Natural Cures Not Medicine: 08/21/13

Most Read This Week:

Farmers to Face Fines or Jail Time for Dealing Directly with Customers

Natural Cures Not Medicine on Facebook:

This would seem to embody the USDA’s advisory, “Know your farmer, know your food,” right? Not exactly.

For the USDA and its sister food regulator, the FDA, there’s a problem: many of the farmers are distributing the food via private contracts like herd shares and leasing arrangements, which fall outside the regulatory system of state and local retail licenses and inspections that govern public food sales.

Image: Natural Health Page
In response, federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences. Food sold by unlicensed and uninspected farmers is potentially dangerous say the regulators, since it can carry pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli O157:H7, leading to mild or even serious illness.

Most recently, Wisconsin’s attorney general appointed a special prosecutor to file criminal misdemeanor charges against an Amish farmer for alleged failure to have retail and dairy licenses, and the proceedings turned into a high-profile jury trial in late May that highlighted the depth of conflict: following five days of intense proceedings, the 12-person jury acquitted the farmer, Vernon Hershberger, on all the licensing charges, while convicting him of violating a 2010 holding order on his food, which he had publicly admitted.

Why are hard-working normally law-abiding farmers aligning with urban and suburban consumers to flaunt well-established food safety regulations and statutes? Why are parents, who want only the best for their children, seeking out food that regulators say could be dangerous? And, why are regulators and prosecutors feeling so threatened by this trend?

Members of these private food groups often buy from local farmers because they want food from animals that are treated humanely, allowed to roam on pasture, and not treated with antibiotics. “I really want food that is full of nutrients and the animals to be happy and content,” says Jenny DeLoney, a Madison, WI, mother of three young children who buys from Hershberger.

To these individuals, many of whom are parents, safety means not only food free of pathogens, but food free of pesticides, antibiotic residues, and excessive processing. It means food created the old-fashioned way—from animals allowed to eat grass instead of feed made from genetically modified (GMO) grains—and sold the old-fashioned way, privately by the farmer to the consumer, who is free to visit the farm and see the animals. Many of these consumers have viewed the secretly-made videos of downer cows being prodded into slaughterhouses and chickens so crammed into coops they can barely breathe.

These consumers are clearly interpreting “safety” differently than the regulators. Some of these consumers are going further than claiming contract rights—they are pushing their towns and cities to legitimize private farmer-consumer arrangements. In Maine, residents of ten coastal towns have approved so-called “food sovereignty” ordinances that legalize unregulated food sales; towns in other states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, and as far away as Santa Cruz, CA, have passed similar ordinances.

The new legal offensive isn’t going over well with regulators anywhere. Aside from the Hershberger action in Wisconsin, and a similar one in Minnesota, Maine’s Department of Agriculture filed suit against a two-cow farmer, Dan Brown, in one of the food-sovereignty towns, Blue Hill, seeking fines and, in effect, to invalidate all the Maine ordinances. In April, a state court ruled against the farmer, and in effect against the towns; sentencing is due within several weeks, and the case could well be appealed.

The jury in the criminal misdemeanor case of Minnesota farmer Alvin Schlangen last September acquitted him of all charges after several hours of deliberation. But the regulators’ push against privately-distributed food continues unabated. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has moved forward with a local prosecutor in Schlangen’s rural county, pressing similar criminal charges as the ones he was acquitted of in Minneapolis. He is scheduled to go on trial again in August. And in Wisconsin, prosecutors sought, unsuccessfully, to have Vernon Hershberger jailed for allegedly violating his jail terms since charges were filed in late 2011.

At its heart, this is a struggle over a steady erosion of confidence in the integrity of our industrial food system, which has been hit by disturbing disclosures seemingly on a weekly basis. In just the last few weeks, for example, we have seen shrimp, cookies, and veggie burgers recalled by the FDA for being sold with undeclared ingredients.
Also in recent weeks, members of Congress and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control have escalated warnings about the growing danger of antibiotic resistant pathogens emerging from farm animals, which consume about 80 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. The Atlantic reported last summer that medical specialists are seeing a spike in women with urinary tract infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, likely transmitted by chicken meat.

