Good For You, Kenya...
"GMOs banned (in Kenya) as cancer fears grow
The government has banned the importation of genetically modified foods with immediate effect.
Consequently, Public Health and Sanitation minister Beth Mugo ordered public health officials to mop up any GMOs (genetically modified organisms) that might be circulating in the market adding that experts would meanwhile study the health effects of the foods.
Ms Mugo said the study on the controversial foods would be spearheaded by a team of Kenya Medical Research Institute scientists in collaboration with experts from local universities. (READ: This anti-GMO army is going against the grain)
“My ministry wishes to clarify the decision was based on genuine concerns that adequate research had not been done on GMOs and scientific evidence provided to prove the safety of these foods (on consumers),” she said.
Speaking during a press conference held at her ministry’s Afya House headquarters in Nairobi, Mrs Mugo added:
“The protection of the consumer and assurance to the public on the safety of the foods is extremely important in making decisions about food importation, distribution and consumption.... Where there is apprehension and uncertainty regarding the safety of food products, precaution to protect the health of the people must be undertaken.”.."
Full Article: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/GMOs-banned-as-cancer-fears-grow/-/105...
Monsanto Declares a Sneaky Social Media War Against Protesters
One of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of the grass roots food freedom fight is social media. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and many more networks allow people to instantly connect and provide a platform for information to be passed on exponentially. Facebook and Google are the two biggest websites in the entire world, and their reach is nearly unlimited.
Last week, the Monsanto Company made it very clear that they were under the gun via social media, and they went on the defense, weakly claiming that those who object with their toxic seeds and deadly farming methods were “elitist,” thereby attempting to undermine us as snobbish people who don’t see the big picture and who don’t care about world hunger.
This week, they’ve upped their game. Mysterious things have been occurring on the social networks: posts have disappeared, some posts are hidden from the timelines of readers, and trolls abound on pages promoting this weekend’s March Against Monsanto, happening worldwide on May 25.
Like any cornered rat, the leviathan seed company can see the very large threat coming their way, and it appears that they are pulling out all the stops to fight as dirty as they can. But the movement against the company is so powerful, that despite paid-off politicians and billions of dollars in the war chest, Monsanto knows that they’ve been outmatched. What we’re seeing now are the last, desperate attempts to keep the general public from learning about the man-made global disaster that was created by Monsanto..."
"...The Monsanto Company’s current overt tactics are to try and polish their very tarnished image by portraying themselves as do-gooders set on feeding the world, while painting anti-GMO protesters as uncaring, selfish individuals that haven’t given hungry Third World residents a passing thought. Less overt are these guerrilla internet shills, causing divisiveness in the movement by starting arguments on forums and in comment threads on social media, and outright passing on misinformation.
Unfortunately, Facebook seems to have the back of the trolls. Occupy Monsanto‘s page was actually banned for three days when the owner publicly outed an abusive PM from a troll. The person who wrote the letter faced no repercussions from Facebook. Other anti-GMO activists have announced that their posts have been hidden or otherwise censored, just like mine was.
Despite the rumors started that events for this Saturday’s March Against Monsanto have been cancelled, or that times have been changed, this is absolutely untrue. Canal reiterated, “In no way, shape or form, has ANY event been cancelled.” If you are planning to go to an event, rest assured, the events will go on as planned, despite the sneaky tactics of a desperate company.
Keep calm and don’t allow yourself to be provoked on Saturday. Anti-GMO activists are on the side of “good” in this battle, so it’s important to keep to the high road. Expect the presence of agent provocateurs, lots of law enforcement, and devious tactics to try to discredit the movement. The keys to successful resistance are unity, information, and public perception.
