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

Thursday, February 26, 2009


A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 25 Feb 2009
Source: CHealth, Canadian Press report [edited]

Officials are trying to get to the bottom of how vaccine manufacturer
Baxter International Inc. made "experimental virus material" based on
a human flu strain but contaminated with the H5N1 avian flu virus and
then distributed it to an Austrian company. That company, Avir Green
Hills Biotechnology, then disseminated the supposed H3N2 virus
product to subcontractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and
Germany. Authorities in the 4 European countries are looking into the
incident, and their efforts are being closely watched by the World
Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Control.

Though it appears none of the 36 or 37 people who were exposed to the
contaminated product became infected, the incident is being described
as "a serious error" on the part of Baxter, which is on the brink of
securing a European license for an H5N1 vaccine. That vaccine is made
at a different facility, in the Czech Republic.

"For this particular incident ... the horse did not get out (of the
barn)," Dr. Angus Nicoll of the ECDC said from Stockholm. "But that
doesn't mean that we and WHO and the European Commission and the
others aren't taking it as seriously as you would any laboratory
accident with dangerous pathogens, which you have here." Accidental
release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses -- if that indeed
happened -- could have resulted in dire consequences. Nicoll said
officials still aren't 100 per cent sure the mixture contained live
H5N1 viruses. But given that ferrets exposed to the mixture died, it
likely did.

H5N1 doesn't easily infect people, but H3N2 viruses do. They are one
of 2 types of influenza A viruses that infect people each flu season.
If someone exposed to the mixture had been co-infected with H5N1 and
H3N2, the person could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus
able to transmit easily to and among people. That mixing process,
called reassortment, is one of 2 ways pandemic viruses are created.
Research published last summer [2008] by scientists at the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control found that in the laboratory, H5N1 and
H3N2 viruses mated readily. While less virulent than H5N1, a number
of the offspring viruses appeared to retain at least a portion of the
killing power of their dangerous parent.

Baxter International, which is based in Deerfield, Illinois, said the
contamination was the result of an error in its research facility in
Orth-Donau, Austria. The facility had been contracted by Avir Green
Hills to make what Baxter refers to as "experimental virus material"
based on human H3N2 viruses. Christopher Bona, Baxter's director of
global bioscience communications, said the liquid virus product was
not a vaccine and was developed for testing purposes only. He
deferred questions about the purpose of the testing to Avir Green
Hills, but said the batch was to be used in animals and was never
intended for use in humans.

Avir Green Hills said in an email that it took possession of the
material in late December [2008]. It later sent the product to the
sub-contractors. The email said the material was stored and handled
throughout under high biosafety conditions. Alarm bells rang in early
February 2009 when researchers at the Czech sub- contractor
inoculated ferrets with the material and the animals promptly died.
Baxter learned about the problem on 6 Feb 2009, Bona said from
Deerfield. Ferrets are susceptible to human flu strains, but they
don't die from those infections. Preliminary investigation found the
material was contaminated with H5N1 flu virus, which is lethal to
ferrets. Nicoll said the fact the ferrets died supports the working
assumption that there were live H5N1 viruses in the material Baxter
produced. Bona said Baxter has identified how the contamination
happened and has taken steps to ensure it doesn't happen again. He
said Austrian authorities audited Baxter's Orth-Donau research
operations after the problem came to light and are satisfied with the
steps taken.

Baxter is the only flu vaccine manufacturer to work with wild type
flu viruses, felt to be more dangerous than the altered and
attenuated (weakened) viruses other manufacturers use. The company
uses what are known as BSL3 level precautions in all its vaccine
research facilities, Bona said. (Researchers at the U.S. CDC use
BSL3-plus biocontainment when working with H5N1 viruses, a
spokesperson for the agency said.) People familiar with biosecurity
rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses
have somehow co-mingled in the Baxter research facility. That should
not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.

The company isn't shedding much light on how it did. "It was a
combination of just the process itself (and) technical and human
error in this procedure," Bona said. When asked to elaborate, he said
to do so would give away proprietary information about Baxter's
production process. Bona said when Baxter realized its error, it
helped the various companies destroy the contaminated material and
clean up their facilities. And staff who had been exposed to the
contaminated product were assessed and monitored by infectious
diseases doctors. They were also offered the antiviral drug
oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

Baxter's error is reminiscent of a 2005 incident in which a U.S.
manufacturer of kits used by laboratories to test their detection
capabilities included vials of H2N2 virus in several thousand
proficiency kits. H2N2, the virus that caused the 1957 pandemic, has
not circulated since 1968 and is thought to be a prime candidate to
cause the next pandemic. That mistake, discovered by Canada's
National Microbiology Laboratory, set authorities around the world
scrambling to retrieve and destroy the vials of virus, which had been
sent to labs in 18 countries.

