One More Reason to Grow Your Own and Come out the Killer Controlled Food System

FDA approves controversial drug to beef up farm animals despite being reported as the most dangerous livestock drug on market and being banned in 150 countries

by: Jennifer Lea Reynolds

FDA

(NaturalNews) If it’s been deemed bad in other countries, that’s often when the United States comes in and welcomes it with open arms. In this case, we’re talking about the fact that a California judge recently dismissed two lawsuits that claimed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) illegally approved a harmful drug additive – ractopamine hydrochloride – used in animal feed.(1)

Indeed, despite having information about the weight gain inducing drug’s detrimental effects on animals, and that the active ingredient, found in the brand Paylean, is banned in 150 countries, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers turned a blind eye.(1)

FDA records revealed that pigs in particular have suffered horrific consequences from being given the drug, which is designed to make them gain weight without having to consume a great deal of feed. While cost effective for the farming industry, it’s been found to have rendered 160,000 pigs unable to walk, to experience hyperactivity and broken limbs, and even to die.(1)

In fact, a Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN) investigation determined that ractopamine is fed to “an estimated 60 to 80 percent of pigs in the United States” and has “resulted in more reports of sickened or dead pigs than any other livestock drug on the market.” Over the years, farmers and veterinarians have repeatedly expressed concern over ailing pigs.(1)

Still, the judge feels it’s appropriate to dismiss the lawsuits while these horrors continue to unfold.

Judge’s unbelievable reason for dismissing lawsuits

A portion of the judge’s explanation for the motion to dismiss reads as follows:

Due to statutory and regulatory requirements that applications to FDA for new drugs remain confidential… plaintiffs only became aware of the approvals, and FDA’s associated decision-making, when they were final and published in the Federal Register… Thus, plaintiffs were not able to participate in the administrative process prior to the FDA approvals at issue… Central to defendant-intervenor’s motion to dismiss, plaintiffs do not allege that they pursued any administrative remedies with the FDA relating to their NEPA grievances following the FDA approvals.(2)

So there you have it. The FDA is protected by secrecy, able to approve harmful drugs under a cloak of application confidentiality, knowing full well that participation in approval processes is limited. Not everyone is in on it, of course, especially those who the FDA knows would be likely take issue and dare to ask questions.

Organizations who take issue with this additive include the Center for Food Safety, the Sierra Club, the United Farmworkers of America and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, all of whom – along with others – originally filed the suit in 2014. They maintained that it violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Administrative Procedure Act when the animal feed additive containing ractopamine hydrochloride was approved. They are also adamant that the FDA did not properly test the feed additive, which is manufactured by Elanco, a division of Eli Lilly.(1)

What this means for you

What does this mean for your food and for those who advocate the humane treatment of animals? It means that animals will continue to be given drugs that severely compromise their health. They are dying, trembling and living in a constant state of fear.

It also means that the food you eat involves an additive – ractopamine hydrochloride – which has actually been deemed “not for human use,” yet has turned up in tested meat samples. This doesn’t just pertain to pigs, either; it’s been found that ractopamine is fed to turkeys and cattle as well.(3)

If this has you shaking your head in disbelief and disgust, it should. Once again, greed enters the picture – one that’s well-framed by loopholes and hush-hush regulatory processes.

New England Journal of Medicine Calls for GMO Labeling!

I don’t think this could have come at a better time. The Senate is due to vote on the Dark Act soon, and with such a prestigious medical journal now publishing an article stating that we should be labeling GM crops, it is not going to be easy for the Senators to keep holding the Monsanto line of “It’s great! And all the studies that show it isn’t are wrong because we say so.”  Mind you, I am not going to hold my breath thinking the US Federal Government will do the right and decent thing, but this is still fantastic ammo. Here is an excerpt from an article. The link to the article is in the title below:

New England Journal of Medicine article calls for labeling of GM foods

In the August 20 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, two respected experts on pesticides and children’s environmental health call for the FDA to require mandatory labeling of GMO foods.

