August 9, 2022

Ag Gag Bill Signed into Law in Idaho

This week, Idaho Governor C. L. Otter signed the latest ag-gag bill into law. The law was created, promoted, and passed in retaliation to undercover videos that exposed animal abuse at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairy farm in 2012.  That video showed workers caning, beating, and sexually abusing cows. Employees were fired and prosecuted as a result of the exposure. [Warning: the video is very disturbing.] Matt Rice, the director of investigations at Mercy for Animals, said in a statement, "Governor Otter has decided to keep corrupt factory farming practices from the public. He's created a safe haven for animal abuse. These facilities that supply food to the entire country. No other industry has that kind of immunity. Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' … [Read more...]

Raw Milk Sales Increase Government Costs

Making the sale of raw milk legal in Maryland has prompted the Maryland Department of Legislative Services to conduct a study on the cost of illness investigations and outbreaks. The analysis predicts that sporadic raw milk-linked outbreaks in that state would increase from almost none to 100 to 165 per year if the product becomes legal to sell. Outbreaks, where at least two unrelated individuals become sick with the same strain of bacteria, would increase to two to four per year. Those outbreaks would increase the cost of government by at least $66,000 in FY 2015, up to $95,000 by FY 2019. When an outbreak occurs, local and state public health officials must launch an investigation. These investigations are costly in terms of time and money. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene … [Read more...]

Maryland Introduces Bill to Stop Seafood Fraud

Are you sure that the fish and seafood you buy in the grocery store or at the fishmonger are properly labeled? Are you really buying red snapper, or a cheaper substitution? A Maryland legislator is introducing the "Maryland Seafood Authenticity and Enforcement Act", which the agency Oceana applauds. The legislation should help stop "seafood bait and switch" in that state. Seafood fraud is rampant in this country. A study by Oceana last year found that one-third of the seafood tested in the United States is mislabeled. Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke (D-14) said in a statement, "to protect the public health, to protect the consumer, and to protect our watermen from unfair competition, Marylanders deserve to know that they are being served the seafood they ordered." Oceana campaign … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch Targets Maryland Poultry Industry Polluters

Food & Water Watch is targeting poultry industries in Maryland that contribute to nutrient pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Legislation introduced by Senator Richard Madaleno (D-18) and Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39), called the Poultry Fair Share Act, would hold Maryland's big poultry companies partially accountable for cleanup. Water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed has declined in recent years. Factory poultry farms on Maryland's Eastern Shore make a billion and a half pounds of waste every year. Contract growers are forced to dump excess chicken manure on saturated farm fields because these companies will not handle the waste themselves. Runoff ends up in the Bay and its tributaries. Food Poisoning Bulletin told you about this problem last month. Phosphorous pollution … [Read more...]

Anti-Animal Welfare King Amendment Removed from Farm Bill

The King Amendment, proposed by Representative Steve King (R-IA), which would have undercut animal welfare states and food safety laws, has been removed from the Farm Bill. The Humane Society of the United States supports this action. The Humane Society Fact Sheet on this amendment details their opposition. HSUS states that the amendment was an "unprecedented assault on historic power of states to protect the health and welfare of their own citizens." It would have nullified state laws, forcing officials to authorize the sale and consumption of "any agricultural product", no matter how environmentally destructive or unsafe. The King Amendment violated the Tenth Amendment's guarantee that states' sovereign rights cannot be abridged by Congress. Congress' authority to regulate interstate … [Read more...]

Food & Water Watch on Fisheries Research and the TPP

Food & Water Watch director Wenonah Hauter has issued a statement on her concerns over fisheries research and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement. Nine members of Congress sent a letter to the U.S. Trade Representative today asking about the eliminating of tariffs on imported fish. Those tariffs fund domestic fisheries research. The TPP is a highly controversial agreement between the countries of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Chile, and Peru. This group has an economic power 40% larger than the European Union. Its stated purpose is to promote development and create jobs. Critics say that it may limit governmental control over environmental and food safety issues, and would elevate foreign firms to equal status with … [Read more...]

Congress Stops Domestic Horse Slaughter

The spending bill passed yesterday by the House and Senate includes a provision to stop efforts at resuming horse slaughter for human consumption in the United States. The Humane Society, which opposed slaughter, supports this move. Eighty percent of American oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement, "we Americans care for horses, we ride horses, and we even put them to work. But we don't eat horses in the United States. And we shouldn't be gathering them up and slaughtering them for people to eat in far-off places. We stopped slaughtering horses on U.S. soil in 2007, and it's the right policy to continue that prohibition." Sponsors of the amendment include Representatives … [Read more...]

Congress to USDA: No Chinese Chicken in School Lunches

Several members of Congress have sent a letter to ranking members of the Senator and House Committee on Appropriations and Agriculture, telling them that chicken processed in China and exported to the U.S. should not be served in school lunches. The letter was sent to Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR), Roy Blunt (R-MO), and Congressmen Robert Aderholt (R-AL) and Sam Farr (D-CA). Those members of Congress are concerned about the problem with food safety in China. They also believe  FSIS will eventually let China export raw chicken to the U.S. They are asking that language in the Fiscal Year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations Bill should ensure that Chinese-processed chicken will not be included in the National School Lunch Program and other federal food programs, and that no funds should be used … [Read more...]

Congressman Steve Israel Reintroduces Trans Fat Labeling Bill

Back in 2007, Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a bill that would close a food labeling loophole. That loophole lets food manufacturers use a "0 trans fat" label on foods that do contain trans fat. As long as there is less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the deceptive label is applied. At that time, the American Heart Association recommended that consumers eat no more than 2 grams of trans fats per day. We now know that there is no known safe level of trans fat consumption. He reintroduced the bill to Congress last month. Obviously, the problem with that loophole is that most people eat more than one serving of a product at one time. For instance, a small bag of popcorn usually contains two servings, but most people eat the entire three ounces. With that deceptive … [Read more...]

Council in Kaua’i Mandates Pesticide, GMO Reports

The Center for Food Safety (CFS) reports that the Kaua'i County Council overturned a mayoral veto of a bill that would require an assessment of risks stemming from pesticide use and the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Mayor Bernard Carvalho vetoed the legislation last week. Sylvia Wu, an attorney with the Center for Food Safety said in a statement, "the people of Kaua'i have demanded that their elected representatives serve the people, not the corporations. Today the County Council proved that the people of Kaua'i cannot be bullied by big corporations with deep pockets." Bill 2491 requires that biotech and chemical companies report and publicly disclose the pesticides and the GE crops they use on the island. In addition, no pesticides can be used near schools, medical … [Read more...]

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