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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for March 13, 2010

Dispatches: Small farmers not giving up

Some people like their milk ice cold with cookies, others prefer it with chocolate. Some like to buy pasteurized milk from a grocery store, others want fresh, raw milk from a farm. For the past 50 years, Wisconsin law has allowed residents to enjoy milk and cookies, mix their moo juice with chocolate and buy all sorts of milk at the supermarket. But Wisconsinites couldn't get raw milk unless they had an in with a farmer. That soon could change. The state Legislature is considering a bill that would roll back a 1959 law that requires all milk sold in the state to be pasteurized, a process that involves heating milk to kill microscopic pathogens. People who advocate for fresh, natural food say raw milk tastes better than processed milk, and that the pasteurization process kills healthy nutrients that people need. Health officials, on the other hand, say that those who drink raw milk are at significant risk of bacterial infection. Marathon County is home to nearly 800 dairy farms, and the opinion of legalizing the sale of raw milk is mixed here.

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We Made It Ourselves | Organic Smokehouse Butter

Where there’s smoke, there’s butter. Or so it goes in the Welsh Marches, where Michael Leviseur and his wife Debbie tend to the eight chimneys in which substances as predictable as salmon or as unusual as fudge are placed for long stretches, eventually making their way to 15 Michelin-starred eateries and plenty of home pantries in the U.K. Michael, the ultimate alternative Renaissance man, has been an army chap, a ski instructor, a qualified nurse practitioner and an I.T. specialist. In 1985, while working as a Harris tweed weaver in the Outer Hebrides, a neighbor turned him on to smoking (food, that is). He kept it up as a back-garden side gig until he moved to the Shropshire town of Ludlow, where he currently resides, put all his wood chips into the pot and set up a full-time operation. Thus, in 2002, the Organic Smokehouse was born.

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Chefs Call Proposed New York Salt Ban 'Absurd'

MYFOXNY.COM - Some New York City chefs and restaurant owners are taking aim at a bill introduced in the New York Legislature that, if passed, would ban the use of salt in restaurant cooking.

"No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises," the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.

The legislation, which Assemblyman Felix Ortiz , D-Brooklyn, introduced on March 5, would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation.

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FDA urges stronger safeguards for spices

The Food and Drug Administration is reexamining the safety of a culinary staple found in every restaurant, food manufacturing plant and home kitchen pantry: spices.

In the middle of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness linked to black and red pepper -- and after 16 separate U.S. recalls since 2001 of tainted spices ranging from basil to sage -- federal regulators met last week with the spice industry to figure out ways to make the supply safer.

Jeff Farrar, the FDA's associate commissioner for food safety, said the government wants the spice industry to do more to prevent contamination. That would include use of one of three methods to rid spices of bacteria: irradiation, steam heating or fumigation with ethylene oxide, a pesticide.

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