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News for May 17, 2010

Pasteurized Milk: Beware of the Deadly Issues, Part I

The effort to sanitize food to death, literally, is most obvious in the war on organic, raw unpasteurized milk. This war is peaking again. Instead of outright unnecessarily brutal raids on small dairy farmers, the FDA has recruited state health officials to ramp up legal requirements that don't make anything healthier; they just make it impossible for small dairy farmers to survive. Pasteurized milk is traced to many poor health conditions. Got milk?

READ MORE (Natural News) ]

Groups urge veto of Wisconsin raw milk bill

Cheesemakers, doctors, veterinarians and other opponents of legalizing raw milk sales in Wisconsin urged Gov. Jim Doyle on Friday to veto the bill, citing safety risks.

Doyle last month indicated he was likely to sign it into law, but this week began to back off those statements after being barraged with opposition to the plan. Doyle now says he needs more time to study the issue and he hasn't decided what to do.

READ MORE (San Francisco Chronicle)]

Dem Congress just getting warmed up

S.510, the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010, requires federal definition of "food," federal certification of "food" before it can be sold (even from a farmers' market), federal licensing of food growers (formerly known as farmers), processors and sellers – all in the name of "food safety," of course, and funded by a new food tax (VAT tax?), of course.

It looks like a couple of outbreaks of salmonella in eggs or peanut butter (even when no one died) is enough of a "crisis" to advance the agenda of total federal takeover of the largely free-market, American food-producing cornucopia. Three generations ago, 40 percent of Americans worked on the farm. Today, 2 percent do, and they produce more food of higher quality for more people at a lower price than their ancestors did. Democrats believe it's time to step in and stop the success.

READ MORE (World Net Daily)]

Food labeling at Oregon farmer's markets depends on where it's eaten

Farmers and others selling raw products, such as produce or packaged goods to be used at customers' homes, are licensed by the state's Food Safety Division, said its administrator Vance Bybee. Those vendors must clearly identify what's in their products, he said.

However, if a vendor is a restaurant and selling goods intended to be eaten immediately at the farmer's market, it would be licensed by the Multnomah County's Health Division. That agency, which already holds its license holders to particular standards and investigates those establishments, doesn't require food labels, Bybee said.

READ MORE (The Oregonian)]

The Case for Sustainable Meat

The consumption of meat has come under increasing scrutiny for a variety of ecological reasons, from resource efficiency to water pollution to climate change. Livestock, particularly ruminant animals, like cattle and sheep, play a critical role in all of these current global problems. Managed improperly, as we’ve seen, they are a big part of the problem; but stewarded properly, they can also be a part of the solution.

Because it's inefficient to raise ruminants on grain, the consumption of these animals as a food source has been criticized by some as a ruinous misuse of cropland. The calculated ratio of the amount of grain an animal requires to gain a pound of weight is called the conversion factor. When grain is fed to fish, the conversion ratio is about 1.25 to 1; in other words, for every 1.25 pounds of grain product fed to a fish, there is a pound of weight gain. The conversion ratio for chicken is 2 pounds of feed per pound of gain on the bird. Pork requires 4 pounds per pound of gain. And when ruminants enter the equation, it skyrockets: estimates vary, but generally lambs require 8 pounds of feed for a pound of weight gain, and beef cattle consume some 9 pounds of feed per pound of gain.

READ MORE (Yes! Magazine)]

Thin school lunch funding producing fat kids

Trimming the fat from America's youth will require completely changing how America eats, and a good starting place is school lunch. Yet the national school lunch legislation moving through the Senate won't put better foods on the menu.

Under the current funding formula, once overhead costs are subtracted, schools have about 90 cents per meal for ingredients. The bill proposes increasing funding by 6 cents per meal per day over 10 years.

READ MORE (San Francisco Chronicle)]

A Better Year for Livestock Producers

Following two years of tough economic times for livestock producers, 2010 is shaping up to be a much better year thanks to an improving economy and tighter supplies of beef, pork and poultry.

“Livestock producers have seen a return to profitability in the past two months after going through probably the worst economic situation anyone can remember in 2008 and 2009,” said John Anderson, livestock economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. “This is certainly good news for livestock producers because it provides a good opportunity to rebuild equity.”

READ MORE (Natural Resource Report)]

GAO Report - FDA Could Strengthen Oversight of Imported Food by Improving Enforcement and Seeking Additional Authorities

Food imported from around the world constitutes a substantial and increasing percentage of the U.S. food supply. Ensuring the safety of imported food challenges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better target its resources on the foods posing the greatest risks to public health and to coordinate efforts with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) so that unsafe food does not enter U.S. commerce.

This testimony focuses on (1) FDA’s overseas inspections, (2) identified gaps in agencies’ enforcement efforts to ensure the safety of imported food, and (3) statutory authorities that GAO has identified that could help FDA’s oversight of food safety. This testimony is principally based on GAO’s September 2009 report, Food Safety: Agencies Need to Address Gaps in Enforcement and Collaboration to Enhance Safety of Imported Food (GAO-09-873) and has been updated with information from FDA.

READ MORE (GAO)]

Politics of the Plate

Recession Ends for Organic Retailers, What Happens When You Water Plants with BPA? and other stories.

READ MORE (Politics of the Plate)]

Think eating "organic" meat is okay? Think again

An undercover investigation into an organic slaughterhouse has challenged the assumption that ethically certified meat is any better than the regular kind.

The British animal welfare organization Animal Aid secretly planted cameras inside a slaughterhouse operated by Tom Lang, whose facility had been certified for the "humane slaughter" of organic animals by the Soil Association. The organization chose Lang's slaughterhouse precisely because it is certified to the highest standard available in the United Kingdom.

READ MORE (Natural News)]

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