The Older Brother picks up some Weapons of Mass Destruction

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!

Cheers,

The Older Brother

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73 thoughts on “The Older Brother picks up some Weapons of Mass Destruction

  1. AndreaLynnette

    Love the article. I do enjoy your writing, Older Brother.

    Younger Brother is up in my neck of the woods. I live just south of DC. I shoulda invited him down for a steak…


    Thanks. I’m guessing Tom has been hanging out with his fellow panel members.

    Reply
  2. Dani

    I totally agree with everything you say..I recently saw a special on eggs from Egglands ans was shocked at what they were doing to the eggs. I don’t buy them anymore..I buy cagefree and trying to find local farmer’s market. Florida has some interesting laws with Raw Milk. Love the blog…your advice had woken me and my husband up..I only wish others could heed your advice.


    Thanks for Tom and me. I find that just being able to see through the government and industry FUD is liberating. You can tell others, but a lot of the time you’re pushing up against a near religious belief in government or the hearthealthywholegrains/arterycloggingsaturatedfat cultural elite.

    Reply
  3. Bridget

    I really want to raise a couple of chickens for eggs/possibly eating. I hope the government doesn’t have a conniption. Or maybe I do!


    It’s always best to stay under the radar. They get to use your money to persecute you.

    Backyard chickens regs are usually handled at the municipal level. Where I’m at in Springfield, IL, it took some phone calls but it turns out there’s no rules against chickens per se, but you can’t butcher them or let them run loose. I’m okay with that! A rooster could create a public disturbance, so you’d want to avoid them.

    There’s lots of info, books, and websites around. Check motherearthnews.com if you’re serious. Backyard chickens are becoming pretty popular. Again, largely due to the Real Food and Locavore folks.

    Cheers

    Reply
  4. Dave, RN

    “but you can order that Happy Meal and know that it’s now slime-free.”

    Wonderful news. Except that the pink slime ended up in our schools.

    7,000,000 — The number of pounds of “Lean Beef Trimmings” that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reportedly buying for school lunch programs. Many refer to the product, which is the result of a chemical treatment to remove bacteria from meat, as pink slime. Source: “Report: USDA School Lunch Meat Contains ‘Pink Slime,'” CBS News.


    Yep, as I mentioned. So who do we think the USDA is looking out for?

    Reply
  5. Richard

    Its so disgusting, seeing what big gov will do with the help of big pharma and big wheat.

    I’m starting to think that in 50 years kids will be zombies, on the upside those of us that read and learn might be like super men among them.


    It’s not possible for us to continue down this path for another fifty years. Or ten. It’s also not possible for government to reform itself. Since there’s no way to predict when and how our global failures will manifest themselves, all one can do is stay healthy, learn to discern reality, and prepare. To echo a recurring theme from my blog,

    The situation is hopeless, but not serious!

    Cheers

    Reply
  6. Bex

    Re pastured chickens – that makes sense – much the same as here then……though what you know as pastured hen eggs have no restrictions on sale as far as I can tell……

    Reply
  7. Rebecca Foxworth

    Not to worry! In addition to all the “protecting” listed above, the government is further “protecting” us from the evils of covert video operations in food processing and animal farming facilities. Many states, such as Utah, are outlawing these “whistleblower” videos.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/53626155-82/video-public-undercover-whistleblowers.html.csp

    I’m sure we’ll all be SO much safer without these secret videos surfacing. These “ag gag” bills address videos are clearly problematic, and what with the companies in question turning themselves in so regularly for their own violations (?!?), everything should be much safer and calmer without those pesky videos to annoy and frighten us, right?

    (Seriously? Why don’t they just put a big “For Sale” sign on the office of the legislature?)


    How about this:

    What if, instead of people sneaking cameras onto private property, people starting asking everyone not to buy, say, chickens from Tyson until Tyson allows internet cameras inside their operations 24/7?

    You’re never going to get the government to make Big Food be nice. To use a response Marcia Angell (former editor of the New England Journal of Medicien) received on an article she did entitled “Is Academic Medicine for Sale”:

    Of course they’re not for sale. Their current owners are quite happy with them.

