Hot Pockets Recalls 8 Million Pounds of Meat Due to “Diseased and Unsound Animals”

Last year saw a great number of widely publicized instances of food fraud and general nastiness when it came to the various items many of us regularly put in our bodies. From “fake tuna,” to rat meat in the streets of Shanghai, to alcohol in New Jersey diluted with “river water,” the list was seemingly endless.

While 2014 has been off to a slow start, it appears the corporate food industry in America is trying to make up for lost time. According to a news release from the USDA on Valentine’s Day titled: “California Firm Recalls Unwholesome Meat Products Produced Without the Benefit of Full Inspection,” we discover that:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2014 – Rancho Feeding Corporation, a Petaluma, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,742,700 pounds, because it processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection. Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

Oh, and by the way, this is a Class I recall. What does that mean?

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 5.18.53 PM

Basically if you live California, Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Washington you should stay away from Hot Pockets.

Scratch that. You should stay away from Hot Pockets no matter where you live. Forever.

Full USDA release here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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Aspartame: Coming to a Milk Carton Near You (Without a Label)

Rightly or wrongly, aspartame is a highly controversial artificial sweetener.  I’m no scientist and I haven’t researched it throughly enough to come to my own conclusion, but generally I try to eat minimally tampered with foods.  This is where this story begins to present serious issues for me.  The debate here is not whether aspartame will be allowed in milk; it already is.  The issue is whether or not dairy producers will have to let consumers know that it is there.  In a world where tuna isn’t tuna and beef is increasingly horse meat, we should demand more information than ever before as far as the substances we put in our bodies.  As usual, I would expect the FDA to side with the lobbyists and corporate America rather than consumers’ best interests.  From the Huffington Post:

Got diet milk? The dairy industry for the past three years has been hoping to sell you some under the guise of just plain “milk,” so that chocolate and strawberry varieties that contain artificial sweeteners would no longer need to carry a special label.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged a 2009 petition from the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation that seeks to drop the FDA requirement to label milk and other dairy products as “artificially sweetened” when they contain sweeteners such as aspartame.

Aspartame is used in a range of products, including diet soda and yogurt, and is sold to consumers under the brand-name Equal (which also includes some other ingredients). Some researchers have found that artificial sweeteners alter people’s brain chemistry, making them crave higher-calorie foods, which in turn makes them more prone to obesity and diabetes.

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The Meat Industry Now Consumes 80% of All Antibiotics

Care for a side of horse meat with that dose of tetracycline in your chicken wings?  Recovery never tasted so good!  Basically since 2003, antibiotic use for sick people is flat, but up 50% for use in the meat industry.  These stats are shocking.  From Mother Jones:

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed a set of voluntary “guidelines” designed to nudge the meat industry to curb its antibiotics habit. Ever since, the agency has been mulling whether and how to implement the new program. Meanwhile, the meat industry has been merrily gorging away on antibiotics—and churning out meat rife with antibiotic-resistant pathogens—if the latest data from the FDA itself is any indication.

Note that that while human antibiotic use has leveled off at below 8 billion pounds annually, livestock farms have been sucking in more and more of the drugs each year—and consumption reached a record nearly 29.9 billion pounds in 2011. To put it another way, the livestock industry is now consuming nearly four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the US, and its appetite for them is growing.

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In an email, a Pew spokesperson added that while  the American Meat Institute reported a 0.2 percent increase in total meat and poultry production in 2011 compared to the previous year, the FDA data show that antibiotic consumption jumped 2 percent over the same time period. That suggests that meat production might be getting more antibiotic-intensive.  

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New Study Shows: Food Fraud Soared 60% Last Year

So what is food fraud anyway?  Well, it’s sort of what you would expect.  It’s when companies label food one way, but the truth turns out to be completely different.  I have been predicting an escalation in this trend for years, since it was obvious that as inflation led to increases in food prices, companies would resort to this type of behavior to keep margins inflated.

