Transgender Woman Terminated for Transitioning in the Workplace

From Everything Transgender In NYC:  http://www.nyctransgenders.com/transgender-woman-terminated-for-transitioning-in-the-workplace/

By Jennifer Lopez
on July 27, 2013

After being informed of a Transgender Female that was being terminated from her employment over transitioning in the workplace, I decided that I should investigate a bit more.  Since 2011, Allisson Mueller formerly known as Zachary Stahlnecker worked as a waitress at the Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island, Nebraska.  She began her transition from presenting in public as a man to presenting as a woman in January of 2013.  Things were going great, except she still had to present as a man while going to work.

In the months leading up to July 20, 2013 Ms. Mueller began doing subtle things to present as a women at her place of employment, such as wearing pins in her hair and makeup.  She felt that most of the staff knew of her desire to go to work presenting as the sex that she has always felt and presented in public for the prior seven months.  But that day would soon become one of Ms. Mueller’s dreaded days.

Ms. Mueller informed Everything Transgender in NYC (ETNYC) that she contacted her direct supervisor Tony Sutik and let him know that she would be presenting as the women that she knows she is.  She felt ready to step out of the “employment closet” and into a world where she could present as the sex she is.

When Ms. Mueller showed up to work presenting as a women she was not welcomed.  She said “Mr. Sutik brought me into his office and explained to me that he hired Zachary Stahlnecker.” (Referring to Ms. Mueller’s former identity)…”He continued by saying Riverside Golf Club is very conservative.” She explained that he went on to compare her transition to his Tattoo, quoting Mr. Sutik as saying “A mistake I made and can never get rid of.”

After talking with Ms. Mueller on the phone I decided to call Randy Wiges, who is the manager for Mr. Sutik’s at the Riverside Golf Club.  Mr. Wiges agreed to talk with ETNYC.  When I asked him about the policies at the Golf Club on Transgender issues, he said “We do not have any policies regarding that.  It is something we have never had to deal with in the past”…”I will have to bring it up to the board and see if they would like to develop a policy.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nyctransgenders.com/transgender-woman-terminated-for-transitioning-in-the-workplace/

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WILLIAMS: Don’t transform transgender bill into safety issue

From The Chronicle/Herald Ca:   http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1143684-williams-don-t-transform-transgender-bill-into-safety-issue

By EMILY WILLIAMS
July 22, 2013

In light of the Senate’s discussion of Bill C-279, Calgary MP Rob Anders had some choice words on the issue of transgender rights this month.

On his website, Anders chooses to paint his opposition to the recognition of transgender rights as being an issue of women’s safety, saying that his feelings are rooted in the need to protect women and children from men lurking in their public washrooms.

As a woman, I am perfectly aware that I am less safe in my daily life than the average man. However, if Anders is really as concerned about my safety and well-being as he claims to be, then I would suggest that there are any number of alternative topics (domestic violence initiatives, education about consent or the fight against street harassment, to name a few) upon which he could focus his attention.

Stigmatizing and painting transgender people as implicitly dangerous sexual deviants does absolutely nothing to make women safer, and I would appreciate it if he did not use my gender as an excuse behind which to hide his ignorance and bigotry.

Unfortunately, this is a recurrent theme when it comes to this debate. Ontario MP Dean Allison has said the bill means that, “The door would be open to sexual predators having a legal defence to charges of being caught in a women’s washroom or locker room.”

Statements like these, where transgender people are explicitly linked to sexual predators are incredibly irresponsible and harmful, particularly when made by a public figure. Society still has a long way to go where the understanding of transgender people is concerned, and comments like these do absolutely nothing to help encourage greater education and awareness. To claim linear association between transgender people and rapists and pedophiles is fear-mongering, plain and simple.

This sort of rhetoric is particularly disheartening coming from elected officials, who have a voice in policy-making and and therefore help to shape the public perception of this issue. Statements to this effect will influence how the greater public sees — and, in turn, treats — transgender people in their own lives.

Continue reading at:  http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1143684-williams-don-t-transform-transgender-bill-into-safety-issue

Trans Teen Must Have Access to Male Locker Room, Says DOJ

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2013/07/25/trans-teen-must-have-access-male-locker-room-says-doj

The Department of Justice mandated that a California school district give a transgender student access to men’s facilities.

