‘Nanny State’ Agents Out to Kill Raw Food Industry (Update)

I’m not a health food nut, a vegan, a vegetarian or anything unusual, but I am an advocate of free enterprise.  From Howell County, Mo., to Ventura County, Calif., free enterprise is being threatened by agents of the “Nanny State” who seem to be on the war path, zealously striving to shut down elements of the nation’s raw food industry.

In the first video (below), you can see how government agencies have suspended operations in rural Mountain View, Mo., where raw food products have been made and shipped from Morningland Dairy for more than 30 years.

In the next video (below), you can see how ridiculously “over the top” an Oct. 30 raid on Rawesome Foods, a private members-only food cooperative in Venice, Calif., truly was.

If you think events like those highlighted above are rare and unusual, you might be right.  At the same time, however, you should be aware that a bill in the U.S. Senate, S. 510, contains 225 pages of new regulations, many of which are problematic, according to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).  While some regulations are potentially onerous, but perhaps reasonable – such as requiring every facility to have a scientifically-based, but very flexible, food safety plan—others give FDA sweeping authority with potentially significant consequences.

Read more of Senator Coburn’s concerns regarding food legislation here.

To help save the Morningland Dairy, visit the UNCHEESE PARTY web site.

UPDATE 1/12/11 at 8:10 a.m. Central: The Morningland Dairy case went to court yesterday in West Plains, Mo.  According to this post on the company’s blog, one judge for the case bowed out Friday afternoon and another judge was appointed.  In addition, the company was “denied trial by jury, and only part of the case is to be heard, which is the Missouri Milk Board’s claims and our first and second counterclaims.”  More updates to follow.

UPDATE 1/12/11 at 8:23 a.m. Central: Here’s another update about court proceedings yesterday inside the Howell County (Mo.) Courthouse.

UPDATE 1/16/11 at 1:35 p.m. Central: Bob Parker of Raymondville, Mo., reports, “I was locked out of the Morningland Dairy trial last week. They closed the door for the last two hours of the trial.”

UPDATE 1/26/2013 at 11:20 a.m. Central:  Today marks an important milestone in this case as the state shut down the Morningland Dairy after more than two years of a legal battle.  See video below:

Does Your Baby Have an Alcohol Problem?

Nurse Working During 1918 Flu PandemicA rather odd question came to mind after I began investigating the role of hand sanitizer in combating bacteria, germs and viruses amidst media-stoked fears that a 1918-like flu outbreak could surface this fall:  Does your baby have an alcohol problem?”

Why?  Because, when applied per instructions, the ethyl alcohol contained in the vast majority of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products removes the body’s natural oils from the surface of the skin and, within only a few hours, fosters an environment within which bacteria actually returns in quantities larger than originally present.  With repeated use, it actually damages the skin.  So who wants to apply it to babies and other small children?

Most people — including mothers of young children — appear not to realize is that the leading brands of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (i.e., Purell®, Germ-X® et al) contain a minimum of 62 percent and as much as 95 percent ethyl alcohol. I use the caveat, “appear not to realize”, due to the fact two facts:

(1) Manufacturers of those products combine to sell tens of millions of dollars worth of product every year after more than 20 years on the market, and

(2) Many of those products are sold to mothers of young children.

Mock H1N1 BadgeOne would think government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control would pursue aggressively — or, at a minimum, promote — the development of alcohol-free hand sanitizer solutions.  But, alas, they do not.  Instead, they recommend alcohol-based hand sanitizer products be used when washing with soap and water is not possible.

Their confusion is evident in the e-mail below which came in response to my questions about the CDC’s apparent love affair with alcohol:

The FDA in their Tentative Final Monograph (TFM) judged there were adequate clinical trials data to prove alcohol-based (hand sanitizers) are effective in interrupting the transmission of bacteria in healthcare settings.

The FDA judged there were inadequate clinical trials data to prove AB-HS are effective in interrupting transmission of viruses  (note: it is not that there are any clinical data to suggest AB-HS won’t be effective, just a lack of data).

However, there are laboratory data that show AB-HS are effective in killing viruses, especially enveloped viruses such as influenza, to a degree similar to which they kill bacteria.  It is on the basis of such laboratory data that CDC recommends AB-HS for controlling transmission of viruses as well as bacteria in healthcare settings.

According to the FDA in their TFM, the available clinical and laboratory data were inadequate to prove non-alcohol based HS are effective in interrupting transmission of bacteria or viruses.

The CDC guidance recommending AB-HS is focused on the needs of healthcare workers.  The benefits of AB-HS in community settings have been extrapolated from this guidance.

L. Clifford McDonald, MD, FACP
Chief, Prevention and Response Branch
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Most manufacturers of alcohol-based hand sanitizer products boast that their products offer Log 4 efficacy, a standard represented 99.99 percent effective against germs.  Some claim their products meet only Log 3 efficacy (99.9 percent).  Still others tout Log 6 efficacy (99.9999 percent) and higher, though I suspect many of the latter claims are exaggerated.

Are better, safer alternatives available?  Indeed they are.

A simple Google Search of the phrase, “alcohol-free hand sanitizer”, yielded nearly 2.5 million results this afternoon.  Among those results, at least a handful — perhaps hundreds — must hold some promise.

If only the “experts” at the CDC and FDA would exercise a bit more due diligence.  Instead, it appears they promote hand washing and alcohol as “solutions” to promote hand hygiene.  In turn, members of the mainstream news media parrot their guidance when reporting on efforts to combat bacteria, germs and viruses, including the much-feared H1N1 virus (a.k.a., “Swine Flu”), Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Norovirus.  Then the public buys products based upon what they see, hear and read in the news media.

