Friday
Dec122014

Mountain View Farm linked to Toddlers Death.

Actually they are legally required to do the recall http://www.recalls.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1066577

Mountain View is an organic milk producer in Victoria that sells raw unpasteurised milk, which is illegal in Australia unless you exploit a loophole that allows you to sell it for "Cosmetic Use" in this case Mountain View sells it as Bath Milk. But recently Mountain View has been directly linked to the death of a toddler.

A three-year-old child died and another four young children fell seriously ill after drinking unpasteurised cow's milk being sold in health food shops as "bath milk".

The toddler, understood to be from Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, died after drinking raw milk, believed to be Mountain View Organic Bath Milk. 

Mountain View Farm owner Vicki Jones said she was shocked by news of the toddler's death, but said the dangers of raw milk had been sensationalised by the media.

-The Age

The owner of the farm has been quoted as saying.

"I know people drink it. It is a raw product - I don't know why people drink it. I mean, I guess they feel that it's healthy,"

"The label actually says not for human consumption - it's a cosmetic product, not for human consumption. Every time we're approached by someone who says 'Can we drink this milk?' we tell them that it's not for consumption."

"We've posted the health warnings on our Facebook page and emailed everyone we know. People need to know there are risks with consuming it," -Vikki Jones

However on the 21st of September last year Mountain View promoted the drinking of their product on Facebook.

Not for Human Consumption?

Despite the lies Vikki Jones told the media, Mountain View promotes the drinking of raw milk. A product they just happen to produce.

Mountain View also make a mockery of health authorities who claim that raw milk is unsafe.

The organic farm whose cosmetic, unpasteurised milk has been associated with the death of a toddler previously mocked the US food authority for labelling unpasteurised milk as unsafe.

A three-year-old child died after consuming unpasteurised Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, which is labelled “not for human consumption” and “for cosmetic purposes only”.

Four other children are seriously ill after also drinking unpasteurised cosmetic milk, though which brands they consumed is unknown.

The owner of Mountain View, Vicki Jones, told Guardian Australia on Thursday that what consumers did with the product once they got home was up to them. Her company is based on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

A photo shared by the Facebook page of the business on 20 November implies the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorises the use of harmful substances while wrongly demonising raw milk. -The Guardian

Mountain View mocks US health authorities on Facebook.

After the Herald Sun wrote about "Killer Milk: Health alert after children struck down" Mountain View Farm posted a venom spitting update to it's Facebook wall. They have since deleted it, and are now trying to cover their tracks. However I'm certain a court order will uncover everything they have deleted.

Mountain View Farm has been caught red handed selling a dangerous and illegal food product. They exploit a loophole in the law and pretend to sell Bath Milk but in reality they know their customers are drinking it, and they encourage their customers to drink it. Now an innocent toddler has died as a result of their unethical business practices. I hope the authorities come down on Vikki Jones and Mountain View Farm for their involvement in the toddlers death. 

Friday
Dec052014

Australian Skeptic Awards 2014

Last week I was in Sydney to attend The Australian Skeptics National Convention. A yearly conference held on the east coast (I have not yet convinced them to come to Perth) to promote science and skeptical inquiry. One of the annual highlights of the conference along with the high quality talks and presentations, is the annual awards such as:

The Bent Spoon Award:

The Bent Spoon Award is presented annually to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudo-scientific piffle. Read Barry Williams’ overview of the history of the Bent Spoon Award. What is it? How was it constructed? How are nominations selected? Who are the previous winners? Barry explains it all. -Australian Skeptics

This years Bent Spoon Award went to Dr Larry Marshal the new head of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for his belief in water divining. Yes, it is awarded as an insult.

The Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason:

The Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason commemorates Fred Thornett, a Tasmanian Skeptic who died in 2009. In true awards fashion, we call it “The Fred”. The Fred acknowledges a member of the public or a public figure who has made a significant contribution to educating or informing the public regarding issues of science and reason. In addition to a commemorative certificate, $1000 is awarded to the recipient or to a charity or cause of their choice. -Australian Skeptics

This years Thornett Award has been issued to the Northern Rivers Vaccination Supporters for their work promoting vaccination in communities across northern New South Wales.

We are very excited to announce that our group has won the Thornett Award for the Promotion of Reason, presented to us at the 2014 Australian Skeptics National Convention!