Communicated by:
ProMED-mail Rapporteur Mary Marshall

[The article above provides some of the information requested in the
preceding ProMED-mail posting "Avian influenza, accidental
distribution - Czech Rep. ex Austria: RFI," archived as no.
20090225.0776, namely that the countries receiving the contaminated
material were the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany. The
contaminated virus was a strain of H3N2 seasonal influenza virus. -

Date: Thu 26 Feb 2009
From: Christopher Bona

A statement on behalf of Baxter
I would like to provide the following update to a posting on ProMED
dated 25 Feb 2009 (Avian influenza, accidental distribution - Czech
Rep. ex Austria: RFI).

The H5N1 strain was the A/Vietnam/1203/2004 strain, received from a
WHO reference centre. All information concerning this incident has
been provided to the involved national authorities and appropriate
international bodies such as ECDC and WHO.

Thank you and please contact me with questions.

Christopher Bona
Director, Global BioScience Communications
Corporate Communications
Baxter International Inc.
One Baxter Parkway
Deerfield, IL 60015

[ProMED-mail thanks Christopher Bona for providing this precise
description of the strain of avian A/H5N1 influenza virus involved in
the incident. - Mod.CP]

[see also:
Avian influenza, accidental distribution - Czech Rep. ex Austria: RFI

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Doctors ignoring drug interaction alerts when writing prescrip

Dr Alan Ingilis;

There's been plenty of blame to go around as drug interactions have become a leading cause of death in the United States. We can blame Big Pharma, for cooking up these deadly cocktails that unleash havoc in our systems.

We can blame the FDA, for showing no interest in how drugs will interact before bodies start piling up.

But it turns out that arrogant doctors may deserve a good chunk of the blame for unleashing illnesses and deaths related to drug interactions.

According to a new study, doctors are ignoring electronic drug interaction alerts up to 90 percent of the time!

Researchers looked at electronic prescriptions written by more than 2,800 doctors in three states. The electronic prescription software worked as it should, displaying alerts when doctors were about to write a prescription that could cause a potentially dangerous interaction or trigger an allergic reaction.

Doctors ignored 77 percent of the allergy alerts and 90 percent of the drug interaction alerts. Why? They decided to rely on their own judgment instead – in fact, they even seemed annoyed by the alerts.

If this isn't the height of arrogance, I don't know what is. This system wasn't built to inconvenience doctors – it was built to save lives! And many docs, with their rushed, seven-minute appointments, just can't be bothered.

Researchers said part of the problem was that too many alerts were being generated, and docs just stopped paying attention. The fact that so many alerts are generated is the real smoking gun here. There are literally countless ways that prescription drugs can do serious damage in your system.

You've heard me say it before - your real health problems often begin the minute you accept that first prescription. And once you take a second, you're playing Russian roulette.

Before you accept any prescription, make sure your doctor fully informs you of the risks and potential interactions. We all want to assume that doctors are performing their due diligence – but this research paints a bleak picture we can't ignore.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Black-Listed Cancer Treatment Could Save Your Life!

The Country Doctor, Alan Ingilis

The key to stopping many cancers may have been around for over 30 years. Yet we might never know. It has been banned by the very agency designed to protect your health-the FDA.

A German research scientist discovered a natural formula that could prevent and even cure cancer. Her findings, which were barred from the medical journals, are now finally available in an updated English translation.

Click on title above to learn more about the incredible story behind this black-listed formula; or visit:

http://www1.youreletters.com/t/1647373/40835088/1604457/2334/ by Dr. Alan Ingilis

Ag Class in Grammer Schools

Sounds like a good idea. But I wonder will they tell the WHOLE TRUTH? They need to take the kiddies on tours of the slaughter-houses and meat-processing plants and teach them about ANIMAL CRUELTY, Mad Cow, Bovine TB, and other food-chain animal diseases that seem to have run rampant in the USA. They need to show the kiddies "Fast Food Nation" and Petas "meet Your Meat."

contact Sarah Gustin
KXMBTV Bismarck

Whether its the loaf of bread, glass of milk or hamburger on your tablechances are tonight your 4th grader could tell you where it comes from.

The Living Ag Classroom is the kids part of the KFYR Radio Agri International.

The program is helping nearly 1-thousand 4th students from nearly 40 area schools learn more about where their food comes from and who is producing it.

Milk, oil, beef, beans-even wheat being ground into flour are just a few of things students have the chance to see and learn more about.

And you might be surprised at what the kids seem to find the most interesting.

Stephanie Weinberger / MDA: " I think they are most surprised by the feed that they eat because they don't realize that they drink a bathtub full of water or all the different feeds that they have to eat to produce the milk and all the other different dairy products they get to enjoy.

Lindsey Dale / Northern Canola Growers: "They are really surprised that most of these oils are used in a lot of foods. They will pick up the Goldfish, and first of all they are hungry and then they will go, "really canola oil is used in this?"

The Living Ag Classroom wraps up tomorrow afternoon.

Click on title above to see article and watch the video;


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Poultry Farms Contaminating Wells?

