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News for March 8, 2010

Selling raw milk in Wisconsin could soon be legal

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Selling raw milk in Wisconsin would be legalized under a bill up for a hearing Wednesday in Eau Claire.

The measure would allow dairy farmers to sell raw milk directly to customers if certain conditions are met. The farmer would have to have a state-issued permit and post a warning that raw milk does not provide the protection of pasteurization.

Raw dairy proponents say unpasteurized milk is tastier, healthier and easier to digest.

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FDA Faulted for Giving Additives a Free Pass

A new report from federal investigators says the Food and Drug Administration has failed to ensure the safety of thousands of additives manufacturers put in what we eat.

The Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog agency, singled out a longstanding and controversial exception to FDA rules that for decades has concerned consumer and public health advocates. Substances "generally regarded as safe" by food companies' own scientific panels are immune from rigorous FDA analysis, meaning that manufacturers that want to include an additive in a product are often spared having to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in safety tests and can save years in getting the product to market.

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Congress Gets Fed a New Taste of Food Safety

PRESS RELEASE

CONTACT:  Deborah Stockton 434.295.7176 Email: [email protected]

March 8, 2010--Washington DC—The National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA), along with a host of area restaurants and caterers who source food from local farmers, plans a buffet reception for federal legislators on March 10, 4:00 - 6:30pm Room SD-106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington DC.  Citing potential destruction of small farms as the unintended consequence of proposed federal food safety bills, the national advocacy group is bringing to Congress its message that small farms produce the safest food.

The buffet will cap off the fourth annual Farm Food Voices lobby day (10:00am-3:00pm). This year, Main Event Caterers is coordinating food from a number of fine dining restaurants around the metro area, including Nora's, Sonoma, Woodberry Kitchen, Poste Brasserie, Restaurant 3, Alchemy Caterers, Coppi's Organic, Lavender Moon Cupcakery, Suburban Trading Company and Food Matters. The lavish buffet will be served up to Senators, Congressmen and their staffs, with a request to spare small farms more legal hurdles.

"Small farms produce the safest food available, without regulation. Small farms are also  increasing at about 13,000 a year, according to the USDA," says Deborah Stockton, Executive Director of NICFA.  “The current Administration that wants to ‘rebuild’ rural America, is pushing food bills that will do the opposite.  Just like family farms brought us out of the Great Depression, they can bring us out of the food safety problem and this recession, if they are allowed to thrive.”

NICFA asserts that federal agencies do not enforce measures already on the books to ensure food safety in the industrial food system. 

“Do we really want to give sweeping new powers to agencies that do not do their jobs?” asks Stockton.  “The main threats to food safety – by the government’s own admission - are centralized production, centralized processing and long distance transportation. The food safety bills will actually increase these risk factors by consolidating agriculture into fewer, larger industrial farms  through enormous regulatory burdens that small farms cannot endure.  There is not a history of food borne illness from farmers’ markets.”

Mrs. West Virginia International is also making a lobby day appearance at her representatives offices and the buffet. Beauty Queen, Mrs. Alexandra Booth will vie for the title of Mrs. America International with Local Food as her platform.

Advocates for the bills claim that exemptions in the bills will protect small farms. Consumers and farmers from around the country however, contend that the exemptions are insufficient and questionable, and they will ask legislators to reconsider these bills.

For more information on the Capitol Hill local-foods reception see http://www.nicfa.com.

‘It was a great day for individual rights and freedoms’: raw milk co-op producer

ROEBUCK-Dairy farmers Jacqueline Fennel and John Conklin are, to say the least, "very happy" with a Newmarket court decision on Jan. 21 that acquitted Durham area dairy farmer Michael Schmidt of distributing raw milk and raw milk products.

"We definitely thought it was positive. It was a great day for individual rights and freedoms," said Fennel of the decision.

In his ruling, Justice of the Peace Paul Kowalski said Schmidt was not breaking Ontario’s public health or milk marketing regulations because he was distributing to joint owners of the cows and not to the general public.

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