The NCI ran a study on vitamin E and selenium use for men with prostate cancer to see if they were effective. They were not and the studies were halted. But the research didn't report that no vitamin E was actually used but instead, the research was based on a coal tar based synthetic (di-alpha tocopherol acetate) which has no anti-oxidant properties and that was known to begin with.
Based on this, big Pharma funded mainstream news outlets are running headlines warning doctors to tell their prostate cancer patients not to take vitamin E and selenium.
*Traditional practices increase yield by 128 per cent in east Africa, says UN
Organic farming offers Africa the best chance of breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition it has been locked in for decades, according to a major study from the United Nations to be presented today.
New evidence suggests that organic practices – derided by some as a Western lifestyle fad – are delivering sharp increases in yields, improvements in the soil and a boost in the income of Africa's small farmers who remain among the poorest people on earth. The head of the UN's Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said the report "indicates that the potential contribution of organic farming to feeding the world maybe far higher than many had supposed".
The "green revolution" in agriculture in the 1960s – when the production of food caught and surpassed the needs of the global population for the first time – largely bypassed Africa. Whereas each person today has 25 per cent more food on average than they did in 1960, in Africa they have 10 per cent less.
A combination of increasing population, decreasing rainfall and soil fertility and a surge in food prices has left Africa uniquely vulnerable to famine. Climate change is expected to make a bad situation worse by increasing the frequency of droughts and floods.
It has been conventional wisdom among African governments that modern, mechanised agriculture was needed to close the gap but efforts in this direction have had little impact on food poverty and done nothing to create a sustainable approach. Now, the global food crisis has led to renewed calls for a massive modernisation of agriculture on the hungriest continent on the planet, with calls to push ahead with genetically modified crops and large industrial farms to avoid potentially disastrous starvation.
Last month the UK's former chief scientist Sir David King said anti-scientific attitudes among Western NGOs and the UN were responsible for holding back a much-needed green revolution in Africa. "The problem is that the Western world's move toward organic farming – a lifestyle choice for a community with surplus food – and against agricultural technology in general and GM in particular, has been adopted across the whole of Africa, with the exception of South Africa, with devastating consequences," he said.
The research conducted by the UN Environment Programme suggests that organic, small-scale farming can deliver the increased yields which were thought to be the preserve of industrial farming, without the environmental and social damage which that form of agriculture brings with it.
An analysis of 114 projects in 24 African countries found that yields had more than doubled where organic, or near-organic practices had been used. That increase in yield jumped to 128 per cent in east Africa.
"Organic farming can often lead to polarised views," said Mr Steiner, a former economist. "With some viewing it as a saviour and others as a niche product or something of a luxury... this report suggests it could make a serious contribution to tackling poverty and food insecurity."
The study found that organic practices outperformed traditional methods and chemical-intensive conventional farming. It also found strong environmental benefits such as improved soil fertility, better retention of water and resistance to drought. And the research highlighted the role that learning organic practices could have in improving local education. Backers of GM foods insist that a technological fix is needed to feed the world. But this form of agriculture requires cash to buy the patented seeds and herbicides – both at record high prices currently – needed to grow GM crops.
Regional farming experts have long called for "good farming", rather than exclusively GM or organic. Better seeds, crop rotation, irrigation and access to markets all help farmers. organic certification in countries such as the UK and Australia still presents an insurmountable barrier to most African exporters, the report points out. it calls for greater access to markets so farmers can get the best prices for their products.
Kenyan farmer: 'I wanted to see how UK did it'
Henry Murage had to travel a long way to solve problems trying to farm a smallholding on the western slopes of Mount Kenya. He spent five months in the UK, studying with the experts at Garden Organic a charity in the Midlands. "I wanted to see how it was being done in the UK and was convinced we could do some of the same things here," he says.
