(Subjects: Religion/Worship, Lightworkers, Food, Health, Prescription Drugs, Homeopathy, Innate (Body intelligence), New Age movement, Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)

“…… Should I use Doctors and Drugs to Heal Me or Spiritual Methods?

"Dear Kryon, I have heard that you should stay natural and not use the science on the planet for healing. It does not honor God to go to a doctor. After all, don't you say that we can heal with our minds? So why should we ever go to a doctor if we can do it ourselves? Not only that, my doctor isn't enlightened, so he has no idea about my innate or my spiritual body needs. What should I do?"

First, Human Being, why do you wish to put so many things in boxes? You continue to want a yes and no answer for complex situations due to your 3D, linear outlook on almost everything. Learn to think out of the 3D box! Look at the heading of this section [above]. It asks which one should you do. It already assumes you can't do both because they seem dichotomous.

Let's use some spiritual logic: Here is a hypothetical answer, "Don't go to a doctor, for you can heal everything with your mind." So now I will ask: How many of you can do that in this room right now? How many readers can do that with efficiency right now? All of you are old souls, but are you really ready to do that? Do you know how? Do you have really good results with it? Can you rid disease and chemical imbalance with your mind right now?

I'm going to give you a truth, whether you choose to see it or not. You're not ready for that! You are not yet prepared to take on the task of full healing using your spiritual tools. Lemurians could do that, because Pleiadians taught them how! It's one of the promises of God, that there'll come a day when your DNA works that efficiently and you will be able to walk away from drug chemistry and the medical industry forever, for you'll have the creator's energy working at 100 percent, something you saw within the great masters who walked the earth.

This will be possible within the ascended earth that you are looking forward to, dear one. Have you seen the news lately? Look out the window. Is that where you are now? We are telling you that the energy is going in that direction, but you are not there yet.

Let those who feel that they can heal themselves begin the process of learning how. Many will be appreciative of the fact that you have some of the gifts for this now. Let the process begin, but don't think for a moment that you have arrived at a place where every health issue can be healed with your own power. You are students of a grand process that eventually will be yours if you wish to begin the quantum process of talking to your cells. Some will be good at this, and some will just be planting the seeds of it.

Now, I would like to tell you how Spirit works and the potentials of what's going to happen in the next few years. We're going to give the doctors of the planet new inventions and new science. These will be major discoveries about the Human body and of the quantum attributes therein.

Look at what has already happened, for some of this science has already been given to you and you are actually using it. Imagine a science that would allow the heart to be transplanted because the one you have is failing. Of course! It's an operation done many times a month on this planet. That information came from the creator, did you realize that? It didn't drop off the shelf of some dark energy library to be used in evil ways.

So, if you need a new heart, Lightworker, should you go to the doctor or create one with your mind? Until you feel comfortable that you can replace your heart with a new one by yourself, then you might consider using the God-given information that is in the hands of the surgeon. For it will save your life, and create a situation where you stay and continue to send your light to the earth! Do you see what we're saying?

You can also alter that which is medicine [drugs] and begin a process that is spectacular in its design, but not very 3D. I challenge you to begin to use what I would call the homeopathic principle with major drugs. If some of you are taking major drugs in order to alter your chemistry so that you can live better and longer, you might feel you have no choice. "Well, this is keeping me alive," you might say. "I don't yet have the ability to do this with my consciousness, so I take the drugs."

In this new energy, there is something else that you can try if you are in this category. Do the following with safety, intelligence, common sense and logic. Here is the challenge: The principle of homeopathy is that an almost invisible tincture of a substance is ingested and is seen by your innate. Innate "sees" what you are trying to do and then adjusts the body's chemistry in response. Therefore, you might say that you are sending the body a "signal for balance." The actual tincture is not large enough to affect anything chemically - yet it works!

The body [innate] sees what you're trying to do and then cooperates. In a sense, you might say the body is healing itself because you were able to give it instructions through the homeopathic substance of what to do. So, why not do it with a major drug? Start reducing the dosage and start talking to your cells, and see what happens. If you're not successful, then stop the reduction. However, to your own amazement, you may often be successful over time.

You might be able to take the dosage that you're used to and cut it to at least a quarter of what it was. It is the homeopathy principle and it allows you to keep the purpose of the drug, but reduce it to a fraction of a common 3D dosage. You're still taking it internally, but now it's also signaling in addition to working chemically. The signal is sent, the body cooperates, and you reduce the chance of side effects.

You can't put things in boxes of yes or no when it comes to the grand system of Spirit. You can instead use spiritual logic and see the things that God has given you on the planet within the inventions and processes. Have an operation, save your life, and stand and say, "Thank you, God, for this and for my being born where these things are possible." It's a complicated subject, is it not? Each of you is so different! You'll know what to do, dear one. Never stress over that decision, because your innate will tell you what is appropriate for you if you're willing to listen. ….”

