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News for March 1, 2010

Suit seeks to bar genetically modified sugar beets

PHILOMATH, Ore. — Organic farmers fear this year's spring breezes will be carrying pollen from genetically altered sugar beets, which they say could render their crops worthless, and they hope to persuade a federal judge this week to halt the plantings nationwide.

Experts and industry groups say such an injunction could jeopardize U.S. sugar supplies, about half of which comes from the biotech beets planted on more than 1 million acres in 10 states stretching from Michigan to Oregon.

"It will be a big problem," if the injunction is granted, said Carol Mallory-Smith, professor of weed science at Oregon State University. "The industry really had converted to this."


U.S. is satisfying a hunger for tougher organic meat and milk rules

Washington - New federal rules that define what makes milk and meat organic have natural food advocates optimistic that the government is committed to ensuring the label means something.

U.S. consumers bought $24 billion worth of organic products in 2008. But for many, the purchases came with uncertainty about what they were getting for their money.

"During the Clinton and the Bush administrations there wasn't a lot of teeth in the enforcement aspect of it," said Tom Willey, 61, an organic fruit and vegetable farmer in Madera, Calif. "Things have kind of been in a morass as far as enforcement for a number of years, but now we're very hopeful that will change."


Public Hearing to be Held in Eau Claire Over Raw Milk Bill

The public will soon have an opportunity to share their input on a bill that would allow dairy farms to sell unpasteurized milk to people who want it. The Assembly and Senate Agriculture Committees are both traveling to Eau Claire next month to hold a joint public hearing on Senate Bill 434. The forum will be held March 10 at Chippewa Valley Technical College, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Specifically, the measure authorizes a dairy farmer with a grade A dairy farm permit to sell unpasteurized milk, buttermilk, butter, and cream directly to consumers if they obtain a raw milk permit from the Department of Agriculture. It also states that the container must be prepared and filled in a sanitary manner; and the dairy farmer would have to display a sign indicating that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization. Current law prohibits the sale of unpasteurized milk and other milk products.


Local does it

Even the best-intentioned locavore - that is, someone who eats only or mostly food grown, raised, and produced nearby - can run into difficulties over a Philadelphia winter.

Fruits and vegetables grown in the region are climatologically limited, as are the outdoor farmers markets that link consumers with local foods. The pyramids of Pennsylvania and New Jersey produce at supermarkets such as Wegmans and Whole Foods, so prominently featured during other seasons, have dwindled to nothing.


Watertown naturopathic physician promotes raw diet in 'Untold Story of Milk'

WATERTOWN - According to one Watertown resident, food is the cause of and solution to all health issues.

Dr. Ron Schmid is a naturopathic physician. He stated that, when he was in his 20s, he cured himself by changing his diet.

"Doctors suggested that I get rid of my colon - I got rid of them instead," said Dr. Schmid. "I decided on my own that I was going to do things differently. I cured myself, and now I help others."


Framingham health board eases raw milk rules

FRAMINGHAM — The Board of Health softened its regulations regarding raw milk sales last night, clearing yet another hurdle in Doug Stephan's quest to sell the product from his Eastleigh Farm.

The board approved regulations in a rush last month, said Board Chairman Mike Hugo, in an attempt to allow Stephan to launch his operation on the Northside farm.

But it appears those regulations, which were deemed by some to be among the most stringent in the state, were too draconian for Stephan.


House passes raw milk compromise

Farmers who produce raw milk will still be able to sell the milk at farmers markets and deliver it to their customers under a bill passed by the South Dakota House of Representatives on Tuesday.

However, farmers who sell raw milk will have to meet certain construction and sanitation standards to receive a state permit, standards that will be difficult to meet for some small farmers, according to a Black Hills milk producer.

The bill, HB 1057, was a compromise written with the help of the state Agriculture Department and Dakota Rural Action, a grassroots, family agriculture and conservation group. The House passed it 66-2. The bill had its first hearing in the Senate on Wednesday.