BY Daniel Reynolds
July 25 2013

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education today told a California school district that it must allow a transgender student to use locker rooms, bathrooms, and other facilities designated for males.

The decision came as the result of a resolution agreement between the departments and the Arcadia Unified School District, in response to a complaint filed by the transgender student, who chose to remain anonymous.

In addition to access to these facilities, the landmark decision also mandates that the rising ninth grader, who was assigned female at birth but identifies and presents as male, be allowed to participate in sports teams and other male-exclusive extracurriculars. He “will be treated like other male students while attending school in the district,” the statement reads.

The departments ordered the Arcadia district to change its policies to reflect these stipulations, and to provide training for school administrators on gender-based discrimination, as well as methods for providing a safe environment for transgender students.

Asaf Orr, a lawyer with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, advocated the case of the student, who wished to remain anonymous. Orr told Politico that, while the school had responded to cases of bullying, it had also ostracized the student by offering him a nurse’s bathroom, which was often locked, as well as a separate cabin for sleeping quarters during a school field trip.

“This sends a clear message to school districts around the country saying ‘This is what the federal government is going to be expecting of you,’” said Orr.

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Think Russia is Scary? Look at Greece

From Frontiers: http://www.frontiersla.com/positivefrontiers/2013/07/25/think-russia-is-scary-look-at-greece

by Karen Ocamb
7/25/2013

Et tu, Bruté? So much attention is being paid now to the anti-gay horror unfolding in Russia that the LGBT community and health care advocates are completely missing an equally horrifying new law in Greece.

The idyllic birthplace of lesbian poet Sappho and Greek mythological gods such as Adonis may not be so alluring now that another Adonis—Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgladis—has reinstated a measure that not only requires mandatory HIV testing but enables Greek police to stop anyone—including tourists—they suspect of being HIV-positive and force them to be tested.

This is from HIV Plus Magazine:

“Health minister Adonis Georgladis has reinstated Public Health Decree 39A, a 2012 measure that allows police to detain people suspected of being HIV-positive and force them to be tested, according the Greek news outlet ENET. The measure also urges landlords to evict tenants who are HIV-positive (as a public health threat).

In April 2012, the measure was the catalyst for the forced testing of hundreds of women. The 17 that were discovered to be HIV-positive were splashed across media outlets, with their personal information and photographs published for the world to see. They were characterized by police as “prostitutes” despite the fact that there no evidence was ever provided to back up the accusations. After the women were detained for months, the regulation was repealed and they were sent home.

Now that same measure is being implemented again.

Greece has been seen as increasingly fearful of people with HIV. Rates of the virus have risen over 200% since 2011, most likely due to increased drug abuse and rising unemployment among young adults, which is now over 20%. According to the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV infections among injecting drug users has doubled from 206 to 487 since 2011. At the same time, HIV prevention budgets have taken a major cut, from 35 million Euros in 2010 to 20 million last year.

Continue reading at:  http://www.frontiersla.com/positivefrontiers/2013/07/25/think-russia-is-scary-look-at-greece

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Don’t You Think It’s Time for a Raise?

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/24-10

by Ralph Nader

Thirty million Americans are making less today, adjusted for inflation, than they did 45 years ago in 1968!

If the 1968 minimum wage grew with inflation, it would be $10.67 today. Unfortunately the federal minimum wage is a miserly $7.25.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 18.3 times more than a typical worker in 1965 and in 2012, CEO pay was 202.3 times more than typical worker pay.

Don’t you think it’s time for a raise?

Fortunately, Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) has introduced H.R. 1346, the “Catching Up to 1968 Act of 2013,” which would raise the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour and index it to inflation.

We started the Time for a Raise campaign to help mobilize citizens across the country to encourage Members of Congress to support the H.R. 1346 and catch up with 1968.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Visit TimeForaRaise.Org and sign our petition. The single most important thing we can do to is to make sure members of Congress hear from their constituents on this issue. Each petition will be presented in person to your Member of Congress to request a town meeting in your district focused on raising the federal minimum wage. This means every signature counts!
  2. We need citizen leaders in each Congressional district to be district captains to help spread the word about the need to raise the federal minimum wage. Captains will gather signatures, present the collected petitions to their member of Congress and help with media outreach. The time commitment is low — no more than a few days of work — and the upside is high: exercise your civic muscles as a community activist; meet with your Member of Congress; and, most importantly, correct a major injustice by helping thirty million Americans making less than $10.50 per hour receive the increased federal minimum wage they deserve.
    (Email pdavis@timeforaraise.org to be a district captain.)

