Tag Archives: Food Freedom

Irrational Infatuation with Biofuels

open quoteAre you upset about rapidly rising food costs and high gas prices? You can thank members of Congress and the administration for this situation. Much of the United States is in the midst of a major drought. That’s not the fault of the political class, but those folks have made the consequences of the drought far worse for the entire world.

First, the facts: Corn and soybeans are the biggest U.S. grain crops and are used in many of the foods that almost everyone consumes each day. Congress subsidized and mandated the use of ethanol in motor fuel. Currently, about 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is used in the production of ethanol. Corn prices rose as a result of the government creating an artificial, additional demand. As a result of higher corn prices, many farmers grew more corn and fewer other crops, such as wheat, which, in turn, caused the prices of those other crops to rise because of lower production.

The drought is resulting in a much smaller corn crop, but by law, much of the remaining corn must be used to produce ethanol, resulting in even higher prices for corn, which reached a record high last week.close quote (Read more)

9-Year-Old Who Changed School Lunches Silenced By Politicians

Another demonstration of what public schools really are: prisons run by goons.

open quoteFor the past two months, one of my favorite reads has been Never Seconds, a blog started by 9-year-old Martha Payne of western Scotland to document the unappealing, non-nutritious lunches she was being served in her public primary school. Payne, whose mother is a doctor and father has a small farming property, started blogging in early May and went viral in days. She had a million viewers within a few weeks and 2 million this morning; was written up in Time, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and a number of food blogs; and got support from TV cheflebrity Jamie Oliver, whose series “Jamie’s School Dinners” kicked off school-food reform in England.

Well, goodbye to all that.

This afternoon, Martha (who goes by “Veg” on the blog) posted that she will have to shut down her blog, because she has been forbidden to take a camera into school. She said:

This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today.
I only write my blog not newspapers and I am sad I am no longer allowed to take photos. I will miss sharing and rating my school dinners and I’ll miss seeing the dinners you send me too.

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The Juice that Defied an Empire

Dear Laissez Faire Today Reader,

The larger and more powerful the government becomes, the more business kowtows to the regulators, out of fear mainly. But there are exceptions and I am particularly inspired by this one.

POM Wonderful is a pomegranate juice that tastes great and has that scrunch-up-your-mouth effect that you get with a bold dry red wine. When I was a kid, it didn’t exist. Like everything wonderful in this world, it comes to us because of the grand beneficence of human volition and entrepreneurial enterprise, that is, people helping people to have a better life.

The company was founded only 12 years ago, and its owners are doing just fine, thank you, and the customers are gleeful to have a way to consume these fruits without having to crack the hard shell, dig through all those horrible seeds and stain their hands and clothes.

But that’s not why I’m writing about POM. What’s especially great is how the company pushed the envelope with its health claims. They’ve been extremely specific on the benefits for the heart, prostate, longevity and every other thing you can imagine and some you don’t want to think about. The owners and entrepreneurs, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, are true believers and great ambassadors for their product.

Especially Lynda. She is a “force of nature,” as one person put it. She believes in this stuff. In fact, she is a fanatic. She lives and breathes the juice. No surprise: serious entrepreneurs love their products, probably more than any one of their customers.

In interviews and in advertising, POM smashed through a barrier with all these claims. These days, the government has nearly every food and drink manufacturer terrified to even mention what its makers regard as the health benefits of its product. They fear being dragged through the bureaucracy and facing some awful government judge.

Why isn’t this an imposition on free speech? It is, and it’s bad for consumers too. We are left to guess or search the Internet while shopping just to figure out ways in which our diet relates to our health. Or we have to visit some witch doctor at the local health food store who thinks we should eat eye of newt or soak our feet in some crazy fluid to become pure, or something like that.

I always have the feeling these days that lots of information — important information that the manufacturer wants me to know — is being hidden from me by regulations.

POM not only tore through this regulatory barrier; the company poured tens of millions into funding scientific studies that no one else wanted to do. That’s serious. Sure enough, these studies have proven what the owners suspected. This is good stuff. No, it is not magic, but nothing is. As far as a drink is concerned, this is healthy juice. It beats soda.

But of course, the government didn’t like what POM was saying and came after the company. Rule of thumb: if something is exciting, new, popular, and profitable, there’s a government lawsuit in the making that is planning to end it all. That’s the role of government these days, to be the monkey wrench thrown in the wheel of progress.

First it was the Food and Drug Administration, which said that its health claims suggest that the juice needs to be regulated like a drug, in which case it has to face what other drug makers face. Then the Federal Trade Commission got involved and said that its advertising claims amount to deception of the consumer.

POM never backed down. It fought all the way through, and continues to fight even after the ruling on May 22, 2012. The press reported that POM lost miserably, and cited the result of a 20-year cease and desist order. That’s very puzzling because here is what the FTC judge actually said:

“Competent and reliable scientific evidence supports the conclusion that the consumption of pomegranate juice and pomegranate extract supports prostate health, including by prolonging PSA doubling time in men with rising PSA after primary treatment for prostate cancer”

“Pomegranate juice is a natural fruit product with health-promoting characteristics. The safety of pomegranate juice is not in doubt”

“Competent and reliable scientific evidence shows that pomegranate juice provides a benefit to promoting erectile health and erectile function.”

