Tag Archives: agribusiness

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Toxin Alert!

Take Action Now – Oppose Fake "Food Safety" Bill S3767

www.mypicshares.com

Who’s the picture of the elderly gentleman to the right? Why, that’s Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat, Vermont. What does he have to do with health freedoms? Keep reading.

Foodborne illness has become quite a ubiquitous event – and people are so used to it happening, they scarcely think twice about the repercussions.

But did you know that 1 in 4 people in this country are stricken annually with some type of foodborne illness?

When I was in my twenties, I contracted a foodborne illness on an average of once a year for 10 years. Yes, I had food poisoning every year for 10 years, some years multiple times. It was during this time that I was eating a lot of processed and fast-food meals. This is not normal and shouldn’t be acceptable to the consumer public!

Five years ago when I decided enough was enough and I would change my eating habits, my health started to turn around. And guess what? I haven’t had an episode of food borne illness since then.

Listen up.

Food recalls could be the end of real food as we know it.

It’s time to communicate to your senator and representative that enough is enough. Food recalls should be waking people up to the practices going on in the facilities where food is grown and being produced. But instead, it’s causing the opposite effect – the government wants to add more safety and regulatory laws onto the already dense pile already in place. This “solution” is not going to make these problems disappear.

Just before the egg recall (July 2010), significant “changes” in the law were made to “make egg production safer”.  This effort started over 10 years ago, but it took nearly a decade to get it done. Funny how the law went into effect and then the recall occurred anyway. Doesn’t this say something about the regulations in the first place – that it’s not the laws, it’s the farming practices?

When are the food safety regulatory bunch going to wake up and get it through their heads? The answer is the entire system is geared toward supporting and growing profits for commodity agriculture. Cargill. Swift. Tyson. Smithfield. And all others of their ilk that control the food system. Those few corporations control over 90 percent of the food people in America eat – including the facility in Iowa that got hand-slapped for the egg recall.  The authorities won’t stop. There’s too much profit at stake.

So it’s up to the citizens of this country to defend and protect and fight for our food safety by demanding bills like S3767 get taken down, and to be sure of a future for small, sustainable farmers who care about delivering a healthy, safe, and nutritious product to their customers. If you think the folks at Cargill and Tyson are looking out for you and your health, think again. They only apologize when they get caught. And when they do, they have enough power and money to absorb the damages of a food recall in the food system. Just because you eat the food and don’t get sick immediately, by the way, doesn’t mean the food is safe OR healthy to consume.

Bill S510, The Food Safety Modernization Act, which has been in process since 2009. This bill has been passed in the House, and now sitting in the Senate has been delayed.

From Health Freedom USA:

Now there is a new bill. “The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to debate – and approve – S.3767 as early as tomorrow, September 23, 2010. It is entirely likely that while moving this bill forward, the text of dangerous, Codex-friendly S.510 will be introduced into that bill as an amendment; perhaps even elements of the long-discredited fake dietary supplement “safety” bill, S.3002 might worm their way in. Right now, to the tooth gnashing frustration of the Uber Cartel, S.510 has been stalled by Senator Coburn’s courageous hold on it. Please take a moment to tip your hat to Dr. Coburn and honor him for character unbecoming a politician: courage, the ability to act for the common good and willingness to buck the tide for what is clearly right. (Action Item No. 3 above.) Men and women of principle need to know that we know what they are doing and what they are facing for doing it!”

Remember Senator Patrick Leahy? He is the chief sponsor of this bill, as well as a number of other measures related to improving our “food safety”. According to his web site:

“As a senior member of the Agriculture Committee, Senator Leahy played instrumental roles in creating the Farmland Protection Program and the Milk Income Loss Compensation (MILC) program, and in extending the Conservation Reserve Program. He has been a long-time supporter of the organic movement and is often called the “father of organics.” He helped Vermont’s and the nation’s organic industry grow from near obscurity when he wrote and passed the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990. The Leahy charter for organic agriculture has helped it grow into an $11 billion-a-year sector of the American economy.”

Funny thing is, the “father of agriculture” as he is called, he doesn’t really seem to be trying to support the small-scale farmers at all. And notice how he is a senior member of the Agriculture Committee. You can bet he’s in close, personal contact with board members and CEOs of corporations like Cargill, Swift, Smithfield, Tyson. Starting to see a connection now?

