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“The way we eat has changed more in the last fifty years than in the previous ten thousand”  Food,Inc.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you had to read something twice for it to sink in because it was that unbelievable? Well prepare yourself for one of those moments courtesy of Sustainable Food’s, Natasha Chart.

She writes:

Obama’s considering appointing a former Monsanto vice president, Mike Taylor, to head the Food Safety Working Group at the FDA.

As Jill Richardson writes at LaVidaLocavore at the link above, Taylor thinks the FDA wastes too much time on food safety inspections at meat packing plants. Further, he believes that one of their main problems is that they have to slow down their line speed too much.

Everyone who’s read anything about the horrendous working conditions at US meatpacking plants knows that incomplete kills before slaughter and worker injuries increase dramatically when line speeds increase.

As also noted at the Ethicurean, Taylor is the reason milk from rBGH/rBST cows doesn’t have to be labeled. Bovine growth hormone is perfectly safe, after all. Except for cows, or humans who drink its breakdown products in milk.

So yes, Mike Taylor is the person we have to thank for putting pus from mastitis-infected cows into the milk supply, and exposing milk-drinking Americans by the millions to greater cancer risks.

This guy is heading up a food safety working group.

I’m just swimming in the changeiness.

It will take more than a “ShamWow” to wipe away the affects of this swim “in the changeiness”. Truth is the consumer,  small farmer, organic farmer and local farmer’s markets have already had their share of “changeiness” since Obama took office. Between proposed legislation that strengthens the corporate industrial food complex’s grip on our food supply, like H.R 2749 & H.R.875 , the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) which threatens traditional rural farming and now Monsanto’sTaylor’s FDA appointment, the only conclusion one can reach is we are in the fight of our lives against industrial agriculture, corporate special interest and the kool-aid sipping status quo.

Fighting the Food Oligarchy

Last month, my friend Dave and I attended the USDA’s, National Animal Identification System (NAIS) listening session in Raleigh, NC. These “dog and pony shows” have many consumers and agricultural groups around the country asking the magic question,what’s next? What does the USDA expect to gain from these sessions? After five years of bureaucratic wranglings, nationally an estimated 95%  oppose the program. But the  opposition has not stopped the “USDA from handing out some $150 million in grants” to groups they hope can or will help them gain public support for NAIS. At the session in Raleigh, a mere 30-40 people excluding employees from the USDA, NC State and NC stakeholders showed up.  Approximately half who attended spoke their mind against NAIS, out of those 20 only 5 spoke in favor of the NAIS program. Each of the proponents who spoke had an economic interest for supporting the program, surprised? 

After comments, attendees broke out into 3 working groups to discuss specifics regarding the program. In my group, a veterinarian from NC State (after listening to concerns regarding trust issues with the USDA) said that he was “overjoyed” by the low turn-out at the meeting. To my disgust, he gleefully cited the “trust of NC’s AG department and the success of the state’s “voluntary” NAIS program as reasons for the low turn-out, according to him over 12,880 premises had already been registered. Although members in my working  group were quick to correct him, pointing out that “June” was a busy time for farmers. I believe he  left the meeting feeling that the NAIS program had constituent  support in NC, which is unfortunate because truthfully the low turn-out was probably due to the absolute  lack of media coverage the event received. 

Our mainstream media outlets are quick to report, some would say hype, public health threats like E-coli outbreaks because sensationalism sells. But they will not report on the actual failures within in the system like the in-pocket politicians, the lobbist and the legislation or laws in place that enabled the public health threat or contamination to happen in the first place. I included a clip below because it is a great example of how our media reports public health concerns but ignores the undeniable cause.

Talking about where our food comes from in this country is now TABOO, take the corporate push-back to Robert Kenner’s documentary, Food Inc. for example. The film speaks for itself:

In “Food, Inc.,” filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli–the harmful bacteria that cause illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Kenner tried for years to interview big agribusiness & biotech corporations like Monsanto, all refused Kenner’s request. Instead of being forthcoming with Kenner, Monsanto launched a website to counter the film as if its subject matter was fiction. If you have seen the film, you know it is far from fiction, in fact it provides a level of food transparency that counters the subliminal norm most American consumers are familiar with. And it is appointments like Taylor’s that are giving the corporate industrial food complex the political clout to keep it that way. 

The last thing Monsanto and their competitors want is a transparent public debate with an educated consumer demanding answers regarding the industrialization of our food supply. How dare us for wanting nutritious, locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, my god what horror! Taylor’s appointment to the FDA is a slap in the face to those of us who supported Obama and his now questionable “change”.  At this point it appears the only “change” we can actually count on is the change we bring about as a collective voice. “Can you hear me now”?

Please folks, it’s your call. 

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