Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Family, Home and Hearth

"After a discussion with your Mother, we have decided that you must leave this house immediately. You have 14 days to vacate. You will not be allowed to return. We will take whatever actions are necessary to enforce this decision."
"Michael Joseph Rotondo, You are hereby evicted from 408 Weatheridge Drive, Camillus, New York effective immediately. You have heretofore been our guest and there is no lease or agreement that gives you any right to stay here without our consent."
"A legal enforcement procedure will be instituted immediately if you do not leave by 15 March 2018."
Michael, here is $1,100 from us to you so you can find a place to stay."
"There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you. Get one -- you have to work! If you want help finding a place your Mother has offered to help."
Mark Rotondo
Christina and Mark Ronaldo
Christina and Mark Rotondo in court   Reuters

"I am just so outraged."
"[I had] never been expected to contribute to household expenses, or assist with chores and the maintenance of the premises."
"I don't see why they can't just, you know, wait a little bit for me to leave the house. [Six months is] a reasonable amount of time for someone who has been depending on persons for support."
Michael Rotondo
Michael Rotondo (left) at his eviction proceeding in Syracuse, New York. His parents, Mark and Christina, confer with their lawyer in the court gallery behind.
Michael Rotondo (left) at his eviction proceeding in Syracuse, New York. His parents, Mark and Christina, confer with their lawyer in the court gallery behind.  Douglas Dowty, The Syracuse Newspapers via AP 

Upstate New York State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood informed Mark and Christina Rotondo that their lawyer would be instructed to draft an eviction order giving their son Michael reasonable time to vacate the home they no longer wished to share with him. They had, in fact, been resentful of their 30-year-old, unemployed son living with them for quite some time.

A situation not made any easier by the fact that he would not speak with them, nor do anything remotely useful around the house; much less that he paid no rent for his accommodation.

The couple's request for an eviction order was granted by the judge who also indicated that adult protective services would be engaged to check on matters in the home that appeared to him to be rather concerning. As for their son, Michael Rotondo informed the judge he was well aware his parents wished him to leave their home, arguing that as a member of the family he felt entitled to six months additional time to make alternative arrangements for himself.

When Michael Rotondo spoke to the media he pointed out that he did his own laundry and provided for his own food. His exasperated parents, feeling it was beyond time their adult son became an adult rather than a recluse who felt no urge to find employment and to be responsible for himself, preferring to live in a bedroom in their split-level ranch home, gave him an initial note requesting he leave in March, repeated it in February, and then again when their son made no move to honour their request.

They felt finally driven to taking legal means when he ignored all their requests, including that he remove his Volkswagen from outside their home, despite offering financial assistance to have it repaired to working order. The eviction order was their last desperate attempt to force their son to take steps toward overdue responsibility for himself. In view of a gaggle of curious reporters, the Rotondo son engaged the judge in a 30-minute verbal sparring, when the judge suggested he address his parents directly, and he refused.

"It really seems kind of outrageous that someone in this day and age could be in someone else's home for six months" before they agree to leave, when requested to do so, remarked the judge. "I want you out of that household." At the hearing's conclusion, the son invited television camera crews to meet him outside the court where he responded to questions and stated baldly that he is not prepared to leave home where he occupies a bedroom, will not speak to his parents and has a business.

Refusing to respond when asked what the business was other than to state tersely "My business is my business".

According to a recent study, an estimated 22.5 percent -- 12 million -- Americans between 24 and 36 years of age live at home with their parents, a notable increase from the 14 percent that did so in 2005.

They all, obviously, believe wholeheartedly in the old adage that "There's no place like home", unwilling to make one of their very own.

