Re: Avery's article
Greg & Lei Gunthorp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mon, 10 Aug 1998 10:48:45 -0500
I remember seeing an article about the consumer reports study of free
range and natural chicken. If I remember right, a large part of the problem
with the information is our USDA's definition of free range and natural
meats. Free range, by their definition, doesn't mean access to outside,
pasture, or even fresh air. Its only space requirements. We have a feed
company on the west side of our county that feeds 26,000 "free range" hens.
These birds are in exactly the same house the caged layers were in. The
only difference is they are now on wire flooring rather than in cages. And
I think to put natural on a USDA label, you only have to have minimally
proccessed the birds and not put as many additives in the bird in the
proccession plant. It has nothing to do with the production practices.
There is also a contractor selling "Amish natural" chickens from my area.
These birds are raised in identical confinement barns as the "non natural"
Dennis Avery makes the same basic poor assumptions in this idea that he
makes in his pesticides and plastics save the planet book. He doesn't
understand that there are some creative ways to reduce chemical use in
agriculture without reducing yeilds or food safety. Or maybe he does, but
his chemical company money wouldn't be pouring in if he wrote anything else.
One of the best ways to reduce chemical load on farms is managed pasture.
I'd love to see some unbiased studies of the health benefits for animals and
consumers from animals raised outside on high quality pasture. Thats mine
and I suspect most consumers idea of what free range should be. Natural
implies a production practice that doesn't include a bunch of chemical
inputs. I think these definitions are another prime example of the USDA
bowing to big business interests.
The saddest part of Dennis Avery's comments is that he is a huge draw at
farm conferences. He spoke at Indiana's Farm Bureau convention a couple of
years ago. I couldn't bring myself to go listen. Farmers like the idea of
listening to anybody that supports their corn based, over capitalized,
industrialised, and chemical intensive agriculture.
Gunthorp's Pasture-ized Pork
LaGrange, Indiana (a stones throw from Ohio & Michigan)
visit our farm at www.grassfarmer.com
From: Pam Murray <email@example.com>
To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Date: Sunday, August 09, 1998 11:43 PM
Subject: Avery's article
>This is a follow-up note to the message I sent last week about Avery's
>article on organics and food safety.
>The food science professor that brought it to my attention sent me an
>today saying he had shared the article with Steve Taylor (Head of the Food
>Science & Technology Dept. and Director of the Food Processing Center here
>at UNL) and he was "also unaware of any published information on the claim
>that organic foods have increased risks of foodborne pathogens."
>With regards to Avery's statement that Consumer Reports found that
>free-range chickens are more likely to be infected with dangerous bacteria,
>Phil Crawford (Director, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural
>Cooperative Extension Program Leader - Agriculture and Natural Resources,
>Natural Resource Stewardship, and Food Safety, Washington State University)
>sent an e-mail saying: "I wonder what Consumer's Union had to say about
>free range chickens. I am a long time subscriber to Consumer Reports, and
>don't remember seeing any such information."
>Pam Murray, Coordinator
>Center for Grassland Studies and
>Center for Sustainable Agricultural Systems
>PO Box 830949
>University of Nebraska
>Lincoln, NE 68583-0949
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