Saturday, March 20, 2010

Thou shalt not enjoy thyself: British local council bans ice cream vans from trading outside schools because they 'encourage unhealthy eating'

There's absolutely no proof that ice-cream does any harm, of course. Leftists are uninterested in evidence. They just KNOW

The jingle of the ice cream van tells schoolchildren summer is on the way. But the traditional treat has been banned by one council, which claims they encourage unhealthy eating. Bureaucrats at Hillingdon council have declared that vans which park outside schools will be impounded under new rules. They claim they were forced to act because there is 'a need to encourage healthier eating habits in children'.

But the new regulations have been blasted as petty by ice cream sellers, who insisted that head teachers welcome them with open arms. Peter Bhogal, 45, who has worked as an ice cream man for the past 26 years, said: 'Ice cream is a dessert, it's not unhealthy. 'An ice lolly is only unhealthy if you have three or four in one go. I go round to schools in the afternoon and the head teachers even invite me there. 'Rules and regulations make our work more challenging, and the recession has made it harder too, as people are more cautious with their money.'

The vans have also been banned from high streets on the grounds that they 'cause congestion', leaving sellers with only residential streets in Uxbridge, Ruislip and Hayes in West London.

Mr Bhogal added that in some areas of London vans were being confiscated for flouting the rules. He added: 'I have seen traders who have had their vans confiscated in Westminster for not observing the rules. It costs £30,000 to 40,000 for a van, it's not right. 'You have to observe the law. But if the sun shines, I'll be out there, its a British tradition and they can't ban that.

The new healthy eating regulations apply to secondary schools, primary schools, special schools, under-five centres and nurseries. Kathy Sparks, deputy head of environment and consumer protection at Hillingdon Council, said the new rules were necessary to encourage healthy eating. She said: 'Hillingdon Council is not banning ice cream vans but is tightening rules on where they can stop and trade in light of ongoing complaints and concerns from residents and health organisations. 'Ice cream vans now need a licence to trade within the borough and a number of conditions of this licence will be in place. 'These include not trading outside schools where there is a local and national need to encourage healthier eating habits in children. 'The restrictions will also include town centres in a bid to ease congestion problems and respond to noise complaints that have been received.'

Last April, nearby Harrow council banned all ice cream vans for fear they would cause a nuisance or make children fat, as part of a general crackdown on fast food vans. The council will act on rogue ice cream sellers after being tipped off by residents or council officers in the area. Ice cream vans who break the rules will be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100, and if it is not paid they face a conviction in the Magistrates' Court and fine of £1,000.

Father-of-four Mr Bhogal said he feared ice cream sellers would quit as a result of the rule changes. 'You will definitely see a reduction in the number of vans in this area this summer because people will close their businesses. "The people who make these decisions will be completely unaffected by this but I have a family to feed and I have a family business to maintain. 'I was speaking to a friend of mine yesterday who does two schools and he was seriously thinking about finishing because of this. 'We are all licensed. We all do things by the book and pay tax on time and this is how we are repaid.

'It is a tragedy because eventually you won't see ice cream vans and they are a British institution.' He added: 'No-one at a school has ever complained to me and I have customers who I served when they were kids. Now they bring their children to me for a treat and that is how ice cream should be treated - in moderation. They can buy a lot worse at fast food restaurants.'


Scientists find way to force cancer cells to die of old age

These are very encouraging early results

INSTEAD of killing off cancer cells with toxic drugs, scientists have discovered a molecular pathway that forces them to grow old and die. Cancer cells spread and grow because they can divide indefinitely. But a study in mice showed that blocking a cancer-causing gene called Skp2 forced cancer cells to go through an aging process known as senescence - the same process involved in ridding the body of cells damaged by sunlight.

If you block Skp2 in cancer cells, this process is triggered, Pier Paolo Pandolfi of Harvard Medical School in Boston and colleagues reported in the journal Nature. And Takeda Pharmaceutical Co's experimental cancer drug MLN4924 - already in early-stage clinical trials in people - appears to have the power to do just that, Dr Pandolfi said.

The finding may offer a new strategy for fighting cancer. "What we discovered is if you damage cells, the cells have a built-in mechanism to put themselves out of business," Dr Pandolfi said. "They are stopped irreversibly from growing."

For the study, the team used genetically altered mice that developed a form of prostate cancer. In some of these, they inactivated the Skp2 gene. When the mice reached six months of age, they found those with an inactive Skp2 gene did not develop tumours, while the other mice did. When they analysed the tissues from lymph nodes and the prostate, they found many cells had started to age, and they also found a slow rate of cell division. This was not the case in mice with normal Skp2 function.

They got a similar effect when they used the Skp2-blocking drug MLN4924 in lab cultures of human prostate cancer cells. To see if this would work in mice, they transplanted the cells and treated the mice with the drug. "We put human cancer cells into mice. We fed them with a drug and these cells do senesce (age)," Dr Pandolfi said. "The same mechanism of damage caused by the sun can be evoked pharmacologically in cancer cells."

He said this Skp2-related aging pathway appears to be active in cancer, and not other cells. "We have no intention of ageing the patient ... only the cancer," he said.


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