Category: Food Production


Published time: April 04, 2014 04:00

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

Rep. Mike Pompeo will introduce legislation backed by powerful trade groups to prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods, according to reports. The bill is linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.

Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, The Hill newspaper reported, citing industry sources. Politico also reported on the impending proposal. Pompeo’s office would not comment on the congressman’s intentions for a labeling restriction.

The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, echoing powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such “right to know” labeling laws around the nation.

It was revealed in recent months that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were joining forces – under the name ‘Coalition for Safe Affordable Food‘ – to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.

In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. Many other states are now considering their own proposals to label GMO food.

A top member of the Coalition – the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group – raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’s ballot initiative on GMO labeling last year. That total number was three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. GMA was joined in its effort by allies such as biotech giants Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont.

The Coalition said in February that it would seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.

“The legislation we’re proposing would preclude state legislation that conflicts with the federal standards,” GMA president Pamela Bailey said of the Coalition’s aim, The Hill reported.

 

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Posted: 04/02/2014 9:55 am EDT Updated: 04/02/2014 5:59 pm EDT
ORGANIC EGGS
ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

When most Americans think about organic meat or eggs, they picture animals on small farms, allowed to root in the soil, feel sun on their backs, and engage in their natural behaviors. What they don’t picture is tens of thousands of hens crammed into massive sheds with no access to soil and extremely limited outdoor access.

Unfortunately, the USDA stamped its seal of approval on the latter scenario by refusing to implement its own advisory board’s animal welfare recommendations, which would have created a level playing field for the hundreds of small organic farms that were the basis for the standards. These recommendations would not have required “good” conditions, but they would have set a reasonable floor by requiring improvements from the five massive “organic” egg farms that provide the worst hen welfare.

The USDA’s decision doesn’t just violate our moral intuitions and the expectations of organic consumers; it also violates the Department’s legal mandate in at least two distinct ways.

First, USDA is statutorily required “to establish national [organic guidelines that] meet a consistent standard.” In 2005 and again in 2010, USDA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that animal welfare standards were applied inconsistently, in violation of the Act’s legal requirement that USDA ensure “that [organic] products meet consistent, uniform standards.”

By requiring improvements from the five mega-farms such that their hen welfare standards would align with that of the hundreds of smaller farms, adopting the advisory board’s recommendations would create this statutorily-mandated consistency. Ignoring those recommendations places USDA in violation of its legal mandate.

 

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Published on Mar 25, 2014

Fishermen approve groundwater diversion plan
A federation of fishermen in Fukushima prefecture has approved a plan to divert groundwater away from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and into the sea.
The government and the plant’s operator –Tokyo Electric Power Company — developed the scheme as a measure to manage the increasing volume of radioactive water at the plant.
Every day, about 400 tons of groundwater flows into the reactor buildings and becomes contaminated when it mixes with water used to cool the melted nuclear fuel.
Under the plan, groundwater will be brought above ground with pumps and released into the sea, bypassing the reactor buildings.
The government and TEPCO estimated the method would reduce the volume of contaminated water by about 100 tons per day. They asked local fishermen to consider the plan.
The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations gave its approval and conveyed the decision to the government and TEPCO officials at a meeting in Iwaki city on Tuesday.
Fisheries co-operatives in Iwaki and Soma cities had already approved of the plan.

Abe vows to take lead for better nuclear security
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to play a key role in promoting nuclear security. He says Japan learned a lot from the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
He made the remarks at a plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Monday. 53 leaders are taking part.
Abe said Japan will continue its efforts domestically and internationally to strengthen measures for nuclear security. He said the country will advance nonproliferation and disarmament worldwide and work towards the abolishment of nuclear weapons.

Reactor maker execs to serve decommissioning body
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it will appoint senior industry officials to a new division tasked with decommissioning.
Tokyo Electric Power Company will launch the internal division, separate to its power generating business, on April 1st.
The new body will specialize in decommissioning the nuclear plant and dealing with a massive buildup of contaminated water.
TEPCO says senior officials from Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Toshiba and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will work as executives to advise the body’s top official.
The 3 makers are helping to deal with problems at the troubled plant, such as developing robots to operate in high radioactivity and removing spent nuclear fuel.
TEPCO hopes that by inviting the personnel, the new body can make better use of their expertise.
TEPCO and the Japanese government plan to start removing fuel from the most damaged reactors in 6 years at the earliest.

