Muslims Observe Ramadan

first_imgDespite the heavy downpour yesterday in Monrovia, Muslims in Liberia mustered the courage and joined their colleagues in other parts of the world in observance of the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. The Muslims believe that this is the time when Allah revealed the Holy Qu’ran to the Prophet Mohammad.During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating food and drinking of water or juices during daylight hours.  They also refrain from other vices that would not serve their holy interests.They also can also seek an exemption from fasting during Ramadan for a more opportune time.Millions of Muslims across the world are celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.Hundreds of worshippers at the National Mosque on Benson Street in Monrovia prayed for the country’s peace and stability.Eid al-Fitr celebrates the purification achieved during Ramadan—a month of sunrise-to-sunset fasting, one of the five pillars of Islam.Yesterday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf extended “best wishes” to the Liberian Muslim community, adding, “We are looking forward to the day our Muslims family will share with us an (Fitr) dinner —the evening meal that breaks the fast.”She also encouraged religious tolerance in spite of the various forms of worship throughout the country.Ramadan this year coincided  with the World Cup.  There were dozens of Muslim players in the tournament, who face the challenge of being properly hydrated and getting enough nutrition before sunrise to carry them through a strenuous football (soccer) games in Brazil’s heat.The start of Ramadan is determined by the sighting of a crescent moon with the naked eye. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Death Doesn’t Discriminate’

first_imgThe former President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate in the 52nd Legislature, Senator Cletus Segbe Wotorson, has described as regretful and disappointing some media statements that he does not believe in the existence of Ebola in Liberia.Speaking to our reporter Wednesday, the retiring Grand Kru County Senior Senator said: “I really would not have dignified the misconstruction of a statement that came out of the Senate discussion on the subject of Ebola; it was misconstrued and it is regretful and disappointing for a report to come out that Senator Wotorson doesn’t believe in Ebola.”The Chairman of Senate Committee on Lands, Mines and Energy said he believes and knows that Ebola is real and that it kills, and destroys an unprotected environment and unprotected people.  He urged that the public not to harbor the mistake that Ebola is not real.“Considering my background, I am a natural scientist, my brother is a surgeon, my daughter is a nurse practitioner, another is a doctor; and my nieces are in sociology. For me to doubt that a virus such as Ebola that occurred in Central Africa that devastated lives of people entered our country and to make a joke that it is not serious, that is very disappointing, and that statement is a lie; it was never said by me.”As a manifestation of his belief in the existence of Ebola in Liberia, Senator Wotorson recalled that he voted for every motion proffered during plenary that was intended to fight the virus, including approval of a budget, closure of borders and declaration of a state of emergency.He then wondered how someone who doesn’t believe in the existence of Ebola can play such an active role in the full glare of Senate sessions.“I think people wanted to sensationalize, but that is their job and the public knows that is not true, and unfortunately some well-meaning people that I respect have made that the lynchpins of their discussions.”Senator Wotorson who is Liberia’s only geophysicist, further stated: “I know Ebola is real and it kills, it destroys an unprotected environment and unprotected people; so nobody should make a mistake that Ebola is not real. I am saying this for the benefit of my fellow Liberians who do not seem to follow the instructions that are ordered by our President and the Anti-Ebola Task Force.”He then thanked his Unity Party partisan President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the urgent action she took in trying to design a strategy with Task Force for a containment program for  the Ebola virus.He also extended thanks and appreciation to the international partners as well as Liberia’s partner African countries, and Liberians who have participated and continue to give their full support to the President.Sen. Wotorson agreed that the”misconstrued statement” might have done some damage, but was emphatic that it did not come from him.The Ebola virus, he emphasized, doesn’t tell a Legislature from an ordinary person. “Death doesn’t discriminate; all we have to do is protect ourselves and pray to God,” a prayerful Senator Wotorson noted. He congratulated health workers and nurses for what they are going through and empathized with their condition.“I just came through an ailment for which I was in intensive care for seven days; and some people pronounced me dead.  So I know what it means when situations are challenging to the medical people. So we should stop criticism or blames; this not the time for the blame game, for it does not help and but only serves as a distraction. So let us support our leader who is co-chairing daily meetings.”He disclosed for the past several days, he has been carrying on a sensitization and awareness campaign among  residents of the Parker Corner Community in Brewerville where he resides. “Right now I am in the process of distributing buckets to residents in my community to help us keep good  hygiene; because if you don’t do that and you contract Ebola, you will die.”“So I am appealing to my fellow Liberians to please work with the President and the Task Force, cooperate with the implementers so that our country can come back to what it was before, so that we can move safely and stop the fear in this country that discourages investors and development.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

