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News for June 1, 2010

US re-envisions its rural economy

THE Obama Administration has a vision to rebuild the country's rural economy that includes creating a parallel universe of local and regional markets and "food hub" distribution centers that will help small - maybe even all - farmers market their production closer to home.

Earlier this month, the US Department of Agriculture released a "gap analysis" that maps the locations of small livestock producers by county and compares production to the availability of small slaughter processing facilities as well as rendering plants. The study was conducted as part of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative.

READ MORE (Stock & Land) ]

WI Poll results

More than half of Chippewa.com poll voters wished Gov. Jim Doyle would have signed a bill that would have allowed for the sale of raw milk, which he vetoed after saying he would likely sign it.

Of the 631 poll takers, 53.9 percent said Doyle should've signed the bill into law. However, 29.0 percent said he should have vetoed it, and 17.1 percent said Doyle should have told legislators weeks ago that he would veto the bill.

READ MORE (Chippewa Herald) ]

Chicken safety crosses the road

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced new rules for the poultry industry designed to reduce salmonella and campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. The revised standards are expected to prevent tens of thousands of human illnesses each year.

This is good news for consumers. Our latest tests found bacterial contamination in 66 percent of chickens from more than 100 stores. After two years under the new standards, the USDA estimates that 39,000 illnesses will be avoided each year under the new campylobacter standards, and 26,000 fewer illnesses each year under the revised salmonella standards.

READ MORE (Consumer Reports) ]

Dairy Intolerance Vanishes with Raw Milk

Two and a half years ago, I had no idea what I was in for.

Fast forward about 15 months and I had a 13-month-old who we discovered couldn't eat dairy. A 13-month-old who was still breastfeeding. I couldn't bring myself to give it up, and since she wasn't breastfeeding too often, I just had a little bit. Her favorite type of cheese was mozzarella - the kind you buy in a bag in a store labeled "low-moisture, part-skim." Unfortunately, it was also the type to which she reacted worst. After eating this cheese, she would have horrible diaper rashes, bad diarrhea, eczema over her whole body, and she'd wake several times each night. Once we took cheese out of her diet, she did much better.

READ MORE (Hartke Is Online) ]

How safe is that chicken?

You would think that after years of alarms about food safety-outbreaks of illness followed by renewed efforts at cleanup-a staple like chicken would be a lot safer to eat. But in our latest analysis of fresh, whole broilers bought at stores nationwide, two-thirds harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. That's a modest improvement since January 2007, when we found that eight of 10 broilers harbored those pathogens. But the numbers are still far too high, especially for campylobacter. Though the government has been talking about regulating it for years, it has yet to do so.

The message is clear: Consumers still can't let down their guard. They must cook chicken to at least 165 degrees F and prevent raw chicken or its juices from touching any other food.

READ MORE (Consumer Reports) ]

Food safety bill worries farmers

The recent outbreaks of contaminated peanuts, spinach and salsa have "poured gasoline on the discussion" over food safety legislation.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a food safety bill last summer, and the U.S. Senate is expected to take up a different version soon.

READ MORE (Blue Ridge Now) ]

Raw milk advocates worry about crackdown after E. coli outbreak

Consumers of raw dairy products are worried about a crackdown, after four people got sick from drinking unpasteurized milk tainted with E. coli.

Minnesota law allows farmers to sell their raw milk occasionally and directly at the farms where it's produced. But many people buy raw dairy products at underground drop sites.

READ MORE (MN Public Radio) ]

Biodynamics Magazine on Raw Milk

Our Summer 2010 issue of Biodynamics focuses on issues surrounding raw milk production, distribution, and consumption - what's happening, why it matters, and what's at stake.

READ MORE (Biodynamics) ]

Food Freedom: An Interview with David Gumpert

David Gumpert's new book, The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle Over Food Rights, goes behind the scenes of state governments' crackdowns on raw milk producers. Gumpert is a journalist who specializes in the intersection of health and business. He has covered the battles over raw milk on his blog, www.thecompletepatient.com. Gumpert has emerged recently as an important voice in the areas of raw milk and food rights.

READ MORE (Biodynamics) ]

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