Just a quick update for those who are interested… One red camellia blossom – and a lot of rather battered Ice Follies…. Read on…
Food allergy and food intolerance, freefrom foods, electrosensitivity, this and that...
Just a quick update for those who are interested… One red camellia blossom – and a lot of rather battered Ice Follies…. Read on…
The imminent publication of the latest volume in our book venture, Professor Mike Barnes’ Beginner’s Guide to Medical Cannabis, has made us super alert to all of the cannabis ‘buzz’ that occasionally still manages to push Brexit off the front pages. So we were very happy to see a press release this week suggesting that the powers that are in Brussels may decide that CBD cannabis oil is not a ‘novel food’.
For this who are not familiar with Brussels jargon a ‘novel food’ is ‘a food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997…..’ More importantly, ‘if the novel food is liable to have an effect on human health, the Commission requires the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to carry out a risk assessment.’ And once into risk assessment territory, it may take many months – and more likely years – to get the food approved for use and sale within the EU.
Anyhow, the Novel Food Commission in Brussels is looking at CBD cannabis oil right now. They are examining evidence presented by the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) that hemp and hemp extracts were being used as early as 1220 – which would certainly invalidate the current ruling that ‘…extracts of Cannabis Sativa L. and derived products containing cannabinoids are considered novel foods as a history of consumption has not been demonstrated.’
If they were interested we could certainly send them an advance copy of Prof. Mike’s book which charts the historic use of cannabinoids way before 1220 and right up to the mid 20th century when they were pushed off the menu by a combination of new synthetic drugs and a heavy duty demonisation of cannabis as a recreational drug.
As it happens, Prof Mike’s book contains a great deal more than just history of cannabis – including details on the many conditions for which it is helpful (not just the epilepsy which has recently hit the news, but pain management, MS, anxiety, cancer and many, many more), how to take it, where it is legal and where to get it. Further details to come as soon as the book hits the shelves in a couple of weeks latest.
In fact, lots of further details to come also about our book venture which we have just given a major shake up!!
Gone is Berrydales Books – originally set set up to publish our children’s books, Berrydale Bear and the Cacao Tree and Berrydale Bear meets Chocosaurus the Dinosaur.
Now to be replaced by Oriole Books…. New website and social media to come but meanwhile, keep an eye on Foodsmatter Facebook and Twitter sites, the latter now being run for us, we are delighted to say, by Alex, @healthjourno.
In the immediate pipe line are three cookery books: low histamine recipes, Anna del Conte’s and my complete gluten and (mainly) vegan Italian cookery book and a gluten-free vegan recipe book. Also a beginner’s guide to gaming addiction and a beginner’s guide to managing anaphylaxis – and more to come.
And still selling extremely well are our existing titles.
Watch this space….
Those of you who watched Channel 5’s Secrets of the Supermarkets last night will no doubt, like Alex Gazzola, be fuming this morning…. Alex was so cross with Chris Young, the Real Bread Campaign’s spokesman who appeared on the programme, that he had already leapt into print on his Allergy Insight blog last night.
I have no problem with people asking why gluten free food and gluten free bread in particular is significantly more expensive than non-gluten free – or asking whether gluten-free foods are intrinsically healthier than non gluten-free. But having asked the question one needs to give both parties to the discussion a chance to put their points – and the programme did not.
Alex was understandably cross with a bread expert who said that since it was impossible to make bread without gluten, any bread that contained anything other than wheat flour, water, yeast and salt (i.e. all of those gluten-free breads which, because they are gluten free, doh…. do not contain gluten) was not bread. Do read his blog – he makes really good points.
However, this raises two issues.
1. What if you cannot eat gluten?
2. And what about all other breads out there which contain a good deal more that just wheat flour, water, yeast and salt?
So before going overboard on gluten free bread, maybe Chris Young should also have taken a pop at the 95% of non-gluten free bread on supermarket shelves. It also contains good deal more than flour, water, yeast and salt – including several of the ‘chemicals’ that he was condemning in gluten free breads. For example E471 and 472e (Mono- & di- glycerides of fatty acids and mono and diacetyltartaric acid esters of Mono- & di- glycerides of fatty acids), were both among the ingredients of a loaf of Kingsmill 50/50 I looked at in the local corner shop this morning – both fatty acids which, like the E464 highlighted in the gluten free bread on the programme (hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose) are universally recognised to be ‘safe’ ingredients for human consumption.