According to an article on Natural Society, Monsanto has allied with the notorious mercenary security group, Blackwater (now known as Academi) in the fight against anti-GMO protesters:
Monsanto and Blackwater are indeed working together to target anti-Monsanto activists and organizations. Known as far back as 2010, it was unveiled that Blackwater’s client list included Monsanto, Chevron, Walt Disney and many more. According to documents obtained by Scahill, it was also revealed that Monsanto was willing to pay upwards of $500,000 in order for Blackwater to join anti-Monsanto activist groups and infiltrate the ranks. Furthermore, a number of internet-based tactics could be utilized as incognito PR for Monsanto, who undoubtedly knew opposition would mount against their GMO crops as more individuals became aware of the dangers..."
Full Article: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/monsanto-declares-a-sneaky-so...
Whole Foods Betrays Customers With Monsanto Compromise
"In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto's Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation's 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America's organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal.
A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it's time to surrender to Monsanto.
"The policy set for GE alfalfa will most likely guide policies for other GE crops as well. True coexistence is a must." - Whole Foods Market, Jan. 21, 2011
Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto's controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for "coexistence" with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and "seed purity," gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the "conditional deregulation" of Monsanto's genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa.
Beyond the regulatory euphemism of "conditional deregulation," this means that WFM and their colleagues are willing to go along with the massive planting of a chemical and energy-intensive GE perennial crop.
Alfalfa - guaranteed to spread its mutant genes and seeds across the nation; guaranteed to contaminate the alfalfa fed to organic animals.
Guaranteed to lead to massive poisoning of farm workers and destruction of the essential soil food web by the toxic herbicide, Roundup.
Guaranteed to produce Roundup-resistant superweeds that will require even more deadly herbicides such as 2,4 D to be sprayed on millions of acres of alfalfa across the U.S.
"compensation." In exchange for a new assault on farm workers and rural communities (a recent large-scale Swedish study found that spraying Roundup doubles farm workers' and rural residents' risk of getting cancer).
WFM expects the pro-biotech USDA to begin to regulate rather than cheerlead for Monsanto..."
"Why Is Organic Inc. Surrendering?
According to informed sources, the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield are personal friends of former Iowa governor, now USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and in fact made financial contributions to Vilsack's previous electoral campaigns.
Vilsack was hailed as "Governor of the Year" in 2001 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and traveled in a Monsanto corporate jet on the campaign trail.
Perhaps even more fundamental to Organic Inc.'s abject surrender is the fact that the organic elite has become more and more isolated from the concerns and passions of organic consumers and locavores.
The Organic Inc. CEOs are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it's time to reach for the consolation prize.
The consolation prize they seek is a so-called "coexistence" between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto's unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.
WFM and most of the largest organic companies have deliberately separated themselves from anti-GMO efforts and cut off all funding to campaigns working to label or ban GMOs.
The so-called Non-GMO Project, funded by Whole Foods and giant wholesaler United Natural Foods (UNFI) is basically a greenwashing effort (although the 100% organic companies involved in this project seem to be operating in good faith) to show that certified organic foods are basically free from GMOs (we already know this since GMOs are banned in organic production), while failing to focus on so-called "natural" foods, which constitute most of WFM and UNFI's sales and are routinely contaminated with GMOs.
From their "business as usual" perspective, successful lawsuits against GMOs filed by public interest groups such as the Center for Food Safety; or noisy attacks on Monsanto by groups like the Organic Consumers Association, create bad publicity, rattle their big customers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kroger, Costco, Supervalu, Publix and Safeway; and remind consumers that organic crops and foods such as corn, soybeans, and canola are slowly but surely becoming contaminated by Monsanto's GMOs.
Whole Foods' Dirty Little Secret: Most of the So-Called "Natural" Processed Foods and Animal Products They Sell Are Contaminated with GMOs
The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away.
Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM's $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called "natural" processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs.
We and our allies have tested their so-called "natural" products (no doubt WFM's lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they're all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.
Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as "natural."
Unprecedented wholesale and retail control of the organic marketplace by UNFI and Whole Foods, employing a business model of selling twice as much so-called "natural" food as certified organic food, coupled with the takeover of many organic companies by multinational food corporations such as Dean Foods, threatens the growth of the organic movement.
