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News for November 5, 2010

Election Aftermath: Tough to Know Whom You Can Trust When It Comes to Food; Processing's Nutritional Dangers

The election results provide some insights into how a variety of issues--like taxes and spending on education, for example--could go. But they tell us very little about how food issues might be decided.

We do have a few more clues than usual, though. One prime example comes out of Iowa. There, the race for agriculture secretary became something of a cause celebre among foodies, with Francis Thicke attracting endorsements and support from around the country (including this blog). The result? He was roundly defeated by a Big Ag guy who has heaped praise on the state's wonderful egg industry (which has sickened many hundreds of people around the country with salmonella).

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Food Safety Act in Jeopardy of Stalling Out

Food safety advocates were mulling the results of Tuesday’s elections for signs that may help or hurt passage of food safety legislation this year.

The bill, S. 510, already has passed the House. A similar version is pending in the Senate. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, chairman of the Senate health committee, said before the election that 90 senators have expressed support for the measure.

READ MORE (Top Wire News) ]

Michael Schmidt to hold raw milk news conference

Michael Schmidt has been active in the current Food Rights Movement since it’s beginning.

Michael Schmidt has been a biodynamic farmer for over 33 years. Born in Germany, he came to Canada in 1983 and has been instrumental in massive changes towards the awareness of the cultural importance of agriculture.

He is leading the fierce battle to legalize raw milk in Canada.

He comes to Alberta to respond to the recent violent crack down on a cow share operation and a private food club by Provincial bureaucrats. He recently took over a cow share operation in BC as response to an attempt by Government bureaucrats to shut down the operation through court orders.

READ MORE (The Bovine) ]

Cheese sold at Costco in 5 states linked to E. coli

Federal health officials are warning consumers to avoid a cheese sold in five states over an E. coli outbreak that has left 25 people sick.

The Gouda cheese was sold at Costco stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada.


What’s For Dinner: Corporate Food Tyranny

Last April the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) filed a lawsuit against the FDA’s interstate raw milk ban. While the suit is unlikely to prevail given likely court deference to the imperial executive branch, it’s already done important work in eliciting a remarkable statement of the FDA’s ideology and general attitude toward the American people. Before I get to the FDA brief, let’s first recap the pending food bill. This bill has been the subject of great controversy, with many like me calling it a Food Tyranny bill, others dismissing this as overly alarmist. I will establish in this two-parter that there’s nothing exaggerated in the alarm we raise. I’ll cite the evidence of the government’s stated ideology and its record of action to date.

But first let’s look at what the food bill actually says. (There are actually many of these bills. So far the only one which passed was HR 2749 in 2009. This was the main House food “safety” bill. The Senate’s corresponding version is S 510, currently in limbo. Reid had said he’d seek cloture during the lame duck session, but it’s now questionable whether that will be possible, pending the outcomes of still-disputed races. At any rate, if S 510 passes it will go into conference with HR 2749. Henceforth I’ll refer to this pending conference as “the” food bill, although there are significant differences between the House and Senate versions. The Senate version was considerably improved in committee, thanks to public interest pressure. But in spite of the optimism of NSAC and others, I’m going to go by the established trend, exemplified by the health racket bailout and the sham finance “reform”, that the conference results in a bill far worse than the better version, and perhaps even worse than both prior versions, as in the case of the health “insurance” Stamp Act.) For much of this I’ll be drawing on this excellent analysis at Food Freedom, which includes citations of the bill’s sections and subsections for every point.

READ MORE (Volatility) ]

"Renegade Lunch Lady" Aims to Put a Salad Bar in Every School

Congress continues to drag its heels on passing comprehensive school lunch reform. It's been more than a year since legislators introduced the Child Nutrition Act, yet students still suffer through the same, gross meals at their school cafeterias. One non-profit aims to give those lunches a much-needed face lift — without waiting for the House and Senate to get their acts together.

The Food, Family, Farming Foundation (F3), led by Chef Ann Cooper, launched its Great American Salad Bar Project this summer. The initiative aims to provide free salad bars to 564 deserving school cafeterias throughout the country. These salad bars would offer up fresh veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. The salad stations could act as a much-needed alternative or supplement to the processed chicken nuggets, rubbery hot dogs, and soggy pizza served at many school cafeterias.


Wisconsin Non-Profits Act Local to Change Factory Farm Rules

If a giant factory farm wanted to move into your neighborhood, shouldn't you and your neighbors have a say on whether it can be built and where? Some local non-profits in Wisconsin think so, and they are pushing for a change in rules that govern where factory farms can and can't be built. The board of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is required to review these rules every four years, and the Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network and Clean Wisconsin want to use the opportunity to institute some much-needed change.

Thus far, the DATCP's review is purely technical. They have established committees to look into issues like odor and air emissions, waste management, run-off, and nutrient management. That has led, according to activists that want the rules changed, to the public being completely shut out of the review process. It has also excluded environmental organizations and smaller farmers who would probably have a different take on things.


Lovetree Farmstead Cheese

Mary and Dave Falk’s sustainable sheep dairy farm rests deep in the north woods of Wisconsin. While Dave milks the sheep, Mary makes a variety of cheeses, using both their seasonal supply of sheep’s milk, and Jersey cow milk from a neighboring farm.

All of their cheese is cured on wood boards, in an underground cave, in which a great variety of molds and bacteria grow. These ambient cultures contribute unique flavors and aromas to the cheese. Some of the cheeses are aged on Cedar bows, a unique expression of Lovetree’s north woods terrior.

READ MORE (Hartke) ]

Fantome Farm

Cheesemaker Anne Topham is widely considered to be the “Grand Matriarch” of the Wisconsin goat dairy industry. Anne and partner Judy Boree started Fantome Farm in the early 1980′s.

The name “Fantome Farm” was conceived by accident. Anne and Judy asked a French friend how to pronounce “goat” in French. However, the friend misunderstood the word as “ghost”, and so the translation became “Fantome.”

READ MORE (Hartke) ]




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