“Amid the rhetoric and sharply drawn battle lines in the controversy over raw milk, it can be difficult to parse out the facts without getting mired in scientific jargon. Used as a cure for a myriad of ailments around the turn of the century, only to disappear with the advent of pasteurization, raw milk is back in fashion, the result of growing interest in whole foods, sustainability and homesteading. It is also extremely difficult to obtain, with sales restricted or illegal in most states. In fact, in most of the United States, it’s easier to buy a gun than raw milk. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: December 2012
“DURHAM – Canada Food Inspection Agency officers seized electronic devices and stored data from raw milk activist Michael Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms Thursday as part of a federal investigation into the illegal removal of sheep that were under quarantine near Peterborough before they could be euthanized this spring.
CFIA issued a brief statement Friday confirming only that it executed search warrants “related to the ongoing investigation into the April 2nd removal of 31 sheep from a farm in Eastern Ontario, breaching a federal quarantine that was in place due to risk of a disease called scrapie.”
Schmidt acted as a spokesman for the so-far anonymous Farmers’ Peace Corp. earlier this year, after it took responsibility for taking the animals into “protective custody.” Continue reading
“The legal situation confronting Michael Schmidt could hardly look more ominous.
He faces four counts of conspiracy, in connection with the disappearance last April of 31 rare Shropshire sheep suspected by Canadian health authorities of harboring scrapies disease. Conviction could mean a lengthy jail term of up to 14 years, he has been told. Three other farmers charged in the alleged plot to move the sheep and save them from mandated slaughter by the Canadian Food Information Agency (CFIA) are Montana Jones, Suzanne Atkinson, and Robert Pinnell.
Schmidt has been forced to surrender his passport in connection with the charges–a not insignificant penalty for a man who has over the last few years become the spiritual leader of North America’s budding food rights movement, and been in ever-greater demand as a speaker around the U.S. and Canada. Continue reading
“On December 7, 2012 Russia’s Federal Agency for Agricultural Control, Rosselhohznadzor, banned the imports of meat containing ractopamine. This is a food additive that allows to reduce the content of fat in beef and pork. The drug is added to food so that animals grow the muscle mass instead of fat.
According to researchers, ractopamine affects the human cardiovascular system, and in some cases can cause food poisoning. This drug is banned for use in 160 countries, including China and Russia. It is allowed in 24 countries, including Canada and the United States. Codex Alimentarius of the World Health Organization, adopted in July 2012 in Rome by representatives of 186 countries, allows the contents of ractopamine in meat. Continue reading
“The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan drew international attention a few years back for saying gross national happiness should trump gross domestic product when measuring a nation’s progress. If you’re going to prioritize happiness, the Bhutanese thinking goes, you’d better include the environment and spiritual and mental well-being in your calculations. (Not everyone in Bhutan is happy, and many leave as refugees, as Human Rights Watch and others have noted.)
But Bhutan, which has only 700,000 people — most of whom are farmers — has another shot at international fame if it can make good on a recent pledge to become the first country in the world to convert to a 100 percent organic agricultural system. Continue reading
“Media people love juicy data suggesting an untended-to crisis, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has the perfect juicy data for anyone wanting to write about the supposed crisis in food safety.
The scary data go like this: every year, millions of Americans are victims of food-borne illness–48 million become sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
The media are attracted to this data like bees to honey. Over just the last few days, two prominent food writers have used it as the basis of articles attacking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for not doing enough to solve our food-safety crisis. Continue reading