Photo of house
The home near Syracuse, New York that is at the centre of the family dispute   Google Maps

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Young: Pint-Sized, Ambition-Large 

"Powerlifting helps children develop connective tissue, including ligaments and tendons, muscles and bones, and also helps to build a foundational strength."
Tom DeLong, director, science education, National Council for Certified Personal Trainers

"Sometimes when I'm lifting, I will see a kid staring at me like I'm some famous person and then they go ask their parents if they can do stuff like me."
"A lot of people look at a sport like powerlifting and think that girls can't do that and I want to prove them wrong."
"I don't just like powerlifting; I love it. It makes me feel strong, and like I can do anything."
Etta Nichols, 11, Spokane, Washington

"Lifting has helped Etta realize her strengths."
"The key is the right coach."
Chet Nichols, Etta's father

"Not only is she physically strong and co-ordinated for her age but she has learned a lot about herself through powerlifting -- how hard she can push herself, how she can accomplish things she puts her mind to and how success is not given, it's earned."
Eric Cafferty, Etta's powerlifting coach

"As both a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and a mother, this would not be my first choice of an activity for my child."
"[The potential dangers of the sport include] putting too much stress on the growth centers and causing growth anomalies."
Dr. Abigail Allen, chief of pediatric orthopedic surgery, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York 

"It has become very en vogue for young ladies to be athletic and strong", observed Martin Drake, national chairman of the Amateur Athletic Union Strength Sports, of the trickle-down effect from adult gyms where children are now being encouraged to emulate adults in powerlifting. The industry itself is wholly given to enthusiasm over introducing children to weight lifting and encouraging them to excel. Young, very young girls become celebrated for their training and physical endurance, enabling them to lift weights two times their actual body weight; quite the feat indeed.
Image result for children powerlifting
Girls Who Powerlift

Five-year-old Luma Valones, for example is noted for performing weighted dead lifts, squats and bench presses. She has undergone two years of training, after all. "Happy Luma" is the name of her own Instagram page. Her mother Nicole Lacanglacang helps to share videos of her daughter raising pink weights over her chest. Luma's mother is a herself a powerlifter who began training Luma in her garage in 2015, beginning with a PCV pipe barbell holding 1.5-kilograms.

Now Luma is able to dead lift 24 kilograms, 8 over her total body weight. "She tells me she wants to get bigger, that she doesn't want skinny arms -- just big muscles", explains Ms. Lacanglacang. Luma pipes in to declare her intention "to be the strongest person in the universe". USA Powerlifting  has  hosted the annual youth national competition since 2015. Etta Nichols took part in the competition. "It's like the Super Bowl of powerlifting", she enthusiastically explained.

In Irvine, California, the United States Powerlifting Association has a roster of 1,400 children from the ages of 13 and over who compete at its meets. In Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the Amateur Athletic Union hosts competitors from ages five and up at powerlifting events dating back to 1994, and welcomes a steady stream of youth participants, now that weight lifting among the young and the very young has become a national phenomenon.
Related image
johnnyfit.com

Many credit the high visibility of social media for the growth in popularity among the young for powerlifting. Etta has become an unofficial ambassador for juvenile powerlifters, posting her gym adventures on her Instagram page. It is heady stuff, to become a minor celebrity among the cognoscenti of powerlifting; to make a name for oneself while a child, doing what committed adults are invested in.

The 2018 USA Powerlifting Nations competition, points out Priscilla Ribic, executive director and chair of the women's committee, became a showcase for female talent when it was overwhelmingly represented by 75 percent women powerlifters. Those involved in the industry believe in the health benefits for young participants. Their theories of the benefits to accrue to young children in powerlifting, however, are not necessarily shared by health professionals.

Despite which, parents with  young children who powerlift insist they take care to ensure their children are safe in the gym. Etta aspires to take herself to the Amateur Athletic Union's annual Powerlifting World Championship next September. She enjoys her status as a noted powerlifter and wants to continue to be recognized as a symbol other young people will want to copy, inspired by her own success.
Related image
crossfitgarage.com

Strength training, not weightlifting
Don't confuse strength training with weightlifting, bodybuilding or powerlifting. These activities are largely driven by competition, with participants vying to lift heavier weights or build bigger muscles than those of other athletes. This can put too much strain on young muscles, tendons and areas of cartilage that haven't yet turned to bone (growth plates) — especially when proper technique is sacrificed in favor of lifting larger amounts of weight.
For kids, light resistance and controlled movements are best — with a special emphasis on proper technique and safety. Your child can do many strength training exercises with his or her own body weight or inexpensive resistance tubing. Free weights and machine weights are other options.
Mayo Clinic


