EXPOSING the FDA and the USDA - Broad Casting here the things that they would prefer us NOT to know about our FOOD & DRUGS & Farming.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

USDA announces new Office Of Ecosystem Services And Markets

Hot News frum Big Mouth Broad Casting, dec. 31, 2008

More Bureaucracy frum USDA;

USDA has announced plans to establish a new USDA Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets and to create a federal government-wide Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board to assist the secretary of agriculture in the development of new technical guidelines and science-based methods to assess environmental service benefits which will in turn promote markets for ecosystem services including carbon trading to mitigate climate change.

“Our nation’s farms, ranches and forests provide goods and services that are vital to society — natural assets we call “ecosystem services,” said Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. “The Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets will enable America’s agriculture producers to better compete, trade their services around the world, and make significant contributions to help improve the environment.”

Agriculture producers provide many ecosystem services which have historically been viewed as free benefits to society — clean water and air, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and scenic landscapes. Lacking a formal structure to market these services, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are not generally compensated for providing these critical public benefits.

Market-based approaches to conservation are cost-effective methods to achieve environmental goals and sustain working and natural landscapes. Without financial incentives, these ecosystem services may be lost as privately-owned lands are sold or converted to development.

Shafer said he will name Sally Collins as the director of the Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets. Organizationally, OESM will have direct access to the secretary. Collins will assume this position after serving as associate chief of the USDA Forest Service for the past eight years, where she pioneered concepts for ecosystem services and markets as part of that agency’s sustainable land management mission.

OESM will provide administrative and technical assistance to the secretary in developing guidelines and tools needed to create and expand markets for ecosystem services and will support the work of the Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board.

As directed by the authorizing legislation, the first ecosystem services to be examined will be carbon sequestration. The Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets and the Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board will be established to implement actions authorized by the 2008 farm bill.

The Conservation and Land Management Environmental Services Board will be comprised of the secretaries of Interior, Energy, Commerce, Transportation, and Defense; the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology ; the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and the commander of the Army Corps of Engineers. The secretary of agriculture will chair the board. The chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Administrator of Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs will serve as vice-chairs.

Nominations will be sought in the near future for a federally chartered public advisory committee to advise the board. The advisory committee will include farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, tribal representatives, as well as representatives from state natural resource and environmental agencies, agriculture departments, and conservation and environmental organizations.

“Ecosystem service markets will be one of the most important and exciting new tools to improve our nation’s environment — reducing greenhouse gasses, improving water quality and expanding wildlife habitat,” said Jon Scholl, American Farmland Trust president. “The new Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets — the activities of which were authorized in the farm bill passed in June — will help make these markets a reality.”

“As the single largest user of land and water resources in the United States, agriculture has a significant impact on the nation’s environment. Agriculture also is one of the most cost effective ways to improve two of our nation’s most pressing environmental challenges — water quality and climate change. Creating markets for environmental benefits will result in enormous new opportunities for farmers and ranchers to improve the environment while expanding their sources of revenue.

“Our vision for the future is one where producers see ecosystem services as a commodity just like corn, soybeans or wheat,” Scholl said.

“We look forward to providing assistance and expertise to Susan Collins, the new USDA director, in developing these markets. We can end up with cleaner water, cleaner air, and a more economically viable agriculture sector if we do this right,” Scholl said.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Sausage Recall over Listeria Contamination

Date Published: Friday, December 26th, 2008

In another case of possible listeria contamination, a variety of T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage Krakow sausages are being recalled. The Associated Press (AP) reports that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that the potentially tainted sausages were produced on December 18 and sold at the T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage retail counter in St. Louis, Missouri. Reuters noted, according to a statement released by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), consumers might have bought the sausages December 18-19.

The Cattle Network reported that T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage is recalling approximately 750 pounds of Krakow sausage, which were sold in various sizes and wrapped in unmarked butcher paper with no label. The recalled T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage Krakow sausages were custom-wrapped at the company store and do not bear the company number or the USDA inspection mark, said Reuters. The contamination was discovered through FSIS routine microbiological testing, said the Cattle Network, which is advising consumers with questions to contact T. Piekutowski European Style Sausage company Owner-Operator Ted Piekutowski at (314) 534-6256.