Every step in our nation’s struggle for fair working conditions — from overtime pay to the 40-hour workweek to the original federal minimum wage — has been hard earned. This step will be no different. However, if you sign our petition, become a district captain and spread the word about our campaign, we will have a serious chance of securing the increase in the federal minimum wage that low-wage workers have long deserved.

Onward with your participation!

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/07/24-10

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More than 1.5 million workers living in U.S. make less than minimum wage

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/26/more-than-1-5-million-workers-living-in-u-s-make-less-than-minimum-wage/

By John Light, billmoyers.com
Friday, July 26, 2013

This week marked the four-year anniversary of the last time Congress increased the minimum wage — from $5.15 in 2007 to $7.25 in 2009. Groups demonstrated across the country, demanding increases at both the state and federal level. President Obama pledged that he would continue to press for an increase in his economic policy speech at Knox College.

But there’s another problem: Millions of working Americans make less than minimum wage. In fact, more Americans are exempt from it than actually earn it.

The Pew Research Center examined Bureau of Labor Statistics data and found that about one and a half million Americans earned the minimum wage in 2012, but nearly two million people earned an hourly wage that was even less than $7.25 an hour. These workers, for one reason or another, are exempted from the part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) that requires employers to pay at least the minimum wage, and include tipped workers and many domestic workers, as well as workers on small farms, some seasonal workers and some disabled workers.

The largest of these exempted groups is tipped employees, many of whom work in food service. Today, tipped employees earn just $2.13 an hour — the rationale being that tips cover the rest. In fact, some of these workers do earn a reasonable living through their tips, but, as Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, told us, many don’t.

“Imagine your average server in an IHOP in Texas earning $2.13 an hour, graveyard shift, no tips,” she said. “The company’s supposed to make up the difference between $2.13 and $7.25 but time and time again that doesn’t happen.”

The Obama administration proposal laid out in the State of the Union calling for $9 an hour also called for an increase in the minimum wage for tipped workers, and for that increase to be indexed to inflation. At the moment, the minimum for tipped workers has not changed for 22 years, because, in 1996, Congress detached tipped worker wages from the normal minimum wage at the bidding of the National Restaurant Association — a powerful lobbying organization headed, at the time, by Herman Cain. This leaves millions of tipped workers — a group that is mostly women — living in poverty.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/26/more-than-1-5-million-workers-living-in-u-s-make-less-than-minimum-wage/

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80 Percent Of U.S. Adults Face Near-Poverty, Unemployment: Survey

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/28/poverty-unemployment-rates_n_3666594.html

By HOPE YEN
07/28/13

WASHINGTON — Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration’s emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to “rebuild ladders of opportunity” and reverse income inequality.

As nonwhites approach a numerical majority in the U.S., one question is how public programs to lift the disadvantaged should be best focused – on the affirmative action that historically has tried to eliminate the racial barriers seen as the major impediment to economic equality, or simply on improving socioeconomic status for all, regardless of race.

Hardship is particularly growing among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families’ economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy “poor.”

“I think it’s going to get worse,” said Irene Salyers, 52, of Buchanan County, Va., a declining coal region in Appalachia. Married and divorced three times, Salyers now helps run a fruit and vegetable stand with her boyfriend but it doesn’t generate much income. They live mostly off government disability checks.

“If you do try to go apply for a job, they’re not hiring people, and they’re not paying that much to even go to work,” she said. Children, she said, have “nothing better to do than to get on drugs.”

While racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to live in poverty, race disparities in the poverty rate have narrowed substantially since the 1970s, census data show. Economic insecurity among whites also is more pervasive than is shown in the government’s poverty data, engulfing more than 76 percent of white adults by the time they turn 60, according to a new economic gauge being published next year by the Oxford University Press.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/28/poverty-unemployment-rates_n_3666594.html

How Successful Cooperative Economic Models Can Work Wonderfully… Somewhere Else

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-successful-cooperative-economic-models-can-work-wonderfully-somewhere-else

Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths, the first of which is that there is no alternative.

