fbpx

Month: December 2019

Bauernfängerei durch Urintests

In Frankreich finden sich Glyphosat-Rückstände im Urin von Bauern. Ungefährlich, weil weiter unter den Grenzwerten. Trotzdem werden solche Resultate für die Öko-Stimmungsmache genutzt.

Wenn Sie noch nie von „Glyphosat-Pissern” gehört haben, dann erwartet Sie bei einem Blick in die aktuellen Ausgaben französischer Zeitungen eine wilde Lesereise. Seit April 2018 haben 6000 Landwirte Glyphosat in ihrem Urin „gefunden“, das über dem Grenzwert für Trinkwasser liegt. Dieser ist auf 0,1 Mikrogramm pro Liter festgelegt. „Nur drei Teilnehmer lagen unter diesem Wert”, sagte ein 66-jähriger Umweltaktivist der französischen Zeitung Libération. Diese Aktivisten haben die französischen Bauern davon überzeugt, dass durch das Verklagen von Pestizidproduzenten möglicherweise viel Geld zu holen ist. Nichts scheint attraktiver sein, als zu versuchen, Millionen Euro an Schadenersatz zu kassieren, wie es in den Vereinigten Staaten bereits passiert ist.

Über 1.500 Beschwerden über „Glyphosatpisse” wurden wegen „Gefährdung des Lebens anderer”, „Täuschung” und „Umweltschäden” eingereicht. Die französische Kampagnengruppe Campagne glyphosate behauptet auf ihrer Website, dass 100 Prozent der Tests positiv ausgefallen seien. Überhaupt kein Risiko, liebe Bauern, unterschreiben Sie einfach hier! Die Kosten für den Test und die Beschwerdeeinreichung belaufen sich auf 135 Euro.

Bei den 100 Prozent müssten eigentlich die Alarmglocken läuten, denn neu ist diese Zahl nicht. Zumindest nicht für Deutsche. Im Juni 2015 ließen die deutschen Grünen 16 Proben von Muttermilch in Deutschland analysieren, mit 100 Prozent positiven Ergebnissen auf Glyphosat. Die Geschichte wurde mithilfe der Medien groß aufgemacht und löste bei stillenden Müttern große Verunsicherung aus. Kurz darauf wurden im Rahmen der Kampagne „Urinale” der Bürgerinitiative Landwende 2000 Urinproben von deutschen Bürgern analysiert. Diesmal waren 99,6% der Ergebnisse positiv.

Laut Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung liegen Glyphosatrückstände in der Muttermilch nicht über den gesetzlichen Grenzwerten.

Im Mai 2016 ließ die Fraktion der Grünen im Europäischen Parlament den Urin von 48 Mitgliedern des Europäischen Parlaments testen, ebenfalls mit 100 Prozent positiven Ergebnissen. Im März 2017 wurden 27 Urinproben von dänischen Müttern und Kindern analysiert, auch hier wieder mit 100 Prozent positiven Ergebnissen.

An den aktuellen Tests ist BioCheck, das 1997 von Monika Krüger mitgegründete Forschungslabor mit Sitz in Deutschland, maßgeblich beteiligt. Frau Krüger selbst ist eine Anti-Pestizid-Aktivistin. Nicht unbedingt eine gute Voraussetzung für solide und objektive Forschungsarbeit. Aber gut, Tests sind schlussendlich Tests, oder? Nicht ganz.

Nehmen wir die 16 Proben von Muttermilch, die zu 100 Prozent kontaminiert waren? Das Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) bestätigte, dass es keinerlei Beweise dafür gibt, dass Glyphosatrückstände in der Muttermilch über den gesetzlichen Grenzwerten liegen. Die beiden vom BfR in Auftrag gegebenen unabhängigen Studien wurden in einem Artikel für das Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry zusammengefasst. Sie verwendeten die Flüssigkeitschromatographie in Verbindung mit der Massenspektrometrie (LC-MS/MS) oder die Gaschromatographie in Verbindung mit der Massenspektrometrie (GC-MS/MS) – Verfahren, die nach Angaben des BfR zehnmal vertrauenswürdiger sind als Standardtests zum Nachweis von Pestiziden und 75-mal vertrauenswürdiger als die von BioCheck.

BioCheck hatte einen ELISA-Test eingesetzt, um zu seinen Schlussfolgerungen zu kommen. Dieser enzymgebundene Immunosorbent-Assay ist ein Test, der Antikörper in Ihrem Blut nachweist und misst. Dem Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung zufolge sei der Nachweis von Glyphosat an sich ein grundlegend kompliziertes Unterfangen und ELISA dafür kein geeigneter Weg sei. Marcel Kuntz, Forschungsdirektor am CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) in Grenoble, sieht in ELISA ebenso wenig einen genauen Test zum Nachweis von Pestiziden.

Horrorgeschichten über ‚giftige Rückstände‘ in unserem Körper sollen Angst und Misstrauen hervorrufen.