Okla. DEQ to sample private water wells

By TIM TALLEY Associated Press Writer

Despite a state Health Department finding that poultry litter was probably not the source of a deadly E. coli oubreak last year, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Friday that Arkansas poultry farms were to blame for sickening some residents of northeast Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Health said previously it was unlikely that well water caused the outbreak at the Country Cottage Restaurant in Locust Grove last August. One person died and more than 300 others were sickened.

The department also said investigators who examined the well did not find bacteria of the type that killed one person and sickened 300 others.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Environmental Quality said Friday it would conduct additional sampling of private water wells next week within a five-mile radius of Locust Grove to ensure the safety of drinking water in the area.

The restaurant was required to use only city water before it was allowed to reopen.

Edmondson has filed a lawsuit accusing 13 Arkansas-based poultry companies of polluting the Illinois River Watershed with bird waste. The poultry litter is spread across pastures, and it ends up contaminating wells, he alleges.

Attorneys for the companies say the lawsuit is unfounded and that Edmondson's claims are unsubstantiated.

In a news conference Friday, Edmondson released findings of a report from attorneys with his Environmental Protection Unit. The report concludes that the well at the buffet restaurant "is, and has been, contaminated with poultry waste and associated bacteria, including E. coli."

"Because this well was used in food preparation around the time of the outbreak, it is possible that the well and its poultry-waste-contaminated groundwater was a source of the outbreak," the report said.

Edmondson's lawsuit against the poultry companies, filed in U.S. District Court in Tulsa in 2005, claims that excessive land application of poultry waste, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as bacteria, antibiotics, growth hormones and harmful metals, could be a danger to public health.

The attorney general's report states there are 49 poultry houses within a six-mile radius of Locust Grove that have the capacity to produce 10,000 tons of waste a year. It also states there is insufficient pasture land to dispose of all of the waste near the houses.

The attorney general's office said the poultry houses are affiliated with two Arkansas-based companies, Tyson Foods and Simmons Foods, which are among the 13 named in the federal lawsuit.

A spokesman for Tyson, Gary Mickelson, said Edmondson "has just added to his record of making unsubstantiated claims."

"There has never been a single documented instance of a waterborne bacteriological disease being caused by the use of poultry litter," Mickelson said. "In addition, we believe it's simply irresponsible for Mr. Edmondson to make such speculative claims about the Locust Grove matter before the investigation has even been completed.

"Mr. Edmondson is desperate to win or settle a lawsuit that should never have been brought."

The bacterial outbreak last August was the largest in the nation's history for the rare E. coli strain O111. Chad Ingle, 26, of Pryor, died on Aug. 24, a week after eating at the restaurant. In addition, 341 people became sick and 72 were hospitalized. Several young children required dialysis after they became ill.

State Department of Health spokeswoman Lesley Bennett-Webb said the agency is conducting its own investigation and declined comment on the attorney general's findings.

She said her agency is finalizing its report in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control.

The agency took samples of water from the Country Cottage's well shortly after the outbreak and concluded it was unlikely that well-water contamination was the source of the outbreak.

"We did not find the causative agent in those water samples," Bennett-Webb said.

But Edmondson said that does not rule out the Country Cottage well as the source of the contamination.

"It's a highly likely source," he said. "Since you don't find it, does that mean it wasn't there at the time? They simply couldn't find it in the samples that they took."

The attorney general's report said samples taken by the Department of Environmental Quality found E. coli bacteria in the Country Cottage well, but not of the strain that sickened the people. However, some samples have not been typed as to strain, said Edmondson's spokesman, Charlie Price.

Price said seven private water wells were tested within three-quarters of a mile of Locust Grove for the attorney general's report said three tested positive for E. coli.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Study of Splenda Reveals Shocking Information About Potential Harmful Effects

New Study of Splenda Reveals Shocking Information About Potential Harmful Effects

James Turner, the chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health, has expressed shock and outrage after reading a new report from scientists outlining the dangers of the artificial sweetener Splenda (sucralose).

In animals examined for the study, Splenda reduced the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by 50 percent, increased the pH level in the intestines, contributed to increases in body weight and affected P-glycoprotein (P-gp) levels in such a way that crucial health-related drugs could be rejected.

The P-gp effect could result in medications used in chemotherapy, AIDS treatment and treatments for heart conditions being shunted back into the intestines, rather than being absorbed by the body.

According to Turner, "The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Attorney Bill Marler on Tainted Peanut Butter Outbreak

February 5, 2009. By Brenda Craig

Seattle, WA: Attorney Bill Marler is on the phone—he’s arranging for two families with children affected by the salmonella tainted peanut butter outbreak to appear before a Congressional hearing later this year in Washington D.C. “Call me back in 5 minutes, I’m on another line,” says Marler. An attorney with 15 years experience fighting for people injured by food borne illnesses, it‘s no surprise he’s busy with people seeking his help with what may be the most serious salmonella outbreak in US history.

