Why The USDA Isn’t Recalling Contaminated Chickens

“The latest outbreak is a stark example of this dynamic. Foster Farms’ official statement asks consumers to see their tainted chicken as a learning experience: “The alert that regulators issued based on illnesses over the past seven months emphasizes the need to fully cook and properly handle raw poultry.”

Nation Of Change – “As an especially vicious salmonella outbreak sickens hundreds across the country, U.S. Department of Agriculture regulators have declined to crack down on the poultry processing plants that spread the pathogen. On Monday, the USDA threatened to close the California-based Foster Farms facilities, but decided to keep the plant open under scrutiny on Thursday night after Foster Farms submitted a plan for “immediate substantive changes to their slaughter and processing to allow for continued operations.”

The outbreak has sickened at least 300 people in 17 states, and 42 percent of the victims have been hospitalized — twice the normal hospitalization rate for salmonella. Yet neither state nor federal regulators have issued a recall order, stating the chicken is safe iffully cooked.

Industry publication Meating place interviewed Daniel Engeljohn, a USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service official, about the decision to keep the infected meat on the shelves. Engeljohn pointed to a federal court decision in 2001 that crippled the USDA’s ability to take meaningful action against meat processors that violate food safety standards. The notoriously conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the USDA did not have the authority to shut down Supreme Beef, a meat processing plant that repeatedly flunked tests for salmonella contamination. The justification for this ruling was that the meat was safe if it was cooked properly. Thanks to this decision, the USDA has only the power to ask the company at fault to recall their products voluntarily.” Full Story

Chicken products blamed for salmonella outbreak still on store shelves

Published on Oct 11, 2013

Consumers are confused about why Foster Farms chicken is still for sale when it made more than 270 people sick. But the USDA doesn t require recalls for salmonella, because it is widely found where chickens are raised.

 

The Toxic Reason Urban Agriculture Isn’t a Bigger Trend

Soil in cities can often be contaminated with such pollutants like lead and mercury.

September 19, 2013

Take Part- “In case you’ve been living under a rock, sustainable agriculture and locally grown food are growing in popularity, as self-proclaimed locavoresand famers markets pop up in cities throughout the United States. Growing foods in cities via urban agriculture is a seemingly obvious way of satisfying both requirements. But urban agriculture, while gaining traction, still isn’t practiced on a large scale, and is hampered by a variety of obstacles.

Perhaps the most serious constraint to the growth of urban agriculture is contamination of soil, plants and food from lead, mercury and other heavy metals that are often found in heavily urbanized and former industrial sites, said Sam Wortman, a researcher at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. He co-authored a report on the challenges threatening the growth of urban agriculture, which was published this month in the Journal of Environmental Quality.

One group that Wortman is collaborating with now is trying to build a seven-acre farm in Chicago on a former industrial site, and a prime concern of theirs is contamination of the soil, which they plan to fix via an expensive remediation process. 

Lead is a main concern because it was once widespread in leaded gasoline and paint, and was used even more than it is currently in various industrial processes, Wortman said.

The most common method used to “remediate” industrial sites is to get rid of the soil, or bury it. In the former case, the offending soil is removed and replaced with virgin soil and/or compost from a rural area. In the latter case, a method called “cap and fill,” a barrier is place over the contaminated soil, such as crushed cement, rocks or clay. Fresh soil is then placed on top. The idea is that the cap will prevent the roots from penetrating into the contaminated soil. As you might imagine, both methods are quite expensive, as they involve “transporting truckload after truckload of fresh soil” into the city, Wortman said.

Studies have shown that plants transmit a relatively modest amount of many of these contaminants into the parts of the plants that people eat—although that doesn’t mean it’s safe to grow plants in contaminated soils. But an even bigger concern is poisoning via the soil itself—fresh produce is often covered or coated in soil, and a small amount can carry significant quantities of certain contaminants like lead. That’s one reason why it’s important to thoroughly wash your vegetables, Wortman said. Working and gardening in contaminated soil is also another obvious and legitimate concern for those who want to practice urban agriculture.