The listeria bacterium is found in soil, vegetation, raw milk, meat, poultry, cheeses (particularly soft mold-ripened varieties), and salad vegetables. It is estimated that about 2,500 cases of listeria occur in the United States annually with about 200 in every 1000 cases resulting in death. Listeria monocytogenes can grow at low temperatures, even in refrigerated environments and often invades the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, listeria can travel through the blood stream and is found inside cells where toxins are produced resulting in damaged cells. Listeriosis—the illness caused by the listeria bacteria—symptoms can develop in days or weeks and can vary from a mild flu-like illness to meningitis and septicemia; pregnant women can experience anything from miscarriage, still birth, or birth of an infected child are about 20 times likelier than others to be infected, with about one-third of listeriosis cases occurring during pregnancy. The incidence of listeriosis in newborns is 8.6 per 100,000 live births and the perinatal and neonatal mortality rate (stillbirths and early infant deaths) is 80 percent. People with compromised immune systems—such as those undergoing chemotherapy treatment or diagnosed with HIV/AIDs and hepatitis—the very young, and the very old are also at risk.

All at-risk individuals are advised to avoid certain foods, such as soft mold-ripened cheeses and pates, given those foods’ high incidence of being linked to listeria infection. To avoid listeria contamination, consumers are generally advised to thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked and ready-to-eat foods; avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made from unpasteurized milk; wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after handling uncooked foods; wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating; and consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible and within their expiration dates.

Earlier this week, FSIS announced that DeNiro Cheese, a Youngstown, Ohio, firm recalled some of its Sopressata sausage products over concerns of Listeria monocytogenes contamination also discovered through FSIS routine microbiological testing.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 10:42 am and is filed under Legal News, Food Poisoning


Friday, December 19, 2008

Madoff Messes it up; Major Sustainable-Food Foundation Collapses-

For a couple of years, there has been lots of buzz in the sustainable-food world about the Fair Food Foundation of Ann Arbor, Mich.

Fair Food was founded recently by Oran Hesterman, under whose leadership the Kellogg Foundation became the key funder in the sustainable-food space. Kellogg has been pulling back from that space; Fair Food, which was gearing up to begin giving $20 million per year, was expected to fill the void.

Today brings a stunning announcement: Fair Food is closing down. In an email message I obtained from the Comfood listserv, Hesterman wrote that the funds of the foundation's main donors had been managed by Bernard Madoff, the financial operator who has been accused of defrauding his clients of billions of dollars.
Read the full story by clicking on the title above.

Madoff's Auditor...Doesn't Audit?
Madoff's Wife Surrenders Passport, Now Under SEC Investigation
"How I Got Screwed By Bernie Madoff"


Securities Fraud: "Organic" Rice from China

Hot News frum Big-Mouth Broad Casting; Dec 18, 2008

China Organic Agriculture, Inc. CNOA Securities Stock Fraud

Company: China Organic Agriculture, Inc.

Ticker Symbol: CNOA

Class Period: Jul-12-07 to Aug-14-08

Date Filed: Dec-18-08

Lead Plaintiff Deadline: Feb-16-09

Court: Southern District of New York


A securities fraud class action law suit has been launched in the US against food company China Organic Agriculture on behalf of some investors in the company.

The case involves a number of allegations under the Security Exchanges Act 1934 against defendants China Organic and certain of its officers and directors for the period July 12, 2007 to August 14, 2008, inclusive.

According to the complaint, the defendants took the Company public in early 2007 and made numerous statements during the Class Period regarding the Company's prospects and sales. Defendants, for example, claimed to be developing organic rice for sale in China, but according to the complaint, never developed any kind of product that could be sold at a competitive price.

The complaint further alleges that these and other Class Period statements were false and misleading, designed to inflate the price of the Company's stock. And insiders sold tens of millions of dollars worth of Company stock during the Class Period, acquired for themselves a luxury retreat in California, sold off the Company's only significant operation and within 18 of taking the Company public left only an empty shell and huge shareholder losses.

