March 16, 2012
By Megan Bedard
“This is why you shouldn’t trust the government when dealing with what you eat. Your own common sense i smuch more effective.” –KTRN
At a time when news of recalls is hardly news, pinched pennies are going to make keeping the public safe even harder.
Plans to create five new centers to fight foodborne illness will likely be delayed due to a shortage of federal funds, CIDRAP News reported Tuesday. The Food Safety Integrated Centers of Excellence—which are estimated to cost $2.75 million—were included in the Food Safety Modernization Act, signed by President Obama in January of 2011.
CIDRAP spoke with Craig Hedberg, PhD, a food safety expert at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, who explained that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) put the project on hold after examining its 2012 fiscal budget. The independent working group recruited by the CDC to develop criteria for evaluating the centers was informed that the centers wouldn’t come to fruition until more funding is available.
Such news is unlikely to be welcome among the public, whose confidence in their food supply reportedly dropped by 4 percent in 2011, when only 35 percent of Americans agreed strongly with the statement “I am confident in the safety of the food I eat.”
June 20th, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
So-called food safety laws enacted in Denmark back in 2004 have restricted the sale of any food products that contain added vitamins and minerals, and all on the outlandish premise that such nutrients are a threat to public health. And just recently, the country banned Marmite, a popular food spread sourced from the UK, because it contains added B vitamins.
Perfectly aligned with Codex Alimentarius and the recent EU ban of many herbal remedies, the Danish restrictions allow only the sale of fortified foods and dietary supplements that have been pre-approved by the government. And gaining approval works much the same way as it does in the US with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and pharmaceutical drugs — pay a large sum of money to the regulatory body (mafia) in charge, and purchase approval for your product.
But apparently Marmite slipped through the regulatory cracks, as a single Danish shop that has been supplying the spread to mostly English customers for years was finally discovered by authorities. So the harmless product joins many breakfast cereals, beverages, and other consumer products with added vitamins that have already been banned in Denmark, as it will no longer be permitted for sale to Danish consumers — unless, of course, the Marmite company decides to jump through the regulatory hoops and purchase approval.
“All the English people here are shaking their heads in disbelief and say that it is insane,” said Marianne Orum, owner of the Danish shop that, up until recently, had been selling Marmite. “It’s becoming impossible to run a business in this country. We are not allowed to do anything anymore. It is the way Denmark is going.”
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to push the same highly-restrictive measures in the US. The recent passage of S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, represents a global effort to thwart national food sovereignty and bring all nations under the same type of regulatory system as that of Denmark. Unless Americans wake up and begin to do whatever it takes to stop this horrific power grab, we can all look forward to the government controlling everything we eat, including even basic food spreads.
February 28th, 2011
The New York Times
By: Julie Scelfo
For about a decade, scientists have known that most Americans have minute quantities of flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs, in their bodies, but they were not sure how they got there.
Now a study has found what the authors say is the first documented case of serious PBDE contamination of food in the United States. The authors of the study, in the February issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, bought packages of 10 brands of butter at grocery stores in Dallas and shipped frozen samples to a laboratory in Germany. Sophisticated tests there found trace amounts of PBDEs in each sample, with one having 2,000 times more than the others.
“It’s very startling,” said Dr. Arnold Schecter, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health at Dallas and an adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It was so much higher than we had ever seen before, and this just stood out like a sore thumb.”
After further testing, the researchers, who include the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health, concluded the butter with the highest level of PBDEs was probably contaminated by chemicals in its wrapper.
The Environmental Protection Agency says PBDEs, which are widely used in furniture foam, consumer electronics and small appliances, accumulate in the body and may damage the liver and thyroid and cause neurodevelopmental problems. But Dr. Schecter and other scientists are quick to insist the findings should not cause anyone to stop eating butter. (According to two scientists who were not involved with the study, the average adult would have to consume more than 28 pounds of the highly contaminated butter each day before the quantity would reach levels the Environmental Protection Agency considers risky.)
The research is further evidence of why the Food and Drug Administration “should do a better job of studying how food is contaminated with PBDEs and other chemical pollutants,” Dr. Schecter said. “Just as lead and dioxins and PCBs have been lowered in the environment and in food, government action can reduce the amount of PBDEs in the environment.”
While the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act gives the agency greater authority over the nation’s food supply, Douglas Karas, an F.D.A. spokesman, said there were no plans to require manufacturers to test specifically for PBDEs.
December 2nd, 2010
By: Jonathan Benson
The recent passage of Senate Bill 510, the so-called “Food Safety Modernization Act” took place during the Senate’s “lame duck” session — the time after the fall elections, but before the new members of Congress have been installed, where Congress reconvenes to discuss various business matters and pending legislation. And Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) was recently caught on tape admitting that the lame duck session is rigged, and that the Congress has no idea what will be discussed prior to having it brought before them.
Since many of the Congressmen participating in the lame duck session have already been voted out — but have yet to be replaced by their successors — interesting things often happen because they can essentially vote however they want without repercussions. They also apparently rig the sessions in order to advance various agendas.
“There’s nothing about — because it’s all rigged,” Bennet was recorded as saying. “I mean, the whole conversation is rigged. The fact that we don’t get to a discussion before the break about what we’re going to do in the lame duck — is just rigged. This stuff’s rigged.”
Of course, Bennet had no idea that he was in front of a live microphone when he said this. And once he realized it, he quickly shut it off. But interestingly enough, the comments came during the proceedings about S. 510, the controversial “food safety” bill that was just passed by the lame duck Senate. And the statements give credence to widely-held notions that Congressional hearings are not conducted properly or fairly, and that there is likely much foul play occurring throughout the entire process.
Bennet later attempted to whitewash his statements by generalizing them into nothing more than “disappoint[ment] in partisan politics and political games that prevent progress.” Unfortunately for him, though, the cat is already out of the bag.