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News for May 13, 2010

Alice Waters push for local, organic setting national agenda

Food crusader Alice Waters is making the rounds to promote her new cookbook.

McDonald's, she told Bill Maher on his TV show, "Real Time," "is never the answer," not even for impoverished families trying to put food on the table. Then, in her signature breathy voice, she lambasted the microwave.

"That's not cooking," Waters said, somewhat flustered that Maher would even ask about the common kitchen appliance. "I don't know how to relate to it. I need a little fire."

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Cancer panel recommendation hailed by organic leaders

Organic agriculture advocates see a big upside in a recommendation by a cancer panel that consumers should forego food treated by pesticides.

In a substantial list of recommendations of what individuals can do to reduce the environmental exposure to carcinogens, the panel, in a report, wrote:  “Exposure to pesticides can be decreased by choosing, to the extent possible, food grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers and washing conventionally grown produce to remove residues."
 
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Raw milk bill criticized

ARLINGTON, VA – With Wisconsin’s governor poised to sign legislation allowing raw milk sales direct to consumers in that state, the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association today criticized elected officials for downplaying the food safety risks inherent in raw dairy products, and urged federal lawmakers to take measures restricting such sales.

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle has indicated he will sign a bill, approved earlier this spring by the state legislature, which would allow dairy farms to sell milk directly to consumers over the next two years. With Doyle’s signature, Wisconsin will join approximately 28 other states that allow some form of raw milk sales or distribution, either commercially or directly from farms.

Federal law prohibits the interstate sale of raw milk, but allows states individual discretion to regulate raw milk sales within their borders. Several states in recent years have joined Wisconsin in allowing the sale of raw milk, even as the product has been repeatedly linked to serious illnesses from coast to coast.

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Right from the teat

Protesters brought a cow to the Common on Monday, squeezed milk from her udder into glasses, and toasted the act and gulped it down in an act of raw protest.

The raw milk drink-in, organized by the Organic Consumers Association was held on Monday in an attempt to prove that a fresh glass of milk right from the cow’s udder will do your body even better than a glass of pasteurized, processed milk.

The purchase and consumption of raw milk isn’t illegal. However, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources proposed a new set of regulations, including one that would make the transportation of raw milk through buying clubs illegal. The change would have affected four dairy farms involved with buying clubs, though on Monday, the MDAR pulled the proposed restrictions, explaining that "The passion and concern on all sides of the raw milk debate have led MDAR to plan for a broader look at issues associated with raw milk."

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Australia - New crackdown on raw milk product

THE Prime Minister of Australia consumes unpasteurised milk products, but it is allegedly an offence for a Maleny shop assistant to admit to doing so, according to Goomboorian dairy farmer Trevor Mahaffey.

Mr Mahaffey was commenting on Queensland Health moves to prosecute the Maleny Maple Street Co-op over the sale of Mr Mahaffey’s raw milk.

“I never thought a government department would come into a shop undercover with the intent to entrap staff and prosecute the business,” Co-op manger Karen Syrmis said yesterday.

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Raw milk gets a fresh look by state

BOSTON — After raw milk supporters condemned the state’s attempt to crack down on raw milk “buying clubs,” regulators have removed controversial language from proposed changes to the law.

In a written statement released late Friday afternoon, officials from the state’s Department of Agricultural Resources said they had removed language that explicitly prohibited people from picking up raw milk for others.

“The passion and concern on all sides of the raw milk debate have led MDAR to plan for a broader look at issues associated with raw milk,” the statement read.

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Let's protect small farms in food safety bill

There's little doubt the fractured system that has been in charge of overseeing the nation's food supply food safety needs a serious overhaul. For decades, more than a dozen federal agencies have been tasked with making sure various links in the food chain are safe.

Generally, the system has worked. But as the way our food supply is processed has become more centralized — while the supply of food itself has become more internationalized — disturbing breakdowns have become common.

Name a food, and there's been a horror story. Beef, seafood, tomatoes, green onions, peanut butter, bagged salad greens, strawberries, even pet food have been the sources of outbreaks of illness and recalls.

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Wisconsin OKs raw milk

MADISON, Wis. — Proponents of unpasteurized milk hope a victory in “America’s Dairyland” will encourage other states to legalize sales and make it more available nationwide.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has indicated he will sign a bill the Legislature passed late last month allowing farms to sell raw milk directly to consumers through 2011. Although the bill is limited in scope, advocates who’ve worked for years promoting raw milk say legalization in Wisconsin could lead to broader acceptance nationwide.

“It’s the best state this could have happened in for us,” said Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Washington-based Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates drinking raw milk.

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Demand mushrooming for food made or grown not far from home

When Chris Toth decided several years ago to join a farm program that entitled her to a weekly box of whatever fresh veggies were in season, her decision was all about taste: the sharp flavor of spring greens picked that morning; the succulence of juicy tomatoes still warm from the sun.

The Cranberry mom had no idea she was at the leading edge of what has been whipped into a full-blown movement with a nickname it coined for its followers: locavores.

Fueled by eco-consciousness, food safety concerns and a desire for tasty, nutritious foods, what started a few years ago at the fringe of the local farm has been driven from suburbia smack into Downtown Mainstream. One Giant Eagle executive predicts the "buy local" trend could trump "buy organic" in no time.

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Fighting obesity: Ditch the deep fryer, and try organic gardening at the detention center

Washington -- Eat better. Exercise more. And, kids, tell your school principal to swap the cafeteria's deep fryer for a salad bar.

If you don't, your doctor, teachers, parents, community and government will remind you to, because it's time to get in shape.

That was the message Tuesday from first lady Michelle Obama and a task force that unveiled its "action plan" to reverse a 30-year trend -- and return this nation's childhood obesity rate to 5 percent by 2030.

Mrs. Obama, White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes and a handful of Cabinet members stressed at a White House news briefing that Uncle Sam is not about to intrude into people's lives or tell grocers where to put their stores.

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NMPF, IDFA Criticize Wisconsin's Raw Milk Bill

Two large groups that represent the interest of the American dairy industry are taking aim at Wisconsin's pending raw milk law. The National Milk Producers Federation and International Dairy Foods Association are criticizing members of the state legislature for 'downplaying the food safety risks' inherent in raw dairy products, and urged federal lawmakers to take measures restricting such sales.

As part of the bill, which Governor Jim Doyle says he will likely sign into law, dairy farms will be able to sell milk directly to consumers through December 2011 under certain restrictions. But Jerry Kozak, president and CEO of NMPF, says the policy is irresponsible.

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The raw milk debate

Although it applies only to Wisconsin, the implications go far beyond the Badger State’s borders. The state legislature has passed a bill which would allow dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers on their farms. Advocates around the country have been keeping close tabs on the legislation as it moved through the process and now awaits the signature of Governor Jim Doyle. Some say it is a way for dairy farmers to make a little more money, others claim there are health benefits while opponents contend there are health threats especially from campylobacter and E. coli. Earlier this week the National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association voiced their opposition to the law. Meanwhile, Governor Doyle has not decided whether or not he will sign it.

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FDA finally sued over its illegal suppression of raw milk

Recently the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting family farms and their customers from unconstitutional government intrusion, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over its unconstitutional ban on the interstate sale of raw milk. The case is one of the largest the FTCLDF has ever initiated, particularly against the FDA which has been leading the unlawful crusade against raw milk for many years.

Ironically, in 1987 when the FDA first established guidelines that restricted interstate raw milk sales, the agency did so reluctantly at the behest of a court ruling prompted by a consumer group. Things have changed dramatically since that time, as the agency now aggressively leads the charge to disrupt and eliminate all raw milk sales wherever it can.

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