FDA Finds Monsanto’s Weed Killer In U.S. Honey


The Food and Drug Administration, under public pressure to start testing samples of U.S. food for the presence of a pesticide that has been linked to cancer, has some early findings that are not so sweet.

In examining honey samples from various locations in the United States, the FDA has found fresh evidence that residues of the weed killer called glyphosate can be pervasive – found even in a food that is not produced with the use of glyphosate. All of the samples the FDA tested in a recent examination contained glyphosate residues, and some of the honey showed residue levels double the limit allowed in the European Union, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. There is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the United States.

Glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup herbicide, is the most widely used weed killer in the world, and concerns about glyphosate residues in food spiked after the World Health Organization in 2015 said its cancer experts determined glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Other international scientists have raised concerns about how heavy use of glyphosate is impacting human health and the environment.

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South Carolina just obliterated millions of bees by accident

Reports out of South Carolina have indicated that when officials approved the spraying of local farmlands with insecticide to prevent the spread of Zika-carrying mosquitos, it accidentally wiped out millions of bees too.

The insecticide in question, called Naled, is known to be “highly toxic” to bees, and these vital pollinators appear to be the latest collateral damage in the fight against Zika.

In response to the ensuing outcry from local farmers after last Sunday’s bout of aerial spraying in Dorchester County, the local administrator’s office announcedthat the state health department had reported four travel-related cases of Zika virus in the Summerville area of Dorchester County on Friday 26 August.

While the health department reported that no one has been infected from a local mosquito bite to date, Dorchester County officials justified the accidental bee cull on the grounds that the mosquito population remained a threat.

“Dorchester County is concerned about the safety of its citizens,” a statement from the County Administrator’s Office reads. “This includes protecting citizens from insect bites from pests such as mosquitoes that carry viruses including West Nile and Zika.”

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Farmers Work a Second Shift to Supplement Income

Farmers Work a Second Shift to Supplement Income

An elderly man walks up the path to his farm in Cortland, Nebraska. American farmers who grow barley, millet and other minor grains earn 84 percent of their income by working off the farm. | Photo credit: Joel Sartore, NG Creative

The “average” American farmer earns an income above most Americans—but that’s often because they’re hustling in a second-job off the farm, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week. Read more of this post

Perdue Farms To Buy Natural Meat Maker & Chipotle Pork Supplier Niman Ranch

Perdue Farms to buy Chipotle pork supplier Niman Ranch

Poultry company Perdue Farms will buy natural meat maker Niman Ranch, which is Chipotle Mexican Grill’s biggest pork supplier and a brand name on U.S. restaurant menus, the two companies said on Tuesday. Read more of this post

The Not So COOL Reason You Won’t Know Where Your Steak Came From

The Not So COOL Reason You May Soon Not Know Where Your Steak Came From

Cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy—mad cow disease—have been reported in Brazil as recently as 2014. When a cow was found to have died from the neurogenerative disease, which humans can contract by eating meat from sick animals, in 2012, a number of countries suspended beef imports from Brazil as a precaution. The United States was not among them. Read more of this post

The Big Business Behind The Local Food

The big business behind the local food

Produced is displayed at a Whole Foods Market Inc. store in Oakland, California. Photograph by David Paul Morris — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Grocery chains and big box retailers are aggressively expanding their locally grown offerings. But there are real concerns about what consumers are getting when they buy “local.” Read more of this post

US Wants Egg Executives Punished for Salmonella Outbreak


A judge should consider the “widespread harm” done by a major 2010 salmonella outbreak and the food safety lapses that preceded it in sentencing two egg industry executives whose company was responsible, prosecutors said Monday. Read more of this post

Scientists trace deadly piglet virus hitting US farms to China


Published October 23, 2013


A virus deadly to baby pigs that has roiled the U.S. pork industry likely originated in the Anhui Province of China and may have evolved from a virus seen in bats, according to a report by veterinary researchers at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

The report should help diagnostic researchers and federal officials, who have been trying to trace the origin of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) since it was first identified in the United States this past spring.

