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Proposed Regulations Favor Interstate Commerce, Independent Plants

The USDA's Federal Safety and Inspection Service recently proposed regulations that will allow certain state-inspected plants to ship meat and poultry in interstate commerce. This impressive development is part of USDA's larger initiative, "Know Your Farmers, Know Your Food," which seeks to develop economic opportunities within regional and local food systems. Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Mande are to be applauded for such a far-sighted decision, one which could have a transformational effect on independent livestock producers.
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Food Safety Begins at the Farm

We at Animal Welfare Approved applaud the USDA and HHS for creating an important and useful new website, www.foodsafety.gov. The site's purpose is to help consumers find consolidated up to date information on food safety and food recalls. We want to remind our readers that food safety begins at the farm and is directly related to the farming system utilized. Between January 1, 1994 and November 31, 2007, over 800 separate meat product recalls took place across the United States – equivalent to over 300 million pounds of meat and poultry products. Nearly all of the recalls were the result of the potential contamination of factory-farmed meats with two types of food-poisoning bacteria: Listeria and E. coli. We know that a safer, welfare-friendly alternative to feedlot beef already exists. Scientists have shown that meat from grassfed cattle – such as those raised by Animal Welfare Approved farmers – is less likely to harbor dangerous food-poisoning bacteria, such as E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria.
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From Our Friends at Slow Food USA

Last year over Labor Day, Animal Welfare Approved farmers and staff attended Slow Food Nation in San Francisco with the goal of promoting a better food system for this country. This year, Slow Food is again rallying to promote good food for all. Please read about the initiative and plan to take part. FROM AN EMAIL JUST RECEIVED FROM SLOW FOOD... In three days, people in all 50 states will sit down to share a meal and bend the direction of history just a little bit. Together, we are publicly rejecting the notion that our schools can’t afford to feed kids anything but the bad food that makes them sick. And the way we’re making this statement is by bringing neighbors together in the spirit of good will and for the joy of sharing good food. That is the heart of our movement. Attend an Eat-In on Labor Day.
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Tainted Beef: Is Organic Just as Dangerous as Feedlot?

Cattle grazing on pastureA recent study by Kansas State University concluded that in terms of presence of E. coli O157:H7, there was no difference between "organic," "naturally-raised" and conventionally raised beef. Feedlots provide all of the conventionally raised beef and the vast majority of organic and naturally-raised beef. Only a small percentage of organic beef is grassfed and finished on pasture. The study reported that feces from 14% of the organic and naturally-raised cattle contained the pathogenic strain of E. coli, and that this number was comparable to conventional systems. What the study did NOT include were samples from cattle that were pasture-finished or grassfed, surprisingly, not a requirement of either organic or naturally-raised systems. I imagine that there are many consumers who will be surprised to learn this.
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