Betty Martini has written an open letter to the Laura Tarantino of the FDA regarding the press release that negates cancer-causing effects of aspartame, an artificial sweetener also known as nutra sweet, equal, canderal and spoonful. The FDA's release, placed just before news of a second italian study that seems to confirm aspartame toxicity was to be published in New York, reads in part:

"Italian researchers concluded in 2005 that aspartame causes cancer. But Laura Tarantino of the FDA Office of Food Additive Safety concludes after a review of the study data that the low-calorie sweetener is not a carcinogen.

A similar review by the FDA's European counterpart agrees. There is no evidence this substance, used for 25 years to sweeten soda, gum, dairy products, and some medications, causes cancer."

Here is Betty Martini's open letter:

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cbsnews.com
NEW YORK, April 24, 2007

(CBS) A new report indicates aspartame, the artificial sweetener that's the main ingredient in Nutrasweet and Equal, heightens the risk of cancer.

But the Food and Drug Administration has said repeatedly, and as recently as last Friday, that aspartame is safe.

On The Early Show Tuesday, medical contributor Dr. Mallika Marshall explained to co-anchor Julie Chen that, "These were researchers in Italy who have believed for some time that aspartame poses an increased risk of cancer."

Marshall said the researchers gave aspartame to pregnant rats, and to the baby rats beginning five weeks after birth.

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April 26, 2007
www.newstarget.com
by Mike Adams

It is widely known that an increasing number of consumers are turning to alternative medicine for treatment for diseases like cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease and so on. What are generally not known are the circumstances under which many consumers make this switch from conventional to alternative medicine.

The truth about that is rather surprising and, perhaps, even a bit frustrating because many consumers only switch to alternative medicine after conventional medicine has failed them. That's when many people begin investigating medicinal herbs, acupuncture, or chiropractic care. It is only after they have tried everything with conventional medicine -- drugs, surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy -- that they finally realize they are not getting any healthier and need to do something different.

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Morando Soffritti, an Italian researcher with the Ramazzini Foundation in Bologna is known for his publication of a study that found aspartame, the artificial sweetener consisting of two amino acids and a methanol binding agent, caused multiple cancers in rats. Soffritti was in New York on Monday, 23 April, to accept a prestigious academic award and to talk about a second study his institute is conducting with lower doses of aspartame. Although results have not yet been published, the study appears set to confirm the findings of the first study and the researchers are finding negative health effects even at very low dosages of aspartame, comparable to the intakes of people who are regularly using diet drinks.

See New Study by Ramazzini Institute Confirms Aspartame Carcinogenic


Martini_Soffritti.JPG

Betty Martini with Dr. Morando Soffritti


In a move designed to head off yet more negative publicity for the toxic sweetener, the FDA issued a press release on Friday - just days before Soffritti's talk at the Mount Sinai Medical School - re-stating the FDA's earlier contention that there is "No evidence the sweetener causes cancer".

"The Food and Drug Administration says Italian researchers reached the wrong conclusion when they said the sugar substitute aspartame causes cancer. The director of the F-D-A's Office of Food Additive Safety, Laura Tarantino, says a review of the data from the 2005 study found "no evidence" that the low-calorie sweetener is a carcinogen. A similar review by the F-D-A's European counterpart reached the same conclusion."

In this way, the press was induced to carry the FDA's denial in numerous variations and Soffritti's talk last Monday was no longer considered "newsworthy", although there IS a new study in progress and it certainly adds to emerging knowledge about the effects of the artificial sweetener. It is of interest to see PR at work here and one should should note how well the technologies of public communication are being used by Big Pharma and its supposed "regulator", the FDA. The two, it seems, will soon be joined in an incestuous 'marriage', if a recent bill proposed by Senator Kennedy finds the approval of US lawmakers.

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Report: Tainted Hogs Enter Food Supply

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physorg.com
April 27, 2007

(AP) -- Several hundred of the 6,000 hogs that may have eaten contaminated pet food are believed to have entered the food supply for humans, the government said Thursday. The potential risk to human health was said to be very low.

