Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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Defending the rights and broadening the freedoms of family farms and protecting
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News for October 4, 2010

Should the government or consumers weigh risks and benefits of raw milk?

Got milk? Unpasteurized milk, that is.

Whether consumers should be allowed to purchase unpasteurized milk has been a hot topic in Michigan for years. Although its sale is illegal in the state, the debate over its availability and health risks is ongoing.

READ MORE (Great Lake Echo) ]

As Eliot Coleman Prepares to Add Cattle to His Farm...

When I last saw Eliot Coleman prior to this past weekend, it was 1973 and he was still clearing boulders and tree stumps from his farm fields on Maine's Cape Rossier to add to the small plots he had under cultivation. I was a reporter with The Wall Street Journal, and profiled him in two articles, two years apart, that were among the most widely read in WSJ history to that time. (Here's a link to the first article reprinted in Mother Earth News, inexplicably minus my by-line; I haven't found an Internet version of the followup, in 1973.)

Now 71, Coleman still patrols his fields with great determination and energy. The boulders and tree stumps are pretty much gone, replaced by pasture, mobile greenhouses, and fields resplendent in beautiful kale, broccoli, lettuce and other vegetables. He's since achieved fame as one of the world's foremost authorities on organic gardening, and in particular, on raising organic vegetables year-round in hostile environments like that of Maine.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Elixir Or Toxin?

Got milk? Ontario milk activist Michael Schmidt does. He's got 75-gallons of pure unpasteurized milk a day to deal with that he's prepared to pour it down Fraser Health's throat after picking up the fight to consume raw milk where Home on the Range ajister, Alice Jongerden, left off.

Milk can breed salmonella, E, Coli and listeria. People who produce milk privately are allowed to consume their own products but Canadian law doesn't allow sales of raw unpasteurized milk. On the other hand, advocates of the $15/bottle raw milk say it has good bacteria, minerals and enzymes that are destroyed by their germ-killing treatments in pasteurized milk.

READ MORE (Valley Voice) ]

Britain’s raw milk business booms

It was 7am when the first customer for raw milk drove into the Window’s family dairy farm near Birmingham, England. The man took 100 gallons right out of the tank. It was for the Sikh temple in downtown Birmingham, which serves three meals a day for whoever wants one.

The customers keep coming – the elderly English gent, also picking fruits and vegetables from the shop shelves after his milk jugs were filled, the turbaned man with a beard and handle bar moustache, the housewife rushing, needing to be somewhere else.

READ MORE (The Bovine) ]

Federal Court Strikes Down Ohio Ban on "rBGH Free" Milk Label

Those of us who prefer our milk hormone-free have a reason to celebrate. A federal judge just struck down an Ohio law banning the use of the "rBGH free" label. Ohio was the last state to maintain such a ban after a largely unsuccessful campaign by a Monsanto-backed trade group a few years ago. The reasoning for the ban was that milk from cows treated with the growth hormone was compositionally identical to milk from untreated cows, and thus the ban was misleading. Industry groups argued, as they always do, that the label implied that the milk from treated cows was inferior or unsafe.

The Appeals Court Judge ruled that not only was that logic flawed, but that milk from cows treated with rBGH is compositionally different from untreated milk. According to the ruling, "the use of rbST in milk production has been shown to elevate the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally-occurring hormone that in high levels is linked to several types of cancers, among other things." The plaintiffs found that milk produced during what should be the cow's "downphase," thanks to the hormone contained higher levels of fat and protein, further signs of low-quality milk. They also found that rBST milk also has a higher somatic cell count, which "makes the milk turn sour more quickly and is another indicator of poor milk quality."


The over regulation of food production

Welcome back from a delightful summer, weather-wise.

I continue my Total Health column with emphasis on food selection, the need for some supplementation, but most of all my nutrition guide for good health. Let's all support the local markets.

READ MORE (Sun Times) ]

Descrambling the Eggs and It Won’t Be Over Easy!

I have wanted to comment on the egg situation the day after the half-billion recall. First, I wanted to say that these types of contaminated eggs are commonplace– the reason, in part, 1 in 4 Americans get a case of food-borne illness each year. It is similar to the leafy green problem–where the spinach and such are grown in concentrated human, industrial and hospital wastes–called biosolids out in the California Salad Bowl. It was frustrating holding back the article– I wanted to have the cute picture of Humpty Dumpty– and the title I had in mind for weeks. But it all came together a few minutes ago!

Two weeks ago Mark Kastel, director of the prestigious Cornucopia Institute, sent me photos of the USDA-certified organic egg operations– from factory farms or concentation camps– accounting for a good 80% of organic eggs sold at supermarkets. He encouraged me to publish something. Yesterday he posted a brilliant 4-minute video that says it all. Now, I need not write the article.

READ MORE (Journal of Living Food and Healing) ]

Corn syrup, antibiotics may taint U.S. honey supply as bees decline

Is there anything better than freshly baked, buttered bread spread with orange blossom honey? You may think you know, but there's a chance you've never even tasted the real deal, thanks to shysters creating fake honey using corn syrup and other additives that sell it as the real thing.

Real honey is just that -- honey without additives. It's a pure product that varies widely in color and taste depending on what the bees have been consuming, from eucalyptus in Australia to lavender in Spain to sourwood in the U.S. However, there is no federal definition of pure honey for the product that ends up on the store shelf or farmer's market table.

READ MORE (Wallet Pop) ]

Which Organic Egg Brands Are Factory Farms in Disguise?

The chickens pictured on the egg producer Chino Valley Ranchers' Simply Organic site look pretty happy. And from the description of their digs, it sounds like they'd have good reason to be: "When you walk into the chicken houses and you see all the birds scratching around in the dirt, running around, flapping their wings and hear the soft clucking from each of them, you can feel their contentment," the copy below the little fuzzballs reads. "It is the way nature intended."

An industrial henhouse jam-packed with 36,000 birds, on the other hand, is probably not "the way nature intended." But that is exactly what investigators from the organic food advocacy group Cornucopia Institute found when they visited a Wisconsin henhouse that supplies Chino Valley Ranchers with organic eggs.

READ MORE (Mother Jones) ]

What's inside high fructose corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup has a bad rep in the health world. It's on labels of food all over the supermarket - everything like jelly, juice, cookies, soup, etc.

The average American eats about 38 pounds of high fructose corn syrup every year. A recent study shows that 57% of Americans think it's a top food safety issue.





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