The Topsy-Turvy Logic of America’s Food Cops

September 17, 2013

Texas-Police-Hit-Organic-Farm-With-Massive-SWAT-Raid_huffpost_Screenshot-273Mass-produced CAFO food is becoming more dangerous than ever, yet US authorities seem obsessed with destroying small farmers and distributors of raw and organic foods.




The USDA has ended a ban on Chinese chicken imports to the US by authorizing four Chinese plants to process chickens that were slaughtered elsewhere. There will be no USDA inspectors on hand at the plants to verify the origin of the slaughtered chickens or to enforce US standards. There is no labeling requirement, so consumers in the US will have no way to know which chicken products were processed (that is, cooked) in China or what their origins were.



China has a terrible track record for food safety. Bloomberg News reports:


China has earned a reputation as one of the world’s worst food-safety offenders. In just the last year, consumers have been confronted with a bird flu outbreak, news of sales of 46-year-old chicken feet, and reports of poisonous fake mutton. These are not isolated incidents, but rather the most spectacular instances of a crisis that has become so severe that some consumers now smuggle quantities of infant milk formula from foreign countries into China.




Introducing unlabeled Chinese cooked chickens will just make a bad situation in the US worse. We reported in July that USDA has proposed new poultry regulations to speed up line speeds and reduce the number of federal inspectors by 40%, relying more on inspectors paid by the poultry producers, and in particular allowing the use of more, stronger, and dangerous chemicals to sanitize the filthy birds that have lived in overcrowded squalor.



The USDA now plans to roll out similar regulations for pork plants nationwide, despite the fact that plants using the new system have failed to stop the production of contaminated meat. Five US pork plants have been using the new USDA program for a decade; three of the five are among the worst offenders in the nation for health and safety violations. Plants in Canada and Australia using the new program have also been plagued with recalls and tainted meat.



Nor can you guarantee a safe meal by getting a steak instead of a pork chop. Large numbers of cattle in the US are fed dangerous fattening drugs that are banned in most other countries: beta-agonists, which can put twenty to thirty-four pounds on cattle just prior to slaughter. Eli Lilly sells Optaflexx and Merck sells Zilmax, which Merck claims is used on 70% of the cattle slaughtered in the US.



Merck announced last month that it is suspending sales of Zilmax while it conducts a new study of the effects on cattle. This may be in response to the largest US meat processor, Tyson Foods, announcing that it will no longer be buying any cattle fed Zilmax, due to health problems. The most common problem is that cattle are rendered unable to walk. As the Wall Street Journal reported, the drugs have taken away one of the feed-lot operators’ key bargaining chips: the ability to time when they send cattle to the packing plant to get the best price. “Now, you only have so many days after an animal has been fed [a beta-agonist] before it’s got to go to slaughter or it becomes so lame it can’t move,” said a cattle producer in Colorado.



Ractopamine, the beta-agonist in Eli Lily’s Optaflexx, is banned in Russia and China, so the US cannot export pork to either country, nor beef to Russia. Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest hog farmer and pork processor, has dedicated half of their slaughter capacity to processing hogs that have never been fed ractopamine so they can meet the demands of exporters.



Americans are eating meat that is increasingly contaminated and full of drugs that have been banned in other countries. Meanwhile, US authorities are more concerned about the so-called “dangers” posed by raw milk and organic produce. A small organic farm in Texas was raided last month by a SWAT team in search of marijuana plants, which they did not find. In an armed raid that lasted ten hours and included aerial surveillance by helicopters, the police seized seventeen organic blackberry bushes, fifteen okra plants, fourteen tomatillo plants, as well as native grasses and sunflowers—after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour! The only person arrested was someone on the property with outstanding traffic violations.



We reported in August 2011 about the armed raid of raw food co-op Rawesome Foods in Venice, California. This was no small-town police action, but a joint raid by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, the FDA, the Department of Agriculture, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rawesome was charged with selling unpasteurized dairy without a proper license, even though Rawesome does not sell to the public but only acts as a distributor for co-op owners, so no license is necessary. Despite there being no evidence whatsoever of contamination, 800 gallons of raw organic milk were poured down the drain, and $70,000 worth of raw organic food was seized.



In Wisconsin, raw milk farmer Vernon Hershberger was raided and accused of committing “dairy crimes” for distributing raw organic milk to a small group of people who were members of a private buying club (much like the Rawesome Foods co-op).



And you may recall our article last month about the war on small farmers. Small farms, and especially raw and organic farms, produce the highest-quality food in America. Yet US authorities seem intent on destroying them through regulation, paperwork, fees, and raids while turning a blind eye on poor meat safety inspections and the drugging of livestock with toxic pharmaceuticals.

38 responses to “The Topsy-Turvy Logic of America’s Food Cops”

  1. Searching for answers says:

    Ah, this is a giant lost opportunity for cattlemen.
    Just think if all that cattle were raised outdoors on grass, instead of inside on corn. Without being drugged, these beasts bringing restorative effects of cattle herding back to land on the brink of desertification. What a wonderful land it could be!

  2. Betty Rinderknecht says:

    What in the world can we do about this horrible government we have now? It’s like living in a true dictatorship with lots of bureaus who care nothing about the citizens health and welfare. Perhaps only God can intervene and get rid of and punish these evil people. Yes, people. People are running these agriculture departments of our government and they care naught for the animals we depend upon for food and for those of us citizens who depend on healthy food sources.

  3. Nilofer Kreonidis says:

    It is difficult to find words to express how concerned I am about this issue. Family farma, small farms are essential elements to American life. Foods should be produced in a humane, environmentally sustainable manner.

  4. jonnyappleseeds says:

    Back to being a veg and killing what you raise and nothing else…

  5. Melissa Weaver says:

    Leave the TRUE sustainable farmers ALONE!!!

  6. A sick population cant think as clearly as a well one. They also don’t have the energy to fight back. So is it any wonder that as people become more aware of the abuses of power that are going on and start to complain and fight back verbally and monitarilly that those in power try to make us sick and dumb us down. This works for them on so many levels. Besides those listed above they make a tremendouse amount of money for the drug companys and insurance companys and they will be able to continue to abuse their power to legislate (sell legislation to the highest corporate bidder) and undermine our constitutional rights, keep us in a perpetual state of war to enrich the “war machine” industry and its easy to accomplish just poison our environment and our food which saves them money and makes them richer and we then cant think clearly enough to fight back . They have also sent our jobs overseas so we cant fight back financially either. I am extremely frustrated.

  7. J Stufflebeam says:

    We have the right to good foods, foods our bodies can utilize. We have the right to choose to eat a food or not to eat it. We need the rights and knowledge to make our choices. thank you.

  8. Keith says:

    This country values dollars much more than the health of its citizen and that makes me sick!

  9. mrhjdez says:

    The FDA, USDA and CDC are not only attacking health food sources , they are attacking our health by attacking our sources of nutritious food. By attacking our health. they increasing the profits of medical and pharmaceutical mafia and health insurance industry. All to reduce world population and make a profit at the same time.

  10. Robert Quigley says:

    The USDA now plans to roll out similar regulations for pork plants nationwide, despite the fact that plants using the new system have failed to stop the production of contaminated meat. Five US pork plants have been using the new USDA program for a decade; three of the five are among the worst offenders in the nation for health and safety violations. Plants in Canada and Australia using the new program have also been plagued with recalls and tainted meat

  11. Dave Noble says:

    My government seems to have forgotten that it was created for and by the people. It seems corporate money, power and influence rule my governments values. I wish there was a real USA I could move to. I am so disappointed, so disenfranchised, so angry!

  12. steamyelf says:

    Thanks, Obama.

  13. olivia says:

    We lost our privacy, we are constantly lied to and on top of it all we are forced to eat mediocre food that is contaminated with drugs, hormones, toxic material and almost devoid of nutrients. I write letter, sign petitions and my friends think I am radical for fighting the system. I feel sad, lonely, disgusted and very angry of the lack of fight in most of us.

  14. Isabel Delatorre-Hansen says:

    Our children are so vulnerable to food contamination. We must do everything in our power to protect them, even if they do not yet have the money to contribute to politicians. Surely the charge to our public protection agencies supersedes politicians’ agendas. Please use your powers to protect our health.

  15. As if forcing Monsanto products on us is not enough, you want to destroy any hope of us being able to purchase foods that are by far superior.
    Have you lost touch with the people you represent? We are willing to talk to you! Better yet, let us vote on these issues. Perhaps you truly do not have the time to research, let us do that for you.

  16. Maria de Lourdes Garcia says:

    Lack of transparency and abuse of power is not what Democracy is about. American People can only exercise their democratic rights consciously if government and all elected officials respect their rights to know about everything that affects people’s life directly or indirectly, otherwise it is pure DEMAGOGY!
    Maria de Lourdes Garcia
    Chicago, Illinois

  17. Mary Smith (really!) says:

    Why are we allowing so much possible ruin to come to our fellow Americans (and to others when we ship food out of USA) when we continue to taint it “right and left” !?! Small farmers are getting the brunt of all this “regulation”. Can’t those who are burdening the small farmers with all the restrictions and records keeping recognize that in their smallness, they can’t afford to fail– can’t produce tainted food, vegetables, fruit, meat, etc. or they lose their customer base! We need more oversight on what the big producers are doing! The dameage they do affects MANY more people!

  18. Ivy Parsons says:

    Hello,,
    Please do not crush food practices that are trying to eat healthy and overcome many diseases that are caused by the use of hormones and chemicals in the standard processed foods. This is an over kill that is very inappropriate based on peoples free choice to eat the kinds of food they desire. It was a private club that was not being given to the general public, and you destroyed their healthy products that was an unnecessary action to take towards these people with only good intentions. It could have been approached from a much more civil approach based on the subject. You are harder on these healthy food consumers than than the drug cartels and are treating as if they were criminals trying to go harm. It was a totally an over reaction that was not warranted.

  19. Deborah Boulanger says:

    Big Agriculture would love to have all the farming under their thumbs. Let’s continue to have a choice of what kind of foods we eat. Organic makes sense but when small farms have no control about what their neighbors are doing to sabotage their farms it’s a crime. This is what our laws are meant to stop and protect the public not big business!

  20. Ron Cox says:

    How can I get involved in stopping this craziness?

  21. I am getting embarrassed and ashamed to live in this country. I read an article recently by Porter Stansberry outlining the drastic downfall of this economy and our currency due to the overwhelming debt we’re in and continue to be in. Porter stated how China has already had secret meetings about how they are pulling out of US currency. If this is all true then why in the world is our government so stupid to be giving them authority over our chicken? When will this corrupt and unethical behavior end!?

    • Any Sane Concientious Person says:

      Selina, you need to separate how you feel about your country from how you feel about the people and systems running it. It’s not fair to others like yourself, your fellow Americans, or those who have fought for our liberty to be ashamed or be embarrassed of our country. A country is just land with out it’s people. It’s people are what define it. Don’t allow only the few people hurting our country right now to define it. You overlook everyone else that are good and decent Americans.
      Selina, the debt situation has been allowed to occur and this so-called “Great Recession has been deliberately created by members of the wealthy elite, bankers, and those with intimate knowledge of how the financial system works and that have the ability and position to influence and manipulate it. They start off allowing everybody to prosper to let the whole system get fat and rich, and then they create or allow an economic crisis to occur and then they reap the whole system. They raise interest rates and increase fees. They create new fees and start making people pay for things they didn’t have to before. They fatten us up and then take us to the slaughter. Look around you. That’s exactly what is happening. The US is being rung out like a wet sponge of it’s accumulated wealth and when they are done whatever is left of the US will be allowed to once again soak up new wealth and then the whole thing will repeat. The wealthy elite don’t care about any country because they control their whole world no matter where they are as they see fit with all their wealth. The wealthy elite believe countries and their systems and laws exist purely for the non-wealthy masses as a means to control them and make them more manageable.

  22. Kathleen Treharne says:

    This just puts more fuel into my fire to support local organic farmers and clean organic pasture humane raised animals. Our government will not tell me to eat filthy toxic food and get a ” YES SIR” from me. I bet the USDA inspectors wouldn’t feed their families the toxic non-labeled chickens !!! Our Men and Women go to war for other countries for their safety. Why is it , that our own government will not look out for our safety with our food ? Yet they are trying to shut down the most viable safe food sources in America . Our organic local farmers and claim to be , ” WE are for the people of the United States “.

  23. I do not want any food from China. How can we allow food from China and not let us buy our food from American farmers . I just don’t understand our government and their so called logic. That’s it there is no logic. Start using some logic please for our sake. Common sense is needed so please start using it.

  24. James A. Zeller Ph.D. says:

    Dear Sir:
    You have a problem on your hands. I was having serious health concerns. After the medical establishment was NOT able to help me, I turned to every alternative I could think of. It turned out that the meat sold here is contaminated with something that made me sick!!! I wondered why I always felt better when I traveled to Germany…now I know why.
    Just about everyone in my circle has heard about my complaints. It is just a matter of time if the situation here does not improve that a major rebellion will take place. Why are you following such a foolish policy??? Is it really the money???
    By the way, I am much better now. No thanks to you and the medical establishment!!! J Zeller

    • Donna Marquart says:

      I have read some personal stories about people not able to eat the bread here in the US, but are able to digest and enjoy breads in Europe. I didn’t realize an issue with meat here vs. meat in Germany.

  25. James A. Zeller Ph.D. says:

    Dear Sir:
    You have a problem on your hands. I was having serious health concerns. After the medical establishment was NOT able to help me, I turned to every alternative I could think of. It turned out that the meat sold here is contaminated with something that made me sick!!! I wondered why I always felt better when I traveled to Germany…now I know why.
    Just about everyone in my circle has heard about my complaints. It is just a matter of time if the situation here does not improve that a major rebellion will take place. Why are you following such a foolish policy??? Is it really the money???
    By the way, I am much better now. No thanks to you and the medical establishment!!! J Zeller

  26. James A. Zeller Ph.D. says:

    Dear Sir:
    You have a problem on your hands. I was having serious health concerns. After the medical establishment was NOT able to help me, I turned to every alternative I could think of. It turned out that the meat sold here is contaminated with something that made me sick!!! I wondered why I always felt better when I traveled to Germany…now I know why.
    Just about everyone in my circle has heard about my complaints. It is just a matter of time if the situation here does not improve that a major rebellion will take place. Why are you following such a foolish policy??? Is it really the money???
    By the way, I am much better now. No thanks to you and the medical establishment!!! J Zeller

  27. James A. Zeller Ph.D. says:

    Dear Sir:
    You have a problem on your hands. I was having serious health concerns. After the medical establishment was NOT able to help me, I turned to every alternative I could think of. It turned out that the meat sold here is contaminated with something that made me sick!!! I wondered why I always felt better when I traveled to Germany…now I know why.
    Just about everyone in my circle has heard about my complaints. It is just a matter of time if the situation here does not improve that a major rebellion will take place. Why are you following such a foolish policy??? Is it really the money???
    By the way, I am much better now. No thanks to you and the medical establishment!!! J Zeller

  28. James A. Zeller Ph.D. says:

    Dear Sir:
    You have a problem on your hands. I was having serious health concerns. After the medical establishment was NOT able to help me, I turned to every alternative I could think of. It turned out that the meat sold here is contaminated with something that made me sick!!! I wondered why I always felt better when I traveled to Germany…now I know why.
    Just about everyone in my circle has heard about my complaints. It is just a matter of time if the situation here does not improve that a major rebellion will take place. Why are you following such a foolish policy??? Is it really the money???
    By the way, I am much better now. No thanks to you and the medical establishment!!! J Zeller

  29. Gene Elliott says:

    As an owner of some of the best Colorado farmland, I say that our food sources must have common sense regulations that protect our health without pumping us full of dangerous chemicals. We need to increase the supply of organic and truly natural foods by protecting the small farmer/rancher from the bigger corporations and excessive governmental regulations.

  30. lizzy poole says:

    This article should be sent to every elected official in the nation and all the news agencies. It scares my husband and I because we all try to eat healthy. Thank you for writing this warning.

  31. Antje Bendleb says:

    Will this craziness ever stop? I don’t think it will unless the public will cry out real loud and let the government know that it is time to stop bowing to corporate pressure. (I don’t believe that even Pres. O. is crazy enough to eat chicken from China.) Whoever can should boycott all foods from China (incl. those that are unlabeled), and for those who are fortunate enough to have some space, we can grow at least some of our own foods. Unless the people stand up for what is right – and rightfully theirs – they will be run over like a floor rag.

  32. Alberto G. says:

    Heil Monsanto, heil New World Order, heil Police State.

  33. Barbara Talbert says:

    Many more people are getting the picture–banks aligned with the food industry, the chemical and pesticide companies and the drug industries. Our police departments being trained militarily and taking up arms to protect those industries. Ordinary citizens being tracked for insane reasons as eco-terrorists when the real eco-terrorists are protected. We must all resist wherever and whenever we can.

  34. Mark Thorson says:

    The NSA knows who you are and everything you have said or written. If you oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership, you are a terrorist. You have no rights. Actually, you never did have any rights, but now you have even less than that. Enjoy your unlabelled Chinese chicken, you fool. Big Ag and Big China have the same rights as people, but you are just a peasant. Nobody cares about peasants like you, not here and not in China.
    How interesting that peasants think that Obama is different from Bush. You are given the illusion of choice in two-party elections, but nothing changes. You are a fool, and you get what fools deserve. Enjoy your Chinese chicken, deep fried in synthetic fats, with a side of GMO fries.

  35. susan rutkiewicz says:

    I think that it is horrific that the government allows this to happen

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