Sunday, 9 May 2010

"Right to know what we are eating" VS "Business and Profit of Companies "

Did you know that your favourite ice-cream could actually be a non-vegetarian product? Or for that matter, your preferred Scotch whisky may have clarifying

agents like gelatine, egg white and charcoal made from bones; that breads and buns may be glazed with eggs or animal fat; biscuits may have animal-based enzymes; even the supposedly "pure veg" atta may have vitamins obtained from animal extracts? Even chewing gum may contain emulsifiers of animal origin.

Help is now at hand for resolute vegetarians before these revelations send them into a disoriented funk and they begin to starve.

Importers of packaged food fear that foreign manufacturers might not be willing to change their layout for India and may stop selling here.

In order to provide consumers with correct information about the food they consume, the government has amended the Prevention of Food Adulteration (pfa) rules to introduce the concept of labelling packaged vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. The concept, which was cleared by the cabinet recently, was reportedly spearheaded by voluble animal rights champion and Union minister Maneka Gandhi. But this could also lead to more confusion and more gloom in Indian industry, already in the throes of stagnant-to-decreasing sales and market uncertainty.

From October 4, 2001, it has become mandatory for all packaged foods containing ingredients of animal origin to sport a brown dot encased in a brown box to inform consumers of what they are about to eat. A notification issued by the ministry of health and family welfare on September 26 said that if any article of food contained "whole or part of any animal including bird, fresh-water or marine animals, or eggs or products of any animal origin as an ingredient", its manufacturer will have to make a declaration by displaying the brown dot prominently on the product next to the brand name. Milk and milk products, if used as an ingredient, are, as of now, exempted from this order. The government order also clarifies that if any product contains only egg as a non-vegetarian ingredient, the manufacturer can declare that in addition to putting the brown dot on the product label.

The rule would apply equally to pharmaceutical companies who supply biopharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements derived from animal sources, to other companies. These are added to a large number of products, many of them pure vegetarian otherwise, to enhance their nutritional value. There's been an increase in biopharmaceuticals and other nutritional products obtained from animal sources in the Indian market in recent times. This rule is likely to dent the bottomline of companies who have launched nutritional products which were never measured in these terms before.

However, say sources, pharmaceutical products registered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act would not come under the purview of the new rule.

Companies will have to display the dots prominently not only on the product but also on containers, pamphlets, leaflets and advertisements in any media. Says a health ministry official: "We feel that people have a right to know what their food contains. In a country with a sizeable population of vegetarians, it may be criminal to offer food with animal ingredients without their knowledge."

Two years ago, say industry sources, formulators of international food-safety guidelines approved by the wto asked India and South Africa to explore possibilities of separating vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods to arrive at a possible global marking system. However, on investigation, it was found that it was impossible to classify food into just these two broad categories.As there was a lot of confusion the world over about what was purely vegetarian and what was not, at least six marking categories were required. The plan died a natural death.

India has, however, decided to go ahead with it. Although this system of labelling is unprecedented in any part of the world, certain companies in the US, where vegetarianism is a growing trend, voluntarily mark their products as green or totally vegetarian.

Industry has complied quietly; most manufacturers started putting the brown dot on their packaged products before the October 4 deadline. Says a spokesperson of Hindustan Lever, India's largest food marketer: "It is a reassurance from manufacturers to consumers that the product they choose is as per their preferences. It should deter unscrupulous manufacturers from violating consumers' faith and belief." Some like Amul have even started declaring that their products do not have any animal ingredients. But others believe that this will just make marketing and advertising unnecessarily complex.

Importers of packaged foods, for instance, are aghast. Says Saswat Sengupta, ceo, Rai & Sons, exclusive importers of Ferrero chocolates, La Vache Quirit cheese and other food brands: "Why should a foreign company change or disturb its layout just for India? They will probably stop selling in India or exclude us from their third country marketing plans."

The brown dot has not had an easy birth, even in visual terms. Sources say that initially the ministry of food processing prescribed a crossed red circle to label non-vegetarian food. However, this had connotations of danger—it was similar to signs used for poison and other harmful substances and the industry was up in arms against it. The Committee for Food Specifications then arrived at the brown dot symbol. Ironically though, some products available in the market currently are sporting the crossed red-circle mark.

