Study Indicates Glyphosate (Round Up) Doubles Chance of Lymphoma

With Amendment 1 on the ballot here in Missouri for August 5th, this is terrifically pertinent information. NO independent studies of long term exposure or ingestion have been done in the US!

Study: Glyphosate Doubles Risk of Lymphoma

Scientists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer have found what appears to be a strong link between pesticide exposure and a blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Analyzing 44 individual research projects published since 1980, the scientists, writing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said that people exposed to the weed killer glyphosate, marked by Monsanto under the brand name Roundup, had double the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Those exposed to 2,4-D, another potent weed killer marketed by Dow Chemical, were 40 percent more likely to develop this disease.

The authors, scientists who work in the IARC Section of Environment and Radiation in Lyon, France, theorized that these pesticides were causing genetic mutations in white blood cells, thereby weakening the body’s immune system and ability to fight off disease.

Previous studies have observed that farmers with exposure to 2,4-D have experienced impaired immune systems.

Last month, EWG reported that research by scientists at the Arctic University of Norway had detected “extreme levels” of glyphosate on genetically engineered soybeans.

Crop scientists have genetically engineered soy to survive blasts of glyphosate so that farmers can use this chemical to get rid of weeds near crops. Over time these weeds have become resistant to glyphosate and grown hardier. In turn some farmers have resorted to spraying more of the pesticide to try to kill the tougher “super weeds.”

Genetic engineering’s early promise to reduce pesticide use now seems empty. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that herbicide use doubled—from 62 million pounds in 1996 to 128 million pounds in 2012. Glyphosate now represents more than 83 percent of the chemical pesticides used in the U.S. annually.

The IARC study was published April 23, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was considering approving GE seeds of corn and soybeans engineered to withstand 2,4-D, a suspected carcinogen. If the EPA approves the new GE seeds and if 2,4-D is used to kill weeds on some of the 170 million acres of corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. annually, the USDA estimates that 2,4-D use is likely to triple, dramatically increasing people’s exposure to a pesticide that may cause cancer.

How can consumers reduce their exposures to these pesticides? When we eat GE foods, we are taking a dose of pesticides with them. Right now, we can’t tell which foods are genetically engineered. We have to guess. EWG believes people have the right to know which foods are genetically engineered. What can you do? Tell your elected representatives to support legislation to label GE foods.

Note from Food Revolution Network: Additional tools for reducing pesticide and GE food exposure are the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce and the Institute for Responsible Technology’s non-GMO shopping guide.

No More Artisan Cheese for Americans

The FDA, Food Destruction Agency, has “clarified” their stance on cheese aged on wood. Short take, not allowed any longer in the US; and because of the lovely take over of all food granted them by the Corporate Board Members referred to as “Congress” under the Food Safety Modernization Act, no cheese imported to the US will be allowed to have been aged on wood either.

If you have thus far failed to see what is happening in this nation and across the world, I’ll sum it up for you. There will be no innovation and no creativity allowed. Our Heavenly Father’s creative attributes that He instills in us as we are created in His image is to be annihilated by rule, regulation, insurance premiums, or other “safety” measure.

This is an excellent article on the issue of cheese and the FDA. Don’t worry, whatever you desire to create/produce will be similarly regulated and destroyed…if it hasn’t already been regulated to death.

Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here’s an excerpt:

“Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.”

The most interesting part of the FDA’s statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

In an email to industry professionals, Rob Ralyea, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science and the Pilot Plant Manager at Cornell University in New York, says: “According to the FDA this is merely proper enforcement of the policy that was already in place. While the FDA has had jurisdiction in all food plants, it deferred cheese inspections almost exclusively to the states. This has all obviously changed under FSMA.”

Ah, FSMA. For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

While most cheesemakers have, perhaps, begrudgingly accepted most of what has been coming down the FSMA pike, including the requirement of HACCP plans and increased federal regulations and inspections, no one expected this giant regulation behemoth to virtually put a stop to innovation in the American artisanal cheese movement.

Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

“The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years,” Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states.”

As if this weren’t all bad enough, the FDA has also “clarified” – I’m really beginning to dislike that word – that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers.

