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Author Topic: Who Controls the Food, Controls the World
Daruma28
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From Food Fascism in the Land of the Free:

The food industry is no longer a free market. In fact, I'd go as far as saying it's becoming the most glaring example of corporate-government fascism in America.

Actual monopolies fully control the basic building blocks of the food that makes up the majority of the American diet -- and no one seems to care. Simply put, those who control the corn, wheat, and soybeans control all food, since all livestock and all processed foods are dependent on those food resources. These monopolies place their cronies in government regulatory agencies like the FDA and USDA to weed out their competition through excessive regulation. Currently proposed legislation are textbook examples of their methods.

There once was a time when free markets existed for food. Back when local food ruled the day, if a farmer sold milk that was bad, he would not get return customers unless he adjusted his practices to make a healthier product. This free market was self-regulating. In other words, in a truly free market we shouldn't need the FDA. However, as mentioned before, we are light years from a free market.


Subsidies rain down on big agribusinesses that grow what the government tells them to grow. Industry leaders like Cargill, Monsanto, and Tyson essentially turn farmers into indentured sharecroppers. The food engineers at General Mills and others weave corn, wheat, and soybeans into chemical concoctions that end up in brightly colored packages -- some even come with free Chinese-made toys. The finished product develops from a Genetically Modified base, using multiple poisons to glue it together, demonstrating that the monopolies and their regulatory lapdogs care not for our health.

But what about voting with our pocketbooks, isn't that a free market? Surely that is what we have been taught. Yet, all 16 flavors of Cheerios -- which give the appearance of free choice -- are all made by General Mills from a genetically modified corn base. This illusion of choice hides the monopolistic nature of food.

Enter Senate bill S. 510 Food Safety Modernization Act, already passed in the House as HR 2749. Some have demonized the bill as ultimate food fascism where the FDA will micromanage even small farms and co-ops to the point where it will become illegal to grow, share, trade or sell homegrown food. While others see it as a measured way to control the health and quality of factory farms. One thing is for sure, S.510 gives more power to the corrupt FDA to regulate our food. And there is renewed interest in the Senate to pass this bill since the recent massive egg and meat recalls due to salmonella and E. coli outbreaks.


This bill does nothing to change the actual practices of factory farming and the way the food for animals is grown and delivered. It does give the FDA draconian powers to force inspections to be paid for by the farmers themselves. This can be an effective tool for the big multinational agri-corporations to further squeeze out their competition and gain near complete control of food resources in America. Furthermore, S.510 essentially hands much of the FDA's duties over to the liberty-smashing Department of Homeland Security -- which is mentioned 41 times in the bill.

All 273 pages of the bill contain legalize that can be difficult to decode, but one of the easiest ways to determine if it is good for average Americans is to view who is supporting the bill, versus who opposes the bill. Monsanto and other agri-monopolies support the bill with full force. Indeed, some speculate that they even wrote the bill themselves.

Sadly, this bill is gaining momentum because of the recent food recalls. One way or another, our corrupt politicians and their corporate overlords will see to it that there is more regulation over our food. If this bill passes, we can expect more consolidation in agriculture and more police-state raids of private health-food cooperatives. Worse yet, this bill may just be the primer for the even more egregious bill HR.759 Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act, which fully restricts local food producers and natural health remedies.

Food freedom starts at home with the individual choices that we make. However, exposing the corrupt regulatory system and educating the powers that be about healthier ways to produce food is also vital to maintaining our food freedom. It's time we tell the corporate government to back off our food.

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Rallan
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Well bugger me, I agree with Daruma on something.

Well except for this bit:

"In other words, in a truly free market we shouldn't need the FDA"

But that in no way detracts from the fact that the main problem described in that article is very real.

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Colin JM0397
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A properly hobbled FDA might not be bad, but not in the form it currently takes. More power to them, and adding Homeland Security into the mix is a recipe for disaster to organics and the local food, small farm movement that is taking off.

Of course they are using the massive egg recall, but the insanity of that is decentralized and more "natural" (ie pasture raising, not factory farms aka CAFO's) farming techniques nip these issues of contamination in the bud.

Off the top of my head, Joel Salatin in Food Inc. said his chickens tested for bacteria were many times cleaner than factory-raised chicken.

These laws that do nothing but help big industry guarantee more centralization when decentralization is what will truly help.

Of course, as D points out, this is about control, money, and power. Food safety is just the current name of the game, but, like the financial reforms doing nothing for the average American, this bill has nothing to do with providing healthier, better food for us.

