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Research and Food Industry: Samu Beverages

Foods and beverages: Closer to nature ( S. Samuel 03/06/16.)
The healthy foods and beverages industry requires reliable foods research, ethical conduct, sharing of global intellectual resources and good food monitoring policies to prevent a collapse of small, medium businesses and to even protect economies of small “green-country economies.”

Just a decade ago a barrage of scientists, for whatever the reason, rushed to publish works and papers describing many good organic foods as “bad for your health.” They simply neglected the fact that those same foods were the staple meals of our forefathers; some of the oldest people known to live. The prevalence of new diseases are forcing researchers to find out where they have gone wrong. Take coconut oil and coconut products for example. Those of us old enough will remember quite clearly the war on everything coconut oil just a decade ago. Today coconut is making a comeback as one of the heathiest foods and oils out there; thanks to new research. The shelving or crushing of the coconut industry mainly due to poor incomplete research has cost farmers, companies and small country economies billions of dollars. More so, the few alternates to coconut, like margarine, we are told are now too bad for human consumption. Now a lot more reliable research is being done on effects of foods on our body to prevent such a repeat. See one of many articles on a coconut oil food products which only recently was thought to be bad for our diet. http://healthremediesjournal.com/top-9-benefits-of-coconut-oil/?utm_source=coconut%20oil&utm_medium=coconutoil&utm_campaign=google

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It is no secret some scientists and researchers are have tweaked or done research that protect or advance the interest of their clients or companies they work for. When researchers worked solely for their interest (for monetary gains and favors) and not for the greater public good by knowing presenting false or incomplete work should they be held accountable? Should researchers adhere to a code of high ethical conduct? Should the law allow one sided research that affect our lives be used to make important health or other decisions? Should those corporations and parties who are involved in misrepresentation of facts be punished? Even if all the questions are answered, the fact remains a lot of harm can result from poor incomplete and unbalanced research. The cost is not always financial. It can be physical and even psychological. Many companies closed down their coconut oil businesses, farmers and small island states lost a lot of revenue due to negative press the coconut oil received just a decade or more ago. Take this tropical Caribbean islands as a case study. Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean, is a clear example. It once had a thriving coconut industry. While bad press was not the only reason the country’s coconut industry failed, it sure was an important contributor. Farmers and the country government had no interest in growing coconut ten years ago but now the government is investing heavily to revive the small but import industry once again. Now research has been carried by independent entities and the government to find best ways to re-train farmers to revive the coconut industry and increase production. See more: http://www.intracen.org/uploadedfiles/intracenorg/content/redesign/projects/caribcoconuts_projectdescription_eng.pdf Sharing of global intellectual resources including expertise, with the advent of the internet, is now easier than ever and can help prevent more businesses collapsing like the coconut industry which was partly due to poor and incomplete research. Coconut oil and coconut products were simply characterized as "fats that were bad for your heart." Many countries and scientists in other parts of the world had enough evidence then that coconut oil and oil products had good health benefits but the information was never made available to rebut the once bad press or war on coconut oil. Today a simple google search brings up countless well researched articles on the benefits of coconut oil. (see --> http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil ) I researched bad effects of coconut oil and to my surprise I could not find any bad press. Try good googling these terms yourself “bad health effects of coconut oil.” It almost appears that links to “bad effects of coconut oil” take you right back to “good effects or benefits of coconut oil.” What a change! In some cases coconut oil is now called the “miracle oil.” How could research have gone so wrong?

Government agencies especially small island states like Dominica must ensure that researchers adhere to the highest standard of ethical conduct to ensure that such a repeat use of queasy research does not happen in any other business sector. Researchers who work solely for monetary gains or favors against the interest of the public or state should be held accountable. No industry should fail because of poor or manipulated scientific facts.

S.Samuel 3/6/16


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