Deshalb hat BioCheck wahrscheinlich nur 75 Euro für ihre Urintests berechnet. Man bekommt immer das, wofür man zahlt. Schlagzeilen über gefährliche Milch oder allgemein gefährliches Essen wurden bereits geschrieben und veröffentlicht, ohne Korrektur. Wo liegt dann jetzt noch das Problem? Fakt ist: Wir haben es mit einer gründlichen Perversion wissenschaftlicher Methoden zu tun. Die Tests dienen hier nur zu Propagandazwecken. Was die Aktivisten den Bauern wohl auch verschwiegen haben: Der Grenzwert für Trinkwasser liegt sehr viel niedriger als die Grenzwerte für die unbedenkliche Aufnahme von Pestiziden. Als in Deutschland versucht wurde, Mütter durch den Nachweis von Glyphosat in Muttermilch in Panik zu versetzen, zeigte sich, dass ein vier Kilogramm schwerer Säugling der am stärksten belasteten deutschen Mutter 2778 Liter Muttermilch pro Tag trinken müsste, um den Grenzwert zu überschreiten. Hätte man den Grenzwert der Weltgesundheitsorganisation genommen, wären es sogar 9260 und beim US-Grenzwert 16.200 Liter. In den USA liegt der Grenzwert für Trinkwasser aus diesem Grund 7000-mal höher als in der EU.

Tatsächlich würde man mit sehr aufwändigen und entsprechend leistungsfähigen Tests tatsächlich Glyphosatspuren im Urin französischer Bauern nachweisen können. Einfach deshalb, weil man mit diesen extrem empfindlichen Methoden überall auf der Welt Glyphosatspuren nachweisen kann. Da wir mit der Nahrung sehr geringe Mengen Glyphosat aufnehmen, scheiden wir es mit dem Urin (glücklicherweise) auch wieder aus. Nur sagt das rein gar nichts über eine Gesundheitsgefährdung aus.

Wir wissen, dass Glyphosat ungefährlich ist: Wenn wir uns die wissenschaftliche Literatur ansehen, stellen wir fest, dass es sich um ein Herbizid handelt, das sicher zu verwenden und für die moderne Landwirtschaft notwendig ist. Horrorgeschichten über „giftige Rückstände” in unserem Körper sollen Angst und Misstrauen hervorrufen, leider mit großem Erfolg. Viele Staaten geben dem Druck nach und haben entsprechende Produkte verboten. Für diese Aktivisten ist es nicht von Interesse, verlässlichere Tests mit Bezug auf gesundheitsrelevante Grenzwerte in Betracht zu ziehen. Ihnen geht es nur darum, Stimmung zu machen, weil sie damit vor Gericht Klagen gewinnen und die Öffentlichkeit für ihre unwissenschaftlichen Ansichten begeistern können. Das ist eine Schande.

Ursprünglich hier veröffentlicht.

Vaping is a more effective smoke reduction tool than government policies

Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and university students have increased their use of e-cigarettes, despite rising public concern. While underage nicotine consumption and smoking-related lung disease deaths are a real problem, legal vaping products, and accurate consumer information can combat instead of worsen these effects. We should welcome the presence of alternatives to tobacco, and endorse safe, and legal options.

At the beginning, there were the strange cigarette look-alikes that light up as you took a drag. Now, the e-cigarette market has expanded to include safer alternatives, ranging from popular Juul products to vapes the size of a pistol grip. In Europe, the so-called “heat-not-burn” also constitutes a new type of vape, by heating up the tobacco instead of burning it, thus avoiding the more unhealthy effects of tobacco combustion. The idea that these alternatives are a good thing will raise eyebrows for many, and rightfully so. If you’ve followed the health scare surrounding vaping, you’d think that the mere thought of encouraging e-cigarettes is problematic.

While no potentially harmful product should ever be encouraged, we should recognize its harm-reducing effects. The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England, assessed in 2015–confirmed since then–that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking conventional cigarettes. Between 2011 and 2017, the number of smokers in the UK fell from 19.8% to 14.9%. At the same time, the number of e-cigarette users rose: almost half of these consumers use e-cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking. The UK is an example that shows how a permissive vaping policy is better at helping those who want to quit smoking.

On the other hand, the US Food and Drug Administration, as well as most European nations, have released serious public health warnings regarding vaping. A recent spike in vaping-related lung illnesses has made officials afraid of the rise of e-cigarettes. Symptoms of those affected by recent illnesses include trouble breathing, chest pain, fatigue, and vomiting. About half the patients are teenagers or young adults.

Here is where giving the full picture is important.

