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The Physicians Committee

Just the Facts

What They’re Saying About Animal Experiments

“There isn’t a single genetically manipulated mouse that has been used yet to produce a drug that cures a disease.” —Kathleen Murray of Charles River Laboratories, Inc., the biggest breeding company of animals sold to laboratories in the world

“The (animal) model systems are not predictive at all.” —Alan Oliff, executive director for Cancer Research at Merck, on using animal testing to bring new drugs to market

“We had basically found good mouse drugs rather than human drugs.” —Edward Sausville of the National Cancer Institute on why tumor-shrinking drugs developed for mice fail to work in humans

Good for Your Heart

Our friends at Tulane University found that eating legumes (beans) four or more times per week (as compared with less than once per week) cut heart disease by nearly one quarter.

For the Last Time, Lactose Intolerance Is Not a Disease

Geneticists have identified the mutation that allows some people to digest lactose long after weaning, a change that occurred thousands of years ago when humans began experimenting with dairy products. Most of the world’s population does not carry this genetic mutation and can’t stomach milk, suffering nausea, bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms if they drink it. “People think lactose intolerance is a disease, but this is how everyone was initially,” reports one researcher.

Test-Tube Meat for Space Travelers?

Exploring new ways to feed space travelers on long trips, NASA-funded scientists are now producing meat in test tubes. They have coaxed chunks of fish flesh to grow 16 percent bigger in the lab in just one week and plan to do the same with beef and chicken. Researchers claim the elimination of slaughter by-products and waste is a major advantage; however, the brew currently being used to grow the meat is fetal bovine serum.

Touro College, New York

Check, please!

The mere sight of rare hamburger, runny eggs, or steak tartare is enough to drive most people away. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is proposing that all U.S. restaurants provide written warnings with foods known to be risky. Raw or undercooked beef, eggs, fish, pork, poultry, shellfish, and other animal products contain pathogens that are extremely dangerous, especially in the elderly or those with compromised immune systems. Each year, 76 million Americans become ill from eating tainted foods.

Health Food at … Wal-Mart?!!

The retail chain already serves veggie hot dogs and burgers, and now they are turning to Galaxy Nutritional Foods to add faux fromage. Approximately 578 Wal-Mart Supercenters will carry the cheese substitutes, with many more locations set to stock up shortly.

Good for Your Wallet, Too

SUNY–Buffalo researchers have found that eating a well-balanced diet doesn’t have to cost more, as many people believe. Thirty-one families with at least one obese child were put on the Traffic Light Diet, which encourages “green” foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and discourages “red” foods that are high in fat. Following the simple system, families greatly reduced fat intake and increased consumption of healthy plant foods. At the end of one year, family food costs were much lower than before, due perhaps to changes in taste preferences, new cooking methods, and the avoidance of “red light” foods.

Raynor HA, Kilanowski CK, Esterlis I, Epstein LH. A cost-analysis of adopting a healthful diet in a family-based obesity treatment program. J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102:645-656.

“Essence of Beef” Hard to Swallow

McDonald’s Corp. agreed to donate $10 million to vegetarian groups after being sued for mislabeling its French fries and hash browns as vegetarian. In truth, these items contain beef flavoring, even though the company announced in 1990 it would use only pure vegetable oil, not beef fat, to cook fries.

On a lighter note, McDonald’s of Canada has introduced the soy protein McVeggie Burger™ along with other healthier menu items.

Sorry, Charlie—The Secret Is Out

Internal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) documents reveal that the agency, under pressure from the seafood industry, is withholding critical information from pregnant women on mercury-contaminated fish, especially tuna, which is toxic to the developing fetal brain. The FDA claimed its focus groups revealed that if women were given a comprehensive list of highly contaminated fish they would likely not eat fish at all. Hmmm.

Autumn 2002 (Volume XI, Number 3)
Autumn 2002
Volume XI
Number 3

Good Medicine

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