If you acquired the securities of the defendants during the Class Period you may, no later than the Lead Plaintiff Deadline shown above, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff through counsel of your choice. You may also choose to remain an absent class member. A lead plaintiff must meet certain requirements.

China Organic Agriculture, Inc. CNOA Securities Fraud Legal Help
If you have suffered from financial losses, you may qualify for damages or remedies that may be awarded in a possible China Organic Agriculture, Inc. securities class action lawsuit. Please click the link below to submit your complaint for a free evaluation.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wonderfarm Biscuits Recalled; Possible Melamine Contamination

Hot News frum Big-Mouth Broad-Casting; Dec. 18th, 2008

Possible Melamine Contamination Prompts National Recall of Wonderfarm Biscuits
Interfood Shareholding Company of Vietnam, is recalling all lot codes of multiple varieties of the Wonderfarm brand of biscuits disributed across the US because they may be contaminated with Melamine.

The Wonderfarm biscuits are sold in 800g red metal tins. The 4 varieties being recalled are:

1. Wonderfarm "Successful" Assorted Biscuits (UPC:8935001262091)

2. Wonderfarm "Royal Flavour" Assorted Biscuits (UPC:8935001263098)

3. Wonderfarm "Lovely Melody" Assorted Biscuits (UPC: 8935001263296)

4. Wonderfarm "Daily Life" Assorted Biscuits (UPC: 8935001264200)

The recall was initiated after the firm was advised that samples collected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture of the Wonderfarm "Successful" Assorted biscuits, tested positive for melamine. Interfood Shareholding Company was identified as the manufacturer of the product. After being advised that "Royal Flavour", "Lovely Melody", and "Daily Life" also tested positive for melamine, the firm agreed to expand their recall to include those products as well. The biscuits were distributed to multiple states and sold to wholesale distributors, which sold to retail stores.

DEC-18-08: Nationwide recall of Wonderfarm Brand Biscuits [FDA: NATIONAL RECALL OF WONDERFARM BISCUITS]

"Cancer Fighting" "Organic" Meat? Yeah, right.

If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn and some swamp-land if Fla you might be interested in also; Caner-fighting meat, my ass!

West Wind Farms' animals are raised on grass. Their grass-based diet produces a lean, healthy meat rich in cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins E and A. Low in fat, rich in vitamins. Our meats and poultry are Authentic Foods.


Who owns the "Organic" Food Industry?

Click on title above to see international chart;


Tell USDA there is NO such thing as "Organic" Factory Farming!

Say No to Organic Factory Farms!

December 18, 2008

Tell USDA there's no such thing as an organic factory farm!

Many consumers are willing to pay more for organic milk because of what the label represents - cows grazing on pastures and farmers using organic methods that are good for animals, the environment, and consumer health. But for years the USDA has not enforced strong organic dairy standards, allowing factory farm dairies with thousands of animals to be certified organic. Tell the USDA there's no such thing as an organic factory farm!

The short version of the story is that as organic milk got more popular, large-scale dairies became certified as organic. These factory farms cut corners by not allowing cows enough time - or any time - on pasture to eat grass, a basic tenet of organic farming. This not only undermines consumer confidence in organic, but also threatens the survival of organic family dairy farms.

A long-overdue rule change could stop organic factory farms and level the playing field for struggling family farmers. After pressure from farmers, consumers and even members of Congress, the USDA has finally put out a proposal to deal with the pasture issue. It goes beyond dairy cows and also prohibits the use of feedlots for organic beef cattle.

It's time for the organic industry to level the playing field for family farmers and make sure that organic animals are raised in ways that meet consumers' expectations.

Tell the USDA to get rid of organic factory farms once and for all.

Thanks for taking action,

Noelle Ferdon, Senior Food Organizer
Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

Click on title to read more on turning farms into (cruelty & unsanitary) factories Talk to Us | Support Us | Subscribe

Uncle Sam grows a backbone on gastric bypass

Hot News frum Big-Mouth Broad Casting; Dec. 18th, 2008

Dr. Aln Inglis, MD;

It doesn't happen often, but it's nice when our government stands up against powerful special interests in the medical community.