Another limitation to urban agriculture is the availability of suitable water. Ideally, drinking water wouldn’t be used for crops, since it is often in limited supply—and water scarcity is a real and growing problem throughout the United States, especially in the Southwest. (And it’s worse in much of the developing world.) It’d be better to use so-called “gray water” from sinks, showers and washing machines. The infrastructure required to capture this kind of water is lacking in most areas, however.

Rainwater is also a promising candidate for irrigation, but it can also be contaminated if it picks up airborne contaminants that land on flat surfaces like roofs or parking lots (and this is one reason why parking lot runoff can be surprisingly toxic.) One way to reduce contamination in rainwater is to allow the first flush of rain to runoff without collecting it. This rain cleans the roof, making the rest of the rainwater clean, and automatic systems have been developed to exclude the first portion of a rain shower’s downpour and collect the rest after the roof has been cleaned by the water preceding it.

Microclimate and weather conditions also change that way plants and crops fare in cities. Some crops that thrive in heat may do better, since cities can be on average nearly four degrees Fahrenheit (two degrees Celsius) warmer than surrounding rural areas due to the urban heat island effect. But this can also hurt cool weather crops like kale, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and onions, Wortman said. The increase in carbon dioxide found in cities from exhaust fumes may also help crops. But none of this matters if the other limitations to urban agriculture aren’t addressed.” Full Story

Continue reading

USDA To Fund Fight Against Coffee-Ravaging Beetle

“Senator Mazie K. Hirono and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled the first major federal initiative to fight the coffee berry borer that has been ravaging Hawaii Island coffee farms for almost three years. The project, a new arm of the USDA’s integrated pest management program, will be a scientifically-based approach to fighting the invasive species. In the immediate term, USDA will spend an initial $1 million dollars to set-up the Hawaii operation.”

GenomeWeb News – “The US Department of Agriculture is allocating $1 million to fend off a pest that has recently ravaged the Hawaiian coffee industry.

USDA and US Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) announced the initiative on Thursday, which will include research into the genetic makeup of a beetle called the coffee berry borer, in order to discover biological weaknesses that can be exploited.

Native to Central Africa, the coffee berry borer lives, feeds, and reproduces in immature and mature coffee beans. In Hawaii, as much as 80 percent of coffee farms may be infested with the pests, Hirono’s office said.

In addition to conducting genetic research on the insect, the USDA project, which is a new arm of the agency’s integrated pest management program, will distribute effective treatments to farmers and educate them on the most effective treatment regimes. It also will be charged with disposing infected plants.

The coffee berry borer has inflicted more than $9 million in market losses to Hawaii’s Kona coffee industry during the past two years, US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said in a statement from Hirono’s office. Gabbard introduced legislation that authorized funding for the USDA project.

“The economic impact has been deeply felt by coffee farms, most of which are small family farms, and coffee processors are being forced to lay off workers or reduce hours,” she added. “The USDA initiative being established in Hawaii will help local coffee growers combat the effects of this invasive and destructive pest.”

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble Of Our Lives

“Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.”

ModifiedFood

RawForBeauty.com

“Never-Before-Seen-Evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the US population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems implicated in humans, pets, livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.”

Monsanto’s Poisonous Seeds In The White House

So, folks still think we have two major political parties who are quite different from one another, eh? People think the world would be a much different or better place “If Only…” their candidate and party of choice had won the election of 2012…or 2008…or well, you get the point. Hell, even thought I had found a “purist” party this time around when I jumped on the Libertarian train. Figures that I’d find out only a few short weeks after the election that my beloved Savior Party has been working with the corpo-legislative whores known as The American Legislative Exchange Council…ALEC. There is no place, no party and no politician that the huge agra-giants like Monsanto cannot sink their poisonous roots into…

—$—

MonsantoMitt

CLN  “The roots of the relationship between Monsanto and the White House go back for decades. Bush senior’s administration was responsible for deeming GMO crops substantially equivalent to non-GMO crops, opening the flood gates for the industry to take over the food supply with little room for the opposition.

