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News for September 13, 2010

Milk recall for pasteurization problem affects milk in five states

Milk sold in five Northeastern states has been recalled because it might not have been properly pasteurized.

New York regulators say the milk was marketed under the brand names Midland Farms, Corrado's Market, Jersey Dairy Farms and Trade Fair Premium. It went in sizes from pints to gallons to stores in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

READ MORE (Christian Science Monitor) ]

The IA Egg Producers Are Making Lots of People Sick...

Minnesota raw dairy producer Michael Hartmann has been in state court this week, pursuing a suit that would allow him to re-open his dairy. He's been shut down for about three months by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, based on an outbreak of E.coli 0157:H7 that authorities say sickened at least eight consumers of his dairy's milk.

What makes his case especially noteworthy is the fact that the authorities haven't allowed him to re-open once he could demonstrate he had resolved potential problems at his dairy. If you look at even the most notorious cases of food illness, including the current illnesses associated with eggs, factory farms associated with illness don't even get shut down, let alone have to petition a court to allow them to re-open.

READ MORE (The Complete Patient) ]

Push on for food-safety reform

When bureaucrats, lobbyists, activists and concerned parents flooded Capitol Hill to discuss food safety in February 2009, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet was barely two weeks into his term.

Tainted peanut products had spurred a salmonella outbreak, and, as the newly appointed Democrat from Colorado was attending freshman orientation and hiring staff, hearing rooms were brimming as colleagues heatedly debated the issue.

READ MORE (Durango Herald) ]

FDA Has Gone Nuts: Walnuts and Other Foods Are Drugs/

Since food is medicine, and medicine is food, the Food and Drug Administration, an agency of Health and Human Services, is requiring that claims of food health benefits by sellers, must have federal licensing and scientific proof of such claims. This is to harmonize with Codex Alimentarius, global food and drug control standards.

Dr. Gary Null writes that it is a criminal act to mention that walnuts have health benefits without FDA licensing and approval. This is being extended to all foods.

READ MORE (Journal of Living Food and Healing) ]

When Organic Can't Be Trusted

I recently made some comments about the unreliability of foreign organic standards with which a representative of the Organic Trade Association took issue. The commenter claimed, "there are systems in place to ensure that products [both foreign and domestic] bearing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label are grown and processed in a manner that they can trust. For example, U.S. organic standards require rigorous announced and unannounced third-party inspections of organic operations."

That's what we would all like to think. But this system requires an awful lot of trust in third parties, be they private or governmental. In developing countries particularly, corruption can be rampant. There's a ton of incentive and not much disincentive to simply lie and say the standards are being met when they aren't. And though U.S. organic laws require that foreign producers receive an on-site review, there just isn't enough staff to do so in a timely manner (heck, the understaffed USDA barely has the time to keep tabs on our own farmers). But the real proof is in the "organic" pudding, and countries like China have a long history of organic violations, some of which are downright dangerous.


Americans Just Don't Like Healthy Food

Here in the U.S., we've never really grown up: Just like when we were five, many of us still prefer to feed our vegetables to the dog when no one's looking instead of eating them ourselves. Our scientists and public policy makers have come to recognize how important fruits and vegetables are for our diets — as evidenced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new food pyramid that puts fruits and vegetables second only to whole grains — but average Americans still aren't upping their intake of these foods.

According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about one-third of American adults ate two servings of fruit or fruit juice a day last year, which is a drop from the rate of fruit consumption a decade earlier. We consume about the same amount of vegetables we did a decade ago, which is to say, not enough: Just 26 percent of American adults report eating vegetables the recommended three or more times per day, the Washington Post reports.


Non-Profits Sue the USDA Over Genetically Modified Sugar Beets

When even government agencies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) break the law, it's kind of easy to understand why Americans are generally distrusting of lawmakers. Luckily, watchdog groups like Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety are here to keep USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his underlings in line.

The two non-profits recently filed a lawsuit against the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on the behalf of the Center for Food Safety, Organic Seed Alliance, High Mowing Organic Seeds, and the Sierra Club. As I blogged earlier this week, the USDA recently announced that it would start issuing permits to plant Monsanto's genetically engineered (GE), Roundup Ready sugar beets. If that decision sets off alarm bells for you, here's why: Less than one month ago, a Federal District Court Judge ruled that the USDA could not legally approve GE sugar beets without first conducting an environmental impact statement (EIS), a process that typically takes about two years. The USDA disregarded the judge's ruling, jumped the gun, and now Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety lawyers are throwing the book at the agency. Bet those GE sugar beets don't taste so sweet now, huh, Vilsack?


Farmer's 24 hour milk filling station a hit

A German dairy farmer has come up with a novel way to drum up new business -- he opened a "milk filling station."

The "Milchtankstelle" near Cologne in the town of Neunkirchen-Seelscheid dispenses the output of 78 cows from a stainless steel vending machine. Customers can either bring their own empty containers or buy milk bottles to fill up.

READ MORE (Reuters) ]

41 words inside S. 510

“Food safety” under S 510 is a red herring. But it is worse. S 510 would significantly undermine the safety of food. So, if not “food safety,” what is S 510 about then? Corporate global governance. The World Trade Organization.

International bankers and corporations have made profound moves against the US economy and the democratic rights of citizens – from the bailouts to Citizens United – but the WTO portion of S 510 appears to be their ultimate corporate jewel — a single sentence — buried under section after section on contaminated food within hundreds of pages of the bill.

READ MORE (Food Freedom) ]

Food Fascism in the Land of the Free

The food industry is no longer a free market. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s becoming the most glaring example of corporate-government fascism in America.

Actual monopolies fully control the basic building blocks of the food that makes up the majority of the American diet — and no one seems to care. Simply put, those who control the corn, wheat, and soybeans control all food, since all livestock and all processed foods are dependent on those food resources. These monopolies place their cronies in government regulatory agencies like the FDA and USDA to weed out their competition through excessive regulation. Currently proposed legislation are textbook examples of their methods.

READ MORE (Activist Post) ]

Framingham's Eastleigh Farm celebrates raw milk days

The sweet taste of raw milk brought Ed Windisch to Eastleigh Farm yesterday during the Northeast Organic Farming Association's Raw Milk Days.

"Once you have tasted raw milk, you will notice the difference," said Windisch. "I grew up in western Pennsylvania and there were a lot of fresh milk farms. I used to love to get raw milk in Holliston, but they closed down. I get raw milk wherever I can."

READ MORE (MetroWest Daily) ]




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