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News for November 18, 2010

Big Victory for "Hammer" FDA As Federal Food Safety Legislation Clears Senate Hurdle; MN Food Club Re-opens

"If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." Thomas Jefferson

The writer of the Declaration of Independence and our third president was certainly a prescient man. His dark vision has pretty much come to fruition. And the irony is that most of the millions who suffer the consequences through degraded health haven't a clue as to what has happened. Our government may be incompetent in many ways, but it is highly skilled at propaganda. Just as most people think the trillions in bailouts to our banks "saved us" from a depression, most also think we have the best health care in the world. And they think that "food safety" is about giving the government more power to limit the foods we have access to--really what we might refer to as food tyranny (and today, the U.S. Senate moved closer to approving S 510 by invoking cloture and thus limiting debate).

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Does the food safety bill give the FDA too much power—or not enough?

The Senate has just voted for cloture for the Food Safety Modernization Act. For those who need a civics refresher -- and Grist's food editor did -- that means up to 30 hours' worth of debate can now commence, which will begin later today. Fifty votes are needed on the motion to proceed, and then there will be votes on the amendments (including Tester-Hagan, which our Hill insiders say is still very much in play and may yet get into the manager's amendment).

Meanwhile, here is our final installment in our Food Fight over the bill. Our participants have debated -- passionately, articulately, and at great length -- whether there is in fact a food-safety crisis, whether S. 510's provisions will improve food-safety for most Americans, whether S. 510's provisions will harm small farms or producers, and whether the Tester-Hagan amendment designed to mitigate that harm puts more consumers at risk.

READ MORE (Grist) ] Raw Foods Raid – The Fight for the Right to Eat What You Want

This summer armed government agents raided Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California health food co-op. What were the agents after? Unpasteurized milk, it turns out.

Raw milk raids are happening all over the United States. The Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk consumption can cause health problems, but a growing community of raw foods enthusiasts are ignoring government recommendations and claiming that they are getting tastier, more nutritious food by going raw.


An End to Slavery in Florida?

History books tell us that the Emancipation Proclamation ended forced labor in the U.S. In reality, slavery has been alive and well ever since Abe Lincoln's famous speech. As previously reported, Florida's tomato workers are often subjected to extremely low wages, dangerous working conditions, violence, and even forced labor. Due to the work of one non-profit, however, the country just came a little bit closer to abolishing agricultural slavery.

As Barry Estabrook notes on his "Politics of the Plate" blog, the Florida Tomato Growers Exchange announced today that it joined the Campaign for Fair Food, an initiative organized by the Coalition for Immokalee Workers (CIW), an abolitionist non-profit. The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange is a tomato-production powerhouse, representing virtually all tomato growers in the state. By joining CIW's campaign, Florida Tomato Growers Exchange will ensure that the non-profit's Fair Food Principles will be extended to about 90 percent of Florida's tomato industry. " we are pleased to announce that we are coming together as an industry in which it is finally possible to say that real, verifiable change is not only possible, but underway," the CIW's Lucas Benitez said during the signing of the agreement today.


Senate moves forward on food safety bill

The Senate has voted to move forward on a far-reaching food safety bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power to prevent foodborne illnesses.

The chamber voted 74-25 to proceed with the bill. Supporters needed 60 votes because Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, had objected, saying the legislation's $1.4 billion cost isn't paid for.


Locals say Food Safety Modernization Act will devastate U.S. farmers

A Senate bill to protect against contamination could leave small East Texas farmers and others across the nation devastated. The Food Safety Modernization Act has been called the "most dangerous bill in the history of the United States."

Daren Rozell, a local peach farmer, owns a store that sells farming chemicals. He says, the bill essentially puts all food sold here in the U.S. under government control. "They (government) can control your whole farming operation," he says.





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