I’ve run a few companies over the years, and one lesson I’ve learned well is that most employees want to do a good job, do the best they can. Indeed, I’ve come to believe this about people in general, whether they work for private companies or the government.
I thought about this life lesson as I read Lykke’s comment following my previous post, where she tells a reader, “don’t tell me where my motivations come from. They are food safety, period. You can fantasize that we are all in the pocket of big ag, but that doesn’t make it reality.”
What I hear Lykke saying is what I hear professionals often say: I am committed to high standards and helping people. Just let me do my job the way I was trained to do it.
When it comes to food safety, unfortunately, the professionals are being subverted. I want to assume that most of the food safety professionals at New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets want to do a good job of overseeing raw milk production in that state. But people with political agendas are subverting these professionals–perhaps to keep money from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration flowing into the state, or for some other political reason. I am sure if you got a few of these professionals into a private discussion, without fear of retaliation from their superiors, they would confirm that.
As Steve Bemis points out in a comment following my previous post, the subversion of professional behavior isn’t limited to regulation of raw milk in New York. It is part of a much bigger problem: the politicization of the rapidly expanding interest in locally-produced food, under the guise of food safety.
Now, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is out with a warning that new federal legislation on a fast track in Congress, HR2479, takes direct aim at small-farm producers of local food products. The legislation allows for high registration fees for many producers, warrantless searches of records, quarantines, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation of the growing process. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) could even be rolled into the whole package, for all we know. How’d you like to have an FDA employee advising you on how to grow your crops? (And I don’t care how committed this individual is to doing a good job—once politics has a place in the process, professionalism gets subverted.)
All the books and blogs and, now films like “Fresh” and “Food Inc.” are having a cumulative effect: They are terrifying Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Big Government with loss of control, and dollars.
The reality is that there is absolutely no food-borne illness problem at the rapidly expanding farmers markets, CSAs (community supported agriculture), co-ops, or private buying clubs for locally produced food. A significant part of the food-borne illness hysteria around raw milk is being manufactured by the regulators, most recently NY Ag and Markets—likely, as Steve Bemis notes, to intimidate producers of conventional milk who might be considering the raw milk option as an economic escape from collapsing commodity milk prices.
One other note: while the media have generally been supportive of locally-produced food options, there have been some recent signs of backlash. One of the most notable was an article in the New York Times in which a writer who was unhappy with the taste of his $35 pastured chicken used that “problem” as an excuse to not only trash locally produced food as a ripoff, but to push for a return to supermarket factory food.
As Mark McAfee suggests in his intriguing guidance to evaluating locally produced cheese (following my previous post), locally produced food isn’t automatically pure and pristine. But the simple fact that it is locally produced provides inherent checks on abuse when customers can confront the producer.
The “problem” the politicians want to solve may not be the problem that really needs solving. As a result, food safety professionals like Lykke may be facing ever more interference in doing their jobs.
What is the definition of a safe food?
Lykke, can you please define for us what a safe food is?
I do not consider a food safe if is continues to plunge America into immune depression.
I do not consider a food safe if is it sterile and does nothing to build the immune system.
I do not consider a food safe if it has the wrong kind of fats.
I do not consider a food safe if it is grown using antibiotics which create superbugs that kill people.
I do not consider a food safe if it is filled with preservatives that kill bacteria….
Our government is very confused…show me where any of our regulators are pro- immune system building food. I would be very grateful for that information. From what I understand and have seen, the FDA and USDA believe that safe food is food that is sterilized and secretly irradiated and made from GMO.
So far all I can see in the leadership of food safety is a search for the guilty and a protection of the sterilization processes that make the problems happen to begin with.
There has been no request for discovery of why pathogens emerge in the first place.
I am hoping and begging the regulators to see the bigger picture.
Safe foods are whole local foods grown in fertile soils drenched by the sun. Safe foods build the immunity of those who eat them. Safe foods nourish the communities and the growers that grow them.