TEPCO restarts water treatment system
Engineers at Tokyo Electric Power Company have restarted a key water treatment system at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Two of the 3 lines of the Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, were suspended on Monday after workers found water leaking from one of the storage tanks.
The workers changed the packing on a side hatch of the tank. They resumed operation of the 2 lines on Tuesday afternoon after confirming that no water was leaking.

Inside Source: Gov’t officials are withholding Fukushima radiation data — Levels much higher than expected — Releasing numbers would “have a huge impact” — Over 2,000 millisieverts per year where residents are being encouraged to return
http://enenews.com/inside-source-govt…

Radioactive water from Fukushima nears Pacific
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/video/…

Radiation Alert! Northern Plains Radiation Higher Than Fukushima
http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/…

Radiation Expert: 5 types of plutonium were released from WIPP; Officials not informing public — Caldicott: “I predict that facility will never be able to be used again”; Inhaling a millionth of a gram of plutonium will induce lung cancer
http://enenews.com/radiation-expert-5…

Navy to test Treasure Island homes for radiation
http://www.sfgate.com/politics/articl…

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Friday 14 March 2014 14.28 EDT

Natural and social scientists develop new model of how ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global system
This NASA Earth Observatory released on

This Nasa Earth Observatory image shows a storm system circling around an area of extreme low pressure in 2010, which many scientists attribute to climate change. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

It finds that according to the historical record even advanced, complex civilisations are susceptible to collapse, raising questions about the sustainability of modern civilisation:

“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent.”

By investigating the human-nature dynamics of these past cases of collapse, the project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.

These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity”; and “the economic stratification of society into Elites [rich] and Masses (or “Commoners”) [poor]” These social phenomena have played “a central role in the character or in the process of the collapse,” in all such cases over “the last five thousand years.”

Currently, high levels of economic stratification are linked directly to overconsumption of resources, with “Elites” based largely in industrialised countries responsible for both:

“… accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”

The study challenges those who argue that technology will resolve these challenges by increasing efficiency:

“Technological change can raise the efficiency of resource use, but it also tends to raise both per capita resource consumption and the scale of resource extraction, so that, absent policy effects, the increases in consumption often compensate for the increased efficiency of resource use.”

Productivity increases in agriculture and industry over the last two centuries has come from “increased (rather than decreased) resource throughput,” despite dramatic efficiency gains over the same period.

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Food Poisoning Bulletin

The Washington State Department of Agriculture has revoked the food processing license of Wu Kung Hwa Oriental Food. That facility makes traditional Korean rice cakes. The license was revoked after inspectors found on-going sanitation problems. The facility is located in Pierce County.

Rice CakesThe facility was also penalized $11,900, and notified that all of the company’s products must be destroyed. Mu Kung Hwa Oriental Food has 10 days to appeal and request a reconsideration, but it cannot produce food during that time period.

Inspectors found problems with unsanitary conditions, poor sanitation practices by employees, and a “general failure” to protect food products from contamination.

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Brazilian beans and Japanese barley shipped to Svalbard seed vault

Some 20,000 plant species from more than 100 countries and institutions will be added to the global seed bank in Norway
The entrance of Svalbard Global Seed Vault a repository for seeds, Norway

The Svalbard global seed vault is primarily designed as a back-up for the many gene banks around the world that keep samples of crop diversity for agricultural businesses. Photograph: Alamy

A Noah’s Ark of 20,000 plant species will unload this week at a remote Arctic port to deposit humanity’s latest insurance payment against an agricultural apocalypse or a man-made cock-up.

Brazilian beans and Japanese barley are among the botanical varieties that are carried aboard the ship that is shortly expected to dock near the Svalbard global seed vault, that celebrates its sixth anniversary this week.

The facility, which is bored into the side of a mountain by the Barents Sea, is primarily designed as a back-up for the many gene banks around the world that keep samples of crop diversity for agricultural businesses.

But its operators, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, say the “Doomsday Vault” could also help to reboot the world’s farms in the event of a climate catastrophe or a collapse of genetically modified crops.