Previously, investigators and veterinary researchers tracking the outbreak said that there was some indication that the PEDv strain seen in the U.S. was 99.5 percent similar in genetic make-up to that identified in China. But exactly where it came from and how it arrived in the United States were mysteries.

According to the report published last week in the American Academy of Microbiology journal mBio, the researchers extracted strains of PEDv virus from infected animals in Minnesota and Iowa.

They then compared the genetic code of the virus in these samples to PEDv samples isolated in China’s Anhui province during an outbreak that began in late 2010. The results showed that the three strains that have emerged in the United States are most closely related to particular Chinese strains.

“Taken together, the available sequence and phylogenetic data indicate that the PEDV strains emerging in the United States originated from China,” according to the published report.

The researchers cautioned that “the exact source of the origin is difficult to identify at this point.”

Veterinary researchers and U.S. Department of Agriculture officials say that PEDv does not pose a threat to human health, nor to food safety.

While, there has been no indication that PEDv could jump from one species to another, the research team said it found the U.S. PEDv strains to have some of the same genetic features seen in a bat coronavirus. That, in turn, suggests the virus may have possibly having originated in bats and a potential for “cross-species transmission,” according to the report.

There is no definitive data yet of how many animals have died in the United States from PEDv as farmers are not required to report PEDv outbreaks.

As of the week of October 6, there have been 768 confirmed cases reported in 18 states, according to data compiled by state university diagnostic laboratories and federal officials. Each reported case could represent thousands of infected animals.

Diagnostic veterinarians, producers and some livestock economists said they expected the virus to spread more rapidly as temperatures cool in the fall when piglets are being born. The virus is particularly deadly to very young pigs: average mortality rates range from 80 to 100 percent.

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John Ratzenberger’s American Made TV Show Kicks off Campaign in FundAnything

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) October 21, 2013

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger (best known for playing the mailman Cliff Clavin on Cheers) is launching a crowd source campaign today with FundAnything for his brand new television series, ‘John Ratzenberger’s American Made.’

A video release on the show and campaign is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zb1qd1oThk

“From the things we need, to the things we want, to the things we dream about— we’re going to show you the best of our country’s home grown products,” says Ratzenberger. “But more importantly, we’ll highlight the remarkable men and women who use their skills and ingenuity to create goods they can proudly call made in the USA.”

The show will also empower viewers with a direct and easy path on where to buy the products profiled. The series will be produced with RealityTVStar.com, which Ratzenberger co-founded.

“We chose to crowd fund the initial few episodes for strategic reasons,” said RealityTVStar.com CEO, Jeffrey Solomon. “Crowd funding is an excellent way to mobilize fans and promote our American made corporate partners before the show launches. It’s also an excellent way to allow the public to be a part of the show before its release on TV.”

Crowd funding has grown into an extremely successful method to fund creative projects without the bureaucracy of corporate mandates. Ratzenberger’s campaign will give donors a chance to be on the show; join John at a VIP events; receive products profiled, and many more opportunities only available to donors. He has already signed on 30+ American-made companies and industry groups.

Those interested in participating in John’s FundAnything campaign can visit http://www.Fundanything.com/americanmade for more details. Individuals can also see these companies/industry groups on the TV series Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/americanmadewithjohn.

Ratzenberger’s career includes 40 feature films and dozens of television shows including the highly successful ‘John Ratzenberger’s Made in America,’ which ran 5 seasons on the Travel Channel from 2004 to 2008. John is currently a regular on FX’s ‘Legit,’ and has recently appeared on Fox’s ‘Bones,’ CBS’s ‘CSI,’ Lifetime’s ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ and TNT’s ‘Franklin & Bash.’ He is also in production for the newest Pixar film ‘Inside Out.’