Where is the dialogue….I all here is old dogma from the FDA. All we see is more death and destruction from their policies and drugs.
President Obama yesterday asked the medical doctors of America to "be healers" with lots of talk about prevention.
Sounds like they will need to go back to medical school and add some soils and nutrition classes to be able to do that. Healing and prevention rarely comes from the knife or the drug.
This paradigm will change from dramatic economic changes and the movement from the raw roots up. The FDA will be disbanded as a corrupt and anti- American agency soon enough. They are killing people and protecting drug profits.
On the CA front….the CDFA refused to attend a senate hearing at the state capital to discuss budget cuts or perhaps even dismantling the agency. This is a shock to those of us in CA. They refused to appear last year as well at our SB 201 hearings.
When the executive branch has no oversight and refuses oversight …..that is a dictatorship. I wonder how they will feel with a big fat zero in the buget next year.
I wonder who will come inspect our raw milk then??
I actually see pharmacies selling probiotics as a good thing. Most doctors haven’t known what kefir was for years. Using probiotics has increased immensely since I became a nurse 12 years ago. I hear doctors telling patients to eat yogurt more often than I ever did. My experience is that most people who grew up on white bread think it’s enough of a stretch to ask them to eat whole wheat. Don’t ask them to consume yogurt, but they’ll be happy to take a pill. I’d prefer yogurt or kefir myself, but treating bugs with probiotics is a move in a better direction, with kefir around the bend.
Ohio Farm Bureau created a series that is on the Ohio News Now station. It is called, "Our Ohio." It is an hour show on farms in Ohio that produce locally. I saw a segment a month or so ago about a man who pasteurizes and bottles milk on his farm. In the current climate, I was amazed to see this on TV. I sort of wondered how long after the segment aired that the ODA would find a way to go after him. I’m sure he never could have set up his operation without their consent, but it seems like the government has a way of kicking down a lot of good things.
It is more than a little scary for someone nowadays to make a move from subsistance to producer. It worries me that subsistance is even at risk. With the growing population, and hay fields turned into chemical-laden lawns, how long until those people have to go outside and start their own gardens to feed themselves? Maybe the days aren’t so far off when those people will be putting goat barns in their yards.
You are talking to the wrong "division" (segment of public health) with many of your questions. If you are interested in nutrition and immunity – call the people who are specialized in that area. If you are interested in food safety, keep pathogens and toxins out of the food supply. For raw milk, that mostly boils down to keeping poop out of dairy products going to market. How you make that happen defines your success as a farmer in meeting food safety goals.
At the Senate Food & Agriculture hearing on Tuesday, Senator Flores was very disappointed and I’d say miffed that he had not been notified that A. G. Kawamura would not be present. The head of the of the CDFA was meeting with his Mexican counterpart somewhere out of state.
Instead, he was represented by a woman (don’t know her name) and most / all of the division heads including the state veterinarian. Each gave testimony regarding the purpose of their division, and the woman spoke to the broader purpose and activities of the CDFA.
The theme of the committee’s questions was how CDFA could be pared down / streamlined / made more efficient. Flores probed for information that could be used to shift some CDFA functions to another Department (such as Public Health) and eliminate state financial support for some programs – especially those where the industries themselves were the primary beneficiaries (as oppesed to the general California population). If the program were truly cost-effective, the industry would pick up the tab.
In general, each respondent was either non-comittal or reluctant to indicate that significant changes should be made. With the state facing a 24 BILLION dollar deficit and having the worst credit rating of all the states, Flores was clear that changes would be made – and said that CDFA would be wise to make recommendations on changes themselves very soon or the legislature would do the knife weilding. Apparently there is a ten day deadline to get all this info together.
Again I was impressed with how Senator Flores pressed for useful information, gently but firmly cut off people when they were not speaking to the question asked, and made clear his commitment to doing what needs to be done to reduce the cost of California government. As Senate majority leader, he will have a lot of say.
