News for July 27, 2010
Attacks on Raw Foods Accelerate to Police State Levels
With specious claims and a police state mentality, the attacks on raw milk and other raw foods multiply. Well coordinated raids on farms and shops that produce and distribute raw foods are being done to intimidate the producers. They are effectively being informed that it doesn't matter if they're innocent or right, they'll be driven out of business by harrassment, costs to defend themselves, and even prison.
Unless you choose a diet of pure junk food and want Big Pharma and Agribusiness dictating what you eat, you have a strong interest in what's going on. We are all effectively being put behind bars. We're losing our freedoms of speech and association, and the implied rights to freedom of food and health are under attack. The FDA has actually stated that we have no right to food freedom or health!
[ READ MORE (Gaia Health) ]
The Heart of Teaching and Learning: The Kids Want Kale
The children at Bronx Prep are clamoring for vegetables. Not fries soaked in hot sauce from the Chinese take-out across the street from the school on Third Avenue in the South Bronx. 2010-07-26-veg1.jpg Not ranch-drenched iceberg lettuce from the Wendy's down the block. Nope. These kids want the good stuff. Fresh. Organic. Locally grown.
I've been teaching at Bronx Prep for seven years, bringing my lunch to school in a plastic container most days since the beginning. A lot of things have changed since my first year teaching back in 2003--my kids aren't beating each other up in the back of my room anymore, for starters. But while I may be getting some respect in the classroom nowadays, in the lunchroom it's always been a different story.
[ READ MORE (Huffington Post) ]
Board of health takes up raw milk proposal
The Teton County Board of Health is slated to discuss a proposal today that would allow valley business owners to sell unpasteurized milk.
The proposal was submitted to the board by staff from Jackson Whole Grocer. The proposal comes roughly three months after county health inspectors forced the store to stop selling unpasteurized milk.
[ READ MORE (Jackson Hole Daily) ]
Growers look to industry groups over FDA for GAPs information
Growers and buyers agree that industry associations, commodity boards, university research and others guide good agricultural practice standards instead of the Food and Drug Administration.
Those were some of the findings of an FDA-commissioned study designed to determine growers’ awareness, knowledge and adoption of GAPs and the agency’s GAPs guide.
[ READ MORE (The Packer) ]
An Exchange on Raw Milk
We've already received more than 800 comments on Deborah Blum's takedown of unpasteurized milk from last week ("The Raw-Milk Deal"). Many of those came from readers questioning her evidence and conclusions. One critic of the piece is Slate's critic at large, Stephen Metcalf, who sends in the following comment:
Between 1993 and 2006, roughly 65,000 people in the United States died from a foodborne illness. Of those, after reading Deborah Blum's article, guess how many died from drinking unpasteurized dairy products? One percent would be 650; 0.1 percent would be 65. Keep going. The right answer is 0.003 percent of all those fatalities. That's a grand total of 2 people in 13 years. Let's put this number in perspective. In that same period, more than 300,000 Americans died from gunshot wounds. More than 150,000 from drunk driving. Over 4 million from cigarettes. Raw milk currently has a market penetration of 0.5 percent. If we imagined that number increasing by a hundredfold (i.e., if half of all milk consumed in the United States were unpasteurized), then we'd expect that 15 people would die from raw milk illness every year, given current outbreak/mortality rates. Even if everyone in America drank raw milk, ceteris paribus, more people would still die from eating contaminated beef.
[ READ MORE (Slate) ]
Indiana Consumers Hold Farmers Responsible for Food Safety And Animal Care
Representatives from up and down the food chain gathered in Indianapolis on Monday for the first Indiana Food Roundtable. Sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the daylong meeting brought together farmers, food processors, consumer, and environmental groups to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the industry today, including food safety, animal care, antibiotics, and environmental sustainability. Charlie Arnot, CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, presented research data on what food issues were of most concern to Hoosiers. Topping the list was food safety. Arrnot says issues that directly impact consumers tend to get ranked the highest. The data indicated that consumers hold farmers responsible for insuring food safety, “Consumers believe that the farmer has the responsibility to make sure the food that leaves the farm is a safe food product.”
The research indicated a growing mistrust of the food production system by consumers. Arnot says this is because consumers do not understand how food is produced today. He said agriculture must find a way to become more transparent, “We have to show consumers what happens on today’s farms, and we can do that with farm tours on You Tube, we can find ways to make our farms more accessible.” Many consumers are not comfortable with some of the technology used in food production today because of a lack of observability. Arnot warns, however, that it is not just about what farmers do but why they do it. The values producers have will influence consumers more than the science.
[ READ MORE (Hoosier Ag Today) ]
Local organic food: An answer or a sure path to disaster?
If there is a hotter topic in the publishing industry than local organic food, I don't know what it is. Two books that recently crossed my desk take decidedly divergent approaches to the problem of commercial agriculture, though both authors agree that commercial agriculture is a problem.
There the similarity ends.
[ READ MORE (Vancouver Sun) ]
Imagining Bad Things: Yes, the Food Raids Are Wonderful Marketing, But the Risks Are Mounting As Well
It's often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So it is with the video showing officers from the Los Angeles District Attorney entering the Rawesome Foods warehouse with guns drawn. Though there have been a number of raids on farms and buying organizations, this is the first time I'm aware they've been captured on video. Seems the agents didn't cover up the surveillance cameras quickly enough...or maybe they wanted to be seen in battle mode, for the full intimidation effect.
I spoke with James Stewart, the manager of the Rawesome Foods warehouse (which he launched together with Aajonus Vonderplanitz in 2005) on Friday, and he told me that even before the raid, membership growth had been steady and accelerating. It grew to 500 over the first three years, and in the last two years has increased to 1,500 member. Just since the raid took place three weeks ago, membership increased by 200. And that was before the video of the raid became public. I can only presume membership growth will continue to accelerate.
[ READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]
Russian Immigrant to Canada Discovers Healing Power of Raw Milk
Raw milk, which I prefer to call real milk, is very controversial today. This is a story of two kinds of milk: the swill milk made from distillery garbage that caused death; and the real milk from grassfed cows, that gave life. These two milks had a tremendous impact in the life of my grandfather, who became the first member of his family to be a dairy farmer.
My grandfather, Abraham Fishman, was the most competent man I ever met. It seemed he could do anything: from painting a house; to fixing a car; to prospering during the Great Depression; to starting business after business that was always successful; to teaching himself how to speak English without an accent (though he had emigrated from Russia when he was 14, and never went to school).
[ READ MORE (Hartke) ]