Therefore, Cornell University’s Ralyea says, “It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

Ralyea continues: “While most everyone agrees that Listeria is a major concern to the dairy industry, it appears that some food safety agencies interpret the science to show that wood boards can be maintained in a sanitary fashion to allow for their use for cheese aging, while others (e.g., the US FDA) believe that a general ban of any wooden materials in food processing facilities is the better approach to assure food safety. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that any new research data or interpretations will change the FDA policies in place.”

In fact, many research papers do in fact conclude that wooden boards are safe. In 2013, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research published a paper on the subject, concluding: “Considering the beneficial effects of wood boards on cheese ripening and rind formation, the use of wood boards does not seem to present any danger of contamination by pathogenic bacteria as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.” You can read the whole report on pages 8-9 by clicking on this link.

Interesting side note: Health Canada does not currently have any regulations prohibiting aging and ripening cheese on wood, so apparently if we want to eat most American or European artisan cheeses, we’ll need to drive across the border to do so.

So what’s next? The American Cheese Society has mobilized its Regulatory & Academic Committee to learn more about this issue, and to ensure its members’ interests are represented. The ACS promises to keep us apprised of developments. In the meantime, if you are a cheesemaker, and your operation is inspected and cited for the use of wooden surfaces, please contact the ACS office (720-328-2788 or info@cheesesociety.org).

 

Food Poisoning at Food Safety Summit….LOLOLOLOLOLOL!

A little something to brighten your day! So much for the control freaks success!

Not even the national Food Safety Summit is immune from food poisoning. More than 100 people who attended the meeting earlier this month in Baltimore were stricken by a possible outbreak of gastroenteritis that left attendees suffering terrible bouts of diarrhea and nausea, reports NBC News.

The conference was attended by 1,300 of the nation’s “top food safety officials” including employees from the Food and Drug Administration, McDonald’s, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of those sickened might be even larger than the reported 100, since event organizers have only heard back from a third of those who attended.

“We are working on evaluating possible exposures and doing testing at the Maryland state public health laboratory to attempt to identify an agent,” officials said in a letter addressed to attendees.

- - Jordan Valinsky

BLM Wrecks Infrastructure at Bunkerville

This makes me wonder who is going to pay for fixing what the BLM has wrecked. I know that none of those who damaged  things they don’t own will do the right thing, but will the administration that pays them to stomp on America? I know…”The meatball says ‘NO!”‘ Once upon a time, this kind of behavior would have resulted in hanging.

I want the BLM to pay. I guess it’s good to want things.

Feds accused of leaving trail of wreckage after Nevada ranch standoff

 

The federal agency that backed down over the weekend in a tense standoff with a Nevada rancher is being accused of leaving a trail of wreckage behind.

Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.

“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”

The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy’s cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.

The dispute between the feds and the Bundy family has been going on for years; they say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees — and long ago revoked his grazing rights over concern for a federally protected tortoise. They sent officials to round up his livestock following a pair of federal court orders last year giving the U.S. government the authority to impound the cattle.

The feds, though, are being accused of taking the court orders way too far.

On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that “illegal structures” on Bundy’s ranch — water tanks, water lines and corrals — had to be removed to “restore” the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.

However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to “seize and impound” Bundy’s cattle.

“Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks … desert environment, shoot cattle,” Houston said.

Bundy’s friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.

But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn’t even bent. “It’s not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything,” he said. “The pen is sitting here. It hasn’t moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?”

Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. “How’s that conservation?” he asked.

The BLM has not yet responded to a request for comment on these allegations.

Bundy has refused to pay the grazing fees or remove his cattle, and doesn’t even acknowledge the federal government’s authority to assess or collect damages.

The bureau has said if Bundy wasn’t willing to pay, then they would sell his cattle.

However, there was a problem with that plan — few in Nevada would touch Bundy’s cattle for fear of being blacklisted.

“The sale yards are very nervous about taking what in the past has been basically stolen cattle from the federal government,” Nevada Agriculture Commissioner Ramona Morrison said.

