Dole lied. People died.

Dole knew of Listeria; feds launch criminal investigation

Dole salad production facility in SpringfieldUPDATED CONTENT 6:37 p.m. EDT — The U.S. Department of Justice in investigating Dole in relation to the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak, according to a news release posted on the company’s website.

“Dole has recently been contacted by the Department of Justice in connection with its own investigation, and we will be similarly cooperating with the DOJ to answer questions and address any concerns,” according to the company statement. The statement came today after Food Safety News published information from the Food and Drug Administration’s inspection reports on the Dole salad production facility in Springfield, OH.

Company officials knew the salad plant was contaminated with Listeria for a year and a half before they shut it down — then they only took action after the U.S. and Canadian governments traced a deadly outbreak to the facility.

Inspection reports (483) obtained by Food Safety News revealed the timeline of positive Listeria results and inaction. Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. finally suspended production at its salad plant in Springfield, OH, on Jan. 21 this year after a random test by state officials showed a bagged salad contained Listeria monocytogenes.

By that time, at least 33 people in the U.S. and Canada had been sickened with the same strain of Listeria as was found when Ohio inspectors tested the Dole salad they collected from a retailer. All 33 victims had such severe symptoms they required hospitalization. Four of them died.

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Shrimp are a safety disaster waiting to happen

via AlterNet

Shrimp are a safety disaster waiting to happen

Most people do not realize the majority of shrimp sold in the U.S. are neither domestic nor wild-caught. They are imported from countries like Thailand, India and Indonesia where they are “farmed” in crowded, filthy pools with antibiotics, disinfectants and parasiticides that are banned in the United States. The shrimp themselves have their eyes removed before being raised in pools so dense and dirty that many die.

The FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety of such imported shrimp for human consumption, yet over 96 percent of shipments are not opened or even checked when they arrive on the dock in the United States. Instead, exporters’ identities are stored in the FDA Automated Commercial System (ACS) system and only if a country or company has had prior problems will it receive receive inspections. Even then, the so-called inspection may only be a look at documents or a visual inspection, not lab tests for dangerous substances. FDA inspectors admit that blocked exporters can “transship” their products from another country to fool inspectors. Is anyone surprised that banned drugs and mislabeled products including pet shrimp find their way to U.S. dinner tables?

Like so many food products that are bad for consumers, intensively farmed shrimp also harm the environment, workers and animals. A recent, award-winning Associated Press series exposes slave labor used in the commercial seafood industry in Indonesia and Thailand—and the actual incarceration of captive workers in Myanmar in cages. U.S. officials and human rights activists call on Americans to “stop buying fish and shrimp tied to supply chains in Thailand.” Intensive shrimp farming also harms sensitive mangrove areas.

Occupy Genetically Engineered Foods!

An action alert from the Center For Food Safety

Sen. Boxer and Rep. De Fazio wrote a “Dear Colleague” letter which went public February 8th, urging U.S. legislators to support the labeling of GE foods. This is the first initiative of its kind in Congress and is a great opportunity to urge your Congressional representatives to sign on to the letter and support mandatory labeling!

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Please call or email your legislators over the next 2 weeks (close date is Wednesday February 29th) and ask them to support the labeling of GE salmon and foods. Please especially target the key individuals listed below if you are in their State or District..

Charlie Bass (R-NH) 603-226-0064 Scott Brown (R-MA) 617-565-3170
Mary Bono Mack (R-45th CA) 760-320-1076 Sen. Begich (D – AK) 907-271-5915
Keith Ellison (D-5th MN) 612-522-1212 Sen. Collins (R – ME) 207-780-3575
Chris Gibson (R-20th NY) 518-306-5450 Sen. Leahy ( I- VT) 802-863-2525
Raul Grijalva (D-7th AZ) 520-622-6788 Sen. Murkowski (R – AK) 907-456-0233
Richard Hanna (R-24th NY) 315-724-9740 Sen. Murray (D – WA) 206-553-5545
Doc Hastings (R-4th WA) 509-452-3243 Sen. Sanders (I – VT) 802-862-0697
Walter Jones (R-NC) 800-351-1697 Sen. Snowe (R – ME) 207-874-0883
Ron Kind, (D-3rd WI) 715-831-9214
Tom Latham, (R-4th IA) 515-232-2885
Chellie Pingree, (D-1st ME) 207-774-5019
Reid Ribble, (R-8th WI) 920-380-0061
Kurt Schrader, (D-5th OR) 503-588-9100
Heath Shuler (D – 11th NC) 828-252-1651
Fred Upton, (R-6th MI)  269-385-0039
Peter Welch, (D-At Large VT) 888-605-7270
Don Young (R – AK) 907-271-5978

For more information, please visit the Center for Food Safety

Farmageddon the Documentary

“How much longer should we defer to a governmental agency that has consistently failed to perform its duties?  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is charged with protecting the American food supply, yet not a week goes by without another food-related health scare seizing headlines across the nation:  listeria in pasteurized milk;  spinach contaminated with E. coli; and potentially unsafe meat from “downer” cattle (animals which are sick or injured and unable to stand).”

“These outbreaks are the results of decades of USDA policy decisions which favor corporations and industrial agriculture over small family farms and local production.  Intensive animal and crop operations can lead to sick animals and tainted vegetables entering the food chain, and regulations which would prevent these incidents are often overlooked when corporate interests are at stake.” –Linda Faillace

[Vimeo 16513455]

A film by by Kristin Canty

Featuring Joel Salatin, Jackie Stowers, Mark McAfee, Linda Faillace and Eric Wagoner

123 Street Ave.
Somerville, MA 02144

Truth in Labeling: What’s in Your Milk?

