Have you ever wondered why the sight, smell, texture, and taste of food is so important to us?
The answer is simple. Our bodies use these senses to decide what food should be eaten, what food should be avoided, to prepare the digestive system, and to tell us how much of a particular food to eat.
That is right, how much to eat. Our bodies do not follow calorie counting charts, but use sensory input to decide what to eat and how much. Every person is different, and our dietary needs vary from day to day. Our bodies have a magnificent system already in place to guide us with certainty as to what and how much we need to eat. Most of our ancestors trusted and used this system, and obesity was very rare.
But there is a problem in modern food that cripples our sensory food input—chemical flavor enhancers that are literally designed to fool and trick our senses, so our bodies think they are eating something they are not.
These chemicals create the equivalent of hallucinations for our taste buds, and appetite regulation system. They are completely legal, and fool the natural system we have for regulating our appetite and desiring food.
The only way to avoid them is to eat real food only, and avoid all factory foods.
Factory Foods Are Designed to Fool Our Senses
The food industry depends on foods raised as cheaply as possible, and demands that these foods have a long shelf life. The problem for the food industry is that the natural taste, sight, and smell of such foods is not very good, and people’s senses would reject them. The first factory foods that were introduced were almost completely rejected by the public, because their senses rejected them.
The food industry turned to science, and science came up with chemical flavor enhancers, and chemicals that change the very appearance, taste, and smell of the food. These enhancers are designed to trick the senses into thinking that a food is much more desirable than it is, and some of them actually make people want to eat more of that food.
Tricking the Eyes
These techniques fool the eyes by using chemicals to change the natural appearance of the food. One example is the use of carbon monoxide gas to make factory meat appear red, rather than brown or gray.
This fools the eyes, which do not find brownish or grayish raw meat appealing.
Other such techniques include putting chemical waxes on fruits, using gas to give a ripe appearance to fruits and vegetables, using chemical dyes in food, and others.
Tricking the Nose
The natural smell of factory food is often very bad. The food industry uses many different chemicals and processing techniques to remove the bad smells, and other chemicals to give a bland or enticing smell. This totally deceives our sense of smell.
Tricking the Taste
The natural taste of many factory foods is vile, and people will not eat food that tastes so bad. But chemicals are used in many products to hide the natural bad taste and add a good taste.
Factory foods are often bleached and deodorized with chemicals, to kill the horrible smell and taste of items like unfermented soy.
Chemical flavor enhancers are added to all kinds of foods. Scientists are able to use chemicals to add almost any desired taste to a particular food, and are constantly developing new artificial tastes. These chemicals not only make the food taste much better than it would naturally, but can fool our bodies into thinking they are eating something they are not. This confuses the digestive system and the appetite.
Chemicals are also added to many factory foods that make people want to eat more of the food, just because of the chemical. This causes many people to overeat, and is believed to be a huge cause of the rampant obesity that plagues the modern world.
When You Only Eat Real Food, It Is Natural to Eat Only what You Need
By avoiding foods with chemicals, we set our senses free to do their job of regulating our diet. It may take a while, but I have found that my senses tell me what I want to eat, and how much. When I have eaten enough of a certain food, I am no longer hungry for it. When I stop eating, I am happy, content, satisfied, and never stuffed or uncomfortable. I have no digestive problems when I eat real food. I can trust my senses to tell me what to eat, and how much, because they are not fooled with chemicals. And my health has improved so much.
As more and more people are giving up factory food for something real, the industry has come up with a sleazy, deceptive argument to get us back to buying their chemical-filled concoctions—guilt.
If you try to avoid toxins, GMOs, chemicals, and try to eat the pure foods of our ancestors, you are a snob, and a bad person.
This is absolute nonsense, and I have written a guest blog explaining why.
The real food movement has become a threat to industrial food producers. People are realizing that real food is much better. Industrial food manufacturers are trying to demonize real food and the people who eat it. They claim:
Recently, another study claiming that organic food has no more nutrients than conventional food was published. Since this study appears to defend the chemical-laden conventional food, it has been widely spread by the mainstream press. Yet several important factors should be noted about this latest study.
First, it provides no new data, but is a review of approximately 200 previous studies.
Second, nearly all studies of this nature, including most, if not all, of the studies they reviewed, are done by universities who are completely committed to supporting conventional agriculture, and receive large donations from Big Ag and the biotech industry, including Monsanto.
Third, and most important, it completely ignored, as do nearly all studies of this type, the most important factor in how many nutrients will be in food—the soil.
The Fatal Flaw in Conventional vs. Organic Studies
Have you ever been puzzled about why almost every study comparing organic food to conventional food finds no difference in nutrients? I have. It just does not make sense. Yet university study after university study finds no real difference. The answer was given to me by a farmer who attended a famous agricultural program in a well known university. I will honor my promise to keep his identity confidential.
This farmer, while a student, assisted with agricultural studies and is completely familiar with how they were conducted. Universities and food research organizations have their own land, or land that they use to raise crops and animals for studies and experiments. When they study the qualities of crops or animals, they raise them on their particular research land. Since nearly all of the research they do involves conventional farming, this land is heavily spayed with pesticides on an ongoing basis, and artificial fertilizers are regularly used. This has the effect of greatly depleting the natural nutrients in the soil, and filling the soil with substances that block the absorption of nutrients.
