Gene Silencing of GMO’s Not Considered

While the topic of gene silencing brought about by ingestion of GMO’s has had some scientific study done, not once has it been taken into consideration by the Powers that Shouldn’t Be when approving GMO’s for human or animal consumption in the US. The article below touches on that subject in relation to the recent approval of GMO Simplot potatoes. These are the primary potatoes for McDonald’s french fries.

Poorly tested gene silencing technology to enter food supply with Simplot potato

on 08 November 2014.

USDA approves new GM potato developed with new, little understood form of genetic engineering called RNA interference (RNAi)

EXCERPT: “We simply don’t know enough about RNA interference technology to determine whether GE crops developed with it are safe for people and the environment. If this is an attempt to give crop biotechnology a more benign face, all it has really done is expose the inadequacies of the U.S. regulation of GE crops. These approvals are riddled with holes and are extremely worrisome,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., CFS director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist.

Poorly tested gene silencing technology to enter food supply with Simplot potato

Center for Food Safety, November 7th, 2014
http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/3594/poorly-tested-gene-silencing-technology-to-enter-food-supply-with-simplot-potato

* A new form of genetic engineering will soon be sold to unsuspecting consumers

Center for Food Safety (CFS) is today warning consumers about a new genetically engineered (GE) potato that may soon enter the food supply. Because GE foods are not required to be labeled, the new GE potato will be sold to consumers without their knowledge. The GE potato was one of two new crops approved today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that uses a new, little understood form of genetic engineering called RNA interference (RNAi). The other is a new low-lignin alfalfa from Monsanto. Despite the unprecedented nature of these approvals, USDA has inexplicably failed to undertake the legally required rigorous and overarching analysis of the GE crops’ impacts or reasonably foreseeable consequences.

“We simply don’t know enough about RNA interference technology to determine whether GE crops developed with it are safe for people and the environment. If this is an attempt to give crop biotechnology a more benign face, all it has really done is expose the inadequacies of the U.S. regulation of GE crops. These approvals are riddled with holes and are extremely worrisome,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D., CFS director of sustainable agriculture and senior scientist.

Analysis of RNAi by a panel of independent scientists requested by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that there were many significant uncertainties about potential risks from this technology, and that current risk assessment procedures were not adequate. Despite such cautions USDA is rushing the technology forward.

Unlike earlier genetic engineering techniques that splice in segments of DNA, the new technique used in the Simplot potato and Monsanto’s low-lignin alfalfa is based on the manipulation of the plant’s RNA-based control mechanisms. RNA interference (RNAi) induces the plant to silence or dial back expression of the plant’s own genes, such as those responsible for natural processes like browning or lignin production.. However, RNA manipulations may end up turning down, or off, genes other than those that were targeted because many genes contain similar, or even identical, stretches of DNA. Current testing requirements do not reliably detect such effects on other important crop genes.

Concerns with Simplot Potato:

Developed by the J.R. Simplot Company, the potato would be the only GE potato variety on the U.S. commercial market. The Simplot potato has been genetically engineered with RNAi technology to reduce browning by silencing the expression of one of five polyphenol oxidase genes, which is normally highly expressed in potato tubers. This is attractive to the potato processing industry because bruised potatoes are culled for cosmetic reasons. However, bruised potatoes have not been associated with health risks.

These potatoes are also silenced for genes affecting sugar production and the amino acid asparagine, which during frying and baking lead to the production of acrylamide, a probable carcinogen. However, it is unclear whether the observed reductions will lead to positive health outcomes, given that acrylamide is found in many other foods. In addition, fried potato products have other serious negative health effects.

“In light of the obesity crisis, there has been an important national push to discourage children and adults from eating large quantities of fried foods like french fries or chips. In creating the false illusion that fried potatoes are now healthy, the Simplot potato sends the absolute opposite message,” said Elizabeth Kucinich, policy director at CFS. “Claims of health benefits by USDA and Simplot are short sighted, misleading, and in the light of the science, could actually be potentially dangerous.”

The asparagine gene has also been shown in recent research to be important in plant defenses against pathogens. The Simplot potato was not adequately tested for a possible weakening of its ability to defend itself against disease. If this occurs in the field, it could lead to increased fungicide use, greater farmer expense, and possibly reduced productivity. The latter effect was seen in several tests of these potatoes.

“We need answers to these questions before these potatoes are commercialized,” said Gurian-Sherman.

Concerns with Monsanto’s Low-Lignin Alfalfa:

Monsanto and Forage Genetics International (FGI) have genetically engineered alfalfa for reduced levels of lignin through the suppression of a key enzyme in the lignin biosynthetic pathway. It represents the first non-regulated GE crop with reduced lignin levels. Lignin and its building blocks perform many functions in plants, including structural stability and plant defense. Lowering lignin levels could make the alfalfa more prone to attack by insects or diseases, and potentially increase pesticide use. Moreover, there are still many unknowns about how plants make lignin, making it premature to manipulate this important pathway. Additionally, alfalfa is a perennial crop and can cross-pollinate at great distances, allowing it to interbreed with other types of alfalfa. Any adverse impacts of the new variety will therefore be spread rapidly through much or all of the alfalfa seed supply

Regulatory Failures:

USDA assessed the risk from these crops under the inadequate plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act (PPA) of 2000. USDA has ignored the noxious weed provision of the PPA, which would allow a more thorough risk assessment. By failing to develop reasonable regulations under the PPA 14 years after its passage, USDA continues to fail in its mandate to protect the public and the environment.

 

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Digesting Regulations–I’m a Pet Store…or a Dealer, or a Breeder, or Not, or What???!!!

USDA’s APHIS, the same illustrious service that brought us the NAIS which morphed into the ADT, has blessed us all with the distinction of being regulated as a pet store if we aren’t already regulated as licensed breeders. The way the regulations read is confusing at absolute best. The number of breeding females is an aggregate number of all animals covered under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. That’s virtually every thing that is warm blooded and referred to as a “pet” or used for exhibition. Dogs, cats, farm animals sometimes, rabbits, etc. They say you can have four or less breeding females and not be licensed, but if you sell them online then you are a retail pet store. They also give you the capacity to earn up to $500 gross annually and be exempted from being either a pet store or a breeder.

Now there are exceptions that are astonishing. For one, if the animals are sold as breeding animals, then you are exempt. So every dog could be sold as breeding stock with hybrid vigor and they would be exempt. Or if the animal is a working animal, you’re ok as well. So you could sell poodles as watch dogs and be exempt. But if they are pets, you are not exempt. Basically, if they want to they can deem anyone selling any of the covered animals as under their regulatory authority.

I try really hard not to curse, but after reading the final rule (which you can read here if you have the stamina) I find that I have to quote my husband, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

Thankfully there is a lawsuit that has been filed. I hope there is an injunction against the USDA on this insanity. You can read about it below:

Dog and Cat Clubs Tell Uncle Sam to Scat
           (CN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally and arbitrarily is requiring “tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders” to get licenses and submit to unannounced inspections and the costs of complying with “new structural and sanitation standards,” dozens of dog and cat clubs claim in court.

     Forty dog clubs – and two cat clubs – led by the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, sued the USDA in District of Columbia Federal Court.
More cats than dogs are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society: 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. households have at least one dog, and 46 percent have at least one cat, according to the Humane Society.
Why 40 of the 42 plaintiff clubs are dog breeders, and only two represent cats, is a poser. Possibly it’s because dogs and dog owners are clubbier than cats and cat people.
Whatever the reason, the clubs challenge “The Retail Pet Store Rule,” 9 CFR Parts 1-3, which took effect on Nov. 18. The regulation was promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
The rule originally was aimed at large breeders who sell over the Internet, but was expanded to include all breeders, including “small-scale breeders,” i.e., the members of the plaintiff clubs, “without any support for doing do,” according to the complaint.
According to the dog clubs’ lawsuit: “The Rule radically changes, without justification, 47 years of USDA’s regulatory oversight of retail pet stores. Specifically, the Rule redefines ‘retail pet store’ to potentially require tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders throughout the United States, including members of plaintiffs, to obtain licenses, to subject their residences to unannounced, on-site inspections, to incur substantial costs to comply with new structural and sanitation standards, to risk the health and lives of their dogs and cats from exposure to the deadly Parvovirus, Panleukopenia, and other diseases, and to place their personal safety at risk by opening their residences to strangers.”
The clubs claim that when Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act in 1966, it “specifically exempted retail pet stores” from the Act’s licensing and inspection requirements.
“Although Congress has amended the AWA several times since its passage, Congress has not changed or narrowed the AWA’s exemption of retail pet stores,” the complaint states. “By promulgating a regulation instead of seeking a statutory solution in Congress, the USDA has circumvented congressional intent. Moreover, the Rule’s redefinition of ‘retail pet store’ is inconsistent with the required record that was developed to justify the Rule.”
The USDA estimated that the rule would affect 2,600 to 4,640 breeders, the dog clubs say – an estimate that is way off base.
“In fact, as was noted in the comments, the Rule potentially affects tens of thousands of breeders, including the almost 19,000 members of the 42 plaintiffs, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly, the clubs and registries comprised by plaintiffs represent less than 1 percent of the dog and cat clubs and registries in the United States, yet the cumulative number of plaintiff members alone is four times the maximum number of breeders that APHIS [the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] estimated would be potentially affected.”
The dog clubs want the rule declared invalid and enjoined as arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with the AWA, exceeding the jurisdiction of the USDA, and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The clubs are represented by Philip Hecht.
The Humane Society criticized the lawsuit in a statement, and said it plans to “intervene in the lawsuit and join the government in defending the common-sense regulation.”
The Humane Society said that the rule was enacted to crack down on “large-scale puppy mills.” The statement said that the rule “closed the regulatory loophole” that let puppy mills sells abused dogs online without oversight.
The Humane Society statement did not address the dog clubs’ objection that the rule indiscriminately affects back-yard breeders.
Here are the plaintiffs: Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc; Australian Shepherd Club of America; American Dog Breeders Association, Inc.; Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders; California Federation of Dog Clubs; Albany Kennel Club, Inc.; Albany Obedience Club, Inc.; Allpurrs Cattery; American Fox Terrier Club; American Pomeranian Club; American Russell Terrier Club; Belgian Sheepdog Club of America; Cat Fanciers Legislative Group; Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club; Chattanooga Kennel Club;; Chihuahua Club of America; Cleveland Collie Club; Colonial Newfoundland Club; Columbia Poodle Club of Oregon and Southwest Washington; Dachshund Club of Greater Buffalo; Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia; Eagle Rock Kennel Club, Inc.; Erie Canal Schipperke Club; Goldendoodle Association of North America;; Huron Valley Australian Shepherd Association; International Bengal Cat Society; International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club; Kennel Club of Palm Springs; Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America; Minuteman Samoyed Club, Inc.; Mississippi Canine Coalition, Inc.; Northland Newfoundland Club; Potomac Bassett Hound Club; Saratoga (NY) Kennel Club, Inc.; Schenectady Dog Training Club; Shawangunk Kennel Club, Inc.; Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York; Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis; Syracuse Obedience Training Club; Tri Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northwest Los Angeles; Weimaraner Club of the Washington DC Area; and the Working Australian Shepherd Club of Upstate New York.

Rural Cannon Fodder

A very interesting article, from a very interesting food freedom advocate and (ahem) super star, Joel Salatin…..I have put a few things in bold as I felt they really needed emphasis:

USDA: Rural population needed not for farming but for cannon fodder

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack values rural people less as farmers than as soldiers, says Joel Salatin. Photo: USDAgov/Flickr.

Joel Salatin recently posted this piece on the Polyface Farms Facebook page and we repost it here with Joel’s permission. — Ed

Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind U.S. Department of Agriculture policy?

In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out last Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. I did and still do consider it a distinct honor for his staff to invite me as one of the 25 dignitaries in Virginia agriculture for this think-tank session in Richmond.

It was a who’s who of Virginia agriculture: Farm Bureau, Va. Agribusiness Council, Va. Forestry Association, Va. Poultry Federation, Va. Cattlemen’s Association., deans from Virginia Tech and Virginia State — you get the picture.

It was the first meeting of this kind I’ve ever attended that offered no water. The only thing to drink were soft drinks. Lunch was served in styrofoam clam shells — Lay’s potato chips, sandwiches, potato salad and chocolate chip cookie. It didn’t look very safe to me, so I didn’t partake. But I’d have liked a drink of water. In another circumstance, I might eat this stuff, but with these folks, felt it important to make a point. Why do they all assume nobody wants water, nobody cares about styrofoam, everybody wants potato chips and we all want industrial meat-like slabs on white bread?

