Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
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News for June 7, 2010

What if You Ate Only What Was Advertised on TV?

It should come as no surprise that the typical American diet isn't exactly brimming with healthy goodness — rather, it's laden with fat, sugar and salt. And now new research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association points to a troubling reason: TV ads for food may be skewing our decisions on what we eat in powerful ways.

To figure out exactly how unhealthy a TV-guided diet would be, researchers studied food commercials that appeared during 84 hours of prime-time programming and 12 hours of Saturday-morning cartoons broadcast over the major U.S. networks during one month in 2004. When the research team calculated the nutritional content of a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet containing only foods that were advertised on television, they found that it exceeded the government's recommended daily amount of fat by 20 times and had 25 times the recommended daily intake of sugar. "That's almost a month's worth of sugar in one day," notes study leader Michael Mink at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga.

READ MORE (Time) ]

Surging Costs Hit Food Security in Poorer Nations

Families from Pakistan to Argentina to Congo are being battered by surging food prices that are dragging more people into poverty, fueling political tensions and forcing some to give up eating meat, fruit and even tomatoes.

GScraping to afford the next meal is still a grim daily reality in the developing world even though the global food crisis that dominated headlines in 2008 quickly faded in the U.S. and other rich countries.


Crying Over Raw Milk

THE buses rolling into the parking lot of Eau Claire’s Chippewa Valley Technical College came from every corner of Wisconsin, and at least from one corner of Ontario, each packed with farm families wearing paper milking caps with “Freedom” written on them and brandishing signs that said, “I (heart) Raw Milk.” March 10 was smack in the middle of calving time, but the heifers would have to wait - raw milk was that important.

The occasion was a hearing-turned-rally on a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature that would allow dairy farmers to sell milk straight from the spigot to anyone who felt it did a body good, save the very young, the very old and the very pregnant. Some 500 farmers crammed into the small college auditorium to cheer on one of the bill’s sponsors, State Representative Chris Danou, the Thoreau of raw, who declared that, should the legislative process fail, civil disobedience would surely follow.

READ MORE (NY Times) ]

Seeger Weiss Delivers $11 Million Verdict to Small, Family Farms Overrun by Corporate Agriculture's Waste

Seeger Weiss brought home another victory against giant agro-business Premium Standard Farms, when a Missouri jury awarded $11.05 million to the 15 neighboring owners of small farms today. Co-founder Stephen A. Weiss has led the charge against these giant factory farms, whose careless and illegal disposal of waste products degrades the air and land around them. As co-lead counsel for the farmers’ whose lives and livelihoods had been handicapped by overpowering hog odors, Mr. Weiss proved to the jury, seated in Jackson County, Missouri, that Premium Standard Farms had failed to sufficiently address the problem in the 11 years since the Missouri Attorney General issued an order to do so. This verdict is the largest monetary award against a hog farm in an odor nuisance case.

The Berlin, Missouri factory farm processes roughly 200,000 hogs every year and houses about 80,000 at any given time. Nationwide, the average hog farm houses only 5,000 animals per year. These local farmers are no strangers to the realities of livestock and agriculture, but the staggering mass of bodies and waste contained within the Premium Standard hog farm overwhelmed them. The plaintiffs, some of whom have owned their farms for well over 100 years and spanning five generations, alleged that relentless and extreme odors emanating from defendants' finishing farm – known as concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs – created an unreasonable nuisance. Family members testified at trial that the smell was intense enough to prevent them from venturing outdoors on many days.

READ MORE (Seeger Weiss) ]

Can Bacteria Make You Smarter?

Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

"Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature," says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.

READ MORE (Science Daily) ]

The Raw Milk Debate Continues

It's been just about two weeks since Governor Doyle vetoed a bill that would have legalized some raw milk sales.

Now, some are wondering if the Department of Agriculture is out looking for raw milk.


National Rural Summit

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack was in Missouri last week for the National Rural Summit, the capstone of the rural tour that was conducted last year in some 45 states to listen to the concerns and needs of rural America.

VILSACK: The purpose of the summit yesterday – we actually had three principal purposes – the first purpose was to make sure we could educate Americans about the important role that farmers and ranchers and farm workers and rural residents play in the lives of every single American. We wanted to make sure folks understood and appreciated the role that we play in rural America in providing them a quality, safe, nutritious and affordable food

READ MORE (AgInfo) ]

Group: 'Slow money' is the key to sustainable economy

You've heard of slow food. You've heard of fast money.

Put'em together and what do you get?

READ MORE (Burlington Free Press) ]

Why Raw Milk? Watch Nourishing Traditional Diets - Sally Fallon Morell (video)

Watch the first 10 minutes of the latest DVD, Part 1 of 3: "NOURISHING TRADITIONAL DIETS, The Key to Vibrant Health" - Over Five Hours of Life-Changing Information on Diet and Health Based on the Best-Selling Cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. Learn from nutrition expert Sally Fallon about the pioneering work of Dr. Weston A. Price; the vital role of animal fats in human nutrition; the dangers of modern vegetable oils; the safety and health benefits of raw milk; the dark side of modern soy foods; and practical steps to change your diet for the better. Produced by Derick Moore, Moore Productions. All 3 parts are on one DVD. Available from NewTrends Publishing at or toll-free at (877) 707-1776 for $49.95 US.

READ MORE (Weston A Price Foundation) ]

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