When “organic” farming is done on this land for the purpose of a study, the same blasted, depleted soil is used that had previously been used to raise conventional foods.
Since the nutrients are not there in the soil in the first place, plants that are grown with organic methods on that dead, depleted soil do not have more nutrients than conventional food raised on the same soil. The plants and animals cannot absorb nutrients which are not there. The same chemical residues that block the absorption of nutrients in conventional agriculture will block the absorption of nutrients when organic methods are used on the same poor soil.
This fact alone makes all of these studies fatally flawed.
The Database for the Study Is Flawed
A study relying only on other studies has all of the flaws of the studies it relies on. Most of these studies were conducted by researchers beholden to Big Ag.
So many studies these days are nothing but an analysis of other studies. I do not consider this method to be of value, since studies of this type rely on all the bad information gathered and interpreted by the previous studies. This is particularly true in this case. The agricultural research done in this country is completely dominated by conventional and high-tech methods, especially GMOs and Bio Tech. Chemicals rule, and GMOs are touted as the solution to every problem. The reason for this bias is obvious—money. Big Ag and the biotech industry make huge grants to agricultural schools, with Monsanto leading the way. In fact, one of the largest and most respected agricultural schools in the nation has been called “Monsanto U” by its students. My anonymous friend was openly mocked by his professors when he questioned the desirability and safety of GMOs. Funding is also provided by the Federal government, which appears to only fund research of conventional agriculture and GMOs.
Just about all agricultural research done in these institutions is on conventional methods and GMOs. The extent of how bad and biased this really is was shown during debate on the most recent farm bill. Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced an amendment that would require that just five percent of federally-funded agricultural research be devoted toward the development of classic non-GMO seeds and biological diversity in seeds, as opposed to the current zero percent. That amendment was killed. Which tells us that one hundred percent of federal agricultural research funding, which goes to the very institutions that do agricultural research and studies, is devoted to GMOs and similar unnatural methods.
Do you trust institutions whose funding is targeted solely toward supporting Big Ag and GMOs to be unbiased when it comes to research that affects the value of Big Ag and GMOs?
The Healthy Peoples Studied by Dr. Price Got Far More Nutrients than We Do
Dr. Weston A. Price spent ten years traveling the world to learn about nutrition. He studied a number of traditional peoples who ate the diets of their ancestors. Dr. Price sent over twenty thousand samples of their foods to be studied in the U.S. It was found that these peoples got far more vitamins and minerals than modern peoples, often five times as much or more, depending on the nutrient. All of their food was organic. All of their food came from soils and environments that had never been sprayed with chemicals, or subject to artificial fertilizers. All these peoples were careful to rest, restore, and fertilize the soil they used, using totally organic methods. Dr. Price wrote that many of the nutritional deficiencies suffered by modern peoples were due to the poor, depleted soil that was used for farming. I might add that the soil he wrote about was far less depleted than the soil we use today.
Dr. Price considered good soil to be the foundation of nutritious food, and devoted an entire chapter to this subject in his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Yet this latest study totally ignored the quality of the soil used to raise the food in the studies.
Grassfed Meat Is Far Superior to Factory Meat, and Depends on Good Soil
Like almost all such studies, the issue of whether the meat people ate was grassfed or factory meat was totally ignored. But the truth of the matter is that grassfed meat contains far more nutrients than factory meat, containing far more omega-3 fatty acids, much higher levels of CLA, and many other nutrients. This has actually been established by studies, whose information is superbly presented and summarized in this excellent article at EatWild.com, Health Benefits of Grass-fed Products.
While most grassfed beef is not organic, it is raised with methods that are the equivalent of organic, and it must be raised on soil that is rich enough to support good grass, or the cattle will not thrive and fatten. Many grassfed ranchers use traditional rotational grazing methods to enrich their soil and improve their grass.
Truly Organic Food, Grown on Good Soil, Is Much More Nutritious than Conventional Food
I have eaten organic food that seemed quite ordinary, and organic food that filled me with energy, made symptoms disappear, and made me feel like I had just taken a drink from the fountain of youth. The difference? I am convinced it was the soil. Much organic food is grown on soil that was once used for chemical agriculture, which ruins and depletes the soil.
But some organic food is grown on clean soil, free of chemicals, which has been carefully nurtured with traditional methods. I have eaten fruit and meat raised at Chaffin Family Orchards. The fruit, eggs, and meat from this farm is raised on land that has never been sprayed with chemicals. Land that has not been tainted with artificial fertilizer. Land whose fertility is carefully nurtured and preserved by traditional methods, such as rotational grazing.
The first Chaffin food I ate was some organic apricots. The skin on two of my fingers was quite dry and was peeling and cracked in a few small areas. I thought it was due to the hot, dry summer and not drinking enough. While apricots are not my favorite food, these apricots were delicious beyond dreams, I felt so good and renewed when I ate them. Within two days, the skin on these fingers had healed completely, as if it had never been damaged. I had been eating plenty of organic fruits and vegetables before I ate the Chaffin apricots, and I am convinced that it was the good soil that made the difference. There was some nutrient in those apricots that my body used to heal the dry skin. Anecdotal? Totally.