86 graduate from Guyana-Cuba Medical Scholarship Programme

first_imgPublic Health Minister, Dr George Norton; Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings and the Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio César González Marchante with the 86 new doctors at the Arthur Chung Convention CentreGuyana welcomed 86 new doctors who have successfully completed their training under the Guyana/Cuba Medical Scholarship Programme.The graduation ceremony was held Saturday at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre and saw many Government officials in attendance, including: State Minister Joseph Harmon; Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton; Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings; and the Cuban Ambassador to Guyana, Julio César González Marchante.Delivering the feature address, Minister Harmon urged the new doctors to commit themselves to selfless and dedicated service as they begin their careers.He reminded that the Guyana/Cuba Medical Scholarship Programme serves as a testimony of the good relationship between the two countries.“The Cuban Scholarship Programme continues to perhaps be the greatest area of assistance, with the Medical Scholarship Programme being the ‘flagship project’ of training and support,” the minister stated.Additionally, Harmon acknowledged that the actual presence of Cuban doctors in Guyana, who provide medical assistance in Guyana, contribute to the overall healthcare delivery system.The minister further highlighted that the hinterland areas are also benefitting, as there has been an increase in doctors assigned to Health Centres in those areas.Moreover, Harmon assured that the friendship and solidarity between the two countries will continue to grow under the current administration.Addressing the interns, Minister Norton urged the graduates to work hard to raise the quality of healthcare in Guyana.He pledged the commitment of government in providing opportunities for them.“The vision of the Ministry of Public Health is to make sure that all the people of Guyana are among the healthiest in the Caribbean and the Americas by the year 2020, and I know that together we can make it happen,” the minister told the graduates.In his remarks, the Cuban Ambassador highlighted the importance of a solid relationship to be maintained between Guyana and Cuba.He said that the Guyana/Cuba Medical Scholarship Programme is a reflection of the solidarity between the two countries: “Only in solidarity will we be able to face the significant challenges we have at present and to achieve a better world that is totally possible.”Following the ceremony, the interns were required to take the Hippocratic Oath which was administered by Minister Cummings.Over the last ten years, 700 doctors have graduated from the Guyana/Cuba Medical Scholarship Programme.last_img read more