By Frank Joyce
July 23, 2013

Years ago food critic Ruth Reichl declared, “There is no bad food in Italy.” She was right. Within Italy, the Emilia Romagna region is thought by many to offer the best food of all.

But that is by no means its only distinction. What I did not appreciate until a recent trip to Bologna, is that major components of the entire economy are organized as co-ops. That includes global market manufacturing businesses, facilities management, social services, transportation, food and wine production,  banking and other financial services and food sales from small markets to nationwide supermarkets and hypermarkets (similar to Meijer).

Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths. One of them is that capitalism somehow “invented” entrepreneurship. Another is that capitalism provides the only “market” economy. Then there is the self-proclaimed virtue of capitalism that only capitalism is compatible with “self-reliance” and individual responsibility. (The reality of course is that most people are utterly dependent on capitalists for jobs,  financing, education,  transportation, health care, shelter and just about everything else.) Capitalism also presents itself as the model of “efficiency,” when in truth it generates enormous waste of all kinds.

Finally, the biggest whopper of all is that There Is No Alternative. All of this is nonsense. The economy of  the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and its largest city, Bologna, is living proof.

Even though Emilia Romagna has a “leftist” history, co-ops did not arise as an “anti-capitalist” phenomenon. Many of the largest and most successful co-ops trace their origins back to the 19th century.  Understanding that markets—a place where buyers and sellers meet—were in existence for thousands of years before capitalism privatized ownership of the means of production, co-ops offer a different way of organizing economic activity.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/how-successful-cooperative-economic-models-can-work-wonderfully-somewhere-else

New beer lawsuit could spell trouble for Keystone XL pipeline

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/28/new-beer-lawsuit-could-spell-trouble-for-keystone-xl-pipeline/

By CleanTechnica
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bell’s Brewery, which bills itself as the oldest and largest brewery in Michigan, has just filed a lawsuit against the company Enbridge and if that name doesn’t ring a bell, think back to July 26, 2010 when an Enbridge pipeline broke and spilled an estimated 843,00 gallons of Line 6B oil into the Kalamazoo River, making it the largest tar sands oil spill in US history. How does that affect the proposed Keystone XL pipeline? Just for starters, it undercuts the safety claims of pipeline advocates. The Enbridge cleanup is not nearly complete after three full years, and EPA has all but admitted that up to 168,000 gallons of oil will remain in the Kalamazoo River indefinitely.

The Bell’s Brewery Lawsuit

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the lawsuit, let’s note for the record that the beer from Bell’s Brewery is not affected by the Enbridge Pipeline spill, since the company’s Comstock brewery uses the municipal water system. However, the company became concerned about the latest phase of Enbridge’s cleanup work, which involved constructing a facility to process dredged sediment a few hundred feet from the brewery.

In a statement issued on July 2, Larry Bell, President of Bell’s Brewery, explained:

“As Michigan’s oldest and largest brewery, Bell’s has a longstanding commitment to quality. While Bell’s uses water from the municipal water system to brew our beer, the pristine cleanliness of the water and air around our brewery and neighbors is of the utmost importance to us.”

Evidently Bell’s concerns were not addressed, because last week the company filed a lawsuit against Enbridge and CCP, the developer of the site where the pollution facility is being located, at Comstock Commerce Park. The facility will be used to process sediment dredged from a delta near Morrow Lake.

As reported by Ursula Zerilli of Midwestern Energy News, he lawsuit alleges that Enbridge and the developer failed to notify Comstock Township of the work, and CCP failed to notify other businesses on the property as required by Michigan law.

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/28/new-beer-lawsuit-could-spell-trouble-for-keystone-xl-pipeline/

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The Bad Seed: The Health Risks of Genetically Modified Corn

From Elle Magazine:  http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/allergy-to-genetically-modified-corn

With symptoms including headaches, nausea, rashes, and fatigue, Caitlin Shetterly visited doctor after doctor searching for a cure for what ailed her. What she found, after years of misery and bafflement, was as unlikely as it was utterly common.