    Cheers

    Reply
  8. Robert

    Hey Tom,

    I accidentally posted this comment under last week’s item. Needless to say, love your documentary. It was very eye opening. Having said that, I stumbled upon this article this morning and I was curious what your thoughts were:

    http://news.yahoo.com/red-meat-unhealthy-study-suggests-200206218.html

    Many thanks,
    Robert


    See my newest post. Maybe Tom will do a proper shredding of this one when he gets back. In the meantime, I’d suggest you enjoy your bacon.

    Cheers

    Reply
  9. AndreaLynnette

    Love the article. I do enjoy your writing, Older Brother.

    Younger Brother is up in my neck of the woods. I live just south of DC. I shoulda invited him down for a steak…


    Thanks. I’m guessing Tom has been hanging out with his fellow panel members.

    Reply
  10. Judy

    Awesome post, Older Brother! (Like I need another one, three is enough 😛 )

    “Specifically, pastured chickens are raised (and rotated) on open pasture where they have access to the coop for protection from the elements and predators, and get part of their nutrition from all of the wonderful bugs and pasture they spend their days in.”

    Thanks for the def of pastured. What gets me is when I see organic and/or free-range eggs along with the proudly displayed “vegetarian fed”! I just look for the nearest sharp object to bang my head on, since I don’t have a desk handy.


    If they’re really free range, they ain’t vegetarian! Ask any bug or worm.

    Reply
  11. Bex

    Re pastured chickens – that makes sense – much the same as here then……though what you know as pastured hen eggs have no restrictions on sale as far as I can tell……

    Reply
  12. Judy

    Awesome post, Older Brother! (Like I need another one, three is enough 😛 )

    “Specifically, pastured chickens are raised (and rotated) on open pasture where they have access to the coop for protection from the elements and predators, and get part of their nutrition from all of the wonderful bugs and pasture they spend their days in.”

    Thanks for the def of pastured. What gets me is when I see organic and/or free-range eggs along with the proudly displayed “vegetarian fed”! I just look for the nearest sharp object to bang my head on, since I don’t have a desk handy.


    If they’re really free range, they ain’t vegetarian! Ask any bug or worm.

    Reply
  13. Walter B

    Dr. Frank B. Hu mentioned above as author of the paper has a series

    This is a part of my ongoing series, 10 Minute Vegetarian. I’m busy, you’re busy. We want to be healthy, but we don’t have a lot of time. In the 10 minutes it takes you to read this article, you can learn something about the health benefits of the vegetarian diet and how to implement it in your own hectic schedule.

    So yes, he is probably a vegetarian or a fellow traveler.

    Reply
  14. LD

    Logically, you wouldn’t want the person producing the pastured eggs or raw milk to deliver to the person buying. What would producers know about keeping their product fresh and safe? What incentive would they have to do so if they did (beside losing their customers and getting sued)? Clearly, it’s only safe to let the person who doesn’t work with the product day in and day out transport it from farm to home. That’s logic.


    Guess I hadn’t considered that.

    Of course, if we just had a USDA inspector come to each of our homes after we bought some food, we’d all be healthy forever. It would be free because the government would be paying for it, and they could pay for it with all of the money they’d save on our free health care!

    They could maybe even bring us some free samples of lowfathearthealthypinkslime!

    Cheers

    Reply
  15. LD

    Logically, you wouldn’t want the person producing the pastured eggs or raw milk to deliver to the person buying. What would producers know about keeping their product fresh and safe? What incentive would they have to do so if they did (beside losing their customers and getting sued)? Clearly, it’s only safe to let the person who doesn’t work with the product day in and day out transport it from farm to home. That’s logic.


    Guess I hadn’t considered that.

    Of course, if we just had a USDA inspector come to each of our homes after we bought some food, we’d all be healthy forever. It would be free because the government would be paying for it, and they could pay for it with all of the money they’d save on our free health care!

    They could maybe even bring us some free samples of lowfathearthealthypinkslime!

    Cheers

    Reply
  16. Tracy

    Here in Ontario (Canada), one raw milk producer has been fighting the gov’t for years. His farm was actually raided by a SWAT team, guns drawn – completely ridiculous. He’s since been training other farmers how to produce raw milk safely, and I’m lucky enough to have found one of them and join their cowshare.