I don’t understand this rational. Of those pills, how much of it is really good or just fillers? And in comparison to yogurt/kefir to the pill, which is going to do the most good?
"I wonder who will come inspect our raw milk then?? "
Mark, Should tptb not show up to "test", I count on you and any other reputable farmer to test your own and continue to set your standards above the basics.
The first time I heard Senator Flores was a few years ago, his questions were very impressive. Unfortunately, the answers he was getting was very lacking.
David G. I cannot imagine paying $35 for a chicken. If that writer spent that much, I can see where s/he’d be happy consuming factory food.
It took about 100 years for them to loot us of most the nutrition from our food [via approved CAFOs GMOs ect] now Codex thru the back door via WTO membership NAIS or a number of other bills in Congress will complete the job and be enforced maybe by the food safety folks that have already raided America farms with guns for the crime of selling milk.
Has any of the food safety folk ever spoken out against the brutality inflicted on peaceful American farm families. I did not hear them. Where were the monetary regulators when the financial looting took place? OOPs they missed it even tho they were warned by some.
A very sad state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
If you only had any idea how many patients I’ve tried to talk into eating yogurt. After 12 years of nursing, I’ve heard the words, "That stuff makes me puke," enough times to have filled a piggy bank with nickels at least – maybe enough times to have bought myself a new bike. They’re among the "mushrooms go down like buggars," people whose mom’s peeled their apples for them and put Suzie Q’s or LIttle Debbies in their packed school lunches. (If anyone’s mom did any of these things for anyone, please don’t take offense at my generalizations, particularly if you like yogurt).
Often a person who thinks this way has to have had watery diarrhea for over a week, and an excoriated behind before they’ll consider trying the real thing instead of a pill; or their family will make them eat it.
There are also still a contingent of nurses out there who are very adament that all milk products are B-A-D for any digestive disorders; and one has to speak louder than them. That is what I figure doctor’s dietary orders for yogurt 3 times/day are useful for. This sort of order is becoming more prevalent. I have spent a fair amount of time arguing with coworkers that yogurt is not milk, with negligable success.
So that is where I am coming from when I say that a pill is better than nothing, and I like the alternative of having it available. For many people it is a first step in the right direction. In some environments it is the only door in.
**Neb. cattle quarantine expands, 2 other states alerted
OMAHA (AP) The number of Nebraska cattle herds quarantined because of bovine tuberculosis concerns has jumped to 42 and two other states were warned the disease may have already spread there.
The quarantine, which includes roughly 15,000 Nebraska cattle, is likely to continue growing in the weeks ahead,**
What portion of these cattle are in CAFOs compared to being grazed on the range?
Good idea to know yur farmer.
Don, I hear you, thank you for the historical perspective, it helps me to understand.
Sylvia, thank you too for your comments. Probiotics really are a case where the whole IS greater than the sum of its parts. Alyssa
University of Louisville neurologist Robert P Friedland MD questions the safety of eating farmed fish that is fed rendered cow parts and bones. YUK isn’t the system wonderful?
It would seem that the NATURAL DESIGNED diet for cows chickens fish and humans is a truly a heretical concept for the best educated generation in human history.
What is left in the grocery store or the restaurants that is safe to consume?
Joel Salain on Nightline last night extolling the virtues of his pigs….and his big customer Chipotle…
Healthy Debate: Fan of unpasturized milk challenges those who say it’s unhealthy
by Heidi Rinella
Sally Fallon’s statements make sense but the statements of the Utah-Nevada anti-raw dairy establishments "leadership" folks are a bit comical at best.
"cows eat off the ground where it and other cows defecate and urinate" I would guess this lady Anna Vickery has never seen nor smelled a CAFO and she is an enviromental health specialist? She see the increasing commerical availibity of raw milk as a "step backward."
If I had not taken that so called "step backward" and began consuming raw dairy I surely would not be alive here today to take issue with these peoples party line statements. IMHO
Why does it appear that tptb "allow" the continued unhealthy feedlots? Why is that "ok" and not pasteured raw dairy that has been kept to optional sanitary conditions?
