Hershey sued in US over metal in dark chocolate claim

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 30th Dec 2022) London, Uk – –

Chocolate manufacturer Hershey has been sued in the US over claims the firm is selling products containing harmful levels of metal.

The lawsuit brought by Christopher Lazazzaro alleges the firm misled consumers by failing to disclose the quantities of lead and cadmium in three dark chocolate bars.


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He claimed he would not have purchased the products if he had been aware.

Hershey's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some studies suggest that the antioxidants and relatively low levels of sugar in dark chocolate could help prevent heart disease.

But the lawsuit refers to recent findings by US magazine Consumer Reports (CR), which tested 28 dark chocolate bars for lead and cadmium.

The magazine alleged that 23 of them, including chocolate from Hershey, Godiva and Lindt, contained “comparatively higher levels” of the metals.

“For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce (28g) a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR's experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals,” it claimed.

In particular, Hershey's Special Dark bar and Lily's 70% bar were high in lead, while Lily's 85% bar was high in lead and cadmium.

“Any food can contain heavy metals if they are present in the soil in high concentration,” nutritionist Sheeba Majmudar told the BBC.

“Currently there are no food laws stating that all food batches need to be tested – until they make you sick. While no level of toxins is safe, it is always the ‘buyer beware' slogan that comes to mind,” she added.

Mr Lazazzaro's lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in a federal court in New York, alleges that he would not have bought or wanted to pay less for the Hershey's Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate, Lily's Extra Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa and Lily's Extreme Dark Chocolate bars.

Hershey bought low-sugar treat maker Lily's last June, calling it “a great addition to Hershey's growing portfolio of better-for-you snacking brands”.

“Consumers rely on [Hershey] to be truthful regarding the ingredients,” the lawsuit argues.

It adds that “people are concerned with what is in the food that they are putting into their bodies,” while parents and caregivers are “concerned with what they are feeding to children in their care”.


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Mr Lazazzaro is seeking at least $5m (£4.2m) in damages from Hershey in the proposed class action lawsuit.

Both Hershey and Mr Lazazzaro's lawyers did not immediately respond to BBC requests for comment.

By Annabelle Liang

 

UK opposition seeks to force release of documents related to COVID-19 contracts

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 6th Dec, 2022) London, UK —

Britain's Conservative lawmakers have been told they do not have to try to block an opposition bid to force the government to release documents on COVID-19 contracts awarded to a firm with links to a Conservative member of parliament's upper house.

The lawmakers said their party had given them the green light to abstain in any parliamentary vote on the opposition Labour Party motion which seeks to force the publication of documents relating to 200 million pounds ($244 million) of personal protective equipment contracts given to PPE MedPro.


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Opposition politicians have accused the government of running a “chumocracy”, awarding deals to those with family or business links to people in power, including for what turned out to be unusable PPE in some cases.

According to local media, Michelle Mone, who sits as a Conservative in parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, had brought the company to the attention of ministers at the beginning of the pandemic.

She has since been accused of profiting personally from the business, charges her lawyers have previously denied. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, PA Media reported that Mone was taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I'm limited in what I can say about the specific case given there is a mediation process with regards to MedPro.” He declined to comment further.

One Conservative lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Labour motion failed to demand a deadline for the release of any documents relating to the matter, meaning the government might not need to hand them over immediately.

The government has repeatedly defended its actions to award contracts quickly at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, saying there was a global race for PPE and Britain had to be competitive to make sure its needs were met.


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But since then, there has been criticism over the way the contracts were awarded.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee earlier this year said the government had spent more than 12 billion pounds on protective equipment in 2020–21, 4 billion of which did not meet the standards needed by the National Health Service and so was not used.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Andrew MacAskill and Alistair Smout

Over 15,000 NHS ambulance workers to vote on the ‘biggest strike in 30 years’

NHS workers in other unions, including nurses, are also being asked if they want to strike over pay.

More than 15,000 ambulance workers will vote today on whether to strike over pay.


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Members of the GMB union from 11 trusts in England and Wales are being balloted in the coming weeks.

