Archives – December, 2011
The Food Rights Network will be on vacation from January 1 – January 13. Happy New Year, and look for the next “Raw Milk in the News” on Thursday, January 19!
- “Small Farmers Fight the Good Fight”: According to the Rock River Times (12/28), “In Loganville, Wis., the saga of Mennonite farmer Vernon Hershberger has switched from defense to offense after four charges were levied this month. . . . The state charged him with a retail food violation between Aug. 6, 2009, and June 3, 2010, a raw milk producer violation between Feb. 15, 2010, and June 3, 2010, a dairy plant violation between Feb. 15, 2010, and June 3, 2010, and a ‘holding order’ violation between June 2, 2010, and July 8, 2010. Hershberger ignored the raid and went back to business as usual of supplying small amounts of organic products to members, or in his view, fellow owners.
“Hershberger has a Wednesday, Jan. 11, court date at 1 p.m. The date was originally set a week earlier, but Hersberger asked for a continuance to set up a rally by food club members and by local concerned citizens to be held outside the courthouse, 515 Oak St., in the city of Baraboo, before Court Commissioner Leo Grill. . . .
“Hershberger has never laid claim to being a retailer.
“‘It just so happens that I am the one who takes care of the cows, which we all share in a lease agreement,’ Hershberger said. ‘Let’s remember that by law, to lease is to own and that is why the state is picking on me. . . .’
“The state’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) took issue with the club, which has members scattered across the state, and raided Vernon’s farm. They taped his refrigerators shut and cited it as a crime scene. . . . Vernon was held at gunpoint in his living room in front of his young family . . .” (more…)
December 29, 2011
The Food Rights Network will be on vacation from January 1 – January 13. Happy New Year, and look for the next “Sewage Sludge in the News” on Wednesday, January 18!
- Lehigh County Pennsylvania Residents Allege Local Sludge-Spreading Has Made Their Well Water Undrinkable: According to NBC Philadelphia (12/28), “Several Lynn Township, Pa. farmers use a bio-solid called ‘granulite’ to fertilize their crops, according to township authorities. ‘Granulite’ is sewage sludge turned into dried pellets, 30 percent of which is made of human waste. Residents like Bill Schaffhouser fear the health effects when this chemically-treated sewage fertilizer seeps into the ground and water. . . . Schaffhouser says that he and his neighbors can no longer drink their water because the sewage fertilizer has seeped into the drinking water, the storm drains and the nearby creek.”
- Site Contaminated by “Composted” Los Angeles Sewage Sludge Shows High Levels of Zinc, Copper and Sulfur: According to the blog “Root Simple” (12/27), “Ecological designer Darren Butler, at a class I was sitting in on, showed a soil report from a site that had used compost from the city of Los Angeles. LA’s compost contain biosolids, a euphemism for sewage. The soil test showed high levels of: zinc 196 ppm; copper 76 ppm; [and] sulfur 5,752 ppm. The problem isn’t human waste, it’s all the other stuff that ends up in the sewer.” (more…)
December 28, 2011
The Food Rights Network will be on vacation from January 1 – January 13. Happy New Year, and look for the next “Food News You Can Use” on Tuesday, January 17!
- Food Industry Insider Bruce Bradley Sums Up 2011 in the Big Food World (The Blog of Bruce Bradley, 12/24) :
12 Days of Christmas - adapted by Bruce Bradley
- “FDA OK’s High Levels of Dangerous Carcinogens in Seafood” (Alternet, 12/20)
December 27, 2011
- New Jersey Battles Over Raw Milk Bill; Academics Divided (NJ Spotlight, 12/21; Rutgers News, 11/29; Dairy Herd Network, 12/21)
- Canadian Raw Dairy Farmer Michael Schmidt Appeals Conviction; Media Blitz (The Bovine, 12/19; Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre, 12/19; CTV News, 12/19; National Post, 12/19; Montreal Gazette, 12/19; Better Farming, 12/20)
- Canadian Raw Milk Activist Gordon Watson Files Suit Against British Columbia Health Authorities (Vancouver Sun, 12/19 & 12/16)
- “FDA Escalates War Against Amish Dairy Farmers” (Food Freedom Blog, 12/19; Washington Times, 12/20)
- Organic Pastures Dairy Co. Quarantine (Mostly) Lifted, to Political Drama (The Complete Patient Blog, 12/16 & 12/18)
December 22, 2011
- Gallatin, Tennessee Issues $10 Million in Bonds to be Funded by Revenues from Selling Treated Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer: “The city currently has to pay to have its sewage sludge hauled off, but with the new plant, the sludge will be treated and processed into nutrient-rich organic material called biosolids that are promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency for use as fertilizer” (Tennessean, 12/20). Warning, Tennesseans! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in “biosolids.” As the new Sludge Blog points out in its most recent post (12/20) about Washington, DC’s sludge being spread on Virginia farms, “It is absurd to believe that the material removed from the wastewater at sewage plants simply needs a bit of zapping and then it’ll be fine. The process in the works at Blue Plains, a $400 million upgrade from Class B to Class A biosolids, will make sludge supposedly ‘safe enough to put in your mouth — though it’s not encouraged’ because the new Class A biosolids won’t contain pathogens that can sicken humans and animals. The pathogens are definitely a problem. But so are heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, radioactive waste, flame-retardants; the list of modern American inventions that end up in the drains goes on and on” (emphasis added).