You know, like they're supposed to…

I'll admit, I was a bit surprised to see Medicare stand its ground recently and refuse to liberalize its standards for covering the latest medical flavor of the month, gastric bypass surgery. If you've been reading House Calls for a while, you know my feeling on this surgery. It's dangerous, it has killed people (when was the last time you heard mainstream media report that?) and similar results could be achieved through simple lifestyle changes.

But I wasn't sure these facts we're going to get in the way of a good story. Surgeons were pressuring Medicare to start covering weight-loss surgery for millions of diabetics — some 44 million disabled and elderly people. These special interests claimed gastric bypass was the future of diabetes treatment.

Really, this was a pure cash grab. Surgeons would love to see the government start paying for gastric bypass for folks who otherwise could not afford it. It would be great for business.

The Medicare officials said they were not convinced of the benefits other than for morbidly obese diabetics (those with a body mass index of 35 or higher), and the agency is loath to shell out up to $35,000 a surgery for questionable gains.

It's good to see a government agency such as Medicare paying attention to the science and resisting the herd mentality that is pushing this radical surgery on more and more candidates.

But the fight isn't over yet. Medicare's decision is just preliminary at this point, and the agency will wait to issue a final ruling until after a public comments period. You can bet the pro-surgery lobby groups will launch a letter-writing campaign that will be the biggest thing since Santa Claus got a mailbox.

Here's hoping Medicare weathers that process with its backbone intact.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Paxil Birth Defect Warnings too Late For Two Little Boys

Hot News frum Big Mouth Broad Castin';

December 10, 2008. By Lucy Campbell

Hendersonville, N.C: April has 3 children; 2 were born with complications, quite possibly Paxil-related birth defects. April had taken the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) Paxil, also known as paroxetine, during both pregnancies.

"Christian, my first son, was born 4 weeks early, and his brother Jordon was born 6 weeks early – both babies were premature," April said. Christian was born in January 1998, and he was born with a heart murmur – or a whole in his heart. "I was suffering from depression when I became pregnant with Christian. I asked my doctor if it was safe to take the antidepressant while I was pregnant and he assured me that yes, it was totally safe. The doctors found my son's heart murmur within a day or two of his birth."

Jordon, April's second son, was born in 1999. "When he was born the doctors thought he'd had a seizure because he sweated profusely, which is odd for a newborn," April said. "And he had a twitch in his leg. These symptoms were all considered to be neurological. But after they did all the appropriate tests, they couldn't find anything that indicated what was going on. It wasn't until he was about 18 months old that I noticed that he wasn't talking. In fact, Jordon didn't start talking until he was 5. He still has developmental issues. We've had him tested. Autism has been ruled out, but his verbal communication skills have been slow to develop. He went to a special pre-school, and is in special classes now. He's in the 4th grade, and is still having speech therapy.

We had him tested when he was young, but they couldn't determine what was going on, and the doctors still don't know. Nobody has ever been able to tell me why this has happened, or what it is he actually has. I really wonder if Paxil had an effect on both of my children while I was pregnant. I saw the commercials that talked about the birth defects associated with taking Paxil during pregnancy, and they sounded very similar to what we're experiencing. I went online and did some research and I think it may be possible."

What the Studies Say About Paxil and SSRI Birth Defects

Unfortunately, it wasn't until 2005 that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health warning regarding Paxil. The warning was based on findings from 2 now very well known studies which showed an increased risk for birth defects in babies born to women taking the drug during pregnancy. In fact, the studies showed a 1 to 2 times greater risk of having a baby with a heart birth defect while on Paxil. In conjunction with the warning, the FDA placed Paxil in its second highest category of drugs known to cause birth defects.

Most recently, a study published in the November 2008 issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, reported a 3 times greater risk for heart defects in babies born to mothers taking either Prozac (fluoxetine) or Paxil. The study looked at babies born to 800 women who said they took either drug during the first trimesters of their pregnancies. Comparison was then made to 1,400 expectant mothers who were not on antidepressants of any kind.