This prestigious award also comes with $1000 in award money.
We are so proud of this and proud of our wonderful members. We are excited that we will be able to use this money to help get our message out there to the residents of the Northern Rivers.
Vaccine Preventable Diseases continue to be a real threat in our region and we will continue to battle the misinformation out there, give support to those seeking it, and provide a voice for the vulnerable in our communities. -Northen Rivers Vaccination Supporters

Skeptic of the Year:

Skeptic of the Year is awarded occasionally — not every year — to someone who has close ties with the Skeptical movement and been particularly active over the past year. We name someone Skeptic of the Year because they have been exceptional even by the very good standards of activity of the Australian Skeptical community. -Australian Skeptics

This years Skeptic of the Year has gone to Peter Tierney also known as Reasonable Hank on Twitter and his blog ReasonableHank.com

It was with quite some delight and surprise that I found out I was the winner of the Australian Skeptic of the Year gong, awarded by the Australian Skeptics, today. It was, indeed, a pleasant interruption to my usual program of furrowed-brow-fueled curmudgeonality.
I share this award with all of you who have contributed in any way to the blog, wherever in the world you reside. Thank you for all of your help.
As I was unable to attend the Convention my very good friend, Ken McLeod, accepted the award on my behalf:

-Peter Tierney / Reasonable Hank

Ken McLeod accepts the award on Peter's behalf.

Unfortunately Peter was not in attendance at the conference so Ken McLeoad accepted the award on his behalf. I have yet to meet Peter Tierney in person. Hopefully we will remedy that at some point.

Thursday
Nov202014

The promotion of false and misleading health-related information and practices

The NSW Parliament has just released it's final report into: The promotion of false and misleading health-related information and practices.

The terms of reference were:

That the Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission inquire into and report on possible measures to address the promotion of unscientific health-related information or practices which may be detrimental to individual or public health. The Inquiry will focus on individuals who are not recognised health practitioners, and organisations that are not recognised health service providers.

The Committee will have particular regard to:

(a) the publication and/or dissemination of false or misleading health-related information that may cause general community mistrust of, or anxiety toward, accepted medical practice;

(b) the publication and/or dissemination of information that encourages individuals or the public to unsafely refuse preventative health measures, medical treatments, or cures;

(c) the promotion of health-related activities and/or provision of treatment that departs from accepted medical practice which may be harmful to individual or public health;

(d) the adequacy of the powers of the Health Care Complaints Commission to investigate such organisations or individuals;

(e) the capacity, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the Health Care Complaints Commission to take enforcement action against such organisations or individuals; and

(f) any other related matter.

-Terms of Reference, Page 5, Section 1.6

This is political speak for "How can we stop these frauds and crimminals from harming the community". It should come as no surprise that the usual suspects have come out spitting venom. Here is one such example:

The Australian constitution and High Court precedents already protect the right to speech provided it is not defamatory,slanderous or inciting hatred (there are several government ministers who would fall foul of these laws were they to speak in public the way they do under parliamentary privilege!) so the Committee should be forewarned that any attempt to take away rights protected by these legal precedents will be swiftly followed by legal action by those who fight to protect freedoms which are considered to be inalienable.

....

It seems that the HCCC isn’t so much lacking in power as they are lacking in the will to perform the job Parliament set them. Giving them yet more power over private citizens and their ability to speak and communicate as they see fit would be an act of bastardry which no democratically elected government should ever consider.

-Meryl Dorey, Australian Vaccination Network

I find it laughable that a person who spend nearly a year in court trying to silence he critics should resort to the Free Speech defense when being investigated by government regulators. See: Dorey vs Buzzard and Dorey vs Bowditch

The Australian Vaccination Network sent two submissions in total. The submission from Greg Beattie also tries to play the Free Speech card:

We are deeply concerned that the proposal may give the HCCC powers to regulate free speech. Australians enjoy freedom of assembly, speech and expression, and this includes the freedom to discuss any health-related issues wherever, whenever, and with whomever they choose. The right to these freedoms is internationally recognised and guaranteed. That the Committee is considering curtailing them suggests a disrespect of this core value of democracy.

-Greg Beattie, Australian Vaccination Network

Greg continues to make a fool of himself by trying to address terms e and f:

(e) the capacity, appropriateness, and effectiveness of the Health Care Complaints Commission to take enforcement action against such organisations or individuals;

Capacity: The HCCC has sufficient powers to perform the role for which it was created. We strongly oppose granting powers which extend this role in the direction of censorship. 