However, while dotting the carnivore variety is fair towards vegetarians, another ministry has issued a booklet cataloguing what is true-green vegetarian. If he were to avoid the long list of products that have animal-based ingredients, the scrupulous vegetarian would be condemned to a very simple life indeed, bereft of everything from safety matches to wine and condoms (see table).

Manufacturers are obviously worried stiff. Says a top official of a food company: "How far do you stretch it? Even curd has micro-organisms. Most biscuits would become non-vegetarian and vegetarians may move away from them. India has enough vegetarians to make a dent in the sales of any company in any product."

As if this was not enough, the government has circulated a draft notification to put a similar green mark on vegetarian foods to ensure that the consumer is left in no doubt on the vegetarian question. This comes into force in the coming months. The food industry, however, complains that this is uncalled for as any product not having the brown dot should automatically mean vegetarian.

Bureaucratic wranglings, indignation, alarm and confusion can be expected to reign for some months before things settle down. And the faithful formulate their new consumption patterns.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Problems with Rotarix / Roateq vaccine

[Update] Similar PIG DNA was found in Rotateq ( Another vaccine like rotarix) on 7th may 2010.

"The safety of both Rotateq and Rotarix has been tracked by the FDA since another vaccine by then drug maker Wyeth was pulled off the market in 1999. That vaccine was linked to an increased rate of intussusception, which is a twisting or obstruction of the intestine that can be fatal."

Rotarix vaccine is discontinued in Canada and USA but still available in India and recommended by Docter of big hospitals .Go for Rota Teq which is mostly used in USA from 2006 . Rotarix invented in 2008.

Can anybody ask Indian government to ban this Vaccine in India..??

Read further to know more about another example of sleeping Indian Government and Medicine board!!!


For Immediate Release: March 22, 2010

Media Inquiries: Shelly Burgess, 301-796-4651;
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA

Components of Extraneous Virus Detected in Rotarix Vaccine; No Known Safety Risk

FDA Recommends Clinicians Temporarily Suspend Use of Vaccine as Agency Learns More

FDA is recommending that healthcare practitioners temporarily suspend use of the Rotarix vaccine for rotavirus immunization in the United States while the agency learns more about components of an extraneous virus detected in the vaccine. There is no evidence at this time that this finding poses a safety risk.

The agency recently became aware that an independent U.S. academic research team, using a novel technique, has found DNA from porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1) in Rotarix, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. PCV1 is not known to cause illness in humans or other animals. In addition, Rotarix has been studied extensively, before and after approval, and found to have an excellent safety record.

Follow-up tests by GlaxoSmithKline and FDA scientists confirmed the academic team’s findings and confirmed that viral components have been present since the early stages of the vaccine’s development, including during clinical studies. Preliminary testing by both the academic researchers and FDA scientists of another licensed vaccine against rotavirus infection, RotaTeq, has not detected components of PCV1.

"We are making clinicians aware of information recently received by FDA about the Rotarix vaccine,” said Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner for Food and Drugs. “There is no evidence at this time that there is a safety concern. FDA is recommending that clinicians temporarily suspend use of Rotarix until we can learn more about the situation. We will keep the public and the clinical community updated on our findings.”

Rotarix and RotaTeq are given by mouth to young infants to prevent rotavirus disease, which can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration and is estimated to be responsible for the deaths of more than 500,000 infants around the world each year, primarily in low- and middle-income countries. Before the introduction of a rotavirus vaccine, rotavirus resulted in more than 50,000 hospitalizations and several dozen deaths in the United States each year. FDA licensed RotaTeq in 2006 and Rotarix in 2008. Most children vaccinated in the United States received RotaTeq.

“In many countries, rotavirus causes so much severe illness and death that the known benefits of continued use of Rotarix far outweigh any theoretical risk of harm from the vaccine,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We anticipate that many countries will decide to continue vaccinating with Rotarix while more information becomes known.”

FDA will continue to gather more information about the PCV1 components in Rotarix, including whether intact virus, as opposed to DNA fragments, is present. The agency is assessing current vaccine testing methods. In four to six weeks, FDA will convene an expert advisory committee and make additional recommendations on the use of rotavirus vaccines.

FDA will provide updates to patients, providers, and the general public as more information becomes available. The agency will also continue to communicate with the World Health Organization and counterpart regulatory agencies in other countries.

For more information visit FDA's Update on Rotarix Vaccine1 page

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