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Monday, May 21, 2018

Correcting Lifestyle Choices to Optimize Health

"When we started our research in the early 1990s in this area [physical activity and cancer], there was quite a lot of skepticism in the oncology community about how exercise could even be used with cancer patients. The general feeling was these people are already very tired and we can't ask them to exercise during their treatment or post-treatment."
"Now we've gotten to the point where groups like the American Cancer Society and Canadian Cancer Society ... are actually starting to come up with guidelines, kind of like exercise prescriptions."
Dr. Christine Friedenreich, cancer epidemiologist, Alberta Health Services
Various mechanisms have been proposed to explain the relationship between obesity and increased risk of cancer (National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2015):
  • Fat cells produce hormones which can increase cancer risk, e.g., the production of estrogen which increases the risk of breast and endometrial cancer.
  • Obese individuals have increased levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor which may promote carcinogenesis.
  • Obese individuals often have chronic, subacute inflammation which has been associated with greater cancer risk.
  • Fat cells produce hormones that may stimulate or inhibit cancer cell growth.
Evidence is also growing regarding the role of obesity in cancer recurrence and cancer-related mortality. Obesity is a known risk factor for the development of other comorbid illnesses which are prevalent in cancer survivors, such as diabetes and heart disease.                              National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, U.S.A.
"We have an obesogenic society. And by that I mean we have ready access to cheap  high-calorie food and we have a culture that is based around eating [those foods]."
"The link between smoking and cancer was a 12-fold elevation ... so strong nobody can deny it. With obesity and cancer it's a weaker link."
"Obesity is a contributing factor rather than the major causal factor for breast cancer and for all the obesity-associated cancers."
"Smoking is the major causal factor for lung cancer ... and the other smoking-related cancers."
"The factors that have led to obesity increasing at the rate that it has in both of our countries [Canada and the United States], are really kind of woven into the societal fabric."
Dr. Pamela Goodwin, head, Mount Sinai Hospital breast cancer program
Why are these countries the most obese? Walking is just one reason

The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that obesity rates had plateaued among young people in 2014 and 2015 in comparison to a sampling undertaken in 2007-08. According to the survey's figures, 18.5 percent of Americans between the ages of two to 18 were obese, a number identical to those reported in the earlier study. The percentage of obese adults, unfortunately had risen on the other hand, to more than six percentile points from 33.7 percent in the 2007-08 study.

Researchers involved in the Breast Cancer Weight Loss study meant to track 3,100 patients in both the U.S. and Canada over a decade, although acknowledging parallels between smoking and cancer, and obesity and cancer, hold out little hope that the kind of public reaction on learning the direct link between tobacco and cancer will ever mirror the public's response to learning the close-enough link established between obesity and cancer. Pointing out there could be no question about the former's links, while doubts will linger about the latter's.

Chart 1 Prevalence of obesity in adults aged 20 to 79, by sex: Canada, 2007 to 2009 and United States, 2007 to 2008
Statistics Canada Graph

Dr. Friedenreich focuses her research on the effects that physical activity has on cancer. Since 400 studies have been conducted on that very topic, to conclude that exercise is effective in reducing risks for many forms of cancer, her confidence in her original theory is unshakeable and her commitment to promulgating the findings is absolute. She spent 27 years on making exercise and cancer her specialty concern, a pioneer in the field.

She points out that trial following trial served to unmistakably prove the benefits to cancer patients of exercising. Patients, she emphasized, felt better with the results of how they felt after exercising during chemotherapy and allied treatments, but what was even more convincing of the helpfulness of coupling cancer treatments with exercise, was that patients had improved outcomes, linking the two for their effectiveness.