This erosion in the confidence of the food system carries serious implications. It financially threatens large corporations if long-established food brands come under prolonged and severe public questioning. It threatens economic performance if foods deemed “safe” become scarcer, and thus more expensive. And it is potentially explosive politically if too many people lose confidence in the professionalism of the food regulators who are supposed to be protecting us from tainted food, and encourages folks to exit the public food system for private solutions like the consumers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Maine, and elsewhere. Just look at the vituperative corporate response to recent consumer-led campaigns to label foods with genetically-modified ingredients.

As more consumers become intent on making the final decisions on what foods they are going to feed themselves and their families, and regulators become just as intent on asserting what they see as their authority over inspecting and licensing all food, ugly scenarios of agitated citizens battling government authorities over access to food staples seem likely to proliferate. It’s an unfortunate recipe for a new kind of rights movement centered on the most basic acts—what we choose to eat.

David E. Gumpert is a writer who covers the conflict between food rights and food safety. His latest book is “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights: The Escalating Battle Over Who Decides What We Eat”. His previous book was “The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights”. He has written for Modern Farmer, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Huffington Post, Grist, and Food Safety News. He is a former reporter with The Wall Street Journal and a former editor with The Harvard Business Review.


GMO Cabbage With Scorpion Poison Gene Coming Soon

Natural Cures Not Medicine on Facebook:

Originally published on Gaia Health.
Image: Raw For Beauty
Get ready for genetically engineered cabbages that come complete with their own scorpion poison, just for you to eat. It’s touted as requiring less pesticide use and being, of course, completely safe. Close investigation, though, indicates that neither claim is likely true.

A pesticide made with scorpion poison genetically engineered into a virus was first tested back in 1994. Interestingly, the scientists who sprayed the test field wore full body suits to protect them from this “harmless” poison. One must wonder at just how safe it could be when the developers themselves don’t trust it more than that! Of course, the head of the trial, Professor David Bishop, insisted that the trial was safe—though he himself opted to take a vacation, rather than be there for it.

In the newer incarnation of scorpion poison genetic engineering, genes from the scorpion, Androctonus australus hector, for production of poison are being genetically engineered into cabbages. The goal is to produce them for public consumption. With the FDA’s history of rubberstamp approvals for genetically modified crops, it seems unlikely that anything will interfere with their production and entry into a supermarket near you.

Let’s examine the justifications given for this never-to-be-found-in-nature cabbage-scorpion chimera:

1. It will result in the use of less pesticide.
At first blush, this seems to make sense. But it’s specious reasoning. The reality is that, instead of spraying pesticides onto the plants, the plants will contain them in every single cell. The result is that the pesticide will end up in the bodies of people who eat the cabbage. Thus, human beings will become the unofficial pesticide sinks, instead of the environment. I suppose there’s a plus in that, but I do not personally intend to be one of those pesticide sinks. Do you?

2. It’s completely safe.
Where have we heard that before? In this instance it stems from two things:

The scorpion venom has been modified so that it won’t hurt humans: This isn’t quite true. What they’ve done is select a section of the genome that codes for a toxin, called AAiT, which is known to be poisonous to insects.

A study that purports to show that it does no harm to humans[2]: Well … not exactly. The human testing was not performed on live people, nor was it performed on normal healthy cells. It was tested on MCF-7 breast cancer cells—not exactly normal human cells. Do you find that comforting? I certainly don’t.

Will Frankencabbages Be Effective At Stopping Pests?

This is, of course, the real issue, because it’s why farmers Agribusiness would want it. That could prove to be a problem. According to the study on AAiT’s toxicity against insect cells, the toxicity is greatly limited by ingestion. The authors wrote:

[L]ow toxicity with an LC50 of 18.4 μM was recorded in artificial diet incorporation assay in which the toxin was consumed by the testing insect through feeding. We suggested that this might be a result of toxin degradation by digestion.[2]

Sources: Raw For Beauty

Green Med Info

Company Produces Cancer Causing Herbicide, Sells Drug to Treat Same Cancer

Natural Cures Not Medicine on Facebook:

According to recent research, the chemical herbicide atrazine has been shown to cause breast cancer in lab animals:
"several studies found either a higher number or earlier appearance of mammary gland(breast) tumors in the female rats fed a moderate to high level of atrazine over long periods of time. These rat studies suggest that atrazine could be a possible breast cancer causing agent."(Source: Cornell University)
Atrazine is the second most used herbicide in the US. It is estimated that at least 70 percent of the US population is exposed to it on a daily basis since it's the most common chemical pollutant in drinking water.

