News for August 11, 2010
Rocky Mountain "Moo" Shine and Raw Milk Temperance
Revered by some as “natures perfect food,” and yet demonized by others as “deadly poison,” milk, one of the most innocuous liquids known to man, is now the subject of possibly the biggest food fight of its kind. Mild mannered farmers coming to words with government agents, food safety attorneys, and irate consumers while “big dairy” farmers manipulate legislators and lobby for legislation that weighs heavily in their favor. So, what’s all the hullaballoo?
Like moonshine in the US Prohibition Era, raw milk is being targeted as unhealthy and dangerous, but unlike moonshine, raw milk that is produced following strict code of cleanliness and correct nutrition for the animals producing it, is safe. Even for babies. In the absence of mother’s milk, raw milk can be combined with other ingredients to make a baby formula that helps babies thrive, and meets the nutritional needs of babies much better than powdered or canned baby formula can. Also, unlike alcohol prohibition, today’s heavy regulation and bans on raw milk seem to be spurred more by big agriculture and the dairy industry to suppress unwanted competition, rather than a genuine desire to protect public health by a nanny state run amok.
[ READ MORE (ARMi) ]
Senate to hold staff briefing on food safety bill Thursday
The Senate has reached a tentative agreement on food-safety legislation and will brief staffers Thursday, a Senate staffer said, although it's still unclear how the bill might move forward. The panel is also scheduled to post the manager's package and a Congressional Budget Office score, another source said.
Food safety advocates immediately applauded the news.
[ READ MORE (The Hill) ]
I Work On Farms, I'm a Criminal, And Perhaps I'm A Valuable Member Of Society, Too
I am a professor at Sonoma State University and spend much of my time in my office and on my beloved computer. I'm also apparently a dangerous criminal and perhaps involved in a continuing conspiracy to violate the law. However, I've never been compelled to work on a prison farm, have never worn chains, and I'm not now nor have I ever been a fugitive from a chain gang. I also refuse to feel like a criminal, though in the eyes of the authorities I'm in violation of the laws of the state of California.
I work in the hot sun and on chilly overcast days without pay on small organic farms in northern California, simply because I love to labor outdoors with my hands, but in the eyes of the law--specifically California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement--the farms where I have chosen to donate my time and energy are operating illegally because they benefit from my unpaid labor.
[ READ MORE (Forbes) ]
How the Organic Label Hurts Organic Farmers
We have become a country of consumers that rely on labels to tell us what food we should buy. For better or worse, this means that terms such as "organic" and "free-range" carry more weight than ever. Unfortunately for the country's small-scale organic farmers, this reliance on labels is restricting where and at what price they are able to sell their chemical-free products.
Even though USDA organic certification would open up new market opportunities for these farmers and allow them to sell their products at a premium price, many have chosen not to pursue certification because of the high costs imposed by the USDA. For example, Wally Niezguski farms just a quarter acre of organic vegetables in Michigan, but was told he would have to pay between $1,000 and $4,000 per year to label his products as USDA organic. Niezguski says he brings in just $2,500 a year selling his vegetables, making it "hardly worth the cost to get certified."
[ READ MORE (Change.org) ]
Raw and Organic Almonds Lawsuit Scores Its First Major Victory
A group of almond growers has been fighting for three years to keep their almonds from being adulterated against their will. Now their plea will finally be heard in federal court.
From 2001 to 2004, there was a string of salmonella outbreaks in California that were linked to almonds. In response, the Almond Board of California made a deal with the US Department of Agriculture.
[ READ MORE (Alliance for Natural Health) ]