From Bill Marler’s “Marler blog:
“…According to Mike Glover, the phrase “pink slime,” coined by a federal microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein, has appeared in the media at least since a critical 2009 New York Times report by Pulitzer Prize winner, Michael Moss. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has railed against it, and it made headlines after McDonald’s and other major chains discontinued their use last year. But a recent piece by The Daily’s, David Knowles, on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s purchase of meat that included “pink slime” for school lunches touched a nerve with Houston mom, Bettina Siegel, whose blog “The Lunch Tray” focuses on kids’ food. She started an online petition asking Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to halt use of “pink slime” in school food. ABC News,’ Jim Avila, brought the issue to a wider audiance, and then USDA announced that starting in the fall it would give schools the option of choosing ground beef that doesn’t contain it. Continue reading →
From his unique vantage point as a prosecutor of food poisoning cases, Bill Marler has a greater than normal awareness of deficiencies in the American industrial food system. So it’s really no big surprise that he chooses to raise a few chickens so he can get his eggs direct from his own hens, rather than going through the industrial food system.
But even the few hens he has produce more than his own family can use. So he shares them with his neighbour. This is such ground level common sense stuff that people didn’t used to have to think twice about it. In fact it’s a commentary on how far we’ve come collectively, away from our roots, that such arrangements are now considered noteworthy.
Sadly though, the regulatory mindset seems stuck in the fantasies of the late 20th century, in which it was thought that the green revolution of factory farming would feed the world and we could all happily vege out in front of our televisions after coming home from a day at the office. Folks who live in more urban or less pemissive municipalities than Bill Marler would be getting themselves into a load of trouble doing what he’s doing. Continue reading →
From Food Safety News:
“…England and Wales have about 100 registered cow operations selling raw milk for human consumption, as well as 27 registered producers of raw milk from goats, and three from sheep.
Not since 2002 have any of those raw milk producers had a product associated with an outbreak of illness. In the 10 years prior to 2002, there were 20 outbreaks — mostly of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium DT12 — which sickened 242 people and sent 36 to hospitals. There were no deaths.
Except for Scotland — where all raw milk sales are banned, the UK limits sales to the farm where raw milk is produced. Continue reading →
From Barry Estabrook on Politics of the Plate:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) handling of a recent investigation into a salmonella outbreak that sickened 68 people in 10 states—sending more than 20 to the hospital—had all the elements of a B-grade spy movie. The CDC identified the source of the contaminated food, but refused to make the name public, instead calling it Restaurant Chain A, and saying only that it was a Mexican chain. It could have been any one of six such chains that operated in the affected states.
That seemed like odd behavior from an agency whose responsibility is to save lives, protect Americans, and save money through prevention. Although no one died in this outbreak, which came to light last fall, salmonella is frequently fatal, so outing the culprit could have saved lives. Revealing the identity of the mysterious Restaurant Chain A would have allowed customers to protect themselves by avoiding the place, if they chose. And a little negative publicity might have been just what was needed to convince those in charge of the company to clean up their act, perhaps preventing future outbreaks. Continue reading →
David E. Gumpert’s latest post over on The Complete Patient blog brings to mind Bill Marler’s reference to him as “the pope of raw milk”. The way David spells it out, the heretic farmers of raw milk are like the Jan Hus of religious history, paving the way for a broader “reformation”, in this case of the food industry. Heady stuff, but what’s their alternative? To become enforcers of the decrees of those who would deprive human beings of the food they need in the name of corporate profit, or in short, to join themselves to the ranks of the praetorian class, as ipso facto defenders of the exploitive scams of the .01%?
Farmer Vernon Herschberger a modern day Jan Hus? . Photo via The Complete Patient blog.