Currently, the FDA does not require labeling of genetically modified foods, even though 65 countries mandate the labeling of GM foods, and more than 90 percent of Americans support it. Last month, the DARK Act, which would block states and federal government from making mandatory labeling laws, passed in the House. Next, it goes to the Senate.

What the article says

In the article, titled “GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health,” Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, the Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and co-author Charles Benbrook, a crop and soil scientist, say the time has come for three important steps.

One of these is GMO labeling. They write: “We believe the time has come to revisit the United States’ reluctance to label GM foods.”

As they explain, two recent developments are dramatically changing the GMO landscape:

  1. The number of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops has increased sharply and is scheduled to increase even more in the next few years.
  2. This year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate, the herbicide used most widely on GM crops, as a “probable human carcinogen.” And the agency classified 2,4-D, another herbicide, as a “possible human carcinogen.”

The authors believe labeling will have multiple benefits. It will help track the emergence of new food allergies and better evaluate the effects of chemical herbicides applied to GM foods. And also, it will respect the wishes of the growing numbers of consumers who insist they have a right to know what is in the foods and beverages they are buying.

The article also calls for the National Toxicology Program to urgently assess the nature, effects, and possible poisons in pure glyphosate, formulated glyphosate, and mixtures of glyphosate and other herbicides.

Finally, the article calls for the EPA to delay its implementation of its decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo, a combination herbicide made with both glyphosate and 2,4-D that is designed for use on GMO crops…..(rest here)

OIE and Animal Based Bio-Weapons

The OIE is basically the USDA on the animal side for all World Trade Agreements and therefore sets the harmonization and standardization for animal products and animal diseases within all WTO member states….Yes, I used the word states instead of nations, because we truly are now under global government. I could pontificate and illustrate for hours about just how this is now a fact, and the methods by which we have lost our nation, but I don’t have the hours to do so again. SO, if you desire to see how that happened in our food and livestock sector, just look for any article I have written on the Food Safety Modernization Act and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices). Maybe I’ll do it all again as a retrospective, but right now, I’m consumed with taking care of family and prepping for the imminent collapse. :Smiley Face: I hope you are as well!

The OIE is responsible for the foolish stamping out policies for diseases that must be controlled under trade standards. A quick illustration is the annihilation of all the poultry due to avian influenza here. Since it is classified as a “disease of concern” states must either be free of the disease, or have a “controlled” level of this disease. The “free” status is what brings about the stamp out or eradication policy. To maintain a free status, should a disease of concern present itself, all animals potentially exposed and potentially carriers must be killed to stop the disease. Biologic idiocy, but that’s “free trade”. If you kill all the animals exposed, it leaves no genetic pool that demonstrates resistance to draw from. So two birds out of 10,000 die and the whole barn must now be killed.

After that lovely little introduction to the OIE and the reason for such lack of reason, here is an article that people should know about. Please read between the lines and act accordingly:

Beware of animal diseases as biological weapons, health experts say

PARIS (Reuters) – The World Health Organization, animal health and national defense officers called on Tuesday for wider international cooperation to avoid the spread of animal diseases that could be used as biological weapons.

Sixty percent of human diseases come from animal agents and 80 percent of the agents that could be used for bio terrorism are of animal origin, said Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

“History has shown that animal diseases have often been used as weapons before. Advances in genetics can now make them even more harmful. So we are calling for further investment to be made at national level on bio security,” Vallat told reporters at a conference on biological threat reduction.

Diseases have spread from animals to humans for millennia, with latest examples including the bird flu virus that has killed hundreds of people around the globe.

The OIE and the WHO warned that animal disease agents could escape naturally, accidentally but also intentionally from laboratories, to be used as bio weapons.Earlier during the conference Kenneth Myers, Director of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), part of the Department of Defense, stressed the need for international collaboration to avoid the loss of biological material.

“Terrorists have clearly shown they will use any weapons at their disposal,” Myers said, noting that disease agents are easy to transport and difficult to detect.

Security breaches involving animal diseases are not rare.

