Daily Archives: June 7, 2011

37% of Toronto’s front line health care workers got the flu vaccine last winter

From a Toronto Star  editorial titled “Hospital staff must get flu shots”:

“Frontline health-care workers across Ontario — and especially in Toronto — are endangering their patients by neglecting to obtain a flu shot. If anyone should know better, it’s these people. And their failure is inexcusable.

The latest data are in a report going to the Toronto Board of Health on Tuesday, and it reveals a situation that’s getting worse, not better. According to health experts, at least 70 per cent of health-care workers should be vaccinated annually against influenza. But figures for the most recent 2010-2011 flu season show that Toronto’s acute-care hospitals are barely halfway there, with a median staff immunization rate of just 37 per cent. The rate is 42 per cent for similar facilities across Ontario.

That’s the lowest rate in the past four years, both in Toronto and across the province. Rather than waking up to the danger posed by influenza spreading in an acute-care setting and taking effective steps to reduce that risk, the province, hospital administrators and health-care workers are failing to protect the public. Continue reading

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Bumbling E.coli investigation is an embarrassment to German officials

From “The Local — Germany’s News in English”:

After mistakenly blaming Spanish cucumbers and organic sprouts for a deadly E. coli outbreak, criticism of the German authorities is mounting. The Local looks at who’s handling the health crisis.

State agriculture ministers rarely make the news in Germany, but Gert Lindemann from Lower Saxony recently gained international attention by announcing contaminated sprouts might be responsible for killing at least 24 people and sickening thousands. Continue reading

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“Bankers and politicians turn food in a betting game” — says The Guardian

From Aditya Chakrabortty, writing for The Guardian:

“The best kind of argument is one where you already know you’re right, which must be what draws in so many people to the row over record food prices. What other issue allows the techno-nuts to bang on about the need for GM crops, the population drones to point out for the nine-billionth time the growing number of mouths to feed in the world, or my comrades on the left to have another go at big bad agribusiness – all at the same time? Some of these points are worth airing; the surging cost of bread or beef around the world is unlikely to have just one cause. But the overriding feature of this debate is how few of the participants feel the need to do any more than dust off their hobby horses.

Meanwhile, at the risk of sounding crass, around a billion people – one in seven of the world’s population – go to bed hungry every night. Continue reading

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“With no labeling, few realize they are eating GMO foods” — L. A. Times

From Monica Eng, of the Chicago Tribune, via the L. A. Times:

Protesters demonstrate against GMOs in food at the Whole Foods Market on North Kingsbury Street in Chicago earlier this month. (Alex Garcia/Chicago Tribune)

“When a team of activists wearing white hazmat suits showed up at a Chicago grocery store to protest the sale of genetically modified foods, they picked an unlikely target: Whole Foods Market. Organic foods, by definition, can’t knowingly contain genetically modified organisms, known as GMOs. But genetically modified corn, soy and other crops have become such common ingredients in processed foods that even one of the nation’s top organic food retailers says it hasn’t been able to avoid stocking some products that contain them. Continue reading

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