Marler has lots to say. “The size of this outbreak, the number of people made ill plus the number of deaths is shockingly high,” says Marler. “The scope of the product recall may eventually prove to be the largest recall of food we’ve ever had in this country.”

Salmonella Enterocolitis
There are more than 700 known cases of salmonella enterocolitis connected to contaminated peanut butter and peanut paste manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America at its plant in Blakely, Georgia. Dozens and dozens of people have been hospitalized and 8 people have died. “I would not be surprised if we see more deaths,” says Marler from his Seattle office.

Salmonella enterocolitis—a bacterial infection in the lining of the small intestine caused by the salmonella bacteria causes severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

The number of people affected by salmonella tainted peanut butter and the seriousness of the outbreak is startling, according to Bill Marler. “Usually, in 95 percent of cases of this kind, victims will not require hospitalization,” says Marler. “However in these cases, about 28 percent of the people are ending up in hospital, so whatever was going on with this particular bug, it tends to be a little more virulent than other salmonella outbreaks in the past.”

“We would not expect to see this many deaths normally, but the reality is that a lot of older people received this peanut butter while they were in some sort of health care facility,” he says.

Plant Closed
The plant in Blakely, Georgia where the salmonella outbreak originated is now closed. The number of food products recalled by the company now extends to over 800 and includes all products manufactured at the plant since January 2007.

The Georgia plant manufactured peanut butter and peanut paste in bulk for sale to other food processing companies like Kellogg’s and to large institutional customers. It was shipped in containers ranging in size from 5 to 1700 pounds.

Suits Filed
Attorney Marler is now handling 35 tainted peanut butter cases. He has already filed suit against the Peanut Corporation of America on behalf of two children who became seriously ill and hospitalized for several days after eating Kellogg’s Peanut Crackers. Both have recovered, but Marler is also looking at suits on behalf of families who lost a loved one in the outbreak. “Unfortunately, two of the cases involve deaths, both elderly people,” says Marler.

The Peanut Corporation of America denies any wrongdoing or responsibility for the outbreak and points to inspection reports from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Although inspectors found problems at the plant including gaps under doorways big enough to allow rodents, the problems were not considered to be serious.

However, there is more and more evidence to show that there may have been signs of trouble at the plant. According to Food and Drug Administration reports, the Peanut Corporation of America found salmonella contamination in its products at least 12 times between 2007 and 2008. When retests showed no signs of the bacteria, the plant shipped the batches to customers.

“Here’s a case where exposure to a punitive damages claim is very real. So the size of the outbreak, the risk of punitive damages and the number of deaths as I said, is somewhat unusual,” says Marler. “It is not what I normally see, even after doing this for 15 years.”

Marler is considered one of America’s foremost food borne illness litigation lawyers. His firm has handled hundreds and hundreds of cases involving E.coli contaminated hamburger to raw milk.

Bill Marler is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law (1987). This year, Mr. Marler received the 2008 Outstanding Lawyer Award by the King County Bar Association, as well as being given the Public Justice Award by the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Peanut Butter Salmonella Recalls Continue, Obama Promises FDA Reform

February 3, 2009. By Gordon Gibb

Washington, DC: A federal regulator desperately in need of reform had to wait until the company at the center of the massive peanut butter salmonella recall approved the wording of a recall, before the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was able to publish it.

By that time, many stores had already removed some of the suspect products from store shelves, based on word from the street. They weren't about to wait for the formal recall, given the popularity of some of the products recalled.

To date, more than 400 products made with peanut paste sourced from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) have been pulled from store shelves. A criminal investigation is being considered.

And the peanut butter recall has gone right to the President of the United States. In an interview with the TODAY Show's Matt Lauer yesterday, Barack Obama revealed that daughter Sasha eats peanut butter for lunch, "probably" up to 3 times a week, the shirtsleeved President said.

“I don’t want to have to worry about whether she’s going to get sick as a consequence to having her lunch,” Obama said.

Chances are, if Sasha Obama is eating a peanut butter sandwich, her safety is pretty much assured given that peanut butter spread sold in jars directly to consumers at retail are considered safe.

Kraft—the giant maker of peanut butter—does not source any of its peanuts or raw materials from PCA, for example, and therefore has not been caught up in the salmonella scare.

In fact, there is a bit of a disconnect between peanut butter and peanut paste. The latter is a raw ingredient used in the manufacture of various products, but is far removed from the more refined peanut butter consumers buy in a jar and spread on bread with jam.

And peanut butter in large vats, shipped by PCA to kitchens, food services and institutions, is not the same as peanut butter sold in jars.

However, one could forgive the consumer for losing sight of the divisions between industrial peanut butter sold in large quantities—or peanut paste, a raw material—and refined peanut butter. So many children across America eat peanut butter as a staple in their diets—sometimes it's the only thing they will eat for lunch—that parents are understandably unsettled about the entire peanut salmonella mess.

Again, refined peanut butter in jars is assumed to be okay.