The government told the three states involved it would not allow meat from any of the hogs that ate the feed to enter the food supply.

No more than 345 hogs from farms in California, New York and South Carolina are involved, according to the Agriculture Department. It appears the large majority of the hogs that may have been exposed are still on the farms where they are being raised, spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said.

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US HEALTH FREEDOM ON VERGE OF COLLAPSE

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By Byron J. Richards, CCN
NewsWithViews.com
April 25, 2007

A new attack against health freedom, drug safety, and dietary supplements was launched last week by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) with major support from Michael Enzi (R-WY). It is called the Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act (S1082). This legislation was planned over the past few years working hand-in-glove with the FDA’s dysfunctional management and legal team – meaning this legislation was written for the profits of Big Pharma and Big Biotech AT THE EXPENSE OF SAFETY AND HUMAN HEALTH.

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Science Daily
April 23, 2007

Science Daily — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that all manufacturers of sedative-hypnotic drug products, a class of drugs used to induce and/or maintain sleep, strengthen their product labeling to include stronger language concerning potential risks. These risks include severe allergic reactions and complex sleep-related behaviors, which may include sleep-driving. Sleep driving is defined as driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic product, with no memory of the event.

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Official takes risks warning on pet drug

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Associated Press
By JEFF DONN,
April 22, 2007

The first hints of trouble came with vague warnings from the outer reaches of the bureaucracy. She was "pushing too hard." She was "alarmist." But it was something else - a clumsy bid to call her off the scent of the dangerous veterinary drug she was tracking - that really galled her. Maybe that was her last possible moment to keep soundless and safe.

"When enough dogs die, this product will take care of itself," a colleague said. Her reply tumbled out like a boulder that, once rolling, will no longer stop. Victoria Hampshire heard herself say: "I don't know what I'm doing here then." What she was doing - trying to do, at least - was her job: She kept count of side effects from animal drugs for the Food and Drug Administration. She made tallies, analyzed numbers, and alerted supervisors when something seemed amiss.

And something seemed amiss that spring of 2004.

A big drug maker had crafted what seemed a star performer in Proheart 6, a three-year-old injected drug to prevent heartworm, the common parasite in dogs. Hampshire's numbers showed, though, that dogs were dying at alarming rates.

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ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP)
Promoting Openness, Full Disclosure, and Accountability
www.ahrp.org and ahrp.blogspot.com
April 24, 2007

Tomorrow, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee will hold a hearing on the unprecedented spate of drug recalls. "This administration does not like regulation, this administration does not like spending money, and it has a hostility toward government. The poisonous result is that a program like the FDA is going to suffer at every turn of the road," said Rep. John D. Dingell , chairman of the full House committee.

Drug safety is not the only area in which FDA officials get failing grades. The FDA, it seems, flunks each and every arena over which the agency has regulatory authority. None of the divisions overseeing safety in in drugs, vaccines, food, and medical devices--for human as well as animal use-can be said to be functioning for the public good. The consequences of FDA's failure to protect the public health are documented in preventable harm to humans and animals.

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The power of corporate greed in a Himalayan state

Copyright: Arun Shrivastava CMC

Hydro-electric power projects of private firms in Himachal Pradesh are being pushed by local officers who have made it clear to the people that they have vested interest in these projects. Officers of the state government have tried to influence local activists to support projects that would destroy the livelihoods of local villagers. Revenue officials are openly canvassing for these projects collecting signatures from villagers for approval. Where popular opposition is strong an environment of fear is being created by the local Police. Many Gram Panchayats [GP, or Village Councils] the chiefs [called Pradhans] are after petty contracts and decisions taken by the Gram Sabha [Village general body] are being overturned which is unconstitutional. This not only raises questions of conflict of interest, but given the scale of hydro-electric projects in this ecologically sensitive state, raises serious questions of long term sustainability of the Himalayas as a region of bio-diversity, carbon sink and a region that moderates global climate.

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