Blackpool's Dental Milk plan referred
to National Food Crime Unit
Well, the bovine Blackpool Council finally fell for it! On Monday evening it decided to supply fluoridated milk ('Dental Milk') to primary school kids in all of its schools. This has been simmering in the background for several years, spurred on by the private sector Borrow Foundation.
This raises some very interesting legal points, of which the Council has been fully aware for over two years (because I provided them with a summary of them.) But it appears that their legal advisers have ignored these objections,
It's time they were reminded that Councils need to be very cautious over supporting any medical interventions that their supposedly expert health advisers reccommend, because they could attract unwelcome attention from some very interested parties outside..
Calling in The Heavy Squad.
Milk is a food, and it's a criminal offence to claim that any food has a medicinal property. I have stated this many times in the past, and others who are more experts in law have agreed that the claim that fluoridated drinks are not medicines is 'a legal fiction' ( that means it's a lie!).
Our regulators of food come down heavily on people claiming that some food cures a disease, so I have referred the whole matter to the Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit for investigation. Now we sit back and watch what happens.
Of course, it's entirely possible that nothing will happen, that this whole parody of 'evidence-based dental science' will be swept under the carpet. It's happened before. But there are powerful grounds for real concern this time.
The NHS has a duty to ensure that its professional medical and public health staff demonstrate the highest level of professional competence. If there's no sound proof that some proposed intervention is both safe and effective (yep - there's that tired old catch-phrase again!) then they have a duty not to go ahead regardless.
That duty includes making sure that they understand the meaning of evidence and how to decide whether it's reliable. In this latest round of debate in Blackpool, the Council has been repeatedly assured that there is plenty of sound evidence to confirm that drinking dental milk reduces dental decay.The World Health Organisation is a much-quoted authority on the subject, so it must be true then.
An inconvenient absence of evidence.
Well, others far more familiar with real science that the Blackpool health advisers seem to disagree. The internationally respected Cochrane Collaboration took a look at this wretched product back in 2005, four years before the 2009 WHO review. Only two published up that date "suggested" some possible support for the claims, but overall the evidence was far from conclusive. Every other research study published before the 2005 Cochrane review and up to the date of the WHO review, was rejected by Cochrane.
And then, last year, the Cochrane team updated their work. And this time they not only downgraded their support for earlier studies, they also rejected all subsequent studies, including the ones that WHO had found so agreeable up to 2009.
Admittedly, this time around Cochrane did find one new study - the only one in the past ten years that appeared to endorse the value of this product. But then they decided, Nah! More rubbish! and threw that out too. Like all the
others, it was of very poor quality and strongly liable to bais. Now where have we heard that before?
We're dealing with seriously bad research here. There is, it seems, a lot of it about! So it looks as if all of the studies that WHO considered to be sound, and that Blackpool's Councillors were assured could be relied on, were in fact entirely worthless.
So, do you really think that this is the quality of 'evidence' that a national public health service should be relying on, especially when dealing with our kids' well-being? I suggest that it's not.
That old 'mass medication' spectre again.
Fluoridated milk is a medicinal drink, and must be licensed as such before it's legal to supply it. And it's not, and never has been - I suspect that the proponents don't dare to go down that path!
So the Council's decision to endorse its supply to the school kids is going to be regarded by the public, like fluoridating the municipal drinking water supplies, as non-consenting and unlawful mass medication.
Consent - wot, me?
But surely, you might ask, the parents will be able to refuse to consent to their kids having this fake medicine? Dream on! Look,if it's a fake medicine then parents cannot legally agree to their kids being given it at all! Try arguing to a court that the old drunk you kicked around in the street consented to you inflicting actual bodily harm.
During the run-up to this fiasco, parents were assured that, if they don't want their kiddies to drink this stuff, then they would be able to 'opt out'. But now, even that 'privilege' appears to have been snatched away from them - rejection is no longer an option.
Unusually for a Local Authority, Blackpool Council provides a free school breakfast for all its primary school kids. It seems that now the cunning plan is to pour this 'Dental Milk' onto their cereal, whether their parents agree to that or not. The fluoride pushers have been longing for ways to get everyone involved in their favourite fantasy, and now they must think it's Christmas for them, all over again. From now on there'll be no way to prevent the kids getting this stuff.
And in a stomach-curdling display of TV shmaltz and idiocy yesterday, one TV reporter was shown interviewing 3 year old infants at a Blackpool school, and asking them if they thought it was a good idea! Yes, precisely - you really do expect a 3 year old to have a meaningful insight into the best way to stop their little teeth falling out! (News - they're going to fall out anyway - that's what infant teeth do)
This charade has gone on much too long. It's time to see whether ' Them in Charge' down in London are prepared to enforce the laws that have been passed to protect us, and our kids, against fake medicines.
After all, they are pretty keen to feel some collars and bring on the lawyers whenever some smelly little Snake Oil Salesman tries to sell a dud medicine from a stall in the local market. (Probably because it might compete with a lawfully, and expensively. licensed real medicine.)
But if they won't play by the rules in Blackpool now, then we shall see a very serious escalation in this dispute. There are other paths to justice available to the Blackpool toddlers and parents.