However, large-quantity peanut butter sold to institutions and peanut paste, a raw material from Peanut Corporation of America used in the manufacture of hundreds of food service products, is another matter.

And the impact has been dramatic, to say the least. More than 500 people have become ill across 43 states. The death toll stands at 8.

More than 430 products have been recalled.

Even though Peanut Corporation of America makes just 1 percent of the peanut butter and peanut paste used across the US, its reach into the stockrooms and product lines of other manufacturers is formidable, in view of the hundreds of products recalled.

The timeline of this outbreak at the point of identifying the source is about a month old.

According to reports federal health officials identified the Blakely, Georgia plant owned by PCA as the source of the salmonella outbreak on January 9th. PCA announced a limited recall January 13th and expanded the recall three days later.

However, the company would wait for almost another 2 full weeks before it would recall all product manufactured at the plant in 2007 and 2008. The wait would have been compounded further by the right of the corporation to haggle over the wording of a recall statement, before the FDA could publish. The FDA's own regulations allow for the food industry to be, essentially, in the driver's seat in such matters.

Congress says, essentially, that such policy is dangerous and foolhardy, and vows to reform the FDA.

That delay in announcing the recall did not prevent Costco from removing product suspected of salmonella contamination long before the nationwide recall, according to a report in the New York Times. Craig Wilson, an assistant VP at Costco, reveals the decision was made to pull Kellogg's Keebler and Austin peanut butter crackers a day in advance of Kellogg's first announcement, and nearly a full week prior to Kellogg and PCA issuing a nation-wide recall with regard to those products.

Wilson suggested in comments published in the New York Times that the suspected salmonella was already widely known amongst food safety officials, and he wasn't about to wait for the FDA to act.

“I don’t want to say that you can’t rely on the FDA,” Mr. Wilson said in the New York Times on Monday, “but we certainly can move quicker than they do.”

President Obama promises a full review of the FDA.

Meanwhile, the recall has spread to include Sara Lee, and their Chef Pierre Chocolate Peanut Butter Silk Pies. The foodservice product is sold frozen with 4 packaged pies in each case.

FDA inspectors allege that they found mold on the walls and ceiling of the PCA manufacturing facility in Blakely, a leaky roof, and other sanitary issues. The plant was ordered closed. The FDA also alleges that PCA knowingly distributed peanut product that had tested positive for salmonella a dozen times over the past two years, but that the company continued to have the product re-tested at different labs by way of a process known as 'lab-shopping,' until the product came back with a negative test.

Such allegations have been denied by the daughter of PCA's founder, and sister of PCA President Stewart Parnell. Beth Falwell said in media reports on January 29th that the FDA report was flawed and exaggerated. Falwell maintained that PCA never knowingly shipped contaminated product, and that their manufacturing partners regularly sent inspectors to the PCA facility. According to Falwell, had any of the inspectors representing proud and reputable companies found any obvious violations, they would rethink their association with PCA.

To the suggestion that the FDA may have found roaches wandering around the Blakely plant, Falwell told reporters, "It's a food manufacturing plant, you know? I'm saying it's exaggerated."

While the investigation continues, President Obama will soon have a new individual installed to head the FDA, and promises reform.

“I think that the F.D.A. has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch,” Mr. Obama said in an interview on the TODAY show.

In the meantime, any individual sickened as the result of this peanut butter salmonella-contaminating scare will be looking for not only answers, but also compensation. The real, nut-and-bolts profile of this scare could be seen in the face of Michael Kirchner, age 3, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The little boy was hospitalized for 4 days with intense pain in his head, his neck and shoulders.

"He had a spinal tap, bone scan, MRI and CT scan," said his mother Sarah Kirchner, in comments published in the New York Times. A sibling was also sickened.

It is why a federal regulator needs new leadership, new sources of funding and a new mandate to crack down on those putting the food through the pipeline of the national food supply.

It is why manufacturers should be vilified, and made to answer for knowingly maintaining a facility wanting of basic maintenance, and shipping product while allegedly knowing about a potential for salmonella.

A new era may be coming. But until someone can better safeguard the safety of the nation's food supply, the courts will be busy. And there will be many lawsuits over this.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FDA helped unleash salmonella-laced peanuts on public

Do you know why the FDA is in charge of keeping America's food supply safe?

Because no other nation would have them.

That's the thought I'm left with after learning… and this was no big surprise… that the FDA played a larger role than we thought in allowing a salmonella outbreak to sweep through the nation, sickening hundreds and possibly killing 8 people.

I told you a couple weeks ago there would be more to this story.

By now you know that the salmonella outbreak has been tied to Peanut Corp.'s peanut processing facility in Georgia. I was surprised that our normally-bungling FDA was able to identify the source so quickly. Now I know why.

It turns out that the FDA knew for nine months that there were unsanitary practices going on at this facility. Nine months!

You see, Peanut Corp. tried to ship some peanuts into Canada back in April 2008. The shipment was rejected for having a "filthy, putrid or decomposed substance," and ended up in the FDA's possession.