Mitt Romney was intimately involved with Monsanto’s transition into biotechnology.  During the presidential primaries, Romney named an 11-member agricultural advisory committee that was full of Monsanto connections.”

After promising to label GMO’s during his 2008 campaign, President Obama has opened the doors for the following GM crops during his administration:

Monsanto GMO alfalfa
Monsanto GMO sugar beets
Monsanto GMO BT soybean
Syngenta GMO corn for ethanol
Pioneer GMO soybean
Syngenta GMO BT cotton
Bayer GMO cotton
GMO papaya strain

This is not surprising given the fact that Obama has appointed the following people to regulatory bodies that are supposed to be responsible for the safety of our food (click on the links to see the announcements of Obama’s appointments):

Roger Beachy, director of the USDA, is a former director of Monsanto
Michael Taylor, the USDA food safe czar, is a former VP of Monsanto
Ramona Romero, a USDA council, was previously on Dupont’s corporate council.
Islam Siddiqui, the US agriculture trade representative, who pushes GM exports to other countries, is a former Monsanto lobbyist.” Full Story Here

—$—

By  | March 27 2013 3:03 PM

International Business Times – “The “Monsanto Protection Act” is the name opponents of the Farmer Assurance Provision have given to this terrifying piece of policy, and it’s a fitting moniker given its shocking content.

President Barack Obama signed a spending billHR 933, into law on Tuesday that includes language that has food and consumer advocates and organic farmers up in arms over their contention that the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” is a giveaway to corporations that was passed under the cover of darkness.

There’s a lot being said about it, but here are five terrifying facts about the Farmer Assurance Provision — Section 735 of the spending bill — to get you acquainted with the reasons behind the ongoing uproar:

1.) The “Monsanto Protection Act” effectively bars federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of controversial genetically modified (aka GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) seeds, no matter what health issues may arise concerning GMOs in the future. The advent of genetically modified seeds — which has been driven by the massive Monsanto Company — and their exploding use in farms across America came on fast and has proved a huge boon for Monsanto’s profits.

But many anti-GMO folks argue there have not been enough studies into the potential health risks of this new class of crop. Well, now it appears that even if those studies are completed and they end up revealing severe adverse health effects related to the consumption of genetically modified foods, the courts will have no ability to stop the spread of the seeds and the crops they bear.

2.) The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto. Lawmakers and companies working together to craft legislation is by no means a rare occurrence in this day and age. But the fact that Sen. Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, actually worked with Monsanto on a provision that in effect allows them to keep selling seeds, which can then go on to be planted, even if it is found to be harmful to consumers, is stunning. It’s just another example of corporations bending Congress to their will, and it’s one that could have dire risks for public health in America.

3.) Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the “Monsanto Protection Act” even existed within the bill they were voting on. HR 933 was a spending bill aimed at averting a government shutdown and ensuring that the federal government would continue to be able to pay its bills. But the Center for Food Safety maintains that many Democrats in Congress were not even aware that the provision was in the legislation:

“In this hidden backroom deal, Sen. [Barbara] 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 abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Sen. Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”

4.) The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933 while the rest of the nation was fixated on gay marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument concerning California’s Proposition 8. But just because most of the nation and the media were paying attention to gay marriage doesn’t mean that others were not doing their best to express their opposition to the “Monsanto Protection Act.” In fact, more than 250,000 voters signed a petition opposing the provision. And Food Democracy Now protesters even took their fight straight to Obama, protesting in front of the White House against Section 735 of the bill. He signed it anyway.

