Tag: food safety

Protecting Monsanto Risks Food Safety

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

A rider to protect the biotech giant Monsanto from litigation was anonymously slipped into the bill, HR933, that averted the shut down have the government and signed into law by Pres. Barack Obama. The rider, known as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” has ignited a firestorm of protests not just from food safety advocates and environmentalists but from the right wing as well. Much of the ire has been directed at Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for not drawing attention to the rider. According the Amy Goodman, at Democracy Now, the rider was written by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) with Monsanto’s help and initially was backed by Sen. John Tester (D-MT), who realizing the pernicious aspects of the rider to farmers, attempted to have it removed from the bill before it was passed. Sen. Tester failed to get the rider removed. The bill passed with the rider intact and was signed into law by Pres. Obama. On the bright side of this, the rider is temporary since the act expired in six months. It does raise wider issues of genetically modified organisms (GMO), their safety and protecting the food chain as opposed to protecting the right of a multinational corporation that wants to dominate and control food through seed supplies.

Ms. Goodman and her co-host, Aaron Maté. discuss the “Monsanto Protection Act” and the safety of genetically modified foods with two guests: Gregory Jaffe, director of the Biotechnology Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that addresses food and nutrition issues; and Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and author of the book, “Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.



Full transcript here

The IBTimes listed the most troubling aspects of the rider that was written by Monsanto lawyers:

1. source url 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.

2. The provision’s language was apparently written in collusion with Monsanto.

-Many members of Congress were apparently unaware that the Monsanto Protection Act even existed within the Bill they were voting on.

3. The President did nothing to stop it, either. On Tuesday, Obama signed HR 933.

4. It sets a terrible precedent…The message it sends is that corporations can get around consumer safety protections if they get Congress on their side.

The article also revealed that Sen. Blunt has received over $60,000 from Monsanto in campaign contributions. Sen. Mikulski issued a statement that she “understands the anger over this provision. She didn’t put the language in the bill and doesn’t support it either.”  

The controversial provision has also raised the ire of the right wing Tea Party

“It is not the purview of Tea Party Patriots to comment on the merits of GMOs — that is a discussion and debate for experts and activists within that field,” wrote Dustin Siggins, who blogs for Tea Party Patriots, on the group’s website. “From the perspective of citizens who want open, transparent government that serves the people, however, http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=us-soft-viagra the so-called ‘Monsanto Protection Act,’ Section 735 of the Continuing Resolution, is one heck of a special interest loophole for friends of Congress.”

Food Democracy Now has begun a petition that has already been signed by 250,000, demanding that President Obama to issue an Executive Order requiring the mandatory labeling of GMOs.

Late last night President Barack Obama signed H.R. 933, which contained the Monsanto Protection Act into law. President Obama knowingly signed the Monsanto Protection Act over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who asked that he use his executive authority to veto it. President Obama failed to live up to his oath to protect the American people and our constitution.

source site Today we’re calling on President Obama to issue an executive order to call for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.

Not only is GMO labeling a reasonable and common sense solution to the continued controversy that corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical have created by subverting our basic democratic rights, but it is a basic right that citizens in 62 other countries around the world already enjoy, including Europe, Russia, China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

http://maientertainmentlaw.com/?search=how-to-buy-propecia Join us in demanding mandatory labeling of GMO foods. Now’s the time!

Call President Barack Obama (202) 456-1111 or if that line is busy, please call (202) 456-1414 – then ask at least 5 of your friends to join you!

Reasons to Love Costco & Be Wary of Eating Out

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Costco is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States and, unlike Walmart, has managed to give its employees a fair living wage and benefits. One other thing they do, they have a level of food safety that exceeds government standards:

Costco’s 250,000-square-foot beef plant in California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley is not your typical meat plant.

It’s relatively new and spotless. There are high-tech, hand-wash sanitation stations scattered throughout the plant connected to counters that allow plant officials to make sure each employee uses them at least four times daily.

It’s relatively new and spotless. There are high-tech, hand-wash sanitation stations scattered throughout the plant connected to counters that allow plant officials to make sure each employee uses them at least four times daily.