Appropriateness: It is not appropriate to dictate what members of the community may think and express. It is further inappropriate to allow one industry group (albeit a powerful group) to define which views are worthy of expression and which are not. It is not appropriate for government to intervene preferentially in an arena where competing viewpoints are currently supported by the community.

Effectiveness: The HCCC was not created to censor free speech and therefore is not currently effective in this pursuit. That is as it should be. No such powers should be given to any government agency for the purpose of censoring free speech.

(f) any other related matter.

The AVN is itself the subject of ongoing HCCC investigation and attempted suppression, and has been for several years. The HCCC's initial investigation of the AVN was ruled unlawful by the NSW Supreme Court in February 2012. The scope of the Act was subsequently changed by Parliament for the express purpose of continuing the pursuit of our organisation.

-Greg Beattie, Australian Vaccination Network

I'm not an expert on Parliament Submissions, but common sense would tell most people to leave out the part where they are constantly running afoul of the existing regulations. It's like a career criminal arguing that the police should not have power of arrest and then basing the argument on the fact that they haven't caught him yet, despite a lengthy pursuit.

Wednesday
Nov122014

Journalist can’t distinguish between sewer and war memorial.

Journalists are renowned for their failure to check facts. So it should come as no surprise that a journalist in Australia has mistaken a sewer vent for a war memorial.

I'm unable to find permanent employment as a journalist due to lack of qualifications (at least that's what they tell me). Yet, I always check my facts before making stupid comments. Especially when a quick Google search is all you need to find the fact sheet on The Obelisk.

Anyone can make a mistake, but this is just laziness.

Sunday
Oct262014

Some people deserve to get Ebola

The Ebola virus is currently spreading across West Africa and has infected as many as 10,000 people accross the region with approximately 4,922 fatalities. It is one of the most serious disease outbreaks in recent history. There is a vaccine being rushed through development, but there isn't adequate time to test it because it's needed immediately. However some protection is better than zero protection. But like all things medical there are always scoundrels out to cause harm with scaremongering, denial and general advocacy against health care.

HomeopathyPlus a sham operation based in Australia has reared it's ugly head with a petition to the World Health Organisation titled: WHO: End the suffering of the Ebola crisis. Test and distribute homeopathy as quickly as possible to contain the outbreaks.

The petition contains the usual lies and nonsense that we have come to expect from HomeopathyPlus:

We call on those within WHO in positions of authority and influence to:
1.  Look at homeopathy’s record in the treatment and prevention of serious epidemic disease
2.  Engage with qualified representatives from the homeopathic profession to formally identify thebest-indicated remedies
3.  Test those remedies to determine which are best for the treatment and prevention of Ebola
4.  Obtain supplies of those remedies from waiting and concerned homeopathic pharmacies
5.  Bring the outbreaks under control by distributing these remedies as quickly as possible throughout the affected areas.
Finally, please end the suffering of those in the Ebola crisis by using the tried and proven homeopathic option.

 

-HomeopathyPlus

It may come as I surprise to some readers of this blog to learn that I am actually an expert on Homeopathy. I also hold the necessary qualifications needed to legally administer it; as in fuck all. So back in 2011 I used my expertise to strange a public suicide attempt, whereby members of Perth Skeptics took a large overdose of Homeopathic sleeping pills and still lived to tell the tale.

I filmed the event here:

We were able to conduct this overdose safely because Homeopathy is a placebo product. The pills we took contained nothing more than a little sugar, and a hefty price tag. Yet, shonks like HomeopathyPlus and the Homeopathic industry in general are lining up to make some fast cash from the suffering of Ebola victims. The real harm to the victims are not only financial but sometimes a patient will forego medical treatment in favor of witchcraft as was the case with Penelope Dingle.  

There are currently 4,652 signatures on the petition calling for Homeopathy to be used in place of medicine. That's 4,652 people who support taking advantage of the Ebola outbreak to cash in on the scam. Perhaps if these people got a good dose of Ebola themselves they might not be so quick to take advantage of the situation. I wouldn't normally wish Ebola upon anyone, but in the case of scammers and cheats I'll make an exception.

See Also: Not even a trace of evidence for homeopathy -Australian Medical Association