Huskies win 7-1 over the Peace River Navigators

first_imgThe game was over, but there was still much more to come.  Jay Gaydosh tried to get Kyle Porter to fight, but could convince him, and was given a 2 minute minor (which led to D. Apsassin’s third goal).  Minutes later, Zack Blain hacked at Kyle Richardon who was battling in front.  Richardson turned on Blain, only to be assailed by Payden Wongstedt.  While the officials broke up Wongstedt and Richardson, Jay Gaydosh got his reply from Kyle Porter, and the two flipped the mits.  Twice, Porter was knocked off his feet, but with no officials around, he climbed back up and fought back, with Gaysosh eventually taking the decision. With 45 seconds left, the battle turned ugly, as Kole Norris was leveled by Gerry Young.  The Huskies looked to the officials and to Young, incensed at the hit.  But the focus turned to Norris, who lay motionless on the ice.  Concern mounted as paramedics were called and trainers attended the 18 year-old.  He lost consciousness, but awoke within minutes, was stabilized and talking by the time the stretcher arrived.  The clock was allowed to run out, and the Huskies won their first game in Peace River in two years, albeit in a bittersweet finish. The 7-1 win was an important one for Fort St. John.  The two points clinch second place overall in the NWJHL, meaning the Huskies are guaranteed home ice for at least the first two rounds in the playoffs.  With two games remaining, the Huskies already know they will open the playoffs against the Slave Lake Wolves.  They also have the strength of perhaps their best game of the season, as they prepare to play the Whitecourt Wolverines for the first time on home ice.And Kole Norris would be fine.  He has a concussion, with a loss of consciousness.  He was taken to the hospital, but rejoined the team on the bus back home.  Advertisement Listen to this highlights package [asset|aid=939|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=7c38f25e41db5ff5fe1f3cc6a88f1593-Huskies win 7-1 over the Peace River Navigators_1_Pub.mp3]Don’t miss this weekend’s final two home games, as the Huskies host the Whitecourt Wolverines.  Games are Saturday night at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Huskies win 7-1 over the Peace River NavigatorsFriday night’s game was filled with expectation, as the host Navigators looked to fight back into the top three, and the Huskies looked to clinch second place overall.It was Fort St. John that drew first blood.  After two early penalties, Dylan Apsassin opened the scoring, tapping home a cross-crease pass from Dan Pappin, who had tipped and then dug out a Jesse Disher point shot.  Mitch Kohut responded for North Peace, blasting a powerplay marker past Zack Blain.  It would be the only scoring in the first, though the Huskies did control the play, despite being served three more penalties. – Advertisement -In the second period the Huskies tore into the Navigators, inspired by the speed of Payden Wongstedt.  The ranging defenceman put the Huskies back in front early in the period, taking advantage of a four-on-four situation, as he charged down the right wing and buried a slap-shot past Bretton Stewart.  Less than two minutes later, Wonstedt was ranging down the right side again.  As Kyle Smith slid to check him, the two slid into goalie Bretton Stewart.  The netminder remained on the ice, appealing for a penatly, as the puck bounced back to the point, and was wristed home by an alert Cash Brinkworth.  The Navigators fumed at the official, but earned only a misconduct to captain Joel Balfour.As North Peace lost its focus and composure, Fort St. John smelled blood.  Cody Hildebrand slid a weak off-balance shot towards the net, which slid underneath a screened Bretton Stewart.  And with 0.6 seconds remaining in the second, Dan Pappin fired a slap-pass to Dylan Apsassin, who stood alone at the side of the net, and redirected it home, to send the teams into the rooms at 5-1 FSJ.Once more in the third, some sloppy Navigators penalty killing led to a Huskies goal.  Jon Spence blocked a clearing attempt, and fired a weak shot towards the net.  It was tipped by a Navs defender, bobbled by Stewart, and spilled at the side of the net, for Dylan Apsassin to convert, for his third tap in of the night. Advertisementlast_img read more

Business tries to focus on capturing family life

first_img WHY DID YOU START THIS BUSINESS? My hobby started to slowly turn into a good business. I decided to do what I loved instead of working long hours with very few vacations. WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA? My first wedding was a freebie for a friend who couldn’t afford a professional photographer. I enjoyed the process and started telling everyone I knew I was a wedding photographer. HOW LONG WAS IT FROM CONCEPT TO OPENING? About three years. WHAT DID YOU DO DURING THAT TIME? Work at it part time and learn more skills. WHAT WERE YOUR STARTUP COSTS AND HOW DID YOU FINANCE THE BUSINESS? About $30,000 from a loan. WHO DID YOU RELY ON FOR ADVICE? I was introduced to the owners of a small photo lab who taught me the difference between amateur and professional lighting, plus medium format. Two years later, lighting classes helped me master studio lighting. WHAT HADN’T YOU CONSIDERED BEFORE OPENING? How long it would take to find clients willing to pay for my services. I offer much more time and care than the mall studios. WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTED REVENUE THIS YEAR? $200,000 WHAT GOALS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE COMPANY? Continued growth and new families to allow us to record the changes. The kids change so much each year. Our annual spring special with live bunnies brings them back many years in a row. I’ve had some families come 10 years in a row for holiday portraits. To be considered for a small-business profile, you should have fewer than 10 employees, be locally based and not a franchise. For a free profile questionnaire, call (818) 713-3677.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! OWNER: Harvey Branman ESTABLISHED: 1993 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: Two DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS: A photography studio specializing in family portraits, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and business-related photography of products and head shots. IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS? No. BUSINESS NAME: Photography as an Art BUSINESS ADDRESS: 1307 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, CA 91504 PHONE: (818) 954-9294 WEB SITE: www.harveybranman.com last_img read more