But let us remember something. Humans have been learning and passing down information for tens of thousands of years, maybe longer. All of that knowledge was anecdotal. Modern scientific studies have been around for less than two hundred years, and would have never been invented if it were not for the anecdotal information that came first. There is old saying—experience is the best teacher. What I learned from the Chaffin apricots taught me to appreciate the value of food grown on pure, rich, chemical-free soil. I trust this experience far more than any number of flawed studies.
Based on the knowledge of how agricultural research is conducted today, the work of Dr. Price, and my own experience—I am convinced that organic food, or the equivalent of organic, raised on good soil—contains far more nutrients than conventional foods.
Most of us believe that all ingredients will be listed on the label when we buy a food. After all, the USDA and the FDA are there to make sure our food is safe, and that we know what is in our food, right?
Wrong. Food labels do not contain many of the ingredients that have been added to the food. The federal agencies allow a host of chemical additives to be added to packaged foods, without labeling. As long as the amount of the ingredient is below a certain percentage, it is not required to be listed on the label. This has led the food and chemical industries to develop a number of chemicals that are so strong that even a tiny amount can have a dramatic effect on the food. Since the amount used is so small, the ingredient need not be labeled.
In addition, ingredients added to packaging are not labeled as an ingredient, since they are considered to be part of the packaging, not the food. But these ingredients are in direct contact with the food, and get into the food.
Many products labeled as “organic” may not actually be organic.
Rather than making our food safe and informing the public of ingredient content, the mission of the federal agencies seems to be to protect the profits of the large food industry at all costs. This is apparent if you look at what they actually do, rather than listening to what they say.
The only solution I have found is to buy as much of my food as I can from farmers and ranchers I know and trust. And to buy local whenever possible. I do not trust food labels, but I do trust real food, as raised by the farmers I know and trust.
What Is Not on the Label
The food industry has developed a number of preservatives, sweeteners, and flavor enhancers that are so powerful that even a tiny amount will have a huge effect on the food. None of these compounds occur in nature, and all of them have been developed in a lab. Many new ones are developed and added to food every year. Because they are so powerful, they can be added to food in amounts so small that they do not have to be labeled. Yet no one really knows what effect long term use of these substances will have on the human body. Do you want to be a guinea pig for the food and chemical industries? I do not. But you cannot rely on labels to protect you from being a guinea pig for these artificial, lab-made substances.
The ingredients in the packaging are not labeled, either. For example, many kinds of food packaging have nanites added. But you will not find nanites on the label. If you think nanites sound like something out of a science fiction novel, you are right. Currently, they are incredibly tiny particles that are used to kill bacteria in food. What will these tiny particles do when they get into the human body? Will they kill the beneficial bacteria we all need to digest food and be healthy? Will they enter our cells and damage them because they are so tiny and can penetrate cell walls? Will they interfere with the vital functions of organs like the heart, lungs and kidneys by penetrating them? All these concerns have been raised, but there are no clear answers, and no long-term testing. Once again, we are guinea pigs without even knowing it.
In addition to nanites, BPA and many other chemicals are added to food packaging. BPA and other chemicals have been shown to interfere with human hormones. But you will not find them on a label.
GMOs are not labeled, either. In Europe, the presence of GMOs must be placed on food labels. But not in the U.S. In fact, I have yet to see a single label that discloses the presence of GMOs. GMOs are plants that have been modified by biotechnology to have certain characteristics, usually a heightened tolerance to pesticides. They do not occur in nature and are designed in a laboratory. Most people do not want to ingest them. Yet almost all non-organic packaged foods contain GMOs. Almost all food animals are fed GMO crops as feed. If you eat a conventional diet, you are getting plenty of GMOs in your body.
Finally, the feed and chemicals that have been used to raise a food animal are not on the label. Factory beef, for example, is usually raised with artificial growth hormones, artificial steroids, non-therapeutic antibiotics, GMO corn, GMO soy, and can contain a number of other “feeds” that are approved by the government, including chicken manure, processed restaurant waste, candy bars, and many other ingredients that no ordinary person would ever think of feeding to cattle. But none of these substances is on the label.
But Can You Trust Organic?
You should be able to trust the organic label. It means that everything in the bottle or package is organic, without pesticides or chemical additives, right?
It should. But it doesn’t always. The label “organic” now means that only ninety-five percent of the ingredients must be organic, with the other five percent coming from an approved list of non-organic materials. If it says “100% organic,” then everything in the box or package is supposed to be organic. But is it?
Again, not always. A lot of organic food comes from foreign countries, particularly China. The safety of food from China has been a subject of controversy for years. Food safety outbreaks have happened in China so often that the government has actually shot people who were deemed responsible for tainting food. China has generally not allowed foreigners to inspect food plants in China, so most of the food that is certified organic is inspected by a Chinese company. Many people have raised concerns over whether organic food from China is actually organic, or contaminated with pesticides and chemicals. This issue became particularly identified with Whole Foods Market, the giant multi-billion-dollar grocery conglomerate. Whole Foods used to get most of its organic foods from China. After an ABC news story in 2008 that questioned whether foods from China were actually organic, a huge controversy broke out, with Whole Foods steadfastly insisting that its organic food from China was in fact organic, while critics claimed it was impossible to adequately verify whether food sold in China was actually organic. In 2010, Whole Foods announced that most of the organic fruits and vegetables sold under its 365 label would be purchased from countries other than China. However, it was unclear whether other foods sold under that label such as sauces, condiments, etc, had organic ingredients that were not from China.
