Well, fellow Fat Heads, Tom is headed off to the Belly of the Beast (Washington, D.C.) to give his presentation to the folks at the Office of Research Integrity on why more and more people don’t trust doctors, nutritionists, government committees and other “experts.”
I sent him an outstanding draft that was, all modesty aside, concise, educational, and pithy. However, he insisted on writing his own. Here’s my text:
“Because you’re freaking liars. And you suck. Thanks for the chicken dinner. You can keep the rolls. Goodbye.”
I understand why he wanted to stretch his version out a little, and do some slides. I’m hoping he gets to record his presentation to see how it compares to my version. We’ll report, you decide.
I imagine the people at ORI will appreciate Tom’s and the rest of the panel members’ presentations, but I don’t expect to see any measurable change in how the aforementioned experts conduct business. The ORI would have to get all of the people at the USDA, the CDC, the FDA, and the rest of the alphabet soup that comprises our government and its ancillary industry touts to understand how corrupted the science they claim to represent has become. But, to quote Upton Sinclair, “it’s hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”
(Which is kind of ironic since Sinclair is the commie-pinko-socialist who wrote “The Jungle,” which detailed conditions in the then “modern” meat-packing industry. It didn’t sway people to throw off capitalism as he had intended, but it did put them off Big Meat, resulting in Congress passing new regulations for meat to be inspected by the USDA and FDA. We’ll get back to that.)
I’m not planning on just hanging around waiting for the government to go all honest on us. In fact, I expect things to keep getting worse. So I’ve started stocking up on items and know-how in case there’s a sudden escalation in the stupid index. No, I’m not talking about guns, ammo, gold, etc. — although you should probably have some of those, too. I’m talking about making sure you can source some items that strike terror into the hearts of bureaucrats across the regulatory system. Things they lie awake at night worrying about. Items that they will tell you can spread disease, destruction, and excruciating death across any population.
Behold, my fearsome Weapons of Mass Destruction:
Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?
Now some of you may be thinking these look fairly harmless, but our government expends vast resources protecting you from these insidious weapons. A couple of them have been in the news over the last couple of months. Let’s review…
First, there’s the “Death in a Jar” cherry jam. The news part of this is actually a bit hopeful in a kind of “hey, this doesn’t suck as bad as it did before!” way. Illinois has actually joined a growing number of states that have passed “Cottage Foods” Bills. Generally, these bills remove the requirement for small vendors (<$25k/yr) of baked goods, jams, and jellies to prepare their products in a government inspected commercial kitchen. They still have to register and take a food service course, but they don’t need to spring for a $100,000 kitchen to sell you that jar of homemade jam.
This slight deregulation probably isn’t due to some sort of spontaneous enlightenment among the legislative class. The more likely explanation is the growing urban/suburban “real food” and locavore movements have been able to make this a political “little guy vs. Big Food” hot potato. Nice win, guys.
The professional nanny-staters, however, aren’t changing their tune. Someone from our local health department, when asked about this major breach in the food safety chain, ominously warned:
“ We can’t inspect people’s homes. You don’t know what the conditions are.”
Woooooo. Scary. Keep in mind that your local homesteader could give away her homemade jam all day long. It only becomes a major public health risk if she sells it. Something about money being exchanged must increase pathogenicity.
Here’s something that doesn’t seem to bother our food safety overseers. The USDA is letting some of the major chicken processors oversee themselves. This consists of employees visually “inspecting” the chicken carcasses as they go by on automated hanging racks. At 200 birds per minute. What could possibly go wrong? And I’m not saying I’ve got a major problem with that. My question is, if that’s a good idea, what in the hell is so incredibly scary about me buying a locally prepared food — from someone who lives within an hour’s drive of me, whose name and address I know – that the government has to insert itself into that transaction? How about if my vendor could just say they inspected themselves?
The other two items in my terrorist toolkit are pastured poultry eggs and raw milk.
Ok, the eggs don’t look that dangerous. In point of fact, they remain relatively benign – and legal – if I go out to my supplier’s farm and purchase them. They would only become lethal if that person were to, for example, call me up and say “I’m coming into town on some errands today, so I can drop your eggs off if you want.” That’s why he can sell them to me on the farm, but there are tons of prohibitive regulations and paperwork involved if he were to want to deliver those eggs to a house across the street. Which makes perfect sense.
No wait, that’s completely insane.