Gonzalez finds spot to perform

first_imgBut the emergence of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have rendered Gonzalez a part-time player and probably a lame duck, as well. He turned 40 last week, and there appears to be little chance the Dodgers will re-sign him after getting him for one year and $7.35 million, even if it is clear he can still play and can still provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse. Bouncing back Reliever Jonathan Broxton wasted no time recovering from his two previous outings. He gave up what would have been a three-run, game-winning homer to Chicago’s Alfonso Soriano in the seventh inning on Thursday, but the Dodgers rallied in the ninth. Broxton then allowed a game-ending solo shot to the Giants’ Daniel Ortmeier on Friday night. But this time, with the Dodgers nursing a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Broxton retired Kevin Frandsen on a comebacker, struck out Barry Bonds, then got Rajai Davis to also bounce back to the mound. “I’m not one bit surprised by that,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “I don’t think (Broxton) was either. He was good, and our entire bullpen was good.” Takashi Saito pitched a scoreless ninth, but the three runs the Dodgers had scored in the top of that inning to take a 6-2 lead eliminated Saito’s chance to record his 38th save. Covering the bases Juan Pierre went 1-for-5, beating out a dribbler in the first inning, to extend his current hitting streak to 10 games. Pierre has hit safely in 25 of his last 26 games. In his only hitless game during that stretch, he was credited with a fielder’s choice when Washington shortstop Felipe Lopez botched a force at second on a ball Pierre might have beaten if Lopez had thrown to first. … Rafael Furcal is hitless in his last 17 at-bats, but he did execute a perfect squeeze play in the ninth inning to drive in the Dodgers’ final run. … Ramon Martinez had an RBI single in the ninth and still has more RBIs (28) than hits (25) for the season. tony.jackson@dailynews.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Tony Jackson STAFF WRITER SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Zito is a former Cy Young Award winner, a three-time All-Star and a guy the San Francisco Giants deemed last winter to be worthy of a seven-year, $126 million contract. For his part, though, Luis Gonzalez is unimpressed. The Dodgers left fielder took Zito over the wall in the first inning, just to the left of the 421-foot sign in right-center field, the decisive blow in the Dodgers’ 6-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday. Gonzalez went 1-for-3 off Zito for the game and now is hitting .467 lifetime (7-for-15) against him, with two homers and six RBIs. Zito, a lefty, entered the day holding left-handed hitters to a .248 average and four home runs for the season. Gonzalez, a left-handed hitter, is batting .305 against lefties this year, compared to just .272 against right-handers. “There are just certain guys you face where you see the ball well or feel comfortable up there,” Gonzalez said. “For me, he is one of those guys. I don’t think you can figure out (why). I just know he is a guy I have hit well in the past.” The home run was Gonzalez’s 13th of the season. “The first couple of hitters, (Zito) was struggling to try to get his breaking ball over,” Gonzalez said. “He threw me one on a 2-1 count to make it 3-1, so knowing he just didn’t have his good curveball, I was sitting dead-red fastball on the next pitch. It was in a left-handed guy’s happy zone, and I was able to elevate it.” Gonzalez is hitting a respectable .280 overall, with 23 doubles and 60 RBIs. last_img read more

