EU Prunes Laxative

December 14, 2011 by staff 

EU Prunes Laxative, Despite the fact that millions have eaten prunes and drunk prune juice in order to lighten themselves of their internal burden for centuries, the European Union has now ruled that prunes are not in fact laxatives. Well, bully for the EU, eh?

Last February, an EFSA paper reported: “The Panel concludes that the evidence provided is insufficient to establish a cause and effect relationship between the consumption of dried plums of ‘prune’ cultivars (Prunus domestica L.) and maintenance of normal bowel function.

The authority had been asked to investigate claims that prunes ensure healthy digestion and bowel function.

As is pointed out elsewhere, these are the same people who refused to agree that water is in fact wet.

Incidentally, the European Food Safety Authority is the same branch of the EU that brought us the news that water didn’t actually prevent dehydration – though if you read the fine print, they, bizarrely, correct on that one…

And in fact they are also correct on this one about prunes.

One of the more amusing paranoias about the European Union has been the claim that it’s all a Catholic plot to recover what was lost to the Reformation, the ruling of Europe. That claim is of course nonsense but there is a real sense in which the bureaucrats are being Jesuitical here.

You see, they were not asked whether consumption of prunes made you want to go numbers 2s. Every adult on the continent knows the answer to that one (OK, for those who don’t, the answer is “Yes”). They were asked whether the consumption of prunes ensures healthy digestion and bowel function: which they clearly do not.

They might cause more bowel function, this is entirely true, but more is not quite the same as normal or healthy. Excessive consumption of prunes will lead to more movement than is desirable, certainly, and possibly to more than is healthy. Further, in order to have the correct movement, the healthy amount, it is not necessary to eat the dried fruit at all. Indeed, it’s entirely possible to state that requiring prunes in order to have the gracefully successful movements is itself a sign of unhealthiness, or at least of inadequate diet.

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