Science needed in media

A man claiming to be a vet has come up with a theory on how Fonterra’s whey protein concentrate was contaminated.

The story headlined vet links botulism to feed not pipes says:

A veterinarian and farm consultant doubts the recent Fonterra botulism scare was caused by a dirty pipe, and says he is sitting on material that will embarrass the dairy giant further.

Matamata veterinarian and farm performance consultant Frank Rowson says Fonterra should be tracing the source of the Clostridium botulinum bacterium back to farms or their own water supply.

He doubts Clostridium botulinum was caused by an old pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant and said it had to get in there in the first place. . . .

Rowson said: “This disease originates in contaminated feed and animal manure, and research all over the world of which I am part, shows that GM feeds and the use of increased amounts of glyphosate herbicides increases the prevalence of this disease in pigs, poultry and dairy cattle, and the neuro toxin that causes the disease will pass through the food chain into milk.” . . .

At Sciblogs, Siouxsie Wiles asks could the botulism be linked to herbicide use and GM crops

Firstly, Fonterra and MPI have made it clear that it was not the toxin but the bacterial spores that contaminated the whey powder. . .

. . . According to the Irish Department Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the C. botulinum toxin types that cause disease in cattle are C and D, which do not cause disease in humans. Fonterra still haven’t released information on the type of C. botulinum which contaminated their whey powder, but given the recall, we can assume it was either A, B, E or F, the types which cause botulism in humans. From this, it would seem that Rowson’s claim that the source of the Clostridial contamination is linked to glyphosate usage and cattle is highly questionable.

The Veterinary Association also sides with science:

 The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) believes that unproven theories published in the media do little to clarify the situation in regard to the investigation that is currently underway to determine the cause of the botulism contamination of some Fonterra dairy products.

 The NZVA is liaising closely with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra in their investigation of this incident and supports a robust scientific process to establish the cause.

 “Claims made by Mr Frank Rowson recently reported in the media about the cause of the contamination are speculation and not helpful in assisting the investigation,” NZVA President Dr Steve Merchant said.

 Mr Rowson, described as a veterinarian and farm consultant in the media, is not a registered veterinarian and is also not a member of the NZVA.  He does not represent the views of the veterinary profession or that of the NZVA,” said Dr Merchant. “We are dealing with a complex scientific issue and we need to bring together the relevant scientific expertise in New Zealand to ensure the investigation leads to a successful resolution.” . . .

There is more than enough emotion and misinformation on the issue without the media adding to it with stories not supported by science.

3 Responses to Science needed in media

  1. JC says:

    Rowson works for Abron, a biological farming outfit that sells its own brand of fertilisers and soil improvers.



  2. Gravedodger says:

    Now the tosser has had his five munutes of fame our media eunuchs can reflect as to whether their repeating of what is at least very questionable additional information as the nation attempts to discover how the latest threat to the living standard of every citizen came to pass, was positive or negative, on the evidence so far I am inclined to the latter

    How long would it have taken to check Rowsons, standing, qualifications, and motives for his now rather doubtful claims.

    That said I have to say “a dirty pipe” does not resonate as the nub of this problem but until the facts are established by competent analysis of all the evidence, Rowsons claim has a dodgy aspect that was flagged as such for me with the accompanying rant in his evidence on the ghastly Glyphosate being culpable.

    Since I was acquainted with “roundup” in the early 1970s and became a user even though the first 4 liters was around $700 dollars in todays money, the only serious detrimental effect resulting from its extremely widespread use has been one of resistance.
    A significant advantage of Roundup over many of the weedicides it replaced was the serious residual toxic effects of Hormone weed killers and very poisonous ingredients such as Arsenic, facts possibly explaining what was at the time I first contributed to Monsanto’s bank ballance, a very substantial and out of character spend.

    Background on his politics and beliefs may be revealing also.
    I am reluctant to use the term ‘nutter’ but is an option being considered.


  3. Adolf Fiinkensein says:

    He sounds to me like a failed sharemilker turned self styled ‘consultant.’


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