For more fun with the FDA, you can read up on how it threatened the Michigan Cherry council and the Diamond Nut company with criminal prosecution because their scientifically-backed health claims made cherries and walnuts drugs:
http://www.naturalnews.com/029698_censorship_FDA.html
quote:
When one U.S. company offering cherry concentrates began linking to government-funded studies that concluded cherries reduce the symptoms of arthritis, they received a threatening letter from the FDA, demanding they remove the links from their website or face "criminal prosecution." (http://www.naturalnews.com/019366.html)

Similarly, the FDA went on the attack to censor the truth about walnuts, claiming that "walnuts are unapproved drugs" when they are accompanied by truthful, scientific descriptions about their benefits for heart health (http://www.lef.org/featured-article...).

Diamond Foods, a distributor of walnuts, posted a collection of peer-reviewed scientific evidence on its website that described the health benefits of walnuts. In return, here's part of the utterly illogical set of demands Diamond Foods received from the FDA which claim that "walnuts are drugs"...

"Based on our review, we have concluded that your walnut products are in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) and the applicable regulations in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR). ...Based on claims made on your firm's website, we have determined that your walnut products are promoted for conditions that cause them to be drugs because these products are intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of disease. ...Because of these intended uses, your walnut products are drugs within the meaning of section 201 (g)(1)(B) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(B)]. Your walnut products are also new drugs under section 201(p) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(p)] because they are not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced conditions. Therefore, under section 505(a) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 355(a)], they may not be legally marketed with the above claims in the United States without an approved new drug application."

In other words, telling the truth about walnuts turns you into a criminal according to the FDA. And if you tell the scientifically-validated truth about how walnuts can help reduce high cholesterol, that act magically transforms your walnuts into unapproved drugs...

Anyone want to guess how that asinine reasoning for what constitutes a drug made it into federal code?
If you are a pharma company, and you don't want any competition for, example, your expensive statin drug, you might just “help” Congress write such a law – for the good of the people and consumer protection from quacks, of course. (oh, and the billions in profits, but that's just a happy side effect from doing what's right).

[ September 09, 2010, 10:51 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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Colin JM0397
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Of course, this bill with the potential to snuff out the organics and small farms just when the proof that many of us already know is, finally, coming out.
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0012346
quote:
Background
Sale of organic foods is one of the fastest growing market segments within the global food industry. People often buy organic food because they believe organic farms produce more nutritious and better tasting food from healthier soils. Here we tested if there are significant differences in fruit and soil quality from 13 pairs of commercial organic and conventional strawberry agroecosystems in California.

Methodology/Principal Findings
At multiple sampling times for two years, we evaluated three varieties of strawberries for mineral elements, shelf life, phytochemical composition, and organoleptic properties. We also analyzed traditional soil properties and soil DNA using microarray technology. We found that the organic farms had strawberries with longer shelf life, greater dry matter, and higher antioxidant activity and concentrations of ascorbic acid and phenolic compounds, but lower concentrations of phosphorus and potassium. In one variety, sensory panels judged organic strawberries to be sweeter and have better flavor, overall acceptance, and appearance than their conventional counterparts. We also found the organically farmed soils to have more total carbon and nitrogen, greater microbial biomass and activity, and higher concentrations of micronutrients. Organically farmed soils also exhibited greater numbers of endemic genes and greater functional gene abundance and diversity for several biogeochemical processes, such as nitrogen fixation and pesticide degradation.

Conclusions/Significance
Our findings show that the organic strawberry farms produced higher quality fruit and that their higher quality soils may have greater microbial functional capability and resilience to stress. These findings justify additional investigations aimed at detecting and quantifying such effects and their interactions.

That's been the theory all along - make the plants duke it out naturally making for not just healthier and stronger produce, but a healthier and stronger ecosystem (as measured by the soil).

[ September 09, 2010, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: Colin JM0397 ]

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Back when local food ruled the day, if a farmer sold milk that was bad, he would not get return customers unless he adjusted his practices to make a healthier product. This free market was self-regulating. In other words, in a truly free market we shouldn't need the FDA. However, as mentioned before, we are light years from a free market.
Actually, this is the heart of where the article is wrong, because it tries to pretend that modern standards that only exist because of current regulations were some how applied before those regulations.

Back in the day if people got sick from bad milk or other such food, they just accepted it as a natural hazard of life. You didn't really have the option of taking your business elsewhere (assuming, even, that it wasn't your own chickens that you were talking about in the first place) because, egregious exceptions aside, there weren't any better options to begin with.

There are definitely reforms needed- specifically ones targeted at factory farming practices and giving local production more of an edge, but the problems would be orders of magnitude worse without active pressure to act against the natural push toward the lowest possible standards.