Built to withstand a nuclear strike, a tectonic shift or rising sea levels, the vault has the capacity to store 4.5m different seed varieties for centuries.

Currently, it holds 820,619 samples of food crops and their natural relatives, but this is steadily increasing with one or two shipments each year, according to the trust, which maintains the seed vault in partnership with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Centre.

 

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Medical syringeBarbara H. Peterson

Farm Wars

Did you know that genetically engineered vaccines are approved for use in livestock for the USDA National Organic Program? Straight from the horse’s mouth:
At present, the National List identifies all vaccines, as a group, as synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production. Vaccines are not individually listed on the National List, but rather are included on as a group of synthetic substances termed “Biologics Vaccines,” that may be used in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4)).
…..

USDA.gov

Vaccines
Made
from
Genetically Modified Organisms
Livestock
___________________________________
Composition
of the Substance
:
GMO vaccines are composed of inactivated or weakened viral or bacterial organisms
thathave had genetic material added, deleted, or otherwise modified. Vaccines may also contain suspending fluids, adjuvants (additives that help stimulate an immune response, most commonly aluminum salts and oil/water mixtures) stabilizers, preservatives, or other substances to improve shelf – life and effectiveness of the vaccine(CDC, 2011)
.
Additives in GMO vaccines do not differ from conventional vaccines
(OIE, 2010)
Approved Legal Uses of the Substance:
Under regulations issued by the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) pursuant to the Organic Food Production Act of 1990, genetic modification is considered an “excluded method,”which is generally prohibited from organic production and handling under 7 CFR 205.105(e). However, the prohibition of excluded methods includes an exception for vaccines with the condition that the vaccines are approved
in accordance with §205.600(a). That is, the vaccines must be included on the
List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (hereafter referred to as the National List)
.
At present, the National List identifies all vaccines, as a group, as synthetic substances allowed for use in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4))
.
Vaccines are not individually listed on the National List, but rather are included on as a group of synthetic substances termed “Biologics  — Vaccines” that may be used in organic livestock production (7 CFR §205.603(a)(4))
.
According to livestock health care standards specified in 7 CFR §205.238, organic livestock producers must establish and main preventive healthcare practices including vaccinations. In addition, 7 CFR §205.238 specifies that any animal drug other than vaccinations cannot be administered in the absence of illness
.
Any animal treated with antibiotics may not be sold, labeled, or represented as an organic (205.238(c)(7)).
Livestock vaccines are regulated by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Center for Veterinary Biologics under authority of the Virus-Serum-
Toxin Act of 1913. In particular, all vaccines used in agricultural animals must be licensed, and vaccines created using biotechnology (i.e., made with GMOs) must adhere to the same standards for traditional vaccines. Specifically, vaccine makers
are required to submit a Summary Information Format (SIF) specific to the type of vaccine (Roth and Henderson, 2001). A SIF must present information regarding t
he efficacy, safety, and environmental impact of the vaccine being registered. The purpose of the SIF is to characterize the vaccine’s potential for, and likelihood of, risk. Occasionally, peer-review panels are formed to complete risk assessment of
vaccines; this was the case for the currently licensed live vector rabies vaccine (to reduce rabies in wildlife
.
…..

Organic Consumers Association

GMO Vaccines in Organic

  • Public Comments to the National Organic Standards Board
    By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director
    Organic Consumers Association, May 22, 2012
    Straight to the Source

TAKE ACTION: Get GMOs Out of Organic Baby Food!
TAKE ACTION: Tell Organic Baby Food Brands to Stop Using GMOs!
TAKE ACTION: Get Genetically Engineered Vaccines Out of Organic!
TAKE ACTION: Stop Factory Farm Production of “Organic” Poultry and Eggs!
The Organic Food Production Act and the regulations that implement it are very strong. Unfortunately, there’s been some resistance to following the law and regulations.

And, in most instances, when large companies violate national organic standards, the response from Congress, the National Organic Program and the National Organic Standards Board, has been to change the law and regulations to match non-compliance rather than to strengthen enforcement.