The web site goes on to say:

“Senator Leahy has championed effective child nutrition programs, gaining bipartisan support for addressing the nation’s obesity crisis and leading efforts to implement hands-on nutrition education programs in our schools. He has also reached across the aisle to coauthor legislation that would enable the Secretary of Agriculture to more efficiently control the sale of junk food and soft drinks in schools that participate in the federal School Lunch Program.”

Right, Senator. You’ve worked really hard to improve school lunch programs and nutritional standards for the nation. That’s why obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are three of the most pervasive diseases we face. And somehow, obesity rates have continued to skyrocket since 1989. Why is that?

What the bill proposes:

Provisions of the bill increase criminal penalties of imprisonment of up to to ten years for anyone who “knowingly introduces or delivers for introduction into interstate commerce any food that is adulterated or misbranded”. So if you are a farmer who didn’t pay attention to miniscule record keeping data error or a manufacturer selling a dietary supplement with a label reading about the product’s ability to prevent or treat illness or disease, you’d better believe the FDA would step in and declare these actions eligible for criminal charges.

The purpose of these bills are intended to make it more difficult for safety violators to commit crimes and thus make our food system more “safe”, but it provides license to federal entities like the FDA omnipotent authority to rule over any case and to threaten, silence, penalize and imprison small-scale farmers, natural food and supplement makers and distributors. It’s happening right now in Europe.

Regulations like this would require all producers – from the corporate giants to the small-scale farmers to local cooperative clubs and groups to natural and organic food growers – to adhere to these new guidelines. And the ones who won’t be able to meet those requirements will go under – small, family farms and food producing operations and distributors. This legislation would effectively destroy income and way of life for these growers and producers, as well as adversely affect the consumer purchaser of natural, healthy food and dietary supplements.

Take action to preserve our health freedoms and rights!

Please take a moment TODAY and go to the National Health Freedom ACTION site and oppose this bill. Then contact your local senators and representatives by phone or mail and let them know you vehemently oppose more food safety regulations, and that the way to clean up this mess is to support local and sustainable agriculture and growers who practice clean and safe farming practices.

Wednesday, September 23rd is the deadline for this bill to remain on the Senate floor. Take action today and make a difference for our future!

Activism Real Food

Should Our Right To Purchase Real Food Be Taken Away?

www.mypicshares.com

The tension about our ability to be able to obtain real, untainted food is growing stronger every day. No doubt, all we need do is look in the news for a barrage of reports about the government attempting to put regulatory laws on the manufacturing, production, and sale of food. It’s certainly true that we’ve had an inordinate occurrence of foodborne illnesses and disease outbreaks related to the consumption of food.

The source of the problem

When you hear these stories, pay close attention to where the diseases and illnesses are believed to have originated – from commercially-produced sources which usually have a trail to a factory or industrial farm. If the source is reported to be from a so-called “organic” farm, you can bet that with a little research, you’ll probably find that there are questionable practices going on in the environment where the food is being raised or grown. In other words, the farm is probably not really an organic or sustainable farm.

The government is now stepping in to take charge of the problem.

On August 6, 2009, the FDA announced plans to create a tight system where authorities will come down heavily on violators and be more vigilant about investigations of foodborne illness. But how exactly are they planning to take care of the culprit of the problem – the methods in which industrial farming produces food – the reason behind all our food recalls and disease outbreaks in the first place? The focus mistakenly remains on how to take care of a problem after it occurs – and nothing at all on making the food system safe in the first place so that we reduce the overall number of outbreaks due to food safety issues.

The way to make our food system safe, of course, is to require that farmers use clean, sustainable methods in which to raise and grow food. This rule is currently not how food is produced in our food system. With emphasis placed on profit and numbers, the majority of food growers are unconcerned with the quality of their products. When quality suffers, so does the health of the public and the environment.