On his return 10 years ago, he set up the Mt Kenya Organic Farm, aimed at aiding other small farmers fighting the semi-arid conditions. He believes organic soil management can help retain moisture and protect against crop failure. The true test came during the devastating drought of 2000-02, when Mr Murage's vegetable gardens fared better than his neighbours'. At least 300 farmers have visited his gardens and taken up at least one of the practices he espouses. "Organic can feed the people in rural areas," he says. "It's sustainable and what we produce now we can go on producing."
Saving money on fertilisers and pesticides helps farmers afford better seeds, and composting and crop rotation are improving the soil. Traditional maize, beans and livestock farming in the area have been supplemented with new crops from borage seeds to cayenne peppers and honey, with buyers from the US to Europe. Now he is growing camomile for herbal tea, with buyers from the UK and Germany both interested.
"Victoria's 'more digestible' Genetically Manipulated (GM) pasture grass experiment announced today is a waste of public money," says Gene Ethics Director, Bob Phelps.
"These scientific resources are needed right now to develop and deploy ecological systems that can drought proof, desalinate and restore soil fertility on farms.
"An integrated, whole-of-landscape approach to sustainable farm management is the only way off the brink of permanent rural destruction.
"The 'bright idea' of more digestible GM grass would make farmers more dependent on expensive and vanishing stocks of oil, synthetic fertilisers and chemicals," he says.
"Farmers need to be helped off the petro-chemical and GM treadmills with smart integrated landscape and vegetation management systems.
"High technology, patented, gee-whizz GM plants cannot reverse the drought, biodiversity loss and collapse of nutrient cycling that is crippling farm production.
"More digestible GM grass is just a boffin's idea that makes sense in the laboratory but will fall at the first environmental hurdle.
"Their plan to test 500 different GM lines until 2012 shows this experiment is just a fishing expedition," Mr Phelps says.
"The probability of commercial GM grass is very low as GM technology is flawed and any product would take at least a decade to bring to market.
"The GM grass will not be fed to animals as part of the GM research. I see history repeating itself.
"Like CSIRO's weevil resistant field pea research, the GM grass may prove to be toxic to animals after hundreds of millions of dollars and ten years have been wasted.
"In the USA in 1996, Monsanto launched four GM crops - soy, corn, canola and cotton - with just two traits - herbicide tolerance and Bt insect toxins. In 2008, Monsanto has only the same four crops with two traits available!
"GM is a stalled and failed technology. If we were still using Windows '95 we'd also wonder," Mr Phelps concludes.
Comment: Bob Phelps 03 9347 4500/0449 769 066
Victorian Ministers for Innovation and Agriculture
Tuesday, 28 October, 2008
NEW HIGH ENERGY PASTURE GOES ON TRIAL
The Brumby Government has announced the first Australian field trials of high-energy pasture grasses are set to start in Victoria soon.
Minister for Innovation Gavin Jennings and Minister for Agriculture Joe Helper made the announcement today to coincide with Ausbiotech 2008 which is underway in Melbourne.
"These new grasses have a reduced non-digestible content which, depending on the field trials, could mean farmers will be able to reduce the amount of feed they require for their stock," Mr Jennings said.
"This would be a critical breakthrough for dairy, beef and sheep industries which have less pasture available for stock because of climate change and the prolonged drought."
Mr Helper said the trials will focus on pasture based on perennial ryegrass and tall fescue that have been developed by Victorian scientists at the Department of Primary Industries.
"The Federal Gene Technology Regulator has granted a licence to plant up to 500 GM lines of these pasture varieties as part of a small field trial to be undertaken at the DPI Hamilton site."
"The trials are for proof-of-concept research and not for commercial release. But this research may give farmers access to new pasture plant genetics with improved quality and energy content for livestock production.
"The development and adoption of new pasture plant genetics with increased nutritive value could lead to increased on-farm productivity, and may also help reduce the amount of feed farmers need to buy-in when they have feed shortages.
These trials are the latest in a series of research breakthroughs from the DPI that are providing on-the-ground benefits and helping ensure Victorian farmers remain competitive in both domestic and international markets.