The two main ingredients used in vape liquids, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), are used to form their vapor and add flavor. Added to these two ingredients is a third, usually a common food flavoring found in cakes, oils, and other food items. All of these compounds are common food ingredients that are deemed healthy and safe by regulatory bodies including the FDA. Other variable ingredients include the stimulant alkaloid nicotine. Although not all vape liquids contain nicotine, the addictive chemical is the main draw for smokers that want to quit smoking. Compared to other alternatives, like the Nicotine Replacement Therapy patches and drugs, vaping has been found to be more effective.

On Dec. 6, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a report which uncovered that none of the patients affected in recent cases had used conventional nicotine vapes. Most of the affected consumers had used black-market THC products—many in states that have not legalized marijuana. In most of these terrible cases of vaping-related lung disease, Vitamin E has been found in these moonshine liquids. Vitamin E is very harmful when inhaled.

In Europe, more countries are approaching the issue from a different direction. Portugal’s Directorate-General for Health released a statement saying users should refrain from modifying their e-cigarette liquids or add any substances that aren’t legally marketed and labeled. That is certainly a more consumer information-based approach than the state of Michigan, which decided to ban flavored vaping outright (at least as a temporary measure).

If we want to combat deaths arising from black market products, we have to embrace safe legal products. A legal and regulated market is the best method for rooting out bad products and actors. A ban on flavored liquids will only drive those who wish to use flavored vaping products to the black market, or back to cigarettes. Recent studies have shown that if vaping products are outlawed, current vapors are more likely to return to smoking. That would be very consequential for public health.

A lot of myth-busting needs to be done on the issue of e-cigarettes. More than that, however, let’s just consider what harm-reducing products have actually done. The government has tried for decades to get people to stop smoking. In order to do that, it has utilized paternalistic policies, like taxation, restrictions on packaging and sales, which have all been shown to be ineffective. All reduction in cigarette sales has been offset by a spike in black market sales. In this shadow economy, consumers are being misled, and people get hurt.

We need to encourage the marketing and branding of safe and legal vaping products. Consumer information is necessary in order to crowd out dangerous black market products.

Vaping has achieved what decades of government policies couldn’t–gave consumers a viable alternative. This type of innovation should be celebrated, not reprimanded.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Viewpoint: Conservatives say UK could break from ‘outdated’ EU GMO, CRISPR regulations if they sweep ’Brexit election’

On the 12th of December, the United Kingdom will hold a general election. With the UK’s exit from the European Union (Brexit) remaining unresolved, tensions are as high as ever. Once out of the EU, though, the UK could regain full control over its laws and regulations.

Though the election debate has centered around immigration, security and healthcare, the question of what direction the UK should take in terms of science policy persists. Will the UK manage to unleash the potential of its biotechnological sector and become a global advocate for innovation and consumer choice, or will it retain the EU’s antiquated approach?

In a manifesto released in November, the Conservatives pledged to take the path of “science-led, evidence-based policy” to improve the quality of food, agriculture and land management. Previously, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to liberate the UK’s biotech sector from the EU’s anti-genetic modification rules.

The laws that concern genetically modified organisms in the UK are primarily based on European Union regulations. For years, the EU has backpedaled on agricultural innovation, preventing European consumers from accessing biologically enhanced food. This can be seen in the very limited number of genetically modified crops authorized for cultivation in the EU, and a very cumbersome and expensive process of importing genetically modified crops from other countries. In July 2018, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that gene-edited plants should be regulated the same way that genetically modified organisms are regulated, rendering them practically illegal and hindering innovation even further.

If the UK chooses to move away from these EU-based regulations as a consequence of Brexit, it could become a forward-looking global biotech powerhouse.

The first step would be to replace fear-based skepticism of genetic modification with an evidence-based, pro-innovation approach. Despite popular rhetoric, there is no substantial scientific evidence behind the alleged health and environmental risks ascribed to GM products. Abandoning these baseless assertions and creating and sustaining the conditions under which UK farmers could innovate, lower their production costs, and use fewer chemicals would be an enterprising move on the part of the UK government.

Approving GM pest-resistant crops, for instance, could save about £60 million ($79 million) a year in pesticide use in the UK. Moreover, £60 million in savings would mean more leeway for competitive food pricing in a country where prices at the grocery store are rising 2 percent annually.

Once restrictive genetic modification laws are relaxed, it would be necessary to enable easy market access for GM foods. Under current EU legislation, products containing GMOs need to be labeled as such, and the requirements also apply to non-prepacked foods. It is legally established that such products (soy, for example) not only require written documentation but also should have an easily readable notice about their origin. No such rule exists with regards to foods that are 100% GMO-free, meaning there is explicit discrimination in place giving GMO-free food an unfair advantage on the market.

The EU’s strict regulations on the use of GM technology have been, first and foremost, harmful to consumers, depriving them access to innovative options such as Impossible Foods’ plant-based burger, which so closely mimics meat thanks to an ingredient produced with the help of genetically engineered yeast. Vastly popular in the US and now expanding to Asia, vegan burgers using plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products, are absent from the European market due to backwards-looking anti-GM rules.