Documents show the BLM paid a Utah cattle wrangler $966,000 to collect Bundy’s cattle and a Utah auctioneer to sell them. However, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert refused to let Bundy cattle cross state lines, saying in a letter: “As Governor of Utah, I urgently request that a herd of cattle seized by the Bureau of Land Management from Mr. Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, not be sent to Utah. There are serious concerns about human safety and animal health and well-being, if these animals are shipped to and sold in Utah.”

That letter was sent three days before the BLM round-up, which is why the cattle were still being held Saturday in temporary pens just a few miles from Bundy’s ranch. Morrison says BLM was sitting on cattle because it had no way to get rid of them — setting up a potential tragedy as orphaned calves were not getting any milk and feed costs were about to skyrocket.

The showdown is far from over. The BLM says it will “continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” though Bundy still doesn’t recognize federal authority over the federal lands that he continues to use in violation of a court order. The federal judge who issued that decision says Bundy’s claims “are without merit.”

That order from October 2013 says Bundy owes $200 per day per head for every day he fails to move his cattle. That amounts to roughly $640 million in damages owed to the federal government for illegally grazing his cattle.

William La Jeunesse joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in March 1998 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

 

Monsanto Protection Act is Now Law

If people remember, before Obama became President he said he would get GMO’s labeled…Ha! Instead, in the standard American corporate government method, he just gave the go ahead for massive expansion of GMO crops. While other nations are firmly constraining and refusing these aberrations, we get more of them here. Almost makes on want to move to a non-GMO country. Even China is refusing to accept shipments of this garbage.

More ‘Corporate Welfare’: Obama Signs ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Into Law
Just signed provision prevents federal courts from stopping the planting of genetically engineered crops, despite health, environmental consequences

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” said Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety. (Photo: Peter Blanchard/flickr)
President Obama signed what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” on Tuesday, legislation critics say amounts to “corporate welfare” for biotechnology corporations like Monsanto, and puts farmers and the environment in jeopardy.

Summing up the provision in H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, Eric Darier, a senior campaigner on sustainable agriculture at Greenpeace International explains that it

will effectively bar US federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops even if they failed to be approved by the government’s own weak approval process and no matter what the health or environmental consequences might be.
The rider from H.R. 933 reads:

 

Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, writes that the rider presents a “threat to farmers and the environment,” and that while the rider’s language indicates that steps will be taken “…to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects…,” historical evidence shows that there are indeed risks. In 2006, for example,

unapproved GE rice owned by Bayer, probably originating from a small, short-term controlled field trial in Arkansas, was found to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply. That little incident resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost rice exports and farmer lawsuits that continued for years. [...]

A similar threat exists to the environment in the form of gene flow—the transfer of genes from one organism to another—from crops to wild cousins, or from poorly domesticated cultivated plants like forest trees or grasses grown for lumber, pulp, or biofuel.

In fact, gene flow of glyphosate herbicide-resistant creeping bentgrass has already occurred…twice. This also happened from temporary field trials that were conducted in Central Oregon and nearby Idaho specifically to prevent gene flow! USDA mandated an isolation zone of 900 feet around the trial, but gene flow occurred up to 13 miles from the Oregon site.
There could be “long-lasting and serious consequences” from the rider, writes Appetite for Profit author Michele Simon. “This list of pending petitions to USDA to approve genetically-engineered crops includes new versions of corn, soybean, canola, and cotton. Once these crops get planted, it will be too late to do much about it.”

The Center for Food Safety writes that it was Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee (D-MD), who allowed the legislation to move forward without hearings and without bringing it in front of the Agriculture or Judiciary Committees.

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.

This is the kind of deal biotechnology corporations have been hoping for, according to Food Democracy Now!, a group that has been campaigning against the GE rider. “Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling,” the group writes.