I just don’t understand why adulterated foods are "allowed" and natural foods are frowned upon. (When I say "natural" I refer to no chemicals added to the envrionment/plants/animals and the animals eat what Mother Nature intended) Natural can’t be bad as it has been around since time began.
Gwen, If I had to take a ton of pills as some do, that would make me "puke" I shudder at the thought. I suppose many are still seeking that quick fix. Changing a lifestyle isn’t, or doesn’t appear to be an option for many. Soon I’ll retire with 20 yrs of nursing under my belt. It’s been a hellofa ride. I’ve learned the hard way at times, tell them what I know, offer to seek out more information and then step back and let them make thier choices. I do agree with you, that pill is a good first step for many.
I think it is something like, 60% of MDs don’t endorse AMA. There was a GP on the news the other night, I think from Maryland, she was saying MDs wouldn’t mind a 10% pay cut. (this was in reference to Obama’s health care policies), Most of the GPs I know aren’t at the high end of the pay scale, rather presumptive of her to include all MDs.
Don W. I knew there was a reason why I don’t consume farmed fish.
What is to become of those quarantined cattle herds? Will they end up in the rendering plants? Or on peoples dinner tables?
It appears it is ok to sell the milk from the infected cows because it gets boiled. How many people knew they were consuming the products from these contaminated cows?
Why won’t they say wich dairy?
Fish will consume virtually anything that crosses their path from human remains to whatever. There is a reason why fishermen in winter (fish huts) or summer (boats) cluster around the outlet of a sewage treatment plant into a lake.
The contamination of fish with chemical toxins, drugs and heavy metals is of more concern to me then the hypothetical assumption of prion infection through consumption.
The infection hypothesis for mad cow was based on laboratory studies on mice in France that introduced the malformed prion material into their brains through injection, a probable and known method of transferring genetic material from one host to the next. This in no way proves transmission through consumption. No controlled scientific study to date has been able to demonstrate transmission through consumption.
I also read a recent report that a poll was taken among MDs and the results of the poll found that 70% of the MDs would refuse Chemo therapy for themselves. HMMM what do the 70% know that the other 30% don’t know? And yet the courts will force parents to have their children receive Chemo. Can we call it gun point medicine dictated by big pharma? Bad food dictated by big ag? Bad money dictated by big banks? And on and on and on. We are in serious trouble and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out!
I agree wholeheartedly with you on that, Ken.
Here’s s sad story:
Retailers Head for Exits in Detroit
The lack of grocery stores is especially problematic.. A 2007 study found that more than half of Detroit residents had to travel twice as far to reach a grocery store than a fast-food outlet or convenience store.
Mr. Salatin Goes to Washington
June 17, 2009
in his own words…
"If you just looked inside the USDA, you would find tremendous support for local food," said Senator Mark
Udall to me yesterday, June 17. I responded: "I have looked, and it’s not a pretty picture . . . " then somebody cut
off my microphone and that was the end.
I think I have reached the nadir of my trust in government. Some background: a couple of months ago, I received
an invitation from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to paticipate in the Green Jobs Leadership Summit hosted by the Senate Democratic Caucus in the Russell Senate Office Building. His invitation read: "This half-day event will feature discussions focused on creating clean energy jobs and supporting the new green economy. Because of your company’s leadershi8p in the clean energy and green manufacturing industries, Senator Webb [Va. Senator Jim Webb] has nominated you to represent Virginia at the Green Jobs Leadership Summit." A breakfast reception would begin at 8 a.m.
I received a duplicate invitation directly from Sen. Webb. Smelling a rat (partisans backslapping and me a member of a voiceless mob) I contacted Sen. Webb’s office for clarification and was assured that I might even have five minutes with Vice President Joe Biden, but surely I would have plenty of face time with senators. Each senator was allowed one nominee, and I was Webb’s representative. That was kind of cool, and with a total potential of 100 people from across the U.S., this sounded like indeed it might be something where I could get my message to some high levels.
