Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Happy Spring,  Boys and Girls!       
April 11, 2012
Here we are, again, recapping just a few of the things we have seen in the last few exciting weeks in our zany food system. As you may remember in one of our last episodes, we were fretting over the failure of herbicide RoundUp, sprayed externally on food crops and all sorts of lawns, public places, etc., for beautiful green lawns and inserted into the cells of such food crops as RoundUp Ready corn, soy, and canola.
This failure means that the fossil fuel-derived chemicals both inserted INTO and sprayed ON these GMO (genetically modified organisms, AKA: GE, genetically engineered) crops…are no longer strong enough to do the deadly job of killing off the intended target “weeds.” Why? Because, like everything in nature, “weeds” and other living organisms, adapt to changes in order to survive. When RoundUp is inserted into and sprayed on a plant, this kills most everything but the RoundUp Ready plants, killing many insects and pollinators such as bees and butterflies, “weeds,” and soil organisms . When natural predators for the targeted “weed” are killed off, the problem “weed” is free to come back with a vengeance. So, these “weeds” have become stronger and more deadly to the plant, forcing farmers to use even deadlier chemicals to control them .
What’s a farmer to do??? Simply bring on more deadly chemicals! No muss, no fuss, no nasty weeds! And, what chemicals are in the Generation Next for herbicides? The EPA has cleared the way for use of far more deadly Agent Orange component, 2,4-D, despite international bans of this substance, and national demands to ban its use in the USA Agent Orange? You mean, the defoliant used in Vietnam that caused severe health defects in returning US soldiers and a large percentage of the Vietnam peoples, epidemic birth defects, reproductive disorders, deformities, sterility, and many other identified health risks? Yes, Boys and Girls, and they are planning to start inserting it and spraying it on our corn crops. But, how can our government allow this in and on our food? That is the question of our times, Boys and Girls. How, indeed?
Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, is a case filed in federal district court in Manhattan on March 29, 2011, on behalf of 60 family farmers, seed businesses and organic agricultural organizations, challenging Monsanto’s patents on genetically modified seed. The plaintiff group now represents over 300,000 members. On March 28, 2012, in Federal District Court in Manhattan, family farmers filed their Notice of Appeal to Judge Naomi Buchwald's February 24th ruling dismissing Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will hear the farmers' appeal, seeking to reinstate the case, which has received worldwide attention.
Our good friends at Monsanto (maker of RoundUp), are planning to sue the State of Vermont for demanding to have all GMO ingredients labeled by law Connecticut, Hawai’i and California are also pushing for laws to get GMO’s labeled. Do you think we need to know what is in the food we buy and that we should be clearly informed on the labels, as over 50 other nations currently mandate by law, to decide for ourselves whether or not to buy and eat GMO products, Boys & Girls? If you think so, you are amongst the 98% of Americans who agree with you. The FDA, EPA and USDA are supposed to work for us, Boys and Girls! Why do they refuse to protect us?
After an unprecedented 1.1 million comments delivered to FDA demanding that GMO’s be labeled, here is their official response: “…We have not been able to reach a decision on your petition….We hope to be able to complete the review of your petition and respond to your request in the near future.”
Other ideas:
·         -Get your hands dirty, forget the lawn and grown your own food!
·         -Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm; there are many . You pay a “share” for the season in advance, so the farmer has a good financial start for the growing season, and you get local food all the way through the Fall! Search by zip code: .


CDC: No Source Confirmed in Outbreak That Has Sickened 93

Sushi or sashimi suspected

Ninety-three illnesses linked to an outbreak of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 19 states and the District of Columbia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Wednesday, but CDC officials said a specific food has not been identified as the source of the infections.

However, many of those infected recalled eating sushi, sashimi or a raw dish such as ceviche, in the days before they became ill, according to the public health agency.

In an investigation report released Wednesday afternoon, the CDC revealed the states reporting illnesses: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (4), District of Columbia (2), Georgia (4), Illinois (8), Louisiana (2), Maryland (8), Massachusetts (4), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (6), New York (23), North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (4), South Carolina (3), Texas (3), Virginia (5) and Wisconsin (8).

The CDC's message follows an internal U.S. Food and Drug Administration email on the outbreak investigation that was inadvertently circulated beyond the agency. That emailed summary did not list all the affected states.

And although the FDA email said investigators were looking at sushi as a possible source of the illnesses, and singled out spicy tuna roll sushi as "highly suspect," the CDC said no food item has been conclusively identified.

"On initial interviews, many of the ill persons reported consuming sushi, sashimi or similar foods in a variety of locations in the week before becoming ill," the CDC stated Wednesday. State health officials are continuing to interview outbreak patients about what they ate, the CDC said.

According to the outbreak report, of 51 outbreak-related patients who provided food histories to public health investigators, 37 (69 percent) recalled eating sushi or sashimi during the week before their symptoms began. That compares with a control survey of healthy individuals in which only 5 percent said they'd eaten sushi, sashimi or ceviche in the 7 days before they were interviewed. 

At this time, however, the CDC said it is not advising people to avoid any specific foods or specific restaurants, and will alert the public if additional information becomes available.

According to the CDC, the outbreak-related illnesses were reported from January 28 to March 23, 2012. Those ill range in age from 4 to 78 years old; median age is 31.

Illnesses that occurred after March 4 may not yet be included in the outbreak count because of the lag time -- an average of 2 to 3 weeks -- between when a person becomes ill and and when the illness is reported to health authorities.

In the effort to figure out where this outbreak started, data collected by the states and the agency's district offices have focused on 6 restaurant clusters where diners later reported illness. Those clusters are in Texas, Maryland, Rhode Island and Connecticut, and two are in Wisconsin, according to the FDA email, which did not identify specific restaurants. 

The traceback efforts to find the source of the contamination, according to the FDA email, include looking at menu items ill diners consumed, ingredients, brands, preparation and suppliers in the cases associated with the restaurant clusters. If the outbreak source is sushi, investigators will be trying to determine what part of the sushi was contaminated.

People who think they have become ill from a contaminated food product should consult their health care provider, the CDC noted. The way to confirm a Salmonella infection is through stool specimen analysis.

Most people infected with Salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps at least 12 hours and up to three days after consuming contaminated food, so often the last food they ate is not the food that made them sick.

S. Bareilly is a relatively rare type of Salmonella in the U.S., with some estimates indicating it is responsible for only 1 percent of Salmonella infections.

S. Bareilly has been associated with raw sprout contamination in previous outbreaks. In the UK in 2010, there were 241 cases of Salmonella Bareilly infection in an outbreak linked to bean sprouts germinated from contaminated seeds.

CDC Outbreak Map

This article was updated to include new information from the CDC.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Fukushima Radiation Found in California Kelp

- Common Dreams staff

Radioactive isotopes from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan have been detected in the great kelp forests off the California coast, according to a new study released by researchers at Cal State Long Beach. Following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, a wave of radioactivity traveled across the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists from CSU Long Beach tested giant kelp collected off Orange County, Santa Cruz and other locations after the March 2011 accident and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor in Japan. After the Fukushima incident last spring, Stephen Manley and Chris Lowe, biology professors at California State-Long Beach wondered how released radiation would affect giant kelp canopies, a keystone for the coastal ecosystem.  What they found, low-levels of certain radioactive isotopes, seemed to have no impact on the kelp's health, but their discovery adds anxiety for those who fear the ability for nuclear fallout to have long-ranging consequences.
Iodine 131 "has an eight-day half-life, so it's pretty much all gone," Manley told the San Francisco Chronicle. "But this shows what happens half a world away does effect what happens here. I don't think these levels are harmful, but it's better if we don't have it at all."
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The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
Kelp off California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state's coastline, according to a new scientific study.
Scientists from CSU Long Beach tested giant kelp collected off Orange County, Santa Cruz and other locations after the March 2011 accident and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor.
The largest concentration was about 250 times higher than levels found in kelp before the accident.
"Basically, we saw it in all the California kelp blades we sampled," said Steven Manley, a CSU Long Beach biology professor who specializes in kelp.
The radioactivity had no known effects on the giant kelp, or on fish and other marine life, and it was undetectable a month later.
* * *
And KPCC in California reports:
Sampling revealed high levels of Iodine 131, as well as in some fish species that feed on the kelp. Iodine 13, a radioisotope, dissipates quickly. It has no known effects on kelp or fish, and Manley and Lowe said it’s not a human health concern.
However, the Corona del Mar sample had 250 times the iodine kelp in the area usually has.
Researchers suspect that airborne radioactivity carried in rainfall ran off into the ocean there.
As a result of this work, Manley and Lowe said they now want to trace longer-lived radioactivity through the marine food web.
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