Small-Scale Farmers and Organic Produce Could Disappear Under Proposed FDA Rules | EcoWatch

SmallFarmersBy

Small-scale farmers, such as those who sell at the local farmers market or through a community-supported agriculture (CSA) say the supply of organic, local produce will be greatly reduced and many small farms will go out of business if the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) goes into effect as currently written.

FSMA was signed into law in 2011 to preserve the safety of the U.S. food supply and was the largest overhaul in federal food safety regulation since 1938. FSMA introduced new regulations for produce farms and facilities that processed food for human consumption.

The rules are meant to prevent food-borne illnesses, which have affected one in six Americans a year over the last decade, by preventing or quickly identifying food-borne pathogens before they contaminate the food supply.

But many small-scale food producers express concern that the food safety rules are designed with larger, more complex and tightly-coupled food systems in mind without regard to how they would impact smaller producers. The rules may drive some farms out of business because those with less than $500,000 in sales that sell mostly to commercial customers would have to pay 4 percent to 6 percent of their gross revenue for inspections to comply with the new regulations.

The National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition (NSAC) says farmers and consumers are worried that the rules will:

  • put many farms out of business
  • reduce the supply of fresh, local produce in schools and hospitals
  • push farmers to tear out wildlife habitat
  • increase the use of chemicals rather than natural fertilizers

The proposed rules come at a time when demand for fresh, organic produce is on the rise. The number of farmers markets in America has quadrupled to 8,144 in the last 20 years, due in part to supermarkets, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other wholesale buyers increasingly using food procured from local farmers. This is fresh produce generally grown without pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds.

“I’m really worried that if this law is not interpreted in terms of the challenges a small farmer faces, but only in terms of a 1,000 acre field of lettuce, that it could be the end of small, local, sustainable farming,” said U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who is a farmer. “I cannot imagine the outrage on behalf of the consumers if local food systems are regulated out of existence.”

The Food and Drug Administration is asking for comments from the public. The comment period closes at 11:59 p.m. Friday. NSAC has come up with a FSMA rules primer and suggested templates the public—whether you are a farmer or a consumer—can use to prepare and send your comments to the FDA.

For many consumers, farmers markets and CSAs are places to buy produce that is unavailable anywhere else. Those buyers also appreciate the chance to support local businesses.

Here, courtesy of Care2, is sampling of farmer market foods that could disappear if the new rules go into effect:

  1. Heirloom tomatoes. The new rules could cost farmers more than half their profits and will keep beginners from starting to farm.
 As a result of the high costs of compliance for the Produce and the Preventive Controls Rules, FDA anticipates some farmers will go out of business and fewer people will start to farm.
  2. Locally grown peppers. Although the rules set modified requirements for small and very small businesses, the FDA has not settled on a definition for very small business. This means that thousands of farms could be regulated like big industrial food manufacturers, and small operations could be regulated with compliance costs too high for them to stay in business.
  3. Fresh strawberries. It will be hard for mid-size farms to diversify their operations because all food grown on the farm counts toward the $500,000 income eligibility test, including covered crops like strawberries. So a small pick-your-own strawberry operation on a 800-acre corn and soybean farm, bringing in $25,000, could be subject to the same expensive, burdensome requirements as California’s mega-scale packaged berry industry.
  4. Pickles and salsa. The rules fail to protect a host of low-risk processing activities done by smaller farms and processors, including the making of pickles and salsa. Farmers adding value to their crops through this processing would be subject to the same regulations as high-risk processing activities by large corporations.
  5. Spring apples. The rules will make it extremely difficult for farmers to use compost and manures as fertilizer. These natural systems are extremely important for organic and sustainable farmers and the new rules would stop most farmers from using them.

Source: EcoWatch

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Monsanto Drops Bid To Approve GMO Crops In Europe | Collective Evolution

-It’s becoming evidently clear that GMO products are hazardous to human health. Numerous countries all over the world are well aware of this fact and as a result many have banned all GMO crops. Monsanto seems to be feeling the opposition, as they’ve recently dropped its bid to get more genetically modified crops (GMOs) onto the European market. Thanks to activism and the sharing of information, it’s clear that a mass, wide-spread opposition to the world’s largest seed corporation has indeed contributed and existed for a long time. It continues to grow exponentially, as more people on the planet continue to wake up.