5.) It sets a terrible precedent. Though it will only remain in effect for six months until the government finds another way to fund its operations, the message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side. Furthermore, it sets a precedent that suggests that court challenges are a privilege, not a right.” Full Article Here on IBT

Top 10 excuses for Obama signing the Monsanto Protection Act (thesurvivalplaceblog.com)
Obama Signs Monsanto Protection Act Into Law After Promising GMO Labeling in 2007 (naturalsociety.com)
Top 10 excuses for Obama signing the Monsanto Protection Act (jonrappoport.wordpress.com)
FOCUS | Monsanto and the Seeds of Suicide (readersupportednews.org)
Farmers and food safety advocates lead Monsanto backlash (salon.com)
‘Monsanto Protection Act’ slips silently through US Congress (rt.com)
Monsanto Required (Nutrition Optional) (factgammon.wordpress.com)
Obama Betrays Americans Again…with the “Monsanto Protection Act” (thedailysheeple.com)
Monsanto, DuPont bury the lawsuit hatchet, set to make more GMO (EndtheLie.com)
Monsanto is up to no good… AGAIN! (thebubbaeffect.wordpress.com)

Mutant Milk

“So let me get this straight: It’s illegal in America to milk a cow, sell that fresh milk to a neighbor and have their baby drink fresh milk with all the digestive enzymes intact. But it’s perfectly acceptable in our world to engineer mutant cloned genetically modified cows to produce hormone-induced, artificially-engineered milk that will be fed en masse to human babies?”

 World Truth TV – “The world of genetic engineering has fallen even further into the surreal with the announcement that New Zealand “scientists” have unveiled a genetically modified mutant cloned cow which they say produces a reduced-allergen milk for consumption by human babies. This is being reported by the BBC and elsewhere.

Horrifyingly, these Frankenscientists cloned a cow and then altered the embryo using RNA interference. After gestation, the mutant GMO cow was born without a tail! But these scientists say that’s no problem, and that the mutation of having no tail couldn’t possibly be related to anything they did with the cow’s DNA.

I’m not making this up. This is the insanity of the quack science world in which we now live.”

“To make Daisy [the cow], scientists took a cow skin cell and genetically modified it to produce molecules that block the manufacture of BLG protein. The nucleus of this cell was then transferred into a cow egg that had its own nucleus removed.

The reconstituted egg was grown in the lab until it formed what is called a blastocyst, a ball of around 100 cells, and then transplanted into the womb of a foster cow.

The cloning technique is not efficient. Of around 100 blastocysts the scientists implanted into cows, more than half of the pregnancies failed early on, and only one live calf, Daisy, was born.

And even that calf was a mutant calf, born without a tail, rendering the whole thing a horrifying example of genetic mutilation…”

Humanity is risking a genetic apocalypse

This has got to stop, friends. The mad GMO scientists are operating in gross violation of natural law. They are playing genetic roulette with Mother Nature. They’re fumbling in the dark with dangerous tools, like children with suitcase nukes and a happy red button that seems inviting to just push and see what happens.

Our modern-day human civilization has neither the ethical foundation nor the wisdom to pursue such technologies. Altering the digital code for the expression of life is not something to be pursued under the crude selfishness of corporate greed, nor the wild fantasies of naive scientists who relish in playing “what if” experiments with all remaining life on our planet.

These experiments on animals — and crops — are worse than foolish. They are inherently evil… even demented. Just because we know how to alter DNA doesn’t mean we have the wisdom to understand the consequences of doing so. Yet in the race for the next biological profit machine — a cow, a crop, or even a pharmaceutical — caution is thrown out the window and replaced by pure mindless greed.

With the GM crops, the GM wheat that alters human liver function, the GM corn that causes cancer tumors, the GM cows and the GM seeds being carelessly strewn about, we are risking a genetic apocalypse that could destroy humanity in a cosmic blink of an eye.

No one knows what happens when the genetic engineering of mutant chimera animals get unleashed across the land. Nobody really knows the long-term effects of genetic pollution. Nobody even knows the long-term effects of humans eating GM crops!

So it’s all a grand, malicious, conceited genetic experiment being carried out on us all: our bodies, our children, our lands, our animals, our crops and our planet.

The GM “scientists” are risking EVERYTHING. And they do so blindly, while mutilating animals and calling it “progress.”

It is disgusting. It is an abomination. I pray for the sake of humanity that all genetic engineering activity in our planet is halted by any means necessary.

We are floating through space, my friends, on a blue ball of water inhabited by fools who call themselves “scientists.”

