Food Truth Freedom

Your food, where it comes from & what's in it


Antibiotic Resistance Rising: Meat Industry Hampers FDA & CDC

Antibiotic resistance is rising in farm animals.

We are losing the war on germs.

Antibiotic resistance for common illnesses is increasing.  With over 2,500 strains of salmonella alone, the bugs are winning. The meat industry is only required to voluntarily submit data to the FDA and refuses in part, because of the potential of damaging their reputation.  Powerful lobbying in Washington has tied the hands of the FDA and the CDC.

To make matters worse, about 80% of antibiotic use goes into agriculture.

Furthering this, there is no system of tracking the source of meat in the United States. The EU has it. Each farm has a tracking number and it’s on every package of meal sold.  So if you were to become ill, and it turned out to be from the meat, there would be a link.

A few years ago in Washington state there was an outbreak related to pork. The CDC was notified that over 50 people in 8 counties were sickened: 192 people sick, 30 were admitted to hospitals. The slaughterhouse in question received meat from 6 farms where the infection could have come from. Because the farms have to voluntarily give any information to inspectors, the investigation ended there.

A particularly virulent strain of salmonella, 4-5-12:i-minus, which resists ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfisoxazole and tetracycline, started in the 1980’s,  has shown a 35% increase where other strains of salmonella have remained constant.

Non-meat eaters like vegans and vegetarians aren’t safe either. Animal waste has long been used on organic farms and once the bacteria get into the soil, anyone is fair game. Unless one is growing their own food, there is no guarantee that they are immune from an antibiotic-resistant illness.

The meat industry, as well as the pharmaceutical companies need to be held accountable.  Until the FDA and CDC are allowed access, there is no slowing this descent into drug-resistant oblivion.

 

 


Dollar Stores: Unhealthy Food Choices For Poor Americans

 

Dollar stores offer the poor cheap, unhealthy food.

Years ago I worked in Dollar General as a cashier. It was in a rural Virginia town that had just lost its only grocery store.  The nearest one was over 10 miles away.  The people of the surrounding area were poor and lacking jobs.  Many were elderly and had no cars.  While the shuttered grocery store did offer fresh food, the produce was wilted and inferior and I sure didn’t trust the meat they sold there, and only bought pre-packed groceries.

When the Dollar General moved into its own building on the town’s main thoroughfare, people raved.  True, it did supply some basic food items, but most of it was high in fat, salt, and sugar.

I eyed customers as they came through my line, noticing the items they were purchasing.  One obese elderly man, who hobbled along in my line, was struggling to breathe.  He had a pile of canned Vienna Sausage.  I cringed. Knowing that the sodium content was staggering, well above 700mg for a half can – and he’d probably eat that whole can for a meal – he’d get over 1,400 mg.  More than likely he had high blood pressure and diabetes.  This was not a good meal choice. Alas, it was cheap.

And so it went – customer after customer purchasing neon-colored juices, artificially flavored, chemically-laden processed food – for a dollar or two.  It was sad. Many of these people had no cars, relying on friends, family or the overpriced local conman taxi service.  They were trapped in this food nightmare.

820mg of sodium for one can in one sitting.

740mg of sodium per serving would equal 1,850mg per can.

This is the lure of Dollar General-type stores.  Cheap food in impoverished food deserts in rural & urban America.   They’ve invaded blighted inner-city neighborhoods like those in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

The unchecked growth of dollar stores creates zero incentive for grocery stores to enter rural areas or food deserts in inner-cities.  The population numbers are thin, unlike more urban and affluent locations.  A stunted earnings base with impoverished citizens counting every cent makes the appeal of a Dollar General, Family Dollar or Dollar Tree all much more alluring.

Dollar General has tried to tout that they are offering fresh produce.  This is only evident in about 600 of their more than 15,000 stores.  The cheap off-brand food is furthering the health crisis of vulnerable Americans who should be eating anything but salt, sugar and fat-saturated foods. Poor people buy far more processed food than their more affluent counterparts. They’re living dollar to dollar.  For instance, in my rural community, organic merchandise wasn’t offered in Wal-Mart because customers on limited budgets can’t afford, or are just plain not interested in it. They tried, then abandoned, selling organics for the most part.  We’ll see how selling produce goes for DG.

Dollar stores, like their gigantic cousin Wal-Mart, stymie and destroy the local Mom and Pop businesses. Where people were once content with a local general store, where produce and meat likely came from nearby farmers which generated income back into the community,  dollar stores rely on corporate distribution warehouses & supply chains. Profits enrich the already wealthy conglomerates.

Market saturation is evident, too. It’s part of their business plan and they’re proud of it.  They aim to populate the abandoned and more remote areas.  This further chokes any interest for small scale family operated groceries to stay in business or open.  In my community, Dollar General opened another store not five miles away. It wasn’t uncommon in rural Virginia to find a Dollar General at one end of town and a Family Dollar at the other.