Covering Up GMO Contamination: Perpetrating "Natural" Fraud
Many well-meaning consumers are confused about the difference between conventional products marketed as "natural," and those nutritionally/ environmentally superior and climate-friendly products that are "certified organic."
Retail stores like WFM and wholesale distributors like UNFI have failed to educate their customers about the qualitative difference between natural and certified organic, conveniently glossing over the fact that nearly all of the processed "natural" foods and products they sell contain GMOs, or else come from a "natural" supply chain where animals are force-fed GMO grains in factory farms or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
A troubling trend in organics today is the calculated shift on the part of certain large formerly organic brands from certified organic ingredients and products to so-called "natural" ingredients.
With the exception of the "grass-fed and grass-finished" meat sector, most "natural" meat, dairy, and eggs are coming from animals reared on GMO grains and drugs, and confined, entirely, or for a good portion of their lives, in CAFOs.
Whole Foods and UNFI are maximizing their profits by selling quasi-natural products at premium organic prices. Organic consumers are increasingly left without certified organic choices while genuine organic farmers and ranchers continue to lose market share to "natural" imposters.
It's no wonder that less than 1% of American farmland is certified organic, while well-intentioned but misled consumers have boosted organic and "natural" purchases to $80 billion annually-approximately 12% of all grocery store sales.
The Solution: Truth-in-Labeling Will Enable Consumers to Drive So-Called "Natural" GMO and CAFO-Tainted Foods Off the Market
There can be no such thing as "coexistence" with a reckless industry that undermines public health, destroys biodiversity, damages the environment, tortures and poisons animals, destabilizes the climate, and economically devastates the world's 1.5 billion seed-saving small farmers.
There is no such thing as coexistence between GMOs and organics in the European Union. Why? Because in the EU there are almost no GMO crops under cultivation, nor GM consumer food products on supermarket shelves.
Why is this? Because under EU law, all foods containing GMOs or GMO ingredients must be labeled. Consumers have the freedom to choose or not to choose GMOs; while farmers, food processors, and retailers have (at least legally) the right to lace foods with GMOs, as long as they are safety-tested and labeled.
Of course the EU food industry understands that consumers, for the most part, do not want to purchase or consume GE foods.
European farmers and food companies, even junk food purveyors like McDonald's and Wal-Mart, understand quite well the concept expressed by a Monsanto executive when GMOs first came on the market: "If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it."
The biotech industry and Organic Inc. are supremely conscious of the fact that North American consumers, like their European counterparts, are wary and suspicious of GMO foods.
Even without a PhD, consumers understand you don't want your food safety or environmental sustainability decisions to be made by out-of-control chemical companies like Monsanto, Dow, or Dupont – the same people who brought you toxic pesticides, Agent Orange, PCBs, and now global warming.
Industry leaders are acutely aware of the fact that every single industry or government poll over the last 16 years has shown that 85-95% of American consumers want mandatory labels on GMO foods. Why? So that we can avoid buying them..."
Full Article: http://www.knowthelies.com/node/8992
Facebook wages censorship war against moms of autistic children who protest GMOs: Exclusive interview with Andrea Lalama
"When Facebook suspended the account of a mom of two autistic children who held anti-GMO signs at the recent rally, it became national news. Drudge Report linked to our Natural News story which documented Facebook censoring multiple accounts for sharing a photo Facebook absurdly called "abusive."
That photo, it turns out, was nothing more than a picture of two children holding up hand-made signs at the March Against Monsanto. One of the signs read, "Biopesticides = Autism, Say No to GMO" and the other sign read, "Organic Food It's My Medicine, Label GMOs" (see videos, below).
This defiance against GMOs was apparently too much for Facebook to tolerate, so it took immediate action to censor the account of the mom, Andrea Lalama.
In an exclusive interview, I spoke with Andrea by phone, where she provided more background about her autistic sons, her research into the causes of autism (vaccines and GMOs), and how Facebook's outrageous act of censorship has actually multiplied global awareness of the corporate conspiracy against moms who seek the truth about autism, vaccines and GMOs..."
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040521_Facebook_censorship_autism.html#i...