We will no longer be pursuing approvals for cultivation of new biotech crops in Europe. Instead, we will focus on enabling imports of biotech crops into the EU and the growth of our current business there” – Monsanto Corp

This means that Monsanto will no longer seek land to grow their GMO crops in Europe. Instead they will try to enable importing the crops into Europe. Hopefully they aren’t successful. Recently, we’ve seen countries like Japan, South Korea, and China ban the import of Monsanto’s GMO crops. It’s going to be difficult for Monsanto to even import GM crops into Europe, they currently have a zero tolerance policy on all GM products, you can read more about that here. The pending applications for GM crops included 6 types of corn, a soybean variety and a modified sugar beet. There aren’t many GM crops approved in Europe right now. In fact, only two have been given the ‘go ahead,’ that includes the MON810 maize and a modified potato created by BASF, a German biotech company. Most of the allowed GM produce is in animal feed, which is also unfortunate. Not to long ago, a study linked GMO animal feed to severe stomach inflammation and enlarged Uteri in Pigs. You can read more about that here.

A recent YouGov poll released last month shows that only 21 percent of Britons are in favour of growing GMO crops, with 35 percent opposed to the technology. Monsanto actually said that they will invest in its European non-GMO seed business instead to boost the corporation’s sales. Maybe they are trying to get on the people’s good side?  Despite harsh worldwide opposition, Monsanto-produced GMO crops and aggro-chemicals are widely used in the US and other parts of the world. At the same time, they are widely banned in many parts of the world as well!

A lot is going on with Monsanto right now. Planet Earth has seen a tremendous amount of activism with regards to GMOs, pesticides and more. The world is speaking up, and clearly showing that it no longer desires corporations like Monsanto. With all of the recent activism as of late, mainstream media outlets have responded by supporting GMOs, and corporations like Monsanto.  For example, the major mainstream media outlet in Canada, CBC News, recently aired a discussion with billionaire Kevin O’leary. On the show he praised Monsanto, designating them as a hero. Right away, a 14 year old GMO activist responded and got the attention of the entire planet! You can read more about that  here. Another example of how activism is working was the Monsanto protection act, you can read more about that here. This was signed the night before millions of people united across the planet against Monsanto. Was this a message from the elite? Most likely, but the Monsanto protection act may soon be repealed as some United States senators like Jeff Merkley are currently working on that.

It seems that North America is catching up to the over 60 countries that have banned GMOs. There are a number of scientific studies that prove GMOs are hazardous to human health. You can browse through our health, science & tech, alternative news, and multimedia sections for more information. We have a number of articles and studies that are sourced within them if you are doubting this fact. Hopefully this inspires more to do their research.

Source: Collective Evolution

(1) http://corporateeurope.org/news/eus-zero-tolerance-gm-under-fire
(2) http://rt.com/news/monsanto-europe-gmo-food-309
(3) http://www.activistpost.com/2013/07/monsanto-drops-bid-to-advance-new-gm.html
(4) http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/Monsanto+drops+grow+crops+European+Union/8676522/story.html
(5) http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-monsanto-gmo-crops-europe-20130718,0,1502761.story

PepsiCo’s Naked Juices to Drop ‘All Natural’ Label After $9 Million Class Action Lawsuit| NaturalSociety

pepso_naked_juice-263x159While government agencies like the FDA keep stalling on demanding rigorous scientific testing of numerous questionable ingredients, GMO foods, and the correct labeling of such foods, PepsiCo has recently agreed to settle out of court for $9 million over a class action lawsuit that claimed ‘natural’ and ‘non-GMO’ on their bottles was misleading since they are made with GMO ingredients, as well as synthetic and ‘unnatural’ items.

The plaintiffs in the suit claimed that PepsiCo gave the “the false impression that the beverages vitamin content is due to the nutritious fruits and juices, rather than the added synthetic compounds such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde)” and “Fibersol-2 (a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company), fructooligosaccharides (a synthetic fiber and sweetener), and inulin (an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to … increase fiber content without the typical fiber mouth-feel).”

The amount of synthetic additives in Naked juices are quite possibly more than anything ‘natural’ at all. It certainly isn’t a ‘100% juice” smoothie as the labeling on the bottle currently states. Naked juices contain up to 11 different chemicals including: niacinamide, d-alpha tocopherol acetate, cyanocobalamin, and pyridoxine hydrochloride, just to name a few.

And as you may have expected, of course Pepsi Co donated more than $2.5 million dollars to help defeat Proposition 37 in California that would have required companies like Pepsi to label all products that contain GMOs in any form. The ‘Right to Know” ballot was defeated due to special interest groups like Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto, Pepsi Co, and others who helped finance its demise.