Gurian-Sherman writes that the rider has biotechnology corporations’ fingerprints all over it:

It was introduced anonymously, without accountability. But let me stick my neck out and say that it is highly likely that the biotech industry influenced the introduction and passing of this rider. Monsanto spends more money influencing our government than any other agriculture company. It spent millions, more than any other firm, to defeat the efforts in California to label engineered foods.
In her post titled “Monsanto Teams up with Congress to Shred the Constitution,” Simon adds that this is “such a big deal” because

The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry’s pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA’s approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets.
So the biotech industry, unable to make its case to a judge, figured why not just rewrite the Constitution instead…
Darier concludes that the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ ultimately shows the power corporations wield at the expense of democracy:

This should also be a reminder to all of us across the world of the ability of some corporations like Monsanto to influence policymakers to adopt measures that are against sustainable agriculture, farmers, consumers and the environment. And let’s add now to this list: independent judicial review! A very sad day for democracy and the future of our food.
_____________________________

 

US Wastes Billions of Dollars of Food

The USDA has done a report on the amount of food wastage in the US. Interestingly, this is at a time right before food prices are going to sky rocket. One thing that has apparently not been addressed in this report is the regulatory and insurance side of the profligate waste we appear to have.

Morningland Dairy was forced to waste about $250,000 dollars of cheese that hadn’t made one person sick in over 30 years. Fast food restaurants throw out huge amounts of food at close and are prohibited from allowing people to getting it even out of the dumpster. People who want to feed the homeless are routinely fined, punished or prevented from doing so because they don’t have permits and licenses that prove they prepare food in a permitted and licensed kitchen.

It could be readily argued that a vast amount of our food is garbage anyway, and therefore going where it should go, but truly not having enough to eat is about to become a reality for a larger percentage of our population than in anytime in recent memory.

There is a massive drought in California, there are 25% of greenhouses that heat with propane that have either shut down or significantly scaled back, the vast majority of chicken houses heat with propane and most of those growers finished what they had and held off on losing everything due to either being unable to afford or in some cases even acquire the propane to heat with. Brazil, the highest global producer of beef and a major exporter of food in many categories is in a drought where rationing of water is occurring in 142 cities. And don’t forget that South Dakota lost around 100,000 cattle and we have cattle populations in the US at 1951 levels.

While we’re throwing all of this away, or being forced to throw it away, we’re looking at massive rises in food costs. Time to learn how to preserve whatever excess we have.

Here’s an article about the USDA wastage report:

Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn – USDA

Published time: February 25, 2014 08:56

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

About 30 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States is wasted, an incredible statistic, especially given the lack of landfill space, not to mention the global menace of world hunger.

The shocking statistic gives a new meaning to the term ‘junk food,’ as Americans are sending 133 billion lbs (60 billion kg) of food to the garbage dump each year. To put it another way, 141 trillion calories annually – or 1,249 calories per capita daily – went uneaten in the United States, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The top three food groups in terms of the amount of total food loss cost are ranked as follows: meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). Retail food waste, for example, in grocery stores and restaurants, accounted for 10 percent (43 billion lbs), while consumer losses amounted to 21 percent (90 billion pounds) of the available food supply.

The issue of food loss is becoming a serious topic not just in the United States, but across the world as countries struggle with mounting levels of garbage, while food scarcity among an exploding world population demands a new way of thinking about eating habits.

In 2010, the average American spent $4,016 on food (both for at-home and away-from-home consumption) out of an average disposable income of $36,016, the report, titled ‘The Estimated Amount, Value and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States’, noted.

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.

At the same time, the problem of global food scarcity is gaining the attention of world leaders.

“The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, and this will require a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels. Currently…the number of food-insecure people reached 802 million in 2012,” the report stated.

The USDA warned that developed countries like the United States – where 49 million people lived in food-insecure households out of a total population of over 305 million – should not take their current level of food security for granted.

“Although most of this population growth will occur in developing countries, developed countries like the United States also face issues of hunger and food insecurity,” it said.

In an effort to attract attention to the problem of food waste, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge. The United Nations’ Environment Program’s (UNEP) World Environment Day’s central theme was also food waste.

 

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

The report acknowledged that tackling the problem is no easy challenge given the many diverse places where food is distributed, consumed and disposed of.

There are an estimated 119 million households, over a half a million dining establishments, including fast-food outlets, and numerous other locations where people gather to eat, such as schools, institutions, and prisons across the United States, it said.

Eco-hazardous habits

A largely ignored problem associated with our intensely urbanized lifestyles is how to get rid of our food waste in a way that does not inflict long-term damage on the environment. Discarding uneaten food into plastic garbage bags and burying them in landfills only exacerbates the problem.

