SIRC Media Watch Archive
The Pick – November 2003

Ghost ships: the scare that never was. The Government yesterday hit back at environmental pressure groups for grossly exaggerating the dangers from old US navy vessels, as it changed its policy to allow two more of the "ghost ships", at present still at sea, to overwinter in Hartlepool. Independent

Is junk food a faddist myth? Junk food does not exist, says Professor Stanley Feldman. "Of course, some foods taste better or are more nutritious. But the idea that some contain nothing of value or are harmful is nonsense." For Professor Vincent Marks, junk food is "a contradiction in terms. By definition, food is good for you. The only bad food is food that has gone bad. McDonald’s is considered bad, simply because it is wrong for the current fashion." Times.

Organic? No thanks. It was the cheeses which did it; the five grim, rubbery, flavourless specimens, which died on the tongue and murdered the spirit. Throughout a long, dreary day, I and chef John Torode had been taste testing 80 organic products in 16 different categories. It seemed a good idea at the time. Jay Rayner in the Observer

Healthy Britons now prefer fish and pasta. "Thirty years ago people had more time to cook entire meals from scratch and were more likely to eat traditional English food such as shepherd's pie. With today's fast-paced life we rely more on convenience foods and paradoxically seem to follow a healthier diet." Telegraph.

Weighing the arguments. Rapidly increasing rates of obesity have disguised relatively small changes in weight … while the percentage of people who are obese in England and Wales has risen from 13 per cent in 1993 to 21 per cent in 2001, the actual increase in average weight has been less than eight pounds, or one pound per year … living in a world where food is seemingly available 24/7, where manual work has largely been replaced by pen-pushing, and where transport usually means four wheels rather than two legs, it seems remarkable that we haven't put on more weight. Spiked.

Study reveals 'tiny' flying risk. The average middle-aged long-haul flyer has just a one in 40,000 chance of developing a dangerous blood clot as a result, say experts. An Australian government-backed study says that the risk of DVT to those with no extra 'risk factors' is very small. BBC.

Separating inflammation from speculation in autism . I write as an author of an Early report for The Lancet3 and a paediatric gastroenterologist for many autistic children. Although subsequent studies4 have lent support to and extended the gastrointestinal findings associated with autism noted in this report, the same is not true for any link with MMR…MMR immunisation, which should be an easy decision, has become a worrying issue for many British parents. Although this situation reflects in part a broader mistrust of official pronouncements, and has been fuelled by media campaigning, it is founded on the misinformed perception that there is ongoing scientific uncertainty. There is now unequivocal evidence that MMR is not a risk factor for autism--this statement is not spin or medical conspiracy, but reflects an unprecedented volume of medical study on a worldwide basis. Lancet