Farming

Former DeCoster (now Centrum Valley Farms) Facility Still Haunted by Salmonella

eggcarton2_attPhoto courtesy of wikimedia user Gisela FranciscoCentrum Valley Farms is the company that planned to ”clean up Iowa’s egg industry” last year when it took over the notorious operations of Jack DeCoster in the state. You may remember DeCoster's eggs were implicated in the 2010 Salmonella outbreak that sickened about 2000 people. Unfortunately, it looks like Centrum Valley has food safety problems of its own. According to the Associated Press, the FDA sent a warning letter to the company after finding Salmonella Heidelberg (a different bacteria strain than the more common Salmonella Enteritidis blamed for the 2010 outbreak) in two of six poultry houses.

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Food Integrity? Corporations to "Build Consumer Trust" through Improved Messaging, Not Practices

thumb_what_is_fiIt's unsettling when big food industry groups work to affiliate their brand with the term "food integrity" to attract consumers, instead of taking meaningful action to assure it (at least in our definition of food integrity). The Center for Food Integrity (not to be confused with GAP's Food Integrity Campaign, or FIC) is an organization that helps big agribusinesses "build consumer trust and confidence" in today's industrial food system … a system quite familiar in instituting practices that compromise food integrity. CFI is hosting its 2012 Food Integrity Summit on October 23-24 in Chicago, and I can't help but question whether the event is simply about improving industry messaging rather than providing consumers with food that's in line with community values.

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Court Tells FDA No More Delay on Antibiotic Ban Proceedings

fdaThe FDA's appeal earlier this summer – essentially to escape responsibility from regulating antibiotic overuse in animals – ­faced a major blow yesterday when a federal court in New York decided the agency cannot avoid its duties any longer.

Way to go, judge!

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Walmart to Sell Monsanto's Unlabeled GE Sweet Corn

sweet_cornOnce again, consumers will be left in the dark when it comes to what food they're purchasing at the grocery store – in this case, thanks to Monsanto and Walmart. The largest retailer in the world, Walmart confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that it wouldn't restrict sales of Monsanto's new genetically engineered sweet corn.

Like other foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, the sweet corn does not require labeling to keep shoppers fully informed about what they're eating (a different story in the European Union, China, Russia, Australia and Japan, where it's required). Some food safety advocates say directly consuming GE foods necessitates more long-term, transparent health studies.

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Monsanto News – More Labor Lawsuits; Ties to Paraguayan Coup?

FIC keeps a constant critical eye on biotech giant Monsanto due to its frequent violations of food integrity – food production that is consistent with community values, principles, and beliefs. Recurring news on the agribusiness behemoth definitely keeps us on our toes. (See FIC's previous blog posts about Monsanto).

Last week, eight migrant farmworkers filed a federal lawsuit against Monsanto for paying them sub-minimum wages, placing them in substandard housing, and charging rent despite promises that it would be free. The farmworkers had traveled from Texas in summer 2010 to detassel (remove the pollen-producing flowers so that a hybrid seed can be produced) and sort Monsanto's corn crops in Indiana, an already thankless job that the company seemingly worsened by this alleged treatment (which also included leaving the workforce to fight over kitchen facilities in a cramped school bus).

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EPA Lets CAFOs Off the Hook, Drops Farm Waste Reporting Rule

epaWhat seemed like a basic information request seems to have been too much for factory farms that prefer to keep things under wraps.

The EPA originally planned to issue a final rule this month that would require the owners of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to report certain data, such as the amount of waste facilities generate, and where it goes. But according to the Associated Press, after industry groups threatened to sue if the rule was adopted, the EPA withdrew the proposed rule.

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Former Monsanto Employee Talks GE Crop Concerns Amidst Deregulation Efforts

corn_field_fertilizerThis week the Food Nation Radio Network interviewed former Monsanto employee Kirk Azevedo about his concerns with the leading biotech company's practices, a timely interview as the battle over genetically engineered (GE) food regulation continues on a state, national, and international scale.

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