The issue of whether foreign foods labeled “organic” actually are organic has risen in regards to foods from other foreign countries besides China. So what is true? I do not actually know. But, since avoiding pesticides and chemicals is very important to me, I do not buy organic food that does not come from the United States, or Canada, or the European Union. I am familiar enough with their certification programs to believe they are usually enforced, whereas I just do not know about the standards in the other foreign countries. I prefer not to take the risk. I also like the idea of supporting local farmers, and food from foreign countries is the opposite of local, especially when it is shipped thousands and thousands of miles from China.
Another problem with organic foods in the U.S. is the packaging. The packaging can contain various chemicals that can enter the food. For example, even organic tomatoes can have BPA in the lining of the cans they come in. For this reason, I only buy organic foods that come in glass jars, as I think they do not have chemicals added to the glass.
The Best Solution—Buy Local, Buy Trusted
Because of the many problems with labeling, along with the widespread use of chemicals and pesticides by the food industry, I have found that the best solution is to buy as much food as possible from local farmers and ranchers I trust. It is worth getting to know the people you buy food from, to understand their values, and to feel that they are raising the kind of food you want to eat. In this case, the use of organic farming techniques, often called the equivalent of organic, is much more important than certification. Organic certification can be very expensive, and some of the best farmers cannot afford it. There are many great farmers and ranchers out there, but there are some who have lower standards, and it is crucial to know your farmer. It takes some time and effort, but I have found it to be worth it, as the food my family eats is so important to me.
I was in a hurry Saturday afternoon. I had to make a pot roast, but I had very little time. So I decided that we would settle for a meal that was good and nutritious, but simple and easy to prepare. I browned the grassfed roast in grassfed beef suet, took it out of the pan, and browned an onion and some shallots in the drippings. I returned the roast to the pan, added some water, salt and pepper, covered it, and stuck it in a low oven. The whole procedure took about ten minutes. Several hours later, we ate what I thought would be a mediocre but acceptable pot roast. I was wrong.
The roast was absolutely delicious, with a wonderful rich flavor, and a great texture. We all remarked on how wonderful it was. I was shocked that it tasted so good. After thinking about it, I realized what made the meal so wonderful—the quality of the ingredients.
But why were the ingredients so good? After all, all the meat we eat is grassfed, and all the vegetables we eat are organic. After some thought, I realized that all the ingredients came from farms that had particularly great soil, from farmers who really cared about the quality of their food The lesson I learned is that even in the world of real food, some food is exceptional.
The Importance of Soil
Every plant and grass gets its nutrition from the soil—the richer the soil, the more nutritious the plant. Grassfed cattle get their nutrition from the grass. Grass growing in rich soil makes great feed for cattle, resulting in great flavor and nutrition, and fatter cattle, which are more tender and flavorful. Factory agriculture depletes the soil, relying on chemicals and artificial fertilizer to produce plants that are far inferior to plants grown on rich soil. Yet even good soil is not as desirable as great soil.
The Wonderful Meat
The roast came from U.S. Wellness Meats. I have been ordering grassfed beef from U.S. Wellness Meats regularly since August 2006. They sold me the first grassfed meat I successfully cooked. Their meat was excellent then. The business has grown a great deal since 2006, and the quality of the meat has changed. It has become steadily better, more tender, more flavorful, more energizing. While the quality of most companies’ products suffer as they grow bigger, U.S. Wellness Meats is an exception to the rule. I credit the fact that their meat is getting steadily better to their founder, John Wood, who constantly takes measures to improve the quality of the soil on his farm, and to raise even better meat. This blog post I did on how John is improving the soil on his farm shows how he did it: Grassfed Farmer Renews the Land. The improving quality and terrific flavor of his already superb meat show the results. The wonderful natural flavor of the meat was a huge factor in producing this easy, yet delicious roast.
The Amazing Onion and Shallots
There is a farm at our local farmers market. A couple months ago, I passed their stand and was struck by the beautiful vibrant color of their organic Italian peppers. We already bought our produce from another organic farm in the market, and were very happy with their produce, but these peppers looked so wonderful, I bought a few. After sautéing the peppers simply, we were completely blown away with their incredible flavor and pleasing texture. And we felt good after eating them, a feeling I usually get only when eating grassfed meat.
Next week, we stopped at the stand, and bought all kinds of gorgeous produce. I talked to the farmer, and told him how much I enjoyed the peppers. He said, “This is the food I feed my family.” He said it seriously, with pride and satisfaction, as if feeding his family was the most important thing in the world, and it was his duty to do it well, and he knew he was doing his duty. We talked a bit more, and he spoke about the natural measures he took to improve his soil, which he did every single year. No chemical fertilizer or pesticides for his family! No wonder his produce was so wonderful.