Monsanto / GMO - Global Health

(Subjects: Big pharma [the drug companies of America] are going to have to change very soon or collapse. When you have an industry that keeps people sick for money, it cannot survive in the new consciousness., Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)
"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)
"THE BRIDGE OF SWORDS" – Sep 29, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: ... I'm in Canada and I know it, but I will tell those listening and reading in the American audience the following: Get ready! Because there are some institutions that are yet to fall, ones that don't have integrity and that could never be helped with a bail out. Again, we tell you the biggest one is big pharma, and we told you that before. It's inevitable. If not now, then in a decade. It's inevitable and they will fight to stay alive and they will not be crossing the bridge. For on the other side of the bridge is a new way, not just for medicine but for care. ....) - (Text Version)

Pharmaceutical Fraud / Corruption cases

Health Care

Health Care
Happy birthday to Percy Julian, a pioneer in plant-drug synthesis. His research produced steroids like cortisone. (11 April 2014)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Study Finds ‘Disturbing’ Health Warnings on Cigarette Packaging Are Effective

Butting Out: The Health Ministry makes no secret of its aim to eventually implement plain packaging for all cigarette brands

Jakarta Globe, Dessy Sagita, Apr 29, 2015

Indonesia requires cigarette warnings cover 40 percent of the packet, far less
than other countries in Southeast Asia. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)

Jakarta. Despite the staggeringly high number of active smokers in Indonesia, most people support the use of health warnings on cigarette packaging depicting often disturbing images of tobacco-related diseases and agree the size of the pictures should be increased, a survey has found.

The national survey on the implementation of pictorial health warnings in Indonesia found that 84 percent of respondents agreed the graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging made them concerned about the dangers of smoking.

The survey was carried out by 20 institutions including the Indonesian Tobacco Research Alliance, the Association of Indonesian Public Health Experts’ Tobacco Control Support Center (TCSC) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (Union).

The survey, whose results were released on Wednesday, was conducted between March 2014 and March 2015, involving 5,409 respondents in 18 cities.

It also found that 90 percent of people queried, many of them smokers, agreed that the size of the graphic images should be increased to 90 percent of packaging.

Indonesia currently requires all tobacco companies to cover at least 40 percent of the surface of packs with the health warnings.

Thailand and Myanmar require tobacco companies to cover 85 percent and 75 percent of the packs with the health warnings, respectively.

“This is very encouraging; the survey shows that people would really like to see bigger pictures,” Tara Singh Bam, a technical adviser at the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, said on Wednesday. “Even the smokers agree that it would have a bigger impact.”

The survey also questioned cigarette sellers and found that despite concerns that the more stringent regulation would affect their income, nearly 85 percent supported the policy.

“Judging from the people’s positive perspective and the Health Ministry’s commitment, having health warnings that cover 75 percent of the packs by 2017 and plain packaging by 2020 is not impossible,” Singh Bam said.

He added it was heartening that most Indonesians had seen the pictures and admitted that it disturbed them and made them uneasy.

The survey found more than 94 percent of the respondents said they had seen the graphic images.

“Indonesia has really managed to implement the pictorial health warnings throughout the country,” he said. “More than 90 percent of the respondents have seen them, this is very encouraging.”

Singh Bam said that people admitting the images made them feel uneasy was already enough to prove that the implementation of the pictorial health warnings was one of the most cost-effective health interventions to deter people from smoking.

“When people say they prefer to have cigarette packs without the health warnings it means the strategy works, the images scare them,” he said.

Khanchit Limpakarnjanarat, the World Health Organization’s representative to Indonesia, said that the study showed that the implementation of the pictorial health warnings was powerful in generating awareness and influencing decision makers.

“Although we still don’t have 100 percent compliance yet, the result is very encouraging indeed,” he said. “We need the data to support the fight because we have concluded that smoking is one of the major health risks in Indonesia.”

Despite government efforts to enforce the law, the survey found violations occurring, with the tobacco industry bending the rules to its benefits.

Santi Martini, a researcher for the study, said she found that many health warnings were not visible on packets because they were covered by cigarette excise stickers.

“This happens especially to machine-produced clove cigarettes,” said Santi, a  public health expert at Surabaya’s Airlangga University. “The image on the back side of the packs are frequently covered by the excise bands.”

Previously, Tulus Abadi, the operational manager at the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI), said a survey conducted in four major cities found that 66 percent of popular cigarette brands had their warnings concealed under the excise stickers.

Tulus said imported cigarette brands had been found to have lower compliance compared to local products.

He alleged that the tobacco industry had made a secret deal with officials in the tax office to print larger excise stickers to cover the health warnings.

Tommy Hutomo, an official with the Finance Ministry’s Directorate General of Taxation, denied the allegation.