“I obtained a text of Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger’s full statement to the judge in criminal court on Friday. It explains more clearly how he realized he erred by signing a bail agreement to discontinue supplying his food club, and where he is headed on his voyage, than the one quote I had in my comment following the previous post. Here it is:
Vernon HershbergerI cannot in good conscience tell the 100+ families who own the food and depend on it to feed their families, that they can no longer get food to feed their families. The Almighty God has spoken and I cannot do otherwise. God’s word in the Bible states in 1 John 3:16-18, quote, “Hereby perceive we the Love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the Brethren. But whoso has this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the Love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in Word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth. Continue reading →
From Bill’s “Real Raw Milk Facts” blog:
“My dear friend, David Gumpert (“The Pope of Raw Milk”), suggested that I may have jumped the gun on linking Twin Rivers Farm raw milk to the Brucella illness. Mixed into his typical lawyer bashing and incorrect suggestions about why I do what I do, I certainly can concede his point that the Brucella illness might well be linked to other farm-related practices. So, despite the health department’s suggestion to discard the milk due to the risk, I have added “Possibly” to the headline. I hope that satisfies the “Holy See.”
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a consumer alert on Friday after learning that a local farm’s raw milk could be contaminated with Brucella. Brucellosis, also called Bang’s disease, Crimean fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Maltese fever, Mediterranean fever, rock fever, or undulant fever, is a highly contagious zoonosis caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or meat from infected animals or close contact with their secretions….” Continue reading →
But he’s in good company. Raw milk journalist David Gumpert also made that list. From Dan Flynn, on Food Safety News:
Michael Schmidt is a Canadian raw-milk farmer who went on a five-week hunger strike, vowing to “go unto death” until Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty met briefly with him on Nov. 4 to discuss Canada’s ban on the sale of unpasteurized milk. Although a spokesman said McGinty has no plans to change Canada’s raw-milk policy, the premier suggested Schmidt lobby members of Parliament to see if there is support for overturning the ban. Continue reading →
From Bill Marler’s “Food Safety News” blog:
“Ready Pac Foods of Irwindale, CA is recalling 5,379 cases of bagged romaine salad products, including Caesar salad kits, because they may be contaminated with E. coli.
The romaine lettuce was packaged under the Ready Pac brand name and also under several chain-store brands, all with a “use-by” date of November 18, 2011, and sold in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
The recall was initiated based on a single positive random sample result for E.coli O157:H7 reported to Ready Pac by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In the recall notice, Ready Pac said it is fully cooperating with the FDA on the recall. Continue reading →
From Cookson Beecher on Bill Marler’s “Food Safety News”:
Raw Milk Institute logo
“The much-anticipated Raw Milk Institute has gone live.
The brainchild of Mark McAfee, co-owner of Organic Pastures near Fresno, CA, the institute introduced its website — www.rawmilkinstitute.org — on Tuesday.
Simply put, the goal of the institute is to use science-based food-safety principles to shore up a strong foundation for the growing raw-milk movement.
Raw milk is milk that hasn’t been pasteurized to kill bacteria, some of which can make people sick or even kill them. These harmful organisms can be in milk from healthy animals as the result of contamination from fecal matter or unclean milking equipment. Continue reading →
From Barry Estabrook, on his “Politics of the Plate” blog:
“….Since the USDA decreed that E. coli O157:H7 was an adulterant in 1997 and required companies to test for the bug and to cook any positive samples before distributing them to consumers, Marler has noticed a dramatic drop in the outbreaks of illness caused byE. coli-tainted ground meat. “Prior to that, 90 percent of our firm’s revenue came from E.-coli cases linked to hamburger,” said Marler. “That’s virtually disappeared—with one little act.”
Marler wanted Cargill to perform the same scientifically-based sampling for resistant Salmonella as it does for E.-coli and to divert any contaminated meat for use in precooked products (thorough cooking kills the harmful bacteria). If the Cargill agreed to do that, he proposed to sit down behind closed doors with company lawyers to quietly negotiate a fair settlement. Having handled more than 5,000 salmonella-poisoning cases in his career, Marler said that he has a good idea of reasonable rewards for his clients. Continue reading →