They risk everything. And there is no backup plan.

Spread the word. SHARE this story. STOP the genetic mutilation of animals. HALT GMO crops and save our planet from the risk of total disaster.”

And hey, if you don’t care for the idea of this ‘reduced allergin’ milk, you could always hop on over to Japan and get a big glass of human breast milk…straight from a cow’s teet…

 

ALEC Pushes “Ag-Gag” Laws To Silence Whistleblowers

Anti-whistleblower bills supported by the animal agriculture lobby would criminalize essentially anyone who tries to expose the conditions at factory farms and slaughter plants. The goal: to keep Americans in the dark about the rampant animal abuse in the world of factory farming.

Excerpts, The Raw Story “Bills being shopped in six states by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would make it a crime to film animal abuse at factory farms or lie on job applications, in hopes of shutting down animal rights activists who infiltrate slaughterhouses to expose ghastly conditions.

“The meat industry’s response to these exposes has not been to try to prevent these abuses from taking place, but rather it’s really just been to prevent Americans from finding out about those abuses in the first place,” Paul Shapiro, spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), told Raw Story. “What they’re doing is trying to pass laws throughout the country that don’t just shoot the messenger, they seek to imprison the messenger.”

The proposals mandate that evidence of animal abuse be turned over to law enforcement within 48 hours, or face a financial penalty. Several of the bills bills also make it a crime to lie on slaughterhouse job applications, which activists commonly do in order to get footage like the content of a video published by the HSUS, embedded below…”

“Those bills appear to be spreading with the help of ALEC, a conservative business advocacy group that encourages lawmakers to “exchange” legislative ideas from state to state…”

“…The bills to block animal rights activists are in California, Nebraska, Tennessee, Indiana, Arkansas and Pennsylvania, according to The Associated Press. Three other states — New Mexico, Wyoming and New Hampshire — have already rejected similar bills this year, and HSUS told Raw Story that three more — Minnesota, Vermont and North Carolina — are yet expected to take them up.

Several states already have laws similar to what ALEC is pushing, and virtually all of them were triggered in response to shocking videos produced by animal rights activists, who some critics have taken to calling propagandists.

In one such recent case, undercover video from an Iowa factory farm produced by a group called Mercy for Animals caused the Iowa legislature to support a so-called “Ag-Gag” law that makes it a crime to lie in order to infiltrate a farm’s staff. That act is now a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of $1,500. Lawmakers in Utah passed a similar law in 2012 that bans unauthorized photography in farms. Missouri also has an older law that accomplishes effectively the same thing…” Full Story The Raw Story

Not familiar with ALEC, yet? Here’s a 5 minute clip that explains who and what they are…

USDA Rule Demands Almond Sterilization, Mislabeling

From Organic Consumers Association – “Last Friday, the DC Court of Appeals held that California almond producers don’t currently have the right to even argue that the USDA overstepped the bounds of its authority with the Almond Rule.

The USDA’s Almond Rule, issued in 2007, ordered all almond growers to “sterilize” almonds in one of several ways: heat them using steam, oil roast or blanch them, or treat them with propylene oxide (PPO). As we told you at the time and again last year, these are all poor options:

  • Roasting and blanching completely cook the nuts, so they are no longer raw.
  • Steam reduces nutrient content and also cooks the nuts.
  • PPO, a “probable human carcinogen,” is an extremely volatile liquid now used in the production of polyurethane plastics, and once used as a racing fuel until it was banned for being too dangerous.

Almond producers argue that labeling such almonds “raw” is therefore misleading—they are actually cooked or chemically treated. They want to argue that the Almond Rule oversteps the USDA’s authority—but the court ruled the almond producers lost the right to make that argument because they didn’t raise their concerns during the rule-making process.

However, the rule-making process in itself was unfair and legally questionable. The USDA handpicked 115 almond growers and handlers—out of over 6,000—to invite them to comment, and consumers and retailers were almost universally unaware of the proposed rule. Because of this, there were a total of only eighteen public comments.

