Tag Archives | Food Regulation

Big Food Companies Corrupting Organic Standards

Texarkana Roadtrip (CC)

The organic food movement in the United States has become a victim of its own success, with corporate food giants buying up most of the successful organic brands and dominating the standards board, writes Stephanie Strom in the New York Times:

Michael J. Potter is one of the last little big men left in organic food.

More than 40 years ago, Mr. Potter bought into a hippie cafe and “whole earth” grocery here that has since morphed into a major organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods.

But one morning last May, he hopped on his motorcycle and took off across the Plains to challenge what organic food — or as he might have it, so-called organic food — has become since his tie-dye days in the Haight district of San Francisco.

The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store.

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Glow-In-The-Dark Pork And More: China’s Nauseating Food Woes

china-beef-extract-04-300x200Fake soy sauce flavored with hair salon clippings? Fake eggs implanted in fake eggshells? Amazingly, it gets worse in this Los Angeles Times piece on China’s fast-ballooning food safety issues. Never have I been so thankful for the FDA:

If anything, China’s food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre.

In May, a Shanghai woman who had left uncooked pork on her kitchen table woke up in the middle of the night and noticed that the meat was emitting a blue light, like something out of a science fiction movie. Experts pointed to phosphorescent bacteria, blamed for another case of glow-in-the-dark pork last year.

Farmers in eastern Jiangsu province complained to state media last month that their watermelons had exploded “like landmines” after they mistakenly applied too much growth hormone in hopes of increasing their size.

“The profit margin is bigger than drug trafficking if you add the lean pork powder to the pig food,” said Zhou Qing, an author and dissident, who has styled himself as China’s equivalent of Upton Sinclair.

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Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty

Sedgwick, Maine

Sedgwick, Maine

Do we really need the government to regulate our food? Sedgwick, Maine doesn’t think so and has become the first town to take action towards producing and selling their own foods. Sustainable Cities Collective reports:

The town of Sedgwick, Maine, population 1,012 (according to the 2000 census), has become the first town in the United States to pass a Food Sovereignty ordinance.  In doing so, the town declared their right to produce and sell local foods of their choosing, without the oversight of State or federal regulation.

What does this mean?  In the debate over raw milk, for example, the law opens the gate for consumer and producer to enter a purchasing agreement without interference from state or federal health regulators.  According to the Mayo Clinic, a 1987 FDA regulation required that all milk be pasteurized to kill pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.  The Sedgwick ordinance declares that:

Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption.

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After 20 Years, Nearly Everyone Still Wants GM Food To Be Labeled

GMOBy Rady Ananda at the Food Freedom blog:

At this MSNBC poll, over 40,000 people have voted strongly in favor of labeling genetically modified foods: 96% of all respondents.

But, a review of several polls going back to 1994 reveals that the numbers have always been high — the vast majority of people have always wanted GM labels. That biotech foods have remained unlabeled for nearly 20 years in the US reveals a deliberate and willful refusal by regulatory agencies to serve the will of the people, instead opting to abet industry profits through public deception.

The 96% rating from MSNBC’s casual survey does represent a jump from a scientific poll conducted in 2003 by University of Maine and The Ohio State University (and partly funded by the US Dept. of Agriculture), where 85% of respondents said they wanted GM foods labeled. Researchers also noted:

“Polls have emphasized that a majority of consumers in the United States (US) desire GMFs to be labeled (Pew Initiative on Food and Biotechnology, 2001), and legislation has been entered at both the federal and state levels.

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Obama Signs School Lunch Law

Looks like there’s going to be a lot of pudding trades with kids who bring bagged lunch. USA Today’s The Oval reports:

In signing a new law today to improve the quality of school lunches, President Obama paid joking tribute to its most prominent supporter: first lady Michelle Obama.

“Not only am I very proud of the bill,” the president said, “but had I not been able to get this passed, I would be sleeping on the couch.”

Mrs. Obama, whose major issues include fighting childhood obesity, laughed and said, “let’s just say it got done, so we don’t have to go down that road.”

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a $4.5 billion measure, provides more free school meals to the pool, and gives the government more power to decide what foods can offered in those meals, as well as in school vending machines and fundraisers during school hours.

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