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News for July 15, 2010

Raids are increasing on farms and private food-supply clubs - here are 5 tips for surviving one

When the 20 agents arrived bearing a search warrant at her Ventura County farmhouse door at 7 a.m. on a Wednesday a couple weeks back, Sharon Palmer didn't know what to say. This was the third time she was being raided in 18 months, and she had thought she was on her way to resolving the problem over labeling of her goat cheese that prompted the other two raids. (In addition to producing goat's milk, she raises cattle, pigs, and chickens, and makes the meat available via a CSA.)

But her 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine, wasn't the least bit tongue-tied. "She started back-talking to them," recalls Palmer. "She said, 'If you take my computer again, I can't do my homework.' This would be the third computer we will have lost. I still haven't gotten the computers back that they took in the previous two raids."

READ MORE (Daily Mail) ]

Eat this red meat with confidence

Did you see yesterday’s Associated Press story, “Eating Red Meat Linked to Early Death, Study Says”? Briefly, the story details the results of a study of more than a half million AARP members aged 50-71 who were surveyed on their eating habits, then followed for 10 years. Turns out, red meat emerges as the bad guy again. But before the headline scares you away from ever enjoying another juicy hamburger, remember that eggs, bacon and coconut oil have all suffered from bad reputations, as well. By now, discerning, health-conscious people have learned not to rush to ban a particular food. Many of us now want proof, so we dig deeper, ask questions.

In this case, the questions go like this: How much meat did the folks in the study consume? Where did it come from? A fast-food joint, perhaps, one that serves meat from a factory feedlot where the animals routinely get steady low doses of antibiotics, among other things?

READ MORE (Boston Examiner) ]

Raw milk working group meets

As a deadline nears a group of raw milk experts on both sides of the debate come together to discuss a way forward. But will it matter if the legislature and governor still can't agree?

It's called the raw milk policy working group, and its job is to find common ground on a subject that, so far, has been nothing but decisive. With 22 members, including dairy farmers, vets, professors and business leaders, the working group's assignment is to decide whether raw milk sales should be expanded in Wisconsin.

READ MORE (WKOW) ]

Farmers direct dairy sales grow

Tumbling milk prices have enraged European dairy farmers over the past two years, but one Czech farmer has found a creative way to increase profits by bringing his milk directly to customers and, in the process, has created a new business model.

Residents of Plzeň, west Bohemia, have seen something new at farmers' markets in the past few weeks as dairy farmer Jaromír Boháček has inaugurated an innovative way of selling milk: a milk truck. Boháček, owner of Líšťany Farms, which produces 6,000 liters of milk daily from 236 cows, says low milk prices over the past two years left him in dire straits but have sparked a successful solution.

READ MORE (Prague Post) ]

Antibiotics in livestock affect humans, USDA testifies

There is a clear link between the use of antibiotics in livestock and drug resistance in humans, President Barack Obama's administration says, a position sharply at odds with agribusiness interests.

In testimony to a House committee on Wednesday, even the Agriculture Department, which livestock producers have traditionally relied on to advocate for their interests, backed the idea of a link between animal use of antibiotics and human health.

READ MORE (Des Moines Register) ]

National Organic Coalition to FDA: Bring reason to food safety frenzy

From the perspective of farmers, consumers, and those organizations who work with them, the food safety debate has become extremely complicated, duplicative, confusing, and frenzied.

Congress is currently considering food safety legislation, FDA and USDA are both publicly contemplating their own produce food safety regulations, State governments (such as California, Arizona, and Florida) have already implemented their own produce food safety regulations, and private industry buyers are competing with each other to set their own food safety requirements for the farmers and wholesalers who supply them with produce. It is no wonder that farmers and consumers are overwhelmed and fatigued by the food safety debate.

READ MORE (The Packer) ]

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