NHS workers in other unions, including nurses, are also being asked if they want to strike over pay.

Ambulance workers from the following trusts will be balloted:

• East of England Ambulance Service
• East Midlands Ambulance Service
• London Ambulance Service
• North East Ambulance Service
• North West Ambulance Service
• South Central Ambulance Service
• South East Coast Ambulance Service
• South West Ambulance Service
• Welsh Ambulance Service
• West Midlands Ambulance Service
• Yorkshire Ambulance Service

“But more than 10 years of pay cuts, plus the cost-of-living crisis, means workers can't make ends meet.

“They are desperate. This is much more about patient safety at least as much about pay.

“Delays up to 26 hours and 135,000 vacancies across the NHS mean a third of GMB ambulance workers think a delay they've been involved with has led to a death.


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“Ambulance workers have been telling the government for years things are unsafe.

“No one is listening. What else can they do?”

 

The fight for water: Is Water The New Gold?

Source: DW

Climate change is causing temperatures to rise. Extreme weather events and droughts are increasing. Springs and wells are drying up. And everyone needs more water. The battles for control over precious water reserves have begun.

In some countries, water has always been available in abundance – and is wasted carelessly every day. But the climate crisis is changing that. Because the climate is warming, everyone needs more water than ever: for drinking, agriculture and industry. Water is the new gold.

Johnson & Johnson to stop selling its talc-based baby powder from next year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 12th Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will stop making and selling its talc-based baby powder around the world from next year.

The announcement comes more than two years after the healthcare giant ended sales of the product in the US.

J&J faces tens of thousands of lawsuits from women who allege its talcum powder contained asbestos and caused them to develop ovarian cancer.


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But the company reiterated its view that decades of independent research shows the product is safe to use.

“As part of a worldwide portfolio assessment, we have made the commercial decision to transition to an all cornstarch-based baby powder portfolio,” it said in a statement.

The firm added that cornstarch-based baby powder is already sold in countries around the world.

At the same time J&J reiterated its position that its baby powder is safe to use: “Our position on the safety of our cosmetic talc remains unchanged.”

“We stand firmly behind the decades of independent scientific analysis by medical experts around the world that confirms talc-based Johnson's baby powder is safe, does not contain asbestos, and does not cause cancer,” it said.

In 2020, J&J said it would stop selling its talc baby powder in the US and Canada because demand had fallen in the wake of what it called “misinformation” about the product's safety amid a number of legal cases.

At the time the firm said it would continue to sell its talc-based baby powder in the UK and the rest of the world.

The company faces lawsuits from consumers and their survivors who claim J&J's talc products caused cancer due to contamination with asbestos.

Talc is mined from the earth and is found in seams close to that of asbestos, which is a material known to cause cancer.

A 2018 investigation by the Reuters news agency claimed that J&J knew for decades that asbestos was present in its talc products.

Reuters said that internal company records, trial testimony and other evidence showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, J&J's raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.

In response to evidence of asbestos contamination presented in court rooms, media reports and to US lawmakers, the firm has repeatedly denied the allegations.

In October, J&J created a subsidiary, LTL Management, assigning its talc claims to it. It later placed it into bankruptcy, which paused the pending lawsuits.

Before the bankruptcy filing, the company faced costs from $3.5bn (£2.87bn) in verdicts and settlements, including one in which 22 women were awarded a judgement of more than $2bn.


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In April, a shareholder proposal calling for an end to global sales of the talc baby powder failed.

Johnson's Baby Powder has been been sold for almost 130 years and became a symbol of the company's family-friendly image.

Baby powder is used for preventing nappy rash and for cosmetic uses, including as a dry shampoo.

By Peter Hoskins

The Toxic Reality of Skin Bleaching

Source: Refinery29

Lexy Lebsack travels to the Philippines to uncover the toxic reality of skin bleaching. This cultural trend is practiced world wide even with deadly side effects. This series swivels between the unexpected and uplifting, dives deep into the dark underbelly of beauty, gives a voice to those trampled by this quickly growing industry, and questions what it’s all worth.

