FDA To Be Sued for Health Claim Rights

Looks like the gloves are finally coming off and someone is standing up to the FDA over their dysfunctional relationship to consumer health.

Whole Foods Magazine reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s attempt to eliminate certain qualified health claims for selenium and reduced risk of cancer (see story).

Since then, the plot has thickened. On Friday, July 31, several plaintiffs (all represented by Emord & Associates, P.C. with Attorney Jonathan Emord serving as lead counsel) will bring a lawsuit against FDA claiming the agency’s ban of four such health claims violates the First Amendment. The statements include the use of selenium to reduce the risk of lung/respiratory tract cancers, to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, to reduce the risk of other cancers, and to produce anticarcinogenic effects in the body.

The group also feels FDA’s insistence on pairing a fifth claim (site-specific cancer risk reduction)  “with an inaccurate and negatively value laden disclaimer” is unjust. The hope is that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia will find FDA’s censorship unconstitutional. Read the full story.

How Chronic and Subchronic Health Effects Can Be Neglected for GMOs, Pesticides or Chemicals

The Organic Consumers Association reports the International Journal of Biological Science published a new study this week pointing out serious health hazards from genetically engineered foods and pesticides.

Eight international researchers from France, Italy, New Zealand, the U.K.. and U.S. brought to light a significant underestimation of the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others.

The study calls into question the reliability of tests of the European Food Safety (EFSA) and the US FDA to assess the health risks of GMOs and pesticides.

It’s crucial to study potential mid and long-term toxicological effects and not test only for short-term or subchronic effects.

It’s essential to complete these tests during the regulatory period,  prior to the commercialization of chemicals.

Scientists corroborated the decade-long criticism by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, that unreliable tests have been used to assess the safety of food and products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Some contaminations or pollutions by pesticides and other chemical residues affect human and animal health, while threatening biodiversity. This question has also been raised for GMOs because they can contain pesticides (Roundup Ready soya), or because they produce these molecules (Bt maize).

GMOs are now found in more than 80% of (non-organic) foods sold in conventional grocery stores in the U.S., as well as the majority of animal feed in the EU.

Omega-3 Deficiency Causes 96,000 Deaths Annually

 

The Fats Of Life Revealed

The Fats Of Life Revealed

A new study from researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found omega-3 deficient diets cause up to 96,000 preventable deaths annually in the United States.

PLoS Med. 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors.

Source

Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.

Erratum in PLoS Med. 2011 Jan;8(1). doi: 10.1371/annotation/0ef47acd-9dcc-4296-a897-872d182cde57.

Background

Knowledge of the number of deaths caused by risk factors is needed for health policy and priority setting. Our aim was to estimate the mortality effects of the following 12 modifiable dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors in the United States (US) using consistent and comparable methods: high blood glucose, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure; overweight–obesity; high dietary trans fatty acids and salt; low dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids (seafood), and fruits and vegetables; physical inactivity; alcohol use; and tobacco smoking.

Methods and Findings

We used data on risk factor exposures in the US population from nationally representative health surveys and disease-specific mortality statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics. We obtained the etiological effects of risk factors on disease-specific mortality, by age, from systematic reviews and meta-analyses of epidemiological studies that had adjusted (i) for major potential confounders, and (ii) where possible for regression dilution bias. We estimated the number of disease-specific deaths attributable to all non-optimal levels of each risk factor exposure, by age and sex. In 2005, tobacco smoking and high blood pressure were responsible for an estimated 467,000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 436,000–500,000) and 395,000 (372,000–414,000) deaths, accounting for about one in five or six deaths in US adults. Overweight–obesity (216,000; 188,000–237,000) and physical inactivity (191,000; 164,000–222,000) were each responsible for nearly 1 in 10 deaths. High dietary salt (102,000; 97,000–107,000), low dietary omega-3 fatty acids (84,000; 72,000–96,000), and high dietary trans fatty acids (82,000; 63,000–97,000) were the dietary risks with the largest mortality effects. Although 26,000 (23,000–40,000) deaths from ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, and diabetes were averted by current alcohol use, they were outweighed by 90,000 (88,000–94,000) deaths from other cardiovascular diseases, cancers, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, alcohol use disorders, road traffic and other injuries, and violence.

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