He said concerns about the cigarette producers placing the stickers in such a way to conceal the graphic warnings had been discussed thoroughly prior to the issuance of the 2012 government regulation on tobacco control.

The stickers are typically placed along the back and side of the pack; the warnings, meanwhile, are on the front and back faces of the pack.

“The law requires that cigarette excise bands should be applied to the top flap of the cigarette pack so that it tears when the pack is opened,” Tommy said, adding that the excise bands needed to be damaged to ensure that they could not be reused.

He also denied that the size of the excise bands had been made bigger to cover parts of the image.

“There has been no change of the excise band size in the past 10 years; we did not make it bigger on purpose,” he said.

The Health Ministry says trying to curb the number of smokers in Indonesia, where two out of every three adult males are active smokers, is a tall order.

“We have been disseminating all kinds of information at the district level but the fight is very hard because the tobacco industry seems to be invincible,” said Lily Sulistyowati, the ministry’s director of health promotion.

But she said the ministry was optimistic that Indonesia would be able to increase the size of the health warnings to 90 percent of the packs by 2019.

“What we’re aiming for is plain packaging. But we cannot fight alone,” Lily said.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Govt Starts Distribution of Social Benefit Cards

Jakarta Globe, Novy Lumanauw, Apr 28, 2015

President Joko Widodo, center, distributes the Indonesia Health Card (KIS) to
workers at a rubber plantation in North Sumatra. (Antara Foto/Septianda Perdana)

Jakarta. Tens of millions of disadvantaged Indonesians will start receiving the government’s much-touted Indonesia Health Card (KIS) and Indonesia Smart Card (KIP) from this week — months after the flagship social benefit programs were officially unveiled.

The government says the cards will improve Indonesians’ access to education and health services, and it aims to distribute them to more than 100 million people.

A total of 88.2 million people will receive the KIS card, which provides the nation’s poor and near-poor with access to healthcare.

Card holders will be entitled to treatment at public primary care clinics (puskesmas) and treatment in third-class hospitals. Benefits provided under the health card will be managed by the Social Security Agency (BPJS) but funded by insurance premiums of Rp 19,225 ($1.60) per person — paid by the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, 20.3 million people will be provided with the KIP card, which entitles students from underprivileged families to 12 years’ free education, as well as education resources and free higher education provided they pass university entrance exams.

Workers at a rubber plantation in North Sumatra were the first to get their hands on the KIS cards on April 18, but the government started national distribution on Tuesday.

Distribution of the cards, a campaign promise of President Joko Widodo, was slated for late 2014, but budget wrangling that was only resolved in January pushed the schedule back.

“We’ll start distributing the cards this week,” Joko said on Tuesday after disbursing 3,289 KIS cards to employees of state-owned shipping and dock company, Dok & Perkapalan Kodja Bahari, in North Jakarta.

The cards are similar to the Jakarta Health Card (KJS) and Jakarta Smart Card (JKP) implemented when Joko was governor of the capital,

Related Article:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chipotle takes genetically modified foods off menus

Yahoo – AFP, 27 April 2015

US fast-food chain Chipotle said Monday it had crossed off food made with
 genetically modified organisms from its menus, saying they haven't been
proven safe for consumption and the environment (AFP Photo/Joe Raedle)

New York (AFP) - US fast-food chain Chipotle said Monday it had crossed off food made with genetically modified organisms (GMO) from its menus, saying they haven't been proven safe for consumption and the environment.

"There is a lot of debate about genetically modified foods," said Steve Ells, Chipotle's founder, chairman and co-chief executive, in a statement.

"Though many countries have already restricted or banned the use of GMO crops, it's clear that a lot of research is still needed before we can truly understand all of the implications of widespread GMO cultivation and consumption," he said.

"While that debate continues, we decided to move to non-GMO ingredients."

The fast-growing Chipotle Mexican Grill, which has built its brand on "food with integrity", began disclosing the presence of controversial GMO ingredients in its food in March 2013, and promised to eliminate all of them.

The company announced Monday that it had achieved that goal in its 1,800 restaurants, including both Chipotle and its ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen chain.

The company said government data shows that 94 percent of corn and 93 percent of soybeans grown in the US came from GMO strains in 2014, making it difficult for consumers to avoid consuming genetically engineered foods in restaurants or buying them at the grocery store.

Much of Chipotle's GMO use involved soybean oil, which it has now replaced with sunflower oil to cook its chips and taco shells, and rice bran oil for all other uses. None of the commercially available sunflower and rice bran oils are made with GMOs, it said.

The company also replaced GMO ingredients in its corn and flour tortillas with non-GMO alternatives.

The Denver, Colorado-based company said the move to non-GMO ingredients did not significantly raise ingredient costs or force price-rises.

Chipotle also said it was moving toward removing the few remaining artificial ingredients from its menu, only found in its tortillas, such as preservatives and dough conditioners.

Ells said that goal would be difficult to reach but new tortilla recipes were showing promise.