Dyson fined £1.2m after 1.5-tonne machine falls on factory worker

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 4th Aug 2022) London, Uk – –

Wiltshire employee’s head and chest were injured in 2019, in incident that HSE said ‘could have been fatal’

The technology company Dyson has been fined more than £1m after one of its employees was injured when a giant milling machine fell on top of him.


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Dyson was ordered to pay £1.2m at Swindon magistrates court for failing to properly train its staff in handling the kit. The firm pleaded guilty to breaching health and safety laws.

The man was injured when the 1.5-tonne piece of equipment fell on top of him while he was at work in August 2019 at the company’s factory in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

He was moving a computer-assisted milling machine with the help of a colleague when the incident happened.

They lifted it up with a five-tonne jack, and were replacing some wheels with wooden blocks when it fell.

The Health and Safety Executive said that it struck the man, injuring his head and chest.

Its investigators found that Dyson had not provided “suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training” to its staff. It had also not put systems in place to ensure that the machine was moved safely.

The man escaped being crushed only because the machine landed on two toolboxes and the handle of another machine.

“This incident could have been fatal,” said James Hole, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector. “Those in control of work have a duty to assess the risks, devise safe methods of working and to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workforce.

“Had a suitable safe system of work been in place, this incident and the related injuries could have been prevented.”

Dyson said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of Dyson’s people is our number one priority. Prior to this case, Dyson has had no convictions or enforcement history related to health and safety at work.

“We are thankful that the employee was not more seriously hurt and has been able to return to work at Dyson.


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“As an engineering company, we use complex and often heavy equipment and take care to do so safely. We deeply regret that this happened and we accept the court’s decision today.

“We were pleased that in its judgment the court noted our ‘excellent safety record’, our ‘prompt response to this incident and full cooperation at the highest level within the company’ and said that Dyson is an ‘exemplary corporate citizen’.”

By PA Media

Why Companies Like Amazon Embrace Burning Waste as Part of a Growing Movement towards “zero landfill”

Source: CNBC

Burning waste to make energy is a $10 billion industry in the U.S., and the fastest growing part of the business is waste from big companies like Amazon, Subaru, Quest Diagnostics and American Airlines. They’re part of a growing corporate movement toward “zero landfill” as pressure mounts to reach sustainability requirements. CNBC got an inside look at a waste-to-energy plant where trash is incinerated to power 18,000 homes in northern California.

 


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UK watchdog fines Pfizer, Flynn Pharma $84 mln for overcharging NHS

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 21st July 2022) London, UK —

Pfizer (PFE.N) and Flynn Pharma were fined a total of 70 million pounds ($84 million) on Thursday by Britain's antitrust watchdog for overcharging the National Health Services (NHS) for a life-saving epilepsy drug.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in 2016 had fined Pfizer and Flynn about 90 million pounds for inflating prices for Epanutin by as much as 2,600% to 67.50 pounds for a 100mg pack before the companies won a 2018 appeal against the penalty.


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The Competition Appeal Tribunal had referred the matter back to the CMA, which in August 2021 stuck to its view that the two firms broke the law.

In September 2012, Pfizer sold the UK distribution rights for Epanutin to Flynn. Before that, Pfizer was selling phenytoin sodium capsules to UK wholesalers and pharmacies.

Both Pfizer and Flynn Pharma said they intend to appeal the CMA decision.

“Surprised and disappointed at the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issuance of a further (second) Decision finding an abuse of competition law on the part of Flynn,” the company said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Epanutin is a life-saving drug which is used to control a variety of epileptic conditions, or prevent seizures during or after brain surgery or severe head injury.

The regulator added that the firms have been overcharging for more than four years.


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It said that spending by Britain's NHS on the capsules, containing phenytoin sodium, jumped to about 50 million pounds in 2013 from about 2 million pounds a year earlier.

Reporting by Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru

Macau casinos shuts down following Covid outbreak

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 11th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Macau closed all its casinos for the first time in more than two years on Monday after a coronavirus outbreak in the world's biggest gambling hub.