The United Kingdom should strive for the smartest regulation in the field of approval and market access to GMOs. Relaxed regulations on gene-editing methods like CRISPR-Cas9 could also attract massive investment and lead to wide-reaching biotech innovation in the UK.

Enabling gene-editing is an essential part of unleashing scientific innovation in the United Kingdom after Brexit. Skepticism of gene-editing centers around the potential but largely exaggerated adverse effects of the technology and ignores the astonishing benefits that could accrue to both farmers and consumers.

If the UK manages to replace the EU’s overly cautious biotech rules with a pro-innovation and prosperity-fostering regulatory scheme, it could become a true global biotech powerhouse. This is an ambitious, exciting, and above all, achievable future.

Building a Stronger Justice System to Grow Safer Communities

Helping people resolve their legal issues faster and more affordably

TORONTO — The Ontario government is taking action to make it easier, faster and more affordable for people to access the justice system.

Today, Attorney General Doug Downey introduced the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act to simplify a complex and outdated justice system. If passed, the bill would modernize and improve how legal aid services are delivered, class actions are handled, court processes are administered and make life easier for Ontarians by paving the way to allow identities and legal documents to be verified online.

“We have heard loud and clear from people across Ontario that the justice system has grown too complex and outdated, and needs to better support the growth of safer communities while standing up for victims of crime and law-abiding citizens,” said Attorney General Downey. “Our government is proposing smart and sensible reforms that will allow people to spend less time and money resolving their legal matters while strengthening access to the legal supports Ontarians need.”

Included in this proposed legislation are amendments that would give Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) the tools it needs to help clients resolve their legal issues faster and with fewer road blocks. The proposed changes build on the strengths of community legal clinics, duty counsel and the use of private bar certificates to fix or replace outdated processes. They also provide LAO the authority to make rules about operational matters. As a result of these changes, LAO could seamlessly and sustainably provide high quality services to clients where and when they need them.

“The new Legal Aid Services Act is an important step towards improving access to justice in Ontario. It offers opportunities for innovation, and allows us to address gaps in the justice system. This legislation, if passed, would allow Legal Aid Ontario and its valued service providers—including staff, clinics and the private bar—to better serve clients,” said David Field, CEO, LAO.

The Attorney General also confirmed that, following extensive consultations, LAO’s 2020-2021 funding will be maintained at its current levels. 

Other proposed amendments would move Ontario towards a stronger and smarter justice system by:

  • paving the way to allow for the online verification of identity and legal documents for transactions such as real estate agreements, gifting a used vehicle to a family member or starting a claim in court
  • enhancing Ontario’s civil forfeiture laws to ensure crime does not pay and proceeds of crime are used to support victims of illegal activity
  • prioritizing the interests of Ontarians in class action lawsuits so they receive faster, more transparent and more meaningful compensation and access to justice
  • making it easier for cyberbullying victims to sue offenders convicted of the offence of non-consensual distribution of an intimate image
  • allowing for a simplified procedure for small estates, making it less costly to administer estates of a modest value
  • increasing the maximum fine for lawyers and paralegals who engage in professional misconduct and stopping the practice of government footing the bill for legal fees incurred by judges and justices of the peace who are dismissed due to misconduct
  • amending the death registration process to ease the burden for families when faced with registering the death of a loved one in the absence of their remains.

“The amendments announced by the government today respond to an evolving legal landscape,” said Law Society Treasurer Malcolm Mercer. “The Law Society is specifically pleased with the amendments to the Law Society Act, all of which will help provide greater public protection. We thank the government for moving ahead on these changes which assist in regulation of the legal professions in the public interest.”

In total, the proposed legislation includes changes to more than 20 acts that would simplify complex and outdated processes so justice works better for Ontarians.

Quotes

“We are very pleased Attorney General Downey continues to recognize the foundational role community legal clinics play in creating a strong Ontario justice system that protects vulnerable members of our communities and provides them with the legal services they need.”
– Trudy McCormick, Co-Chair, Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario

“This new legislation will improve the delivery of legal aid services in Ontario while ensuring  independent community legal clinics continue to work closely with the communities they serve in identifying their needs and in providing poverty law services to their clients.”
– Gary Newhouse, Co-Chair, Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario

“The Ontario Paralegal Association applauds the Ontario government for putting forward proposed changes to the Notaries Act and the Commissioners for taking Affidavits Act that would make it easier for paralegals in their daily practice to fully serve their clients. These changes will make accessing notary services easier and improve access to justice for Ontarians. We are pleased that Attorney General Downey has listened to our concerns and is moving forward on this change.”
– George Brown, President, The Ontario Paralegal Association

“Allowing for virtual commissioning and notarizing is a positive step for those using legal services. Permitting virtual commissioning and notarizing ultimately makes the system more consumer friendly and more responsive. From a consumer standpoint, this is a welcomed change.”
– David Clement, North American Affairs Manager, Consumer Choice Center