The guidelines she refers to that both cancer societies in both countries are working toward finalizing set out to define matters such as exercise intensity and treatment intervals for different cancer types and their symptoms. The ultimate goal is to find ways  to reverse or prevent weight-caused cancer. A critical approach and aspiration given the wide global grip of the obesity epidemic.

Ten times more children and teens obese today than 40 years ago

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Obesity-Cancer Risks

"At this point, I think the oncology community believes there's a link between obesity and [the] risk for most cancers. And they believe that obesity contributes to the outcomes for many cancers."
"Every major study supported this [weight gain's impact on cancer] being an important factor. I think there's enough evidence to be really concerned and to have spent my whole career focusing on this area."
"We think losing as little as 5 percent will lead to physiological changes that may improve health outcomes as well as breast cancer outcomes. [The Breast Cancer Weight Loss study [BWEL] will give us the proof we need not only to show it's causal but to show it's reversible."
Dr. Pamela Goodwin, Oncologist, head, breast cancer program, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

"It [the link between obesity and cancer] has gained much broader attention in the last few years. [However], there has been a lack of understanding among physicians but even more in the general population."
"We know that women who are overweight or obese when they're diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to lean women. We're really interested in seeing if we can change that by helping women lose weight after they've been diagnosed with breast cancer."
Dr. Jennifer Ligibel, breast cancer physician, scientist, Harvard University

How might body weight affect cancer risk?

Excess body weight may affect cancer risk through a number of mechanisms, some of which might be specific to certain cancer types. Excess body fat might affect:
  • Immune system function and inflammation
  • Levels of certain hormones, such as insulin and estrogen
  • Factors that regulate cell growth, such as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
  • Proteins that influence how the body uses certain hormones, such as sex hormone-binding globulin
In the early 1990s, Dr. Goodwin became increasingly aware of suspected links between obesity and cancer. Three decades later, those who failed to share her theory are now prepared to, since evidence  is seen as sufficiently persuasive to the medical community that associating obesity with over a dozen forms of cancer is justified. A panel of the St.Galen International Breast Cancer Conference -- which occurs twice yearly whose purpose is to aid in determination of best practices internationally -- recommended weight loss and exercise as prescriptive parts of a preventive package against cancer onset.

As far as Dr. Goodwin is concerned, it is a link whose time has come to be presented as real and problematical, desperately awaiting a solution. According to several large studies, cancer risks emanating from the influence of excess weight in all probability rivals the proven risks of heart attacks stemming from obesity. Determining that such links exist, and influencing people's lifestyles through education in hopes that the problems can be ameliorated has, however, proven to be less than effective.

Massive public health efforts to persuade people to alter their lifestyles to make themselves less susceptible to wholesale weight gains with all the health impacts involving heart, diabetes and cancer have been for nought in the realization that obesity rates have continued relentlessly to soar among American adults in the past ten years, according to most recent studies. An unfortunate fact of life that is seen echoed in Canadian rates.

While involved in a fellowship at Princess Margaret Hospital twenty-five years ago, Dr. Goodwin came across a number of studies she read that appear to have bypassed the notice of most physicians and researchers who, if they heard of the theory, simply dismissed the possibility of a potential link between obesity and cancer. More latterly, a research paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association points out that 40 percent of the U.S. adult population is now classified as obese.

Dr. Ligibel points out that an analysis by the World Health Organization dating from 2016, of studies that examined obesity and cancer development indicated at least thirteen types of cancer were associated with excess weight. Both Drs. Goodwin and Ligibel, though acknowledging a lack of scientific proof linking obesity with cancer, cite the reality that overwhelming evidence does exist that obesity represents a significant factor in cancer onset.

Both doctors are determined to find that "causal" link and to that end have undertaken a large-scale study, conducted in both Canada and the United States, focusing on the effects of a weight-loss program on recurrence of breast cancer in obese women. The study known as BWEL -- Breast Cancer Weight Loss study -- is in its initial stages, and is destined to track several thousand patients over a ten-year period.

