The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

Holland And Barrett: Saving Us All From Swine Flu

Posted by keith on June 22nd, 2009

Holland and Barrett Biohazard

It’s not just greenwash that gets me angry, anything that makes unqualified claims that could end up harming people or the wider environment deserves to be targeted: in this case it is a company I have already challenged on The Unsuitablog, Holland and Barrett. Not content with lying through their teeth about the pathetic efforts they are making to green themselves up, they are now claiming to be able to reduce the risk of Swine Flu.

Now bear in mind that Swine Flu may or may not become a global pandemic of monumental proportions, that an awful lot of people are scared about it (and I believe they should be to a certain extent). Also, bear in mind that H1N1 Swine Flu is the direct result of the hyper-consumer economy and the desire to produce food as cheaply as possible for the most profit. Any backlash should be directed squarely at the commercial world but, of course, not content with creating the conditions for a global catastrophe, the system that created the problem is now seeking to benefit as much as possible from it: such as Tamiflu distribution being the de facto response to any outbreaks; as opposed to the far more logical move of stopping the mass movement of workers, holidaymakers and schoolchildren to and from their respective locations. One of these measures benefits the industrial machine — one of them does not.

Guess which the world’s richest nations have chosen.

On the back of this are the various bloodsucking companies that are trying to make a fast buck from people’s perfectly rational fears of global pandemic. When I see a poster in the window of my local Holland and Barrett saying:




I have to wonder whether they are selling anti-viral masks, sensible transmission prevention advice, or perhaps something less than effective from their existing range of “remedies”.

Something like this:


The little I know about Echinacea could be written on the back of my hand, but I do know that it has most definitely not been shown in any objective scientic study whatsoever, to prevent Swine Flu, or any other kind of influenza, for that matter (it may help prevent the common cold, but that’s another thing entirely). But, that’s what the people in my local shop have been told to push as an influenza prevention treatment.

But it’s not just Echinacea, they also appear to be pushing Manuka Honey as a prevention remedy: again, Manuka Honey may well have certain beneficial effects for certain conditions, but as to being a way of preventing Swine Flu…no.

Now, I have no problem with non conventional remedies — I use nettle draught for hayfever and plantain for stings and bites, but when they are pushed for commercial purposes, especially by a company as large and ambitious as Holland and Barrett (owned by, not surprisingly, a giant producer of vitamins and supplements), then I see nothing but bad things on the horizon.

One Response to “Holland And Barrett: Saving Us All From Swine Flu”

  1. David Bradley Says:

    Thanks for the linkback. Yes, my doctor friends are trapped between a rock and a hard place when patients turn up asking what they can do to protect themselves from swine flu. On the one hand, Tamiflu is not a prophylactic whilst there is some very limited evidence that echinacea modulates immune response to rhinovirus. There are very few studies on herbal remedies, and those that have proved themselves enter the mainstream as medicine via the pharma industry (think aspirin, ephedrine, Taxol, etc etc).

    You can buy a month’s supply of echinacea for $2 in my local pharmacy, so if you’re really worried it might be worth popping one a day for a week at a time while the H1N1 death toll rises…just in case…but there again, you could take a teaspoon of snake oil and that might work just as well.

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