Monsanto Concedes Defeat in the Face of Europe's Fierce Opposition to GMOs
North America needs to take note: Europe has defeated the biotech giant by refusing to be contaminated with Monsanto’s GMO offerings and toxic farming methods.
Monsanto announced that they will no longer continue to lobby for approval of its genetically modified seeds in Europe due to “low farmer demand.”
Monsanto Germany’s spokeswoman, Ursula Luttmer-Ouazane, said, “We’ve understood that such plants don’t have any broad acceptance in European societies. It is counterproductive to fight against windmills.”
So why, despite massive protests from anti-GMO activists in the US and Canada, has Monsanto been able to keep a foothold in North America?
One big difference: the government here allows Monsanto to do anything they want, right up to composing their own protection acts. There is a well-known revolving door between Monsanto, the judicial branch, the legislative branch, and Obama’s various nominees.
Poland, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Luxembourg, on the other hand, placed an outright ban called the “Safeguard Clause” on banned Monsanto’s MON810 maize and other forms of GMO cultivation.
Fierce opposition in Europe has also caused other biotech companies like Bayer CropScience, BASF and Syngenta, to take their toxic products and leave, too..."
Full Article: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/06/monsanto-concedes-defeat-in-fac...
GMO feed turns pig stomachs to mush! Shocking photos reveal severe damage caused by GM soy and corn
"If you have stomach problems or gastrointestinal problems, a new study led by Dr. Judy Carman may help explain why: pigs fed a diet of genetically engineered soy and corn showed a 267% increase in severe stomach inflammation compared to those fed non-GMO diets. In males, the difference was even more pronounced: a 400% increase. (For the record, most autistic children are males, and nearly all of them have severe intestinal inflammation.)
The study was conducted on 168 young pigs on an authentic farm environment and was carried out over a 23-week period by eight researchers across Australia and the USA. The lead researcher, Dr. Judy Carman, is from the Institute of Health and Environmental Research in Kensington Park, Australia. The study has now been published in the Journal of Organic Systems, a peer-reviewed science journal.
The study is the first to show what appears to be a direct connection between the ingestion of GMO animal feed and measurable damage to the stomachs of those animals. Tests also showed abnormally high uterine weights of animals fed the GMO diets, raising further questions about the possibility of GMOs causing reproductive organ damage.
Proponents of corporate-dominated GMO plant science quickly attacked the study, announcing that in their own minds, there is no such thing as any evidence linking GMOs to biological harm in any animals whatsoever. And they are determined to continue to believe that, even if it means selectively ignoring the increasingly profound and undeniable tidal wave of scientific studies that repeatedly show GMOs to be linked with severe organ damage, cancer tumors and premature death..."
"...That study was also criticized by corporate GMO trolls who argued that scientists should not show pictures of rats with large cancer tumors caused by GMOs because the pictures scare consumers into being afraid of GMOs..."
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/040727_GMO_feed_severe_inflammation_pig_...
80% Of Pre-Packaged Foods In American Grocery Stores Banned In Other Countries
"If you or your kids enjoy pre-packaged convenience foods commonly found in grocery stores across the U.S. such as Froot Loops, Swanson dinners, Mountain Dew, and frozen potato and bread products, you may think twice before purchasing them after hearing what they contain: dangerous chemicals that other countries around the globe have deemed toxic to the point that they’re illegal, and companies are fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for including them in food products.
In a new book, “Rich Food, Poor Food,” authors Mira and Jason Calton provide a list of what they term “Banned Bad Boys” – ingredients commonly used in up to 80% of all American convenience food that have been banned by other countries, with information about which countries banned each substance and why.
And though it might not surprise you to hear that Olestra – commonly used in low/no-fat snack foods and known to cause serious gastrointestinal issues for those who consume it (understatement) – is on that list, having been banned in both the United Kingdom and Canada, you may be shocked to hear that Mountain Dew, Fresca and Squirt all contain brominated vegetable oil, a substance that has been banned in more than 100 countries “because it has been linked to basically every form of thyroid disease – from cancer to autoimmune diseases – known to man.”..."