The Pentagon said in May and earlier this month the U.S. military had sent live samples of anthrax, which can be used as biological weapon, to five countries outside the United States and to dozens of U.S. labs.

The conference on ‪‎biothreat reduction in Paris is the first to gather experts from the ‪‎OIE, ‪‎WHO, international police agency I‪nterpol, the ‪United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization FAO and representatives from the health, security or defense sectors from over 120 countries.

“The aim is to have the same voice on this subject,” Vallat said. “International solidarity is key because any country that does not implement standards can be a threat to the entire planet.”

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

Doctors Want Glyphosate (Round Up) Banned!

So 30,000 Argentinian doctors have shown they have much greater powers of observation than all the doctors at the FDA, USDA, AMA, CDC, and NIH combined. I don’t know, but I wonder if Argentina doctors have the same kind of nefarious relationship with big pharma as the doctors in the US do. Let’s not forget that Monsanto is 85% owned by Pfizer.

Here’s the article on the Argentinian doctors asking that glyphosate be banned:

30,000 Doctors in Argentina Demand that Glyphosate be Banned

Joining millions of citizen voices
pesticides_field_guys_735_350
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/30000-doctors-in-argentina-demand-that-glyphosate-be-banned/#ixzz3YcL327g5
Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

If the millions of regular people who have asked Monsanto to stop selling their toxic chemicals is not enough, more than 30,000 doctors and health professionals are asking that glyphosate be banned.

The doctors are part of FESPROSA, Argentina’s Union of medical professionals. Citing the World Health Organization’s recent declaration that the glyphosate chemicals used in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Round Up (formulated to use on Round Up Ready crops) are “likely carcinogenic,” they add an additional disclaimer:

Glyphosate is also associated with:

  • Spontaneous abortions
  • Birth defects
  • Skin disease
  • Respiratory illness
  • Neurological disease

Where are the American doctors who can tell the WHO, and Monsanto the same thing? Instead of forcing Monsanto’s hand, other doctors have been retaliating against Dr. Oz who recently said that glyphosate was dangerous on world-wide television.

Read: Glyphosate Found in Urine, Blood, Breast Milk

FESPROSA also explained:

“In our country glyphosate is applied on more than 28 million hectares. Each year, the soil is sprayed with more than 320 million litres, which means that 13 million people are at risk of being affected, according to the Physicians Network of Sprayed Peoples (RMPF). Soy is not the only crop addicted to glyphosate: the herbicide is also used for transgenic maize and other crops. Where glyphosate falls, only GMOs can grow. Everything else dies.”

The doctors also talk about vindicating one of their own:

Our trade union, the Federation of Health Professionals of Argentina (FESPROSA), which represents more than 30,000 doctors and health professionals in our country, includes the Social Health Collective of Andrés Carrasco. Andrés Carrasco was a researcher at [Argentine government research institute] CONICET, who died a year ago, and showed the damage caused by glyphosate to embryos. For disseminating his research, he was attacked by the industry and the authorities at CONICET. Today, WHO vindicates him.”

With evidence like this – how can any biotech shill talk about genetically modified food being ‘safe’ when the primary chemicals sold to grow them are killing the people of entire countries?

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/30000-doctors-in-argentina-demand-that-glyphosate-be-banned/#ixzz3YcJoOzJG
Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

GMO Contamination of All Corn

End of Organic? Report Says GMO Crop Contamination Cannot Be Stopped

contaminated crops

(This article is linked through the title at the top of the picture. This is not surprising news at all, but I contend that if there is a wholesale repudiation of GMO corn, where farmer’s refuse to grow it, that we could breed it out of existence over time. That is likely the only way to purify corn left to us. Soy is even worse than corn, although it isn’t quite as prolific in it’s cross pollination capacities. Planting real food in revolt is our best and most important effort. It won’t restore balance quickly, but we can’t stop the wind, so we have to do what we can or give up…Now, here’s the article.)