According to statistics by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounted for 34 million tons of some 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010, with a price tag of about $1.3 billion.

After recycling a number of materials, like metals, plastic and paper, food waste came out on top in terms of what is overloading our garbage dumps, with 21 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

The most worrying problem with landfilling food waste is that it generates methane gas as it decomposes anaerobically. Methane is 21 times more powerful in accelerating global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA as cited in the USDA report.

Landfills account for 34 percent of all human-related methane emissions in the United States
The report pointed to a growing human footprint on the planet as a good reason for nations to start addressing this issue.

The report offered some suggestions on addressing the issue, including expanding on community composting programs, of which there are around 3,510 such initiatives in the US that allow neighborhood residents to leave food scraps and yard trimmings at the curb for a special collection.

At the same time, companies will work to offset food waste if “it is economically justifiable, that is, if the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The report suggested the potential advantages of building “consumer goodwill” for business, using by way of example “a sandwich shop donates uneaten yet wholesome food to a community feeding organization at the end of each day.”

 

 

GMO Labeling Co-Opt

As expected, the promoters of GMO food are now beginning a broad push on the federal level to pre-empt the ability of consumers to know that they are eating stuff that was never part of creation and is more like sprinkling pesticide and herbicides on nearly everything you eat than ingesting food.

With nearly everything in our country, you can look at the corporations behind any social movement and figure out whether it is of the people, or of the corporations. People tend to want personal choice and informed consent, and corporations look at people as revenue generators and something to be exploited.

At this point in our nation’s history, it looks to me like the only thing we can do to try to provide for ourselves and our families is to grow as much of our own food as possible, and what we cannot produce we need to get from others who are growing their own food as well. We will never be able to fight Monsanto, Farm Bureau, Dupont, Bayer, Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Tyson, IBP and the banking structure in the legislature. They can give way more in the realm of political donations than we can, so the only justice we can seek must come from each other.

Here is the article from their “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” website. Please read down to the bottom and view all their members. It’s illuminating:

Broad-Based Coalition Launched to Advocate for Congressional Action on a Federal GMO Labeling Solution
Legislation Needed to Protect Consumers by Eliminating Confusion and Advancing Food Safety

(Washington, D.C.) American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of almost thirty industry and non-governmental organizations today announced the formation of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org) and urged Congress to quickly seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“American families deserve safe, abundant and affordable food,” said Martin Barbre, President of the National Corn Growers. “And America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food by reaffirming the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) role as the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.”

A federal GMO labeling solution is needed that will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology:

• Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50 state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

• Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

• Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

• Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

“Foods made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Our nation’s food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation’s foremost food safety agency.

“GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. And with global population expected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050, we will need 70% more food production to keep pace. A federal GMO labeling solution will provide a framework for the safe and continued use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet.”

Facts About GMOs (www.FactsAboutGMOs.org )
• Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have found genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.

• GM technology adds desirable traits from nature, without introducing anything unnatural or using chemicals, so that food is more plentiful.

• GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.

• Ingredients grown using GM technology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.

• One in eight people among the world’s growing population of seven billion do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.
###

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through GM technology. We are also an advocate for common sense policy solutions that will only further enhance the safety of the GM crops and protect the vital role they play in today’s modern global food supply chain. The coalition is comprised of American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of industry and non-governmental organizations.

Coalition Members

1. AACC International/ American Phytopathological Society
2. American Bakers Association
3. American Beverage Association
4. American Farm Bureau Federation
5. American Feed Industry Association
6. American Frozen Food Institute
7. American Seed Trade Association
8. American Soybean Association
9. American Sugarbeet Growers Association
10. Biotechnology Industry Organization
11. Corn Refiners Association
12. Council for Responsible Nutrition
13. Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association
14. Global Cold Chain Alliance
15. Grocery Manufacturers Association
16. International Dairy Foods Association
17. International Franchise Association
18. National Association of Manufacturers
19. National Association of Wheat Growers
20. National Confectioners Association
21. National Corn Growers Association
22. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
23. National Grain & Feed Association
24. National Fisheries Institute
25. National Oilseed Processors Association
26. National Restaurant Association
27. National Turkey Federation
28. North American Millers Association
29. Pet Food Institute
30. Snack Food Association
31. U.S. Beet Sugar Association