The massive meatball cook room is built entirely of stainless steel. Even the loading docks, where trucks deliver raw beef, is sanitized regularly to prevent contamination. [..]

The plant has a decided advantage over Big Beef’s slaughter plants because they don’t kill cattle here, so there are no manure-covered hides or intestines to contaminate raw beef products.

But just the same, Costco’s approach is different.

All meat arriving at the Tracy plant comes with a certificate from the supplier pledging that pre-shipment tests showed no E. coli contamination, something other companies are also doing now. But Costco tests it anyway, and if it tests positive, it’s shipped back to the supplier. Less than one percent is shipped back.

Then the finished products – hot dogs, hamburger patties, ground beef, Polish sausages and meatballs – are tested again before they leave the plant.

In fact, Costco officials boast that, until recently, they did more E. coli testing in the company’s lab than the USDA does nationwide at all other beef plants combined.

Despite all precautions, Costco did get caught up in a recent E. Coli contamination recall that was caused by the dangerous practice of mechanical meat tenderizing:

The process has been around for decades, but while exact figures are difficult to come by, USDA surveys show that more than 90 percent of beef producers are now using it.

Mechanically tenderized meat is increasingly found in grocery stores, and a vast amount is sold to family-style restaurants, hotels and group homes.

Although blading and injecting marinades into meat add value for the beef industry, that also can drive pathogens – including the E. coli O157:H7 that destroyed Lamkin’s colon – deeper into the meat.

If it isn’t cooked sufficiently, people can get sick. Or die.

There have been several USDA recalls of the product since at least 2000, and a Canadian recall in October included mechanically tenderized steaks imported into the United States, but it’s not clear how many people were sickened.

In a 2010 letter to the USDA, the American Meat Institute noted eight recalls between 2000 to 2009 that identified mechanically tenderized and marinaded steaks as the culprit. Those recalls sickened at least 100 people.

But food safety advocates suspect the incidence of illness is much higher.

An estimate by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, suggests that mechanically tenderized beef could have been the source of as many as 100 outbreaks of E. coli and other illnesses in the United States in recent years. Those cases affected more than 3,100 people who ate contaminated meat at wedding receptions, churches, banquet facilities, restaurants and schools, the center said.

E. coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhea, dehydration and, in severe cases, kidney failure. The very young, seniors and people with weak immune systems are most at risk. It is impossible to eliminate it from beef cattle, even by using antibiotics, which nay contribute to antibiotic-resistant pathogens in humans, meaning illnesses once treated with a regimen of antibiotics are much harder to control. There are 73,480 reported illnesses linked to E. coli O157:H7 infections each year in the United States, leading to 2,168 hospitalizations and 61 deaths. There may be more.

Mechanically tenderizing beef drives the contamination deeper into the meat, so that even cooking it thoroughly makes it difficult to kill the bacteria. E. Coli can survive in cold spots even when the cut of meat appears to be fully cooked. The McClatchy News article points out a 2011 warning in Journal of Food Protection that “cooking highly contaminated bladed steaks on a gas grill – even at 160 degrees like hamburger – might not kill all E. coli bacteria.”

Tenderizing Meat Hazard

Click on image to enlarge

Costco labels all products that have been bladed and recommends that  “for your safety USDA recommends cooking to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees.” The USDA encourages labeling but does not require it. Perhaps it’s time to protect the consumer from “Big Beef.”

“Farmageddon”

Note: There is a Washington Post review on this movie that opens today in major cities. The positive review points out the government’s treatment of small farms and begins with a question farmacia online viagra generico a Milano “Why is it so easy to buy cigarettes but so difficult to purchase raw, unpasteurized milk?

Yesterday on the follow link The Leonard Lopate Show there was a very disturbing interview. It was another story of government being in bed with big business, this time making our food unsafe in the process. Three people try to explain why the government is turning a blind eye to the large corporations that are making us sick while raiding small farms and food co-ops to address problems that don’t even exist.

The outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in recent years, the salmonella in peanut butter and E. coli in bagged spinach have led to concerns about the way the FDA has been enforcing its food safety regulations. Each of those outbreaks has been traced to a factory farm or large processing plants but small farmers who have had little connection to them are bearing the brunt of government raids, searches and product confiscation. A new documentary called Farmageddon investigates the increasingly tenuous standing of small farms in our food system. It opens this Friday at Cinema Village and joining us today are dove comprare viagra generico a Bologna Kristin Canty, the director and co-producer, go here Linda Failace, the co-owner of Three Shephard’s Cheese in Vermont and http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=viagra-generico-25-mg-prezzo-piu-basso-a-Napoli Gary Cox, the General Counsel for the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. Welcome to our show….

You can listen here. You should be outraged by those three stories, everyone should.  I have a few details below.  

Pique the Geek 20101205: The Food Safety Modernization Act

After the food contamination incidents over the past couple of years, the Congress has put forth a revamp of food safety law in the United States.  This bill bass the House back in 2009 and was tied up in the Senate until last week.  The Senate passed its version (with amendments) and so it has gone back to the House for either passage of the Senate version or to head for a conference committee for resolution.

This act (S. 510) has created an outcry from both the extreme right and some “back to nature” types on the left.  Herein we shall examine some of the key provisions of the proposed law and make some judgments.  My personal feeling is that it will die before the Congress completes action on other, critical legislation like the tax issue, unemployment benefits, the federal debt ceiling, and funding the government, but who knows?

90 Second Summary: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

For Episode 7, we look ahead to next month’s lame duck session and preview a bill likely to be examined in the Senate in the first week back. The “food safety bill” enjoys strong bipartisan support and is likely to receive over 90 Senate votes if it gets that far, but is being blocked from consideration by Sen. Coburn for budgetary reasons.

Its fate at this point will be determined almost entirely by the amount of floor time Democratic leaders are willing to spend on it. But in case you’d like to nudge them one way or the other and want to learn more beforehand, here’s the skinny on S. 510, The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

One-page summary below the fold…

NEW Study indicates Microbes ARE rapidly consuming the Gulf Oil

I, for one, get link hope that this is true, and will be further substantiated:

Study: Petroleum-eating microbes significantly reduced gulf oil plume

David Brown, Washington Post Staff Writer — Tue, August 24, 2010

Petroleum-eating bacteria – which had dined for eons on oil seeping naturally through the seafloor – proliferated in the cloud of oil that drifted underwater for months after the April 20 accident. They not only outcompeted fellow microbes, they each ramped up their own internal metabolic machinery to digest the oil as efficiently as possible.

The result was a nature-made cleanup crew capable of reducing that reduced the amount of oil amounts in the undersea “plume” by half about every three days, according to research published online Tuesday by the journal Science.

The findings, by a team of scientists led by Terry C. Hazen of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California […]

BP Bottom Kill Stalled Out During Shrimp Cocktail Party Season

You are so going to love this.  Another in the series, Macondo, Oil Well of Doom.

I have wrestled an image from the balko puter onto photomucket.  Look what I found on the BP webcams this evening.

BP oil spill,bop tool

What the bleep is this on Rov Enterprise 2 cam  Tues evening Aug 17th ?

Check the official BP twitter feed.  http://twitter.com/BP_America    

As part of a #BP tourism grant, Gulf resort giving free night’s stay and $250 gift card: http://bit.ly/bV9XKC

about 4 hours ago via HootSuite

Retweeted by 5 people

BP_America

http://twitter.com/BP_America/…

That’s not a Motel 6.  WTF.    

Peanut Butter Recall

The peanut butter recall continues to spread.  This afternoon, while I was at work, my colleague got a phone call instructing her to pull a bunch more products, apparently in response to the latest round of recall news.

More recently, I visited La Vida Locavore…there’s more on the way.  The entire situation ain’t pretty.

FWIW, Reese’s peanut butter cups seem to remain safe, as the Reese’s people seem never to have bought anything from the supplier in question.

But jars of pb are now on the do-not-eat list.