Patients will be divided into two groups, with both receiving standard breast cancer treatments and weight-loss advice. One of the two, however, will be enlisted in a two-year diet and exercise program. According to Dr. Goodwin, exercise represents a dual weapon for obese individuals
against cancer, where it helps to rid the body of risky fat, while producing its own disease-fighting effects.

As an example, a higher exercise-gained muscle mass counters properties created in fat tissue which boosts cancer. As well, physical activity aids in lowering levels of some hormones known to aid tumour growth.

10 cancers linked to physical activity infographic

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Deciphering A Mystery

"We [in professional vocabulary] call it an accident because that's our terminology [as air accident investigators]. But this is a criminal act. It's not an accident."
"If someone does this intentionally, you can call that suicide. The pilot took his own life and he took the lives of everyone who was on board that aircraft."
"People accuse me of being insensitive to families. I don't mind taking the question, but if someone challenges me, I say, 'I don't need any lessons from you. How many grieving families have you talked to after an airplane accident? I've done it by the hundreds. Don't tell me that I don't have any sympathy. I've had people faint in my arms."
"What they're [searchers for the wreckage of MH370] proving every day they search is that their assumptions were wrong."
"[The Malaysian Airline pilot’s] intention was to make the plane disappear forever, and make it so that no one would ever find it."
Larry Vance, retired Ottawa air accident investigator

"When you start looking at them [identifiable parts of MH370], there's a story in every one of them. And the story is consistent."
"When the airplane is coming in [vertically] at 300 to 600 feet per second, everything is shattering into a million pieces. In a third of a second to half a second, it's gone."
"There's no way you could end up with a piece like this with the leading edge absolutely intact."
"Wreckage analysis is a dying art. They're depending on the recorders [recovered black box]. They tell you what happened -- maybe. But they don't tell you the sequence or why things are happening. You need to be able to do wreckage analysis."
Terry Heaslip, retired Transportation Safety Board investigator
A flaperon from MH370 recovered from the Indian Ocean, showing the intact rounded leading edge that air crash expert Terry Heaslip says proves the plane was ditched at sea and didn’t crash at high speed. AFP/Getty Images
Three investigators with the Transportation Safety Board, a federal Canadian investigative authority, retired to launch their own consulting company into accident disasters, calling it HVS Aviation. Larry Vance, Terry Heaslip and Elaine Summers, all retired, thought their own independent investigation into the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 might represent a good joint exercise, whose conclusion might have a twofold purpose; their effort leading to success would give comfort to the grieving families in solving the mystery, and the results would give closure to a puzzle.

Vast sums of funding went into international searches, at first desperate in nature, in hopes of being able to rescue survivors lost at sea awaiting help, or marooned on a remote island somewhere. When the critical  time frame for rescue had passed, it became an international search without anyone knowing precisely where to search in a confused and confusing scenario that placed hope on various areas of vast oceanic searches. Airplane parts were found and  discovered not to be those being looked for, though eventually some pieces did surface and were identified as having come from Flight 370.

That the Boeing 777 had simply vanished with all 239 passengers and crew aboard on March 8, 2014 was a shocking catastrophe. Explanation eluded, and searches were futile. In all of aviation accident history this single flight disaster likely epitomizes the most puzzling. In a later flight of a German airliner in the remote French Alps a brief mystery also puzzled investigators when in March of 2015 Flight 9525 crashed into mountains with the loss of 144 passengers and six crew. Its young co-pilot had carefully planned his own suicide and sacrificed the lives of all aboard to his plan. That conspiracy, however, was solved with the aid of recordings and a successful investigation.


The mystery surrounding the Malaysia Airlines flight is more enduring, however, and it isn't that long ago that the last of a succession of searches was called off with a sense of hopelessness. There were 20 confirmed and identified MHY370 pieces retrieved since the plane and its human cargo vanished. It was some of those pieces that have helped this investigative team who took on this investigation of their own initiative, to solve the seemingly unsolvable. They examined all available data and came to their conclusion.