Eli Lilly wants you to get less information from your food label—and Ohio is defending that view in court!

Some dairy farmers choose to use an artificial growth hormone (recombinant bovine growth hormone or rbGH), produced and sold by Eli Lilly, to make cows produce more milk.

Unfortunately, rBGH has numerous harmful side effects for cows, and has been linked to a wide range of health problems for consumers.

But many retailers, as well as all organic dairies, sell milk products from cows that are not injected with synthetic growth hormones. They tell you that on the label, so you can choose the “no artificial growth hormones” or “rbGH-free” if you prefer it.


Last year, Ohio issued a rule that will make this distinction more difficult for Ohio shoppers to find, and the state is defending the rule in an expensive court proceeding..

Subject: Fax Gov. Strickland: Stop Muzzling Ohio’s Organic Dairy Farmers

Dear Friend,

Ever since last year, Ohio dairy producers have been threatened by an onerous “emergency” regulation that muzzles their ability to communicate with their customers.

Specifically, the milk labeling rule, issued in May 2008, prohibits dairies from labeling their milk as “rbGH-free” and adds other unnecessary bureaucratic requirements that are getting in the way of dairy companies that want to tell you that their milk is produced without synthetic growth hormones.

Fortunately, Governor Strickland has the power to rescind this order unilaterally — and end the costly litigation brought by organic farmers challenging this unconstitutional infringement on their free speech rights.

I just sent Governor Strickland a fax asking him to act within his authority and immediately rescind his executive order. Please have a look and take action.

Frequently Asked Questions About rBGH from Food Democracy Now!

What is rBST or rBGH?

Bovine somatotropin (BST) is a protein hormone naturally produced in the pituitary glands of cattle. Monsanto developed a recombinant version, rBST, by using a genetically engineered E. coli bacteria. Sold under the brand name “Posilac,” it is injected into cows to boost milk output in the short term. This practice is coming under increasing scrutiny. rBST is also known as rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone).

How does rBST affect the animals that receive this drug?

Posilac packaging lists many possible side effects of the drug, including reduced pregnancy rates, visibly abnormal milk, hoof disorders and a need for more drug treatments for health problems. Cows treated with rBST face a nearly 25% increase in the risk of clinical mastitis, a 40% reduction in fertility, and 55% increase risk of lameness. (The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 2003)

Why is increased chance of infections like mastitis a problem?

In addition to the needless suffering of the animal, increased incidence of infections could lead to increased use of antibiotics and an increased risk of antimicrobial residues in milk and to antibiotic resistant bacteria. (“Report on Public Health Aspects of the Use of Bovine Somatotropin,” issued March 15-16, 1999, p.16, and available from The European Commission—Food Safety.)

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that “Decreasing unnecessary or inappropriate antibiotic use, in humans and animals, will decrease the resistance pressure on the treated organisms. Ongoing efforts. . .are needed. . .so that the efficacy of antibiotics is preserved as long as possible.”

Is rBST allowed for use in other countries?

The product is already prohibited in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and in the 27 countries of the European Union.

How does rBST affect milk production?

rBST is known to increase the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in cows, which can lead to increased IGF-1 in milk. (“Report on Public Health Aspects of the Use of Bovine Somatotropin,” issued March 15-16, 1999, and available from The European Commission—Food Safety.)

What are the concerns about IGF-1 in milk?

Many studies have noted some links associated between IGF-1 levels and increased risk of cancer, especially breast and prostate cancer. (Holmes, Pollak, et. al. “Dietary Correlates of Plasma Insulin-like Growth Factor I and Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 Concentrations” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, Sept. 2002, p. 852-861; Chan, Stampfer, et. al.“Plasma Insulin-like Growth Factor-I and Prostate Cancer Risk: A Prospective Study,” Science, January, 1998, p 563-566; Yu, Jin, et. al, Insulin-like Growth Factors and Breast Cancer Risk in Chinese Women, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention, August 2002, p. 705-712.)

What other potential problems have come up?

Studies of animals exposed to rBST raise concerns about potential changes in milk protein that could lead to allergies. (“Report on Public Health Aspects of the Use of Bovine Somatotropin,” issued March 15-16, 1999, p. 17, and available from The European Commission—Food Safety.)

What do milk and milk product labels need to say about not using rBST?

Labels must be truthful and not misleading. To avoid misleading consumers, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance from February 1994 suggests a label statement such as: “from cows not treated with rbST” or other truthful description.

As recently as August 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FDA rejected a request for new restrictions on rBST marketing claims at the federal level. The FTC stated “food companies may inform consumers in advertising, as in labeling, that they do not use rBST.”

How does this issue compare with other types of truthful labeling statements?

Even if there is not currently any laboratory test that can distinguish between milk produced with rBST, and milk produced without rBST, other food labels regularly include truthful statements that are not verified by laboratories. Examples include: state or country of origin, type of water, such as spring or well, specific names of wines, such as Riesling, that must have at least 90% Riesling grapes, and statements about the age of products such as cheese or whiskey. It’s not right to single out dairy as requiring a lab test for truthful statements about production practices.

You can find more information at the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility – Campaign for Safe Food.

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