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News for August 26, 2010

Beyond Pathogens: The Question Around Raw Milk That Few in the Scientific Community Want to Consider

You may be familiar with the elephant-in-the-living-room teaching moment. The group leader helps to expose the "elephant" as the overwhelming previously-invisible presence influencing the group's process. It's the assumption that noone speaks of either because it's too obvious, or everyone believes it, or no-one wants to talk about it - usually, a combination.

One elephant in the raw milk discussion is this: why doesn't everyone get sick when there is a cluster of apparently food-born illness? Through studies which tilt heavily to the circumstantial and often far away from hard science, epidemiologists (usually over-worked and under-funded health department employees) wage an ex-post-facto effort to find a pathogen to blame. This search is based on the premise that an external agent (germ) has invaded. Other possible scenarios are given short shrift, and a more sophisticated understanding of how food-borne illness occurs, gets lost.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Wyoming Food Freedom

Long before the advent of mass production, multi-national corporations, protectionist unions, and overzealous bureaucrats, the Good Lord and Mother Nature created human beings dependent on food harvested from living plants and living animals. This is one of the most intrinsic facts of life without which we cannot survive. As living plant and animal tissue, everything we consume to sustain life, also carries with it the possibility of disease and decay. If our prehistoric ancestors had not figured out how to handle, prepare and store these foods safely, none of us would be alive today.

The United States has allegedly the safest food system in the world, and yet every day we hear about another horrific outbreak of foodborne disease...almost always traced to some huge food processing plant. We hear about underpaid, overworked assembly line, factory production, food industry workers neglecting to do essential steps, or making mistakes that cost lives.

READ MORE (FTCLDF) ]

Hearing over raw milk producer continues today

Testimony continues Wednesday in a Sibley County District Court trial about raw milk products made at a dairy farm linked to an E. coli outbreak.

The state wants a court order to destroy stored inventories of cheese, ice cream and other products on the Michael Hartmann farm near Gibbon. The state says the farm is unsanitary, and the food could be contaminated.

READ MORE (MPR) ]

Small farmers can deliver safer food than agribusiness

"The chickens are coming home to roost" could be the tale told of the massive egg recall because of a salmonella outbreak. The federal government, because of lobbying efforts by corporate megafarms, has been waging a war against local food and small farmers for years. Somehow the concept of centralized, mechanized, factory food production is supposed to be healthier and safer for consumers.

Through government regulations the costs for small farmers are constantly on the increase as the rules are set to make a local farmer meet the same “safe food” standards that the corporate farms have to meet. But the standards have little to do with food safety and more to do with fees and forms and government bureaucracy.

READ MORE (Citizen-Times) ]

Local food initiatives can help to reconnect consumers to the land

Recently, at the farmers market, a woman rushed over to me excitedly, seeking out the vendor with the fresh eggs that her friend had told her about.

“She told me the yolks were deep yellow, and the eggs were the best she had ever tasted! How does he grow them?” she went on to ask.

READ MORE (Farm and Dairy) ]

Making connections: Workshop helps to get local food in school lunchrooms

During the next week, teachers from all over Windham County will be in their classrooms getting ready for the first day of school.

Parents will be doing their last minute back-to-school shopping while students will be counting down the last days of summer.

READ MORE (Brattleboro Reformer) ]

Dairy drops state license

Calling Oregon Department of Agriculture's policies misguided, owners of the Siskiyou Crest Goat Dairy on Monday voluntarily renounced their state-sanctioned Grade A creamery dairy license.

In addition to giving up the highest ODA rating achievable for an Oregon dairy, Michael "Mookie" Moss and his father, Roger, co-owners of Boone's Farm half a dozen miles south of Jacksonville, launched a herd share program - allowing customers to own a portion of the herd - to make it easier for them to provide raw milk and other raw dairy products.

READ MORE (Mail and Tribune) ]

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