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News for May 18, 2010

Vt. farmer draws a line at US bid to bolster border

The Department of Homeland Security sees Morses Line as a weak link in the nation's borders, attractive to terrorists trying to smuggle in lethal materials. The government is planning an estimated $8 million renovation here as part of a nationwide effort to secure border crossings.

It intends to acquire 4.9 acres of border land on a dairy farm owned for three generations by the Rainville family. Last month, the Rainvilles learned that if they refuse to sell the land for $39,500, the government intends to seize it by eminent domain.

READ MORE (Boston Globe) ]

FSIS Report - Pre-Harvest Management Controls and Intervention Options for Reducing Escherichia Coli O157:H7 Shedding in Cattle

This guidance document provides beef slaughter establishments with an informational resource on pre-harvest management controls for reducing E. coli O157:H7 shedding in beef cattle. Non-intact beef products or intact beef products that are to be further processed into non-intact beef products prior to distribution for consumption are adulterated if found to be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 (64 FR 2904). Establishments are required to conduct a hazard analysis that includes food safety hazards that can occur before, during, or after entry into the establishment (9 CFR 417.2). Fecal shedding in cattle is a hazard that occurs at pre-harvest, before entry into the establishment. Establishments may address this hazard by incorporating purchase specifications or other programs or agreements as part of their HACCP plans or prerequisite programs to require that their suppliers implement certain pre-harvest management controls.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends that slaughter establishments receive their cattle from beef producers that implement one or more documented pre-harvest management practices to reduce fecal shedding. FSIS encourages pre-harvest interventions as the first control steps in an integrated beef products safety system. Pre-harvest interventions, adequate sanitary dressing procedures at slaughter, and adequate sanitary conditions during further processing are a part of an integrated approach to reduce the public health impact of E. coli O157:H7. Thus, beef producers, slaughterers, and processors should work together to control E. coli O157:H7 to reduce its presence in beef products.

READ MORE (FSIS) ]

Wisconsin RLC Urges Passage of Raw Milk Bill

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Wisconsin, the state affiliate of a group advocating individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise within the Republican Party, is urging Governor Jim Doyle to sign legislation that would legalize raw milk sales in Wisconsin.

"As America's Dairyland, Wisconsin should follow the other states that have legalized raw milk," said Wisconsin RLC Chairman Michael S. Murphy of Milwaukee. "There are numerous reasons the Governor should sign the law: expanded consumer choice, a new product to help our struggling Wisconsin economy, and one more tool for small farmers to expand their family budgets."

READ MORE (WI Republican Liberty Caucus) ]

Raw Milk Advocates Call on Attorney General Coakley to Investigate MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) blocked scores of citizens from participating in a public hearing held on Monday, May 10, 2010, to examine controversial proposed regulations restricting public access to raw milk. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has sent a formal letter of complaint (see below) to Attorney General Martha Coakley seeking a full investigation of what is a serious violation of the state's open meetings law. OCA is a national organization with thousands of members in Massachusetts. It promotes healthy organic foods such as raw milk.

Last Monday, May 10, hundreds of citizens, and at least one dairy cow, descended on the State Capitol to protest and testify against proposed MDAR regulations that would end, for all intents and purposes, the ability of most Massachusetts citizens to obtain fresh raw milk directly from the farm. The proposed regulations would put out of business many family farms during these hard economic times.

READ MORE (Organic Consumers Association) ]

Wisconsin governor delays decision on raw milk bill

Debate over legalizing the in-state sale of raw milk and raw milk products in Wisconsin is escalating as the clock winds down on Gov. Jim Doyle's time to sign the legislation, veto it or do nothing and let it become law.

That deadline is Thursday, May 20.

READ MORE (Capital Press) ]

Crying over raw milk: Supporters to rally on Capitol steps

The fight over legalizing raw milk sales in Wisconsin will head to the steps of the state Capitol on Tuesday, as raw milk advocates rally to urge Gov. Jim Doyle to sign a bill passed by the state legislature.

Doyle said in April he was most likely going to sign the bill, but the governor was bombarded last week with opposition to the bill from a wide range of opponents, including doctors, dairies and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation.