If you would like to avoid PepsiCo altogether since they are actively trying to push GMO foods and chemical laden drinks on the public while trying to pass them off as ‘health’ food, you might have a hard time ignoring the company – they are in almost every country and make everything from Pepsi Cola to Frito Lay Chips, Tropicana Juices, Quaker Oates and Gatorade. But learn of what they create, and you can steer clear.

You can also email PepsiCo’s Senior Director with your opinion about their GMO and unnatural products. The Organic Consumers Association has created a simple way to do send a message to the senior director of Communications, Mike Torres.

If you want real juice, try putting some organic apples, lemons and kale in a juicer. No corporate lies need to be added to the recipe.

Sedgwick, Maine is first town to declare total food sovereignty, opposing state and federal laws | NaturalNews

By  J.D. Hayes

There is a food revolution taking hold all over America, whether it is in the form of demanding labeling of GM foods, the right to produce and sell raw milk and other commodities, or – in the case of Sedgwick, Maine – declaring all local food transactions of any kind free and legal.

According to the website FoodRenegade.com, Sedgwick is the first city in the U.S. to free itself from the constraints of federal and state food regulation. Published reports say the town has passed an ordinance that gives its citizens the right “to produce, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,” regulations be damned. The ordinance includes raw milk, meats that are slaughtered locally, all produce and just about anything else you might imagine.

And what’s more, three additional towns in Maine are expected to take up similar ordinances soon, said the FoodRenegade.com.

Gee – good, ol’ fashioned buyer-seller agreements?

Observers of the Sedgwick ordinance say it is much more than just “statement” legislation. Writes blogger David Grumpert, at TheCompletePatient.com:

This isn’t just a declaration of preference. The proposed warrant added, “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.” In other words, no state licensing requirements prohibiting certain farms from selling dairy products or producing their own chickens for sale to other citizens in the town.

What about potential legal liability and state or federal inspections? It’s all up to the seller and buyer to negotiate. “Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.” Imagine that-buyer and seller can agree to cut out the lawyers. That’s almost un-American, isn’t it?

According to Deborah Evans, a Sedgwick citizen, the ordinance further states:

  1. Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the transaction is only between the producer or processor and a patron when the food is sold for home consumption.
  2. Producers or processors of local foods in the Town of Sedgwick are exempt from licensure and inspection provided that the products are prepared for, consumed or sold at a community social event.

For those questioning the legality of the ordinance – as in, it obviously circumvents state and federal food laws – she notes:

[W]e the radicals who concocted this mutinous act of infamy believe that according to the Home Rule provisions of our State Constitution, the citizens of Sedgwick have the right to enact an ordinance that is “local and municipal in character.”

‘It’s about time’

Many of the local farmers say the ordinance is just what is needed.

“This ordinance creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage-scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season’s bounty,” farmer Bob St. Peter told the website FoodFreedom.com. “My family is already working on some ideas we can do from home to help pay the bills and get our farm going.”

“Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance,” said Sedgwick resident and local farm patron Mia Strong. “I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”

St. Peter, who is a board member of the National Family Farm Council, a food freedom advocacy group, notes that small farmers have a much tougher row to hoe, especially in today’s economy, so they need the ability to sell their products more freely.

“It’s tough making a go of it in rural America,” he said. “Rural working people have always had to do a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet. But up until the last couple generations, we didn’t need a special license or new facility each time we wanted to sell something to our neighbors. Small farmers and producers have been getting squeezed out in the name of food safety, yet it’s the industrial food that is causing food borne illness, not us.”

Sources:
http://www.foodrenegade.com/maine-town-declares-food-sovereignty/
http://www.thecompletepatient.com
http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com
http://www.nffc.net

GMOS. The Next Steps. Why We Won | Raw Spirit Community News

By Happy Oasis

Regarding the outcome of Proposition 37, Congratulations! How can I be offering “Congratulations” when it appears that Americans have not yet gained our right to know what we are eating? We got it on the ballot, did we not?! Moreover, we won the attention of the nation, which is huge. It is time for us to celebrate and rest for a moment to consider the big picture, to regroup and unite with more confidence than ever. Why was the opposition so great? Because we are a powerful force!

We Give Thanks to All who voted to protect our health or promoted voting for GMO labeling in CA, and especially to the many hard-working noble friends in California who put forth tireless effort to protect all of us from the pervasion of Frankensteinian GMOs.