In fact, birth defects are associated with a number of SSRI antidepressants, namely Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro, in addition to Prozac and Paxil.

Too Late For Some, But Not All

But for all the good these warnings may be doing, they came too late for April, Christian and Jordon. Some good news, however, is that Christian's heart murmur resolved itself after a year. But for Jordon, the problems continue, and will likely last his lifetime.
April wishes the information on SSRI birth defects had been public when she became pregnant, and that is part of the reason she is sharing her story now, as a warning to women who may still be unaware of the dangers.


Mother with SJS put into Coma

Hot News frum BigMouth Broad Casting;

December 14, 2008. By Jane Mundy

St. John's, NL: On November 27, 2008 Kim Oake was put into an induced coma in the ICU unit because the pain of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis, also known as TEN, is too excruciating to bear. Kim had an allergic reaction to a run-of-the-mill antibiotic. Adverse reactions to a drug, either prescribed or over-the-counter, is the main cause of SJS. And the most common drugs have been linked to this horrific disease, including ibuprofen (Advil and Children's Motrin), Ketek, Dilantin, anti-convulsants and antibiotics such as penicillin.

While Kim, a single mother of two, languishes in the ICU on a ventilator with her body wrapped in antibiotic gauze to prevent infection, her family, including her sister, Lisa Oake, stand watch 24/7.

"Kim works as an animal control officer and she got a bite from a feral cat," says Lisa. "She was given a tetanus shot and an antibiotic but rather than get better, a few days later she started to get very sick. Kim was nauseated and developed a rash that got progressively worse. After a few days she went to the hospital—at first the doctors didn’t know what it was and sent her home but the next day she returned because really bad lesions were all over her skin"

This time Kim was admitted and diagnosed with SJS/TEN.

Lisa says Kim's skin started to slough off; it got so bad that she lost all the skin from the top of her head down to her knees. Kim was put into an induced coma because the pain would have been unbearable. "So far there are no signs of infection (thank God) and right now they are trying to get her to breathe on her own because the ventilator itself--having the tube going from her mouth and down her throat--poses an infection risk," says Lisa. "They are going to try to take her out of the coma within the next 3-4 days; the doctors explained that they have to do it gradually because it is like walking a fine line between managing her pain and getting her off the ventilator.

"As you can imagine, this has been a nightmare and everyone is devastated. Kim is the youngest child in our family; she is so beautiful and vibrant and has dedicated her entire life to looking after animals. And she is one of the best Mums you could ever meet-- Shauna is 12 and Hunter is 8. Thankfully, her children don't know the full extent of this illness: the social worker told us to explain SJS to them in simple terms.

They were told that 'Mummy has a rash and it is very itchy so the doctors put her to sleep so she wouldn't be uncomfortable with it--now we are just waiting for her skin to heal and then she can wake up.'"

A lot of people have never heard about SJS, especially the SJS Motrin and SJS Ketek link, to name a few common drugs associated with this illness. Lisa and her family already knew about SJS because their friend's daughter had it--she survived. As well, Lisa says her friend suffered from SJS when she was 20 years old! These families come from a small community in Newfoundland which begs the question: is SJS as rare as the drug companies would have us believe? Would every doctor recognize the early symptoms?

"We got lucky because Kim's doctor treated that 12-year-old girl two years ago," says Lisa, " so he identified SJS immediately. And we are lucky because they got the proper drugs into her right away and she lived near the hospital.

I have been talking constantly to the nurses and the doctors and my family in Newfoundland. I have to say that the healthcare Kim received has been phenomenal—she is getting the best care and those nurses in ICU at the Health Sciences Center in St. John's, Newfoundland have been amazing. But Kim is still seriously ill."

Lisa says that when Kim gets better, she doesn't think her sister will want to settle a lawsuit out of court. Rather, Kim may want to have her day in court and be a spokesperson for SJS. "When she gets out of hospital, I know that Kim will want to educate people, especially parents with kids, about SJS and its link to certain drugs."


USDA Will Test Meat Products for Melamine

Hot News frum Big-Mouth Broad Castin'; Dec. 16th, 2008

Agency determines that testing is "prudent"

By Lisa Wade McCormick

December 15, 2008

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will now test certain meat and poultry products — including baby food, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets — for the chemical melamine.

