Dr. Oz in the news; Dr. Chopra, Canada’s whistleblower; and our Annual Guide to Organics

The recent appearance of Dr. Oz in front of a U.S. Senate committee, accused of using false advertising to hype weight loss products, left many fans questioning his integrity. Seems that his overly enthusiastic endorsement of green coffee beans, raspberry ketones, and garcinia cambogia landed him on the U.S. government’s hot seat. Senate committee chairwoman, Claire McCaskill, said she had called the hearing because of a “crisis in consumer protection,” which she feels is being exacerbated by Dr. Oz’s claims of ‘miracle’ cures.

While I agree with Sen. McCaskill that “melding medical advice, news, and entertainment in a way that harms consumers” is a risk with glitzy TV health shows, I also believe Oz’s assertion that he goes to great lengths to research a product before giving it the thumbs up. The three products under scrutiny have had good test results, and he felt justified in recommending them as weight loss aids. Furthermore, Dr. Oz’s snazzy strategies have helped a lot of people to get motivated and get well, so he has my respect. In the end, he will ramp up his due diligence and tone down the rhetoric, which is good news for consumers.

Meantime, the U.S. government’s sudden interest in consumer protection rings a little hollow when you consider the high levels of GMO’s, pesticides, and antibiotics that are legally allowed in the American food supply. And Canada stands shoulder to shoulder with American regulators when it comes to ignoring the chronic and acute diseases afflicting public health as a result of these food contaminants. This month we bring you an exposé by Dr. Shiv Chopra, the famous Health Canada whistleblower, who gives us an insider’s view of the cozy partnership between agribusiness and government regulators, a relationship that allows hazardous ingredients into our food supply.

One of the most worrisome contaminants is neonicotinoid pesticides which are linked to the massive die-off of bees occurring across North America. “This week, an international group of scientists released the results of a comprehensive analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies on neonics. The conclusion: there is clear evidence of harm. The assessment highlights serious risks, not only to bees but to butterflies, earthworms, and birds,” reports the David Suzuki Foundation. These pesticides are now banned in the EU, but in Canada they are still in widespread use – for example, neonics are sprayed on GMO corn crops used to make corn syrup for sweetening soda pop, juice, and a wide variety of processed foods. There is now a massive effort to get neonics banned, and the David Suzuki Foundation is leading the charge. To lend your support to their efforts, visit: http://davidsuzuki.org/

Just when it seems like there’s no hope for preserving the integrity of our food, along comes the organic movement with its feisty farmers, clean food activists, anti-GMO campaigners, and sexy chefs dishing out all the best organic cuisines. This month, we have endeavoured to capture the essence of this valuable network of rebels in our Annual Guide to Organics. Read it and smack your lips.

See you in September.

Julia Woodford