Camel milk is more nutritious than cow milk

WAM Dubai, 24th Feb. 2010 (WAM) - Camel milk is more nutritious than cow milk because it is lower in fat and cholesterol and richer in potassium, iron and minerals such as sodium and magnesium; it was revealed in a paper presented at the 5th Dubai International Food Safety Conference, which was held during 22-24 February at Dubai International Convention and Exhibitions Centre.

The paper titled, "Standards for Camel Milk," was presented by Fatima AbdulRahman, Principal Food Microbiologist at Dubai Municipality's Dubai Central Laboratory.


Legislative Weekly Reports-Frerichs, Wismer, Hanson, & Dennert

Rep. Dennert

2010 Session: a repeat of previous years. Wait until the very end to settle on funding for education, health care and state employees wages.

A bill to repeal the state sales tax on food passes a committee this week, but was reassigned to another committee. The reason, I am sure, is to kill the bill. It was assigned to the Appropriations Committee which I am a member of. I will be supporting the repeal of state sales on food.


Raw Milk Makers Want Their Spots On Grocery Shelves

February 22, 2010 /EIN PRESSWIRE/ How unhealthy is raw milk? Is pasteurized milk actually good for you or just another drink? Lawmakers are being asked to take another look at raw milk and people's accessibility to it.

Public health officials maintain that unpasteurized, raw milk carries with it an increased risk for bacterial contamination, but raw milk advocates say that raw milk contains enzymes that strengthen one's immune system - enzymes that are greatly reduced in pasteurized milk.

Twenty-three states prohibit the sale of raw milk, and only nine states allow the retail sale of raw milk.


Author of raw milk bill critical of DATCP action

State Rep. Chris Danou, author of legislation which would allow dairy producers to do on farm sales of raw milk, is taking the Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection to task for “harsh treatment of a small family farm.”


Co-op will feature locally grown food

Tom Maurer of North Annville Twp. is the driving force between the Palmyra Real Food Emporium, a farmers co-op which is expected to open next month.

The emporium, will be housed in a former manufacturing building at Broad Street and Forge Road.

Don't expect to see any processed foods on the shelves, Maurer said.


Kenyans told to consume more milk

The Kenya Dairy Board has asked Kenyans to consume more milk and long life dairy products such as cheese, butter and ghee to help ease the current milk supply crisis.

This, KDB says, will expand the market and enable processors to take in excess milk from farmers and convert it into long-life dairy products.

“Consumers are advised to increase consumption of dairy products – including value added products like yoghurt, cheese and butter,” said Machira Gichohi, the managing director of KDB, in a Press notice.


Dairy farmers claim they're getting a raw deal

Until a few months ago, Pepin County dairy farmers Wayne and Janet Brunner made a decent living supplying a product they support to people who wanted it.

To them, selling raw, or unpasteurized, milk from their grass-fed cows represented the essence of a free market. Supply and demand came together at their Midvalleyvu Family Farm near Arkansaw.


Galleria mall is giant greenhouse, raising organic crops in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Millions have passed through the Galleria at Erieview, sun glinting on its barrel-shaped glass roof. But it took a nurseryman's granddaughter to look up and think:

This place looks like a giant greenhouse.

Now Vicky Poole, the Galleria's marketing and events director, who worked on her grandpa's farm as a child, expects that by late spring or early summer, there will be fresh tomatoes for sale among the shops and galleries at the downtown Cleveland mall.

Very fresh -- as in vine-grown in bags and troughs hanging from steel stair banisters and ceiling beams in the shopping center that stretches between East Ninth and East 12th streets.


Farm-to-School: The next big thing?

At the state meeting of the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota last Saturday, farmer Greg Reynolds opened his presentation on selling food to the Hopkins School District with a simple assessment: "I think it's the next big thing."

