Consumer Health Digest #12-21

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 21, 2012

Consumer Heā‰ alth Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

ASA pans allergy test claims. The British Advertising Standards Authority has concluded that YorkTest Laboratories did not substantiate claims that certain testimonials for its FoodScan food intolerance test were genuine and that food intolerance tests could be used to treat weight problems, arthritis and tiredness. For many years, YorkTest has been promoting food intolerance testing as a way to identify foods that, if eliminated from a person's diet, could relieve a wide range of symptoms and conditions. The FoodScan test measures immune reactions that occur when a sample of the patient's blood is exposed to various food substances. The prevailing scientific view is that such tests are not trustworthy for diagnosing allergies or sensitivities. This is third time that the ASA has upheld complaints about advertising for the FoodScan test. [Barrett S. British Advertising Authority criticizes ads for YorkTest Laboratories FoodScan test. Quackwatch, June 20, 2012]

EU posts database on nutrition and health claims. The European Union has posted a register of more than 2,000 claims that have been proposed for foods and food substances. The claims designated "authorised" merely describe biochemical function. Claims designated as nonauthorized involve unproven assertions of effectiveness against health problems. The complete list can also be downloaded as a online table or a 719-page PDF.

California Chiropractic Board curbs laser use by chiropractors. The California Board of Chiropractic Examiners has adopted a regulation barring chiropractors from using laser devices that have not been approved or cleared by the FDA. The rule also indicates that laser treatment of allergies and laser ablation are outside the scope of chiropractic practice and their use may constitute unprofessional conduct. Chiropractic boards rarely issue regulations to stop inappropriate practices. This one came in response to legislative pressure. In January, the California Senate passed SB 352, which would prohibit chiropractors from treating allergies. The bill's author, Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, had become concerned about chiropractors who claimed that they could cure allergies with a laser device. Although the Chiropractic Board had promised to address the problem, Huff concluded that they were not moving quickly enough and introduced the bill, which could have stopped chiropractors from using other inappropriate treatments. However, since he has achieved his primary goal of stopping laser allergy treatments, he has announced that there will be no further action on SB 352. Chirobase has additional details about what happened.

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This page was posted on June 20, 2012.