March 22nd, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has reintroduced to Congress an updated version of her Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) for review. The legislation focuses on reducing the amount of antibiotics used in factory farming in order to help preserve the efficacy of modern medicine and antibiotic effectiveness in treating human health issues.
Read More:Antibiotic Resistance Now Kills More People than AIDS
February 21st, 2013 - Jill Ettinger
Scientists from the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) are urging citizens of the richest nations on earth to reduce meat intake by half, in order to thwart any further damage to the environment.
Read More:“Eat Half as Much Meat”, New UN Report Says to World’s Richest Nations
August 10th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
A New York federal court has ruled that the FDA cannot delay its regulatory proceedings on determining the safety of antibiotics including penicillin and tetracyclines routinely used in industrial farming livestock animal feed.
Read More:FDA Must Speed its Process on Antibiotic Safety in Factory Farms, Court Rules
February 26th, 2012 - Jill Ettinger
The Bon Appétit Management Company announced a commitment to stop serving pork products from pigs raised in controversial gestation crates and any eggs from egg-laying hens raised in battery cages all of its 400 locations in 31 states.
Read More:Major Food Service Provider Takes Huge Stand Against Animal Cruelty
August 22nd, 2011 - Jill Ettinger
Feeling the pressure of the growing number of small-scale farms and activists concerned with food safety and the effects Big-Ag farming has on the environment, some of the largest U.S. farming groups have joined forces in the formation of new organization called the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.
Read More:Welcome to the Farm Wars: Big Ag Fights the Small Farm Movement
August 21st, 2010 - Barbara Feiner
I wish I could tell you that the ongoing egg recall is under control, with all affected egg brands clearly delineated and successfully pulled from market shelves.
Unfortunately, Iowa-based Wright County Egg sold its products to a slew of major grocery chains, retailers and distributors, and additional recalls are likely to be announced. To wit: Hillandale Farms of Iowa yesterday issued a new recall, as did Los Angeles-based Country Eggs, Inc. on Thursday.
Investigative journalist David Kirby, author of Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, noted in Thursday’s Huffington Post that cheap eggs are destined to make us sick. As he writes:
“Salmonella is largely a problem for factory-farmed eggs. Laying hens raised in organic or sustainable conditions are allowed to peck around outdoors for grubs and high-quality feed provided by farmers who are as concerned about animal health and the safety of the food they sell as they are about keeping their costs—and prices—to a minimum. These eggs are less likely to carry disease, and to me at least, they taste a whole lot better.”
Be sure to check out Kirby’s July 15 post, American Factory Farming: You Owe It to the Animals to Watch This (Video). It makes a trip to McDonald’s all the more maddening.
Photo: George Grinsted
Read More:Egg Recall Highlights Benefits of Going Organic
April 20th, 2010 - Laura Klein
If you haven’t seen Food Inc. yet, now is your chance. It is a must see. It premiers on PBS’s POV April 21st! Check your local listings for the broadcast schedule. You can even download materials from the POV website to host your own viewing party.
This Academy Award nominated film is a powerful eye opening documentary about the truth behind America’s food supply. It questions whether America’s industrial food system produces healthy, nutritious, life-sustaining stuff we call food. If you take one look at America’s current health care crisis you might ask the same questions.
Food Inc., features several poignant interviews that caution us about the nutritional value of America’s food supply and question if our food products, including processed foods, fresh meat and produce, are in fact a threat to public health and safety. Interviews include Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) (two food movement heroes), sustainable, organic farmer Joel Salatin of Virginia’s Polyface Farms and mother, Barbara Kowalcyk. Kowalcyk’s 2 1/2 year old son died 12 days after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli.
The documentary also raises serious questions about ethical business practices of food giants Monsanto, Tyson, Perdue and Smithfield companies. When these companies were asked to tell their side of the story to filmmakers, they declined to comment.
This past week California public health officials issued another recall on ground beef products sold at WinCo food stores in six western states, stating it could be contaminated with E. coli.
Despite some of the heavy issues Food Inc tackles, the film is driven by visionaries of alternative businesses and activists that are leading the food movement to delicious, healthy, safe food for America.
Read More On America’s Food Safety Issues:
Monsanto’s Seedy Business
Tyson Foods Lied To Consumers About Drugs Used To Raise Their Chickens
FDA Fills New Position with Monsanto Hormone Guy
Monsanto is Hogging Hawaii’s Water
Big Agribusiness Dictating U.S. Food Safety
A Chemical Reaction to the White House Garden
E. coli Outbreak and Our Contaminated Food Supply
Most Chicken Producers’ Safeguards “Inadequate”
Russia and China Say Thanks, But No Thanks, to U.S. Poultry
Antibiotics: Tyson Chicken Wants to Lie to Consumers
USDA Allows Contaminated Chicken in Stores
Read More:Food Inc To Air on PBS’s POV
February 15th, 2010 - Laura Klein
In case you missed it, Katie Couric did an investigative report on the common practice amongst factory farms of feeding healthy animals antibiotics. More and more farm workers are turning up with what is now becoming a common and potentially deadly infection known as MRSA or methicillin resistant staph. This strain of staph can be tough to treat because it is resistant to some commonly used antibiotics, and is sometimes called a “super bug” 1.
The incidences of drug resistance infections have literally sky rocketed in the past twenty years. Last year alone 65,000-70,000 Americans died as a result, more than prostate and breast cancer combined. 2Many are now asking questions about the safety of Big Ag and factory farms using common antibiotics to promote animal growth and fight off infections before they occur.
According to Katie Couric’s report, there is evidence that MRSA has now been found in the nation’s meat supply. Because only a small fraction of meat has been tested, it is not clear just how widespread it may be.
More and more reports are turning up like these. Which leads us to ask the same question Couric did to Liz Wagstrom, a veterinarian for the National Pork Bord, “Some people say giving animals antibiotics to prevent illness or promote growth is like putting antibiotics in a child’s cereal,” Couric said. “You know, save them so they’ll work when they are needed.”
Wagstrom’s response, “I’d say we do strategically place them……It’s not an all day, every pig gets antibiotics every day of his life.”
“So you don’t think they’re being overused by farmers anywhere in this country,” Couric asked.
Wagstrom replied, “the vast majority of producers use them appropriately.”
Many however are questioning whether this is true. ABC News did a report In December, ’09 entitled Pressure Rises To Stop Antibiotics in Agriculture. In 2009 three government agencies in charge of protecting human health, the Center for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, affirmed that drug-resistant diseases ensuing from overuse of antibiotics in animals is a “serious emerging concern.” Last summer, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, FDA deputy commissioner, told Congress that farmers need to stop feeding antibiotics to healthy farm animals.
Read More:Animal Antibiotics, Are They a Threat to Human Health?
January 21st, 2010 - Laura Klein
Because of the rising demand for drug free meat and poultry, it looks like big food producers are turning to deceitful tactics to trick consumers into thinking their products are drug free.
Tyson Foods has been marketing their chickens as being raised without antibiotics. However Tyson uses a poultry feed additive known as ionophores, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies as an antibiotic. Ionophores are given to poultry to control the parasitic disease coccidiosis. It is also used as a growth promoter for cattle.
Because ionophores have been shown not to be harmful to humans (and are supposedly not a threat to antibiotic resistance) , Tyson wanted to advertise its chicken as being “without harmful antibiotics.” In December 2007, the USDA approved the phrase for marketing purposes, but competitors Perdue Farms and Sanderson Farms filed lawsuits one month later. Consumers followed with a class-action suit.
A federal judge has signed off on a preliminary agreement that could net consumers $5 million in refunds and coupons from the nation’s largest poultry producer. Individuals who bought Tyson chicken products labeled as having been raised without antibiotics from mid-June 2007 through April 2009 would be entitled to refunds. This settlement also includes Tyson’s fresh, frozen or deli chicken along with Cornish hens or tenders during the same time period.
Concerns about antibiotic resistance has European regulators concerned enough that they have banned several in-feed antibiotics for their animals. Legislators in the United States are considering a similar action with The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, which would prohibit the use of many non-therapeutic antibiotics in animal feed.1
Feeding animals a daily dose of antibiotics also has an environmental impact. Colorado State University researchers showed that ionophore drugs are getting into public waterways.2 In the study, the ionophore monensin was found at sample sites near agricultural regions. Additionally, ionophore drugs were found in surrounding streams with higher concentrations in the sediment vs. the overlaying water. Researchers concluded this study raises questions about whether antibiotics can accumulate in sediment and impact stream health.
I can’t help but ask, do we really need to feed our animals a constant, steady supply of antibiotics in their food and water when they are not sick? We will have a severe problem on our hands if we continue this practice.
In case you missed it, ABC News ran a story about one farmer who fought for his life after becoming infected with an antibiotic resistant form of strep after being gored in the knee by a bore. After two months of unsuccessful antibiotic treatments, Kremer’s doctors were baffled. The answer was found in the bore. A drug resistant strain of strep ran through the boars veins after being fed a steady, daily supply of penicillin.
Antibiotics save lives when used properly. Do we really want to continue to risk human lives by feeding our livestock a steady supply of drugs when they aren’t needed? The conditions of animals that are raised in Big Ag (Big Agriculture) are atrocious and disgusting. Something has got to change.
You can make a difference buy buying more certified organic foods and continue to raise the demand for truly healthy foods. The American dollar is the most important voting tool we as consumers have.
Read More:Tyson Foods Lied To Consumers About Drugs Used To Raise Their Chickens
November 10th, 2009 - Laura Klein
A hot topic on my mind of late has been Monsanto’s advertising or sponsorship of NPR (National Public Radio). Maybe you’ve heard their messages running on NPR for several months now like I have, claiming that they support a sustainable future, and create a better world for farmers. In a separate print ad they state:
Producing more. Conserving more. Improving farmers’ lives. That’s sustainable agriculture. And that’s what Monsanto is all about. (You can see the full add here)
What!?! Are you joking?!!?! Which is what exactly went through my head when I first heard these ads airing on NPR. This I have to say is first rate “Green Washing”, and probably the best I have ever seen. And I was even more shocked to hear it run on NPR of all places! But I guess they have a bottom line to meet. I used to make yearly donations to NPR and then stopped. I have reconsidered several times about renewing my “membership” and donation, but my decision has now been made. I will divert my dollars to other projects that I believe in like the Center of Food Safety, a project I firmly believe in.
Just to give you a brief background on Monsanto, up until two decades ago it was a chemical company that produced chemical warfare, specifically agent orange. Today it is the biggest seed corporation in the world and controls the worlds seed supply through genetic engineering and patents. It is also the market leader in genetically modified US corn, soybean and cotton seeds. In a previous blog, I discuss why Monsanto could be a sitting target for an antitrust enforcement by the Obama administration because they have their farmers in an iron grip with their contracts (but I’m not holding my breath with Michael Taylor, former Monsanto executive, appointed by Obama as the FDA’s food czar or “senior advisor to the commissioner”).
As Marc David, Nutritionist and Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, stated in one of my Green Club interviews, GMO’d foods are a huge genetic experiment of which we don’t know the repercussions. I agree. And if you want to know how GMO’d foods are affecting our children’s health in the form of food allergies you can listen to my interview with, Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It
In a recent video put out by the Center of Food Safety, Vandana Shiva founder and director of Navdanya in India, leader in the Slow Foods Movement (which is at the top of my favorite food movements), and author of the recently released book, Soil not Oil, shares the heartbreaking story of farmers pressed into deep debt, and some driven to suicide, by the economy of biotech crops.
Over the next month, CFS will be bringing you videos from experts with whom they work closely in the trenches—Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Anna Lappé, and CFS’s Executive Director Andrew Kimbrell—to help reveal the real truth about the bogus claims put forth by Monsanto and other biotech companies. I will be closely watching these videos to learn more about what’s going on with our food supply and hope you will too!
The Center for Food Safety is on the front lines fighting against the corporate take-over of our food, farms, and future; advocating REAL, sustainable, solutions to the problems of the biotech industrial agriculture model.
If you want to get involved and help keep our food supply green, organic and sustainable, become part of the solution and say no to industrial and GMO’d agriculture by taking action and make a donation to the Center For Food Safety. Join more than 85,000 members across the country saying no to industrial agriculture, and yes to True Food!
Read More:Monsanto’s Ads