At the same time, said the judge, “The greater weight of the persuasive expert testimony demonstrates that there is insufficient competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate claims that the Pom products treat, prevent or reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction or that they are clinically proven to do so.”

Do you see the subtle difference here between reducing risk of dysfunction and promoting function? I’m not entirely sure that I do. Sounds like legalistic baloney to me. And it is any surprise that a dedicated entrepreneur would be a bit hyperbolic about the product he or she is promoting? This seems like a clear case of harassment of a business, not prevention of fraud. Pomegranate juice never hurt anyone. And all these studies do indeed show that it promotes health. So whatever.

POM put its company on the line and staked everything on its right to get consumers information about its products, information that people want and need. Would-be customers are free to look up the claims for themselves and decide. Consumers can reject the claims if they find them crazy and cranky, or embrace them completely. It’s up to the buyer. But shouldn’t people be entitled to know things that businesses want to tell them? One might suppose so.

POM believes that there was more at stake in this hearing than just its business and its health claims. The company believes that the FTC/FDA were preparing the ground to regulate all health products as drugs that should be subject to the entire regulatory control of the government. That would be absolutely catastrophic. Imagine!

In this respect, says the company, “the FTC tried to create a new, stricter industry standard, similar to that required for pharmaceuticals, for marketing the health benefits inherent in safe food and natural food-based products. They failed.”

The company has been fabulously and delightfully defiant and brassy in the face of all this intimidation. In response to the ruling, the company said, “Although we disagree with the finding that some of our ads were potentially misleading, Roll Global will make appropriate adjustments if necessary to prevent that impression in the future.”

Catch that? It will make “adjustments if necessary.” If! Love it!

At least one enterprise in America is not willing to curl up into a tiny ball and beg for life when faced with government harassment. Not only that — and this is even better — the company rightly saw that this judge’s ruling was a great marketing opportunity. So it took out giant and expensive advertisements in The New York Times and touted its innocence using the judge’s own words. That takes guts these days.

May its sales soar to the moon!

I seriously resent how virtually the entire mainstream media presented this FTC decision as some sort of deadly blow to the company. It was not. But at least the company saw that it, and it alone, needed to bear the burden of telling the truth. It didn’t even attempt to crawl. It stood up strong and proud for its product, and their right to tell consumers what they believe to be true. Again, that takes guts.

Maybe the rest of Corporate America needs to drink of this juice!

In fact, let me add an additional and slightly implausible claim about POM Wonderful: This drink can cause your company to be proud of its product and defy even gigantic and powerful government bureaucracies that have zero interest in the well-being of American citizens and only want to expand their power and control at the expense of Americans’ right to know and right to choose.

So sue me!

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Tucker
Primus inter pares, Laissez Faire Club

Sen. Paul Offers Amendment to Rein in FDA Abuses

open quoteToday on the U.S. Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul introduced an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration User Fee Reauthorization bill, which would curb the Food and Drug Associations overreach and abuse of power. Sen. Paul’s amendment, No. 2143, would disarm the FDA, put an end to raids on natural food stores and Amish farmers, and stop FDA censorship of truthful claims of dietary supplements.close quote (Read more)

Feds Steals $70,000 from Small Farms Bank Accounts

open quoteOver the last couple of months, we have detailed numerous examples of how the government seems to be targeting small family farmers. From Michigan raiding small family farms and making it a crime to breed free range pigs, to the federal governments attempts to make it illegal for kids to work on farms, the attacks on farmers seem to be escalating.

In the governments latest assault on the small family farm, we learned about a family who is fighting the federal government after it seized their bank account and stole $70,000 of their hard earned money.

It seems the Sower family, who owns the South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, is being prosecuted by the Department of Justice under the post-9/11 “Bank Secrecy Act”. The act makes it illegal to deposit less than $10,000 if you have deposits totaling more than that. Never mind the fact that it’s your money, the feds can literally freeze and seize your account if you don’t deposit your money in accordance with the federal governments new rules.close quote (Read more)

Statists Argue AGAINST food inspection when free market wants more

These people, are insane. Sadly, it’s fairly typical.

Check out some of the comments in THIS reddit thread. I don’t know where to begin with such people. They defy all logic.

open quote[–]repmack 531 points 24 days ago

Scientifically yes random testing is fine, but to say no you can’t have higher standards just shows you what a crappy organization the USDA is.

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[–]PENISCHEERIOS 627 points 24 days ago

I disagree. I think they are trying to prevent this company from using as a marketing ploy “trust our meat, we test every single cow” and creating a false panic among consumers when random testing is effective.

Kind of like the whole bottled water, don’t trust your tap water smear campaign.

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[–]BangkokPadang 308 points 24 days ago

If they want to spend millions of dollars to test every cow, and use that as a marketing device then what is wrong with that?