So in their latest study, the non-profit food fraud detectives at the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) show us the extent of this extremely dangerous trend.  From ABC News:

It’s what we expect as shoppers—what’s in the food will be displayed on the label.

But a new scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

So what are the most commonly faked products?

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Whistleblower Site “Science Fraud” is Shutdown

Considering how dirty the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is, this appears to be yet another defeat for transparency.  Let’s not forget my post from last summer The FDA is Caught Spying on its Employees and Creating an “Enemies List” in order to recognize the importance of whistleblowing in the era of peak corruption we live in.  From Forbes:

Those of us concerned about the decaying credibility of Big Science were dismayed to learn that the whistleblower site Science Fraud has been shut down due to a barrage of legal threats against its operator.

Operated as a crowdsourced reference site much like Wikipedia, Science Fraud, in its six months of operation, documented egregiously suspicious research results published in over 300 peer reviewed publications. Many were subsequently retracted, including a paper by an author whose lawyer sent Science Fraud a cease and desist letter.

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Coming to America…Biotech Salmon!

The FDA always has your back.  This government agency, which is well known for corruption (watch the movie Burzynski), seems to be inching closer toward approving a biotech salmon product called AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon egg.  Sounds tasty!  From Reuters:

(Reuters) – A controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to the consumer’s dining table after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn’t appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it.

AquaBounty officials said they were caught by surprise by the news that its product was a step closer to approval as years of controversy had followed the company’s application for a go-ahead from the regulator.

Hahaha.  Even the company itself was surprised its product could get approved so easily!

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The FDA is Caught Spying on its Employees and Creating an “Enemies List”

Ah, so now we see the surveillance state is indeed everywhere.  This is what happens when the government itself claims the right the tear up the supreme law of the land – The U.S. Constitution – and just track anyone they want anytime they want.  When I first woke up to the gigantic fraud that is the global monetary system I thought I had figured it all out.  Boy was I wrong.  The more stones I overturn, the more I see the syndicate is indeed everywhere.  The food industry and the healthcare industry are indeed as corrupt as the financial system.  Just like the “regulators” in the financial markets simply serve as gatekeepers for the bankster oligarchs, so too does the FDA serve as a gatekeeper to the pharmaceutical elite.  You know the corporations that in many cases are more interested in keeping you sick and selling you medicine than actually curing disease.

Key quotes from this NY Time article:

WASHINGTON — A wide-ranging surveillance operation by the Food and Drug Administration against a group of its own scientists used an enemies list of sorts as it secretly captured thousands of e-mails that the disgruntled scientists sent privately to members of Congress, lawyers, labor officials, journalists and even President Obama, previously undisclosed records show.

The agency, using so-called spy software designed to help employers monitor workers, captured screen images from the government laptops of the five scientists as they were being used at work or at home. The software tracked their keystrokes, intercepted their personal e-mails, copied the documents on their personal thumb drives and even followed their messages line by line as they were being drafted, the documents show.

With the documents from the surveillance cataloged in 66 huge directories, many Congressional staff members regarded as sympathetic to the scientists each got their own files containing all their e-mails to or from the whistle-blowers. Drafts and final copies of letters the scientists sent to Mr. Obama about their safety concerns were also included.

While federal agencies have broad discretion to monitor their employees’ computer use, the F.D.A. program may have crossed legal lines by grabbing and analyzing confidential information that is specifically protected under the law, including attorney-client communications, whistle-blower complaints to Congress and workplace grievances filed with the government.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat who has examined the agency’s medical review procedures, was listed as No. 14 on the surveillance operation’s list of targets — an “ancillary actor” in the efforts to put out negative information on the agency. (An aide to Mr. Van Hollen was No. 13.)

F.D.A. officials went to the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services to seek a criminal investigation into the possible leak, but they were turned down. The inspector general found that there was no evidence of a crime, noting that “matters of public safety” can legally be released to the news media.

Undeterred, agency officials began the electronic monitoring operation on their own.

Full article here.