Last week Chipotle posted $122.6 million in first-quarter earnings, a jump of 48 percent from a year ago.

But it forecasted slower sales growth for the full year, in part due to shortages of its popular pork carnitas dish since Chipotle suspended a pork supplier earlier this year over "inhumane" practices.

Shares in Chipotle were up almost one percent at 643.80 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Thousands beg Australia not to deport autistic Filipino boy

Yahoo – AFP, 27 April 2015

A 10-year-old autistic Filipino boy makes an emotional plea for permission to stay
in Australia, as tens of thousands called for him not to be deported (AFP Photo/
Greg Wood)

A 10-year-old autistic Filipino boy made an emotional plea Monday for permission to stay in Australia, as tens of thousands called for him not to be deported despite the potential cost of his condition.

Tyrone Sevilla, who arrived in Australia from the Philippines legally as a two-year-old with his mother Maria Sevilla, has written to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton asking to stay.

The letter, which reads: "Dear Mr Dutton, can I stay in Australia please... Tyrone," was the first one her son had written and probably the most important he would ever write, Maria said.

Tyrone Sevilla holds a sign he wrote with a
 message for Australia's Immigration Minister
 Peter Dutton asking to stay in the country (AFP 
Photo/Maria Sevilla)
"With our help, he managed to sit down and write all those letters on the page. For him to sit down and do that, it's a different Tyrone," she told AFP.

Maria Sevilla said the letter showed her son, who does not normally communicate by speaking, understood the family's situation after they were denied visas due to the probable cost of providing for Tyrone's care.

"I think he knows what's going on," she said.

Maria, who has been in Australia since 2007 on a variety of visas, said she and her son had been denied permission to stay longer because they were labelled a "burden" to Australian taxpayers.

The Sevillas presented a petition, signed by more than 120,000 people, to Dutton's electoral office in Brisbane in the hope that the minister would give compassionate consideration to their cause.

"Today is make or break, whatever we do today will help with our case," Maria, a registered nurse who works in a Queensland hospital, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Australia is our home. Because we have been here for nearly eight years and we've been assimilated in the community.

"Our immediate family are here, which is our support.... I have my work here and I can actually provide for Tyrone."

The family said Tyrone did not speak Filipino or have any close relatives remaining in the Philippines, with his grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt and cousins all living in the Australian city of Townsville.

Call for common sense

Dutton said the immigration department was preparing a report for him on the case, and in the meantime a bridging visa -- which typically covers a 28-day period -- would be issued for the mother and son.

"In this case we need to apply common sense," he told the ABC.

"We're a compassionate society and we want to help families in difficult situations."

"There's no fear that anybody is going to be deported, there will be a bridging visa which will be issued which is standard practice in these matters," he added.

Dutton stressed that such decisions were always hard and emotional, but the immigration department must consider the costs of conditions such as autism on the provision of services.

"It is a difficult area because we have thousands of applications... but we have to be sensible about the number to whom we should provide that support," he said.

Dutton said a decision would likely be made within weeks, and it would take into account the fact that Sevilla was employed and could look after her son.

Australia takes a hard line against asylum-seekers arriving by boat, refusing them resettlement in the country even if they are found to be refugees and sending them instead to Pacific states.

But Maria Sevilla, who said she pays tax and has private health insurance, said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received from the Australian community.

"I am hoping that he (the minister) will see that there are a lot of Australians that are really supporting us," she said.

"I am still hoping that we will have a positive outcome."

US Olympic hero Bruce Jenner hailed for coming out as transgender

Yahoo - AFP, Michael Thurston, April 25, 2015

US Olympic champion turned reality TV star Bruce Jenner was undergoing a sex
change has been rich fodder for supermarket tabloids for months (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

Los Angeles (AFP) - US Olympic champion turned reality TV star Bruce Jenner won praise Saturday from celebrities and activists for revealing he is transitioning from male to female, ending long-running speculation he identifies as a woman.

In a highly anticipated, two-hour television interview aired Friday -- hailed by transgender rights' campaigners and his own Kardashian-linked family -- the 65-year-old said he had wrestled with his sexual identity since he was a kid.

"I've always been confused about my gender identity since I was this big," he told ABC's celebrity interviewer Diane Sawyer.

"Here I am, stuck -- and I hate the word -- (a) girl stuck in a guy's body... As of now I have all the male parts and all that kind of stuff."

But asked point blank if he was a woman, Jenner said: "Yes. For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman."

Speculation that the actor, race-car enthusiast and 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics decathlon gold medalist was undergoing a sex change has been rich fodder for supermarket tabloids for months.

Supposed telltale signs, based on paparazzi photos from the streets of Los Angeles, include shaved limbs, long hair worn in a ponytail and what appears to be a sports bra under a T-shirt.