“This bill is a breakthrough needed to modernize Ontario’s legal system. Permitting online verification of an individual’s identity and legal documents will level the legal services playing field for all Ontarians. No matter where a person lives, when they work, or what mobility or ability challenges they may face, they will soon be able to access the same high quality legal services that are easily accessible in urban centres across Ontario.”
– Lena Koke, CEO and Co-Founder, Axess Law

“Ontario’s police leaders continue to work with the government and our partners to modernize our justice system and make it more efficient. We support the proposed legislative changes to the Civil Remedies Act, 2001 because it will simplify the processes around personal property forfeitures while also relieving the burdens on our police personnel and the court system.”
– Chief Paul Pedersen, President, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police

“Consumers Council of Canada agrees with the reforms that have emerged from the Law Commission of Ontario consultation process and the Attorney General’s own review. This legislation is critical to access justice for Ontario residents, especially so for consumers. The Council supports the reforms designed to make class representatives and their counsel more transparent and accountable for their actions on behalf of class members.”
– Don Mercer, President, Consumers Council of Canada

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s legal aid legislation has not been substantially updated since 1998.
  • Ontario’s civil forfeiture laws allow the government to take the profits of illegal activity (e.g., a telemarketing scam, trafficking of drugs or guns, sexual exploitation or forced labour) and give it back to the victims of that crime or fund projects to support victims and target criminals. The changes would simplify the process to take the profits of illegal activity from criminals.
  • Ontario’s class action legislation has not been substantially updated in more than 25 years.

John Oliver is on the money on lawsuit abuse and the need for legal reform

The United States of America is lawsuit crazy.

It’s a fact that any visitor to our county readily notices. Lawyers put up large billboards in major cities wanting to “fight your case” for simple fender-benders. Television programs promise big money in payouts for class-action lawsuits against bad corporate actors.

Underlying all of this is a legal system that rewards such frivolous lawsuits and grants them oxygen when they should be instead be laughed out of the room.

That was the subject of a recent John Oliver segment, who has himself been the target of a bogus lawsuit. The lawsuit brought against Oliver and his program concerned a coal company CEO upset with Oliver’s characterization of his company.

The lawsuit is typical of those that currently clog our nation’s country’s courts; there is no real injury to speak of, and the classification of the victims is problematic.

This speaks again to the very important goal of overhauling the legal system in this country. That means allowing legal reform so that our justice system doesn’t raise prices for consumers, allow bogus lawsuits to go forward, or reward exorbitant amounts of money for people who weren’t actually harmed.

There are thousands of cases beyond this that will help serve this point. And we hope this can start a new dialog in our country.

Check out the segment here:

Banning Cannabis Vape May Lead to Bigger Black Market Problem, Warns Consumer Choice Center

The Consumer Choice Center says the province’s cannabis vape ban is a dangerous mistake.

The provincial government on Wednesday announced that it is not going to allow the sale of cannabis vape products in Newfoundland and Labrador – at least for the time-being.

David Clement of the Consumer Choice Center, an anti-regulation non-profit organization, says the move to ban cannabis vape devices does more harm than good, and will put consumer safety at risk.

Clement says available evidence shows that severe lung illnesses from vaping are being caused by illegal vape products with harmful and prohibited additives, that are not in legal products.

He says the ban prevents legal and compliant products from stamping out the black market alternatives that are hurting people, making the problem worse.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Cannabis Conclave Returns To Davos in 2020

The Cannabis Conclave, a premier cannabis industry event, will be returning to Davos on January 23rd, 2020.

Washington, DC, Dec. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Consumer Choice Center is pleased to announce that the Cannabis Conclave will be returning to Davos, Switzerland on January 23, 2020.

The Cannabis Conclave was first hosted in January 2019. The conclave is a legal medical and recreational cannabis event that takes place at the mountainside Restaurant Höhenweg in Davos, Switzerland. The conclave brings together cannabis industry executives, global investors, policy makers, and international media. The purpose of the event is to fuel the legalization debate globally, both for recreational and medical cannabis, and to highlight the growing legitimacy and maturity of the legal industry. As the world’s most influential executives, activists, and change-makers descend on Davos, the conclave will ensure that cannabis is front and center in the global discussion. The conclave is a one-day event, taking place from 11:00am – 4:00pm on January 23rd. 

The event is officially sponsored by the Consumer Choice Center, Prohibition Partners, Fluence by OSRAM, and Golden Eagle Partners (GEP).

For sponsorship opportunities, speaking opportunities, or to request to attend the Cannabis Conclave, please email event organizer David Clement at david@consumerchoicecenter.org.

Consumer Choice Center: The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at www.consumerchoicecenter.org.

