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News for July 10, 2010

Junk Food Crackdown: Feds Draw Up Strict Standards For Marketing To Kids

Is the federal government preparing to impose strict new standards on the food industry and how it markets junk food to kids?

On Wednesday, BNET pointed to an interagency document (embedded below), from the FTC, FDA, CDC, and USDA proposing new nutritional standards for food marketed to children ages 2-17. Sugary fruit juices and fatty foods would be off limits, and could not be aimed at children. According to the new guidelines, foods marketed to kids must actually include food.

READ MORE (Huffington Post) ]

Officials Serve Search Warrant At Sauk County Farm

For the third time this summer, officials from the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have paid a visit to an unlicensed Loganville dairy farmer, this time with a search warrant.

Department of Agriculture officials said the case had been a routine issue of trying to deal with an unlicensed food seller, but they needed to get a search warrant Thursday to get on the property of dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger.

READ MORE (Channel 3000) ]

Sacramento leads nation in direct farm-to-consumer sales, study finds

Sacramento-area farms market directly to consumers through farmers markets and roadside produce stands at almost twice the rate of farms nationally, reports an agricultural economist at the University of California, Davis.

The local study, conducted by Shermain Hardesty, a Cooperative Extension economist in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, found that 14 percent of Sacramento-area farms marketed directly to consumers, compared to just nine percent of farmers nationally.

[ READ MORE (UC Davis) ]

Let them drink raw milk but pay their own hospital bills

Raw milk consumers have joined forces in a legal battle against the federal Food and Drug Administration's ban against the sale and distribution of raw milk and raw milk products (pdf) for human consumption across state lines.

The focus on consumers, not farmers, is one of the distinctive features of the lawsuit filed earlier this year by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund against FDA and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

READ MORE (Meat Trade News Daily) ]

New Legislation Gives Green Light To Raw Goat Milk

A law was recently passed in Idaho that is bringing new life to an old staple. The new legislation allows local dairies to sell their product raw, and its gaining popularity.

It's more than just a drop in the bucket. For one local infant raw goat milk changed her life.


Soldier fights fine for sharing pig

A Carlsbad Springs man was just being neighbourly when he shared a side of pork with a friend.

Now he is going to trial in an Ottawa court on charges under Ontario's food safety laws.

READ MORE (Toronto Sun) ]

Floral City goat farm has sweet side for teen

There is a farm-based, vertical-integration business offering niche products along the Hernando-Citrus County line growing, literally, from the ground up.

Tolisse Farm breeds and raises goats, milks them and then sells raw milk and homemade goat milk cheeses for pet consumption. In addition to selling the goat milk, the business also processes the goat milk into skin-friendly soaps and lotions, marketing the products at a local outlet and on the Internet.

READ MORE (St. Petersburg Times) ]

Animal Welfare Approved Announces 2011 Good Husbandry Grants

Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce that it will offer a third year of Good Husbandry Grants. AWA is seeking proposals for projects to improve farm animal welfare with a concentration on three areas: increased outdoor access, improved genetics and improved slaughter facilities.

Animal Welfare Approved is a free certification for family farms raising their animals with the highest welfare standards, outdoors on pasture or range. "We have awarded funding for 65 projects in 25 states and are delighted to be able to continue these grants for 2011," said Andrew Gunther, AWA Program Director. "The impact of these grants has been extraordinary - the finished projects prove that there is an inextricable link between high-welfare, pasture- and range-based husbandry and successful farms." Current Animal Welfare Approved farmers and those who have applied to join the program are eligible for grants of up to $5,000.

READ MORE (Animal Welfare Approved) ]

Produce Safety Bill May Make Farmer’s Markets A Thing Of The Past

With the U.S. Senate preparing to overhaul the nation’s food safety laws through a bill that passed committee called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (S510), Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) has co-sponsored an amendment to exempt small farmers from the added safety requirements of the bill.

The terms of Hagan’s amendment are still in flux, but Hagan said she is committed to ensuring that North Carolina’s family farms are not subject to additional and unnecessary layers of federal regulation.

READ MORE (Raleigh Telegram) ]

Support your local everything

Farms around the country are taking subscriptions. As part of a CSA (community-supported agriculture), subscribers pay a set fee and each week get a bundle of produce, meats and/or eggs. Farmers get cash upfront for operating expenses; customers get fresh local food, plus the satisfaction of knowing the person who grew it. That model is being applied elsewhere:

In the kitchen. Salt, Fire & Time in Portland, Ore. ( is a community-supported kitchen, or CSK. Customers pay roughly $40 a week for a box of prepared food items, which include a broth, a stew or meaty entree, a side of beans or grains, cultured vegetables and a dessert. “I try to market it by saying that you can add $10 worth of fresh ingredients to a box and it will feed you for a week,” says owner and chef Tressa Yellig. “These are very nutritious and concentrated food items, so they don't need to be eaten at full strength.”


USDA enacting part of 2008 Farm Bill encouraging private land owners to go public

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Thursday a new effort to encourage owners and operators of privately held farm, ranch and forest land to voluntarily provide public access to land for the enjoyment of wildlife-dependent recreation, including hunting or fishing, under programs implemented by state or tribal governments.

The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), which is a part of the 2008 Farm Bill, gives states the chance to apply for grants that would then be used to provide rental payments and other incentives, such as technical or conservation services to landowners who, in return, allow the public to hunt, fish or otherwise recreate on their land.


Dietary Guidelines Hearing Unleashes a Predictable Circus of Food Lobbying

It’s dietary guidelines season in Washington, and you almost can’t count the number of food groups that are lining up to make sure the government doesn’t say anything in its revised food recommendations that could possibly hurt their businesses. At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, food lobbyists eagerly participated in the same highly political, often surreal, battle over syntax and word choice that has characterized every required five-year revision of the USDA’s dietary guidelines.

Perhaps the most urgent plea yesterday came from the meat industry, which is particularly freaked out by the idea that the government might, for the first time, explicitly extol the virtues of a “more plant based diet.” A Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report published several weeks ago — which is just the non-binding recommendations of an outside panel — contains this especially offending sentence: Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.

READ MORE (bnet) ]

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