BY Caitlin Shetterly
July 24, 2013

The office of allergist Paris Mansmann, MD, sits on a grassy slope overlooking the Royal River, a wide waterway that originates in inland Maine and winds down across farmland and under train tracks until it hits the coastal town of Yarmouth, where it sloshes into the Atlantic Ocean. When I first came to Mansmann in February 2011, the river was covered with ice, and bare trees stood silver sentry on its shores. I was 36. I’d been sick for three and a half years.

During that time, when I wasn’t working as a writer and theater director or being a wife and mother, I visited doctors and had tests. I told few friends or members of my extended family how ill I was, because I didn’t have any way to explain what was wrong. I had no diagnosis, just a collection of weird symptoms: tight, achy pain that radiated through my body and caused me to hobble around (my ankles, I’d joke to my husband, Dan, felt like they’d been “Kathy Batesed,” à la the movie Misery); burning rashes that splashed across my cheeks and around my mouth like pizza sauce; exhaustion; headaches; hands that froze into claws while I slept and hurt to uncurl in the morning; a constant head cold; nausea; and, on top of all that, severe insomnia—my body just could not, would not, turn off and rest. I visited every doctor who’d see me and tried everything they threw at me: antidepressants; painkillers; elimination diets (including a long eight months when I went without any of the major allergens, such as gluten, nuts, dairy, soy, and nightshades); herbal supplements; iodine pills; steroid shots; hormone treatments; Chinese teas; acupuncture; energy healing; a meditation class—you name it, I did it. Nothing worked. After I maxed out the available rheumatologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, gastroenterologists, Lyme disease specialists, acupuncturists, and alternative-medicine practitioners in the Portland metropolitan area, I was sent to neurologists in Boston. All of my tests came back normal.

In late 2010, after a long and unhappy antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, my newest GP (who’s still my doctor today), Chuck de Sieyes, MD, announced that he was referring me to Mansmann: “Because I have no idea what’s going on with you, and he’s one of the smartest guys around. And frankly, I’ve had it!”

Mansmann had moved to Yarmouth with his wife and kids to be close to his parents, who’d retired in Maine. A third-generation allergist, he worked in his father’s allergy clinic, at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, during high school. While in college at Saint Joseph’s University, also in Philadelphia, he helped his dad develop two asthma drugs. Later, he headed an allergy and immunology clinic at a West Virginia hospital for 10 years.

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Heatwaves will make crops produce smaller grains

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/28/heatwaves-weather-farms-crops

Extreme weather is ruining farmlands as British farmers find it difficult to cope with volatile seasonal changes


guardian.co.uk, Sunday 28 July 2013

“The wheat is usually green at this time, but its already gone brown,” says Laurence Matthews, overlooking a bone-dry and dusty field on his 3,000-acre farm near Dorking in Surrey. “It’s like a tinderbox: there’s a real risk of fire.”

The summer heatwave is having a dramatic effect on his crops. “Without water, the plants just shut down,” he says. But it is the twists and turns of increasingly erratic weather that is making farming more difficult, Matthews says. “In spring 2012, it was unbelievably dry and hot, then from April it just rained right through to 2013, which made it very difficult to get our crops established.”

The autumn-sown crops that survived the deluge developed only short roots, as the soggy soils made drawing up water easier. But the sudden heatwave this summer has left the crops without the deeper roots they need to flourish. “We’ll get smaller grains,” he says.

“The volatility in the weather in the last few years has been much greater,” he says. “It is definitely getting much more difficult to manage.”

Matthews is the third generation of his family to run the farm, which grows wheat, oil seed rape and barley on 2,000 acres and raises about 1,000 cattle on the remaining grassland. The farm undertakes numerous environmental schemes, from six-metre wildlife margins in fields to returning some arable land to pasture, although a planned green energy project – using manure and maize to create bio-gas – has met local opposition. He says: “We are not separate from nature as farmers.”

But Matthews says that a European ban on pesticides linked to serious harm in bees will hurt farmers: “If you ban them everywhere [around the world], that’s OK, but the EU ban just exports production to other countries” where the pesticides can still be used.

“Technology has always come along to help us, but it is not keeping up,” he says, with the challenges of extreme weather and the growing demand for food fed by global population growth.