About Reality TV Star
RealityTVStar.com is a reality TV production company that uses technology to improve the process of developing, casting and producing reality TV shows. RealityTVStar.com offers fans the ability to upload “slice of life,” casting, and “home” video clips, for the chance to be discovered by the RealityTVStar.com team of producers.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/10/prweb11247624.htm

To learn more about Made in USA Certification please visit our website at: www.USA-C.com

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The Honey Launderers: Uncovering the Largest Food Fraud in U.S. History


By Susan Berfield | BusinessWeek – Mon, Sep 23, 2013 1:14 PM EDT


Magnus von Buddenbrock and Stefanie Giesselbach arrived in Chicago in 2006 full of hope. He was 30, she was 28, and they had both won their first overseas assignments at ALW Food Group, a family-owned food-trading company based in Hamburg. Von Buddenbrock had joined ALW—the initials stand for its founder, Alfred L. Wolff—four years earlier after earning a degree in marketing and international business, and he was expert in the buying and selling of gum arabic, a key ingredient in candy and soft drinks. Giesselbach had started at ALW as a 19-year-old apprentice. She worked hard, learned quickly, spoke five languages, and within three years had become the company’s first female product manager. Her specialty was honey. When the two colleagues began their new jobs in a small fourth-floor office a few blocks from Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, ALW’s business was growing, and all they saw was opportunity.

On March 24, 2008, von Buddenbrock came to the office around 8:30 a.m., as usual. He was expecting a quiet day: It was a holiday in Germany, and his bosses there had the day off. Giesselbach was on holiday, too; she had returned to Germany to visit her family and boyfriend. Sometime around 10 a.m., von Buddenbrock heard a commotion in the reception area and went to have a look. A half-dozen armed federal agents, all wearing bulletproof vests, had stormed in. “They made a good show, coming in with full force,” he recalls. “It was pretty scary.”

The agents asked if anybody was hiding anywhere, then separated von Buddenbrock and his assistant, the only two employees there. Agents brought von Buddenbrock into a conference room, where they questioned him about ALW’s honey business. After a couple of hours they left, taking with them stacks of paper files, copies of computer hard drives, and samples of honey.

Giesselbach returned from Germany three days later. Her flight was about to land at O’Hare when the crew announced that everyone would have to show their passports at the gate. As Giesselbach walked off the plane, federal agents pulled her aside. She, too, answered their questions about ALW’s honey shipments. After an hour, they let her leave. The agents, from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Department of Homeland Security, had begun to uncover a plot by ALW to import millions of pounds of cheap honey from China by disguising its origins.

Americans consume more honey than anyone else in the world, nearly 400 million pounds every year. About half of that is used by food companies in cereals, bread, cookies, and all sorts of other processed food. Some 60 percent of the honey is imported from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and other trading partners. Almost none comes from China. After U.S. beekeepers accused Chinese companies of selling their honey at artificially low prices, the government imposed import duties in 2001 that as much as tripled the price of Chinese honey. Since then, little enters from China legally.

Von Buddenbrock and Giesselbach continued to cooperate with the investigators, according to court documents. In September 2010, though, the junior executives were formally accused of helping ALW perpetuate a sprawling $80 million food fraud, the largest in U.S. history. Andrew Boutros, assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, had put together the case: Eight other ALW executives, including Alexander Wolff, the chief executive officer, and a Chinese honey broker, were indicted on charges alleging a global conspiracy to illegally import Chinese honey going back to 2002. Most of the accused executives live in Germany and, for now, remain beyond the reach of the U.S. justice system. They are on Interpol’s list of wanted people. U.S. lawyers for ALW declined to comment.

In the spring of 2006, as Giesselbach, who declined requests for an interview, was preparing for her job in Chicago, she started receiving e-mail updates about various shipments of honey moving through ports around the world. According to court documents, one on May 3 was titled “Loesungmoeglichkeiten,” or “Solution possibilities.” During a rare inspection, U.S. customs agents had become suspicious about six shipping containers of honey headed for ALW’s customers. The honey came from China but had been labeled Korean White Honey.

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