Prohibition Partners: Prohibition Partners is widely recognised as the world’s leading provider of market intelligence, data-driven solutions and corporate strategy for the emerging cannabis industry. Our knowledge, insight, and network is unrivaled at the forefront of regulatory change and investor engagement across multiple global markets. Learn more at www.prohibitionpartners.com

Fluence by OSRAM: Fluence Bioengineering, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of OSRAM, creates the most powerful and energy-efficient LED lighting solutions for commercial crop production and research applications. Fluence is the leading LED lighting supplier in the global cannabis market and is committed to enabling more efficient crop production with the world’s top vertical farms and greenhouse produce growers. Fluence global headquarters are based in Austin, Texas, with its EMEA headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands. For more information about Fluence, visit https://fluence.science

Golden Eagle Partners (GEP): GEP’s combined experience in the early stages of the cannabis and life science sectors helps us confidently close strategic and financing transactions that match the near- and long-term goals of our marijuana and hemp clients. We specialize in mergers, acquisitions, reverse mergers, financings and incremental transactions such as licensing, joint ventures and co-development arrangements. Learn more at www.goldeneaglepartners.com


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

We must resist Public Health England’s brave new world

We must resist Public Health England’s brave new world

In a remarkable authoritarian parting shot as she left her post as Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies published a report entitled Time to Solve Childhood Obesity, which was warmly welcomed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The report’s recommendations would create a positively dystopian world. Public Health England want to outright ban eating on public transport. Inflated VAT rates would make simple food and drinks purchases seem rather more extravagant than before.

There would be no more junk food ads, and buying fast food would become an ordeal and a luxury. But if the government opts to follow the report’s recommendations – which is a real possibility, whoever wins the election – this Brave New World could soon become a reality.

The supposed childhood obesity epidemic has been slowly but surely taking over British public health discourse. It began around 2005, with Jamie Oliver’s televisual lip service, and eventually resulted in George Osborne’s sugar tax eleven years later.

With over one in five English 10 and 11-year-olds suffering from obesity according to the latest available data from the NHS, the government has understandably set alarm bells ringing.

The domineering, restrictive approach being proposed by Public Health England, however, brings to light some deep-seated issues.

The key one has to do with individual freedoms. Radical measures like taxing ‘unhealthy’ foods, banning ads and enforcing plain packaging would fail to tackle childhood obesity, while also harshly affecting adults and their personal choices.

This kind of nannyism is remarkably cross-party, differing only in degree. While Jeremy Corbyn’s support for sin taxes and junk food ad bans comes as no surprise, it is quite baffling to witness Tories persistently meddling with individual choices too.

Considering the party’s ideological roots, you would expect the Conservatives to be more mindful of the dangers this approach poses for the fundamental freedom to choose.

Plain packaging of tobacco products and the ban on plastic straws signalled a drastic shift away from core Conservative values, and it seems that things are only getting worse.

Public support appears dishearteningly high for such approaches. A YouGov poll from a few months ago showed that 55% of the public believe we need additional taxation on unhealthy foods and drinks. Alarmingly, the figure among Conservative voters is 54%.

The poll also found that nearly two thirds of British adults would be in favour of banning junk food TV ads before the 9pm watershed, with only 20% opposed. Almost three quarters support restrictions on food advertising on YouTube and social media.

In this context, ad bans and harsh authoritarian restrictions are seeming less and less draconian. It would appear that infringing on individual choices is politically profitable in Britain today.

It is little wonder, then, that the Conservative party continues to err on the side of greater state interference, despite the ideological mismatch it causes.

Whether we will truly find ourselves waking up one day to be greeted by Public Health England’s brave and healthy new world remains unclear.

Back in July, Boris Johnson vowed to review sin taxes and put an end once and for all to the “continuing creeping of the nanny state”, but since then, solid commitments or steps in that direction have not been forthcoming.

Perhaps, the nanny state seems appealing to many at the moment because we have not yet experienced fully-fledged nannyism in action.

If the current trend continues, we may find out by 2024 whether following Public Health England’s programme of taxes, ad bans and plain packaging will be enough to fight childhood obesity, or if yet more restrictions on choice will be on their way.

Originally published here.


The Consumer Choice Center is the consumer advocacy group supporting lifestyle freedom, innovation, privacy, science, and consumer choice. The main policy areas we focus on are digital, mobility, lifestyle & consumer goods, and health & science.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at 
consumerchoicecenter.org

Open Letter on Climate Change

Open Letter on Climate Change:

Dear Executive Vice-President Timmermans, 

On behalf of the Consumer Choice Center, the consumer advocacy group representing and empowering consumers in the EU and globally, I would like to congratulate you on your appointment. We wholeheartedly share your determination to find the most sustainable and consumer-friendly solution to the climate change dilemma and hope our perspective on the matter would be valuable.

While we welcome your ambition to reduce carbon emissions in Europe by 2050, we also believe that every policy should also be considered through the lens of consumer choice and affordability. The world, as we know it now, wouldn’t be possible if innovation was prevented from running its course and making our lives longer, safer and more prosperous. 