Stories like this one show up as “bogies” on my follow-the-money radar screen.  In other words, they make me wonder whether or not much the big manufacturers of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are funneling to policy makers in Washington, D.C., to ensure government agencies continue to recommend only their products.  Hmmm?

Chart Helps Explain Salmonella Peanut Scare

More than 1,500 peanut products were removed from store shelves nationwide during the weeks that followed a February outbreak of salmonella poisoning allegedly tied to a Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakeley, Ga.  Since then, allegations of health code violations at the plant have surfaced alongside concerns about food safety and whether or not the FDA has enough inspectors to do the job.  By the looks of the FDA peanut distribution chart above, one can understand what a daunting task the FDA faces. [Note: To view a larger pdf version of the chart above, click here.]

If you would like to order a t-shirt or other item bearing the chart above, click here.

Hat tip:  Eat Me Daily

Obama Stimulus Plan MIGHT Create Jobs

After reading about military doctors using new magnetic technology to treat patients for depression, I realized immediately that President Barack Obama’s so-called “Economic Stimulus Plan” just might create jobs — albeit in a back-door fashion.

In much the same way as tanning beds became all the rage back in the early ’80s, I predict this new technology — officially known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy — will lead to the establishment and rapid growth of a wide variety of businesses across the country.  Why?  Because so many people are depressed these days about the recent passage of President Obama’s stimulus bill and about the loss of so much of their retirement savings.

Details of the new technology appeared in a Walter Reed Army Medical Center news release issued today:

A TMS Therapy device was approved by the FDA last October to treat depressed patients who had not adequately benefited from prior antidepressant medication. TMS treatment does not require medication, surgery, sedation, or anesthesia. During use, a patient is seated in what resembles a dental chair. The treating psychiatrist places a treatment coil on the patient’s head from which short pulses of MRI-strength magnetic fields are aimed at the structures in the brain involved in mood regulation. A treatment session lasts about 40 minutes, and patients usually receive 20 to 30 sessions over a 4 to 6 week period. Patients are awake and alert, and return to normal activities after each session.

What makes me think TMS Therapy will follow the same path as tanning beds and, in turn, stimulate job creation?  Consider the following:

  • Both use relatively simple technology — lamps and magnets;
  • Both use simple equipment — beds and chairs; and
  • Neither technology requires the use of medication, surgery, sedation or anesthesia.

While the law of supply and demand dictates that the marketplace should be able to support the establishment and growth of TMS Therapy businesses, the big-spending Obama Administration’s economic “thinking” — or lack thereof — just might prevent it from happening.

Blogger ‘Going Nuts’ on The Curtis Sliwa Show (Updated)

Curtis Sliwa

Curtis Sliwa

Yours truly will be “going nuts” at 11:45 p.m. Eastern tonight.  That’s when I’ll be appearing on The Curtis Sliwa Show, a nationally-syndicated radio talk show that airs weeknights on ABC Radio Network flagship station 77 WABC in New York City and is carried on stations in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, among others.

Specifically, I’ll be talking with Curtis Sliwa, founder and leader of the Guardian Angels, about the nightmare scenario now facing the nation’s peanut industry in the form of a Salmonella scare.

An FDA inspection report published yesterday alleges that the folks at the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facility in Blakely, Ga. — located less than two hours drive time from President Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Ga. — knowingly distributed product contaminated with Salmonella.

There are at least two “silver linings” to be found in this nutty crisis:

  • The silver lining for the people at PCAif there is one — is that their factory is located in the United States and not in China.  The Chinese government, after all, has a track record of executing officials in charge of factories that produce tainted products (i.e., exploding automobile tires, contaminated milk, toxic toothpaste and toys coated with lead-based paint).  See articles here and here for more details.
  • The silver lining for the American people lies not in the fact that the federal government is investigating, but in the fact that it’s the Food and Drug Administration that has oversight of the case and not Congress.  If Congress was responsible for investigating the matter, an entire generation of children might grow up without experiencing the joy of a peanut butter sandwich and an industry might disappear before the investigation turned up anything of value.

[Note: Check back soon for a link to the podcast of the show.  As soon as they post it at The Curtis Sliwa Show web site, I'll add a link to it here.]

* * *

FYI: After posting the information above, I discovered the Peanuts USA Council web site and learned some amazing facts, two of which I share below:

  • Peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the United States with a farm value of over one billion U.S. dollars; and
  • Peanut butter accounts for approximately half of the U.S. edible use of peanuts — accounting for $850 million in retail sales annually.

Company Recalls Diet Pill Tainted with ‘E.D.’ Drug

A company in Port St. Lucie, Fla., announced this week a voluntary nationwide recall of two of its dietary supplement products after an FDA lab analysis revealed that the products contained trace amounts of an FDA-approved drug used as treatment for male erectile dysfunction (a.k.a., “E.D.”).

Seems to me the combo might, for obvious reasons, be more effective as a weight-loss treatment — for men anyway, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide. The news release about the recall is available here.

Inspector Demands Egg Label on Eggnog

Columnist Bill Nemitz wrote a fantastic and — at the same time disturbing — piece in Portland, Maine, newspaper yesterday, showcasing how idiotic government bureaucrats can be. Under the headline, Egg in nog? No joke, says Smiling Hill, the piece begins this way:

When your family owns and operates a place called Smiling Hill Farm, you tend to go through life with a grin. But last week, the best Warren Knight could manage was a grimace.

It started with a spot inspection from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — it happens every year or two at the Westbrook dairy farm and has never been a big deal.

But this time was different. Looking over a fresh batch of the Smiling Hill egg nog, the inspector did a double take: The bottle cap — the only place on the otherwise all-glass container with any printing — was out of federal compliance.

How so?

“Eggs were not listed as an ingredient,” Knight recalled.

It gets better. Click here to read the rest.