Authorities have ordered non-essential businesses, which includes over 30 casinos, to shut for a week.

The city has recorded 1,526 Covid cases since the middle of June according to official figures.


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Gaming shares slipped on Monday over concerns of tougher rules in the Chinese special administrative region.

Around 19,000 people have been put in mandatory quarantine as the city tackles its worse Covid-19 outbreak since early 2020.

Schools and entertainment venues, including bars and cinemas, had already been closed under earlier guidelines.

Over the weekend, Macau's Government Information Bureau said all businesses would be required to suspend their operations unless they were “deemed essential to the community and to the day-to-day lives of the members of the public”.

“The latest step is in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the community,” the bureau said in a statement on Saturday.

It has also instructed people to stay at home, and stopped dining-in services at restaurants.

More than 90% of Macau's residents have received two doses of Covid vaccines. It's unclear how many have also received their booster doses, but the city is facing the fast-spreading Omicron variant for the first time.

In recent weeks, officials have set up a makeshift hospital and turned several casino resorts into medical facilities, as the former Portuguese colony only has one public hospital serving more than 600,000 residents.

They have also mass tested residents and locked down apartment buildings and hotels where infections were found.

Macau follows China's strict “zero Covid” strategy, where even handful of cases have led to mass testing, forced quarantine and lockdowns of neighbourhoods and even cities.

While Macau has not imposed the type of city-wide lockdown seen in mainland China, it's virtually closed as most services have been halted.

Terry Ng, an equity research analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong, told the BBC that Macau authorities were “stuck between a rock and a hard place”.

“Because mainland Chinese tourists accounted for 71% of all tourists and more than 90% of gross gaming revenue, they have to duly follow mainland China's zero-Covid policy which is highly restrictive,” he said.


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Gambling is illegal in mainland China but is allowed in Macau, which like Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China.

Macau casino shares slipped on Monday as the restrictions kicked into effect.

Shares in Sands China, a subsidiary of casino giant Las Vegas Sands, were trading 7% lower by mid-day in Hong Kong. That of SJM Holdings, which was founded by the late Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho, fell by 6.1%.

By Annabelle Liang

 

UK court rules against Kellogg’s sugary cereal supermarket promotions

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 4th July 2022) London, Uk – –

Kellogg's will not be allowed to promote sugary cereals in supermarket special offers, a court has ruled.

In-store promotions on food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar will be restricted under new rules for England.


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Food giant Kellogg's had taken the government to court arguing the rules did not take into account the nutritional value of added milk.

But the Royal Courts of Justice ruled in favour of the government. Kellogg's said it was “disappointed”.

“It makes little sense to us that consumers will be able to buy other products, like donuts and chocolate spreads, on promotion – but not many types of breakfast cereals,” said Kellogg UK managing director, Chris Silcock.

The new rules were due to start in October but have been delayed by the government due to the cost of living crisis.

When they do kick in, it will mean foods deemed high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from special offers and prime spots like checkouts, store entrances, aisle ends and their online equivalents.

Popular brands such as Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Fruit and Fibre are classified as high sugar in their dry form.

But Kellogg's argued including added milk would change the calculation by reducing the proportion of sugar and salt content relative to the weight of the overall serving.

The company said independent market data showed cereals were eaten with milk or yoghurt in 92% of cases.


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But Judge Mr Justice Linden said Kellogg's cereals “do not come with instructions for preparation which say that they should be consumed with milk”.

His judgement said he found no unfairness to Kellogg's and the public health case for the new rules was compelling, proportionate and rational.

 

Boots owner Walgreens abandons £5bn sale of UK’s biggest high street pharmacy chain

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 29th June 2022) London, Uk – –

Walgreens Boots Alliance confirms Sky News’ exclusive report that it is abandoning an auction of the UK’s leading high street pharmacist amid torrid financing conditions.

Boots the chemist

The owner of Boots the Chemist has abandoned the sale of Britain’s biggest high street pharmacy chain amid torrid conditions in global debt-financing markets.