All too often the unlimited potential of innovation to help solve the issue of climate change is dismissed to the detriment of European consumers. Being able to freely choose between a train ride and a flight, or between gene-modified and organic foods is crucial. Well-intended policies tend to fall prey to popular rhetoric turning a blind eye to alternative solutions. The entrepreneurial spirit is an essential part of our European culture, and it’s about time we channeled it into the global fight against climate change.

We should stay united, sensible and considerate in our efforts to tackle climate change. Whereas taxes and bans might seem like good solutions, their direct and tangible impact on consumers and their ability to choose cannot be ignored.

We believe that the key issues the European policymakers should take into account centre around food supply, mobility and energy.

Embracing innovation in agriculture, mobility and energy sectors is a great way to combat climate change.

Agriculture

With the world’s population expected to reach almost ten billion by 2050, and innately limited natural resources facing new environmental challenges, the situation can hardly be regarded as positive. If we look beyond popular solutions, we will find that there are many more ways to approach the issue. Innovation in agriculture is one of them. 

Organic farming is appealing because it’s “natural” and is, therefore, associated with higher food safety, but it can potentially do more harm than good if we choose to stick to it. In 2017, researchers at the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture in Switzerland estimated that if the world chose to fully convert to organic agriculture, we would need between 16 and 81% more land to feed the planet. The overreliance on limited natural resources, as in the case of organic farming, is significantly more dangerous than taxes. 

The European Union has traditionally objected to most innovations in food science and prevented European consumers from accessing biologically-enhanced food. This can be seen in the very limited number of genetically modified crops authorised for cultivation in the EU, and a very cumbersome and expensive process of importing genetically modified food and a recent European Court of Justice ruling against gene editing.

However, there is no substantial scientific evidence of the health and environmental risks ascribed to GM products. With the help of gene engineering, we would be able to decrease our dependence on natural resources and minimise the use of fertilisers and pesticides. Creating drought and heat-tolerant crops would ensure we don’t need to deforest wild areas to free up more land for agricultural purposes.

In order to unleash the potential of gene modification and help it mitigate the environmental challenges we have to face, it is also essential that the EU creates fair and equitable conditions for GMO-free and GM foods.

Under the existing EU legislation, all food which contains greater than 0.9% of approved GMOs must be labeled as such. No such rule exists with regards to foods that are 100% GMO-free, proving that there is explicit discrimination in place giving GMO-free food an unfair advantage on the market. 

Gene modification should excite us as it would allow us to address the issue of climate change in a smart way. 

Our recommendations:

  • Reassess the existing EU regulations on the grounds of potential gains and benefits for the consumer rather than simply based on popularised threats not based in fact.
  • Ensure fair and equitable market conditions for GM and GM-free foods.

Mobility

Recently, nine EU finance ministers called for a European aviation tax as a means to cut emissions from flying. Similar schemes, such as a 7-euro EU-wide flight tax, have been suggested in the past, but haven’t had any political success mainly due to the opposition from countries such as Malta, Cyprus and Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Ireland, and Croatia due to the fact that they are hugely dependent on tourism.

Every tax imposed on airlines ends up hurting consumers without solving the climate change dilemma, especially in the long run.

The liberalisation of air travel within Europe and the emergence of low cost carriers and massive competition within the airline industry have allowed millions of European to use planes for either leisure or economic activities.

Economic migrants and commuters from Eastern Europe can visit their families more often and more cities are connected to the rest of the continent. Assuming that European taxes would move more of these travel patterns to rail neglects the realities of European rail networks and actual distances to travel. Passengers flying from Bucharest to Brussels will hardly be able to use buses or trains for this journey.

Saving the environment is as important to airlines as it to each and every one of us. The aviation industry has been making consistent efforts to use less fuel. Giving innovative technologies such as new materials and fuel saving engines a chance doesn’t usually come to mind as a possible solution, while its potential to help us cut the emissions would actually have a significant impact. For example, Airbus’ new A321XLR. has 30% less kerosene consumption per passenger, while adding 30% more range than the currently used A321neo. 

Our recommendation:

  • Do not impose additional taxes on airlines at the expense of European consumers and let innovation take its course.
  • Do not discriminate against existing and well-established technologies such as the internal combustion engine. Technology neutrality has to be maintained in both, type of engine and mode of transportation.

Energy

There is a wide agreement between policymakers, activists and the public that reducing carbon emissions is key to fighting climate change. Taxing polluters tops the list of the most popular solutions. We, as a consumer group, are concerned that as long as there is no viable and affordable alternative, additional taxation of carbon would only hurt consumers. All carbon taxes are usually passed on to the consumer and thus should be avoided.

As the debate on how to decarbonise Europe carries on, it is about time the discourse stopped turning its back on the astounding advantages of nuclear energy. Aside from being fully carbon-free, nuclear is also one of the safest energy sources. It also keeps the air clean contributing to the overall wellbeing. Between 1995 and 2016, the US could have emitted 14,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide more without nuclear. 