So yesterday morning I left the house a little after 3:30 a.m. and traveled to Washington. I arrived and went immediately to the breakfast, which was chalk milk, ice water, coffee, orange juice, bagels, and hydrogenated pastries. Breakfast? Where is the raw milk, local apple juice, bacon, sausage, pastured eggs? I settled for ice water.
The room was surrounded by slick corporate poster advertisements for for alternative energy manufacturers, supported by a cadre of CEOs and their staffs. Hardly enough room to move around. Soon we were told to find our seats and Sen. Debbie Stabenow convened the meeting. The front table was cordoned off and guarded by security until VP Joe Biden came. He spoke about the wonderful things the stimulus package was doing, then shook hands with about 8 senators in a reserved section, then was quickly whisked away. So much for face time.
What followed were two panels, primarily senators, simply giddy over how they were rescuing the country. The senators would flow in for their 1 minute of clapping praise from the industry audience, then gave 3 minutes of Democratic salvation exuberance, then quickly left for more important matters. Once each panel finished their preramble (Ha!) monologues, just a few minutes were left for the lucky few who could navigate to the microphone in a nearly unreachable corner to ask questions and make comments to the panel.
Since we were out of time by the time this was allowed, three or more people would give their comments and then
someone from the panel would respond–always about how we needed to do more. I finally realized that this was all about the Democrats (I’m sure Republicans do it all the time too) convening industry people to become their political cloud to shove through the Democratic agenda.
No face time. No interaction. I was just supposed to listen, catch the euphoria bug, and leave elated and thankful that the Democrats were finally in charge. Of course, I don’t think the Republicans would be any better, but the postulating and self aggrandizement was both disgusting and palpable. Anyway, I finally decided to leave at the end of the second panel. As I walked out, I realized I had navigated to the end of the comment line and since only 6 people were in front of me, I might actually get to say something. So I waited.
`And they got to me. Here is the best I remember what I said:
I’m amazed that after half a day of talk about green jobs and energy, I have not heard the word food, the word farm, or the word agriculture. I represent the local food movement and the pastured livestock movement, and we are tired of being marginalized, criminalized, and demonized by the USDA and this government. I’m a bioterrorist for letting my chickens run in the pasture. What good is it to have the freedom to own a gun, assemble, or worship if I can’t choose the fuel to feed my internal 3 trillion member community of bacteria to give me the energy to go shoot, pray, or preach? I propose that we have a Constitutional Amendment that allows every American citizen the right to choose their food. Government bureaucrats should not come between my mouth and my 3 trillion member internal community."
`Other speakers had waxed on about health care and all sorts of things. I couldn’t have talked more than one minute, when Sen. Udall interrupted with: "If you just looked inside the USDA, you would find tremendous support for local food." I was the only speaker interrupted, the only one who mentioned food, farming, or agriculture, and the only one who didn’t ask for more government money. And when I responded that I had looked inside and it was not a pretty picutre . . . they cut my microphone off. Enough of you, Salatin. We don’t want your type around here.
Thus endeth Mr. Salatin going to Washington. I think I’ll write some more books.
POET/FARMER Wendell Berry tells USDA he’s willing to go to jail over NAIS
see also the link to "First they came for the cows"– small farmer tells the story of NAIS
We have already experienced GUN POINT dairy farming if NAIS or a number of other bills wending there way thru the SOUL-LESS corporations hirelings we call
CON-GRESS become "law" we will surely see GUN POINT cattle farming sheep farming chicken farming duck farming pig farming and they may even come after our pets also!!!!
An RFID chip maybe be placed on every animal that moves how far behind will we that are still called humans be?
Were the lives sacrificed in 1776 all for not?
"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority" Ben Franklin
Regulation without representation is tyranny.
And we "tsk tsk" about elections being slammed down the throats of Iranians. What we have in this country is food being slammed down the throats of Americans.