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Pyrtolin
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It's also important to note that small farms and direct sales from farmers are specifically exempted from the regulations in the bill:

http://thehill.com/images/stories/blogs/smallfarms.pdf

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Daruma28
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There are definitely reforms needed- specifically ones targeted at factory farming practices and giving local production more of an edge, but the problems would be orders of magnitude worse without active pressure to act against the natural push toward the lowest possible standards.


Despite repeated beatings with the clue bat, our resident statist and prime defender of the corporate-government leviathan never fails to promote the memes and shibboleths that uphold the status quo.

The problem here, UI, is that Big Ag factory farming is one of the primary sources of food born illness...and whenever an outbreak occurs, the FDA bureaucrats - who are intrinsically tied to the Big Ag exactly like Dick Cheney and his ties to Big War profiteers - put on a public show of "enforcement" and levy some fine that is a mere piddling of the profits reaped by the Big Ag cartel.

You just don't get it...

...or you do, and you are purposely dissembling.

[Roll Eyes]

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by Colin JM0397:
A properly hobbled FDA might not be bad, but not in the form it currently takes. More power to them, and adding Homeland Security into the mix is a recipe for disaster to organics and the local food, small farm movement that is taking off.

I was thinking an FDA that's better insulated from corporate and political influence rather than an FDA with substantially less power. When the playing field has multinationals with billion-dollar budgets rampaging across the landscape, an under-regulated market would be every bit as bad as a crookedly regulated market.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Big Ag factory farming is one of the primary sources of food born illness
Of course BigAg is the source of most such incidents. The fact that it's the biggest player in the game alone would suggest that, even if everything else were equal, it would have the most incidents. Its pure profit orientation only further exacerbates the problem, and its abuses need to be addressed.

However, even given that, food-borne illness rates are at historic lows and declining. The big failures make the news precisely because such things have become rare enough that they are news rather than normal parts of day to day life. We've gone from such events being so common that they didn't evoke much reaction at all to contamination of less than 1% of US egg production being a major issue.

To put the egg issue in perspective- if you had 12 dozen eggs, you'd need to add two eggs more to get to the point where one would roughly represent the fraction that were infected. There are problems that need to be addressed, but the overall rate of them is trivial compared to what used to be commonplace.

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KidB
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As a historical matter, 19th century markets for food were very heavily regulated...by state and local ordinances. There was nothing "laissez-faire" about it. But the historical role and character of the "public market" has fallen off the radar of ideologues both left and right, since economic histories of American life focus almost exclusively on federal action.

As a practical matter, I agree that the FDA sucks and farm subsidies should end.

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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
The food engineers at General Mills and others weave corn, wheat, and soybeans into chemical concoctions that end up in brightly colored packages -- some even come with free Chinese-made toys.

Food engineers? Hmmm, I wonder if I qualify under that title. Probably not, but either way that's a really bad description. I'm assuming the person that wrote it is pretty clueless about how a modern food plant works.

quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
Yet, all 16 flavors of Cheerios -- which give the appearance of free choice -- are all made by General Mills from a genetically modified corn base.

[DOH] That's so pathetically wrong it hurts. Cheerios don't have any corn, they are oat based and they don't use HFCS.


As to the Bill in question, I don't know enough to judge, but I certainly wouldn't put any trust in a source that is obviously wrong.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
That's so pathetically wrong it hurts. Cheerios don't have any corn, they are oat based and they don't use HFCS.
I'll bet if you go far enough back you can find a common ancestor between them, so obviously the food engineers have been plotting this for the millions of years since they induced that biological change.
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Pyrtolin
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And you left the really ripe fruit of the fundamental disingenuoity inherent in suggesting that the different varieties of Cheerios are even supposed to compete with each other in the first place, as opposed to competing together against products from other companies. I mean, the writer could have at least tried to point out two products that appear to compete but whose labels are actually both owned by the same parent company- that would have raised a much more meaningful issue.

(That might be the foundation for a pretty good shock image- take pictures of grocer story shelves and put them side be side with the same image, but with colors for the ultimate parent companies super-imposed over their products.)

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TomDavidson
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My wife's current research is focused on "genetically modifying" strains of clover and alfalfa to produce a plant that nourishes free-range, grazing animals while reducing methane output. She's as cruel and heartless a villain as I ever met, let me tell you.
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JWatts
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
My wife's current research is focused on "genetically modifying" strains of clover and alfalfa to produce a plant that nourishes free-range, grazing animals while reducing methane output. She's as cruel and heartless a villain as I ever met, let me tell you.