With each passing year, an increasing number of states are attempting to adopt GMO labeling laws amid the federal government’s resistance to allow you to know what’s in your food. With each victory, or even loss, we get stronger — and closer to making GMO labeling a reality. The sad reality, however, is that many experts say GMO labeling will not suffice in the overall fight against biotech due to the fact that GMO crops can easily contaminate nearby farms.

A new report finds that the GMO contamination issue is much more serious than previously thought, and the concerned experts couldn’t be more correct.

There have been numerous real-life cases of GMO contamination thus far, though most aren’t well known. One key example rests with Australian farmer Steve Marsh, an organic farmer who sued a neighboring farmer for compensation after his field of non-GMO wheat was contaminated by Michael Baxter’s RoundUp Ready canola seeds. He took his case to the Supreme Court of Western Australia and lost.

Another example of GMO contamination can be seen with an unapproved strain of genetically modified wheat discovered in Oregon. The Roundup Ready strain was nixed in 2005 when global resistance to Monsanto forced the company to stop working on it. It was never approved for use, let along growing and exporting.

The claim by the biotech industry that GMO crops can be contained and kept away from organic farmers who have chosen not to use genetically modified ‘suicide’ seeds has steadily been proven false. A third of organic growers are now reporting problems with cross contamination, according to one survey. More than 80% of farmers who participated in the survey are ‘concerned’ about the impact of genetic seeds. About 60% are ‘very concerned.’

One organic farmer, Oren Holle, blames the USDA’s loving relationship with Monsanto:

 “…the USDA has been extremely lax and, in our opinion, that’s due to the excessive influence of the biotech industry in political circles.”

The newly released report outlining the prevalence of GMO contamination, which can be found in the International Journal of Food Contamination, reports that by the end of 2013 and since 1997, 396 incidents of GMO cross-contamination across 63 countries had been recorded. Many of which had involved GM rice.

The Paper Makes the Following Main Points:

  • 1. GMO contamination is unavoidable and will happen no matter what through nature.
  • 2. Contamination will even occur via field trials or illegal plantings. The report references 9 cases of contamination of unauthorized GMO crops which have bypassed environmental and food safety testing.
  • 3. Genetically modified rice made up about 33% of the contamination cases by crop. This is despite the fact that as of December 2012, GM rice hasn’t even become widely available for production or consumption. There is a global absence of any commercial cultivation of GM rice. The authors suggest this figure might be related to the routine testing of imports of GM rice at national borders.
  • 4. It is difficult to contain and halt contamination after it has already happened.
  • 5. “From these data, it’s not clear what the main factors affecting contamination rates are. It’s not only the GM contamination itself (cross-pollination, mix-ups etc.) that contributes to the number of cases, but also the the testing regime (both routine and targeted). The highest rates of contamination are in imported foodstuffs to Germany but this is probably because they do a lot of testing. All EU countries have high rates because they report their findings of the RASFF database. The data for contamination exists – but not the factors to analyse what influences contamination.”
  • 6. The researchers conclude that for most experimental GMOs, there is no protocol for testing, which makes detection for contamination extremely difficult.

The report concluded:

“The detection of GMO contamination is dependent on both routine and targeted monitoring regimes, which appears to be inconsistent from country to country, even within the EU. The lack of an analytical methodology for the detection of GM crops at the field trial stage (i.e. pre-commercialisation) can hamper efforts to detect any contamination arising from such GM lines.”

– See more at: http://naturalsociety.com/gmo-crop-contamination-cannot-be-stopped/#sthash.h8b1ijMr.dpuf

Vermont and GMO Labeling

Vermont Plans Rules, Meetings for GMO LabelingLaw

 

They claim it’s going to be too troublesome to follow the labeling law passed in Vermont. I say they should have thought about that before they started ok’ing pesticides and herbicides for human consumption. What a load. They can label for dairy, nuts, etc., but those who are so proud of GMO don’t want to put on the label that it “MAY CONTAIN GMO Ingredients!” It looks like the Grocery Manufacturers Association thinks it is better to conduct experiments on mankind with no oversight and without people’s knowledge or consent. 

Yeah…it makes me kind of angry.