Contact: Claire Parker
Coalition for Safe Affordable Food Press Office
703-888-9395
press@cfsaf.org

 

 

 

Michigan: Killing More Small Farms

No more farm animals in residential neighborhoods, Michigan agriculture committee advises

Rosemary Parker | rparker3@mlive.com By Rosemary Parker | rparker3@mlive.com
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on January 20, 2014 at 5:56 AM, updated January 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

MATTAWAN, MI – A Mattawan family’s farm may be safe, but changes under consideration by the Michigan Agriculture Commission could strip future small farmers of protection under Michigan’s Right to Farm act, according to an “action alert” sent Jan. 7 by the Michigan Small Farm Council.

Kelly VanderKley's farmKelly VanderKley’s turkeys walk around in their pen on Friday, July 26, 2013 at her small farm in Mattawan. File photo

The group’s mission “is to protect and extend the rights of urban, suburban, and rural small-scale farming operations throughout the state,” according to its website.

Those rights are threatened by proposed changes to Michigan’s Generally Acceptable Agricultural Practices (GAAMPs) currently under review by “first bring(ing) operations as small as a single animal under the control of the Site Selection GAAMPs,” the alert warns, “and then using (a new category) to exclude those operations from Right to Farm protection in residential areas.”

Kelly VanderKley and her husband, David Hunter, sought Right to Farm protection for their Antwerp Township hobby farm last year when neighbors complained about their animals and manure on the 4.8 acre of land. The farm underwent strict scrutiny by the state inspector to assure practices were in compliance with all applicable environmental requirements, VanderKley said, and were judged to be in compliance with current standards.

The Michigan Right to Farm Act provides nuisance protection for farms and farm operations which are in conformance with GAAMPs. Right to Farm was originally designed to protect commercial agriculture operations from being pushed out by changes in local zoning or land uses that conflict with common agriculture practices.  GAAMPs are reviewed annually by scientific committees of various experts, revised and updated as necessary, according to a recent news release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture announcing this year’s deadline for public comment is Wednesday, Jan. 22.

The proposed revisions worrying the Michigan Small Farm Council are tweaks to the GAAMPs for Site Selection and Odor Control for Livestock Production Facilities.

The Site Selection GAAMPs have never applied to most small farmers, the council alert explained,  because “Livestock Production Facilities” have been defined  as having 50 animal units or more, far greater than the number of animals held by most small farms in Michigan.

“In the proposed changes, MDARD defines a new term, Livestock Facility, as one with any number of animals – including a single animal,” a step, the alert warns, that “for the first time brings small farm operations under the control of the Site Selection GAAMPs. And then in a second step, MDARD creates a new class of sites – Category 4 sites – that are not ever acceptable sites for Livestock Facilities.”

Category 4 sites are defined as those exclusively zoned for residential use.

Those changes could be the kiss of death for enterprises such as backyard chicken flocks, or small acreage hobby farms such as VanderKley’s that keep a few animals on  suburban acreage, said Michigan Small Farm Council member Randy Buchler, of Shady Grove Farm in the Upper Peninsula community of Gwinn.

“It would exclude a whole bunch of people who are seeking Right to Farm protection… and strip the small farmers of their right to be protected by a state law.”

A circuit court judge ruled in Buchler’s favor when he cited Right to Farm to protect his own farm’s existence on residential property in Marquette County, the largest county in the state, he said.

“What they are trying to do is to take away Right to Farm protection from people trying to be self sufficient but not able to do agriculture on any level according their local zoning.

“The way it looks to us,” Buchler said, “this would allow local ordinances to trump state law.”

Mitigating conflict

“The GAAMPs look at nuisance risk and are intended to help mitigate conflict,” said Jennifer Holton, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The committee recognizes that when you add in animals into those densely populated areas, it increases nuisance risk as well as the potential for conflict,” Holton said. “This proposal recognizes that there is a continuum – there are places ideally situated for livestock, and there are places in the state where livestock should not be located. “

“The proposal also recognizes size and scale in a new way – there are places where large livestock facilities can be located – and the new category recognizing that small scale livestock (4-H, a couple of horses, etc.) can fit well in other places.”

