NEWSLETTER Jun - Jul 2009


It is time to revisit our long-running surveys on the nutritional and environmental significance of the elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine and the associated ionic forms. Iodide comes to the fore in our considerations of agriculture, fishing, water, food, beverages, and recycling.
The British Composition of Food Tables, like their American equivalents, are now on open access on the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) website, possibly in response to some constant requests to the Agency by us. Some of the data now generally available include results obtained from analyses and measurements obtained or made by VEGA and we can supplement them with more information obtained by retailers of seaweed products that have not been published or used before.

The latest Declaration from the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) on the Importance and Safety of optimizing Iodine Nutrition records the continued prevalence worldwide of iodine deficiency, leading to goitre and thyroid dysfunction as the main preventable cause of mental retardation globally. "Optimizing iodine intake is widely recognized as the most cost-effective solution for achieving optimal intellectual development in addition to normalized thyroid function in iodine deficiency areas.

Read the full article.

The FSA's Strategy must establish a livelier interaction with NGOs, charities and organizations well established in matters of farming and food, to emphasize positive initiatives with good appreciation of the challenges looming in science-based developments and reduction of effort shoring up obsolescent systems that account for a disproportionate amount of budgets and effort and sap the enthusiasm and enjoyment of food. This imbalance is illustrated currently in the neglect of official and generally acceptable imperatives to reverse the rising demands for outputs of "meat-and-dairy" (M and D, including Fish and Game) and to find replacements that are feasible and inviting. Leadership and example are imperative in an atmosphere of decadence, and indulgence must be replaced by a prevailing abstemiousness. We can contribute relevantly to appropriate policies.

There should be no reluctance to setting standards for food that match the levels won by Britain's NGOs and campaigners for clothing and cosmetics that can be rated as cruelty-free. Progress is also being made in medical experimentation and in testing for food safety on the basis of the 3Rs - Refinement, Reduction, and Replacement - a trend welcomed for cosmetics and toiletries (which include toothpaste) by the Royal Society, one of whose Fellows is Professor Colin Blakemore, Chairman of the GACS Committee. The FSA should be to the fore with voluntary organizations and researchers to aim at similar standards for farming and food to yield "Freedom Foods" that are meat-free, dairy-free, and cruelty-free.

Read the full article.

Food-borne pathogenic infections transmitted from farm to fridge have been sources of complaint and damage to the livestock industry since the early 1950s. In 1970 the Swann Committee reported its findings and warnings with criticisms of both the doctors and vets for the misuse of valuable drugs for therapeutic purposes and in the case of vets and their clients of growth-promoting effects in the latter context, this practice was named metaphylaxis. Just in recent months the Chief Veterinary Officer has returned to the warnings and noted the occurrence of new and increasing threats.

"UK meat inspectors warn that reducing inspection controls would threaten public health. Legitimate concern, or are they fighting for their jobs in the face of looming redundancy?", introduces a scrutiny of Healthy Concerns published by the Meat Trades Journal (MTJ; 15/05/09).

“For all the fighting over meat hygiene charges, industry and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) can at least agree on one thing – that meat inspection controls should be reduced and more proportionate to the risk” begins the commissioned article, which is heavily informed by an unnamed meat inspector X, “who wanted to keep his identity secret for fear of reprisals.”

Read the full article.

VEGA, atop the Summer Triangle of 3 prominent stars in the southern sky (the others being Altair and Deneb) is now a major ornament in the firmament (when it is not lost in clouds of one sort of another, one of which would be light pollution).  For mariners and explorers VEGA is a guiding light; for astronomers it is to replace the North Star in zillions of years.  For ordinary citizens VEGA stands for enlightenment on matters of farming, food, health, and the environment and the wellbeing of “all things bright and beautiful,” as well as those ugly, withered, and aged.

When the Vegetarian Society disbanded and ousted its loyal voluntary bands of helpers doing Research and Campaigning work it lost 50 or so years of valuable, useful, and successful experience, and it blundered into professional darkness.  Many of the original teams resiled from scratch in new forms, needing new names and publications.  The original Vegetarian Nutrition and Research Centre (VNRC) distinguished itself soon after the end of WW2 and, in recognition of its main purposes, by founding the scientific journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition and, in the 1960s it was subsumed into a conglomeration of organizations under the banner of the Vegetarian Society UK Ltd, whose journal (which at one time flourished as a campaigning newspaper named the Vegetarian) continued as an advertising magazine.

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  1. Corporate and individual denials at the fleshpots
  2. New recipes including Stuffed Peppers with Laverbread
  3. A nutritional comparison of a fish finger meal and our spicy stir fry tofu







Hon. Research Adviser:
Dr Alan Long

Isobel Davies

14 Woodland Rise
Middlesex UB6 0RD
Tel / Fax: 020 89020073

Registered Charity No. 1045293