Story below:

MONTPELIER, Vermont—A legal challenge hasn’t deterred Vermont authorities from moving forward to implement the nation’s first law requiring labeling of genetically modified organisms in food.

The Office of Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell has scheduled three public meetings for next week to introduce draft rules to implement Act 120, the GMO labeling law that is the subject of litigation in federal court. The meetings will be held Oct. 21 in Burlington, Oct. 22 in Montpelier and Oct. 24 in Brattleboro.

Sorrell anticipates making the draft rules public in advance of the meetings, according to an Oct. 10 press release.

Last month, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and other organizations that filed a lawsuit to invalidate Act 120 moved to enjoin Vermont authorities from implementing the law until the litigation has run its course. Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association and National Association of Manufacturers.

Among other arguments, the food groups contend the law fails to serve a legitimate government purpose, violates federal labeling requirements and is preempted by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Act 120 doesn’t take effect until July 1, 2016, but the food groups argue the industry will suffer irreparable harm without a preliminary injunction due in part to costs they must incur to comply with the law.

“Manufacturers have no way to reliably distinguish ingredients derived from genetically engineered plant varieties from those that are not,” plaintiffs stated in their request for a preliminary injunction filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont. “The changes manufacturers would need to demand from their suppliers and initiate in their own facilities to segregate ingredients require money and time—much more time than the Act’s July 1, 2016 effective date allows.”

A federal judge, Christina Reiss, may hear oral arguments in December on the motion for the injunction and a separate request by the defendants to dismiss the lawsuit. Plaintiffs also have moved to amend their complaint.

In a motion filed in August to dismiss the lawsuit, Sorrell’s legal team argued the labeling law advances a number of legitimate state interests, including preventing confusion about whether consumers are purchasing genetically modified foods. Food manufacturers are free to express their view about genetically modified foods, and nothing in Act 120 prohibits manufacturers from noting FDA’s viewpoint that such foods are not materially different from natural ones, the state lawyers said.

Last week, Reiss denied a request by two organizations—the Center for Food Safety and Vermont Public Interest Research Group—to intervene in the case.

The lawsuit in Vermont is being closely watched across the United States because it could have ramifications for labeling initiatives in other states. Lawyers for the State of Vermont said roughly 80 percent of processed food sold in the United States is produced with genetic engineering

 

GMO Bananas…Straight to Human Trial

It seems like each day has more stupidity paid for by taxpayer dollars with the overages charged to future generations. In Des Moines, they are doing a straight to human GMO banana trial, which is described below. If my daughter was willing to do this for the $900 offered, I would be deeply ashamed and upset. Despite our bilateral symmetry, we are only given one earthly vessel to occupy. Please read the article and share it around. It’s linked on the title:

naturalnews.com

Originally published September 16 2014

by Jonathan Benson, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Human trials with a new genetically modified (GM) banana with artificial levels of the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene are set to begin this fall without prior animal testing. Researchers plan to feed the “frankenfruit” to college students attending Iowa State University (ISU), though details outlining how the study will be conducted and whether or not students will know what they are eating have been limited.

The Des Moines Register (DMR) reports that 12 female students out of 500 who responded to a call for volunteers will be selected in the next few months to eat the GM banana for four days during three separate study periods. Each participant will receive $900 in compensation for her participation, the outcome of which is entirely unknown, as the GM banana in question has never before been tested on a living organism, let alone a human being.

A project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the GM banana is intended for cultivation and use in poor African countries, where vitamin A deficiency is widespread. Like the infamous GM “Golden Rice,” which has failed in every trial thus far conducted, the novel GM banana is being offered up as the solution to vitamin A deficiency, even though there are plenty of other natural fruits and vegetables like mangoes and sweet potatoes that already contain high levels of beta-carotene.

Why won’t Gates’ scientists test GM banana on animals first?

Besides the controversial nature of the project itself — foods genetically modified to contain added nutrients have repeatedly been shown to harm humans — many are wondering why animal trials are not being conducted on the new GM banana. European regulations require that any proposed new GMO first be tested on animals for at least 90 days, but in this case scientists are rushing it straight to humans.