MAN JAILED FOR €300,000 CANNABIS OPERATION DESPITE OFFER OF PLANE TICKET HOME

first_imgA man has been jailed for two years for his part in a huge cannabis operation despite his friends coming together to get him a one-way plane ticket out of Ireland.Sin Lay Kok – jailed for two years. Copyright Northwest Newspix.Sin Lay Kok was caught by Gardai at the cannabis factory in Portsalon in September, 2014. The Malaysian man was caught red-handed at a house in Magherawarden which had been turned into an elaborate growhouse.Officers arrived at the house following a surveillance operation by a team at Milford Garda station and found the accused with a bag of cannabis clippings in a bag outside the house.Garda Liam O’Riordan told Letterkenny Circuit Court that they had found up to 321 empty pots used to grow cannabis.They also discovered cannabis clippings and buds which had all been dumped at the rear of the house which had been rented from an unsuspecting local man.The total street value of all the plants, buds and emptied pots was close to €300,000.It is understood the operation had been abandoned because a transformer at the bungalow had blown and the operation’s heat source had been taken away.Kok told officers he was merely a cleaner at the house but did realise the plants were illegal.He received €700 to clean the house on one occasion and a further €1,000 to clean it on another.He also occasionally clipped the plants.He told the court that he was driven to the house but did not know who the men were who took him there.Barrister Ivan Toner told the court that Kok was merely a small cog in the wheel and there was also an element of fear for his safety.He said his client did admit cleaning the heating lamps at the house but only planned to stay at the premises for a few days.He was told to keep to himself and to turn out the lights at night.He said his friends had come together and they had arranged to pay for a flight so he could leave the country.However, Judge John O’Hagan said he found it hard to believe that Kok was simply just a cleaner at the house.“If he got that kind of money then I think I would like to go into the cleaning business myself,” he said.He referred to the amount of Garda time spent on detecting such growhouses and also the “terrible damage this stuff dos to our young people.”He said he could recommend Kok’s deportation but that was a matter for the authorities.He said he could not give him sweets for breaking the law and that he had to be punished.He sentenced Kok to two years in jail for the charge of possession of drugs and backdated the sentence until the date Kok was arrested on September 4th last year.He also made an order for the destruction of all the drugs.MAN JAILED FOR €300,000 CANNABIS OPERATION DESPITE OFFER OF PLANE TICKET HOME was last modified: February 5th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cannabisdonegalgrowhouseMilford GardaiPortsalonSin Lay Koklast_img read more

South Africa, Saudi Arabia deepen ties

first_img30 April 2012 There is great potential for increased trade and investment between South Africa and Saudi Arabia, International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said during a meeting with his counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdul-Aziz bin Abdullah, in Riyadh on the weekend. Ebrahim, who is on a two-nation tour of the Middle East and Asia, said South Africa had significant investment interests in Saudi Arabia, through various companies in the engineering, hospitality, retail and health care industries. Oil accounts for more than 90 percent of Saudi Arabia’s exports, and the kingdom is presently the largest supplier of crude oil to South Africa. According to Ebrahim, bilateral trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia amounted to more than R37-billion in 2011 – despite the fact that relations between the two countries were “not at the level that they should or could be”. “We appreciate the importance of Saudi Arabia in an international and regional context, and have taken some steps to address the unsatisfactory state of affairs.” The deputy minister said President Jacob Zuma had extended invitations to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud and his foreign minister to visit South Africa. “We hope that these visits can take place soon, as the memorandum of understanding for the establishment of regular bilateral political consultations is ready for signature,” “Furthermore, allow me to take this opportunity to extend an invitation to you to undertake a visit to South Africa to further strengthen our bilateral standing,” Ebrahim said. South Africa and Saudi Arabia have so far signed eight bilateral agreements together providing a framework for co-operation, and the South Africa and Saudi Arabia Business Council was established in 2009. The two countries have also established a joint defence committee and a joint committee on science and technology. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Wheelchair star Sithole shines at Aus Open

first_img28 January 2014South African wheelchair tennis star Lucas Sithole claimed runners-up finishes in both the quad singles and doubles at the Australian Open, becoming the first African to reach the final of both events at the first Grand Slam of the year.Sithole faced world number one David Wagner in the final for the singles title, with both men sporting two wins out of three in the round robin part of the competition ahead of the title decider.Singles finalThe South African started strongly and convincingly claimed the first set 6-3. Wagner, though, responded immediately by running out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, but Sithole broke back to level matters at 3-3.Wagner again pulled ahead at 5-3, but once more Sithole levelled at 5-5 before Wagner claimed the next two games to take the set 7-5.In the deciding third set, Wagner broke Sithole early and went on to win it 6-3 to finish a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 winner. It was his third Australian Open title.Wagner also teamed with Andrew Lapthorne to defeat Sithole and Dylan Alcott in the final of the quad doubles, winning 6-4, 6-4.‘Another milestone achieved’Sithole’s coach Holger Losch, who was named Coach of the Year at the South African Sports Awards for his work with wheelchair tennis players, said in a statement on Monday: “We are proud of Lucas for reaching his second Grand Slam final. It is another milestone achieved and the experience he gained is extremely valuable.“Lucas had a very successful Australian tour, winning both the Apia Sydney International Open and the Melbourne Open earlier in January this year.“We are excited to see what the year holds for our top South African aces Lucas Sithole, Kgothatso Montjane and Evans Maripa.“I would also like to thank our game sponsor Airports Company South Africa, who without their support, these achievements would not have been possible.”‘An inspiring performance’Spokesperson for Airports Company South Africa, Unathi Batyashe-Fillis, the game sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA), said: “Airports Company South Africa congratulates Lucas on an inspiring performance.“The company is especially proud to see how its partnership with WTSA has developed and grown talent over the nine-year period since it started sponsoring the sport.“WTSA is developing world-class players and has put South Africa on the global map of wheelchair sporting talent.”SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Vegan petition to alter dairy food labeling rules would cause further confusion in marketplace

