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News for November 22, 2010

Food Safety Update: Final Senate Action Set for Right After Thanksgiving

Late Wednesday, November 17, a deal was reached on a revised version of the Tester-Hagan small farm amendment to S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. The revised amendment, which NSAC helped broker, was then placed into a revised version of the Manager’s amendment to the bill. The Manager’s amendment also includes several other NSAC-backed amendments that improve the underlying bill on issues related to family farms, conservation, and local and regional food systems.

On Thursday, the Senate approved a motion to proceed to consideration of the bill by a vote of 57-27. However, action on the food safety bill remains stalled in Senate, in part because Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) want to offer non-germane amendments dealing with a ban on congressional earmarks until 2013 and repeal of a tax-related section of the health care act, respectively.

READ MORE (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) ]

Food Safety Bill Pits Industry Against Small Farms

Last week, the U.S. Senate gave itself a second 30-hour window to debate S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. That legislation would ramp up Food and Drug Administration regulations for the U.S. food production industry – all the way down to small farm markets and food processors.

The bill would likely give FDA final say over raw milk and cheese marketing. And the agency is already in legal battles with three small-scale cheese manufacturers.

READ MORE (American Agriculturalist) ]

Senate Bill 510 Food Safety? The FDA has killed far more people than contaminated eggs or lettuce

Proponents of Senate Bill 510 — the Food Safety and Modernization Act — keep trying to claim that we need the FDA to protect us from tainted eggs, lettuce, onions and spinach. On the surface, it seems like a reasonable argument: No one should ever die from unsafe food in America, right?

But to accomplish a net reduction in deaths, you'd need to grant power over the food supply to some organization that actually respects human life... and the FDA is not that organization. In fact, as we have documented here on NaturalNews over the last seven years, the FDA is responsible for far more deaths of Americans than all the terrorist events in the history of the world -- combined!

READ MORE (Natural News) ]

In OPDC-Girl Scout Alliance, U of CA Busybody Is the Anti-Educator, But Indicative of a Worrisome Trend

I was curious what all this commotion about the California Girl Scouts and Organic Pastures was all about, so I asked Mark McAfee to send me some background info. As soon as I saw the illustration for the Girl Scout “Raw Milk Badge”, all I could do was smile. What a neat idea.

What makes me feel warm and fuzzy about this particular initiative (aside from the clever marketing tactic by OPDC in becoming a Girl Scout sponsor) is that it is educational, and educational about food and health. I have become ever more convinced as I’ve observed from close up the increasingly hostile debate over food rights that one of the big gaps in our educational system is a failure to familiarize children with basic concepts around health and food. They don’t seem to learn much about different approaches to growing food and maintaining good health. As someone once said to me, “Too many kids think that milk comes from plastic jugs.” (Another big educational gap is a failure to teach kids about money and finances, but that’s a subject for another time.)

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Do we have the right to consume food of our choosing?

On Tuesday November 23, 2010 at 1:30 PM, Mark Tijssen will be back in an Ottawa courtroom at Provincial Court of Justice, 100 Constellation Crescent in Ottawa accompanied again by Michael Schmidt. Tijssen is the Carlsbad Springs man charged with four counts under the Ontario Food Safety and Quality Act for slaughtering a pig and sharing the meat with a friend in November of 2009. Schmidt is the Durham, Ontario dairy farmer, famous for having defeated 19 counts relating to the sale of raw milk last January. The common goals of food choice and freedom from oppressive laws that limit that choice have brought these two men together. Both are members of the Ontario Landowners Association which has a history of defending fundamental and property rights.

This Tuesday’s hearing will air two motions. The first will be for the return of Tijssen’s home meat handling equipment ranging from Ziploc bags to a 65 year old fridge that belonged to his grandparents, seized without warrant in an after-dark armed raid last November. The second motion will request that, due to the complexity of this case, Tijssen’s trial scheduled for 14 to 17 February of next year be presided over by a Provincial Court judge. In addition to these motions, Tijssen has filed a Notice of Constitutional Question noting transgressions to multiple Sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tijssen, a single father of two sons, notes that accepting an offer from the Crown to settle for a guilty plea and a $1000 fine would have been far less stressful for himself and the boys; however, even at their young ages, they support their father’s decision to fight injustice. “My boys realize that this affects things as simple as taking a home-made pepperoni stick to school in their lunches. To make matters worse, the Ontario Food Safety and Quality Act under which I am charged”, he says “is a draconian piece of legislation that threatens the safety of all Ontarians. If food choice ceases to exist in this province, there will be no alternative but to consume meat put on Styrofoam platters by a very few huge commercial meat packers – and recent history has shown that this can be a fatal choice.”

READ MORE (Canada Free Press) ]

Largest US egg producer exposed for extreme inhumane treatment of hens

An undercover investigation prompted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has revealed horrific conditions at hen houses owned by the nation's largest egg producing company. Cal-Maine, a Jackson, Miss.-based egg producer that owns 26 million birds and sells eight billion eggs a year, operates a massive factory egg plant in Waelder, Texas, that an HSUS investigator found to be ridden with filth, disease, and death.

HSUS discreetly hired one of its own to work at the Cal-Maine plant for about a month in order to document what was happening there while incognito. During that time, the investigator noted "multiple abuses and food safety threats," many of which are highly shocking.

READ MORE (Natural News) ]

Factory Farmed Milk? One British Group says, "Not in My Cuppa!"

What could be more British than a nice cup of tea? Small scale and family dairy farms, says one sustainable food organization. The World Society for the Protection of Animals has launched the "Not In My Cuppa" campaign to combat recent plans for the very first large-scale dairy farm in Great Britain. The campaign is asking folks to send in text messages, pictures, videos, letters, and more saying they won't put factory farmed milk in their tea. And for those who are not tea-inclined, you can pledge not to use factory farmed dairy in your coffee, latte, cereal, and more.

The average British dairy farm has just 100 cows that are milked twice a day and graze outdoors six months or more of the year. Nocton Dairies, however, proposed a farm with 8,100 cows that will be milked three times a day and could see sunlight as few as two months out of the year (if they are let out in the fields at all, that is). While Nocton Dairies recently dropped the number of cows to 3,800, the conditions animals will be kept in remain the same, and Nocton says it has every intention of gradually beefing up its number of milking cows. Each factory-farmed cow would produce thousands of gallons of milk each year, but live one year less on average than cows that reside on small farms.


Pigford II Settlement Funding Clears Senate

On Friday, November 19, the Senate finally passed a bill to fund the Pigford II class action lawsuit settlement between black farmers and USDA, along with funding for the Cobell settlement between Indian tribes and the Department of the Interior.

Also included in the legislation was resolution of tribal water rights claims for the White Mountain Apache, Crow, Taos Pueblo, and Aamodt Tribes plus a one-year extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

READ MORE (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) ]

Why the Biggest Thanksgiving Lie May Be the Turkey on Your Table

What could be more natural a pairing than turkey and Thanksgiving? For one day a year, we sit down with our family and friends to dine on thoroughly American, seasonal fare, just like the Pilgrims did, together with the Native Americans, when celebrating their first successful harvest.

Only, very little of that myth that we retell each year is true. Among the falsehoods are the turkeys who sit in the center of so many Thanksgiving tables -- these birds bear very little relation to the turkeys the pilgrims would have enjoyed -- if they did at all.

READ MORE (Alternet) ]




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