This amounts to gross experimentation on humans, cut from the same fabric as Nazi scientists who during World War II performed heinous medical experiments on concentration camp prisoners. It is impossible for those participating in such a trial to give informed consent because they have no idea what they’re consenting to — and neither do the scientists who will be performing the experiments!

“Going straight from GMO development to human trials is exactly what happened with the GM golden rice trials, where GM golden rice was fed to children without informed consent and without prior animal testing,” wrote Claire Robinson for GMWatch.eu. “The lack of animal testing was condemned by international scientists as a breach of the Nuremberg Code, established after World War II to prevent a repeat of Nazi experiments on humans.”

Natural bananas with high amounts of beta-carotene already exist

When confronted with the fact that beta-carotene-rich bananas already exist in nature, scientists backing the GM banana project humorously tried to claim that people living in East Africa probably wouldn’t eat them because, get this — they’re too sweet for their tastes. Thus, it is essential that Bill Gates & Co. swoop in and save the day with a man-madebanana that could end up killing the target population in the end.

Such lunacy is what drives the genetic scientists pushing this type of nonsense on the world, when something as simple as inexpensive vitamin A supplements would be more than adequate at addressing deficiency in the Third World. Either that, or teaching people in these countries to grow foods that are naturally rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoid precursors to vitamin A.

“Like Golden Rice, these wannabe super heroes from the West will fail with their silver bullet for what is a complex societal & ecological problem,” wrote one DMR commenter. “The first step to helping these kids would be to stop dumping our surplus corn into their economy at below the cost of production.”

“Diversity in agriculture is the answer to the dietary problems afar and in our own [country]. Doubling down, with fingers crossed, on biotech silver bullets will not help… and if history is any indicator, we’ll probably just make it worse.”

Sources for this article include:

http://www.gmwatch.eu

http://www.desmoinesregister.com

http://www.independentsciencenews.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

http://science.naturalnews.com



All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. NaturalNews.com is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit http://www.NaturalNews.com/terms.shtml

Norway Study on Glyphosate and Missouri’s Amendment 1- “Right to Farm”

If anyone wants one more reason to have GMO food labeled, a very solid study out of Norway shows Round Up accumulation in treated crops to be excessive when ready for consumption.

Should Amendment 1 pass in Missouri, Monsanto’s home state, there will be even more uncontrolled GMO proliferation and spraying of Round Up and 2-4d. Amendment 1 masquerades as a protection against animal rights activists, but it will provide for complete factory farming in the State with no ability to constrain it left to the citizens.

Here are a few questions about Amendment 1:

•If it is to halt the animal rights agenda, then why hasn’t the legislature simply passed legislation to prohibit the most extreme of their activities?

•If it is to protect agriCULTURE as opposed to agriINDUSTRY, then why was the original wording specifically tailored to protect “modern technology”?

•Since we, and all other states, already have statute that prevents nuisance suits against existing farms and ranches, why do we need to change our Constitution? Do we have to protect our right to use an indoor flush toilet in the Constitution as well? Isn’t enumerating every single right of man a little beyond the pale?

•Additionally, who is going to define the terms farm, farmer, rancher, ranching, farming? Regulators, courts and lawyers…Do we trust them?

If you think protecting Monsanto, one of the proponents of Amendment 1, should be part of Missouri’s Constitution, then you should vote for this proposed amendment.

Read this study if you are still of the mindset that Round Up is a good thing. Think about telling your grandchildren that you voted to have them sterilized by the food supply because you thought eating herbicides was good business.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

As with everything political, you have got to look at the interests of those who are the major supporters of a proposed action. Cargill, Monsanto, Missouri Corn and Soy Growers, and the biggest proponent for destructive free trade agreements, Missouri Farm Bureau, are the major supporters of Amendment 1. Many members of Farm Bureau are the best people you may ever meet! Farm Bureau even does some things that are actually positive for real farmers. Amendment 1 is just NOT one of those positive actions.

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

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries