Posts Tagged ‘food safety’

Do You Shop at Farmer’s Markets?

November 3, 2013

If you want to continue purchasing healthy, fresh , local produce from family farms, this issue is critical. It takes a few minutes, but essential to allow small farms the freedom to continue growing the best food.

 

FDA DEADLINE APPROACHING: Please Get Your Proxy in the Mail ASAP Your Voice Could Make the Difference in Saving the Family Farms Producing Our Best Food

http://www.cornucopia.org/2013/11/deadline-get-proxy-fda-rules-force-localorganic-farms-business/You can make a difference. Please help save our nation’s diversified produce farmers from potential ruin! The FDA’s proposed food safety rules threaten to ensnare many of the country’s safest farmers in a tangle of expensive, misdirected regulations that may force many of our best farmers out of business.

Download, sign and mail back to us the linked proxy-letter today! The public comment deadline closes in a few days.

Thousands of you have already made the effort to mail your proxy-letter back to Cornucopia for hand delivery to the FDA. If you have yet to do so, please act now.

If you have already mailed your proxy, let your friends know they can help too by sharing this message via email, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other options you use.

Better food safety oversight of factory farms and giant agribusinesses is needed – and appropriate – but it appears that the FDA and corporate lobbyists are using these food safety proposals to simultaneously crush the organic and local farming movements. Together we can defend those farmers producing local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food.

Cornucopia will hand-deliver the thousands of proxies we have collected directly to the FDA. But time is growing short. If you want additional background information, please visit our food safety page.

It is critical for the good food community to come together right now. We know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers. Please help protect family-scale farmers and maintain this alternative in the marketplace. It is worth fighting for.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Please Help Family Farms Stay In Business

August 6, 2013

 

 

Those of us who grow vegetables and herbs are again at risk because of the politics of fear: fear of organic, fear of raw, fear of anything other than corporate-run ” logo’d food.” It is already very difficult to be a farmer in today’s world: wacky weather, amazing amounts of hard work, and now, ridiculous regulations. Please take the time to read this article and respond. Your access to healthy sustainable local food may depend upon it!

 

What Does the Government Have Against Small Farmers?

August 6, 2013

farmer hands holding a plantlet.Three years ago you won major concessions for small farmers. Now it’s all in danger. Action Alert!

When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was originally proposed in 2010, we and many other organizations were troubled. Small-farm and organic food advocates warned that the legislation would destroy their industry under a mountain of paperwork and other requirements.

Working with the natural health community, ANH-USA helped win the inclusion of an amendment from Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), which exempted producers making less than $500,000 a year in sales who also sold most of their food locally. This wasn’t easy. Big farms and processed food companies and their allies at the USDA and FDA did not like it, because they feel threatened by competition from natural food producers.

Now, through the rulemaking process, the FDA is trying to change the law in such a way that the hard-won exceptions provided by the Tester-Hagan Amendment are endangered.

In January we reported that the FDA had proposed two troubling FSMA rules:

  • The first one concerned standards for the growing and harvesting of raw agricultural produce, and exempts foods that are sterilized by irradiation, even though “nuking” it harms the food’s nutritional value, can cause a wide range of health problems, and masks filthy conditions in slaughterhouses and food processing plants. Obviously, organic foods cannot be irradiated, so they will never be exempted.
  • The second amended the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) guidelines by creating hazards analysis requirements and risk-based protections with lots of detailed recordkeeping. Most farmers will likely need a team of lawyers to make sure they’re complying with the new rule properly.

Farmers who make less than $500,000 should be off the hook because of the Tester-Hagan Amendment, right? No! At the last minute, a provision was added to the FSMA allowing the FDA to revoke the exemption for small farms or facilities under specific conditions.

And now, new FDA rules interpret those conditions in a way that completely undermines the intent of the Tester-Hagan amendment. The FDA now gets to revoke the exemption if a foodborne illness outbreak might possibly be linked to the farm, even if there is no proof that the farm is the cause of the outbreak, and even though there may not be an immediate threat to public health!

The standard is now very low indeed: FDA can revoke the exemption for any reason if it will “protect the public health and prevent or mitigate a foodborne illness outbreak based on conduct or conditions associated” with a farm. Talk about vague language! This rule is just the excuse the agency needs to run roughshod over the rights of the small farmer.

It gets even more unfair. If the FDA decides to revoke the exemption, the small farmer or facility has a mere sixty days to come into compliance after being notified of a problem. This will put the farm out of business immediately—which is especially unjust considering the fact that bigger farms and facilities have between one and six years to come into compliance and will no doubt get lots of help from the government.

Even worse, a farm or facility that wishes to contest FDA’s decision has only ten days to put together supporting facts and documentation and send it to the FDA. On top of that, there is no formal hearing process in which to contest the decision—and no way to re-qualify for the exemption. Once it is revoked, it’s game over.

As we’ve pointed out in the past, organic food is often the first to be blamed for foodborne illness. Remember the European E. coli outbreak? Organic farms were blamed with no evidence to support the contention. And now there is no need to prove that a farm is the source of the illness. Their exemption can be revoked on mere suspicion.

In addition, the proposed rules discriminate against small farmers and food producers who wish to diversify. The rules now say that all foods sold by farmer or food processor fall under the $500,000 cap, instead of just the food that is under the FDA’s jurisdiction and therefore subject to the FSMA. Produce is, of course, under their jurisdiction. But meat and poultry products fall under the USDA’s jurisdiction and should not be subject to these rules.

So a farmer who has $500,000 sales in poultry and $10,000 sales in organic fruit could never get an exemption, because the farmer exceeds the $500,000 total food sales limit. This will discourage diversification by farmers to include the small-scale production of fruits and vegetables, which is contrary to the intent of the Tester-Hagan amendment. It doesn’t make sense to treat small-scale production of produce the same as large-scale production, just because the same farmer is producing other types of food—as many small farmers must, in order to survive.

We warned earlier that the FDA should not be put in charge of our farms. It did not make sense because the FDA knows absolutely nothing about farming and also has demonstrated its bias again and again against small and natural operations in favor of large and powerful companies. The FDA was given authority over farms anyway through the Food Safety Modernization Act, and now we see that it is proceeding exactly as we feared.

Action Alert! The FDA has extended the comment period for the new rules to September 16—which gives us an opportunity to provide additional comment. Write to the FDA and ask them to create a clear and justifiable standard for revoking exemption for small farms and facilities, not the vague language that is currently used; allow for due process to contest the decision; provide a pathway to re-qualify for the Tester-Hagan exemption; and limit the definition of food in the $500,000 sales ceiling to those products under the jurisdiction of the FSMA and the FDA. Please take action immediately!

Take-Action1

Raw Milk: Unsafe? Or Politically Unsafe?

March 10, 2012

I have been drinking raw milk and raw milk products (from both goats and cows) for over a dozen years. This is especially interesting since one of my first childhood memories is my pouring a glass of milk down the laundry room drain…and getting caught. My mom’s response was to give me Bosco ( a chocolate syrup) so I’d drink my milk…

The following is taken from an article by The Alliance for Natural Health:

To hear the media tell it, our lives are in jeopardy if we drink unpasteurized milk. But the facts tell the opposite story.

A new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declares that raw milk “cannot be considered safe under any circumstances,” and essentially advocates for stricter laws and enforcement against raw milk on the state level. The study claims that the rate of outbreaks caused by unpasteurized milk and products made from it was 150 times greater than outbreaks linked to pasteurized milk.

However, according to the Weston A. Price Foundation, the CDC has manipulated and cherry-picked this data to make raw milk look dangerous—and it has dismissed the same dangers associated with pasteurized milk. If we really examine the raw data, we find that pasteurized milk products cause nearly twice as many illnesses as raw milk products, but illnesses from dairy products still constitute only 1.3% of the total, with raw dairy products coming in at less than half of a single percentage point. All of this is minor compared to the health risks of taking prescription drugs or even entering a hospital.

Even more importantly:  there has been not a single death from consuming raw milk in the 38 years the data has been collected—compared to over 80 deaths from pasteurized milk products during that same time period.