The onion and shallots came from his farm, and their rich complex flavor blended perfectly with the fantastic meat from U.S. Wellness Meats.
All factory foods taste pretty much the same. Factory beef has the same flavor, no matter where it comes from. All factory vegetables taste pretty much the same as well. But grassfed beef had a wide variety of tastes, and grassfed beef from cattle raised on healthy grass growing on rich soil has incredible flavor and tenderness. Organic or the equivalent vegetables also vary widely in flavor, but the very best comes from those wise farmers who improve their soil. When you eat food of this very high quality, even a simple, easy recipe can result in a magnificent meal.
By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
I have written several posts about the many problems with S510.
I have described how S510 will, among other things, drive small farms out of business by imposing a crushing burden of paperwork and regulations.
I have described how S510 gives complete control over how crops are raised and stored to the FDA, an organization that favors pesticides, chemicals, GMOs, and irradiation, and would be able to force the use of those industrial methods on every farmer, thus destroying real food.
I have described how S510 would give the FDA the power to destroy the availability of raw milk and cheese.
But I have not described how S510 would improve food safety. Because S510 does not improve food safety.
Have you ever wondered why all the big agricultural organizations and corporations support a food safety bill?
The answer is very simple.
Because S510 does nothing to improve the safety of the food we eat. Nothing. Nothing at all.
Does S510 require inspectors to be stationed at all large food processing plants, which would force them to clean up the plants?
No, it does not.
Does S510 ban Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which crowd animals together so tightly that they cannot even turn around, while producing huge lakes of manure from sick animals that pollute the soil and contaminate the water supply with concentrated pathogens?
No, it does not.
Does S510 ban the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides that contaminate our food, causing much illness and causing harm to farmers and farmworkers?
No, it does not.
Does S510 require the inspection of all imported food, to protect us from the poisons and pathogens that have sickened huge numbers of Americans?
No, it does not.
Instead of taking steps to make food safer, S510 relies on—paperwork.
Passage of the bill will give the illusion that something has been done to make food safer, when nothing has been done to make food safer.
Paperwork does not make food safer.
S510 relies on written safety plans, that are supposed to describe in great detail every point at which food can be contaminated, and provide a written plan for dealing with the risk of contamination. This system, called HARCP, is practically identical to the HACCP system introduced for meat packing plants.
Meat is no safer, but the big agricultural corporations love HACCP, because it allows them to avoid actual inspections at their huge meat packing plants. HACCP also resulted in most small food processors being forced out of business because the government would not approve their HACCP plans.
Paperwork never made any food safer.
Suppose you had a roof full of leaks. Would you:
A. Find the leaks, and fix them, either by patching or replacing the roof?
B. Write a detailed plan describing every possible cause of the roof leaking, and what you could do to prevent it, including a plan for how to prevent every possible cause of the leaks?
Any sane person would choose plan A, which fixes the problem.
S510 chooses the equivalent of alternative B, which fixes nothing.
Please, contact your representatives and ask them to vote against this worthless, dangerous bill.
Here is a link to an easy way to contact your representatives.
This post is part of Monday Mania blog carnival.
By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
S510 is even worse than I thought. A fine article by Kimberly Usher, of the Antiphospholipid and Pesticide Effects blog, shows even more reasons why S510 must be stopped. Kimberly Usher points out the connections between government agencies and the large agricultural industry, the problems with pesticide-laden food, the fact that we can absorb pesticides through our skin, the fact that S510 commits us to a treaty that was developed by corporate interests to give them a monopoly over food and drugs, the effect of the Codex Alimentarious treaty on our food and freedom, the fact that that S510 will give the FDA the power to shut down any farm if they “have reason to believe” that something is wrong, even if they have no proof, and much more.
S510 must be stopped on Monday, November 29th, or we lose our freedom and all access to real food. Please, contact your Senators and ask them to vote against S510.
Everyone who wants real food and wants the freedom to choose their food should read this great post at Hartke Is Online:
By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
The FDA has gone to war. It has marshaled all its resources, and obtained the support and help of the FBI, sheriff’s departments, attorney generals, police departments, courts, and dozens of other state agencies. Agents with drawn guns, laboratories, warrants, lawsuits, injunctions, embargoes, press releases, internet postings, armed raids, the seizure and destruction of huge amounts of property, breaking into private buildings, are just some of the methods the FDA has used in this war.
What horrible crime justifies all this vast effort and expense?
There must be a serious threat to public health, at the very least?
Is the FDA taking action against the drug companies who have killed hundreds of thousands of Americans with dangerous prescription drugs?
Is the FDA closing down the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that pollute our land and water with actual lagoons of manure and waste, that spread dangerous bacteria into the soil, that create great suffering for animals who are crowded together so tightly that they cannot even turn around?
Is the FDA raiding the large industrial food facilities that cause illness and death from their profit-over-everything practices, and have been the cause of every recent food safety outbreak?
The FDA is targeting single family farms that produce raw cheese.
The FDA is trying to drive them out of business, with the enthusiastic support of various state agricultural agencies.
How many people have died from raw cheese from the targeted farms?
How many people have become ill from raw cheese from the targeted farms?