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should reject a petition filed by the Good Food Institute (GFI) that would undermine federal standards of identity for food and sanction existing misleading marketing tactics of imitation dairy products, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said in comments filed this week.In the latest salvo over the proper use of long-standing dairy food terms, the vegan advocacy organization GFI submitted a petition earlier this spring requesting that FDA permit manufacturers of plant-based products to use labels that employ standardized dairy terms such as “milk.” In response, NMPF said the petition is at odds with established laws and inconsistent with FDA regulations, which state that foods labeled “milk” must come from an animal.“GFI’s petition flies in the face of established law and common sense,” said Jim Mulhern, NMPF President and CEO. “Nothing has happened in the last 20 years that makes it OK to combine plant or nut powders with water, sugar, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and other chemicals, and call it ‘milk.’ This request is wrong on its merits and is designed to further mislead consumers.”In its comments, NMPF argued that when plant-based beverages use standardized dairy terms, “they typically do so to imitate milk and other real dairy products, and to benefit unfairly from the reputation that real dairy foods have for nutritional content and quality.” The organization argues that imitation dairy products seek to “bask in the halo” of milk’s healthy reputation in order to attract consumers seeking the attributes offered by real dairy.NMPF said GFI’s proposed changes to FDA rules would undermine the agency’s standards of identity and create more confusion in the marketplace. Labeling non-dairy products with dairy terminology, the organization added, can mislead consumers into thinking the imitation contains the same nutritional benefits as the real thing. Data from a 2015 Mintel survey found that 49% of respondents said they consumed plant “milks” because they thought the products are nutritious. However, according to an NMPF survey of nearly 250 plant-based imitation dairy beverages, none of the products was nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk.“Consumers do not understand that plant-based imitation ‘milks’ are not suitable replacements for the natural, nutrient-packed goodness of real milk,” said Dr. Beth Briczinski, NMPF’s vice president for dairy foods and nutrition. “GFI’s request would only exacerbate this misconception.”NMPF argued that calling these foods what they really are — plant-based beverages — is the “simplest and most certain way to promote honesty and fair dealing in the interests of consumers.” NMPF cited examples of other “beverages” or “drinks” that both comply with federal labeling regulations and clearly state their composition.NMPF dismissed GFI’s contention that enforcing standards of identity is “anti-competitive,” and said plant-based drinks are welcome in the marketplace so long as they are labeled appropriately. The group also rejected as specious GFI’s argument that there is a First Amendment conflict in placing limitations on how food products can describe themselves.“Congress mandated standards of identity for milk and other dairy products more than 80 years ago. GFI’s argument that it is now suddenly unconstitutional for FDA to enforce laws that have been on the books for eight decades makes no sense,” Mulhern said. “In fact, the Supreme Court specifically affirmed in the Central Hudson case that the government may regulate commercial speech in a way that protects the public interest. Congress long ago determined that there is an important government interest in avoiding mislabeling of food products and misleading the public.”Other nations have taken a more proactive stance on this issue, NMPF wrote, pointing out that brands marketing themselves as “almondmilk” in the United States do not use that term on their products sold in Canada or Europe.“We have the same standard as the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada when it comes to labeling plant-based dairy imitators,” Mulhern said. “The only difference is that the FDA does not enforce that standard, while regulators in other nations do.”last_img read more