The outcome of the election was not surprising to me. It is educational in that it more clearly reveals to those who did not comprehend how entrenched and pervasive are the reaches of this insidious force. To be effectual we need to clearly understand the extent of the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition. Californians have put forth a magnificent effort. We deeply acknowledge that effort. Honestly, are Californians opposed to knowing what they are eating? You know the answer.  Was there voter fraud, advertising fraud, ignorance, cohersion, threats, dirty deal-making or a combination of these? I think you know the answer.

This experiment will go down in history ~ if there is a history.  Let us remember that slavery was not overturned without many fights. Women were not given the right to vote overnight. Gandhi’s efforts took lives and time. For millenia, countless people have been jailed, imprisoned, robbed, tortured and killed for standing up for what is right. The imprisoned Mandela was freed, then voted into Presidency.

By all of us choosing to step up our combined efforts from this moment, GMOS will be labeled, then outright banned. Like some of you, who have shared with me, I too have been secretly subjected to death threats, character defamation, computer system failures, embezzlements and more due to standing up for what is true by those who do not wish for the power of eating an organic gmo-free raw vegan diet to be understood. This started happening back in 2008, Raw Spirit was about to start lobbying against GMOs in D.C. Meanwhile, I continue enjoying life to its fullest, remembering that the power of Love is the only real power and that Love eventually overcomes.

The Next Steps: This is a federal issue, (actually planetary) and requires lobbying against the most powerful force in Washington. Thank goodness for Californians who started the conversation. At the same time, what can we do? What about starting with banning GMOs from our own bodies, labeling ourselves, our cars, our homes, our streets, and our health-food stores as GMO-free? Remember bumper stickers? To do this requires educating ourselves and finding alternatives to any GMO-containing foods. Once this is achieved, we can label our villages and towns. We can ban GMOs from entering our neighborhoods and put up signs. History has shown that with any major issue, it takes time. We the people need to educate, think and approach this from myriad angles including those more grass roots than we have yet attempted. Are you willing to label yourself with a button saying,  “I’m GMO-free. Are You?” Plus, I trust that you will conjure up your own brilliant approaches.

Source: Raw Spirit Community News

Pesticide Industry-Backed Opponents Prop 37: Caught Possible Criminal Act | Nation of Change

By Zach KaldVeer

The $36 million No on 37 campaign, bankrolled by $20 million from the world’s six largest pesticide companies, has been caught in yet another lie, this time possibly criminal.

These companies and their allies in the junk food industry know that their profit margins may suffer if consumers have a choice whether to purchase genetically engineered foods or not.  And that’s why opponents are spending nearly a million dollars per day trying to make Prop 37 complicated. But really it’s simple – we have the right to know what’s in our food.

To date, the No on 37 campaign has been able to repeat one lie after another with near impunity. But has this pattern of deceit finally caught up to it?

Yesterday, the Yes on 37 campaign sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice requesting a criminal investigation of the No on 37 campaign for possible fraudulent misuse of the official seal of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The No on 37 campaign affixed the FDA’s seal to one of the campaign’s mailers.Section 506 of the U.S. Criminal Code states: “Whoever…knowingly uses, affixes, or impresses any such fraudulently made, forged, counterfeited, mutilated, or altered seal or facsimile thereof to or upon any certificate, instrument, commission, document, or paper of any description…shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

The letter also provides evidence that the No on 37 campaign falsely attributed a direct quote to the FDA in the campaign mailer. Alongside the FDA seal, the mailer includes this text in quotes. “The US Food and Drug Administration says a labeling policy like Prop 37 would be ‘inherently misleading.” The quote is entirely fabricated. The FDA did not make this statement and does not take a position on Prop 37. Read more…

Source: Nation of Change

Many ‘Natural’ or “Organic’ Companies are Fighting Against the California Proposition for Labeling of GMO Foods

We were shocked to learn that many supposedly ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ companies, which have been bought out by big corporations, have joined Monsanto in giving huge donations to fight the California proposition for labeling of GMO foods. This includes popular brands like Odwalla, Naked, Gardenburger, Cascadian Farms Organic, Muir Glen, Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic, Horizon Organic, Silk and more.

This document also gives the names of companies with more integrity that are donating to support Prop 37 for GMO labeling: Nature’s Path, Dr. Bronner’s, Lundberg, Nutiva, Organic Valley, Amy’s, Eden, Straus and others.

Since it feels important for us all to know where our food purchase dollars are going, I wanted to share this with you, in case you were not already aware of it.