I bet she has an awesomely, villainous "Muahahahah" laugh. [Razz]
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TomDavidson
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That's why I married her.
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Colin JM0397
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The use of antibiotic resistant marker genes are the norm for ID'ing when a gene takes. Yet with genetic drift in the guts of animals (yes, there are studies that show it can occur) there is the chance to transfer those ARM genes to gut bacteria, and then we have the possibility for runaway infections that cannot be treated.

I'm not insinuating anything about Tom’s wife. Only saying "good" people certainly are capable of unleashing unintended consequences that can have harmful results.

That's how legislation like this can even be passed - people support it thinking it will be good for the populace, yet it's not good for anything other than big-ag.

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Daruma28
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quote:
And you left the really ripe fruit of the fundamental disingenuoity inherent in suggesting that the different varieties of Cheerios are even supposed to compete with each other in the first place, as opposed to competing together against products from other companies.
F-ing A, your Engfish is nauseating!!!!

[FootInMouth]

quote:
My wife's current research is focused on "genetically modifying" strains of clover and alfalfa to produce a plant that nourishes free-range, grazing animals while reducing methane output.
What a waste of money, who ever is funding her operation to develop this...of course, I highly doubt the REAL reason they are developing GMO grass is to "reduce" methane. There are far more profitable reasons for GMO...like the ability to thrive heavy doses of pesticides, and the ability to cross breed with natural plants so that the next generation will have the patented GMO genes, so the Big Ag corporations can than claim copyright infringement on another farmer's crops that were pollinated.

But I digress...

The 'problem' of methane from cows (assuming you believe the bull**** AGW myth), is that cows on feedlots stuffed with antibiotic laced corn and soy feed are the ones producing excessive methane...because they are not biologically designed to live and thrive off of corn and soy, and they are confined in an artificial environment.

Whether they are producing excessive methane or not, you don't need to GMO grass, you just need to let them freely range rather than confine them to feedlots.

From http://www.eatwild.com:

quote:
Animal scientists have discovered that dividing pasture land into separate areas or “paddocks” and carefully managing the movement of cattle through those paddocks produces the highest quality grasses. Cattle that graze on this succulent grass produce as much as 20 percent less methane. This style of ranching is called “Management Intensive Grazing” or MiG, and it’s practiced by most of the ranchers on eatwild.com.

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Daruma28
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quote:
[DOH] That's so pathetically wrong it hurts. Cheerios don't have any corn, they are oat based and they don't use HFCS.
JWatts....you might want to check your premise before declaring something is so pathetically wrong....

You might need reading glasses, but look for yourself:

http://www.cheerios.com/forAdults/HeartHealthyEating/WholeGrain/ReadingLabels.aspx

Ingredients Number 2 and three: Modified Corn Starch, Corn Starch.

[DOH] indeed.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
What a waste of money, who ever is funding her operation to develop this...of course, I highly doubt the REAL reason they are developing GMO grass is to "reduce" methane.
A consortium of Dane and Rock County dairy farmers are funding this particular project. It's of great interest to them.
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OpsanusTau
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quote:
The problem here, UI, is that Big Ag factory farming is one of the primary sources of food born illness.
This is certainly true, but it's also true that Big Ag factory farming is the primary source of ... food.

It is kind of an open question whether a well-regulated food system with smaller food production units (which is what sounds appealing to most of us, I'm sure) would actually reduce the incidence of foodborne illness or would just make its appearance less dramatic (ie, more granular).

It's also true that there's never been a food production system leading to less foodborne pathogens. If you open up the "foodborne illness" category to include things like diabetes and obesity and heart disease, of course it's a different story, but since it's not at all clear how much of that is diet and how much is the newly sedentary lifestyle of the last however long ... but I digress.
My point is that as bad as they are, factory farms as regulated by the USDA are super clean and healthy compared to food production systems of the past. Which doesn't mean they can't be improved upon, but let's be honest here. When is the last time someone you know died because of something they ate?

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Rallan
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quote:
Originally posted by JWatts:

quote:
Originally posted by Daruma28:
Yet, all 16 flavors of Cheerios -- which give the appearance of free choice -- are all made by General Mills from a genetically modified corn base.

[DOH] That's so pathetically wrong it hurts. Cheerios don't have any corn, they are oat based and they don't use HFCS.


As to the Bill in question, I don't know enough to judge, but I certainly wouldn't put any trust in a source that is obviously wrong.

Not to mention that all however many flavors of cheerios are openly made by the same brand, so they're not attempting to mislead anyone. You'd think the author could've at least spent five minutes on Wikipedia to come up with one of the (many) examples of similar products from different brands which appear to be in competition but are actually owned by the same parent company. That sort of laziness just undermines an otherwise good point.
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