Mr. Heaslip, an expert on wreckage analysis, who with the Transportation Safety Board was its director of engineering and his partners were convinced the crash resulted from a deliberate action on the part of one of the pilots. Whom they theorize in all probability killed his passengers through depressurizing the plane. And then he deliberately flew toward a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean and ditched the plane to end his life, taking so many others with him, becoming a mass murderer in one fell stroke.

Their theory bears no resemblance to the official story which holds that the plane flew in a straight line until running out of fuel when it plunged vertically into the sea. Quite dissatisfied with the official theory, the Ottawa-based investigators examined wreckage photographs, the flight path maps and schematic drawings of the aircraft. Their investigation transcended a cold analysis of engineering calculations and cockpit procedure, however; their concern also lay with the need of the families to know the truth of what had occurred.
"This is an attempt by us to give some amount of closure by telling them [families of the victims] what happened. Because if people in the end -- I don't care who they are -- if they know the truth it's better in the long run than if they never know what happened."
Larry Vance
And so they zeroed in on pieces that had washed ashore and identified as having belonged to flight MH370; the aircraft's right flap, a part of the wing extended when the plane slows before landing, and the adjacent "flaperon", used to control the plane in low and slow flight. Along with the eight-by twelve foot piece also examined which they knew could not possibly have survived a high-speed vertical impact. Both it and the rounded leading edge of the flap and flaperon were undamaged.

Relying on tried-and-true wreckage analysis; studying stresses and fractures visible on the recovered pieces Heaslip and Vance deduced the forces that tore apart the plane; an exercise that no electronic data of a black box recorder could reveal. Earlier parts of the flight, including the pilot turning off the plane's transponder to make it invisible to radar before reversing direction and flying along the boundary point of two different air traffic control regions to ensure the plane would be missed by controllers, all contributed to their analysis and final conclusion.

The team documented their careful study of all available evidence and their professional analytical methodology, to reach their final, informed conclusion, and it all appears in a book titled MHY370 Mystery Solved which can be ordered online at hvsaviation.com.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Misinterpreting Cautionary Food Labelling on Freshness

"It is the responsibility of the regulated party to determine if the product has a durable life of 90 days or less and the specific durable life information for the products they sell. The durable life of products or categories is not prescribed in regulation."
"Any changes made to the durable life information that result in false or misleading information on the label are prohibited by Section 5.(1) of the Food and Drugs Act."
"Note: All foods sold in Canada must be safe for consumption [4.(1), Food and Drugs Act]. A durable life date is not an indicator of food safety, neither before nor after the date. It applies to unopened products only; once opened, the shelf life of a food may change. Products may be found for sale after the "best before" date has passed as the date is based on freshness and quality rather than safety. When this date has passed, the food may lose some of its freshness and flavour, or its texture may have changed. Some of its nutritional value, such as vitamin C content, may also be lost."
Canadian Food Inspection Agency web page


A study undertaken in the United Kingdom by The Waste and Resources Action Programme conjectures that when best before dates are extended by the consumer by a single day past the recommended 'best before' printed on a food product labelled to inform consumers, as regulated by national food agencies, household food waste would be reduced by up to 5 percent. In Canada an estimated $31 billion-worth of food is discarded in landfills or becomes composted annually.

That figure breaks down to an estimated 170 kilograms of food that the average consumer discards yearly. As consumers, we regard 'best before' dates as a food manufacturer's warning that past the recommended date the food in question is no longer safe to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth. The food involved, on the other hand, may not be at the absolute peak of its freshness, and that's another thing altogether. The average consumer's invariable reaction to the date, however, is to discard the food immediately that date has been reached, although the food is likely still edible, as sensory tests can inform (smell and taste).

A study published in the journal Waste Management revealed that research has discovered 80 percent of Ontario residents interpret 'best before' dates as signals whether food should be discarded. The other 20 percent pay little attention to the dates and simply consume the food, past-due or not. They may know that the 'best before' date is a notional one and even if the date is meant to caution that the food is past its prime, it does not necessarily follow that this is the actual case. It is food producers' way of ensuring that what they manufacture is eaten at the peak of its freshness and taste. Aside from which the quicker the food is eaten -- or some of it discarded -- the sooner it will be replaced.