The time frame examined by the researchers dramatically skewed the results as well. The authors analyzed data from 1993 to 2006. Perhaps they chose that range because one year later, in 2007, 135 people became ill from pasteurized cheese contaminated with e. coli and three people died.

Another factor that is completely neglected is the source of the milk. Most food contamination products originate in large factory farms or CAFOs. Many people would consider unpasteurized milk from a family farm safer than pasteurized milk from a CAFO, but of course the government does not want to alienate Big Farma by getting into such qualitative distinctions.

To read the entire article, you can access it HERE.

Meanwhile, here is a great visual from Natural News:

 The isolated image shown below can also be accessed at: http://www.naturalnews.com/infographics/Raw-vs-Pasteurized-Milk-v2.jp…

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/035130_raw_milk_infographic_pasteurized.html#ixzz1oflVHly3

Six excellent sites for cutting edge alternative health info

February 23, 2011

The Internet is an incredible place for information…and as most of us have realized, not all info found here  is accurate, factual, useful, understandable, or relevent. Many of the  most popular health info sites on the Web are dominated by Big Pharma, the AMA, The Gates Foundation, and others allied to the current “sick-care” industry mis-named health care. 

Since the mid-70′s, when I helped start a rural natural food buying club in southwestern Virginia, I have been studying many aspects of alternative health and lifestyles. The truth that consistently arises is:  prevention is less time-consuming and less expensive than treatment. And way easier said than done!  Also, many strategies for becoming and staying healthy have been marginalized, vilified, or ignored in the mainstream press. This is not to say that the alternative movement is perfect! We have our fair share of  folks whose reach exceeds their grasp.

So here are six helpful sites I use, and my opinion (and me just say up front that it is an opnion, not absolute truth, whatever that might be) about each one. Notice that one is well served by an open mind and a sense of humor concerning  the diversity of those who self-define as being “alternative.”  AlterNet is a great source for news; their health info is both semi-main stream and many shades of alternative.  Often excellent investigative reporting is presented about related health subjects (like food and water) to give one the “back story” or help explain why what is, is.  For a good recent example click  here to read about whistleblowers and food safety.  Also at AlterNet (this was a good day for big picture info) is a story about our food growing system (the political aspect of farming). To read about it, click   here.

Prevention may be key, but most of us are already dealing with “issues.” This next site addresses both. The GreenMed Info newsletter is always thought-provoking, and iconoclastic, as well as one of the most densely researched on the web. Click  here  for the issue on wheat, which will open a veritable Pandora’s box.  GreenMed Info hosts the largest study-based, peer-reviewed alternative health data base on the internet, and it is free.  With over 10,000 useful entries, this database has already helped a client of mine find the best supplement to take for his situation (and it is helping).

The Organic Consumer Association puts out a newsletter called Organic Bytes. This issue focuses on GMO, and what you can do to participate in campaigns to confront, halt, label, and educate. In case you are wondering what genetically modified food could have to do with health….well, check out this site, or the next two for way more info than you really want, but do need.

The next 2 sites are the most well-known, have the most advertising, and reflect the values of their authors.  Both of these men do their homework,  say what their opinion is up front, and cite their research. I may still quibble a bit here and there (both are prone to hyperbole), and you can find out a tremendous amount of info on a very wide range of health issues including healthy food (from the vegetarian and vegan point of view as well as the organic and free-range meat eaters), exercise protocols, supplements, herbs and healthy sleeping habits, as well as the more controversial and political issues like  GMO, vaccines, pesticides, cell phone radiation problems, etc.

For an excellent article on  Lyme disease check  here from Health Ranger Rick’s  naturalnews.com. For a comprehensive look at drinking water check  here  from Dr (MD) Mercola’s  mercola.com.

Last but not least is Byron J. Richard’s Wellness Resources. He always seems to come up with fascinating research (that he quotes and sites) often from mainstream sources. Click here for how the bacteria in our guts affects our brains.  He also has a full range of info on his site. Like the other 2 men above, he is trying to sell you supplements.

OK, now for my 2 second infomercial!  I have a supplement buying club that has a few openings. At some point later in blogdom I’ll elaborate. However, if you have read this far, take supplements, and would like a free 15 minute consult, call me toll-free @ 877-286-2970,


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers