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Poll: Modern Agriculture Changing Consumer Habits

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, July 21, 2008 2:03 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family, In The Workplace
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Food Borne Illness, Salmonella, E. coli, Spinach, Tomatoes

Iindustrialized agriculture may be contributing to food borne illnesses.



 IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Hog confinement barn interior/ author: EPA


Half of consumers polled have changed their habits concerning the foods they buy and eat over the past six months, according to a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Since April, a search for the source of salmonella in tomatoes, now in peppers remains a mystery.

A salmonella scare has cost the tomato industry about $100 million over the last few months. Finding the source of tainted produce has also highlighted the inadequacies of the government’s ability to track the specific source and journey of a tomato during this food-borne illness outbreak.

Consumers aren’t too shaken by the entire salmonella outbreak. The poll finds three out of four people are confident about the relative overall safety of food. Most have avoided buying foods that were the focus of warnings.

Since vine-ripened tomatoes were never on the list (nor were grape and cherry tomatoes), many consumers have turned to local farmers’ markets to buy their produce. 

The poll reflects the overwhelming feeling (86%) that produce should be labeled so it can be traced back to the farm, as well as the processors, packers and shippers in between.  Presently there is no tracking system, and when FDA investigators tried, they could not follow the path a tomato had taken from field to store.

80 percent of respondents said they would support new federal standards for the safety of fresh produce.

In the poll, women were more concerned than men about food safety. Women do more food shopping than men. While men were 39 percent “very confident” about the safety of the food we buy, only 23 percent of women felt “very confident”.  

Congress plans a hearing on food safety July 30. Tomato growers want to know why the investigation by the FDA took so long, especially since food-handling companies are supposed to keep traceable records for food as it travels along the distribution chain.

California’s tomato sales are down about 40 percent.

“It’s a government-made disaster,” Melanie Horwath, a family member with the Gonzales Packing Company in the Salinas Valley tells the San Francisco Chronicle. The company has seen a crop loss of about $2 million this season. “The government has a responsibility to only provide facts, not idle speculation. They’re going to put us all out of business,” she says.

The source of an E. coli food-borne illness in late 2006 has still not been determined.  Both salmonella and E. coli bacteria live in the intestinal tracts of animals and can be transferred through humans, animals, soil and water.

In that case, the suspected source by many is industrialized agriculture, where huge numbers of cattle are concentrated in one area, and fed a corn-rich diet that creates acidity. The sludge from these operations is sent downstream.  

One advocate of food safety in Congress says the industry should listen to the public.

"We live in an age of technology where you can bar-code a banana," said Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. Told Fox News.  "We've got to work this through with the industry and come up with something that's reasonable. The more confidence consumers have, the more goods they will purchase."

So far about 1,200 people have been sickened in 42 states since mid-April when the first cases were seen.  The tomato warning has been lifted in most areas, but cilantro and hot peppers are under suspicion. #

1 Comment

Anonymous User
Posted by Sandi Trend
Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:37 AM EST

The Perils of playing God and Biotechnology

The Perils of playing God and Biotechnology.
     “Science Will Save the World or It Will Destroy Us All” The world is now “at risk” as a result of Genetically Modified Microganisms (GMOs) being used on food crops, animal feed and for the use of insect control. Is it too late? What becomes of the eco system now that GMO’s are now in the soil and no doubt, will effect future crops for GENERATIONS TO COME. “Playing God” kills!
     I have, within the last few years tried to warn government agencies, both federal and state about the dangers of GMO’s (genetically modified microorganisms) that are being used on our food crops, animal feed and for insect control in the form of bio-pesticides, bio-insecticides and bio-fungicides to no avail. Now, we and the world are the throws of what has not been released to the public as well as internationally. The Pandora’s Box has been opened, and because of lack of oversight from both Federal and state agencies in the biotechnology arena we are now facing the biggest challenges ever. Our food supply is now contaminated with Salmonella and prior to this it was E-Coli. Now, there has been a second strain of salmonella that has been identified by investigators in North Carolina,
***“Search finds 2nd salmonella strain - Discovery is ‘extremely interesting.’ Officials unsure if second type also sickened anyone. By Mike Baker Associated Press: “Joe Reardon, director of the N.C. Agriculture Department’s Food and Drug Protection Division, told The Associated Press that testing found the salmonella strain oranienburg at a Charlotte-area food supplier”
     The “Conditional Time-Limited” Registration” issued on June 20, 2000 to the company, Agraquest, Inc. in Davis, California by the EPA - OFFICE OF PESTICIDE PROGRAMS -PESTICIDES AND POLLUTION PREVENTION DIVISION. On the standard EPA Form number 8570?6 it states:
“After fermentation and prior to further process, each batch must be tested for the following microbial contaminates and have levels below those listed:
     I question, “WHY” any level of the above pathogenic (disease producing) microorganism, either bacteria and/or fungus would be allowed what-so-ever, especially when it is used on crops and spayed for insect control. This makes no sense.
     I was interviewed by Steve Zeltzer on May 13, 2008 by Steve Zeltzer - Labor On The Job Project and an Injured Workers Advocate for many years. Also on this show was Dr. Larry Rose - The “last” Cal/OSHA Public Health Medical Officer in the state of California, he was with Cal/OSHA for 28 years, and Dan Berman - Author of “DEATH ON THE JOB”. This video can be found at the following link: http//video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8772395089110184693
Description of the Labor Video:
“Focuses on the case of Agraquest biotech worker David Bell. Bell who worked at the Davis, CA biotech laboratory owned by former Monsanto scientist Pam Marrone was infected with fungus and Bacteria while working. He and his family have faced a terrifying battle for healthcare and justice from injuries on the job.”
“Despite the fact that his mother found material in his body that was patented by scientists at the laboratory he has been Prevented from getting full healthcare to save his life. The corruption and breakdown of the workers compensation system is connected to the deregulation of workers compensation and the elimination of all medical doctors at Ca-OSHA.”
The lack of ability by Cal/OSHA (State of California) to properly “inspect” biotechnology companies is most alarming given the fact that products from California are being used on our food crops as well as animal feed and used as insect control throughout, not only the United States, but the world.
***I am submitting questions from host and interviewer, Steve Zeltzer and answers and quotes from Dr. Larry Rose concerning this oversight on California’s part with relation to Cal/OSHA:
Steve Zeltzer:
“Welcome to Labor On The Job, I’m the host, Steve Zeltzer.”
Steve Zeltzer:
“Tonight we’re going to be looking at the issue of health and safety, workers memorial day, healthcare and the state of workers in California and Nationally and what’s been happening with Cal/Osha. So joining us tonight first is Dr. Larry Rose. Welcome to the show Dr. Rose.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Thank you ”
Steve Zeltzer:
“And you’re a retired Dr from Cal/Osha? ”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Yes, I worked 28 years at Cal/Osha as the Chief of the Medical Unit and I retired about a year and a half ago. ”
Steve Zeltzer:
“Ok we going to talk about what happened to David Bell who was an employee at
Agraquest, when he did make complaints. So, but we have an idea here of some erious problems, it seems debit problems with OSHA and with the protection of workers who complain about health and safety.
Now, Dr. Rose, you started at Cal/OSHA and you were saying there that when… how long… how many people worked there? How long did you work there? When did you get onboard at Cal/OSHA? ”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Yes, Well when I started there were 11 million California workers and they were all covered except for Agricultural workers. That was in the Jerry Brown dministration. There were six Doctors in the Medical….. called the Medical Unit and there were well over 2 to 3 hundred, what we call Compliance Officers - ndustrial Hygienists.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Well it’s critical because there are a lot of areas…. the Compliance Officers, or Industrial Hygienists, and they’re not trained at all in medicine. They don’t know how to read a medical record, they know nothing about infectious diseases…. and we also inspect hospitals and medical facilities of all sorts and…”"
Steve Zeltzer:
So you need a trained Physician or a trained professional, medical professional…
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Absolutely, the tile was Public Health Medical Officer and we were all … had that title.”
Steve Zeltzer:
“And there were 6 Doctors?”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Right, for the whole state of California.”
Steve Zeltzer:
“For the whole state of California.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Both South and North and Central Valley… yes. Slowly, as we had…. it was always a very political agency and as republican’s came into office. First Deukmejian and then there were… Wilson. they kept, as the Doctors retired or left they would not replace them. And finally, at the last 5 to 8 years I was the only Doctor there.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Well, it sounds’ it sounds like it’s a hype to me in terms of calling it organic. First off, if you’re using pathogenic organisms that’s not exactly organic…. that’s a risk not only the environment, the workers… but also possibly the food Consumers as well.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“I’d like to inject here that the way they classify biosafety in labs is they classify it 1 through 4. Say the most hazardous, say like anthrax would be a 4 so you have to have like space suits and total control. Now if these were pathogens he was working with it sounds that should rate very high in biosafety requirements.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“Yea… If they’re using potentially pathogenic microorganisms to spread on… you know, vast areas of the environment in relation to say, specific what they call pests the first thing you would have to determine if OSHA went in there… and what I can…. I’ll get the record but from what I can tell first thing they would’ve had to have was either a microbiologist or a Doctor, a public health Doctor to look at how pathogenic are these organisms. Are they as bad as, say Anthrax? Could they be? And then you have to determine do they have the proper level of bio safety? And then you don’t go and just look at the face velocity of a vertical lamenter flow hood… that’s nonsense! What you do is then you go back and you say, “you’ve got the wrong level”. you cite them and you require them to get the right level of bio safety and the other things… not spread the agent around in the neighborhood and that would be the Approach…. and if they don’t have a Doctor at Cal/OSHA to do that or…. you know…. then … they’re going in blind.”
Dr. Larry Rose:
“When you’re called in and a worker has possibly picked up a very serious infectious disease from the work Process, you don’t just go in and measure a face velocity and give a tag. You’ve gotta do some… you know real investigation. Go over all the medical records and you’ve got to get the Organism and submit it to the proper lab to determine it’s patogenicity. In other words, there’s a series of steps you would take because you’re not only trying to protect all the workers there now and future workers, but you also have to protect the community when you’re talking about an infectious disease, this is a serious public health matter. So looking at what OSHA did and I’m just astounded that they had that kind of very weak response, inappropriate response according to the law. The law states that you have to have to go through this kind of process and you certainly can’t fire a worker whose complaining. Also, OSHA should have responded within 72 hours, that’s required by law in this kind of.. you know, complaint. I don’t know what they Were doing, but they obviously handled the thing illegally.”
“Why” should anyone, with the advanced technology this century has, have to be afraid to be employed, eat agricultural crops, drink the water and breath the air in the United States of America?
     I became interested in bio harm when my son got sick from working as an Assistant Researcher in a bio-pesticide, bio-insecticide, bio-fungicide etc. research and development laboratory.

by strend on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:30:32 PM
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