'I am not gay'

Jenner said he identifies himself as "her," but not by a specific name. The ABC interviewer used "he" and "him" throughout, without causing any apparent discomfort for the former Olympian.

He stressed the difference between gender identity and sexuality.

"I am not gay," Jenner said. "I am, as far as I know, heterosexual. I've always been with a woman, raising kids."

Just before making the long-expected announcement, Jenner symbolically let his hair down.

"Let's take the damn ponytail out," he told Sawyer, smiling.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group GLAAD welcomed Jenner's announcement.

"Though Jenner's journey is one that is deeply personal, it is also one that will impact and inspire countless people around the world," GLAAD head Sarah Kate Ellis said.

Singer Miley Cyrus gushed on Twitter: "I LOOOOVE LOOOVE LOOOVE Bruce Jenner!!!!!!!"

Born outside New York in October 1949, thrice-married Jenner became an American sports hero when he set a world record with his Montreal decathlon victory.

Leveraging his fame, he appeared on boxes of Wheaties, a popular American cereal known as "the breakfast of champions," then tried his hand as a movie actor, with less than stellar results.

But it was through his marriage to the former Kris Kardashian that he once again became a household name in "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" in which he appeared as the sometimes bemused stepfather of her flamboyant daughters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe.

The couple have two daughters of their own, but they obtained a divorce in December, 14 months after separating -- although he has been seen still wearing a wedding ring.

Hero once again

"Not only was I able to call him my husband for 25 years and father of my children, I am now able to call him my hero," Kris Jenner tweeted.

Jenner's 89-year-old mother Esther hailed her son's announcement, comparing her pride to that when he won at the Olympics.

"I never thought I could be more proud of you. But I'm learning I can be," she wrote.

Jenner's son Brandon tweeted simply: "Proud son," along with an Instagram picture of himself as a young boy perched on his smiling father's shoulders.

Step-daughter Kim Kardashian trumpeted:

"Love is the courage to live the truest, best version of yourself. Bruce is love. I love you Bruce. ."

Her sister Khloe wrote: "Bruzer, I'm soooo proud of you! Dads really are heros."

National Center for Transgender Equality advocacy group executive director Mara Keisling called Jenner's declaration "one of the most profound displays of bravery and courage I've seen."

Jenner, clearly relieved to have finally come clean, said: "I'm saying goodbye to people's perceptions of me and who I am.

"I'm not saying goodbye to me because this has always been me."

Related Article:

"The Akashic Circle" – Jul 17, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: Religion, The Humanization of GodBenevolent Design, DNA, Akashic Circle, (Old) Souls, Gaia, Indigenous People, Talents, Reincarnation, Genders, Gender Switches, In “between” Gender Change, Gender Confusion, Shift of Human Consciousness, Global Unity,..... etc.)  - (Text version)

“… Gender Switching

Old souls, let me tell you something. If you are old enough, and many of you are, you have been everything. Do you hear me? All of you. You have been both genders. All of you have been what I will call between genders, and that means that all of you have had gender switches. Do you know what happens when it's time for you to switch a gender? We have discussed it before. You'll have dozens of lifetimes as the same gender. You're used to it. It's comfortable. You cannot conceive of being anything else, yet now it's time to change. It takes approximately three lifetimes for you to get used to it, and in those three lifetimes, you will have what I call "gender confusion."

It isn't confusion at all. It's absolutely normal, yet society often will see it as abnormal. I'm sitting here telling you you've all been through it. All of you. That's what old souls do. It's part of the system. …”

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Food Safety Law beefed up in China

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-04-25

Health officials check the food at a central kitchen of a campus restaurant
at Xinyu No.4 Middle School in Jiangxi province, Sept. 1, 2014. (File photo/Xinhua)

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, adopted an amendment to the 2009 Food Safety Law on Friday with the heaviest penalties yet for offenders.

With 154 articles, compared with 104 in the original law, the revamped Food Safety Law adds new articles and provisions on baby formula and online shopping.

China has been rocked by many food safety scandals in recent years, including injecting clenbuterol into pork, recycled cooking oil, selling pork from sick pigs, medicines made with toxic gelatin and passing off rat and fox meat as fit for human consumption.

The revised law gives heavier punishment to offenders, increasing the cost for violating the legislation, said Huang Wei with the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee.

The new law will go into effect on Oct. 1.

Stiffer Penalties

The revised law brings harsher civil, administrative and criminal penalties for offenders and their supervisors.

The amendment introduces administrative detention for offenders. Those who add inedible substances to food could find themselves behind bars for up to 15 days.

Administrative detention normally refers to that imposed by police without court proceedings. This has been considered tough, as other punishments stipulated in the Food Safety Law generally involves fines and revocation of certificates.

Consumers can now demand reparation of three times any loss they suffer from substandard food. Previously, only compensation of 10 times the price of the food was allowed. Substandard food can be very cheap and can cause very serious problems with consequential losses, hence the new rule guarantees that consumers can get a higher rate of compensation.

