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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman



I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat


Why S510 Will Not Make Food Safer

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.

Stop S. 510! Take Action. Sign Petitions.

This post is part of Monday Mania blog carnival.

Even More Reasons to Stop S510

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:

Woman Poisoned by Pesticides Speaks Out on S510

Thanksgiving, Freedom, and S510

By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Sunrise beyond Mayflower the 2nd
Creative Commons License photo credit: joiseyshowaa

Thanksgiving is about more than eating, traveling, and watching football games. The very name of the holiday describes its purpose—it is about giving thanks. It is about paying attention to the blessings in our lives, and being grateful for them.

The settlers who created Thanksgiving left their homes to seek freedom. In England, they could not practice their faith. The food they could eat was heavily restricted. They could not hunt. They had no say in the laws that governed every aspect of their lives. They were willing to leave everything they knew—the very world that was known to them—to seek freedom. They moved to a strange land. They suffered terribly. Many of them starved to death. Yet when times became better, they gave thanks for what they had.

Our freedom is at risk—the freedom enjoyed by every previous generation of Americans—the basic human freedom to choose what we eat is in danger.

S510 could give total control over agriculture to the FDA. S510 calls for the imposition of “best agricultural practices,” which is another of way of saying that the government will dictate every step of how every crop is grown. Since the FDA favors factory food, chemicals, GMOs, and radiation, they would have the power to impose these methods on all farmers. The FDA could destroy real food, and we would lose our freedom to choose our food. The FDA has stated in court documents that we do not have a right to choose our food.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I think over what happened during the year, and remember the good things I have been blessed with.

I am thankful for real food, the food that saved my life and restored my health.

I am thankful to every farmer who produces real food.

I am thankful to everyone who has fought for the very existence of real food, by raising their voice against S510.

The First Thanksgiving

The settlers, who sailed on the Mayflower and founded the Plymouth colony, left England so they could practice their religion without persecution. When they landed, they knew very little about raising and gathering food in the new land. Their first winter was very hard. They did not have enough to eat. 102 of them had landed at Plymouth. 45 of them died during the winter. Only four adult women survived the winter. Most of the women who died were mothers, who gave their food to their children. The children lived, the mothers starved.

The Native Americans taught the settlers how to gather food, real food, and they learned. Only 53 of them were alive to celebrate the first Thanksgiving. Instead of being crushed by the horror of the first winter, they were thankful for the good food they now had, and they gave thanks.

I Am Thankful for Real Food

Real food saved my life and restored my health. What more can I say? Real food, the food our ancestors ate for uncounted generations, gives our bodies exactly what we need to function. Every process and function of our bodies depends on real food. Factory food puts substances in our bodies that they do not know how to process or digest. Factory food lacks vital nutrient combinations our bodies need to function properly.

A balanced diet of real food gives our bodies everything we need to function superbly.

We thrive on real food. I am so blessed to be able to get it. Yet S510 threatens to take real food away from me, and every one of us.

I Am Thankful to Farmers Who Raise Real Food

There would be no real food without real farmers. These farmers do the most important job on Earth, using their skill and knowledge to raise the wonderful real food we need. It takes much more skill and effort to raise real food. These farmers do not take the easy way of using pesticides and artificial fertilizers. They do not take the easy way of sending their livestock to a feedlot to be stuffed full of GMO grains and other unnatural feeds. They do not implant artificial hormones or give antibiotics to cause their animals to grow at twice the natural rate.

They use the wisdom of the soil, the nature of their crops and animals, and their own hard-won experience, to raise nourishing food that is a blessing to all who eat it. They work with the laws of nature, rather than violating them.

They do not exhaust the soil, but replenish it. They renew and revitalize the land.

I am thankful to each and every one of these noble farmers.

They deserve to be protected from S510, which could enable the FDA to destroy their farms, and make sustainable farming methods a crime.

I Am Thankful to Everyone Who Fights S510

Freedom to choose what we eat is so basic that almost everybody takes it for granted. Americans have enjoyed this freedom for almost all of our history. Yet S510 threatens this freedom, by threatening the very existence of real food.

If we cannot get real food, we cannot choose to eat it.

I am thankful to all who have fought this bill. If not for them, it would have become law long ago. Now there is hope that it will not pass. Even if it does pass, the Tester amendment will give some protection to small farmers. However, the big agricultural industry is trying to get the Tester amendment removed, because they want their competition eliminated.

It is very frustrating to call your representatives, and to write them. Most of the time, you end up speaking to people who do not seem interested in what you are saying, and are being polite without listening. Or you get canned responses to your emails and letters. Or you have a lot of trouble getting through on the phone. Sometimes, you get a condescending letter or a lecture. If you try to meet with your representatives, they are always busy. In the meantime, lobbyists for Big Ag get all the time and personal responses they could want.

Yet, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of us have continued to call, and write, and email, and we continue. Because our freedom and our very ability to stay healthy is at stake.

I am thankful to everybody who has spoken against this evil bill.