Should the limitations and regulations which will soon be required of large, corporate farming operations also be imposed upon the small, sustainable farmers who deliver to our local communities? Smaller farmers and food producers simply cannot compete with the massive farming outfits who have unlimited money and resources to keep up with complex, changing laws and regulations. Such changes could effectively wipe out our sustainable food choices and prevent us from having those options in the forseeable future. Read this article from Mother Earth News about Joel Salatin and the challenges he faces in his efforts to maintain his sustainable, 100-acre farm in Polyface, Virginia.

Consider how much of the food that we eat is altered in some way with  chemicals or toxins that are harmful for us to consume. If you look at what has been happening, there are a prominent number of cases where people have become sick from eating processed, industrial food. Time and time again, we read news stories of individuals becoming ill from eating mainstream, processed products that are linked back to the industrial food industry. It is ironic that we are in the midst of such food safety issues, where our elected officials are voicing criticism about the legitimacy of sustainable-produced food, but don’t seem to comprehend what is going on in the industrial food sector. The industrial food sector, is in fact, where the food safety issues are most prevalent.

Industrial farms

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) or industrial, factory farms are where the majority of the meat eaten in developed countries originates. These facilities place a high value on profits and very little consideration toward animal welfare and farm employee welfare, grossly mismanage the waste produced by the animals residing on the property, use genetically-modified, pesticide ridden feeds like grains, soy, and corn to promote quick growth of the animals, and employ widespread use of antibiotic and other medications on animals who become sick and infected due to the conditions where they live and the feed they consume. Cattle, in particular, are not designed to ingest grains, soy, or corn. Because this method of feed places a significant strain on the digestive tract of these animals (and subsequently their entire state of health), they become sick and farmers administer medications to combat illness.

Although the price tag of this type of meat is lower in the supermarket, the hidden costs of consuming such meat come later down the road. In addition, there is a significant burden on the part of the taxpayers – that’s us. Due to the pollution rates of factory farms which have a serious impact on public health, we experience an continual rise in overall medical costs.

Who is protected?

Government subsidies which are partially allocated to pay for large industrial farming outfits are funded by everyone who earns an income (our taxes). This structure causes loss of employment and drives wages down for the average person still employed. Large corporate takeovers eliminate smaller businesses. Industrial farming provides jobs, but wages are extremely low and working conditions for employees are abhorrent and dangerous.

Factory farms remain untouched by the regulatory measures that other industrial industries are required to follow. Lobbyists from special interest groups that are affiliated with these large farming entities have major influence over government agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and help make it possible for industrial farms to continue unethical business practices and continue to pay low wages, pollute the environment with hazardous waste, and use toxic chemicals to produce food that people consume.

Proposed regulations and fines that will be imposed upon the food production industry as a whole will be harmful to smaller, sustainable farming operations. The smaller farmer simply cannot compete with the corporate industrial farm’s ability to pay fees for operation costs required by the government in order to stay in business.

Making a difference

Although it takes extra effort to purchase locally-produced, sustainable meats and other food, the benefit to both human and environmental welfare as well as positive economic impact is measurable.

The fact is, real food doesn’t have to be for elitists. The notion that there are too many people on the planet for everyone to eat real, organic foods is based on nothing real or scientific; people mistakenly believe that if everyone switched over to real, whole foods and eliminated processed foods, some of us would starve. But if everyone supported their local, sustainable farmers and food growers, we would have enough food to feed our regional communities, plain and simple. It’s not impossible as everyone imagines.

The absolute best way to ensure a future for health, sustainable agriculture, and food is to purchase as much of this type of food as possible. The more you place your buying efforts towards healthy, organic, and local, sustainable food, the less money will go toward supporting the big, corporate, industrial farming machines that are propagating disease, illness, and environmental and economic downturn.

Another way to make a difference is to contact your elected officials and voice your opinions. Do some research and educate yourself on the issues. Get involved locally and abroad by writing letters, signing petitions, and supporting the efforts of those who seek to keep sustainable agriculture alive and well. Visit Take Part and learn more about these activities and become an activist!

Want to eat less? Lose weight? Enjoy better health? Save the environment? Buy local, sustainable foods and cook them yourself.

For more information on the latest news in food safety policy and laws, visit:

Food and Water Watch

Organic Consumer’s Association.

Suggested reading:

Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture by Andrew Kimbrell

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays Carnival.