Bigger fines for offenders are also on the menu. Producers may face fines of up to 30 times the value of their products, up from 10 times. If the products are worth less than 10,000 yuan (US$1,630), the fines can be upwards of 150,000 yuan (US$24,213), three times the previous amount.

The amendment adds provisions for landlords of production sites who turn a blind eye to illegal activities on the premises and suppliers who sell unlawful substances to producers, knowing that they will be added to foods. Their revenue can be seized and they can be fined up to 200,000 yuan (US$32,284).

Administrative penalties, such as demotion and dismissal, will be imposed on officials with food and drug regulators who fail in their duty to protect the public or connive in cover-ups. Similar punishments will be dished out to officials in health and agriculture departments. Abuse of power and neglect of duty for personal gain may precipitate criminal penalties.

Baby Formula

Infant milk formula will be heavily regulated to restore public confidence in the domestic dairy industry.

Producers will be required to register powdered baby milk formula with the food and drug regulator. Earlier provisions stipulated that firms only needed to ensure their formulas were on record.

There are more than 1,900 varieties of baby formula available in China. Each company has around 20 varieties. In other countries, firms produce and sell only two or three.

"Some producers are creating new formulas purely for the sake of marketing," according to the Food and Drug Administration.

In 2008, infant formula produced by the Sanlu Group, a leading dairy firm in north China, was found to contain melamine. Six babies died and thousands fell ill. As a result, the first Food Safety Law was enacted in 2009 but public confidence in domestic baby formula has not recovered. Instead, consumers have sought out baby formula from countries like Australia, New Zealand and Germany, which now have strict export quotas for China.

Producers will now have to test every batch of their product, conduct regular internal inspections and submit reports to regulators.

Online Shopping

Online shopping has become part of daily life in China. Food producers are expanding their business to instant messaging services like WeChat.

China's online retail sales totaled 1.9 trillion yuan (US$298.6 billion) in 2013, with food eating up 32.4 billion (US$5.2 billion) and problems concerning food safety have emerged. To keep up, the amendment adds new articles on online shopping, clarifying the liabilities of shopping platforms. They are required to register the real identity of vendors and check their certificates. The platforms will have to compensate consumers if they cannot provide the identity, address and contact details of retailers.

They should also report malpractice to the government and deny access to delinquent retailers.

Related Article:

PepsiCo to introduce aspartame-free Diet Pepsi in U.S.

English.news.cn   2015-04-25

WASHINGTON, April 24 (Xinhua) -- PepsiCo will introduce Diet Pepsi free of a controversial sweetener called aspartame later this year but this change is happening only in the United States, the company said Friday.

"Increasingly, U.S. diet cola drinkers have been asking us for a great tasting Diet Pepsi without aspartame," a PepsiCo spokesperson said in an email.

"We've worked hard perfecting an aspartame-free, zero-calorie diet cola to address this needs."

According to the company, Diet Pepsi, Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi and Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi will then be sweetened with a blend of artificial sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium, and the new drinks will be available in the U.S. beginning in August.

The spokesperson told Xinhua that PepsiCo currently has no plan to remove the sweetener from Diet Pepsi in China.

"Consumers in China love Diet Pepsi just as it is today," said the spokesperson. "Pepsi uses a variety of approved sweetener options to create great-tasting colas, including aspartame, which remains an important sweetener in some Pepsi beverages around the world, including Diet Pepsi in China."

Aspartame is used in many foods and beverages because it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, so much less of it can be used to give the same level of sweetness.

There are claims that aspartame causes a number of health problems, including cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, stated that more than 100 studies support aspartame's safety.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Stornoway tea found to contain pesticide

Want China Times, CNA 2015-04-22

A Stornaway outlet in Taipei, April 18. (Photo/Chao Shuang-chieh)

More tea purchased by the Tainan-based tea store chain caught last week selling herbal tea containing pesticide residue has been found to be tainted, local health authorities said Tuesday.

The Tainan Department of Health said the Earl Grey, Ceylon and Darjeeling teas used by English Stornaway International, which runs 96 tea beverage chain stores around Taiwan, were all found to contain traces of pesticide.

The discovery was based on the results of laboratory tests on tea samples the company submitted voluntarily for examination, the department said, adding that it was informed of the matter by Stornaway via a faxed message.

In the message, the chain store operator also said that all the tea products were bought from Taipei-based herb importer Chou Jae Trading in late March.

English Stornaway said it has already taken the problematic teas — 330 kg of Earl Grey, 150 kg of Ceylon and 240 kg of Darjeeling — off its shelves.

Meanwhile, the Tainan District Prosecutors Office said it has begun an investigation into suspected violations of food safety regulations involving English Stornaway.

Earl Grey, Ceylon and Darjeeling are the major beverages sold at the chain stores, which have been ordered to close pending the investigation.