Walgreens Boots Alliance confirmed on Tuesday afternoon a Sky News report that it had decided to retain ownership of Boots after an auction process lasting for several months.


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In a statement, the New York-listed healthcare giant said it had conducted a thorough strategic review but would now keep control of the “successful” Nottingham-based company.

“WBA has been encouraged by productive discussions held with a range of parties, receiving significant interest from prospective buyers.

“However, since launching the process, the global financial markets have suffered unexpected and dramatic change.

“As a result of market instability severely impacting financing availability, no third party has been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the high potential value of Boots and No7 Beauty Company.

“Consequently, WBA has decided that it is in the best interests of shareholders to keep focusing on the further growth and profitability of the two businesses.”

The decision will cast doubt over the long-term strategy of a stalwart of the UK high street, which had been identified as non-core to its American parent's future.

On Tuesday, WBA insisted it was committed to investing in Boots' future, although it signalled that it was open-minded about reviving a sale or other form of corporate activity in future.

The £5.5bn auction of Boots had faltered badly in recent weeks, with the only bidder to make a binding offer- a consortium of Apollo Global Management and Reliance Industries – pinning its hopes on the steadfastness of a quartet of lenders.

Apollo and Indian behemoth Reliance had lined up Royal Bank of Canada, Credit Suisse, Santander and Bank of America to help finance a large chunk of the £5bn-plus acquisition.

However, growing concerns about the global economy had triggered severe doubts among large banks which help finance leveraged buyouts, with Boots among the biggest such deals in Europe.

Because of the difficulty bidders were having financing a deal, WBA was prepared to retain a significant minority stake in Boots in order to get the deal through.

Another prospective bid from the owners of Asda – Mohsin and Zuber Issa and TDR Capital – had looked even more uncertain.

WBA, which has been advised by Goldman Sachs, had been in talks with bidders for months.

Among the other challenges facing prospective acquirers was finding an adequate solution for Boots' £8bn pension scheme – one of the largest private retirement funds in the UK.

Sky News revealed earlier this year that an apparent early frontrunner in the Boots auction – a joint bid from Bain Capital and CVC Capital Partners – had decided not to proceed amid scepticism over the price tag of up to £6bn.

Rosalind Brewer, WBA chief executive, said: “We have now completed a thorough review of Boots and No7 Beauty Company, with the outcome reflecting rapidly evolving and challenging financial market conditions beyond our control.

“It is an exciting time for these businesses, which are uniquely positioned to continue to capture future opportunities presented by the growing healthcare and beauty markets.

“The board and I remain confident that Boots and No7 Beauty Company hold strong fundamental value, and longer term, we will stay open to all opportunities to maximize shareholder value for these businesses and across our company.”

Like many retailers, Boots had a turbulent pandemic, announcing 4000 job cuts in 2020 as a consequence of a restructuring of its Nottingham head office and store management teams.

It has also been embroiled in rows with landlords about delayed rent payments.

Shortly before the pandemic, Boots earmarked about 200 of its UK stores for closure, a reflection of changing shopping habits.


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Boots' heritage dates back to John Boot opening a herbal remedies store in Nottingham in 1849.

It opened its 1000th UK store in 1933.

For Stefano Pessina, the WBA chairman, a decision to sell Boots outright would have marked the final chapter of his involvement with one of Britain's best-known companies.

The Italian octogenarian engineered the merger of Boots and Alliance Unichem, a drug wholesaler, in 2006, with the buyout firm KKR acquiring the combined group in an £11bn deal the following year.

In 2012, Walgreens acquired a 45% stake in Alliance Boots, completing its buyout of the business two years later.

By Mark Kleinman

GSK to spend up to $3.3 bln on Affinivax to boost next-generation roster of vaccines

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 31st May 2022) London, UK —

May 31 (Reuters) – GSK (GSK.L) on Tuesday agreed to buy U.S. biotech Affinivax for up to $3.3 billion, its second major deal in two months, giving the British pharmaceutical giant access to the company's roster of next-generation vaccines.