Public Comment

People are invited to submit their thoughts on the site selection or any other GAAMPs by mail or email, or to attend the GAAMPs public input meeting at 9 a.m. Jan. 22, 2014, in Room A at the State Secondary Complex – General Office Building, 7150 Harris Drive, Dimondale.

Written comments may be submitted to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Environmental Stewardship Division, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909, postmarked no later than Jan. 22, 2014.

E-mail should be directed to WilcoxR2@michigan.gov, and must arrive by p.m. on Jan. 22, 2014.

MDARD will forward all comments received by the due date to the respective GAAMPs Task Force chairpersons for consideration. The GAAMPs Task Force Chairpersons then present proposed GAAMPs to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development for final adoption.

Public comments are accepted and considered at scheduled commission meetings before final versions of the GAAMPs are approved.

For a copy of any of the GAAMPs, including the proposed revisions, click here  or contact MDARD’s Environmental Stewardship Division at 517-284-5619, or toll free at 877-632-1783.

Public comment will be taken on all eight GAAMPs, though there are proposed changes only in the GAAMPs for Manure Management and Utilization, Pesticide Utilization and Pest Control, the Care of Farm Animals, Site Selection and Odor Control for New and Expanding Livestock Production Facilities, and Irrigation Water Use.

Currently, there are no proposed changes in the GAAMPs for: Nutrient Utilization, Farm Markets, and Cranberry Production.

A Must Read Book: “One Second After”

Okay, I know this is a little late for the release of this book. I put off reading it largely because it has a foreward by Newt Gingrich. I’m sorry, but I really don’t think very highly of him as I actually recall many of his serious, and in my mind criminal, financial snafus. Nonetheless, this book is an incredible book. If anyone needs a kick in the rear to motivate them to prepare for any kind of disruption in our services, this book will provide the clarity to get at least some action out of any thinking human being.

Buy This Book!!!

“One Second After” is actually the best EMP scenario fictional book I have encountered, and there are a fair amount of them out there. While there are some far fetched aspects to this book, it is far from loaded with them. Also, it isn’t loaded with continuity and grammatical errors that plague many ebooks, so it reads very well. The story is clear and yet poignant. Most importantly, it drives home how fragile our lives are because of our policies on agriculture and our centralization of production and distribution.

As horrific as an EMP would be, the fact that we could weather any tragedy better if we had myriads of diversified small farms all across the country stands out clearly in this book. We could mostly live without a great many of our modern conveniences, although sanitation via running water and refrigeration are things that I definitely wouldn’t want to do without…and they also help tremendously with keeping people healthy and prevent quick spoilage of food.

The issues brought into sharp relief in this book are things that we could largely alleviate by preparing ourselves and encouraging our neighbors and communities to prepare as well. Food will never be less expensive than it is now. Dry canning will preserve flours and grains as well as pasta for a very long time. Up to 20 years is the reported shelf life on dry canned grain stuffs. You can’t just grow all your own grains without seeds and knowledge of how to do it either….so buy seed and learn what you can.

Small greenhouses and garden plots everywhere would provide sustenance for many. Growing edible landscapes instead of purely ornamental yard plants could stave off starvation. Windowsill gardening and sprouting grains with a good reserve of back stock could be the difference between life and death. Knowing your neighbors and developing community exchanges for food and other necessities is an absolute must. Not just in case of an EMP, but any breakdown in our hyper-dependent system.

Bottom line is that I challenge the most resistant to prepping person in this country to read this book and defend their desire to not be bothered by the fact that our system is so dependent upon transportation, communication and constant electricity and computer interfaces. Mess with any one of these critical components and the whole thing is jeopardized. “One Second After” drives that home.

By the way, I have zero financial interest in promoting this book. I simply want people to live and see how tremendously fragile our system is.