After receiving the report from Tainan, the Taipei City Department of Health said it raided the Taipei office of Chou Jae along with prosecutors and investigators, seizing a total of 600 kg of the three kinds of tea.

According to available data, the problem teas were all produced in Sri Lanka, Taipei health official Wang Ming-li said.

English Stornaway sparked tea safety concerns around the country after a rose tea drink sold at one of its chain stores was found to contain traces of DDT, an insecticide long-banned because of the damage it causes to the environment.

The Food and Drug Administration found last Wednesday that the chain's rose tea was bought from Chou Jae, which in turn sourced the tea from Kaohsiung-based Yuen Yeeh Enterprise.

Related Article:

Maximum fines for food fraud increased to €810,000

DutchNews.nlApril 22, 2015

The maximum fines which Dutch food safety inspectors can levy on companies caught meddling with food has been increased from €4,500 to €810,000 following a vote in parliament on Tuesday evening.

‘It was absurd that you could be fined €800,000 for sending spam email messages and not for deliberately adding rubbish to food,’ Labour MP Sjoera Dikkers, who sponsored the motion, is quoted by broadcaster Nos as saying after the vote. 

For example, fish processing company Foppen, at the centre of a major salmonella scare last year, was given four fines of just €1,050. 

Ministers wanted to raise the maximum fines to €81,000 but Dikkers said that was not enough to force companies to keep to health and hygiene rules. 

The consumers’ association welcomed the change in the law. ‘Consumers have had to deal with food scandals time after time,’ a spokesman said. ‘This has made the need for higher fines painfully obvious.’ 

Dikkers is also campaigning to have all fines administered by food safety inspectors made public.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tongrentang: From emperor's pharmacist to world TCM leader

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-04-22 

A Tongrentang outlet in Australia, July 2013. (Photo/Xinhua)

Beijing Tongrentang (TRT), the renowned traditional Chinese medicine company, has been a household name in China for centuries, but since the 1990s it has been carving out a reputation globally.

Founded in 1669, it was named the exclusive supplier of medicine for the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) in 1723, the highest honor for any Chinese medicine maker, producing drugs for the imperial court for 188 years.

Bolstered by its domestic success, TRT went on to open 110 outlets in countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and now has more than 600 employees overseas.

Zhao Xuecheng, deputy general manager of the TRT Macao branch, has witnessed the ups and downs of the company's journey going global, which began in 1993 with pharmacies established in Hong Kong, Macao and Indonesia.

No success story is without trials and tribulations, and TRT's journey is no different. Despite this, the company has managed to establish itself as a global brand through integrity, quality and excellent service.

When southern China's Guangdong province was hit by a drought between December 2005 and March 2006, low water levels resulted in salt water reducing the effectiveness of TRT products, threatening the company's promise to keep its prices affordable.

With much of the company's fresh water supply now contaminated with salt water, Zhao had to decide if he should raise the service charge in Macao.

He decided to use mineral water but did not increase the service charge, despite creating losses for the pharmacy.

This decision cost TRT more than 19,500 Macao patacas (US$2,440) in just four months, Zhao recalled. However, customers lauded the decision and brand loyalty was strengthened.

Although traditional ways of making medicine have been replaced by modern production lines, quality has not been affected.

"TRT is still very selective in choosing its raw materials and insists on purchasing the best herbs," said Lu Guangrong, 78, a quality control supervisor at TRT.

"Ginseng is widely used and TRT only uses large ginseng sourced from northeastern China's Jilin province," said Lu.

Keen to share Chinese practice with the global community, TRT is also promoting Tai Chi and acupuncture abroad while collaborating with traditional Chinese medicine research institutes to foster talent overseas.

TRT has treated more than 30 million patients overseas and has plans to establish plantations, research and production centers, as well as retail and wholesale outlets overseas, according to Ding Yongling, vice general manager of TRT.

TRT was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1997. As of Friday, its combined valuation surpassed 45 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion).

Kraft pulls the dye out of Mac and Cheese

Yahoo – AFP, 21 April 2015

Kraft Foods Group will stop using artificial coloring in its iconic Kraft
Macaroni and Cheese product (AFP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Washington (AFP) - Consumer activists cheered Tuesday, but some comfort food fans booed, after Kraft Foods Group said it will stop using artificial coloring in its iconic Kraft Macaroni and Cheese product.

From January next year, two kinds of yellow dye will no longer be added to the packaged dry pasta and processed cheese mix that is famous for its gooey yellow-orange look.

Instead, natural ingredients like paprika, annatto and turmeric will be used, said Kraft in a statement Monday that promised no change in how Mac and Cheese actually tastes.

"These recipe changes are the latest steps in the Kraft Mac and Cheese journey to delight consumers with on-trend updates to meet consumers' changing lifestyles and needs," it said.