But I digress. The big surprise occurred a few minutes into the meeting: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack walked in. He was in Terry McAuliffe love-in mode. And here is what he told us: in 2012, for the first time ever — rural America lost population in real numbers — not as a percentage but in real numbers. It’s down to 16 percent of total population.

I’m sitting there thinking he’s going to say that number needs to go up so we have more people to love and steward the landscape. More people to care for earthworms. More people to grow food and fiber.

Are you ready for the shoe to drop? The epiphany? What could the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, at the highest strategic planning sessions of our land, be challenged by other leaders to change this figure, to get more people in rural America, to encourage farming and help more farms get started? What could be the driving reason to have more farmers?

Why does he go to bed at night trying to figure out how to increase farmers? How do the President and other cabinet members view Vilsack’s role as the nation’s farming czar? What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?

Are you ready? Here’s his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line — you know all the cliches — the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might. He said rural kids grow up with a sense of wanting to give something back, and if we lose that value system, we’ll lose our military might.

So folks, it all boils down to American military muscle. It’s not about food, healing the land, stewarding precious soil and resources; it’s all about making sure we keep a steady stream of youngsters going into the military. This puts an amazing twist on things. You see, I think we should have many more farmers, and have spent a lifetime trying to encourage, empower, and educate young people to go into farming. It never occurred to me that this agenda was the key to American military power.

Lest I be misread, I am not opposed to defending family. I am not opposed to fighting for sacred causes. But I am violently opposed to non-sacred fighting and meddling in foreign countries, and building empires. The Romans already tried that and failed.

But to think that my agenda is key to building the American military — now that’s a cause for pause. I will redouble my efforts to help folks remember why we need more farmers. It’s not to provide cannon fodder for Wall Street imperialistic agendas. It’s to grow food that nourishes, husband land that’s aesthetically and aromatically sensually romantic, build soil, hydrate raped landscapes, and convert more solar energy into biomass than nature would in a static state. I can think of many, many righteous and noble reasons to have more farms. Why couldn’t Secretary Vilsack have mentioned any of these? Any?

No, the reason for more farms is to make sure we get people signing up at the recruitment office. That’s the way he sees me as a farmer. Not a food producer. When the president and his cabinet have their private confabs, they don’t see farmers as food producers, as stewards of the landscape, as resource leveragers. No, they view us as insurance for military muscle, for American empire-building and soldier hubris. Is this outrageous? Do I have a right to be angry? Like me, this raw and bold show of the government’s farming agenda should make us all feel betrayed, belittled, and our great nation besmirched.

Perhaps, just perhaps, really good farms don’t feed this military personnel pipeline. I’d like to think our kind of farming has more righteous goals and sacred objectives. Vilsack did not separate good farmers from bad farmers. Since we have far more bad farmers than good ones, perhaps the statistic would not hold up if we had more farmers who viewed the earth as something to heal instead of hurt, as a partner to caress instead of rape. That America’s farms are viewed by our leaders as just another artery leading into military might is unspeakably demeaning and disheartening.

Tragically, I don’t think this view would change with a different Democrat or Republican. It’s entrenched in the establishment fraternity. Thomas Jefferson, that iconic and quintessential agrarian intellectual, said we should have a revolution about every half century just to keep the government on its toes. I’d say we’re long overdue.

Now when you see those great presidentially appointed cabinet members talking, I just want you to think about how despicable it is that behind the facade, behind the hand shaking and white papers, in the private by-invitation-only inner circles of our country, movers and shakers know axiomatically that farms are really important to germinate more military personnel. That no one in that room with Terry McAuliffe, none of those Virginia farm leaders, even blinked when Vilsack said that is still hard for me to grasp. They accepted it as truth, probably saying “Amen, brother” in their hearts. True patriots, indeed.

It’ll take me awhile to get over this, and believe me, I intend to shout this from the housetops. I’ll incorporate in as many public speeches as I can because I think it speaks to the heart of food and farming. It speaks to the heart of strength and security; which according to our leaders comes from the end of a gun, not from the alimentary canal of an earthworm. Here’s to more healthy worms.