Full Article: http://www.babble.com/babble-voices/mamapop-all-access/80-of-pre-pa...|bbl||YahooShine||InHouse|062413|BannedInOtherCountries||famE|
40 Tons of GMO Crops TORCHED in America, Media Blackout
"Though the controlled corporate media apparatus is suppressing the story, 40 tons of GMO crops were torched, prompting an FBI investigation. There has been a COMPLETE MEDIA BLACKOUT, outside of local circles has dared to mention it, perhaps because government fears that if the public learns that other people are getting fighting mad (literally), they might join in, and become an actual revolution. It was only reported locally live on KXL Radio and echoed by the Oregonian, where the ONLY web mention exists, hard to find because the headline wording is carefully avoids the most likely keywords for a search.
Here’s what happened — 40 Tons of GMO Sugar Beets were set ablaze in Eastern Oregon, yesterday. FORTY TONS — the entire acreage of two full fields of crops IN THE GROUND were set ablaze over a THREE NIGHT PERIOD OF TIME. That means ARSON. Evidence is that 6,500 plants were destroyed BY HAND, ONE PLANT AT A TIME. That, in turn, implies A LOT OF PEOPLE were involved: would you want to stick around once a fire was going and wait to be discovered? No, someone (many someones) probably wanted to move as quickly as possible. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT A MOVEMENT, a kind of ORGANIZED REVOLT — and this is exactly the kind of retribution that many have warned was coming; when lawmakers and corporations refuse to honor the Constitution and instead engage in ‘legalized’ criminal acts such as enabled by the ‘Monsanto Protection Act.’..."
"...The rightful fear is, because of pollination processes, once you introduce a GMO crop of a given variety ANYWHERE, the wind and insects will spread its genetic contamination to non GMO fields, and thereby ruin the ENTIRE INDUSTRY for a region. In fact, Oregon farmers have tendered a multi-billion dollar class action law suite against Monsanto, joining a long list of states doing so. Monsanto has experimented with GMO crops before they were approved in 16 states. They were supposedly all destroyed, but state after state is finding out the hard way, that Pandora’s box has been deliberately left open. But while other governments in Europe and elsewhere are passing laws to ban GMO crops, and burning entire crops themselves, in America, our government is passing laws protecting Monsanto from legal repercussions, and therefore, it seems, farmers are forced to burn the crops, themselves. This means that where in other countries, citizens are being protected from corporate crimes, in America, citizens are forced to become ‘terrorists’ to survive. That’s how blatantly corrupt our corporate police state has become, I’m afraid..."
Read more at http://www.newssum.com/40-tons-of-gmo-crops-torched-in-america-medi...
Species Alteration: Is GMO Rewiring our DNA?
"New studies in cell research are bringing up some alarming new questions concerning GMOs, and one of them in particular makes liver failure or cancer seem like child’s play compared to the garish possibilities that arise when we start to look at how genetically modified foods likely affect our DNA.
Let’s get one thing straight, first. All kinds of things can alter our DNA, for the better or worse. Bruce Lipton, a pioneering biology scientist, proved that emotions can change our DNA; research has shown that even exercise or chemotherapy can alter our DNA; ancient cultures have known that sound can affect our DNA; and the newest research states that we aren’t relegated to a specific destiny because of our genes, but it seems our brains are being rewired via DNA to become ‘new humans.’..."
"...In mice who were fed this dRNA, the liver completely changed its cell organization, and the mice grew strangely. The same effects were found when these dRNA were added to human cells. Allegedly, this GMO food can be turning on cancer causing genes, or quiet our immune systems. In other ways, the GMO wheat we are consuming is so different than organic wheat that it is causing us to be addicted to it. Some are calling it bioterrorism for this reason.
GMO food plants make these new dRNA so that the gene structure is silenced or amplified in very specific ways. There are no evaluations of dRNA and how it will affect our genes by the FDA, and Monsanto is working on dRNA technology, buying up companies that are developing it so that it can be issued as the next round of GMO food they unleash unwittingly on us..."