How many people have complained about being ill from raw cheese from the targeted farms?
Why has the FDA gone to war against family farms making raw cheese?
Raw Cheese Is Legal, when Properly Made and Stored
You might think it is illegal to make and sell raw cheese. It is not. The FDA’s own regulations, in place since 1949, allow the selling of raw cheese in interstate commerce. The cheese must be aged at least sixty days, which results in beneficial bacteria destroying the harmful bacteria, if the aging is done properly.
In the 61 years that have passed, there have been no deaths and very few, if any, illnesses caused by properly aged raw cheese. This excellent record makes properly aged and stored raw cheese one of the safest foods, as well as one of the most nutrient-dense. Raw cheese is widely used all over Europe, with little or no reported illness. In fact, the great legacy cheeses of Europe are all made from raw milk, and have been enjoyed safely for hundreds of years.
Tyranny at Work
When the government uses its awful, overwhelming power to crush and destroy a person or a business that has harmed no one, and broken no law, it is tyranny, plain and simple. The kind of tyranny that freedom-loving people have resisted throughout history. The United States of America is supposed to be a free country, with our fundamental rights protected from government abuse and tyranny.
The FDA is focusing on tests that show the presence of a very common bacteria called listeria monocytogenes, which is sometimes considered dangerous. However, nobody has had a reported illness traced to this bacteria for at least 38 years. FDA’s Ace in the Hole
The system is not working here. There are many examples, but I will pick three.
The Rawsome Raid
On June 30, 2010, armed agents from the FBI, the FDA, the California Department of Agriculture, and the local police department entered a warehouse owned by the Rawsome Co-op. Rawsome is a buying club that provides raw and organic foods to its members. You can see the video of agents brandishing guns in the co-op here. You would think they were looking for armed drug dealers, or terrorists, instead of people selling food. Fortunately they did not shoot anyone.
The government agencies had a warrant that allowed them to take samples of the foods contained in the warehouse. If they had simply knocked on the door, and politely gone about their business of taking samples, nobody would have resisted them. The use of large numbers of armed agents, the brandishing of guns by agents obviously ready to shoot, belongs in the old Soviet Union, not the United States.
Instead of just taking the samples authorized by the warrant, the agents seized all the raw dairy products, placing them in unrefrigerated containers. This took place during the sweltering heat of a Los Angeles summer. Some of the cheese seized had come from Morningland Dairy.
Morningland Dairy is a family owned farm in Missouri. They have been making high quality raw cheese for thirty years. In all those thirty years, nobody has ever claimed that they got sick from this fine cheese.
More than seven weeks after the Rawsome Raid, Morningland Dairy was visited by agents of the FDA and the Missouri Milk Board. The agents embargoed all the cheese in the dairy, preventing its sale, without a hearing, without trial, without testing the cheese that was there. Morningland Dairy was informed that the California Department of Agriculture had tested Morningland cheese seized in the Rawsome raid and found it to be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes. The testing took place SEVEN WEEKS AFTER the cheese was seized and placed in unrefrigerated containers. The circumstances of the testing were not in compliance with FDA regulations, and there was no indication of whether the cheese was even refrigerated during the seven hot weeks between seizure and testing. Nevertheless, the FDA and the Missouri Milk Board demanded that all the cheese at Morningland be destroyed. The cheese was worth $250,000.
The FDA later reported that Morningland had issued a voluntary recall of its cheese, which Morningland denies. The FDA sent Morningland a letter citing the California tests and claiming that Morningland’s cheese was an “acute, life threatening danger to health.”
The Attorney General of Missouri has gone to court to try to get all the cheese at the farm destroyed. The family is currently engaged in a desperate legal battle to save their business. Their ability to earn money had been severely reduced by the embargo, and this financial pressure may result in the death of their farm.
You can find a detailed description of what was done to the family farmers at Morningland here.
And there is even more information on Morningland Dairy here.
Estrella Family Creamery
The Estrella Family Creamery is a family farm that makes some of the most delicious raw cheese in the nation. A number of their cheeses have won awards for excellence. They have been in business for many years, and their cheese has been widely distributed. Their cheese has been a very popular item at many farmer’s markets in the Seattle area. Nobody has ever claimed to have gotten sick from their cheese.
Earlier this fall, the FDA and a Washington state agency claimed that some of Estrella’s cheese was contaminated with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes. The problems centered on one cave, and the company voluntarily destroyed the affected cheese and issued a recall for several cheeses. The farm made changes that solved the contamination problem. It must be emphasized that nobody got sick from the contaminated cheese.
The government agencies demanded that ALL the cheese at the creamery be destroyed, which would be a financial disaster for the farm. The FDA demanded that the creamery recall ALL of its cheese, including the types that had never been contaminated. The creamery refused. The creamery had testing done which proved that none of their current cheese was contaminated with listeria, or anything else.
In October, three carloads of FDA agents and Federal Marshals drove onto the farm, and closed it down. The Estrellas are now prevented from selling their cheese, though they are going to court to fight for their business, at great expense.
There is more information on the Estrella Family Creamery here.