Cheap and easy to make, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese -- known in Canada as Kraft Dinner -- has been part of the North American family diet since its introduction in 1937 amid the Great Depression.

Campaigners have long pressed Kraft to stop adding artificial coloring, amid fears of a link with hyperactivity in children.

"This is a crucial first step on removing an unnecessary but potentially harmful additive from the food supply," said North Carolina food blogger Vani Hari in an email to AFP.

Hari, who writes the Food Babe blog, was behind an online petition that drew more than 365,000 signatures urging Kraft to stop using fake coloring.

"Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese isn't a health food," added the Center for Science in the Public Interest, another critic of artificial coloring.

"But replacing its Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 with natural colorings is a step in the right direction," it said on its website.

On social media, however, diehard Mac and Cheese fans cried foul.

"Why would you want to change a great product like your Mac and Cheese to please some health nuts and ruin it for your loyal customers?" wrote one outraged American mother on Kraft's Facebook recipes page.

"Please don't change my Kraft Dinner! I am 52 years old and it's been the same great taste since my childhood!" added a Canadian consumer, also on Facebook.

Last month, Kraft and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said they would end a controversial children's nutrition awareness initiative for a processed cheese product.

The food giant said it will remove the academy's "Kids Eat Right" logo from Kraft Singles, individually wrapped slices of a processed cheese product, after it was criticized as an endorsement of Kraft products.

The venture, announced by the academy earlier in March, was aimed at promoting better nutrition for youngsters.

China mulls breast feeding campaign

iCross China, 2015-04-20

BEIJING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- The top legislature began reviewing a draft amendment to the Advertisement Law, which proposes a ban on baby formula advertising to promote breast feeding.

"Dairy products, drinks and other food advertisements that claim to partly or completely substitute mother's milk are [banned from] mass media or public venues," said the draft.

The draft revision was submitted to the bimonthly legislative session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which will run from Monday to Friday.

The proposal stipulates that advertisers, clients, agents and publishers that violate the rule could be fined up to 1 million yuan (163,260 U.S. dollars).

Many champions believe that breast feeding is the best source of nutrition for newborns, as it increases their immune systems and reduces the likelihood of obesity in adulthood.

However, only 28 percent of infants younger than 6 months were breast fed exclusively in China in 2008, well below the global average of about 40 percent, according to figures released by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) China.

Breast feeding rates might have increased in recent years as the government initiated measures to revive the practice, such as encouraging businesses to offer new mothers dedicated rooms to feed their infants or to express milk.

The State Council aims to raise the exclusive breast feeding rate to 50 percent by 2020, as outlined in its program for the development of women and children.

Mind training as effective as anti-depressants

Yahoo – AFP, Richard Ingham, 21 April 2015

Depression is often a recurring disorder, and people with a history of the ailment
are frequently placed on a long-term course of anti-depressants (AFP Photo/Joel Saget)

Paris (AFP) - A form of mental training which helps people recognise the onset of depression, and control it, works as well as anti-depressants in preventing relapse, researchers said.

Dubbed Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), the method may offer a welcome alternative for people wishing to avoid long-term use of anti-depressants, which can have unpleasant side effects like insomnia, constipation and sexual problems, said a study in The Lancet medical journal.

In a two-year trial with 424 depression sufferers in England, researchers found that MBCT users faced a "similar" risk of relapse to those on anti-depressants.

The method was not more effective than drugs, as many had hoped, but the findings nevertheless suggested "a new choice for the millions of people with recurrent depression on repeat prescriptions," said study leader Willem Kuyken, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford.

Depression is often a recurring disorder, and people with a history of the ailment are frequently placed on a long-term course, typically about two years, of anti-depressants.

Previous research had shown that anti-depressants can reduce the risk of relapse by up to two-thirds when taken correctly, but dosage adherence is hugely variable.

Without treatment, as many as four out of five people relapse at some point, Kuyken said in a statement.

The side effects, however, have fuelled interest in alternative methods like MBCT.

It entails training depression sufferers to accept that negative feelings and thoughts are likely to recur, to recognise them when they do, and deal with them effectively rather than trigger a depressive spiral by dwelling on the gloomy.

The new study claims to be the first-ever, large-scale comparison between the efficacy of MBCT and anti-depressants.

The trial volunteers were randomly divided into two groups. Half continued taking their medication while the rest phased out the drugs in favour of MBCT.

The training involved eight group sessions of two hours and 15 minutes each, with daily home practice. Participants were given the option of four follow-up sessions over the following 12 months.

All 424 volunteers were assessed for a period of two years with a diagnostic tool called the "structured clinical interview", which measures mental state.

The MBCT group had a 44-percent relapse rate, the researchers found, compared to 47 percent in the group taking anti-depressants.

"As a group intervention, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy was relatively low cost compared to therapies provided on an individual basis," study co-author Sarah Byford from King's College London said.