The most striking example of this was in 2005 when the Organic Trade Association went to Congress to overturn a federal court ruling in favor of an organic blueberry farmer Arthur Harvey. The original version of OFPA limited the National List exemptions for prohibited substances used in handling to non-organics that were also non-synthetic. When the court in Harvey v. USDA ruled that synthetic ingredients were being illegally approved for use in organic foods, the OTA got Congress to reverse the decision legislatively.

Another more recent example is DHA/ARA. The National Organic Program admitted that these synthetics used in baby formula, baby food and baby cereal, were illegally approved for use in organic foods, but instead of enforcing the law, the NOP asked the manufacturer to petition the products for placement on the National List and the National Organic Standards Board approved them at the last meeting, even though it was clear that the NOP had not properly vetted DHA/ARA to determine whether they were produced using excluded methods of genetic engineering.

Two more examples of the organic industry’s refusal to obey the law — and the NOP’s unwillingness to enforce the law — are open questions before you: GMO vaccines and animal welfare standards.

Under current regulations, GMO vaccines can’t be used unless they are successfully petitioned for use on the National List. To date, no GMO vaccines have been petitioned, so one would assume that they’re not being used in organic.

But, we know they are being used. This was first admitted to publicly by the National Organic Program staff at the May 2009 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board. Richard Matthews announced to the board that, in fact, since the beginning of the program, all vaccines had been routinely allowed in organic, without a review as to whether or not they were genetically engineered, and he recommended that, instead of the NOP enforcing the law against this violation, the NOSB should recommend a change in the law and that’s what the NOSB did.

Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy wisely rejected that recommendation, but the NOP still hasn’t made any attempt to enforce current law. The NOP should have immediately collected information on which vaccines are being used in organic and prohibited those that are genetically engineered. At that point, prohibited GMO vaccines that had been used in organic could be petitioned. And we’d be back on track with current law.

Instead, the NOP seems to have left the ball in the NOSB’s court. And we still have an acknowledged failure to follow and enforce the law.

This isn’t right. The National Organic Standards Board should stop work on GMO vaccine recommendations until there are assurances from the NOP that they’re going to stop the illegal use of GMO vaccines.

We have a similar problem on the issue of animal welfare. You all are trying hard to establish some measurable standards for animal welfare, but the irony is that while you try to improve animal welfare, the current regulations are being violated.

…..
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TheHealthRanger·

 

Published on Feb 8, 2014

This research in the public interest is being pioneered by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, of NaturalNews.com. Share the results and EAT CLEAN FOOD!

 

…..

Some natural products companies now engaging in consumer fraud over heavy metals found in their products

metals

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger

(NaturalNews) Perhaps I shouldn’t be so easily amused, but I can hardly stop laughing at the theatrical attempts by some people in the natural products industry to convince their customers that eating heavy metals is good for you. Granted, most companies in the natural health space are very ethical and responsible. They are becoming more and more aware of the heavy metals issue in their products and they are taking steps right now to source cleaner materials and provide more transparency to customers. But some companies are still in a state of total denial over heavy metals. In the aftermath of my own science-based findings of significant concentrations of heavy metals in popular “superfood” products, some of these companies are now attempting to push sheer delusions onto their own customers, claiming that heavy metals are good for you.

It all sounds almost exactly like vaccine companies — “Mercury in flu shots improves brain performance!” — or biotech firms like Monsanto who say “GMOs and glyphosate are harmless! Eat more!”

And yet, as I’m sure you will agree, the strange idea that heavy metals are safe to eat (apparently at any dose) is wholly inconsistent with the core principles and beliefs of health-conscious consumers. The very basis of the entire organic industry, natural products industry and superfoods industry is that it DOES matter what you eat!

Pseudoscience excuses

What we’re really finding is that the issue of heavy metals is rapidly separating genuine health-conscious industry leaders from the hucksters who hope you can be manipulated into eating more of their products that contain lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.

They’ve got all sorts of bizarre, pseudoscientific arguments for denying the harm of heavy metals. One person whose products contain heavy metals is now publicly claiming that heavy metals are trace minerals that your body needs. I’m even wondering if he will soon come out with a “Heavy Metals Vitamin” product so you can meet your daily requirement for lead and mercury. It starts to sound a lot like the “energy-boosting radiation pills” sold by charlatans in the early 20th century.