The truth of the matter is, when food deemed to be past their 'best before' date is discarded, it is rarely in a spoiled state. Aside from which the 'best before' designation does not mean 'expired'. It is a stamp whose dates are not meant to indicate food safety, but the time by which the producer feels the food will have begun to lose its optimum taste, and perhaps full nutritional value as well. When the food manufacturer decides on a number of days before what they produce is no longer optimum, that date is dialled back by 20 percent in a spirit of caution.



As it is, only foods that remain in a fresh state for under 90 days are required by law to state 'best before' dates. Packaged cereals, beans, dried pastas, soft drinks all are deemed to have a stable shelf life, and as such are exempt from being required to present a 'best before' stamp. Despite which, manufacturers stamp them regardless. Very few foodstuffs are actually required to be presented with expiration dates as opposed to 'best before' dates. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, "As it is not illegal to sell a product that is past its best-before date, a consumer can use this information to consider how the food may have changed in terms of freshness, flavour, texture and/or nutritional value before purchasing."

"Expiration date" means the date after which the manufacturer does not recommend that the product be consumed, and up to which it maintains its microbiological and physical stability and nutrient content declared on the label.
Expiration dates are not required on all foods, but only on foods for special dietary use. A food for special dietary use means food that has been specially processed or formulated to meet the particular requirements of a person [B.24.001 FDR].
The FDR requires that expiration dates must be used on the following products [B.24.001 and B.25.001 FDR]:
  • formulated liquid diets (a nutritionally complete diet for persons using oral or tube feeding methods)
  • foods represented for use in a very low-energy diet (foods sold only by a pharmacist and only with a written order from a physician)
  • meal replacements (a formulated food that, by itself, can replace one or more daily meals)
  • nutritional supplements (a food sold or represented as a supplement to a diet that may be inadequate in energy and essential nutrients)
  • human milk substitutes (infant formula)
These foods should not be eaten if the expiration date has passed as they have strict compositional and nutritional specifications which might not be met after the date.
Generally, the expiration date may be shown on any label panel, except the bottom. However, in the case of formulated liquid diets, infant formula, and foods represented as containing infant formula, this information can be shown on any panel including the bottom panel provided there is a clear indication of the location of the date elsewhere on the label [B.01.005(4), FDR]. There are no prescribed expressions for "expiration date", however, the term "Exp." is often used.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Only a handful of products in Canada require expiration dates, which are much different than best before dates. (CBC)

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Revelations in the Primal Fossil Record

"New actinopterygian fossils from the Tournaisian provide an opportunity to improve our understanding of earliest Carboniferous faunas and test whether other osteichthyan lineages follow the tetrapod pattern. Here, we describe a new genus of actinopterygian from a three-dimensionally preserved partial skull from Blue Beach, Nova Scotia, a locality in the Tournaisian Horton Group. This locality has previously yielded a diverse tetrapod fauna, as well as undescribed actinopterygian and sarcopterygian material [8,15,17]. Mirroring trends in the tetrapod fauna of this locality, this specimen demonstrates close affinity to taxa more typical of the Devonian, with clear implications for end-Devonian extinction survivorship among vertebrates."
A primitive actinopterygian braincase from the Tournaisian of Nova Scotia
Conrad D. Wilson, Jason D. Pardo, Jason S. Anderson
Figure 1.
Avonichthys manskyi gen. et sp. nov. Photograph and interpretive drawing of specimen in dorsal view. Scale bar = 10 mm. br.psp, broken dorsal surface of parasphenoid; dsph, dermosphenotic; ?esc, indeterminate extrascapular; f, frontal; hm, hyomandibular; ifc, infraorbital canal; it, intertemporal; mx, maxilla; nIII, foramen for oculomotor nerve; p, parietal; por, post-orbital process; st, supratemporal.

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