    Funny how here, the real food movement is mainly mobilized in larger cities. My milk guy can’t give the stuff away in his rural community, but can’t keep up with the demand from us city folk (same goes for his beef, his neighbours pastured eggs, etc). One of the farmer’s markets in my city has started a food co-op, is opening a storefront with all local foods, and runs canning/preserving workshops – they are innundated with people wanting to buy and to learn (myself included). Gives me hope that if enough people are passionate and involved in their local food community, the gov’t will (eventually) have to listen and butt out.


    Butt out, maybe. Listen, never.

    Cheers

    Reply
  17. Tracy

    Here in Ontario (Canada), one raw milk producer has been fighting the gov’t for years. His farm was actually raided by a SWAT team, guns drawn – completely ridiculous. He’s since been training other farmers how to produce raw milk safely, and I’m lucky enough to have found one of them and join their cowshare.

    Funny how here, the real food movement is mainly mobilized in larger cities. My milk guy can’t give the stuff away in his rural community, but can’t keep up with the demand from us city folk (same goes for his beef, his neighbours pastured eggs, etc). One of the farmer’s markets in my city has started a food co-op, is opening a storefront with all local foods, and runs canning/preserving workshops – they are innundated with people wanting to buy and to learn (myself included). Gives me hope that if enough people are passionate and involved in their local food community, the gov’t will (eventually) have to listen and butt out.


    Butt out, maybe. Listen, never.

    Cheers

    Reply
  18. shums

    Here in Maine we can buy raw milk right in the grocery store as well as free range eggs. The state requires the milk to be tested every two weeks. It is much longer for pasteurized milk. When you consider we have cheap lobster and wild blueberries this is a paleo dieters nirvana.

    The small farm never really died here. We used to think we were just behind the times up here in a beautiful but often ignored (well not by vacationers) corner of America. Now it seems like we were not so much ignored by progress but saved from it. Because of that you have an abundance of local food available in several markets as well as farmers markets. It is pretty nice. While I live in a small town we have 5 stores nearby that sell these kinds of products and a farmers market in summer. My inlaws live in the suburbs of a very large midwestern city and they have fewer choices than we do in this area.

    In my family we have actually totally given up milk and now use heavy cream for everything we might have used milk for. Yes that heavy cream is raw. We do the local free range eggs too which are available at the stores or just go over to the farm where they come from which is also just ten minutes away. We even have a local butcher who processes nothing but local meat. The abundance of small farms here as well as the tradition that never went away has really helped the state to be friendly to that thinking. As a low carb eater that tilts paleo with a wife who is tilting even more paleo than I am we are finding we feel fortunate to be here. Oh yes in that midwestern state where my inlaws live has outlawed raw milk and dairy all together.

    Reply
  19. shums

    Here in Maine we can buy raw milk right in the grocery store as well as free range eggs. The state requires the milk to be tested every two weeks. It is much longer for pasteurized milk. When you consider we have cheap lobster and wild blueberries this is a paleo dieters nirvana.

    The small farm never really died here. We used to think we were just behind the times up here in a beautiful but often ignored (well not by vacationers) corner of America. Now it seems like we were not so much ignored by progress but saved from it. Because of that you have an abundance of local food available in several markets as well as farmers markets. It is pretty nice. While I live in a small town we have 5 stores nearby that sell these kinds of products and a farmers market in summer. My inlaws live in the suburbs of a very large midwestern city and they have fewer choices than we do in this area.

    In my family we have actually totally given up milk and now use heavy cream for everything we might have used milk for. Yes that heavy cream is raw. We do the local free range eggs too which are available at the stores or just go over to the farm where they come from which is also just ten minutes away. We even have a local butcher who processes nothing but local meat. The abundance of small farms here as well as the tradition that never went away has really helped the state to be friendly to that thinking. As a low carb eater that tilts paleo with a wife who is tilting even more paleo than I am we are finding we feel fortunate to be here. Oh yes in that midwestern state where my inlaws live has outlawed raw milk and dairy all together.

    Reply

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