They never tested it. After some back and forth with Peanut Corp., the FDA decided it had some serious concerns about the adequacy of the company's testing practices. It destroyed the shipment… and that was it.

No follow up. No testing of the rejected food. No asking Peanut Corp. to stop selling products until it got conditions at its plant back under control.

The FDA did what it does best. It got out of the way. It let a company that wasn't producing food suitable for Canadians keep selling to Americans.

And the story isn't over. It seems like every day the number of sick increases, and a new batch of products is recalled. Meanwhile, the FDA wants us to believe they're on top of the problem. They're more than on top of the problem – they're party to blame for it.

As I've been telling you for years, don't count on food conglomerates or the FDA to look out for your health and safety. Buy locally and grow your own food when you can. Folks who do those two things always seem to come out of these public health messes just fine

Dr. Alan Ingilis
"The Country Doctor"

To receive a copy of Dr. Ingilis "House Call" email newsletters, click on the title above or go to;

Drug maker Cephalon linked to Schneider clinic

AP; Feb. 2, 2009

Court documents link a Kansas physician accused in 59 overdose deaths to a pharmaceutical company that illegally marketed drugs for non-approved uses.

Frazer, Pa.-based Cephalon Inc. is one of the world's biggest biopharmaceutical makers, and it makes a painkiller medication called Actiq. It's approved only for use by end-of-life cancer patients.

Cephalon agreed last year to pay a $425 million settlement in Pennsylvania after prosecutors said the firm illegally marketed Actiq for unapproved uses.

Prosecutors say Dr. Stephen Schneider of Wichita prescribed the drug to 70 patients without valid medical reasons. Some patients later died.

An Associated Press review of case documents show a connection between Schneider and the illegal way Cephalon promoted its medications.

The family of an El Dorado, Kan., woman sued Schneider and Cephalon for her death, which followed a prescription she was given for Actiq to treat her migraines.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Russia Stops Pork From 9 US Plants Over "Clerical" Issues -USDA

January 29, 2009: 01:37 PM

ET WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- Russia has suspended business with nine U.S. pork operations because of "clerical errors" in the paperwork that the U.S. businesses filed for shipments, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The U.S. facilities made errors in the export certificates they are required to fill out to do business with Russia, USDA spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said.

Under international guidelines, Eamich said, Russia should have contacted the USDA about concerns over errors it found in the export certificates "to quickly obtain a replacement certificate to correct inadvertent errors, but Russia does not recognize or accept replacement certificates."

Still, the USDA is working with Russia "to resolve the issue," Eamich said.

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service posted a list of facilities affected on its Web site Wednesday. The pork plants shown include Smithfield Foods Inc.'s (SFD) Tar Heel, N.C., and Milan, Mo., processing facilities. Two Cargill Meat Solutions plants in Ottumwa, Iowa, and Beardstown, Ill., are also on the list.

Most of the other facilities delisted by Russia are cold storage and distribution units.

Jerry Hostetter, spokesman with Smithfield Foods, in an email said, "There is no impact on our shipments to Russia, for we ship to there from many other plants."

Calls and emails to Cargill Meat Solutions have not been returned.

Futures traders so far have shrugged off the news, and most contracts are trading slightly higher. February hogs are up 37 points at 57.10 cents, while most-active April is down 15 point at 61.20 cents.

-By Bill Tomson, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-646-0088; bill.tomson@dowjones.com

(Curt Thacker contributed to this report.)


Sunday, February 1, 2009

FDA to Approve Genetically Engineered Animals; Treat Them as Corporate Intellectual Property

Posted by sakerfa on January 31, 2009

The FDA has adopted new rules allowing companies to sell genetically modified animals and their products on the market, and affirming that the DNA of such animals is private property that can be held under patent.

To be approved, any genetically modified animal product must be proven to the FDA’s satisfaction to be safe for human use in a process similar to that undergone by new drugs. Clinical trials like those needed for drugs will not be required, however. The FDA must also show that any genetically modified animal is healthy.

No FDA approval will be required for cloned animals or those intended only for research or as pets.

The new rules immediately drew harsh criticism from a wide spectrum of opponents. Experts objected to the FDA’s decision to allow the approval process to remain secret in order to protect the financial interests of companies that hold patents on genetically modified animals and their DNA. Environmental and consumer advocates also criticized the rules for ignoring the potential environmental impacts of genetically modified animals.

“Drugs don’t go out and breed with each other. When a drug gets loose, you figure you can control it. When a bull gets loose, it would be harder to corral,” said Jaydee Hanson from the Center for Food Safety.

Others criticized the FDA’s decision to not require labeling of genetically modified animal products as long as there is no change in composition in the final product.

“Consumers have the right to know if the ham, bacon or pork chops they are buying … have been engineered with mouse genes,” said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union.