Listen to Reynolds' presentation on LSP's podcast (episode 76) and it will become clear why the farmer is so upbeat about this new marketing relationship.


Could you change 10 percent of your diet to locally-sourced foods? Washtenaw County summit to issue challenge

Sitting down on a recent Friday morning to a freshly cooked meal of eggs, sautéed potatoes and homemade waffles topped with canned peaches, Ann Arbor resident Gus Teschke looked in a state of mild bliss.

He was sitting amidst other diners in the large kitchen of a west side Ann Arbor home positively bustling with lively music, conversation and the smells of breakfast as residents showed up to try the weekly bounty. Don't be shy about ordering everything on the menu, he suggested. "Everything here is wonderful," he said.


Dairy industry leaders unite to offer recommendations to USDA

Proposals presented to USDA Secretary Vilsack to support dairy industry

Burlington, Vt – During the recent visit of USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to Vermont, dairy industry leaders from across the state came together to present a statement on behalf of dairy producers encouraging Secretary Vilsack to address the issues and challenges of the dairy industry.

The statement is in response to the volatile milk pricing system that dairy farmers are subject to. In 2009 dairy producers experienced the lowest prices paid for fluid milk in decades with costs of production at an all time high. This, coupled with the world recession, is threatening to cripple the dairy industry in Vermont and across the region.


USDA to boost wildlife habitat, trim cropland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The federal government will maximize enrollment in the land-idling Conservation Reserve, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a policy that would reduce U.S. cropland by 1.5 percent if successful.

The amount of land involved, around 5 million acres, could produce more than 150 million bushels of wheat, 200 million bushels of soybeans or 700 million bushels of corn, based on recent abandonment rates and the Agriculture Department's projected yields for the three crops this year.


No bull! Ridge woman is drinking milk straight from the cow!

Supermarket milk makes some people so sick that they’re willing to flout federal law, snub “mainstream” health officials and go rogue.

Meet Hannah Springer of Bay Ridge: Public Enemy Number 1, at least as far as the study-pushing jack-booted scientists at the Food and Drug Administration would have you believe. Springer loves the taste of a cold glass of milk as much as the next woman, but her system can’t stomach it, so she’s gone underground — participating in a milk buying club that is so secret that she can’t even reveal its name.


Dairies benefit as more people give raw milk a shot

DALLAS - Like many moms, Iliana Cantavella is accustomed to making a run for a gallon of milk.

But she goes to the tiny store at Lavon Farms, the last dairy left in Collin County. There, for $8 a gallon, she buys milk that comes straight from the registered Guernsey and Jersey cows grazing in the surrounding fields.

No pasteurization. No homogenization. And no approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It's called raw milk, and Cantavella is a walking infomercial.


At issue: Should raw milk sales be legal?

Dairy farmers have always been able to drink their own milk straight from the cow, but it has been illegal for them to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers in Wisconsin since the 1950s, mostly because of public health concerns. Over the last decade, however, demand for raw milk has grown, partly because of Internet marketing, but also because in the late 1990s Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection allowed two farms to sell raw milk to consumers on a limited basis. The department later changed its mind.

In the last year, the department has stepped up enforcement efforts in reaction to media accounts of underground raw milk sales. In response, raw milk advocates have lobbied the Legislature to legalize raw milk sales.


Chipotle Supports Film about Kids and Food

DENVER, Mar 01, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Chipotle Mexican Grill is working with Aubin Pictures in screening the documentary film, "What's On Your Plate?" in collaboration with local schools and community organizations across the U.S. The film is a witty and provocative documentary about kids and food politics that addresses many of the same ideas behind Chipotle's "Food with Integrity" philosophy and the importance of supporting local farms.

"It's amazing to see two young kids address the issue of where our food comes from in such an empowering way," said Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer of Chipotle. "It's important for people, including kids, to understand issues related to the food they eat, and we believe this film will reach them in a way that is more informed and honest than is typical in how food is marketed to children."


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