– Joel Salatin, Transition Voice

– See more at: http://transitionvoice.com/2013/08/rural-population-not-needed-for-farming-but-for-cannon-fodder/#sthash.ayiixhIX.dpuf

One Hand Washing the Other in “Wash”ington, DC

I think it was the day before yesterday that I heard the US Senate had come up with a financial “fix” that would allow the USDA to avoid furloughing up to 8,000 meat inspectors. On it’s face, those furloughs would have been completely unnecessary, as the “sequester” is cutting 2% of budget increase and the meat plants mostly pay for the inspector’s presence at the plant any way. However, the Senate passed a bill to get the USDA to not shut down 6,000 or so meat plants, and, they have included the Monsanto Protection Act in the bill. Food and Water Watch has a press release about it, which I have copied below.

Here’s the mistake, by allowing federal overreach into the very thing that sustains us, we find ourselves asking for their permission to feed ourselves. The USDA, who have repeatedly assisted in the consolidation and destruction of independent agriculture, should not be treated with any respect by any person with a shred of dignity. Acting like Vilsack was a victim of Congress under sequestration is acting like Geithner was a victim of Goldmann-Sachs. Vilsack made certain that the Monsanto protection Act was included in the deal to keep the meat inspectors on duty. They played us like a violin. Get them afraid about the ripple effects and shove a destructive amendment into the bill to “save” the meat industry.

Here is FWW release on the subject….

Senate Passes Stopgap Spending Measure Full of Special Interest Favors

Statement of Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch

Washington, D.C.—“Today, the Senate passed a continuing resolution that was laden with special interest policy riders. Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) abdicated their responsibility by offering a stale spending bill from last year that is loaded with special legislative giveaways to big agribusiness companies. The heavy-handed and undemocratic process used to force the Senate to accept a deeply flawed proposal allowed votes on only nine amendments.

“The Senate was not allowed to consider two amendments offered by Senator Tester (D-Montana) that would have removed policy riders that favored the largest seed companies and the largest meatpackers. Senator Tester rightly observed that these policy riders were worth millions of dollars to these companies.

“One of Senator Tester’s amendments would have removed a provision that prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture from implementing livestock marketing and contract fairness rules that were included in the 2008 Farm Bill. Food & Water Watch and hundreds of farm groups worked to include these vital livestock provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill to protect farmers from unfair and deceptive practices by meatpacking and poultry companies.

“Another of Senator Tester’s amendments would have removed a giveaway to genetically engineered seed companies that would allow the continued planting of GE crops even when a court of law has found they were approved illegally. This provision undermines USDA’s oversight of GE crops and unnecessarily interferes with the judicial review process. This favor to the biotech industry was not included in the House-passed continuing resolution and should never have been included in the Senate version.

“One thing that the Senate got right was finding a solution for funding meat and poultry inspection that would avoid USDA inspector furloughs. The funding cuts triggered by sequestration would have required USDA to furlough its meat and poultry inspectors for up to two weeks this summer, causing the plants they inspect to stop operating. The House should maintain this funding for USDA meat and poultry inspection to ensure that this critical consumer protection program can continue to operate.”

USDA Possibly Removing Meat Inspectors

So today, after covering the canceling of meat inspectors even visiting foreign “approved” meat packing plants, Vilsack held a press conference regarding “sequestration” and putting 6,000 or more USDA meat inspectors on a two to three week furlough unless Congress does what Obama wants with this next fiscal cliff. After canceling meat inspections, which in reality were just once a year visits to plants in foreign countries giving them a once over and stamping them as USDA Approved for a year, they are now going to shut down US meat plants. Nice. That ought to make the economy just wonderful. When the USDA inspected plants do not have a USDA inspector on the floor, the plants are shut down.

Sounds like a great way to get all beef equine burgers into our markets post haste. Also sounds like a good way to bring about a food crises.

Here’s the article:

