P.J. Huffstutter is one of the few journalists in the country paying close attention to the rising tide of “food safety” laws. In a recent article, “Raw food raid raises questions over existing milk laws — and the safety of potlucks,” she appreciates how serious – and odd – things are becoming. On top of discussing the recent spate of raw food raids, she also tells us that “concerns over food safety” by Wyoming’s Teton County public health department led “to a ban on public potlucks.”
People respond to the words “food safety” as the government’s sincere concern for health, not noticing that the FDA recently asserted in court that the public has “no generalized right to bodily and physical health.”
What is going on?
Perhaps it might help for people to know that the FDA’s “food safety” division is being run by Monsanto, an almost universally reviled corporation for its assaults on farmers, its lies and lies, its corruption (inspiring an international movie), and for being at the bottom of the barrel of corporations in terms of ethics. Yet the Monsanto connection to “food safety” is being downplayed. Michael Taylor, former Monsanto VP, now oversees all the FDA’s food and nutrition programs. He is expected to run the giant centralized agency that S 510 (now in the Senate), would create.
Central to the FDA’s “food safety” campaign is criminalizing raw milk. By declaring it a threat to human health, the FDA bolsters local raids (with weapons drawn) on private raw food collectives, claiming control over locally produced food, including church fundraisers and, as we now see, potlucks.
Big Food, through corporate media and its agents in key positions in government, is doing what it can to generate public fear of natural, unprocessed food — its direct competition. Danger from raw milk is the prime example, where the media amplifies the fear people have over deaths from raw meat.
Philip Rudnick (Professor Emeritus, Chemistry, West Chester Univ. of Pennsylvania) did some research on this in 2007. By searching Medline, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s online database, he entered the terms ‘milk death’, ‘raw milk fatality’, ‘raw milk fatal’ and ‘raw milk fatalities’. The database “produced a single citation of a single case of death in 1983 of a 72-year-old woman during “an outbreak of illness caused by raw milk” (Tacket CO, Dominguez LB, Fisher HJ, Cohen ML. JAMA. 1985 Apr 12;253(14):2058-60.).” He explains:
“Since Medline citations go back to 1949, this means that, absent information to the contrary, there has been one Medline-documented fatality over a period of 57 years from the consumption of raw milk produced in the United States.
“How do FDA-approved drugs compare? Even if one considered only the last 21 years of this 57-year period (starting with the GAO Report year of 1985), using the conservative figure of 100,000 deaths per year from the use of properly-prescribed-and-used FDA-approved drugs, then the death-toll from the use of FDA-approved drugs over this considerably shorter period of time has been at least 2,100,000 victims.” [emphasis added]
When comparing the relative safety of raw milk to pasteurized milk, the standards are actually higher for raw milk. This is true for the nutritional value as well. This chart prepared by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a non-profit “dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism” compares natural milk to factory milk.
How is it that the FDA, which misses both the utter harmlessness of raw milk and its special nutritional value, and which itself is associated with millions of deaths from approved pharmaceuticals, has been put in charge of “food safety” for local food?
FDA Attack on Supplements and Herbs
Food supplements are also being targeted for FDA raids. Rudnick is amused that food itself, by FDA’s peculiar reasoning, can be declared a drug.
“‘It’s a bird, it’s a plane…’ If recommended ‘for the prevention and treatment of scurvy’, it’s adjudged a legal (and therefore safe) FDA-approved drug. If recommended ‘for some possible health benefit in cancer’, it’s adjudged an unapproved, illegal, and possibly hazardous drug. As a supplement distributor, you would be threatened with closure of your business or would be raided. If not recommended for anything, it’s adjudged a legal dietary supplement.”
Rudnick also posted this quote from a 1993 court case where the FDA was stopped from over-reaching control:
“It apparently is FDA’s view that if a company makes a claim that milk helps prevent rickets, milk suddenly becomes a drug.” ~Federal Judge Lowell Jensen, District Court, San Francisco, in USA v. Nutri-cology, September 23, 1993.
He also provides this chart:
Thus, with food supplements as well, the utter harmlessness of food (nutritional) supplements are met by FDA attacks versus vast numbers of deaths by the drug industry being met by the FDA giving them a pass.
[Didn’t the FDA threaten health stores and websites for selling immune-boosting products to prevent the H1N1 flu virus (though the government claimed that H1N1 may kill up to 90,000 people)? [Background on FDA v Weil at Natural News.]
On the other hand, didn’t the FDA just write a new rule for the drug companies, allowing them to change ingredients in vaccines with only the approval of a single FDA employee ?
And now, at just the same time that nutritional local food is being attacked by the FDA, there have been four bills this year alone aimed at removing the public’s access to nutritional food supplements. Meanwhile, the FDA would not take Avandia off the market before it caused 83,000 heart attacks. FDA let that CEO go free but used Interpol to kidnap and imprison an herbalist for selling anti-cancer herbs that had harmed no one.
One would almost think the FDA is attempting to remove access to nutrition itself. To health. (But wouldn’t removal of good food and food supplements lead to ill health? Who would profit by that?)
Is the FDA just confused about what is dangerous and what is safe? Could it be something other than confusion? And in either case, confusion or something else, why is the FDA in charge of food safety at all, especially when they have declared in court that the public has no rights over food or even their health? Haven’t they essentially admitted what seems true from the statistics and their actions already, that they don’t care about the public’s health, and nutrition be damned?
Access to nature’s food is a basic right of all living creatures
The FDA – run now by a former executive of what has been called the most evil corporation on the planet – proposes to take control of all food in the US, using what are curiously (perhaps humorously to them?) called “food safety” laws.
Perhaps the following might give a fuller picture of the impact of such food safety laws, as applied (already inappropriately and brutally) to local farmers and food producers.
1. Against a background of few to zero fatalities or illnesses or complaints,
2. At a time when the country greatly desires to expand fresh local food production everywhere across the country, and
3. At a time when millions of people are out of work, and making and selling food has traditionally provided a means of income and a way to start home-owned businesses,
Corporate “food safety” laws are attacking every kind of local and interpersonal food activity, though those activities allow families to pass skills, history and traditions to their children, though those activities encourage sharing and connection, though those activities are the very foundation of diverse cultures and religious groups, though those activities are the heart of all communities, though those activities offer the means to restore our local and nationals economies, though those activities are the most basic of all labor, though those activities provide local and personal control over food – a life and death issue.
Below is a very small sample of the effect of these corporate-introduced “food safety” laws raining down now across the country, destroying Americans’ most basic human rights to come together and enjoy food and each other as they always have, destroying the very fabric of our local communities and their distinctiveness, and blocking sharing itself, the most fundamental of moral actions and human impulses. The food safey laws already in place prevent:
* Bringing homemade foods to churches for bazaars;
* Selling at farmers markets homemade goods (including distinctive (and ethnic) foods unavailable in any other way);
* Donating food to the homeless;
* Donating homemade foods for school fundraisers;
* Selling excess food to neighbors which farmers made for their own families, a practice that is as old as agriculture.
The “food safety” laws are broadly and vaguely written, giving virtually endless power to the state. And in that broadness, they are malleable and can be raised at any time to put any farmer or food business out of business (the grease trap is not big enough, the stove needs to be replaced, the kitchen needs to be converted to stainless steel, the farmer needs a separate facility for capping his milk bottles, the farmers needs million dollar equipment to clean seeds, etc.).
It is easy to see why Vandana Shiva has called “food safety,” the Law of Food Fascism.
It is almost as though a new form of discrimination is slowly coming down on all Americans from their own government, a new civil rights struggle that has yet to be defined as such, and what people are being cut off from is not schooling or housing or public accommodations, but the very basics of existence: food and health. Survival. Life itself.