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[–]inner-peace 374 points 24 days ago*

Because if it becomes the industry standard, the cost gets passed to the customer, end of the day everyone is paying more for meat and we’re not any safer. Its an inefficient use of resources. EDIT: The prevalence of human disease from mad cow is incredibly low in this country, with a total of 3 confirmed human cases ever. MORE EDITS: consumers are stupid and don’t know whats best for them, the fear of mad cow is disproportional to the danger it poses

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[–]aggregarrett 82 points 24 days ago

the cost gets passed to the consumer…it’s an inefficient use of resources

See, some people would argue that factory farming and meat subsidies already leave the cost of meat in the United States in complete disproportion to its actual value. It’s too cheap. So this leads to increasingly cut costs (and corners) on the producer side, and over consumption on the consumer side.
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Obama Administration uses post-9/11 “Bank Secrecy Act” to target Small Farm family

open quoteOver the past few years, agencies under the Obama administration have been commencing full scale raids on individual farmers, as well as on family farms, under the auspices of non-legislative regulation created by the ATF, EPA, and FDA. These raids focussed on several agricultural areas that included the sale of raw milk, grazing on federal lands, water collection and usage, and the raising of certain categories of swine.

On April 23rd however, the stakes got much higher for the individual farmer as the FDA is now using the terrorist based “Bank Secrecy Act” as justification to invade, investigate, and even confiscate the bank accounts of Americans in the agricultural business.

Now, Obama has the Dept. of Justice going after small farmers under the post-911 “Bank Secrecy Act” which makes it a crime to deposit less than $10,000 when you earned more than that.

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Budget: [Canadian] Government won’t police food labels in future

Some good news for a change:

open quoteThe federal government is getting out of the business of policing nutrition claims on food labels as part of cost-cutting at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The move, outlined in the budget, will help the agency cut $56.1 million from its overall budget by the next fiscal year.

It will now be up to consumers to go to companies or industry associations “for resolution” if they suspect bogus health claims or exaggerated nutrition claims on food packaging.

“The government will change how the Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors and enforces non-health and non-safety food labelling regulations. The CFIA will introduce a web-based label verification tool that encourages consumers to bring validated concerns directly to companies and associations for resolution,” the budget document says.close quote (Read more)

Feds Shut Down Amish Farm for Selling Raw Milk

Tax dollars at work:

open quoteThe FDA has won its two-year fight to shut down an Amish farmer who was selling fresh, raw milk to eager consumers in the Washington region, after a judge this month banned Daniel Allgyer from selling his milk across state lines, and he told his customers he’ll shut his farm down altogether.

The decision has enraged Mr. Allgyer’s supporters, some of whom have been buying from him for six years and who say the government is interfering with their parental rights to feed their children. But the Food and Drug Administration, which launched a full investigation complete with a 5 a.m. surprise inspection and a straw-purchase sting operation against Mr. Allgyer’s Rainbow Acres Farm, near Lancaster, said unpasteurized milk is unsafe and said it was exercising its due authority to stop its sale from one state to another.close quote (Read more)

Walnuts are DRUGS! FDA makes bizarre claim after seller says they ‘reduce risk of heart disease and cancer’

open quoteThey may just be the hardest drugs on the market, if the FDA are to be believed.

A company which sells walnuts has been told they are dealing in drugs because their packaging suggests health benefits which the Food and Drug Administration has not approved, it has been reported.

A fiercely-worded letter from the agency allegedly insisted Diamond Foods, from Stockton, California, remove the health claims or send off for a new drug application if it did not wish to be closed down.

The nut company has been selling its products with packaging which states the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer.

But while the claims are backed up by research, including 35 published medical papers supporting assertions that eating walnuts improves vascular health and may reduce risk of heart attacks, the FDA is said to have insisted the company is ‘misbranding’ its foods because the ‘product bears health claims that are not authorised by the FDA’.close quote (Read more)

How To I.D. Genetically Modified Food at the Supermarket

open quoteNot many consumers realize that the FDA does not require genetically modifiedfood to be labeled.

That’s because the FDA has decided that you, dear consumer, don’t care if the tomato you’re eating has been cross bred with frog genes to render the tomato more resistant to cold weather.

Some consumers may not be concerned with eating Frankenfood, but for those who are, here’s how to determine if the fruits and vegetables you’re buying are (GM) genetically modified.

Hat tip to Marion Owen for her valuable information. Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU codeon the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9.

Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8.

For example:

A conventionally grown banana would be: 4011

An organic banana would be: 94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011

These tips are specially important now that over 80% of all processed foods in the US are genetically modified.

Many countries in the European Union have beenbanning GM products and produce (including Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Luxembourg).

We say “Eat healthy, buy or grow organic”.close quote (Read more)

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

open quoteBrussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. . . .

A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Now the EFSA verdict has been turned into an EU directive which was issued on Wednesday.

Ukip MEP Paul Nuttall said the ruling made the “bendy banana law” look “positively sane”.

He said: “I had to read this four or five times before I believed it. It is a perfect example of what Brussels does best. Spend three years, with 20 separate pieces of correspondence before summoning 21 professors to Parma where they decide with great solemnity that drinking water cannot be sold as a way to combat dehydration.

“Then they make this judgment law and make it clear that if anybody dares sell water claiming that it is effective against dehydration they could get into serious legal bother. close quote (Read more)