The Institute For Self-Reliance reports:  “While dollar stores sometimes fill a need in cash-strapped communities, growing evidence suggests these stores are not merely a byproduct of economic distress. They’re a cause of it. In small towns and urban neighborhoods alike, dollar stores are triggering the closure of grocery stores, eliminating jobs, and further eroding the prospects of the vulnerable communities they target. These chains both rely on and fuel the growing economic precarity and widening inequality that plague America.” 

They have no choice.  They are stranded in a food desert.

 


Portland Maine Bans Pesticides

 

Image result for roundup pictures

Portland, Maine has banned the use of pesticides, herbicides and weed killers like Round Up, made by Monsanto.  It joins other communities who have either banned the use of glyphosate and other lawn chemicals or severely restricted it.

With mounting evidence of its cancer-causing effects – something that we in the environmental movement have suspected for a long time – many municipalities are taking notice. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York and Oregon have already instituted restrictions or outlawed use altogether.

The high-profile cancer lawsuit against Monsanto – now owned by Bayer – has attracted much attention, and for good reason.  11,200 lawsuits have been filed against Monsanto but the most recent unanimous ruling in the Edwin Hardeman case will go into its second phase.   Judge Vince Chhabria presided over the case in which jurors found Monsanto’s Round-Up to be the contributing factor in Mr. Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Prior to the trial, the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) conducted various studies to find the risk of exposure.  Environmental toxicologists determined that exposure to glyphosate contributes to an increased chance of developing NHL (non-Hodgkins-Lymphoma)

The trial of Dewayne Johnson, a former school groundskeeper suffering from terminal cancer, received a unanimous ruling back in August, declaring that Round-Up was a contributing factor in his Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Needless to say, the recent court decisions, along with the recent bans on pesticides and herbicides – have brought this fight to the forefront.  Hopefully, more people will realize that the use of these chemicals is not safe – something that millions of us have realized for many years.

PLEASE!  Put down that container of Round-Up.

For more, Read Here:

Pesticides Affect Babies & Children

Pesticide Use Linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS

If You Use Pesticides, READ THIS!

 

 

 

 


Words For Earth Day: “If It Doesn’t Grow There, Don’t Leave It There.”

Dad and a neighbor, Cathy Callahan, cooking on one of our camping trips.

“If it doesn’t grow there, don’t leave it there.”

Those words were spoken by my Dad, G.V. Hill, decades before Earth Day.  This is what I was taught as a young child:  respect the Earth.

My Dad loved the woods & everything in it.  As small children, he would take us on camping trips for an afternoon, to our favorite woods, one long block from our house.  Rounding up some of the other neighborhood kids, we’d lug cast iron skillets, cooking utensils, food, condiments and tools to make a fire pit and traipse off to the Creek Woods. If we’d forgotten anything he’d send his “Indian runners” back to the house. (This was the 50’s – everybody was into playing cowboys & Indians.)

We were schooled in creating a fire pit as we collected stones to rest the pots on.  Above all, he reminded us of fire safety (we all believed in Smokey The Bear back then) and how to make sure the fire was out before we left.

Utmost in his instructions were to leave nothing behind.

Don’t litter, ever.

“If it doesn’t grow there, don’t leave it there.”

When I was very young I found Dad’s hatchet.  I was hacking away at a beech tree in our backyard and he caught me.  I wasn’t spanked for it, only told, “That tree is alive.  It can feel what you do to it and you’re hurting it.”  He calmly returned to the garage, found some tar and patched up the gouges.  For years after that, the tree bore those scars, tar and all.  It hurt me to know that I’d hurt a tree.  It still does to this day.

One summer day when I was 10, I walked that long block from my house to my sanctuary, the Creek Woods.

It was gone.

All the trees lay horizontally for as far as I could see.

My only thought was of the animals who were killed by falling trees and others who had lost their homes because of the monstrous bulldozers. What would become of them?

This was the most horrific event of my young life. It struck me to my very core.  I was devastated.  I still can vividly see it in my mind’s eye and remember the exact spot where I was standing, looking at all the trees on the ground, exhaust from the machinery and dust rising as they worked.

Unbeknownst to my sister and me, our beloved woods which was miles long and very narrow, had long been slated to become a 6-lane expressway.  My parents undoubtedly knew, of course, but wouldn’t tell us because it was our favorite place to play.

My Dad has been gone now for 28 years.  He didn’t live long enough to visit me when I lived in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Adirondack Park in upstate New York.

Dad, still camping, June 1987

He would’ve loved my woods.

I tell people: “Littering is against my religion,” and it truly is.  This was taught to me, lovingly, by my Dad: Have respect for the Earth and all its inhabitants, decades before Earth Day.

 

 

 


The EPA Will No Longer Protect Us

With the recent appointments of the Trump administration to the EPA, the word “protection” in the title, Environmental Protection Agency, no longer applies.