I am thankful to everyone who has emailed their representatives.

I am thankful to everyone who has called their representatives.

I am thankful to everyone who has blogged and written to oppose S510

Here is a link to an easy way to contact all your representatives:

Stop S.510

Please contact your representatives, and ask them to oppose S510, or at least make sure the Tester amendment is not removed.

And I am thankful to you too.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival.

Protect Family Farms! Save Food Freedom!

By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Raw milk cheese

This is the raw milk cheese that I eat every day. I'm not dead.

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

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!

Estrella Family Needs Your Help in Washington State!
Click here to lend your support to: Help the Estrella Family Creamery and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

Dixon Family Needs your Help in Missouri!
Click here to lend your support to: Uncheese Party and make a donation at www.pledgie.com !

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.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday and Monday Mania blog carnivals.

See more posts about how to save farms at Save Farm Freedom Friday!

Save Our Food Freedom and Right to Privacy! Stop S510

By Stanley Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat

We the People
Creative Commons License photo credit: Chuck “Caveman” Coker

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.

Related Posts

Food Sately, Not Food Slavery! Stop S510

S510 Threatens Our Freedom

Stop Senate Bill 510—Save Organic Food

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival.

S 510 Threatens Our Freedom

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Basket of organic vegetables from our local Farmers' Market

Organic vegetables from our local Farmers’ Market

One of the most basic American freedoms is the freedom to choose what we eat. This right to choose our own food is severely threatened by Senate Bill S 510, the “Food Safety” bill, currently pending in the United States Senate. The provisions of this bill would do little or nothing to improve food safety. Instead, the bill would impose crushing and expensive paperwork requirements on all food producers, including small farmers. For the first time in our history, the bill would also give the FDA complete control over how crops are raised. These provisions could drive many small farms and farmers’ markets out of business.

Our Heritage of Food Freedom

One of the earliest rights enjoyed by Americans was the right to choose our own food. Every country in Europe restricted what foods were available to most of their people. It was particularly hard for most people to get meat or fat. Most people were forbidden to hunt by poaching laws. Hunting was reserved for the wealthy and those of noble birth. Most of the meat and fat from farm animals was also reserved for the wealthy and the nobles. Most ordinary people rarely had the opportunity to purchase meat and fat, which was also very expensive. Even the farmers rarely got to eat meat or fat, as they usually had to sell their meat animals in order to pay taxes.

There were little or no restrictions on hunting in the Thirteen Colonies, which later became the United States of America, and game was plentiful. It was also easy to raise animals for food, and there were very few taxes. Meat and animal fat were easily available to just about anybody. Many Europeans immigrated to the United States because they heard that even the poor could eat meat there.

The founders of the United States of America were well aware of the importance of food freedom.

Thomas Jefferson said, “If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

How S 510 Threatens Our Freedom to Choose

The Senate bill threatens our freedom to choose our food in two major ways:

  1. Burdensome paperwork requirements: These requirements are a crushing burden on small farmers, who could be fined and severely punished if they don’t fulfill the paperwork requirements perfectly. While big food producers can easily hire people whose only job is to complete the paperwork, small farmers cannot afford to do so. This could drive many small farmers and producers out of business, leaving only the big producers. The big producers almost always produce factory food, because that maximizes their profits. It is the small farmers who produce the best organic food, artisanal quality food—the food that many of us prefer to eat. If small farmers are driven out of business by the paperwork burdens of S 510, we will have nothing to eat but factory food.
  2. FDA control of farming: The power to regulate is the power to destroy. S 510 would give the FDA the power to control how fruits, vegetables, and grains are grown. It is no secret that the FDA is biased towards the factory food model of large-scale agricultural production. It is very likely that the FDA would impose the same standards on all farms, large or small, conventional or organic. The FDA would have the power, for example, to require the use of pesticides. The FDA could also require that all produce be irradiated in the name of food safety. While the bill tells the FDA to consider the impact of its regulations on small farms and organic farms, it does not require the FDA to give these farms any special consideration. By forcing all food to be grown in exactly the same way, the FDA can take away our supply of the foods we would prefer to eat.

Food Safety Regulations Must Not Deprive Us of Our Freedom to Choose

The supporters of S 510 ask how anybody could be opposed to food safety. I very much want our food to be safer, much safer. But I do not want to lose the right to choose the food that I eat. It must be understood that there always is a tradeoff for freedom. Safety is never absolute. Freedom often involves a degree of risk. As Americans, we are allowed to do many things that are dangerous:

  • We are allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, even though drinking causes many thousands of deaths a year.
  • We are allowed to drive automobiles, even though tens of thousands of people are killed in automobile accidents every year.
  • We are allowed to use over-the-counter and prescription medications, even though hundreds of thousands of people die as a result of taking these drugs.
  • We are allowed to take part in dangerous sporting activities such as: skiing, snowboarding, bungee jumping, water skiing, skydiving, etc.

We certainly should have the right to eat the food of our choice.