S510 Will Give the FDA Almost Unlimited Power over Agriculture
We have seen what the FDA will do to make war on small family farms now. If the FDA gets the almost unlimited power over farms that S510 will give it, the situation could be much worse, with family farmers facing up to ten years in federal prison.
The FDA Is Not Evil, But It Is Misguided
The FDA has done much good in the past, and could do so again. I used to admire the FDA, and it used to do a great job of protecting our food supply.
I think it is important to realize that the average employee of the FDA is not an evil person. The FDA is full of people who really want to protect us, who are devoted to making our food safer. People who really care about what they do. Good people, full of talent and dedication. But they have to follow the directions of their superiors, and they have been trained to believe certain things which are not accurate. It would be terrific if the FDA would stop focusing on small farms that have hurt no one and use its power and ability to take on the real threats to safety, the threats that are actually killing people, like dangerous drugs, filthy food processing facilities, tainted imported food, and factory food filled with dangerous chemicals and pathogens. They could become heroes again.
What We Can Do
First, we can contribute money to Estrella Family Creamery and Morningland Dairy, so they will not be destroyed by the shutting down of their business and can finance their fight in court.
Keep Family Dairying Alive!
Click the Pledgie Buttons for details!
Second, we can contact our Senators and ask them to stop S510, or support the Tester amendment and remove the criminal penalties.
We must ask our congresspeople to stop FDA tyranny against family farms, and turn the FDA against the real threats to food safety. If they do so, we can save Morningland Dairy, and the Estrella Family Creamery, and many other good farms and dairies that have come under attack.
See more posts about how to save farms at Save Farm Freedom Friday!
By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
I never wanted to blog about politics. I wanted to blog about the cooking and benefits of grassfed meat and real food. I wanted to share the joy of these wonderful foods, the kind of food that saved my life and restored my health. The kind of food that not only tastes delicious, but gives our bodies the fuel we need to enjoy robust good health.
But there is little point to writing about real food if nobody will be able to get it.
Our very ability to raise, buy, and eat real food is seriously threatened.
Senate Bill S510 comes up for a cloture vote this week, quite possibly Wednesday, November 17th. This vote could result in the quick passage of the bill. If that happens, real food as we know it may be gone from our tables—forever.
One of the most basic human rights is the right to privacy. This gives us the right to decide what to do with our own bodies. No decision we can possibly make about our own bodies is more important than what we choose to eat.
If we cannot grow, import, or buy the foods we choose to eat, then we lose all freedom to choose what food to put in our bodies.
S510 gives the FDA the absolute power to control what we eat.
If S510 passes, we will lose our freedom to choose what we eat, one of our most basic human rights.
S510 Will Not Improve Food Safety, but Will Destroy the Small Farmer
There is a food safety crisis in the United States. Many people have died from tainted food. Many millions of people have become ill. We do need effective food safety laws. Just as important, we need those laws to be enforced. The laws that already exist would make our food much safer—if they were enforced. But they are not. Now we have new “food safety” laws proposed like S510.
But a law does not improve food safety just because they say it will. When you actually read the law, all two-hundred-plus pages of it, you realize that it has nothing to do with making food safer, and everything to do with giving total control over the food we eat to the FDA. The very same FDA that is controlled by Big Agriculture and Big Pharma. Rather than inspections, S510 relies on huge amounts of paperwork. Paperwork never made anything safer.
But the paperwork burden can easily be made impossible for small farmers and sustainable farmers, as the FDA has total control over what paperwork to require. The large companies can hire specialists to do the paperwork, but the small farmers cannot afford to do so. If you look at what the bill actually does, it provides a way for Big Ag to use its influence with the FDA to crush small, sustainable farms under a mountain of regulations and paperwork requirements.
This has already happened in the meat processing industry, where the imposition of crushing paperwork burdens caused most small processing plants to go out of business, leaving a handful of companies with more than 90 percent of the market. If only a few large industrial agricultural organizations are left, we will only be able to choose industrial food, and will have lost our freedom.
S510 Gives the FDA Complete Control over the Growing of Food
It is very puzzling that S510 chooses the FDA to have complete control over how crops are grown, stored, and processed. The FDA knows nothing about growing crops. The Department of Agriculture has a lot of farming experience. Why choose the FDA?
The FDA is a strong supporter of chemical-heavy industrial agriculture; genetically modified crops; irradiating food as the preferred method of making it “safe”; the heavy use of pesticides; and banning all food that has any life in it, such as raw milk. S510 would give the FDA the power to impose these methods on all farmers, bringing an end to real food.
If the only food allowed is industrial food, we will have lost the basic human freedom to choose our food.
S510 Will Include Heavy Prison Terms and Fines that Can Be Used to Crush All Resistance
It is expected that S510 will have S3767 included as an amendment. S3767 includes prison terms of up to ten years for violating various food safety laws. These laws could be used by the government to imprison people just for selling raw milk, as explained here on Hartke Is Online.
If raising real food is punished with years in prison, nobody will dare to raise real food, and we will have lost our basic human right to choose our food.
What We Can Do to Save Our Freedom
We can call and write and email our senators, demanding that they do not pass this freedom killing bill, or, as a minimum, vote for the Tester Amendment that will protect small farmers from the worst part of the bill.