READ MORE (Courier-Life) ]

USDA Joins Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro in Connecticut to Highlight Efforts to Improve School Meals and Health of Nation's Children

USDA Deputy Administrator for Special Nutrition Programs Audrey Rowe and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut's 3rd Congressional District today discussed the Obama Administration's priorities for improving school meals and the health of children across the nation with participants at a Healthy Schools Roundtable at the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School in New Haven. Rowe and DeLauro met with about 20 Connecticut school officials and local, state and community leaders involved in school nutrition. The group discussed the need for a strong Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill to enhance efforts to reduce hunger, combat obesity and improve child nutrition.

"Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act is an historic opportunity to improve the well-being of kids across America," said Rowe. "Our robust discussion today demonstrates the passion and support of many groups for changes in our nutrition environment as a Nation - with the prospect of better health in the years to come."

READ MORE (USDA) ]

A Reason to Buy Organic: Pesticides Linked to ADHD

If you've been on the fence about buying organic fruits and vegetables, the latest report may push you over.

Kids with higher levels of a common pesticide found on fruit and vegetables had twice the risk for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests, according to CNN/Health.com.

READ MORE (Strollerderby) ]

Ozone boosts food safety in global transport: study

Purfresh announced results from recent third-party research that demonstrates ozone's applicability and effectiveness as a tool to improve the safety of fresh food shipped globally.

The results, from research commissioned by Purfresh and conducted by The National Food Lab, showed that controlled supplementation of ozone, an active form of oxygen, into transportation container conditions was able to kill and control the spread of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, by more than 99.997%, Listeria monocytogenes, by more than 99.999%, and E coli O157:H7, by as much as 99.9%.

READ MORE (Refrigerated Transport) ]

Pre-cut lettuce is suspected cause of food poisoning outbreak

It's convenient and popular, a healthy option for harried shoppers. But bagged lettuce suspected of causing a multi-state outbreak of E. coli illness raises new questions about whether pre-cut produce is riskier than whole vegetables.

The outbreak, which involves romaine lettuce cut up and distributed in bags to 23 states and the District, is the latest in a string of recent food poisoning cases involving pre-shredded leafy greens.

READ MORE (Washington Post) ]

Dudley barn fire linked to burning brush

A four-alarm blaze yesterday afternoon that destroyed a large barn and damaged several outbuildings at 110 Ramshorn Road was unintentional.

Jennifer L. Mieth, spokeswoman for the state fire marshal's office, said today investigators believe an ember from the open burning of agricultural brush near the barn ignited the blaze, which consumed the 80-foot by 30-foot barn and two outbuildings.

READ MORE (Telegram and Gazette) ]

Backlash prompts locavore fans to rethink, reaffirm belief

Farm names have become delicious descriptors on high-end restaurant menus across the country, and farmers markets have doubled in the past 15 years. The local-food movement has clearly hit full bloom.

But along with it, a locavore backlash also has blossomed over the past few years. This has led some to rethink their assumptions, clarify the reasons behind locavorism or simply stand firm in their preference for buying from farmers they can look in the eye.

READ MORE (Arizona Republic) ]

Food Fights Using Carrots and Sticks

I have to believe it was just a coincidence, but it was an intriguing juxtaposition just the same.

In last week's Washington Post Style section - where all the featurish soft news is reported - the lead story was about the new campaign coming out of the White House to encourage kids to eat better and exercise more. This is a part of the "Let's Move!" initiative that Michelle Obama is leading, and although it's mostly feel-good, common sense exhortations at this point, there is clearly a policy angle as part of this, aimed at the still-developing rewrite of federal dietary guidelines, and it even plays off of the health care reform bill.

READ MORE (Ag Web) ]

Switch To Organic Farming (India)

Farmers in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region are switching to organic farming and have decided to avoid the use of pesticides and other chemicals that prove harmful to the ecosystem.

Aiming to grow local products without using pesticides, the farmers have decided to use the land in such a way that it can be re-used. Re-use of land is not always possible if excess of pesticides and chemicals are used for growing crops.

READ MORE (One India) ]

NZ organic food's success must reach wider world

The organic sector is skiting about its massive growth over the past five years, with new figures showing the value of organic food production leaping almost 350 per cent.

That's an amazing growth rate and a great credit to the country's 1145 certified organic growers.

READ MORE (Stuff) ]

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