And if, as Chris Young maintains, making ‘real’ bread with gluten is impossible – what are those who cannot eat gluten, and those who try to create food for them, meant to do? Just cut bread, the staff of life, out of their diet altogether? Or try to find some way, with the help of other natural grains and, perish the thought, even a bit of science, to create something which is at least a reasonable simulacrum or ‘real’ bread?
Why is gluten-free food more expensive?
But while Alex was especially infuriated by the Real Bread man, I was more disappointed by Joanna Blythman, a journalist and food campaigner who I respect enormously. Instead of asking why gluten free food, and bread in particular, was more expensive than non-gluten free, she made the cheap assumption that supermarkets and the gluten-free bread brands were just ‘jumping on the gluten-free gravy train’.
In fact, gluten free food – and gluten free bread in particular – is significantly more expensive to make than non gluten free so the gravy train that its makers are meant to be on is a pretty thin one. The last time this subject came up a few years ago, Lucinda Bruce Gardyne, the founder of the Genius Gluten Free brand, actually wrote a piece for us explaining where the high costs arise – you can read it here – but essentially:
I am certainly not saying that there are no ‘freefrom’ manufacturers who push the price limits a bit – it will also be so. But maybe both Joanna and the programme should have looked a little more carefully into what was involved in making gluten-free products before branding them as a universal ‘rip-off’.
And finally to the ‘is gluten free healthier’ question.
The British Retail Consortium at the end of the programme gave a statement to the effect that the industry does not represent ‘freefrom’ foods as being healthier. The ‘healthier’ claims came from the media, lifestyle coaches and celebrities – which is essentially true.
My personal explanation of why so many people believe that they are healthier on a gluten free diet is that the improvement in their health is only marginally to do with cutting out gluten. How come? Well….
This is an important subject. No one in the freefrom world actually wants to rip off any one. Ninety per cent of the manufacturers in this area are there because they, their family, or someone they know has a genuine deitary problem and they want to help.
Yes, of course they want to make money too – we all have to live – but unlike in so many other industries, their motivation is not just the bottom line. If they can make the products healthier and cheaper, they will do so – but they have to be able to make living doing so. If they can’t the products will not exist at all. And that would impact very seriously of the quality of life of those who, for genuine medical reasons, do need to eat gluten free.
Well, no, they haven’t. But their exhibitors certainly have….
This weekend’s Glasgow Allergy Show was surely a record. Usually the last half hour of any show sees exhibitors busily offering crates of product to other stand holders so that they don’t have to take it back home with them. Last Sunday? Not a thing on offer.
The exciting new Shore Scottish seaweed snacks were also all gone by early Sunday afternoon – not surprised – their snacks are delicious….
So too The Butter Scotch Bakery….
Even Warburtons Gluten Free were down to just two products….
And not only were Koko’s fridges totally bare but their milk dispensers were drained…
Indeed the only people who seem to have any product left at all were Genius Gluten Free – but since they live just down the road from Glasgow, restocking their depleted supplies was not an issue for them!
So how come?
Well, the good people Glasgow just seem to have flocked all weekend to the SEC down on Clydeside and bought, and bought, and bought…. Whether they were spurred on by the fact that they had been deprived of their show last year by ‘the Beast from the East‘ or whether they are just mad keen ‘freefrom-ers’, they certainly did the Allergy Show’s exhibitors proud and cleared their shelves.
According to Tom Treverton (seen totting up his lists here with his colleague Raj from the Just V Show) they had over 12,000 visitor over the two days – which was 24% up on the last show they did in Glasgow in 2017. Which is presumably why so many exhibitors had sold out before the show was anywhere near over. Well done Allergy Show – and eat your hearts out, exhibitors who weren’t there!
Meanwhile, according to a long standing exhibition-going tradition, I skived off for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon to nip across the river to the wonderfully space-agey Glasgow Science Centre. The centre on the right, Imax cinema on the left and Glasgow tower in the background.
I must admit that given a choice I would normally opt for an art gallery rather than a science centre – but this one was amazing!!! They do have adult programmes but the main focus is interesting kids in science – and what a way to do it.