GSK, one of the world's major vaccine makers, has been under pressure to shore up its pharmaceutical pipeline ahead of the separation in July of its consumer business, home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Advil painkillers.


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The drugmaker's newer shingles vaccine has been a key growth driver as demand has returned after disruption to immunisations during the pandemic, but GSK needs a new product to bolster the vaccines business, which made 6.78 billion pounds ($8.54 billion) in 2021.

GSK is also facing competition from vaccine candidates from rivals Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) using newer mRNA technology.

GSK will pay Affinivax $2.1 billion upfront and up to $1.2 billion in potential milestones. The acquisition comes after GSK last month indicated an appetite for further deals following its $1.9 billion purchase of Sierra Oncology (SRRA.O). 

“While this marks a step in the right direction with regard to the group's strategy, we're mindful that owning the treatment and making money from it are two very different things,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Laura Hoy.

London-listed GSK on Tuesday also reiterated its outlook for 2022 and its medium-term targets.

Privately-held Affinivax gives GSK its next-generation vaccines under development, the most advanced of which are for pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections and sinusitis.

GSK has its own, older, pneumococcal vaccine called Synflorix, which was approved for European and U.S. use in 2009, and which competes with Pfizer's Prevnar and Merck's (MRK.N) Pneumovax.


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Affinivax's newer vaccine technology is designed to strengthen the breadth of immunity against a pathogen, such that an immune-boosting adjuvant is not necessary.

Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka

 

 

Why Mānuka Honey Is So Expensive

Source: BI

Mānuka honey known for being is earthier, richer, and more viscous than many other honeys. It comes from the nectar of the flower of Leptospermum scoparium — also known as Manuka, which is only native to New Zealand. Mānuka, in fact, is a Maori word.


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“The plant itself is very rare. It's difficult to harvest because the flower is only open for 12 days, and sometimes we have to use helicopters to collect this honey.” John Rawcliffe from the Mānuka Factor Honey Association told Business Insider.

Although mānuka bushes can also be found in Australia, New Zealand accounts for almost all the world's production, with exports worth 300 million NZ dollars ($204m) and expected to rise to 1.2 billion NZ ($800m) by 2028.  Watch the video to find out what's so special about it and why it costs so much.

Abbott baby formula maker to restart production amid US shortage

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 17th May 2022) London, Uk – –

Michigan plant had been under investigation for safety concerns and it will take over a month to begin shipping product


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The baby formula maker Abbott has reached an agreement with US health regulators to restart production at its largest domestic factory amid a nationwide formula shortage that has left shelves bare and parents scrambling.

Monday’s agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amounts to a legally binding agreement between regulators and the company on steps needed to reopen the plant in Sturgis, Michigan, which had been under investigation for safety concerns.

However, it will be well over a month before any new products ship from the site to help alleviate the situation. After production resumes, Abbott said it will take between six and eight weeks before the formula will begin arriving in stores.

Abbott is one of just four companies that produce roughly 90% of US formula, and its brands account for nearly half that market.

The company didn’t set a timeline to restart production or offer further details about the terms of the deal.

The FDA announced additional steps to ease the supply chain crunch, saying it was was streamlining its review process to make it easier for foreign manufacturers to begin shipping more formula into the US.

“The FDA expects that the measures and steps it’s taking with infant formula manufacturers and others will mean more and more supply is on the way or on store shelves moving forward,” FDA commissioner Robert Califf told reporters.

Califf said the US will prioritize companies that can provide the largest shipments and quickly show documentation that their formulas are safe and compatible with US nutrition standards. The policy is structured as a temporary measure lasting six months.

It comes as Joe Biden’s administration faces intense pressure to do more to ease the shortage that has left many parents hunting for formula online or at food banks.

Abbott’s plant came under scrutiny early this year after the FDA began investigating four bacterial infections among infants who consumed powdered formula from the plant. Two of the babies died.