DPI Biosciences Research Division Executive Director Professor German Spangenberg said the new technologies allowed for a targeted modification of lignin and fructan production in perennial ryegrass and tall fescue.
"Lignin provides the water proofing of fibrous parts of pasture that can't be easily digested by livestock and therefore can't be converted to energy for grazing animals. Fructans are soluble carbohydrates that provide a readily available energy source to livestock," Prof Spangenberg said.
"By modifying lignification and enhancing fructan production in these plants, the herbage nutritive value is increased and stock can gain more energy from less pasture.
"Laboratory and glasshouse trials have been carried out on the pastures by the research team working within the Molecular Plant Breeding Cooperative Research Centre.
"The experimental GM grasses to be tested will not be used for animal feed."
The corporate slipperiness about "labeling" works in three ways:
1. Lying labels of their own
a. "green-washing" the filthy things they do (e.g. seeking "organic" labels for GMOs and irradiation) b. confusing the public about what they are really getting c. undercutting (and often destroying) the real people producing actually healthy food
2. Blocking real farmers from speaking honestly about their own products
a. suing dairy farmers for saying their cows aren't injected with rBGH b. getting the FDA to threaten jail for cherry growers who cite peer-reviewed articles on their websites indicating that cherries are potentially 10x stronger than aspirin or ibuprofen in controlling pain.
3. Making false and/or fear-mongering accusations against its competition and using that fear to get more regulations (or private lawsuits) to destroy them.
The identical thing is happening on the natural substances side.
"L-casei immunitas" is promoted as some great new science contribution when it is only good ole lactobacillus which has always come for free in fresh milk, as does wonderful bacteria that protects against type 1 diabetes.
The corporate side promotes its degraded rBGH milk by saying how important vitamin D is (and it is), when, in truth, they have removed the real vitamin D and substituted a synthetic vitamin D that doesn't work. Meanwhile, fresh milk is rich not only in natural vitamin D but in the bacteria which helps it the nutrients and minerals in milk be absorbed by the body.
So, corporations lie about their own products (pretending to offer what real farmers offer), then stop those farmers (or those dealing in natural substances) from speaking truthfully about what is good about their products, and then lie about the safety of the farmers' products (or natural subestances) so the farmers and natural health products and practices can be eliminated.
The corporations are re-defining or tampering with reality yet our lives depend on food and substances and even words being "real" or "natural."
State and Federal governments have promised an independent review of food labelling laws, which will revisit the "traffic light" system of labelling for salt, sugar and fat content.
The review was agreed to in principle at the Australia and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council in Adelaide on Friday and will also examine the issue of labelling all food sourced from genetically modified crops.
The decision coincided with an open letter signed by 15 internationally recognised scientists protesting over Australia's comparatively lax labelling laws for GE food, sent to the federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, last week.
The letter calls for an urgent independent review of Food Standards Australia New Zealand, noting that the authority is one of only a few regulators in the world to have approved every single application it has received for GE products.
Many other countries are passing more stringent food labelling laws controlling GE foods but products such as oils, starches and sugars still require no labelling in Australia.
One of the letter's signatories, Dr Judy Carman, a director of the Institute of Health and Environmental Research, said the decision not to mandate the labelling of GM oils was based on FSANZ's flawed belief the oils do not contain DNA or protein.
Meat, milk, cheese and eggs produced by animals that have been fed genetically engineered crops are also exempt from labelling.
"There is strong scientific evidence that FSANZ is wrong and that these animal products should be labelled," she said.
The separate issue of front-of-pack traffic-light labelling will be examined in the proposed review.
The labelling system is loathed by many food manufacturers because it identifies products high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and total fat through a simple code using red, amber and green spots.
The issue is complicated by the absence of any regulation mandating the labelling of trans fatty acids.
These are more harmful than saturated fats, yet under the proposed traffic light system these would still be classified under total fats.
Last week the Australian Medical Association added its weight to the trans fats debate, backing legislation introduced by the Greens in the NSW Parliament to move towards a total ban, as Demark has done.