Cantaloupe Listeria Outbreak: 116 Cases, 23 Deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday said the outbreak linked to Listeria-tainted cantaloupe has killed 23 of the 116 people sickened, and that four of the illnesses are related to pregnancies.  As of Oct. 11, the CDC added 7 more confirmed cases and two deaths, both from Louisiana, to the outbreak toll. Illnesses associated with eating contaminated cantaloupe from the single, implicated grower — Jensen Farms of Colorado — have now been reported by 25 states.  You will have no problems at Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market, our cantaloupe is 100% organic and not from Jensen Farms of Colorado.  Click here for full story.

What are the real benefits and risks of drinking raw milk?

People are talking about raw milk. What are the real benefits and risks? Click on the link below to find out the answers to commonly asked questions about raw (unpasteurized, unprocessed) milk benefits, safety, and how risks from raw milk compare with other foods like pasteurized milk, fresh fruits and vegetables and meat/poultry/fish. click here

Cantaloupe Listeria outbreak

You may not want to eat the cantaloupe in your refrigerator if you are not sure where it came from.  While the FDA has not announced a recall on cantaloupe, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warned of the multi-state outbreak that health officials believe originated from the popular Rocky Ford cantaloupes, which are produced in the Arkansas Valley of Colorado.  The cases were reported in five states: Colorado, Texas, Indiana, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Click here for full story.

E. Coli Fears Prompt National Beef to Recall 60,424 Pounds of Ground Beef

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said National Beef Packing Co has recalled about 60,424 pounds of ground beef products after inspection at an Ohio processing plant produced suspicions of contamination by E. coli 0157:H7 bacteria.

Not to worry though, our USDA Certified Organic, all-natural and/or local beef is not included in this recall. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our ground beef or our meat and seafood standards, please let us know.

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The Latest Raw Milk Raid: An Attack on Food Freedom?

August 3 was a telling day for food freedom in America, but the events were framed in terms of food safety. In Venice, California, the Rawesome raw food club was raided by armed federal and county agents who arrested a club volunteer and seized computers, files, cash, and $70,000 worth of perishable produce. James Stewart, 64, was charged on 13 counts, 12 of them related to the processing and sale of unpasteurized milk to club members. The other count involved unwashed, room-temperature eggs—a storage method Rawesome members prefer. The agents dumped gallons of raw milk and filled a large flatbed with seized food, including coconuts, watermelons, and frozen buffalo meat.

Read the rest of the article here.

NON-GMO Verified: Doing Our Part

If you’re not familiar with GMO’s, here’s the rundown: GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are organisms that have been created through the gene-splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This relatively new science allows DNA from one species to be injected into another species in a laboratory, creating combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

In 30 other countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production of GMOs, because they are not considered proven safe. In the U.S. on the other hand, the FDA approved commercial production of GMOs based on studies conducted by the companies who created them and profit from their sale. Many health-conscious shoppers find the lack of rigorous, independent, scientific examination on the impact of consuming GM foods to be cause for concern.

We’ve been closely involved with the NON-GMO Project for a couple of years now, paying close attention to new guidelines that they create and keeping an even closer eye on products that make their verified list. This year we’re taking further steps to show you just what products we carry that have been verified by the NON-GMO Project. Now you can look on our shelves for the NON-GMO Project Verified tag letting you know that produce/brand has me the guidelines set by the Project. For more information on GMO’s and the NON-GMO Project, please visit their website.

10 New NON-GMO Products

More and more manufacturers are continuing to enroll in the Non-GMO Project as consumers and retailers are becoming more and more aware of the risks to health and environment. We’re happy to report that there are 10 more products to obtain the Non-GMO certification, click here for the full list via NewHope360.

Factory Farm Investigations Mapped

Proposed “Ag Gag” laws threaten the only way that the public can find out how meat, dairy, and eggs are really produced, and reveal that agribusiness wants to hide their activities from the public.

The interactive map (viewable here) locates factory farms that animal protection groups have exposed through undercover investigations. Among the findings of these investigations are animals living in filthy conditions, animals intensively confined for their entire lives, animals mutilated without painkillers, sick and suffering animals left to languish for extended periods, violations of animal welfare and food safety regulations, and egregious criminal acts of animal torture. Viewed individually, the actions shown might be dismissed as isolated incidents. Taken together, however, they reveal a pattern of disregard for animal welfare and routine cruelty-to-animals throughout animal agriculture. They also reveal that many legal, standard agricultural procedures are unconscionably cruel and cause prolonged suffering for animals. Many standard practices in animal agriculture must change, and new laws are needed in order to enforce basic standards of welfare for animals. There are currently no federal laws protecting the welfare of animals on farms.

Well, It’s Official: GE Alfalfa is Free to Grow

Well, we tried… Yesterday evening, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency will fully deregulate Monsanto’s controversial genetically engineered alfalfa. The choice was favored by the biotech industry and one of three options identified in the USDA’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) released last month.

All of the alfalfa production stakeholders involved in this issue have stressed their willingness to work together to find solutions. We greatly appreciate and value the work they’ve done so far and will continue to provide support to the wide variety of sectors that make American agriculture successful.” – Tom Vilsack

What does this mean? Now, nearby Organic alfalfa farmers in close range to GE alfalfa farmers are at extremely high risk to cross contamination with their crops. The organic alfalfa sprouts that feed the organic cattle that give you the organic milk that you love so much, now have a pretty high risk of being contaminated with GE spores from natural causes (wind, bees, etc.).

USDA could have maintained regulatory status over the perennial crop that is so important as forage for the livestock industry. Or they could have chosen a limited regulation strategy with bans on the planting of GE alfalfa seeds in seed growing regions to attempt to limit the contamination of alfalfa seed stock by foreign DNA from Monsanto’s crop (alfalfa is pollinated by bees and other insects and has a pollination radius of five miles). Instead, the agency, under heavy pressure from the biotech sector, chose total deregulation. Over 250,000 public comments were received during the FEIS process, with the vast majority opposing deregulation.

To read the full USDA press release, click here.

Food Safety Bill Passed

This week something happened that will change the future of our food. First, the US Senate passed the infamous s.510 “food safety bill” in a sneaky, last minute voice vote. All Senators, both Republican and Democrats voted for this bill, not a single objection to it. The bill (HR 2751)  then went on to The House of Representatives and was quickly passed as well. It now awaits the President’s signature for it to be in effect. To read what this means to the safety of our food, click here.

The S.510 Food Safety Bill in Lamen’s Terms

Click image for larger version.

Incase you haven’t been paying attention to the news, Tuesday, the U.S. Senate did something that they haven’t done in a very long time. They passed the S.510 Food Safety Modernization Act with a remarkable 73-25 bipartisan majority. This move has been called, “…the most aggressive overhaul of food safety laws in 72 years.” according to GOOD Magazine. Click the image above for an up-close look at the facts in this helpful graphic provided by PBS Newshour.

So why all of a sudden did this bill get passed? It might be due to the harsh recent spate of E.Coli and Salmonella outbreaks across the US, causing 16 deaths and 4,479 total cases since 2006. With this bill in place now, what are some of the outcomes we could see from it? Well, it’s either going to do one of two things. S.510 could either destroy your mom and pop family farms and backyard gardeners, seed savers and raw milk dairy farmers. Or on the other hand, it could thrown down harsher regulations and over-the-shoulder-spying for sketchy, large, corporate food factories hopefully saving us from future outbreaks in our Big Macs.

Organic, Free-roaming chickens from Polyface Farms.

The granolas come at it from a standpoint that they want to eat all natural foods, and drink raw milk because they believe it cures everything from autism to erectile dysfunction,” Bill Marler, an outspoken food safety lawyer who’s been involved in drafting S. 510 told Mother Jones. “Then you have the tea party involved not because they drink raw milk but because they don’t want the government involved in any aspect of their lives.” – GM

Is this who we really need to keep an eye on?

Everyone who eats will benefit from this historic legislation,” Michael F. Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said in a press release. Chris Waldrop, the director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America, told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s really a paradigm shift. It moves [Food and Drug Administration] from reacting to outbreaks and recalls to preventing them.” -GM

What do you think about the bill? Let us know.

Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations

NEWS: WASHINGTON — “The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food-safety system, after recalls of tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach that sickened thousands and led major food makers to join consumer advocates in demanding stronger government oversight. The legislation, which passed by a vote of 73 to 25, would greatly strengthen the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that in recent decades focused more on policing medical products than ensuring the safety of foods. The bill is intended to get the government to crack down on unsafe foods before they harm people rather than after outbreaks occur.” To read the rest of this article from the NY Times, click here.

Gaining ground on Bluefin Tuna

Bluefin Tuna, an already over fished item might just be seeing a break with strong efforts by the European Union. Beyond efforts by the European Union, efforts to limit the allowed number of Atlantic Bluefin tunas caught per year is getting a slow start. The rest of this article can be found over at the NYT.

Meat Industry Pay Its Own Way

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the United Kingdom may be about to do something that would be unthinkable in the United States—making the meat industry pay for the inspection services it needs to operate.  Through next Feb. 1, FSA is seeking “consultation on proposals to charge the UK meat industry the full cost of official controls on meat.”  FSA says it is “keen to hear the views” of all on its plan to make the British meat industry pay for controls on meat. To read the rest of this interesting article, click here.

Family Farm Ordered to Destroy $250,000 Worth of Cheese

We would like to ask our readers to take a brief few minutes to read this recent story regarding Morningland Dairy, a small family farm in Missouri who creates delicious raw milk cheeses. The FDA has recently ordered them to destroy nearly $250,000 worth of cheese due to threat of Listeria monocytogenes. However, the FDA ordered this rule without a single test done to the manufacturing site. What makes this story even sadder is that in the thirty years of Morningland Dairy operations NO ONE has become ill from consuming their products. Yet they have been ordered by the Missouri Milk Board to destroy ALL of their cheese without actual tests being performed on the cheese stock. Click here to read the full article.

Click here to support ARMi (Missouri Alliance for Raw Milk (MO-ARM) on Facebook.