Already, companies are lining up to introduce a wide variety of modified animals, from salmon that grow twice as fast as normal to pigs with meat high in omega-3 fatty acids, cows resistant to mad cow disease and animals that produce pharmaceutical products such as insulin in their milk. Researchers have also expressed interest in engineering animals that grow human organs for transplant.

Sources for this story include: www.latimes.com.

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/025481.html


President of Killer Peanut Company Sits on US Industry Quality Board

posted 01-31-09

Stewart Parnell of US Peanut Corp has been a member of the USDA Peanut Standard board since 2005 though eight people have died and over 500 sickened due to infections from peanuts processed by the company.

The Department of Justice and Georgia authorities are investigating the circumstances of the contamination as to whether the long history of contamination at the plant warrants criminal charges and of what severity.

The AJC notes that the board was not involved in setting safety standards but the USDA wording sure makes it seem like the group was supposed to keep some kind of eye on food safety.

As reported in Atlanta Journal Constitution "Troubled peanut firm’s chief also an industry quality adviser ":

Created by the 2002 Farm Bill that provides federal subsidies to farmers, the board advises the secretary of the USDA on “standards intended to assure that satisfactory quality and wholesome peanuts are used in the domestic and import peanut markets,” according to the USDA.

Wholesome. You'd think a product, to be wholesome would have to be clean and uncontaminated. If those words don't intend to protect Americans from harm they certainly are deceptive. That was the glorious realm of Bushco Republican governance.

Promise them anything, while your cronies steal and make war.

The sooner such crap is cleaned out of our government, the better.

The AJC like most of mainstream won't go hard on this large local industry, and other sources are positively propagandistic.

The Lynchburg News and Advance declares "Lynchburg company doing all it can in salmonella outbreak "

Sure it is, just like Brownie, they're doing a heck of a job.

And just like the Bush administration an abyssmal lack of concern for years helped create the crisis and now they are expressing remorse and contrition.

The LN&A mentions that the the Peanut Corp of America which is registered in Lynchburg is just an office in the back of Stewart Parnells home there which is actually just outside of the city limit, and the main office is in Blakely, Georgia, and mostly sans employees (all the better to keep them away from the press, I'd suppose). The PCA website has taken down all information on itself and is instead links to media reports.

The report transmits Mr. Parnell's regrets, which I believe to be very sincere, but note that he isn't the only business head that has been sorry after tragedies ensue from the use of their goods and services. The head of Value Jet now recreated as Jet Blu, to Odwalla (which no longer uses unpasterized apple juice) to the company that packs Fresh Express vegetables who say they no longer buy from farms with inadequate boar-proof fencing, though reports keep coming down showing concern about flimsy plastic 'boar fences'. I

I'm sure these people are very sorry, but there is also a saying in business that it's easier to apologize after a problem develops than to make sure it doesn't happen in the first place. I have no evidence that the companies involved in the incidents above went by that philosophy, but it makes a person wonder.

I need to cut the LN&A some slack as they reported on an interview with Stewart Parnell's sister from a local TV station, and in report "Peanut family member asks for understanding " cut it in with some of the damaging information from the FDA (which the sister basically calls liars).

Still it would be nice if there were a local source that would hunt down some of the former employees (get a reporter who speaks Spanish, Dummies) that would get an inside scoop (I'm betting that immigrants don't sign nondisclosure contracts)

How were employees treated, and did they have to use the same sinks after using the restroom in which they used to clean the mops and utensils as reported by the FDA.

Still I'm sure that they are very sorry for the problems, like the woman who gave alcohol to a 15 year old boy who then took a car for a spin killing himself and a friend and putting his half brother in the hospital.

But rich industry people get to express their regret across the nation, and a poor women in Fontana will get only approbation and arrest. Yes, she should be punished, but um so should the peanut king whose product has sickened and killed more.

Also see AP report "Feds rarely file charges in tainted food cases "

An earlier post "More Peanut Products Recalled. Recall Now Goes Back 2 Years. Filthy Conditions in Plant " has links to the FDS site from which you can search for a product recalled.

tags: food contamination fda usda peanut recall peanut products


No Money? USDA gives $258,000 Grant to College

USDA grant to help WSU doctoral students
By the Herald staff

A $258,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help Washington State University support three doctoral students focusing on sustainable development and natural resource management.

The National Needs Fellowship grant was given to 12 universities for 2008.

Professors in soil science, biological systems engineering and economics are seeking candidates for the multi-disciplinary program lasting three to four years.

The fellowship includes an internship at the University of Bologna in Italy during the second year. Two engineering students have been accepted for fall 2009 and one more spot is available for spring 2010.

For more information, go to www.bsyse.wsu.edu/core/Graduate%20Studies/fellowships.

The Truth about Lexapro

Dr. Alan Ingilis, Jan 30, 2009

There's an old saying in the newspaper business that when news is slow, the answer is simple – go create some. I see journalists do that all the time with medical studies. Reporters take some small, inconclusive study and treat it like a Nobel Prize-worthy breakthrough.