- Sludge Spill in Three Rivers, Michigan: A hose break yesterday within the fenced area of the Clean Water Plant (wastewater treatment plant) in Three Rivers, Michigan, resulted in a spill of 300 gallons of treated human and industrial sewage sludge over about 50 square feet, caused by failed/faulty equipment. According to the plant director, “The discharge did not enter any storm water structures, was immediately cleaned up with a vacuum truck, and disinfected with sodium-hypochlorite granules” (River Country Journal, 12/20). (more…)
December 21, 2011
- Cases of Organic Fraud: From the outing of industrial-scale certified organic dairy Shamrock Farms in Arizona (Cornucopia Institute, 12/15) to the corn fraud mentioned in last week’s news roundup and a gang of alleged organic fraud conspirators recently broken up by Italian police, discovered cases of organic fraud are on the rise (Global Organic Marketing Access, 12/13).
- Ten Percent of U.S. Sodas Contain Flame Retardant Banned in Food in Europe and Japan: Brominated vegetable oil (BVO), patented by chemical companies as a flame retardant, is “found in 10 percent of sodas in the United States” (Scientific American, 12/12), particularly “citrus-flavored sodas such as Mountain Dew. BVO has reportedly led to soda-drinkers experiencing skin lesions, memory loss, and nerve disorders. Interestingly, these are all the symptoms of overexposure to bromine. What is most concerning is the fact that studies have found that BVO can actually build up in human tissue, accumulating in large quantities over long periods of soda consumption” (NaturalSociety, 12/16). “Reports from an industry group helped the U.S. Food and Drug Administration establish in 1977 what it considers a safe limit for BVO in sodas. But some scientists say that limit is based on data that is thin and several decades old, and they insist that the chemical deserves a fresh look” (Scientific American). (more…)
December 20, 2011
The Water Environment Federation (WEF), the sewage sludge industry trade group that invented the Orwellian PR euphemism “biosolids” for toxic sludge in 1991, is now “rebranding” sewage treatment plants as “water resource recovery facilities.” The PR spin conveniently glosses over the toxic sewage sludge removed from the water and then heated and dumped on land for crops and grazing as “fertilizer” or misleadingly called “compost.” The toxins in sludge can then bioaccumulate in the meat and dairy we eat and be taken up by the food plants that feed us. (more…)
December 15, 2011
- Raw Milk Hits Mainstream Media: Raw milk and raw milk activism is prominently featured in recent stories by ABC News (12/15) and Bloomberg (12/5).
- Maine Dairy Farmers Sell Organic Raw Milk at Farmers’ Markets and as “Top Rung” Quality Organic Milk to Cooperatives (Boston Globe, 12/14). More about the city of Portland, Maine’s battle over whether or not to allow raw milk sales at farmers’ markets is here (Portland Examiner, 12/7).
- Wisconsin Citizens Speak Out on Behalf of Raw Milk Farmer Vernon Herschberger (Rock River Times, 12/14). David Gumpert’s The Complete Patient blog also summarizes Herschberger’s case as well as Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyers (12/9). Herschberger’s charges were announced by the media before he received a summons. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, a local division of the national right-wing lobbying front for big agribusiness and agribusiness-related industries that works to defeat labor and environmental initiatives, the American Farm Bureau Federation, went on record opposing direct sales of raw milk.
- “New Jersey Raw Milk Vote Expected Soon“ (New Jersey Herald, 12/14)
- Raw Milk Freedom Rider Max Kane Interviewed on Wisconsin Public Radio (12/8). Organizer Kathy Pirtle was also interviewed on the Wisconsin Radio Network (12/8).
- “British Columbia Raw Milk Co-op Loses Latest Court Challenge” (CBC News, 12/7)
- Organic Pastures Dairy Could “Restart Raw Milk Production Soon” (Fresno Bee, 12/6)
December 15, 2011
- British Columbia Residents Blockade Sludge Trucks: On December 9, a group of Salmon Valley, British Columbia residents blockaded (250 News, 12/9) the first sludge truck that aimed to spread City of Prince George human and industrial waste on neighboring farmlands. The City is considering a court injunction against the protesting residents, but so far the truck has not returned. Stay tuned for more on this story from the Food Rights Network.
- Hinkley, California Sludge Facility Sanctioned by Judge: A Hinkley plant that would process Barston, California’s human and industrial waste has received judicial approval of the company’s environmental impact report (Victorville Daily Press, 12/12). According to the local press, “Bob Conaway, Hinkley resident and member of HelpHinkley.org, said the group opposes the plant due to the environmental and community impacts the facility will have on the Hinkley community. Conaway explained the group’s biggest concerns are with odor, wind and water supply, among others. Each of these matters are addressed in the company’s EIR, which has been under legal scrutiny these six years. Conaway said he felt the information given to the judge in this case was inaccurate or incomplete, though he’s not sure what the group’s next steps will be.”
December 14, 2011