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/species-alteration-is-gmo-rewiring-our-dn...
Another legitimate farmer is forced out of the business of growing healthy food that people can eat and turns to growing another useless soybean field. Here is how, by degrees, the agenda plans to steal good food off of tables and leave only genetically modified and trash food in its place. Many such fields are grown, also, for feed lot cattle who never graze on pasture but are raised in small enclosures and fed soy or grain which makes them ill and their meat unhealthy. Why would we choose a field of poison beans over a green pasture and healthy cattle? We would not, of course. Someone is choosing that for the people.
Bessemer Farms calls it quits, says new farm rules too cumbersome
"Sweet corn season will begin this month without one of Akron’s favorite growers.
Bessemer Farms, the only working farm within the city of Akron, has stopped growing vegetables for local tables.
Farmer Don Bessemer this year planted all of his fields with soybeans instead of the corn, squash, peppers, lettuce and other vegetables that he typically grew. His farm market on St. Michaels Avenue is closed, and he has laid off all of his workers.
Bessemer called it quits out of frustration with pending federal food safety regulations that likely will require farmers to very specifically track their produce and how it is handled from seed to sale, among other things.
The new rules are part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, sweeping changes within the Food and Drug Administration aimed at making our food system safer by being able to pinpoint where contamination occurs. The federal law was passed in 2011, but how it will be implemented is still a work in progress.
It will be a few years before the regulations are finalized and a few more years before farms are required to follow them, but Bessemer believes there are just too many layers of government red tape and paperwork that would cost him too much.
At 70, Bessemer said he would rather throw in the towel than continue.
“We don’t want to quit, we were forced out of the business. We can’t spend enough money to comply,” he said. “We’ve been farming for 117 years. I’m the third generation and we’re being put out of business by the government. We can’t comply with all of the safety laws. We haven’t poisoned anybody with an ear of corn for 117 years and we’ve shipped it all over,” he said.
“I can fight the bugs, I can fight the lack of rain, but when the guy comes with a clipboard what are you going to do?” Bessemer said.
He turned to soybeans because the law does not apply to commodity crops grown for uses like oil. Interestingly, sweet corn is exempt from the new regulations, as are most crops that typically are cooked before being eaten. The law focuses most intensely on produce that’s usually eaten raw, like lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, green onions and fruits — items that often are at the center of nationwide recalls due to contamination.
Bessemer Farms was known for the sweet corn and other produce that it sold at its farm stand and also at local Acme Fresh Markets. In 2012, Bessemer grew 26 produce items for Acme, including corn, radishes, lettuce, green onions and pumpkins.
Jim Trout, executive vice president of Acme, said the grocery chain was saddened by the loss of Bessemer produce from its stores.
“The service he provided was impeccable,” he said, “Certainly, Acme cannot thank Don and his family enough for providing food for our community for years.”
Trout said Acme is sourcing its produce from other area farms because customers increasingly want locally grown produce. “It was not an easy hole to fill, but we have sourced the product to other farms within our community,” he said. “Others that we are sourcing will take on those regulations and will be able to carry on in the business.”
Concerns about cost
One of Acme’s suppliers is Chris Saal, 41, who farms Walnut Drive Gardens in Suffield Township. Saal said he intends to comply with the new regulations when they are implemented, but acknowledged the biggest concern among farmers is the cost.
The law likely will require farms to hire a third-party auditor to inspect their operations — audits that are expected to cost about $5,000. For farms that require several audits to pass, the costs add up.
The FDA estimates the cost to implement the new rules will be about $4,700 a year for very small farms, $13,000 for small farms and $30,500 for large farms. Size is determined by how much business the farm does annually.
Farms that sell less than $25,000 of produce each year are exempt from the law. There are other exemptions too. Farms that sell directly to the public and not through a third party are exempt. In total, the FDA estimates about 79 percent of all U.S. produce farms won’t have to comply.