Sequestration = Possible Meat Inspector Cuts

Northern Ag Network posted on February 11, 2013 09:23 :: 137 Views

by Jerry Hagstrom, DTN Political Correspondent
LAS VEGAS (DTN) — Across-the-board federal budget cuts could force USDA to furlough up to 6,000 meat inspectors for up to two weeks, plunging the meat industry into chaos and raising consumer prices, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a speech to the National Biodiesel Board Thursday.
In wide-ranging comments after his speech on the sequestration and the prospects for a new farm bill, Vilsack said the sequestration — an across-the-board cut in government spending set to go into effect on March 1 if Congress does not change it — would require USDA’s Food and Safety and Inspection Service to “furlough over 6,000 food inspectors for two to three weeks.”
“As soon as you take an inspector off the floor, that plant shuts down,” Vilsack added, noting that removing inspectors even for a short period would affect several hundred thousand workers and would affect the supply of meat and eventually consumer prices.
A USDA spokeswoman said there are about 6,500 federal meat inspectors.
The sequestration, Vilsack said, “is horrible policy,” adding that the potential problem at FSIS “is just a tiny piece of my life.”
“It is really hard to manage the department,” Vilsack said, adding that sequestration will require that the cut be made in six months, which means it is essentially double the percentage required.
Some Republicans have proposed that cuts to the Defense Department should be avoided and the way to do it is to increase domestic cuts, which could make the problem at the Agriculture Department worse. The Obama administration has proposed delaying the cuts and including a tax increase.
Vilsack said he is worried Congress might decide the way to avoid sequestration deficit reduction is to “do away with the direct payments” that crop farmers get whether prices are high or low. The problem with that, he noted, is Congress has been planning to use the $4.9 billion in annual budget authority for the payments to write a new farm bill.
He praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for reintroducing the farm bill the Senate passed last year, but said he believes the Senate Agriculture Committee will have to adjust that bill because it will not satisfy Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., the new ranking member.
Vilsack also said he expects House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and House Agriculture ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., “to work their magic,” but that the dairy issue is still unresolved in the House.
He noted that dairy farmers want a program to support them when “milk and feed prices get to the point there is less than a $4 cushion between them,” but there has to be a mechanism that does not reward overproduction.
Vilsack noted that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the proposal last year “socialism” and said “somewhere they have got to figure out how to remove the volatility, create greater stability and not break the bank.”
Vilsack also told the biodiesel producers the farm bill needs a strong energy title and they should also form alliances to pass the “food, farm and jobs bill.” (from this link)
© Copyright 2013 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.

USDA Cuts Foreign Meat Plant Inspections

While the USDA works to destroy US cattle growers ability to profit from their labor, they make it easier for the general public to buy meat with NO inspection process at all- from foreign countries.

For those who don’t have a solid handle on this issue, I’ll give you a really brief run down. Since the 1950’s the USDA has been operating under the OECD plan of “get big or get out”. The percentage  of US farms relative to the population has dramatically dwindled, and the  complete failure of the USDA and the DOJ to enforce the competition and monopoly laws on the books allows for strong corporate control of the market. And because of reciprocal agreements between the States and the USDA, a person can’t raise their stock and sell directly to the public without USDA interference or oversight.

There are a million more issues related to this lack of access to market (not market access, defined as access to foreign markets), and I’ve covered a lot of them in the past, but for this morning, I would like you to see how concerned with REAL food safety the USDA is. It’s simple. They are not concerned.

While the USDA and the FDA ramp up their State sponsored terrorism on domestic farmers wishing to provide their communities with honest food, they allow fewer inspections of foreign plants and effectively let them “self inspect”.

Nice, isn’t it? You can’t buy a half a steer processed by your neighbor whom you can speak with, but you can buy hamburger with who knows what in it, and the USDA approves.

USDA cuts safety audits on imported meat

Dow Jones Newswires 01/25/2013 @ 2:08pm

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cut the number of food safety audits it conducts on foreign countries that ship meat to the U.S. as part of an overhaul that the agency says will allow it to focus on the riskiest imports.

USDA officials are now only conducting audits of safety laws in meat-exporting countries at least once every three years instead of on a mandatory annual basis, the agency said Friday, a move that critics say could reduce the safety of imported meat.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), one of those critics, expressed alarm that USDA had already changed its audit system without informing Congress or the public.

The previous system that relied on annual audits was “imperative to ensuring that foreign regulatory systems provide the same level of protection of the public health as our domestic system,” Ms. DeLauro said, but now it seems that USDA “has been implementing and refining these changes for several years.”

The USDA said Friday in a submission to the U.S. Federal Register that it began making the transition “from an annual on-site audit to less frequent on-site audits” in 2009 and “now that the transition is fully in place, [USDA] is announcing it to the public.”

Countries with a history of food safety violations will get closer scrutiny under the new system, the USDA said.

“This performance-based approach allows [USDA] to direct its resources to foreign food regulatory systems that pose a greater risk to public health compared to others,” the USDA said. (read full story here)