The crunch intensified when, in February, the company halted production and recalled several brands of powdered formula, squeezing supplies that had already been tightened by supply chain disruptions and stockpiling during Covid-19. The shortage has led retailers such as CVS and Walgreens to limit how many containers customers can buy in each visit.

Outrage over the issue has quickly snowballed and handed Republicans a fresh talking point to use against Biden ahead of November’s midterm elections.

After a six-week inspection, FDA investigators published a list of problems at the Abbott factory in March, including lax safety and sanitary standards and a history of bacterial contamination in several parts of the plant.

The Chicago-based company has emphasized that its products have not been directly linked to the bacterial infections in children. Samples of the bacteria found at its plant did not match the strains collected from the babies by federal investigators. The company has repeatedly stated it is ready to resume manufacturing.

Former FDA officials say fixing the type of problems uncovered at Abbott’s plant takes time, and infant formula facilities receive more scrutiny than other food facilities. Companies need to exhaustively clean the facility and equipment, retrain staff, repeatedly test and document there is no contamination.

Pediatricians say baby formulas produced in Canada and Europe are roughly equivalent to those in the US. But traditionally, 98% of the infant formula supply in the US is made domestically. Companies seeking to enter the US face several major hurdles, including rigorous research and manufacturing standards imposed by the FDA.

Steven Davis, a San Diego father, has faced heart-wrenching challenges finding formula for his medical fragile daughter, who was on an Abbott formula but has had to switch with the recall and subsequent shortages in other brands.

Zoie Davis was born 19 months ago with no kidneys, a rare life-threatening condition that requires dialysis and a feeding tube until she weighs enough for a kidney transplant. She’s 4lb shy of that milestone, said Davis, a mortgage lender.

“Her life is dependent on her weight gain,” he said.

Davis said he used an organic brand from overseas until costs and customs hurdles made that too difficult. Friends and strangers from out of state have sent him other brands, but each time she switches it requires more blood tests and monitoring, Davis said.

Despite her challenges, Zoie is walking, talking and “doing pretty good” on other developmental milestones, Davis said.

“She’s a shining light in my life,” he said.

The shortage is weighing particularly on lower-income parents such as Clara Hinton, 30, of Hartford, Connecticut, who has a 10-month-old daughter, Patience, who has an allergy that requires a special formula.

Hinton, who has no car, has been taking the bus to the suburbs, going from town to town, and finally found some of the proper formula at a box store in West Hartford. But she said the store refused to take her food stamps card, and she recently ran out of formula from an already opened can she got from a friend.


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“She has no formula,” she said. “I just put her on regular milk. What do I do? Her pediatrician made it clear I’m not supposed to be doing that, but what do I do?”

By Guardian staff and agencies

Tour of The EcoVillage of Ithaca, Could Communal Living Be The Future

Source: Flock Finger Lakes

The EcoVillage at Ithaca was established in 1991 and has become a mature communal village with three neighborhoods developed on 10% of the land with 90% of the land devoted to farmland and natural areas.


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Given that we're interested in communally living at Flock, we took quite a bit of notes from the EcoVillage, which is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Why Kombucha Makers Spend Millions to Make the Drink Less Boozy

Source: BI

Anywhere from 1% to 3% alcohol by volume naturally occurs in kombucha. That’s because the tea is fermented. But the current law says producers can never go over the legal limit of .5% ABV. Except, controlling the alcohol levels is expensive and complicated. Producers have to redo their recipes, get a distillery license, or pay extra taxes. If they don't, they could risk penalties or get their product pulled from shelves. Could a proposed Act to raise the limit make things easier on producers?

Valneva approved to be UK’s sixth Covid vaccine

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Thur, 14th April 2022) London, Uk – –

Medicines regulator says it is first in world to approve Valneva product

A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Valneva has been given regulatory approval by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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The UK’s independent medicines regulator is the first in the world to approve the Valneva product, MHRA said.

It is the sixth Covid vaccine to be granted an MHRA authorisation.

The approval comes as the number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales continues to rise, although levels remain well below those reached during previous waves of the virus.

By PA Media