The action by the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) comes amid concerns that melamine contamination in some imported foods--specifically those that contain milk products imported from China--may have spread to meat and poultry.

"In light of recent disclosures of melamine being found in certain imported food products, FSIS has determined that it is prudent to do a small amount of sampling to see if there is any reason to be concerned about the presence of this chemical in meat and poultry products," the agency wrote.

As ConsumerAffairs.com has reported, Chinese officials in September discovered melamine in the powered infant formula made it that country. Officials later learned that some dairy plants intentionally added the chemical to milk products to make them appear to have higher protein levels.

China's melamine-tainted milk scandal is blamed for the deaths of at least six infants in that country and the illnesses of thousands of other babies.

The tentacles of that contamination spread around the world to such products as candies, yogurt, cookies, and coffees.

FSIS officials say federal investigators will, over the next 12 weeks, collect meat and poultry products that contain such milk-derived ingredients as non-fat dried milk, casein, whey, evaporated milk, and milk powder, and test them for melamine. The agency will collect 45 samples a week from retail stores for these tests.

FSIS officials will test the following products for melamine contamination:

• Baby food (containing a significant amount of meat or poultry products);

• Cooked sausages (including hot dogs or frankfurters with and without cheese products);

• Breaded chicken (bite sized morsels or nuggets with and without cheese products);

• Meatballs;

• Meat and poultry wrapped in dough and pizza (including calzones)

Melamine is used make plastic and fertilizers. Doctors say it can cause kidney stones and lead to kidney failure.

For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did not allow melamine in any human or pet food.

FDA officials, however, recently reversed that position, saying levels of melamine below 2.5 parts per million (ppm) in food did not pose a health risk.

The only exception to this new standard is infant formula. The FDA said the levels of melamine--or one of its analogues alone-- that did not pose a health concern in infant formula was below 1.0 ppm.

Melamine is blamed for the illnesses and deaths of thousands of dogs and cats in the United States last year.The presence of that chemical in the imported wheat gluten from China triggered the largest pet food recall in U.S. history.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Legal Defense Fund to Answer to USDA, Michigan Department of Agriculture Motions to Dismiss NAIS Suit
Motions Falsely Claim NAIS is a Voluntary Program

Last update: 5:33 p.m. EST Dec. 15, 2008

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Dec 15, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Motions filed by the U.S. and Michigan Departments of Agriculture seeking to dismiss the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund suit to stop the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), incorrectly claim that NAIS is a voluntary program.
"Even as the agencies try to deny the clear facts of what they have done in Michigan, the USDA recently issued a memo that confirms what the Fund has stated in its lawsuit: NAIS is not voluntary," said Pete Kennedy, interim president of the Fund.
Kennedy cited Veterinary Services Memorandum No. 575.19 addressed to USDA's "Veterinary Services Management Team" that requires NAIS premises registration for various disease program activities.
"The memo includes activities such as vaccinations, testing, and applying official ear tags for programs for every livestock species, ranging from brucellosis to scrapies to equine infectious anemia," Kennedy noted. "One of the most important aspects of this memo is that people who refuse to have their farms registered will be registered against their will. Thus, USDA has officially abandoned the supposed 'voluntary' nature of NAIS."
NAIS is the USDA's plan to electronically track every livestock animal in the country. The Michigan Department of Agriculture has implemented the first two stages of NAIS - property registration and animal identification - for all those who own cattle across the state as part of a state-wide bovine tuberculosis disease control program required by a grant from the USDA.
The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court - District of Columbia on September 8 asks the court to issue an injunction to stop the implementation of NAIS at both the state and the federal levels by any state or federal agency. If successful, the suit would halt the program nationwide.
The suit charges that USDA has never published rules regarding NAIS, in violation of the Federal Administrative Procedures Act; has never performed an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act; is in violation of the Regulatory Flexibility Act that requires the USDA to analyze proposed rules for their impact on small entities and local governments; and violates religious freedoms guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
"Other mandatory implementations, which weave NAIS into existing regulatory programs, have occurred in the States of Wisconsin and Indiana where premises registration has been made mandatory; in drought-stricken North Carolina and Tennessee, where farmers have been required to register their premises in order to obtain hay relief; and in Colorado where state fairs are requiring participants to register their premises under NAIS," explained Judith McGeary, a member of the Farm-to-Consumer Fund board and the executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.
The Fund expects to file its response to the agencies' motions to dismiss in January.
About The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund: The Fund defends the rights and broadens the freedoms of sustainable farmers, and protects consumer access to local, nutrient-dense foods. Concerned citizens can support the Fund by joining at www.farmtoconsumer.org or by contacting the Fund at 703-208-FARM (3276). The Fund's sister organization, the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation ( www.farmtoconsumerfoundation.org), works to support farmers engaged in sustainable farm stewardship and promote consumer access to local, nutrient-dense food.
Editor's Note: A copy of the suit filed against the USDA and MDA is available at www.farmtoconsumer.org.
SOURCE: Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Farm-to-Consumer Foundation
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund and Farm-to-Consumer Foundation
Taaron G. Meikle, 703-537-8372
Cummings & Company LLC
Brian Cummings, 214-295-7463