“A lot of yields, including wheat, have plateaued in the last few years, as there are no new technologies coming through,” Matthews says. He adds new genetically modified crops would be useful. “At the end of the day, we are a commercial unit and we have to make as much money as possible.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jul/28/heatwaves-weather-farms-crops

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The FDA: Working Hard to Protect Industry

From Civil Eats:  http://civileats.com/2013/07/23/the-fda-working-hard-to-protect-industry/

By
on July 23, 2013

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) made two moves in recent days that seemingly address consumer concerns on some hot button issues. First, it banned the use of bisphenol A (BPA) based epoxy resins in coatings for baby formula packaging. Second, it proposed a limit on how much arsenic is allowed in apple juice. Looking more closely at these decisions, however, it seems that FDA is really more interested in appeasing industry, than doing its duty to protect the public. 

So what action is the FDA really taking? Due to intense consumer demand, manufacturers of infant formula packaging have already stopped using BPA. And, based on the new standard for arsenic levels, 95 percent of companies that make apple juice are already in compliance.

The FDA’s BPA ban is actually an abandonment petition coming from industry stating that it is now illegal to use BPA for those specific products—but it does not say anything about the safety of BPA.

“It is a ban but it’s a ban that was initiated by the industry,” Dr. Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumer’s Union, said in a recent telephone interview. “They have not taken action on the safety of BPA even though they have been pressured to. But when industry comes in and says, ‘This is no longer being sold,’ that’s an easy out for them because if industry didn’t agree and FDA tried to ban it or take action, maybe the industry would go after them.”

The FDA made a similar move last year when it banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups when nearly all U.S. manufacturers had already stopped using BPA for those products. The move was mainly said to be about “boosting consumer’s confidence.”

Both the FDA and the American Chemistry Council, an industry trade group, have said that the BPA ban is in response to marketplace demands, not due to safety concerns regarding the ubiquitous substance.

Continue reading at:  http://civileats.com/2013/07/23/the-fda-working-hard-to-protect-industry/

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Curse of American Nutritionism: Industry Ignores Realities of Healthful Eating

From Truth Out:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/17726-curse-of-american-nutritionism-industry-ignores-realities-of-healthful-eating

By E. Douglas Kihn
Wednesday, 24 July 2013

It all started in the US in the late 1960s as a result of the countercultural revolt. Disaffected youths rebelled against conventional norms, including the proliferation of processed food and the chemicals used to grow, process and preserve food. Gradually during the past four decades, however, this legitimate concern has given rise to a monstrous industry that contributes heavily to neurotic disorders, physical disease and capitalist profits.

The nutritionist industry inadvertently serves a political purpose as well, keeping the American working class confused, self-hating, tranquilized and demoralized. Nutritionism is an original American belief that a person’s health hinges on what one puts into one’s mouth. “You are what you eat,” has become the national slogan; “Eat right!” has become the prime medical imperative.

Nutritionism and American advertising

Only in industrially advanced, English-speaking countries, especially the United States, do we find nearly all packaged grocery store items with health claims plastered all over their exteriors.

“Our healthy/natural/organic/calorie-reduced food . . . which is fat-free/sugar-free/low in carbs/protein-rich/vitamin-enriched. . . and is fortified with anti-oxidants/omega 3 fatty acids/extra fiber/phytonutrients/folic acid/vitamin Z . . . will boost your energy/cleanse your body/burn fat/strengthen bones/make you smarter/reverse aging/get you laid.”

In France and Germany, the claims are quite different. “Fresh,” “extra-rich,” “extra-creamy,” “super delicious” and “party-sized” are the usual assertions that European food companies make in order to sell their products. If they were to place health claims on their packages, the public wouldn’t buy the food because they would figure there was something wrong with it in the first place. Most people in the world, including Europeans and Japanese, do not suffer from the American food crazies yet. Most French people do not know a carbohydrate from a carburetor – and probably don’t care to know.

American TV and print commercials are constantly giving advice on what to eat and drink to be healthy. Diet book authors, nutritionists, health professionals of all disciplines and friends are always ready to tell us what to eat and drink, what not to eat and drink, when to eat and drink and what supplements are absolutely needed to be healthy.

“Truth in advertising” is a big fat lie. Companies can claim anything they think will sell and will hire battalions of spin doctors, lawyers, scientists and lobbyists to fight for them.

Continue reading at:  http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/17726-curse-of-american-nutritionism-industry-ignores-realities-of-healthful-eating

 

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