Unfortunately like the camel who starts with his nose in the tent and ends up pushing the sheik outside, big agribusiness IS constantly pushing and testing its way into our government processes. As uncomfortable as it is to acknowledge, closing our eyes to that ever growing influence enables such takeover, cloaked as "Food Safety," in fact Big Brotherism reducing our choices and our freedoms. Let's see where we are right now: It's been a long time since we could purchase raw milk or dairy products even from tested certified organic herds; now we can't even buy raw organic almonds. Irradiated (killed) foods don't even have to be labelled as such, and no one will know as they won't even spoil. We know raw foods are healthier for us; to keep that info under wraps and feed agribusiness greed, access is increasingly limited and outlawed as is our right to define for ourselves life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To stay free we must be watchful, cherish and fight for our freedoms.
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I think you are too afraid. "Thousands of people will be deathly ill" That sound more like paranoia than the headline of the original story. I am almost 74 years old and grew up in a small midwestern town where and when almost everyone had a vegetable garden. Fertilization with cow manure was not uncommon -- it is a wonderful fertilizer. As a boy, I worked in those gardens and our family ate the produce. No one got sick. Of course, one can always wash the veggies before eating them. People did do that sort of thing before they started depending on the government to protect them.
Gardening vegetables, eating them and sharing them with one's neighbors is a natural human activity and not to be feared. We have been doing it for thousands of years and we do not need the government's permission or protection at this late date. Such fear is the result of ignorance and misinformation. It is the result of living too far from the organic world humans have shared since they first appeared on earth.
jm, I'm not afraid of anything!
My post is actually a reference to e-coli outbreaks that have happened when cow manure was used to fertilize vegetables and fruits - usually berries.
About 10 or so years ago a bunch of school children in several states were sickened with e-coli after eating strawberries contaminated with e-coli because the strawberries were fertilized with cow manure. Some of the children died.
Fresh Express prepackaged salad also was the source of more than one e-coli outbreak - again, from cow manure used as fertilizer and in some cases because somehow e-coli made it into the vegetable processing area.
DOLE has also had this problem.
Not too long ago some organic fruit juices that were not processed correctly were pulled from shelves after making people ill - it was unpasteurized juice, and a simple pasteurization process would have killed the bacteria that made so many people so ill. That, too, resulted in the deaths of many.
Lucky for you that you were never sickened, I'm happy for you. I wish I could say the same for the many people who have died due to things like salmonella, e-coli, and listeria from improper farming and/or processing, and from even something as simple as a food handler not washing their hands.
I'll bet you can't guess how many migrant farm workers urinate and defecate on the crops they're out in the fields harvesting. Would you like to take a stab at that one? Don't think that they stop and pee in a restroom - they just go in the field and usually all over the fruits or veggies, which then end up in the market place.
To call me paranoid is ignorant on your part, because you are not recognizing the vast dangers that can happen when people are careless about their crops or the processing of them, which includes the people they hire to harvest them.
While I am no farmer, I have been a gardener in the past, and there are small farmers in the family plus I have surrounded myself with friends who are farmers and ranchers. These are small time farmers and ranchers who are just as concerned about big government as anyone else, and who do not appreciate large farming coops and unions attempting to step all over them and run them out of business.
Even these people recognize the difference between reality and fantasy, and they can see through the hype and exaggeration surrounding stories like this one - and they don't like it because of the panic and hysteria it causes because then people take their panic and hysteria to the polls and make uneducated votes that cause more trouble than good.
Some regulations are necessary, because there are people who can't be trusted to keep good quality control or raise their crops properly, thus endangering people who consume their yield. The man in this article is no exception. While his vegetables may be technically safe, he's trying to cut corners and make people think he's a backyard gardener when in fact he's really a small farmer. Is it fair to the other small farmers that he doesn't have to pay the same taxes and fees or apply the same quality control measures that they have to apply? No, it isn't. It's a slap in the face to them.
And who is responsible if his harvest makes someone sick because his vegetables contained e-coli? In case you aren't aware, e-coli doesn't just wash off with cold water - hot soapy water might reduce it, though. But who is going to wash their fruits and vegetables in hot soapy water?
I am not afraid - but I am a realist. I believe in learning from the life lessons of myself and those around me. When I observe news items indicating thousands of people are getting sick from e-coli in the vegetables, I sit up and take notice and apply some common sense. You would do well to do the same thing. That you never got sick doesn't mean others haven't under various circumstances.
In an ideal world no one would get sick, but in an ideal world, farm workers don't urinate and defecate on the crops, either; or let the cattle poop on those crops. If not for some USDA regulations this would be happening even more than it already is.
I agree that small farmers should not have to pay special taxes and licensing fees. In that case, all small farmers would be on equal footing with the fellow in the story.
It would be interesting to discover whether it is small or large corporate farms that are the major source of e coli and other kinds of biological and chemical contamination of the food supply. Does anyone know the data?
From the Chicago Tribune -- I think the guns drawn government agents are the real paranoids.
GGN- Police Raid Health Food Store for Raw Milk – Guns Drawn
With no warning one weekday morning, investigators entered an organic grocery with a search warrant and ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts.
Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.
“I still can’t believe they took our yogurt,” said Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones, a few days after the raid. “There’s a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they’re raiding us because we’re selling raw dairy products?”
On one side are government regulators, who say they are enforcing rules designed to protect consumers from unsafe foods and to provide a level playing field for producers. On the other side are “healthy food” consumers — a faction of foodies who challenge government science and seek food in its most pure form.
I feel a lot safer with organic yogurt than gun toting bureaucrats.
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