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World Trade body rejects country of origin labels on meat

packaged meat labels The World Trade Organization has ruled against U.S. labels on packaged steaks and other cuts of meat that say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

The office of the U.S. Trade Representative said Monday that the WTO has rejected a final U.S. appeal, deciding the U.S. "country of origin" labels put Canadian and Mexican livestock at a disadvantage.


Food industry braces for Obama trans fat ban

trans fat ban comingThe Obama administration is expected to all but ban trans fat in a final ruling that could drop as soon as next week, killing most uses of an ingredient that has been put in everything from frozen pizza to Reese’s Pieces but since deemed harmful to human health.

The agency may create some very limited exemptions, but the ruling could force food companies to cut trans fat use beyond the 85 percent reduction already achieved over the past decade — a key piece of the Obama administration’s broader agenda to nudge Americans toward a healthier diet.


Cellphone therapy: New apps help track and treat mental illness

cell phone therapy“Reminder: Eat breakfast.” That’s the notification Jennifer receives on her phone every morning after waking. After eating, she picks up her phone again to record what she ate and how she felt. Throughout the day, the app she uses, Recovery Record, acts as an online diary of sorts, reminding her to eat a snack or log her supper.

“It takes a lot of the anxiety out of eating,” said Jennifer, a 20-year-old Londoner who has had an eating disorder for three years.

Alongside therapy, recording these dietary details on her mobile app is a crucial part of coping with her disorder — as is the privacy of her recovery, so Jennifer is not her real name, and the information she punches in (both food and feelings) is protected.


Colombia ends aerial spraying, shelving air war on cocaine

Cocaine spraying columbiaThe futility of Colombia’s two-decade air war on the cocaine trade was laid bare on Thursday when the government, following President Juan Manuel Santos’ recommendation, agreed to halt the aerial spraying of coca crops with the herbicide glyphosate — a pillar of Plan Colombia, the multibillion-dollar U.S. aid package to fight drug trafficking.

Drug war opponents and environmentalists have long panned the use of aerial spraying in Colombia. Ironically, though, it’s the U.S. government that recently shed light on the policy’s impotence. The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy announced last week that the cultivation of coca, the main ingredient in cocaine, had spiked 39 percent in 2014 over the previous year — despite the U.S.-funded aerial spraying program that has fumigated 4 million acres of crops at a cost of nearly $2 billion since it began in 1994.


New class of molecules kills cancer cells, saves healthy ones

New class of moleculesThe most effective drugs in the battle against cancer work well, but kill good cells in the body while also eliminating the bad. Now, a researcher has found a class of molecules that causes cancer cells to die while protecting healthy ones.

Using femtosecond time-resolved laser spectroscopy, University of Waterloo Faculty of Science professor Qing-Bin Lu studied when DNA becomes damaged, how cancer treatment drugs interact with cells, and tested molecules that may be able to eliminate cancer without harming healthy cells.


USA about to get Cuba's lung cancer vaccine

lung canccer vaccine from CubaCloser American ties with one of the world's major cigar exporters could actually be good news in the fight against lung cancer. Cuba has developed Cimavax, an effective lung cancer vaccine, and American researchers can now finally get their hands on it, reports Wired.

After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Cuba for a trade mission last month, the Buffalo-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute struck a deal with Havana's Center of Molecular Immunology to develop a vaccine, allowing clinical trials involving Cimavax to begin in the US, Bloomberg reports. Cimavax, which stops tumors from growing, was 25 years in the making and has been available for free to Cuban patients since 2011, Wired reports.


‘Superbug’ strain of typhoid fever spreading across Africa, Asia

Superbug typhoid feverAn antibiotic-resistant "superbug" strain of typhoid fever has spread globally, according to a new study.

Costly vaccines are available — though not widely used in poorer countries — and regular strains of the infection can be treated with antibiotic drugs. However, the study found that the "superbug" version, driven by a single family of the bacteria, called H58, is resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, is now becoming dominant.


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