Case in point, the press latched on to a recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, which looked at whether the popular antidepressant Lexapro should be used as an anti-anxiety treatment for older adults.

The drug is already used quite a bit for elderly people who have generalized anxiety disorder, complaining of fatigue, muscle aches and insomnia. The study wanted to quantify whether it was really effective.

For 12 weeks, the researchers tracked 177 people aged 60 or older with generalized anxiety disorder. One group got a dummy pill and the other group received Lexapro. The scientists calculated that 69 percent of the real pill-takers reported improvements, while 51 percent of the placebo-takers did. For such a small sample, that's not much of an improvement… but no
one wants to admit that.

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and these drugs have been linked to bone loss – that should be a big disqualifier for elderly patients. Plus, antidepressants can lead to crippling withdrawal symptoms – many patients are currently suing the makers of these drugs in class-action lawsuits.

So, if you're telling me that I can still have a 51 percent chance of feeling better, without having to deal with the "major baggage" that comes with Lexapro… well, that's the real news right there. It might not make page 1 of The New York Times, but it's still true.

The "Off-Shore" Farm Race

...Or, "The Selling and/or Leasing of America."

The farms race

By Eric Reguly Globe and Mail Update

Wealthy countries short of fertile land are gazing hungrily at Canada's prairies
The Arab states invest their oil fortunes in the craziest things, from the proposed Mile-High Tower in Jiddah to the indoor ski resort in dry-as-dust Dubai. Perhaps the craziest idea yet is Saudi Arabian wheat. Some 30 years ago, the lake- and river-less kingdom decided it should be self-sufficient in wheat.

It worked. But the subsidies to farmers at times approached $1,000 (U.S.) a tonne. Last year, the Saudis finally concluded that desert wheat made no more sense than Nunavut pineapples. The farms will disappear within a few years, after which the country will be entirely dependent on imports. But from where?

Answer: from any nation willing to sell or lease vast tracts of its farmland and—here's the kicker—allow the Saudis to export most or all of the food grown there back home, bypassing the international market. Such "offshore farms" are a quiet, though burgeoning, form of neo-colonialism. And they have the potential to unleash a new food crisis.

The Saudis are not alone in the global land grab. Any country that worries about long-term food security because of a shortage of fertile land, and has the wealth to do something about it, is on the hunt: United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Libya, India, China, Japan, plus a number of investment and private-equity funds. A report published in the autumn by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development said that "public and private corporations and industrial groups are buying millions of hectares of land in Africa, Asia and Latin America to produce food or agrofuels."

At first, the UN and the World Bank either ignored or cautiously supported the trend. Food prices were rising and foreign investment in raising crop productivity in poor countries seemed like a fine idea. They changed their minds when they realized offshore farms were all about locking up food supplies, not boosting them for the markets. Bizarrely, one of the countries apparently most eager to welcome farmland seekers is Sudan, where 5.6 million people are being fed by the UN's World Food Program.

Watchdog groups such as Grain and the International Land Coalition also fear that poor farmers are being forced off productive land as the men with the cheques arrive. The authors of a recent Grain report said that some offshore farm deals amount to "the siphoning of fertile and probably contested agricultural lands to rich foreigners."

You can't blame Saudi Arabia and the others for taking care of the nutrition needs of their growing populations, just as the Americans and Europeans will spend fortunes, and sometimes start wars, to lock up oil supplies. In some cases, the land deals might be win-win situations, in that farm jobs are created, crop technology is transferred and some food is left on local tables. But you have to assume altruism is not the priority.

And you can already see how the offshore farmland trend could blow up. The food crisis that triggered riots in Africa and Haiti in 2008 has been tempered by falling commodity prices. It could return in an instant for any number of reasons, ranging from an oil price reversal to a drought. Imagine how suddenly hungry people would react if they knew a good portion of their country's crops were being funnelled to rich countries. Rioters might seize foreign-owned farms. To prevent chaos, the government would probably nationalize the operations.

Which brings us to Canada. This country has far more farmland than it needs to keep us fed. The land is in a politically stable jurisdiction and is incredibly cheap by developed-country standards. Calgary's Agcapita Farmland Investment Partnership, a fund that has been buying prairie farmland, has calculated that Saskatchewan's productive soil, in inflation-adjusted terms, fetches far lower prices now than it did in the early 1980s.

Agcapita partner Stephen Johnston says he's approached all the time by foreign interests seeking Canadian agricultural land. Foreign ownership restrictions on prairie farmland have blocked them so far, but that doesn't mean they're out of the picture. Foreigners might be able to lease farms or use loans or local partnerships to gain interests in the land. It's hard to imagine that Canada will not play a role as the global farmland rush gains momentum. Johnston is convinced it's just a matter of time.

Would it be in Canada's interest to turn big chunks of Saskatchewan or Manitoba into offshore farms for the UAE or China? In a country that believes in free trade, probably not. Farmers, food processors and politicians need to devise a policy before Canada becomes a target.