Saturday, February 05, 2011

Food campaigners face fury over sick spoof of Al Qaeda video in which Ronald McDonald is 'held hostage'

Campaigners for ethically-produced food provoked fury today by releasing an Al Qaeda-style spoof video in which they are seen holding Ronald McDonald hostage.

Five members of the Finnish group, who call themselves the Food Liberation Army, are seen in black balaclavas with the fictional McDonald's figurehead distinctive in the foreground, despite wearing a hood.

The spokesperson threatens to execute the character if the fast food chain refuses to answer questions about how it produces its products.

McDonalds told MailOnline today that the stunt was irresponsible and 'in very poor taste'. It also denied the campaign group's suggestion that it was attempting to hide details about its food quality and manufacturing processes.

A spokeswoman said: 'McDonald’s is always available to engage in constructive conversations with our customers, stakeholders and the media. 'This stunt is in very poor taste and not a responsible approach to meaningful dialogue. 'Meanwhile, we are focused on our customers and are fully transparent about our high quality food and industry-leading standards and practices.'

The video sees the FLA demand that McDonalds release information about its manufacturing process, and the additives used in its product. The campaign group also asks why McDonalds will not release figures detailing how much unrecycled waste it produces each year.

Speaking in Finnish, with an English translation running across the bottom of the screen, the spokesperson says: 'We are a Food Liberation Army, and we hope that this extreme action will take us towards a better and safer food future.


Bone drug 'could give you another five years of life'

Highly speculative. With only 35 men and 106 women on biophosphonates and no attempt at sampling, this could very easily be a rogue result. See the comments in the last paragraph below. Journal article here

A drug taken by hundreds of thousands of women for osteoporosis could extend life by up to five years, scientists claim. Bisphosphonates – the most commonly prescribed treatments for the bone-thinning disease – have been shown to reduce death rates by as much as 80 per cent among those over 75.

Researchers believe they could extend an elderly person’s life by around five years. They suspect that the powerful drugs, which prevent the loss of bone, may also reduce the levels of toxic substances in the body which can cause cancer, high blood pressure and other illnesses.

Around 553,000 patients in Britain are currently taking bisphosphonates, which are sold under brand names such as Actonel, Reclast and Boniva. The majority are prescribed to post-menopausal women suffering from osteoporosis, but they are also used to treat those with arthritis and certain types of cancer.

Scientists in Australia looked at 2,000 volunteers over the age of 70, including 121 who had been taking bisphosphonates for an average of three years. They found that after five years the death rate among those who had been taking the drugs was 80 per cent lower than average.

The scientists believe that by reducing bone loss, the drugs may be preventing the release of toxic substances such as lead into the blood. Lead gradually accumulates in the body from petrol and paint on walls and is stored in the bones for decades. But when the bones break down and it is released into the bloodstream it can be harmful and has been linked to high blood pressure, kidney disease and memory loss.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, also suggests that the bones store another toxic chemical, cadmium – naturally found in soils – which has been linked to lung cancer.

Associate Professor Jacqueline Center, from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, said: ‘While the results seemed surprisingly good, they are borne out by the data – within the limitations of any study – and appear to apply to men as well as women.’

But others were sceptical of the findings as the study only involved a small number of participants. A spokesman for Arthritis Research UK, which represents a number of patients prescribed the drug for bone-thinning, said: ‘It was quite a small study, and much bigger randomised controlled trials have not shown that bisphosphonates extend lifespan.’


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