Copyright Business Wire 2008


FDAs "Back Door Dealings" with BigPharma & Your Children

FDA makes back-room deal on cold medicine?

With the election so close, I'd hate for a good piece of political theater to go unnoticed. Recently, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association – a shill for the drug companies – announced that it was voluntarily adding language to cough medicine labels advising they not be used for children under 4.

It was heart-warming to see Big Pharma stepping in to protect our youngsters. But knowing, of course, that they'd never voluntarily do such a thing, I immediately smelled a rat.

Little did I know, the rat was our own government.

A report has just surfaced claiming that the voluntary warning on cold medicines only happened after the drug companies had a closed-door meeting with the FDA to arrive at some compromise on the issue. Which, of course, makes me ask:


The agency that is supposed to police the drug companies is actually giving them an equal seat at the table. Instead of just instituting a policy on these medicines that the FDA finds safe and reasonable, it first has to bring in the drug companies and get their say on the matter.

And here's the worst part – some FDA researchers and advisors are claiming that the science suggested that these medicines were of no benefit for kids under 12. The under-4 age limit was a compromise with the drug companies, who make $280 million a year selling cold medicines taken by kids.

It's not the FDA's job to compromise with big business. The FDA is supposed to be protecting us from the excesses of Big Pharma – not treating them as a partner. This agency is officially so out of hand and off-mission, it's hard to have confidence in anything they do any more.

I'm glad to see some people who witnessed this insanity coming forward and reinforcing what I truly believe – the under-4 limit on these medicines is wholly inadequate. If you have a child or grandchild with a cold, the oldest remedy is still the best – lots of fluids and plenty of rest.

*Click on title above to hear more from "The Coountry Doctor," Making HouseCalls to Your Home EveryDay!"

Big Pharma finding it harder to trim the fat…

Hot News frum Big-Mouth Broad Casting; Dec. 12, 2008

Dr. Alan Inglis;

That spare tire around your waist is more than spare change to Big Pharma. The drug companies are spending piles of money trying to develop new medications catering to America's growing obesity epidemic.

Problem is, too many of these drugs are dangerous, just plain ineffective – or both.

A while ago I told you about Acomplia, which was banned in Europe (and never approved in the United States) because of serious psychological side effects.

Now, Pfizer is halting tests of a drug called CP-945,598. Pfizer's press release was written in Big Pharma code – it talked about "risk/benefit profile" and "regulatory requirements" without going into specifics.

Let me read between the lines for you on that one – I'll bet my last dollar that the early results showed some very troubling side effects.

Proving that failures, like many things, come in threes, this fall Merck ceased work on its own experimental obesity drug, taranabant, because of concerns about depression and anxiety at high doses.

