokkanen 952-831-3777

Lives ruined, “Gardasil Girls” abandoned by CDC, manufacturers & media

ST. PAUL, MN – Vaccine consumers were shortchanged yet again by media’s selective reporting of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s HPV vaccine comments from last week’s Tea Party debate. Whatever one’s opinion of Republican Presidential candidate Bachmann, the seriousness of vaccine injury was lost to many journalists’ indulgences in bias, jingoism and ignorance.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune found demagoguery irresistible, inaccurately titling its editorial “Bachmann’s foolish attack on vaccines.” The subhead, “Congresswoman’s fear-mongering put politics over health,” was unintentionally ironic, especially given the Strib’s consistent failure to investigate many readers’ vaccine injuries and legitimate product safety concerns.

In 2006 the HPV vaccine was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. A few years later the U.S. Centers for Disease Control stated, “As of June 22, 2011… VAERS [the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System] received a total of 18,727 reports of adverse events following Gardasil® vaccination.” A total of 2,799 adverse events were classified as “Serious,” including encephalopathy (brain damage). 98 deaths have been reported.

In 2009 CBS News quoted Dr. Scott Ratner, whose wife is also a physician, saying one of their daughters became severely ill after a shot of Gardasil: “My daughter went from a varsity lacrosse player at Choate to a chronically ill, steroid-dependent patient with autoimmune myofasciitis.”

Girls injured by HPV vaccines have little recourse – medical treatments are few and vaccine injury research is minimal. Teenaged victims have taken their stories to Facebook and YouTube. Websites like www.TruthAboutGardasil.org list victims’ symptoms and photos. A documentary on HPV vaccine injury, “One More Girl,” is currently being filmed by ThinkExist Productions.

Glossed over in most media is possible influence peddling by Governor Rick Perry’s former chief of staff Mike Toomey, who went to work for Merck, the manufacturer of the Gardasil HPV vaccine. The legislative group Women In Government was courted by HPV vaccine manufacturers; a subsequent 2007 Minnesota HPV vaccine bill sponsored by WIG attendees was defeated.

The Washington Post did run “Perry’s Financial Ties to Merck Run Deep” on 9/14/11, but concluded with this tepid caveat: “[S]ome experts have said they are concerned that there is insufficient evidence about how long Gardasil’s protection will last, whether serious side effects will emerge and whether a reduction in infections will necessarily translate into fewer cancers.”

Despite these unanswered questions, a bill to allow 12-year-olds to get the HPV vaccine without parents’ consent is on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown. Yet few media outlets have reported on the myriad negative implications of this usurpation of parental health care rights.

Media’s repeated failure to investigate vaccine safety issues is perhaps best summarized this week in an insightful analysis by Alison Bass, a Brandeis and Mount Holyoke journalism professor, science writer, Pulitzer Prize nominee, and author of the book “Side Effects”:

“I wish the media would use this opportunity to explore the public health ramifications of allowing a drug manufacturer to aggressively target the wrong population for an expensive and possibly unnecessary vaccine.”

 

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Citizens for Health Launches Campaign Against FDA’s NDI Guidance

September 20, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: James J. Gormley, VP and Senior Policy Advisor, Citizens for Health
Phone: 202.695.2027; email: jamesgormley01@gmail.com

Washington, D.C. – Citizens for Health (CFH) today launched an action campaign to join with our 100,000 supporters and the rest of the health freedom movement in opposing the FDA’s “Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues”. The agency issued the guidance, mandated by the food “safety” law passed earlier this year, in July, purportedly to clarify requirements for filing new dietary ingredient (NDI) submissions.

However, the FDA is going way beyond simply clarifying existing requirements. It is attempting to drastically change existing law by saying that finished product manufacturers must make a submission for every product that contains an NDI or whenever a formula is changed, if an NDI is present.

James Gormley, Vice President and Senior Policy Advisor for CFH, notes:

“Quite simply, the FDA is ignoring Section 413 [21 USC §350b] of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which says an NDI submission is not required if ‘there is a history of use or other evidence of safety’ supporting its inclusion, use and marketing prior to 1994. Essentially, the FDA is making NDI submissions product-specific rather than ingredient-specific, which contravenes the spirit and the letter of DSHEA.”

Gormley adds:

“In addition, the FDA’s attempt to create new regulatory requirements using a guidance document is in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and is in violation of the law on the basis of this alone.”

While much has been written regarding the FDA’s guidance since its introduction, CFH made a strategic decision to “let the dust settle” and do a thorough analysis before adding its voice to the clamor for its withdrawal, given the massive impact to the dietary supplement industry implicit in the guidance. CFH is also calling for the comment period to be extended to July, 2012 so that more industry and policy experts, as well as the public, can be sufficiently heard on the issue. (Industry leaders have succeeded in pressuring the FDA to extend the comment period once already, until December of this year).

Click here to send a letter urging Congress to put pressure on the FDA to withdraw the guidance.

In the coming days and weeks CFH will offer further analysis and talking points on the guidance, as well as opportunities to take action. In fact, CFH will be conferring with consumer advocates and health-food industry leaders this Friday at the Natural Products Expo East trade show in a meeting sponsored by Jarrow Formulas, Inc.

CFH asks you to join them, industry leaders, the health freedom community and concerned Americans everywhere in the campaign to get the guidance withdrawn. Furthermore, ask Congress to rebuke the FDA and demand that the agency state, for the record, that they will no longer attempt to deviate from the plain and intended meaning of DSHEA.