Popular scepticism surrounding nuclear isn’t backed up scientifically. Multiple studies concluded that the risks of accidents in nuclear plants are low and have been declining. 

Embracing nuclear power will help us address climate change in a sustainable and consumer-friendly fashion. France and Sweden, who now emit less than a tenth of the world average of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour, are prime examples of decarbonisation through nuclear. They achieved this by recognising and embracing nuclear power. Opting for nuclear has made France and Sweden “greener” and led to a decrease in the price of electricity. On the other hand, Germany and Denmark, with their over reliance on renewable energy, have the highest energy prices in Europe.

European policymakers ought to provide a framework in which innovation and new technologies can make consumers’ lives easier and more affordable. In order to achieve this, the Commission should embrace technology neutrality instead of trying to predict what technologies would prevail in the future and favouring some above the rest. Effective energy market policies do not pretend to have all the answers: they create fair and equitable market conditions that let consumers and innovators coordinate in the marketplace and achieve their desired goals. 

For the sake of consumer choice and future innovation, European policymakers need to strictly adhere to technology neutrality and not pick winners of contests that are still ahead of us.

Our recommendations:

  • Recognise and embrace the possibilities to reduce carbon emissions by nuclear power.
  • Stay technology neutral and create a fair and equitable environment in which innovators can continue to innovate and compete on the same terms; do not pick winners and losers ahead of time.
  • Do not burden consumers with new taxes on energy.

Throughout history, innovation has always been the key driver of human progress and ever expanding prosperity. Innovation can become the best solution to the climate change issue too.

We are hopeful that European policymakers will choose to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit instead of taking the path of bans and other restrictions. The beauty of consumer-driven innovation is that it comes naturally through the marketplace. Consumers value their ability to choose and creating market conditions under which they are able to switch to more environment-friendly options is crucial.

Fighting climate change might seem like an uphill battle and preserving consumer choice and affordability on this journey is extremely challenging. The EU can become a global pioneer of innovation in agriculture, mobility and energy sectors if we stay united, sensible and considerate in the face of climate change. 

We would be delighted to elaborate further on the suggested policy recommendations.

Sincerely,

Fred Roeder
Managing Director
Consumer Choice Center

Everything Wrong with Cancer Warning Labels

Everything Wrong with Cancer Warning Labels

“BACON…, HOT COFFEE…, RED MEAT…, COCONUT OIL…
WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?

You’ve may have thought: THEY’RE DELICIOUS. 
WRONG.

According to the World Health Organization’s INTERNATIONAL AGENCY FOR RESEARCH ON CANCER (IARC), all these foods “PROBABLY” or “POSSIBLY” can give you cancer.

Each year, this France-based agency published new studies known as monographs claiming to establish what is carcinogenic. So far, they’ve listed over 500 substances as DEFINITELY or POTENTIALLY carcinogenic, including your morning cup of coffee and the herbicide you use in your garden. In 48 years, they’ve only found one – JUST ONE – that isn’t.

These declarations have a sweeping impact not only on the products on the shelves, and how they’re regulated and taxed, but also the billions of dollars of lawsuits against these products.

CAN YOU SAY PAYDAY?

This is where science is trumped by money and lawyers.

IARC willfully confuses the relationship between “hazard” and “risk”. Hazard is something that can cause harm, risk explains how likely it is that it will. The sun is a hazard, because exposure to it can cause skin conditions. However, to most people the sun is not a risk, because they limit their exposure in summer, or apply sun cream. As with EVERYTHING ELSE, it’s a question of dosage.

For example, in 2016 the Munich Environmental Institute cast doubt on the safety of beer, claiming it can cause cancer. What they left out was that you needed to drink 1000L of beer a day for it to actually be harmful to health. Arguably, after 1000L of beer, the fact that it might be carcinogenic will be the least of your problems.

IARC STUDIES ARE LIKE A BAT SIGNAL TO THOUSANDS OF TORT LAWYER FIRMS.

What these experts conclude, therefore, becomes scientific dogma, regardless of the science.

WHY IS THIS PROBLEMATIC?

Experts at IARC have often been caught colluding with lawyers who stand to benefit from future lawsuits.

In the case of BENZENE and GLYPHOSATE, they have been accused of manipulating the science to arm trial lawyers. Researches have been ringing the alarm on IARC’s corruption of science for years.

That means hundreds of bogus lawsuits, bad public policy and bad information for consumers.

WHO BENEFITS WHEN SCIENCE IS CORRUPTED? 

LET’S UPHOLD SCIENCE RATHER THAN POLITICS. BECAUSE WE DESERVE BETTER


FOR MORE ARTICLES AND PUBLICATIONS ON SCIENCE AND HEALTH, CLICK HERE.

Scroll to top