This administration’s vow to roll back government oversight, which was championed by Trump during the campaign, has taken a potentially deadly turn in the installation of Scott Pruitt as EPA head.  Pruitt has been an advocate for the oil, gas and coal industry, has denied the impacts of climate change, and after his appointment, signaled that he will not renew the Obama administration’s Clean Water Act.  He has also gone against the agency’s findings in mothballing a ban on the use of chlorpyrifos, an insecticide widely used on vegetables and fruits, which has been shown to poison groundwater and directly impact human health, especially that of farmworkers.  This is just the tip of the iceberg in the dismantling of the EPA.

Shortly after his inauguration, Trump welcomed coal miners to the White House in an effort to make good on his promise to revive the dying coal industry. This went hand in hand with the rolling back of the Clean Water Act which will allow mines to resume dumping toxic chemicals into waterways.

To further add insult to injury, Nancy B. Beck, joined the EPA in May.  She is a former member of the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.  She is an advocate of lessening oversight on potentially harmful chemicals.

Just announced is the EPA’s decision not to let 2 of its scientists speak at a conference, 3 years in the making, of the state of the Narragansett Bay Watershed Program and the relation to climate change.  This follows the scrubbing of the EPA website by Trump’s political appointees which addresses human causes in climate change.

This is just the latest in the Trump administration’s assault on the banishment of scientific evidence regarding climate change, environmental impacts of chemicals, pesticides and potentially harmful substances which endanger humans and the ecosystem.

It is horrifically clear to those of us concerned with our planet’s health and that of its people,  this is not a priority of this administration.

Government oversight has protected us from a myriad of potential harm from insidious corporate actions executed in the name of cost-cutting and greed.  Citizens who applauded a rollback of regulations in favor of less government may learn that they are the ones being hurt most.

Therefore, we need that protection in the “P” of the EPA, as well as other agencies under the axe of the Trump administration.

 

 


Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready XTend: Dicamba & Roundup. The Poison Treadmill Continues

Use of Roundup has increased because of resistance to super weeds.

To battle the super weed crisis that American farmers have experienced with Roundup’s failure, the FDA approved  GMO (genetically modified) dicamba-resistant soybean & cotton crops.  This follows on the heels of the EPA green light for the “new &  improved” Roundup, Monsanto’s Xtend, a marriage between Roundup and Dicamba.

Dicamba’s been used since the 60’s. There’s one problem.  It’s highly volatile and prone to drift – even up to 72 hours after application –  to fields where it hasn’t been sprayed.

Soybean plant with Xtend damage. Photo: Andrea Morales for Washington Post

Farmers were told not to spray it directly on crops; only on the soil before planting, for post-emergent weed control. Dicamba has a tendency to drift when airborne,  so instructions were to maintain a sprayer height of 24 inches, adjust nozzles for a larger spray (heavier drops) and avoid use when weather conditions made drift more likely. Because of temperature inversions, night-time spraying was not advised. However, some farmers didn’t heed this advice & sprayed it directly on the GMO crops. In violation of federal pesticide laws, some used an older version of dicamba which is more prone to drift.

 A lawsuit was filed on July 19, 2017, against Monsanto, BASF and DuPont by 7 farmers in Arkansas citing crop damage. Approximately of 22% soybean crops were impacted by dicamba drift.  Over 3 million acres have been involved in 16 states, affecting not only farms but residential areas, as well as organic farms.

Missouri and Arkansas have banned the use of Xtend. Damage has been found in Mississippi, Illinois, Tennesee, and other areas of the South.

Monsanto, in its usual nefarious rush toward approval because of greed, didn’t test Xtend for commercial applications to avoid delay in the process.  BSAF limited their testing of their version, Engenia, further allowing scientists to “selectively choose” data for regulators.  “Monsanto, in particular, did very little volatility field work,” said Jason Norsworthy, an agronomy professor at the University of Arkansas.

More disconcerting is that research indicates this new pairing of herbicides may not work for very long. Scientists have found that in just 3 seasons Xtend is no longer effective against superweeds like pigweed.

So guess what?  More applications of Roundup and Dicamba will be needed. Or Monsanto, BASF, DuPont, Bayer or Syngenta will have to come up with another chemical concoction.

The poison treadmill continues.


Pesticides Affect Babies & Children

 

Babies & children absorb pesticides at a rate 10X that of adults.

In utero, as infants, babies & children absorb pesticides ten times that of adults.

Keep this in mind when your phobia of bugs prompts you to use pesticides in your yard & home.

Remember also that during pregnancy, pesticide and lawn chemical use will affect your unborn child.

Following are some links to articles I’ve written on pesticides and children:

Dangers of Pesticides:  Sevin Dust, Roundup & Other Garden Chemicals

Sevin Dust Illegal in Many Countries – Top Seller in  The U.S.:     Pregnant women should avoid exposure to Sevin dust because it can cause fetal abnormalities: cardio and pulmonary, nervous system development, spontaneous abortion, ADD in their child and a host of other difficulties. Additionally, women whose pregnancies fall between the months of highest Sevin applications – May and September – have the highest instances of fetal distress in development.

Your questions answered on Sevin Dust. It’s not the harmless chemical you think it is.

Are your kids helping in the garden? You may be exposing them to high levels of pesticides.