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Older articles can be found in the SIRC Archive list.


F.I.T. only for the waste bin. The 'British National Survey on Genetically Modified Foods', currently being conducted by the Food Information Trust, is one of the most blatantly biased and unscientific studies we at SIRC have ever encountered.

Scaremongers: the new threat to children's healthThe current MMR vaccination crisis, which experts predict will lead to a measles epidemic, has highlighted a new public health problem: 'riskfactorphobia' — a psychological side effect of health scares.

The tide turns against Greenpeace Greenpeace anti-GM food activists may well have done the organisation's reputation irreparable damage. In place of the pious deference shown by the British Press to the movement's every word on biotechnology, a consensus is now growing that the mindless vandalism of recent weeks has gone too far.

 Another Unfounded Food Scare?
The scaremongers are at it again, and this time they are causing unnecessary alarm about a rapidly increasing and profitable trend in food production. Among their unfounded allegations are those concerning increased risks of liver cancer from aflatoxins in food, the heightened dangers of E coli 0157 poisoning and the presence of the potentially lethal organism Citobacter freundii.

A Little Bit of What You Fancy
In a highly personal and poignant article, Desmond Morris explains how his own experiences have reinforced his scientific views on the importance of avoiding anxiety and stress about what we eat.

GM Foods OK in US
It seems ironic that in the United States, a country obsessed with food safety and prone to whimsical dietary fads, confidence in genetically modified foods is very high. There is no talk of ‘Frankenstein’ Food. Nor is there the irrational fear about so-called ‘tinkering with nature’ which occupies the mind of so many British consumers. Instead, the large majority of Americans see GM foods as having many benefits, both now and in the future.

Big Mouth: Food and pleasure
(From Lionel Tiger's 'The Pursuit of Pleasure')
Human beings are like other mammals in that they often receive their first food directly from their mother's body. But it is difficult to imagine any other mammal having such variety, complexity, and intensity of experiences surrounding food. No other creature on earth enjoys as much as people do so many kinds of pleasure from food — simple, complex, real, symbolic, basic, luxurious.

The secret agendas of health promotion
A recent paper published in a leading health promotion journal reveals the 'fanatical zeal', 'secretive' processes and 'hidden agendas' of health promotion professionals.

Shopping Malls: The New Village Green
A contribution from Professor Robin Fox — a member of SIRC's advisory panel

Do healthy adults need screening
Routine screening is now part of what we take to be responsible, preventative medicine. Most people assume that there are significant benefits to be gained from such procedures. Surely, if potentially fatal diseases can be detected at an early stage and cured, then we should be screened more often.

Beware the Precautionary Principle
A new mantra is beginning to occupy pride of place in debates on all environmental issues, whether they be to do with food safety, genetic engineering or global warming — the precautionary principle. Originating in 1960s Germany as Vorsorgeprinzip (literally foresight planning) it has been increasingly seized upon by green activists and other romantics since the 1970s as an unanswerable credo — when considering technological innovation, exercise caution with regard to its potential consequences.

No more good air days
In line with the current trend towards environmental doom and gloom, weather forecasters will no longer be allowed to end their broadcasts with a cheerful "…and the air quality today will be Very Good". The very best we can expect to hear is that "pollution levels will be Low".

Recycling — the sacred cow of enviromentalism
Is the often holier-than-thou crusade to recycle everything from newspapers to beer bottles a way of saving the planet? Or is it just a modern manifestation of mass anal retentiveness?

Red meat and the health-scare gravy train
The widely leaked Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) report on red meat and cancer upset another venerable body of health professionals: the World Cancer Research Fund. Not that the WCRF disagreed with COMA's findings. Quite the opposite. It is just that COMA raced to the press briefings before them and threatened to steal all the limelight. For this reason the WCRF retaliated by rushing out their own 600-page report, which says much the same thing about the evils of red meat. They are also setting up road shows around the world to show that they not COMA are the true guardians of public health.

Health stories: Reading between the lines
We are all rightly concerned about our health, and recognise that what we eat has a profound effect on our physical and mental well-being. It is also very appropriate that the media — whether newspapers, magazines, TV programmes or even Internet Web sites — should recognise these concerns and provide us with sensible guidelines based on current and emerging scientific research. Few people have time to read the learned journals on diet and nutrition, and even fewer have the academic training to understand them fully. So we rely on journalists and popular writers to make the material more accessible.

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