During the rule-making process, the USDA merely regurgitated the findings of the Almond Board, a biased and financially motivated stakeholder. The rule-making process is supposed to be conducted by an unbiased decision-maker without any financial interests, but six out of the ten seats on the Almond Board are controlled by Blue Diamond, an enormous almond producer. The interests of small, organic almond farmers weren’t even considered.

The Almond Rule isn’t just about almonds. The rule actually expands the USDA’s powers, allowing the agency to mandate how dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and animals are processed—something they have never been able to do. The USDA is legally allowed to establish minimum standards for farm products based on grade, size, or quality; they can say, for example, that “Almonds must be free of salmonella.” But the Almond Rule changed all that, allowing USDA to claim it can mandate how that outcome is achieved (e.g., “Almonds must be made salmonella-free via one of the following pasteurization processes…”).

If this newly asserted authority is upheld, it could be the USDA’s latest weapon in the war against raw foods. Instead of saying that milk needs to be pasteurized, it can now dictate the way it is pasteurized. This sort of authority favors ideological zeal over real scientific evidence, as we saw with the CDC’s deeply flawed study on raw milk, or the more recent (but equally flawed) raw cheese study.

If the government is this enthusiastic about shielding consumers from the extremely small risk from raw almonds, why can’t they get excited about protecting us from untested GMOs or the larger, nearly annual salmonella outbreaks from ground beef? (USDA, take note: “more processed” doesn’t necessarily mean “safer”!)

We may have lost this battle, but not necessarily the war. The DC Court of Appeals sidestepped the issue and didn’t rule on the legality of the Almond Rule itself, just said that almond farmers “missed the boat” on expressing their reservations by not raising objections during the rule-making process, although that was done as much behind-closed-doors as USDA could make it. For further litigation, a producer must convince the court that it has actually been harmed, or some brave company must defy the USDA and after being enjoined to stop and take the agency to court. If any of this happens, the producers can go back to court and spend money and time all over again. ANH-USA will be conferring with friends and colleagues about how to try to make this happen.

Action Alert! In the meantime, we should all voice our complaint to the USDA about its high-handed tactics and absurd Almond Rule and, importantly, send a copy to Congress. Please send your message today!

Click Here To Take Action Now

 

USDA, School Lunch Reform & Aramark

(NaturalNews) With huge fanfare and an overdose of propaganda, the U.S. government is announcing it’s going to reform school lunches and vending machines to eliminate junk beverages like sodas. “Under new rules the Department of Agriculture proposed Friday, school vending machines would start selling water, lower-calorie sports drinks, diet sodas and baked chips instead,” reports the Washington Post.

Except, here’s the problem: We heard this same hoax six years ago when Bill Clinton was widely applauded for achieving the very same “reform” back then…

…Er, hold on a sec. Why is the USDA saying it’s going to ban sugary sodas in 2013 when Forbes.com reported that Bill Clinton already solved the problem in 2006?

Because it’s all a hoax.

Four years after Bill Clinton’s supposed “victory” over soda manufacturers, sodas had vastly EXPANDED their reach in U.S. schools.

The US government is in bed with junk food manufacturers

The US government has no intention of hurting the profits of its most powerful supporters: food and drug corporations. Forcing school lunches to become healthier means reduced profits for the processed food giants that supply all the genetically modified, chemically-preserved, refined, processed, nutrient-deprived crap that our children are raised on.

The goal of the USDA — the same department that has completely sold out to Monsanto, for the record — is to make it appear like they are doing something to improve the health of children while, in actuality, doing nothing to restrict the profit growth of junk food companies.

Remember: We’ve seen this same hoax before, back in 2006 with Bill Clinton. That too was praised as something of a “treaty” with junk food companies and soda manufacturers. But as I said back then, it was all a publicity stunt designed to delay any legislation. And it worked! No laws were passed and the soda continues to be sold to children all across our nation’s schools.

Read Full Article on Natural News

Learn more about our school lunches served via Aramark…the same corporation that serves the same menu to prisoners as they do school children.

Aramark & The War on School Food