As every USDA inspector knows, despite my being able to dodge a toxic bullet with the fresh (and delicious, and healthy) eggs, the correct way to get quality chicken eggs is to house thousands of chickens in a big USDA approved building, packed several to a cage. Since this tends to cause stress and aggravation, you cut off their beaks so they don’t peck each other to death (don’t worry — they’re working on GMO chickens that alter their genetics so they won’t feel stressed). It’s a great system brought to you by the folks looking out for us.
Last, but certainly not least, is the granddaddy of poisonous foods, that white vessel of doom, the potent pillager of pasteurization — raw milk. The big RM. Nothing strikes terror in the bosom of our overseers like this bad boy. Government folks get the vapors just at the mention of its name. Seriously.
(In Illinois, I can at this time legally procure raw milk in the same way I can buy real eggs. That is, it’s legal for me to go to the farm and buy it. I also have to provide my own container. My granddaughter loves a cold glass of this “creamy milk.”)
One of the latest news items on this was in early February, where there was an outbreak of illness due to people drinking raw milk. Of course, the supplier tried to weasel out of it by contacting all of their customers and posting an open letter on their website that said:
“Food from our farm has made people sick.”
Isn’t it irritating how some people will say anything to avoid taking responsibility?
Of course, the entire regulatory apparatus has an orgasm whenever there’s an event like this, or more accurately, an event that can plausibly be blamed on raw milk. To read any of the ominously worded press releases and reports from the CDC, the FDA, et al, one would think that people have been dying by the thousands.
Here’s the thing…
In 2010, there were 2,465,936 deaths among inhabitants of our country. Not counting deaths from raw milk, there would’ve been 2,465,936 deaths. In other words, no one died from drinking raw milk. Or the year before. Or the year before the year before. Actually, in the last decade, of the 24 million plus Americans who died in one fashion or another, exactly zero died from drinking raw milk. The USDA doesn’t really say how many people drink raw milk. That’s because the latest estimates are around 12 million people and growing. Regularly. Without dying.
Not that food can’t be deadly. Over the past decade, people have “assumed room temperature” due to eating cantaloupes, peanuts, spinach, celery, green onions, strawberries, papaya, turkey, and probably a few other things. There were even a couple of people who died from milk in 2007, but that was pasteurized. Hundreds of people have been hospitalized (including a very few from bad raw milk), tens of thousands have reported illnesses, and hundreds of thousands of people suffer some type of food-borne illness each year.
Oddly though, the USDA, and FDA haven’t been seen coming in with SWAT gear and drawn weapons to close down peanut farms, vegetable farms, strawberry operations, etc., like they have with raw milk sellers. They seem to consider the Amish in particular a distinctly dangerous and subversive group.
So why aren’t the storm troopers busting down the doors of the CAFO operations that require massive amounts of chemicals and antibiotics to keep pathogens at barely acceptable levels? Why is me buying a cheesecake at the farmers’ market made in an on-farm kitchen (still not legal) considered too risky for me to be able to enter into a free-will transaction; but there’s nothing wrong with buying a container of spinach that’s been shipped 1,500 miles after being picked by laborers who won’t make money if they walk all the way to the bathroom and back when nature calls?
How come I can’t have milk delivered by someone whose land I’ve walked across, and whose cows I’ve seen; but the USDA doesn’t see any reason McDonald’s should have to tell people their hamburgers are part Pink Slime? That’s where scraps from around the digestive tract and connective tissues from butchering are mixed with ammonia, rinsed, then ground up and used as filler. Of course, McDonald’s stopped that once it started to go public. Don’t worry about the poor Pink Slime makers, though (Big Slime?). The USDA, the agency in change of protecting our food supply, is buying 7 million pounds of it. To use in school lunch programs.
Notice how each of the examples where the government doesn’t see any problem – “move along folks, nothing to see here” – is in an area controlled by huge businesses that the agencies are supposedly regulating? Notice also how each of the ones where government is malicious, overbearing, and acts as if consumers are helpless morons involves businesses that not only aren’t controlled by Bigs (Big Business, Big Ag, Big Pharma), but that couldn’t possibly be controlled by them? You can’t build a national raw milk operation, or a national pastured chicken operation, or a national “home canned peaches” operation. You have to patronize local folks to do that, and all of your dollar goes to them, instead of most of it going to middlemen.
So be subversive. Buy local. Visit your farmer. Have a nice big glass of milk. Feed your body, starve a bureaucrat.
See you in the comments!
The Older Brother