 

Farm Bill Sham Continues

Every five years or so, we all have our food severely impacted by the ridiculous “Farm Bill”. This one has been put off for quite awhile, but now the House is working on it and say they are cutting the food stamp program to make it more fiscally responsible. It’s a sham. We should not muck up the “farm subsidy” program with the adjunct to the welfare programs of SNAP and “nutrition” programs. Getting 47 million people onto food stamps in this country took a lot of taxpayer money. Administrating those programs is an additional cost as well.

It is my contention that the Farm Bill has done just what the programmers plan for it to do. Destroy honest access to market and profitability for independent farmers and create a more deeply dependent society to put government into the place of the Almighty in the majority of people’s minds and hearts. Direct trade between farmers and consumers is the only way to restore integrity into the food system in this country. The Farm Bill will NEVER attempt to do that because it would enable people to freely exchange and profit from their labor and their products, and that just isn’t in the plan.

Anyway, I wanted to share this article with you, so perhaps you could see some of the theater behind the rhetoric.

farm subsidies

Critical Farm Bill Admission: Food Stamp Cuts Just A Means to Get to Conference

Category: Inside Congress

| November 4, 2013

Last week during the farm bill conference between the House and Senate, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)8% made a very troublesome remark:

The $40 billion figure [for House food stamp cuts] was a way to get us to conference.  It wasn’t a real figure.

This kind of admission is both disturbing and revealing.  It’s nothing new, however, that lawmakers produce legislation in conference committees that are more liberal and less conservative than the pieces of legislation they were putting together.

But were the Republican lawmakers touting the food stamp cuts in the food stamp only bill passed in September aware that they were participating in a ploy to just “get us to conference?”  Or did they genuinely believe those cuts – insufficient though they may be – would actually remain in a deal between the House and the Senate?

Many of the Republican House farm bill conferees put out press releases and statements expressing satisfaction with the cuts that would be made to the bloated food stamp program, saying that the legislation would help reduce fraud, waste, and abuse.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)61% stated:

This bill will help reduce spending and allow food stamps to be used in the way they were intended to be used:  for those who need it most.  Today’s legislation would reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, and save taxpayers almost $40 billion over the next decade.  SNAP does play an essential role in helping those in need, but the waste and abuse of this program originally designed to help the very poor has ballooned out-of-control.

In a press release entitled, “House Passes Remaining Portion of Farm Bill,” Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)60% stated:

This bill puts integrity back into the food stamp program to ensure that those who need assistance the most receive it. These reforms return work incentives to the program while curbing fraud, waste and abuse and refocusing benefits on families most in need. 

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)87% said:

H.R. 3102 includes some of the reforms Neugebauer proposed in H.R. 1510, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Improvement Act.  The bill passed today saves taxpayers $40 billion over ten years through a series of targeted reforms. 

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides critical assistance to families that have hit hard times,” Neugebauer said.  “But it was never meant to support one in every seven Americans.  These reforms won’t affect anyone who legitimately qualifies for assistance.  They will simply allow us to better target our assistance to eligible families.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)75% said:

It is critical we get the growth of this program under control by ensuring that benefits go to only those who are in need.

H.R. 3102 includes reforms totaling $40 billion in savings over the next decade, cracking down on the waste, fraud and abuse currently present in SNAP. 

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)58% stated:

The reforms included in the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act will prevent waste, fraud, and abuse within the food stamp program and save taxpayers almost $40 billion. 

Now that lawmakers have rejoined the consideration of food stamp policy and farm policy, it’s almost certain that cuts to the food stamp program will be insufficient.

The Senate’s $4 billion cuts do not do nearly enough to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.

Even the $40 billion in House cuts is only tantamount to a 5% cut in a program that has doubled twice in the last decade.  From 2008 to 2010 alone, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million to 3.9 million according to the Congressional Research Service; this was after the Obama Administration suspended the program’s work requirements.

To be clear, farm programs are in just as dire a need of reform – from the costly shallow-loss program to the sharp increase in the cost of crop insurance.

Conservatives have long argued that it is essential for food stamp programs and the farm bill programs to be considered separately if they are ever to be sufficiently reformed, so that taxpayers and consumers are no longer harmed.

Let’s see if lawmakers live up to their promises of reform or let taxpayers and consumers down yet again.

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