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health fallout

US Order Could See Big Tobacco Apologizing for Years of Deceit on Tobacco Health

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 06:44 PM

Big Tobacco is finally seeing the error of its way—not by its own volition, of course. The US Justice Department has worked out an agreement with America’s tobacco companies to offer up apologies for all the lies they have fed the public over the years about cigarette smoking. According to the Association for Convenience and Fuel Retailing, the statements will “say the companies ‘deliberately deceived the American public.’” An average of 1,200 people die daily because of smoking, the Washington Post reports.

It has been 50 years since US Surgeon General Luther Terry told tobacco companies to put warning labels on cigarette packaging and 18 years since Dr. Jeffrey Wigand told 60 Minutes how his employer, tobacco giant Brown & Williamson, knowingly added carcinogenic and addictive additives to its cigarettes. Wigand’s tale became the hit film, The Insider, but it didn’t stop the Big Tobacco train from still rolling through its path.

The forthcoming “apology” comes after years of legal wrangling. The original order came in 2006 as the result of a case that had originally been filed in 1999. Judge Gladys Kessler found then that the companies were guilty of civil racketeering and lying to the public, USA Today notes.Continue reading...

health fallout

FDA Seeks to Put a Halt to Personal Genetic Testing with 23andMe Rebuke

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 26, 2013 04:32 PM

23andMe, the brainchild of Google co-founder Sergey Brin's estranged wife, Anne Wojcicki, has received a lot of press for its surprisingly accessible genetic mapping service, but the latest headlines aren't in praise of the mail-order spit test. In fact, the FDA has demanded that the company cease marketing of its $99 kit, citing the risk of false results that could lead consumers to undergo unnecessary health procedures.

In a stern letter issued on Monday, the company, whose stated mission is “to be the world's trusted source of personal genetic information,” was told to “immediately discontinue marketing the PGS until such time as it receives FDA marketing authorization for the device." 

The company’s saliva-based test identifies 240 genetic traits and can provide information such as if biological children are at risk for inherited health conditions, personal genetic health risks and likely drug responses. But the warning given to the Google- and Johnson & Johnson-backed company is just the latest as a heated debate continues over direct-to-consumer genetic testing and claims made by 23andMe.Continue reading...

health fallout

NFL Settles Concussion Suit for $765 Million, but Is It Enough?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 30, 2013 02:40 PM

With the NFL season soon underway, the organization has taken a big step to rid itself of a big headache: retired players with brain injuries. A federal judge announced Thursday that the NFL and its 18,000 retired players have reached a tentative deal for the league to pay $765 million as compensation, which will help pay for medical bills and fund research. 

Seemingly a big settlement to the average person, Forbes points out that the deal is actually in the NFL's favor, which is a tax-exempt organization that pulled in $9.5 billion in revenue last year. Besides it being just a drop in the bucket for them, the settlement will also keep from any more trial details, internal emails and private conversations from being released to the public through the legal process. It also spares the NFL from having to explain why the league's Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee had a rheumatologist leading it for more than 10 years, and oh yeah—and no admission of guilt.Continue reading...

health fallout

Kanebo's Goodwill Pays Off as Skin Lightening Industry Shrugs Off Scare

Posted by Adeline Chong on August 5, 2013 05:45 PM

Kanebo's voluntary recall across Asia of its skin-whitening product range in early July was a wakeup call for consumers as well as the skin lightening industry. Kanebo, the second largest cosmetics company in Japan after giant Shiseido, sells products in over 50 countries across Asia, Europe, and the US, with its whitening products comprising nearly 30 percent of its skincare range. 

Nearly two months before its July 4 recall, a clinic reported to Kanebo that three patients had complained of skin damage following use of a Kanebo whitening product. The company withheld the information for over a month before notifying the government and issuing a recall, a move that garnered worldwide criticism. The products, which gradually lighten the skin, are a part of a $13 billion industry in Asia alone, where fair skin has long been associated with an elevated social class.Continue reading...

health fallout

As the Bird Flu: KFC, Tyson Caught Up in Latest China Chicken Nightmare

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 8, 2013 12:34 PM

"I've been eating at KFC the last few days, could that be a problem?" ("前几天刚吃了肯德基会有问题吗") asked one Weibo user.

The coming week could be a nightmare for KFC in China. Depending on developments in an outbreak of a new strain of avian flu called H7N9, KFC could see its business decimated by another chicken scare just months after a previous one.

KFC is not the only brand worried. Tyson chicken is already rolling out damage control.Continue reading...

health fallout

Salt Talks: Campbell's CEO Addresses Sodium Debate

Posted by Dale Buss on July 15, 2011 03:00 PM

And here we thought Yahoo's Carol Bartz was a pioneer among female CEOs using salty language.

Only, Denise Morrison isn't yet CEO of the Campbell Soup Company — she moves into the C-suite on August 1st — and she isn't hurling expletives, but addressing the issue of actual salt: as in, exactly how much salt do Campbell’s customers want in their soups, and in which soups?

As president of Campbell USA, Morrison, who is taking over from CEO Doug Conant, was one of the company’s biggest proponents of its healthy eating commitment and full-court sodium-reduction strategy of the last few years.

That gained Campbell some props from food activists and gave the company lots of “new and improved” products to market on a better-for-you basis. But it hasn’t done a lot for sales: Campbell reported a 7% decline in soup revenue for the quarter that ended May 1st.Continue reading...

health fallout

Frito-Lay Stymied by Healthy Snack Biz

Posted by Dale Buss on January 5, 2011 12:00 PM

Though PepsiCo has been one of the most innovative mainstream CPG companies in the industry’s drive to provide better-for-you products, the company has come up against at least a couple of major frustrations in at least one segment of the growing healthful-foods genre: salty snacks.

Frito-Lay has been a leader in terms of substituting “good” cooking oils for bad, for instance, and in introducing lower-calorie baked varieties of its Lays potato chips and other brands. It also has succeeded by acquiring startup healthy-snack brands such as Stacy’s pita chips.

But when Frito-Lay initiates a better-for-you brand, watch out.Continue reading...

health fallout

CNN, Toxic Avenger

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 24, 2010 10:05 AM

Tragically, the video clip you see above is not far enough from the truth. It's from Toxic America, a CNN special that will air on June 2 and 3. If you care about public and environmental health and America's future, it’s must-see TV.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta hosts the two-part program, revealing devastating results from a year-long investigation that particularly resonates with current concerns over the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

CNN's investigators focus on a community perched on the Gulf: Mossville, Louisiana, a formerly rural, African-American community now surrounded by 14 chemical plants that continually leak toxic chemicals – proven cancer-causing chemicals – into the air and environs.

For forty years, the residents of Mossville have complained to the oil industry, state and federal agencies about the damage to their health, even as the personal trail of proof keeps mounting.Continue reading...

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