Femara(letrizole) is popular treatment for breast cancer in women. The drug is produced by Novartis Pharmaceutical company and acts as an aromatase blocker which helps stop tumor growth in patients suffering from breast cancer. By blocking aromatase in the body, Femara is able to stop cancer growth. The herbicide atrazine is known to cause increased levels of aromatase which is one cause of breast cancer.

Here's the problem. According to the Journal Star:
"Syngenta was formed by the merger of Novartis and Astra Zeneca, while the manufacturer of the drug Femara or letrozole, a leading breast cancer medication, is Novartis Pharmaceuticals"
You read that right. The same company that produces this breast cancer causing herbicide has a subsidiary of it's company that also sells the medicine to "fix" the problems being caused by their own product. So do you consider this a conflict of interest, a genius business plan which will create customers forever, or a sinister and inhumane plot to capitalize on our health? Let us know in the comments below.

Here are some petitions to stop the use of atrazine:

Yoplait yogurt is more like junk food than health food. Here's why

Natural Cures Not Medicine on Facebook:

Despite its cute, organic-looking ad blitz, the yogurt company still needs to work to make its products ‘so good’ for our bodies.
Image: Yoplait

Yoplait and other major companies bill their yogurts as health foods, but one hard look at the label tells a different story.
Last summer Yoplait made a splash in the food world when it cut high-fructose corn syrup from its yogurts, apparently in response to customer outcry. If you’ve turned on the TV at all this summer, surely you’ve seen the company’s self-aggrandizing commercials:

Yoplait’s removal of high-fructose corn syrup from its yogurts was a good move, for sure. The cheap sugar substitute is laden with genetically modified corn and has been linked to a higher prevalence of diabetes. The move followed a commitment in 2009 that its milk would come from cows not treated with rbGH (or recombinant bovine growth hormone), which has been linked to increased rates of infections in dairy cows, elevated antibiotic use, and unresolved questions about its links to serious human health risks, including cancer.

Hearing Lisa Kudrow’s adorable voice telling you how great Yoplait is for you now may cause some to want to run out and buy a case. Not so fast.

For one thing, it still has tons of added sugar. Yoplait Original has 27 grams of sugar—more than five teaspoons! And at 170 calories, 108 of which come from sugar, Fooducate put it perfectly: “Sounds more like a snack or treat than a health food.”

You might be tempted to buy the Light version, which contains only 14 grams of sugar (still a high number). Yoplait’s Light version replaces some of the sugar with aspartame, of which many nutritionists are extremely wary.

“Aspartame is not really any better than high-fructose corn syrup,” says Lisa R. Young, author of The Portion Teller. “I have never been a fan of artificial sweeteners, mostly because they don’t really help people lose weight and they are full of chemicals. While I am really not a fan of sugar or corn syrup, it really is a quantity issue—as both are still sugar!”

Additionally, Young says the long-term effects of aspartame are not known, though studies have connected it loosely with conditions like cancer, diabetes, difficulty losing weight, and birth defects. Yikes.
Michael Pollan famously said that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients list, it isn’t food. Pollan’s rubric would appear to be especially tough on Yoplait, whose yogurts contain no fewer than 14 multisyllabic ingredients—several of them actually made with corn, most likely of the genetically modified variety.

“Why ruin a healthy yogurt by adding in artificial stuff?” Young asks.
Yoplait has even been in some trouble of late for its claims. General Mills was taken to court in 2012 in a class-action suit claiming its Greek Yogurt is not yogurt at all. The product is made with protein concentrate, which the Food and Drug Administration does not recognize as an ingredient in yogurt.

Also, like Dannon, Yoplait dyes many of its yogurts with carmine, which is made from the “dried, pulverized bodies of the cochineal insect.”
How’s this for a better choice: Lightly sweeten some plain Greek yogurt with honey (preferable over five teaspoons of sugar), and add fresh or frozen fruit (instead of crushed-up bugs). Easy!

Source: Raw For Beauty


Before trying anything you find on the internet you should fully investigate your options and get further advice from professionals.

Below are our most recent posts on facebook