The rules are expected to save 1.7 million Americans from food-borne illness each year — a cost savings of $1 billion, according to FDA figures.
Bessemer estimates the proposed rules would cost him at least $100,000 to come into compliance, and another $30,000 a year after that for inspections, according to the FDA’s estimate for a farm of his size.
Saal said he already has fairly aggressive safety standards in place, and he is hoping he won’t have to make too many changes when the new rules are finally implemented, but he knows there will be adjustments. “A lot of it depends on how far behind you are to begin with,” he said.
Under the new produce rules, knives used to cut cabbage heads from their stalks in the field will need to be soaked overnight in a disinfecting solution. In the past, Saal would have used bleach to disinfect equipment.
He is trying to comply with what he can now.
One of the biggest changes will be the number of records that farmers have to maintain, on everything from what trucks were used to transport produce, to what employees handled it and how they washed their hands.
“It’s almost another full-time job in the farm,” Saal said, “And that’s overhead completely.”
He said the rules are enough to scare some farmers away, but that wasn’t an option for him. He’s seen a huge expansion in his pick-your-own business and currently is planting additional fields of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries to keep up with the demand. He also recently expanded his farm market.
“We can’t throw in the towel,” he said.
Inspections and audits
Doug Doohan, a professor of horticulture and crop science and leader of the fresh fruit and vegetable safety team at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, said that while the audits may sound arduous, many farms already voluntarily subject themselves to audits or inspections required by the companies who buy their produce.
Many national food manufacturers and grocery store chains require farms to be inspected for safety standards before they will purchase their crops. He said if farms are large enough to have to comply with the new law, they likely already have been audited to satisfy their wholesalers.
“In most cases, the audits will still be triggered by the customers, not the regulators,” he said.
Doohan said most farms are addressing food safety issues without the federal government telling them to, but he stressed that all farmers need to take advantage of the ongoing open-comment period to voice their concerns to the FDA..."
Full Article: http://www.ohio.com/news/top-stories/bessemer-farms-calls-it-quits-...
Massachusetts Committee Passes Bill to Expand Raw Milk Sales; Set Foundation to Nullify Federal Prohibition Scheme
By Mike Maharrey
"Last week, a Massachusetts joint committee passed an agriculture bill that would expand raw milk sales in the state. Passage of the bill into law would facilitate the process of nullifying the federal prohibition scheme in practice.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee created Senate Bill 2286 (S.2286) to incorporate several measures relating to agriculture. It replaced S.2171, which was created by a joint committee on Environment Natural Resources and Agriculture. The bill number has changed several times. The legislation would allow farmers to deliver raw milk to consumers through contractual arrangements.
Licensed raw milk farmers shall be allowed to deliver raw milk directly to the consumer, off-site from the farm, provided that the raw milk farmer has a direct, contractual relationship with the consumer. The raw milk farmer may contract with a third party for delivery provided that the raw milk farmer shall maintain the contractual relationship with the consumer. The raw milk farmer may deliver raw milk through a community supported agriculture (CSA) delivery system provided that the raw milk farmer shall maintain a contractual relationship with the consumer. Delivery may be made directly to the consumer’s residence or to a pre-established receiving site; said sites shall not be in a retail setting with the exception of CSA delivery. In such instances, raw milk shall be kept separated from retail items for sale and will not be accessible to the general public.
S.2286 would also allow farmers to sell raw milk from a farm stand even if it is not directly attached to the raw milk dairy. This would open the door to raw milk sales at farmer’s markets.
On May 23, the Joint Committee on Rules passed the legislation with a favorable report. It now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.
Provisions in the original bill that would have allowed farmers to sell raw milk through “herd sharing agreements” were stripped from the bill by the Ways and Means Committee. Sen. Benjamin Downing (D – Pittsfield) attempted to put the language back in the bill through an amendment on the Senate floor, but it was rejected.
Under current Massachusetts law, raw milk sales are only allowed on the farm. While limited, the measures in S.2286 would expand the sale and consumption of unpasteurized milk in the state..."