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Commercial collusion

MagazineApril 2000 (Vol. 11 Issue 1)Commercial collusion

This month, Simon Best, our resident expert on all things electromagnetic, has produced a chilling testimonial to the dangers of microwave ovens (Special Report, page 1)

This month, Simon Best, our resident expert on all things electromagnetic, has produced a chilling testimonial to the dangers of microwave ovens (Special Report, page 1).

One of the most comprehensive pieces of journalism on this technology, his article makes for grim reading. Solid scientific evidence suggests that heating food by microwave denatures food of most vital nutrients. Eating food that has been cooked in this manner produces changes in your blood, cells and immune system suggestive of conditions like cancer.

Food that is microwaved tastes so disgusting that manufacturers have to throw in additives, colourants, artificial flavours and other assorted junk to try to approximate the real thing, or attach them onto the packaging, causing chemicals to melt into the food. It should come as no surprise to anyone that particles of nifty little time savers, like plastic cook in the bag containers, end up in popcorn or breakfast cereal when they are heated up to this degree.

But if this technology is so dangerous, why haven't we heard anything about it before?

The answer is that a few people have been trying to shout loudly about this, but their information has largely been suppressed by supposedly enlightened Western societies like Switzerland.

This is a story not simply about the dangers of a technology universally sold to a public before its effects were studied or comprehended. It is a classic illustration of commercial interests, in collusion with a government and judiciary, placing profits above public interest.

The case of Swiss scientist Dr Hans-Urich Hertel is another shameful chapter in the history of Switzerland. For 10 years, the Swiss have successfully stifled Dr Hertel's voice through a draconian law which prohibits any criticism whatsoever of business that might harm trade. Although this law is supposed to pertain only to statements that are "untrue or misleading", this of course depends upon who is called upon to make that determination.

What the Swiss law amounts to, of course, is a deliberate stifling of free speech and a suppression of any evidence that might potentially put a dent in the turnover of any particular company or industry.

Most disturbing is that the Swiss hold their commercial liberty more sacred than any other. Although the European court, the court that is supposed to prevail in Europe over those of any individual nation has ruled in favour of Hertel, the Swiss court is taking its time about deciding if it intends to take any notice.

Far be it from me to applaud communism, but the irony of this saga is that a repressive and totalitarian regime like Russia in the 1970s was the only one that saw fit to ban a technology that its scientists determined was undeniably dangerous.

Lest we think this can't happen in Britain, a law is about to be passed here which will prohibit criticism of a product unless it can be backed up by scientific evidence. This sounds fine until you consider how research like Hertel's might be received. Some professor with impressive sounding credentials would probably be wheeled out in court to say that his evidence was not conclusive, and Hertel's voice would be silenced here as well.

Sometimes the laws that are meant to protect us are the very ones that we should most resist. This new law, which is supposed to help deliver the truth about new products and prohibit companies from making false claims, is really about protecting commerce from scientific enquiry. Only time will tell how many British Hertels get muzzled here as well.

!ALynne McTaggart


The acid test for a healthy baby

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