Another argument organized by one particular industry group claims that you can eat all the heavy metals you want because your body doesn’t absorb them anyway. Somehow, your body absorbs iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, calcium and copper, but according to these people, your body magically and selectively does not absorb all the “bad metals” which are found in their own products.

By what digestive miracle such selective absorption takes place is never explained, of course. Perhaps selective absorption is invoked with a magic wand waved over the contaminated food before consuming it.

How can concentration not matter?

Another central argument from the heavy metals deniers is that concentrations don’t matter. If 50 ppb of a heavy metal is considered safe, then 500 ppb or even 5,000 ppb must also be safe too, they ridiculously argue.

Such a position is, of course, complete nonsense. Concentration is the single most important factor in determining toxicity for an element or chemical. The higher the concentration of a toxic element, the greater the risk of harm.

This is especially true considering the massive quantities of superfoods or natural products which are regularly consumed by millions of consumers. In the popular category of proteins, a typical one-scoop serving is 23 grams. Some readers told us on Facebook that they would eat six scoops a day. If the protein they are eating happens to contain just 2 ppm cadmium, 0.5 ppm lead and 10 ppm tungsten, this means their daily intake of these metals is:

• 276 micrograms of cadmium
• 69 micrograms of lead
• 1,380 micrograms of tungsten

To argue that the routine consumption of these levels of heavy metals has no health consequence whatsoever is beyond irresponsible. It is fraudulent, and it smacks of precisely the kind of quackery the scientific skeptics routinely accuse natural products companies of practicing.

In part, they are actually correct. There is unfortunately some level of fraud in the natural products industry just like you find in the pharmaceutical industry, vaccine industry and the dog food industry. At the same time, there are also ethical, responsible companies who go to tremendous lengths to ensure the purity and safety of their products. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to publicize the really clean products we’ve tested such as One World Whey proteins from Synergistic Nutrition as well as all the incredibly clean iodine products across many brands.

So the argument that heavy metals don’t matter in natural products is immediately devoid of any ethical or scientific standing. Of course heavy metals matter. If Brand A of chocolate chips contains 1000 ppb lead, while Brand B chocolate chips contain no lead (but are otherwise equivalent), which brand is safer for your children to consume on a regular basis? The obvious and correct answer is Brand B. Reducing exposure to dietary toxins is always the right choice. And personally, I would really question the ethics and even the scientific grasp of anyone who argues that reducing exposure to dietary toxins doesn’t matter in the least.

Read More Here
 

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Organic Connections

 

 

Tell USDA to Reject this GE Apple! Comments are due December 9th, so please sign the petition today.

Tell USDA to Reject the GE Apple!

via Center for Food Safety

After decades of promises from the biotech industry that genetically engineered (GE) food would feed the world, cure the sick, reduce agricultural dependence on toxic chemicals, and save countless crops from imminent collapse, industry is poised to finally release a product they think will solve a problem humans have struggled with for centuries… an apple that doesn’t brown when you slice it… Seriously; we couldn’t make this stuff up.

A public comment period on the GE apple is open through December 9th.

GE apples are being touted as the best thing since…well, since sliced apples. In our homes, we just add a little lemon juice. Gosh! We have been living in the Stone Age!

While these GE apples are a waste of time and money, we don’t want to downplay the real concerns about them. Pre-sliced apples are actually a frequently recalled food product. Once the whole fruit is sliced, it has an increased risk of exposure to pathogens. Since browning is a sign that apples are no longer fresh, “masking” this natural signal could lead people to consume contaminated apples, which is why some folks are calling it the “botox apple.”

 

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(C) Desert Rose Creations/Family Survival Protocol  2013Ethanol Sign 2 photo ethanolsign2_zps0d43f94d.jpg

……….

 

The Associated Press is running a terrific and long investigative article, “The Secret, Dirty Cost of Obama’s Green Power Push,” on the environmental downsides of the ethanol fuel mandate. From the AP…

…the ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks combined — have vanished on Obama’s watch.

Landowners filled in wetlands. They plowed into pristine prairies, releasing carbon dioxide that had been locked in the soil.

Sprayers pumped out billions of pounds of fertilizer, some of which seeped into drinking water, contaminated rivers and worsened the huge dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico where marine life can’t survive.

The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact.

Read More Here

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