Inspections Make Food Safer—Not Paperwork

We could make food much safer by having independent, well-trained inspectors inspecting every food processing plant. The inspectors would actually inspect the food, rather than review paperwork. The food should be regularly tested for pathogens in a reasonable manner.

S 510 Must Be Changed to Protect Our Freedom to Choose Our Food

If S 510 destroys small farming and organic farming in the United States, we will have lost our freedom to choose our food. High quality food will become rare and expensive, available only to the rich and powerful.

I urge you to contact your senators and congressperson and ask them to either vote against the bill, or to insist that it be modified to exempt small farms from all its provisions. You can also send an email through the Western Organization of Resource Councils’ automated system.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Related Post

Stop Senate Bill 510—Save Organic Food

Stop Senate Bill 510 — Save Organic Food

Fractal Cauliflower - CERES Market
Creative Commons License photo credit: avlxyz

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

We do have serious food safety problems in this country. There have been a number of large food illness outbreaks and recalls. But the bill currently before the Senate, “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act” (S. 510) would do nothing to stop the real cause of foodborne illness, and would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to destroy the small organic farmer once and for all.

Who could be against food safety? I am all for food safety, but just because they call a bill a food safety act does not mean that it does anything to improve food safety.

Food Safety Problems Have Not Been Caused By Small Farms

All of the food safety problems that have made the papers in the last few years have been caused by the large, industrial food system. The problems have arisen in large food processing plants, or have been caused by the importation of tainted food from China (food products contaminated by the poison melamine) and Mexico (salmonella on imported peppers). Not one of the problems has been caused or contributed to by a small, local food producer. The effect of S. 510 is to ignore the large food processors, while enabling the FDA to target small, local farmers, something the FDA has been very prone to do in the past.

Paperwork Does Not Make Food Safer

But the bill does nothing to effectively address the problems caused by the large industrialized food industry and food imports. S. 510 relies largely on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System, commonly known as HACCP. HACCP requires all food producers to develop and maintain extensive and detailed written records and plans, which results in a huge amount of paperwork which is extremely burdensome for a small farmer. If you’re wondering how creating written records and plans improve food safety, they do not. Creating paperwork is not the same as having a food plant actually inspected. Currently, large meat packing plants are not inspected by federal agencies. Instead, the federal agencies review the paperwork submitted by the large meat packing plants. One of the worst food safety outbreaks occurred in a large meat packing plant that was not inspected, but had submitted paperwork. At the same time, federal agencies have punished small meat processors for paperwork violations that have not harmed the health of anybody.

The only effective method we have had to improve food safety at processing plants is to have frequent, unannounced, independent inspections of the plant. Actually inspecting a food processing plant can prevent food safety problems, but reviewing paperwork cannot.

Paperwork Can Crush the Small Farmer

Filling out paperwork is easy for large, industrial operations, as they can employ people whose only job is to fill out the paperwork. Small farmers cannot afford to do this, and to force them to produce the same kind of extensive paperwork as a large industrial operation is extremely burdensome and could drive many small farmers out of business.

The FDA Would Have the Power to Destroy Organic Farming

But perhaps the worst part of S. 510 is giving the FDA the power to completely regulate every detail of how farmers grow and harvest produce. It has been said that the power to regulate is the power to destroy. The FDA could require all farmers to use harmful pesticides, thus destroying organic food forever. It could require farmers to use only certain varieties of seeds. It could even require farmers to use GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Since the FDA has in the past been extremely friendly to large industrial agriculture operations and to the companies that make pesticides and GMOs, this is a serious concern. This bill would give the FDA the power to greatly increase the profits of large agriculture corporations by forcing all farmers to use their products. The FDA could even require that all produce be irradiated, supposedly to improve food safety. If you think this is farfetched, consider the fact that federal agencies have already advocated the use of irradiation as the best means of improving food safety. There is no justification for giving the FDA such power.

While the House version of S. 510 orders the FDA to “consider the impact” of its regulations on small-scale and diversified farms, this requirement is so vague that it is meaningless. Nothing prevents the FDA from making any regulations it wants, regardless of the impact on small farmers. The FDA can always say it “considered the impact” of its regulations.

The Bill Could Make Food Less Safe

This bill will do little or nothing to improve the actual safety of food in the United States. It could be used to unfairly burden small farmers and drive them out of business, while giving the FDA the power to destroy organic, sustainable produce. It must be defeated, or at least modified so it does not affect small farmers. It could deprive all consumers of the ability to purchase organic produce in the United States. In fact, it could make food even less safe, by allowing the FDA to force the use of dangerous substances such as pesticides, and dangerous procedures such as irradiation of food.

How You Can Help

I urge you to contact your senators and congressperson and ask them to either vote against the bill, or to insist that it be modified to exempt the small farmer from all its provisions. You can also send an email through the Western Organization of Resource Councils’ automated system.

This post is part of Fight Back Friday Blog Carnival for Friday, March 12th. at Food Renegade.

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