Literally every display is interactive in some way or other and each interaction teaches you about some application of science.
So this next one is all about energy – how we create it, how we use it, how we can save it – but you get to race some cars!! (As you can can see, adults also welcome…)
This exhibit shows you how perception can be manipulated – and how your eye can lie!
And those are only three of hundreds. I could happily have spent the whole afternoon there – but Cressida had only let me off for one hour……. Sadly, although probably just as well given my schedule, the tower wasn’t open so I couldn’t go up it.
However, for anyhow who has more time, I would thoroughly recommend a trip up its 127 metres – the view from the top looks spectacular – and there is a lift!!
Once 5 G is up and running and powering ‘the internet of things’, not only will you be able to programme your car to pick you up and take you home, your oven to turn on ready for you to cook your ‘oven-ready-created-for-you’ dinner and your steaming hot relaxing bath to run awaiting your arrival but:
(Thanks to Whatis5G.info for the links.)
OK, so these are the wackier possibilities on offer. However, 5G does offer genuine advantages in terms of wireless technology such as more rapid rates of wireless data transfer thanks to its higher frequencies thus improving mobility. But at what cost?
The issue is that we really don’t know. And many people – scientists, medics and members of the potential 5G using public – believe we need to understand more before we roll it out across the world.
We need independent enquiries before buying in wholesale
OK – this is only the UK and the issue is a worldwide one but, you have to start somewhere. And Hayley Hughes has, by creating a petition asking the government to launch an urgent and independent enquiry into the health and safety risks of 5G.
You can sign here. (It is already at nearly 10,000 signatures which means that the government has to at the very least respond to the petition.) It is accompanied by a link to a recent article in the Daily Mail setting out some of the concerns.
For those who would like to know a bit more, the following is an extract from an article by Ronald Powell, a retired U.S. Government career scientist (Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University) who, over his career, worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
What is the evidence of the harm caused by radiofrequency radiation?
There are thousands of archival biomedical research papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, that have shown that radiofrequency radiation is harmful to the body in one way or another. These have been collected and reviewed in a number of summary documents. Here are just two examples: (1) BioInitiative 2012, draws on about 1800 publications; (2) EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of EMF-Related Health Problems and Illnesses, draws on 308 references. (“EMF” stands for electromagnetic fields, a term inclusive of radiofrequency radiation.)
In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified radiofrequency radiation as a Group 2B Human Carcinogen (“possibly carcinogenic”), naming explicitly “wireless phone” radiation (cellular radiation), based on the increased risk for glioma. Glioma is a malignant type of brain cancer that is usually fatal. It most recently took the life of Senator John McCain and Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden.
In 2018, a massive study by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health linked cellular radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to cancer of the nerves of the heart (schwannomas), to cancer of the brain (glioma), and to multiple other health effects in test animals.
In 2015 and continuing, 247 scientists from 42 nations signed an appeal to the United Nations, described below. These scientists have “published peer-reviewed papers on the biological or health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields” (which are inclusive of radiofrequency radiation).
“Address the global public health concerns related to exposure to cell phones, power lines, electrical appliances, wireless devices, wireless utility meters and wireless infrastructure in residential homes, schools, communities and businesses.”
For more information on the health effects of radiofrequency radiation, please see the website of the Environmental Health Trust, especially the Science tab.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G?
5G has some genuine advantages. 5G is expected to employ higher radiofrequencies than those currently in use in cellular systems in the United States. Those higher frequencies will permit more rapid rates of data transfer compared to current wireless technology. And, as a wireless technology, 5G will support mobility.
But wired technology, especially fiber-optic technology, is superior to 5G in so many other ways. Fiber-optic technology produces NO radiofrequency radiation, so it poses NO health hazard. Fiber-optic technology is safer, faster, more reliable, more cyber secure, and more private than any wireless technology, including 5G. (See whatis5g.infofor a detailed description of the limitations of 5G.)
So users of wireless technology, including 5G, will have to decide if mobility ALONE is more important for their particular application than any other factor, including their own health and the health of their families and colleagues.
When listening to the hype about 5G, consider the following:
The burden of proof is on the providers.
When questioned by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (February, 7, 2019), the representatives of industry could name no existing studies and none in progress.
Just to alert those of you who find gardens a welcome relief from Brexit that there is now a short update on my garden pages.