The time to act is now. We all have an opportunity to fight for the freedom to choose our own food. If we stay silent, we will lose that freedom.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival.
By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat
When I addressed S3767 last week, a bill that would jail people for ten years just for selling food the government labeled misbranded or adulterated—I felt like I lived in the Soviet Union, not the United States of America.
I still live in the United States of America. An outpouring of protest convinced the Senate Judiciary Committee to heavily modify the bill so it only applied to those who knowingly acted with a conscious disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury. This is a huge change and a significant victory. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who contacted your senators and made the difference.
Now it is likely that Big Agriculture will once again try this week to pass S510, the so called “Food Safety” bill. Actually, S510 will give us food slavery, not food safety.
S510 will force the imposition of an extremely burdensome system THAT HAS ALREADY FAILED on small farmers, farmers’ markets, anybody who sells or distributes food, and may drive most of them out of business, while leaving the real cause of the food safety problem—the huge companies who dominate the food industry—untouched.
Our food will be no safer, but thousands of small farmers and food businesses will be driven out of business, and the big companies will have even more control over our food. Which is exactly why the big food companies support this oppressive bill.
Small Farmers Are Not the Problem
All of the reported food illness outbreaks have come from large processing facilities or factory farms, or from pollution caused by waste created by these farms. These industrial operations value profit above all else, and concentrate on producing their products as cheaply as possible, on an assembly line basis, using a huge number of chemicals and processes to extend the shelf life of their products.
Small farms, farmers’ markets, and ranchers who sell directly to the consumer know that their business depends on the quality of their products and their relationship with their customers, and do a wonderful job of producing safe, high quality food.
But S510 treats the smallest family farm the same as the largest factory farm. If S510 passes, the small farmers will be punished and destroyed for the crimes of the industrial farming system, which will benefit from less competition.
All food safety legislation should target only the cause of the problem—industrial agriculture.
Don’t ruin what works. Leave the small farmers alone!
Paperwork Does Not Make Food Safe—HAACP Has Already Failed
The only real opponents of food safety are those who make money by cutting corners to increase profits. But S510 will not help. Forcing extensive paperwork, reports, and regulations on every food producer or seller will not make food any safer. S510 is built around HARCP, which requires a mountain of plans and paperwork, and has regulators review the paperwork instead of visiting and inspecting the places where the food is actually processed. HARCP is essentially the same as HAACP, a system that has already failed. HARCP is ideal for big companies, who hire specialists to fill out the plans and paperwork in accordance with thousands of pages of regulations. No small farmer has the capacity to do this, but the bill treats them the same as the biggest company.
The HAACP system was introduced in the United States by the Clinton administration, in response to meat safety concerns. Big corporations loved it, because it did away with actual inspections of their huge facilities. HAACP was supposed to make meat safe. The results? Meat food safety is worse than ever!
But huge numbers of the small meat processing plants in the United States have been driven out of business, because it was too difficult and expensive for them to comply with HAACP. Former plant owners have written about how the government harassed them, constantly rejecting their paperwork and plans, forcing them to spend hundreds of hours and huge amounts of money in trying to satisfy the HAACP documentation requirements, until they just went out of business. Now 90% of the meat processing in this country is controlled by four corporations.
There is a terrible shortage of small plants, and many grassfed ranchers find it very difficult to find a processor for their meat.
If S510 passes, HARCP will do to the small farmer what HAACP did to the small processing plants.
We can be almost certain that the government will end raw milk forever—simply by refusing to accept paperwork from anyone who produces raw milk, by always finding flaws with the paperwork.
We can expect to see most small farmers, sustainable farmers, and organic farmers driven out of business, and we may lose all our food choices, soon having nothing but factory food available. Instead of being able to choose our food, we will be slaves to the big companies who will have total control of what food is available. Rather than small farmers working their own land, producing high quality food, and making a decent living, we will have nothing but large factory farms and CAFOs paying slave wages to raise factory food as cheaply as possible.
S510 Will Enable the FDA to Destroy Real Produce
S510 will give the FDA, an organization totally devoted to industrial farming, GMOs, and supporting big agriculture, total and complete control over how crops are raised and stored.
This would allow the FDA to impose its factory food standards on all produce, spraying and radiating everything.
The FDA could force the spraying of all produce, even dictating the pesticides to be used, and how much. The FDA could force all produce to be irradiated. The FDA could force all farmers to use the products sold by large agricultural companies. The FDA could even ban all non-GMO produce. The bill gives practically unlimited power over produce to the FDA, making all farmers slaves to the FDA and its friends in the large corporations.
If you think the FDA would act fairly, think again. The FDA has even filed court documents claiming that we have no right to choose our own food, and can only eat the food the government allows us to eat.
What We Can Do
I ask each of you to contact your senators, and ask them to stop and reject S510.
Ask them to insist that small farmers, small processors, and farmers’ markets be completely exempt from all provisions of S510, as a minimum.
Ask your senators not to allow the agricultural industry to use food safety as an opportunity to destroy the business of the small farmers, small processors, and sustainable farmers.
If enough of us do this, we can have an impact—especially with the election coming up. We changed S3767, and we can do the same with S510.