It may seem uncouth to celebrate Big Pharma failings, but it galls me that there are still people out there promising – or trying to promise – miracle solutions for weight loss. These guys aren't too much better than the carnival barkers standing on soap boxes, trying to sell you some wonder tonic. It's truly extraordinary that drugs remain a cornerstone of weight loss treatments. They rarely account for more than a few pounds off at an exorbitant expense that benefits no one except the drug companies.

Sadly, it's not just drug companies getting in on this act. Surgeons are slicing up and tying off stomachs at a record pace, in what is commonly known as gastric bypass surgery. This surgery not only wrecks many lives – often it kills.

If you're waiting for the next miracle breakthrough that's going to let you eat whatever you want, not exercise, and stay slim, let me end the suspense for you – it's not coming (no matter how much Big Pharma wants you to believe it is).

The good news is that there is a solution for losing those stubborn pounds: hard work. Get off the couch, start ditching the sugary, processed foods, and don't binge eat. Try some simple lifestyle changes, and I bet you'll find better – and longer-lasting – results than the drug companies (or a surgeon's knife) will ever deliver.

New Study Shows HRT Doubles Risk of Breast Cancer

Study Leaves no Room for Doubt

According to results from the Women's Health Initiative study released at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, taking hormones for menopause - hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - doubles a woman's risk of breast cancer after 5 years of use. The study was federally funded, and the results are the most dramatic to date.

Additionally, the investigators found that every woman on study who took progestin and estrogen for a minimum of 2 years increased their risk for breast cancer.
However, when they stopped taking HRT the risk was reduced and returned to what is considered a normal risk level 2 years after stopping the treatment.

DEC-15-08: Study firmly ties hormone use to breast cancer [MSNBC: HRT DOUBLES BREAST CANCER RISK]

New Study Shows Anti-Epiliptic Drugs Increase Risk of Suicidal Behavior

Hot News! Frum Big-Mouth Broad Casting; Dec. 16th, 2008

FDA Mandates Labeling that Warns of Risk of Suicidal Behavior
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced it will require the manufacturers of antiepileptic drugs to add to these products' prescribing information, or labeling, a warning that their use increases risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors (suicidality). The action includes all antiepileptic drugs including those used to treat psychiatric disorders, migraine headaches and other conditions, as well as epilepsy.

The FDA's actions are based on the agency's review of 199 clinical trials of 11 antiepileptic drugs which showed that patients receiving antiepileptic drugs had almost twice the risk of suicidal behavior or thoughts (0.43 percent) compared to patients receiving a placebo (0.24 percent). This difference was about one additional case of suicidal thoughts or behaviors for every 500 patients treated with antiepileptic drugs instead of placebo.

"Patients being treated with antiepileptic drugs for any indication should be monitored for the emergence or worsening of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior,” said Russell Katz, M.D., director of the Division of Neurology Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “ Patients who are currently taking an antiepileptic medicine should not make any treatment changes without talking to their health care professional.”

The following antiepileptic drugs are required to add warnings about the risk of suicidality:

Carbamazepine (marketed as Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol, Tegretol XR)

Clonazepam (marketed as Klonopin)

Clorazepate (marketed as Tranxene)

Divalproex sodium (marketed as Depakote, Depakote ER, Depakene)

Ethosuximide (marketed as Zarontin)

Ethotoin (marketed as Peganone)

Felbamate (marketed as Felbatol)

Gabapentin (marketed as Neurontin)

Lamotrigine (marketed as Lamictal)

Lacosamide (marketed as Vimpat)

Levetiracetam (marketed as Keppra)

Mephenytoin (marketed as Mesantoin)

Methosuximide (marketed as Celontin)

Oxcarbazepine (marketed as Trileptal) Phenytoin (marketed as Dilantin Suspension)

Pregabalin (marketed as Lyrica)

Primidone (marketed as Mysoline)

Tiagabine (marketed as Gabitril)

Topiramate (marketed as Topamax)

Trimethadione (marketed as Tridione)

Zonisamide (marketed as Zonegran)

Some of these medications are also available as generics.

DEC-16-08: FDA Requires Warnings about Risk of Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior for Antiepileptic Medications [FDA: ANTIEPILEPTIC MEDICATION SUICIDAL THOUGHTS]