Friday, April 07, 2006

On Globalization and Being Globalized: USDA Enforcing Supply-Sided Global Risk Expansion in Meat; Locals Want To Help Consumers, & Are Banned For It

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The above picture is from Morning Musume, and in this case is used to represent the Japanese saying "No! No! No American beef without mad cow testing!" However, that is just what the corporate multinationals that run the U.S. meat regime want--to force Japanese consumption of risky beef just as they have forced consumption of risky beef in the United States.

The quote from the previous post sticks in my mind here. The quote was by "retired" army commander of Peru Ollanta Humala, who led a failed military uprising in October 2000 in Peru, and who is now ahead in the opinion polls for the Peruvian Presidency. This is a shade of Venezuela since Chavez came to power in just the same manner: first through a military coup attempt that failed, and then through elections.

Frontrunner of Peru, Ollanta Humala, dismisses the role of multinational companies that "offer no benefits" and "the neo-liberal economic model that has failed to benefit our nation". He speaks of a new division in the world:

"Some countries globalise, and others are globalised," is how he puts it. "The Third World belongs in the latter category."

If anything is clear in the early 21st century, the whole world is the Third World now. From the point of view of the multnationals and their allied financial powers, the Third World is to include everyone, even so called 'relic' First World countries.

This is very clear with the globalization of U.S. meat packing. In Humala's view both Japan and the United States are on the receiving end of "being globalized" instead of being the globalizers--since with reference to meat both Japan and the United States are seen as completely unable to protect their citizens health in the face of of "being globalized." Japan and the United States are seen as hardly in a position of power themselves since the First World has shrunk to the size of the corporate boardroom.

This is clear with the article below. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has refused to allow a private meat farmer in Kansas to test his cattle more thoroughly for mad cow, short for bovine spongiform encephalopathy. To regain the globalized markets that the U.S. supposedly claims they want, that Kansas's Creekstone Farms have lost due to poor USDA testing, Creekstone Farms wants to do what the consumers want. The USDA hates that and has banned Creekstone Farms from testing its cattle--even though this basically means the USDA is claiming ownership of all private cattle in the United States by this act!

The rub is that the Japanese have taken the "high road." They require universal mad cow testing--a more thorough testing than the USDA and the corporate multinationals want, because it will endanger their profit lines. Plus, due to their larger scaled operations it is surmized that with ecological factors of where disease crops up, the larger operators will be the ones with the most prevalent and virulent mad cow cases. Testing universally for mad cow like the Japanese do would pretty much show that the optimal size for beef farms would be very small instead of very large and contribute to putting these risky large scale meat farms slowly out of business. This makes good health, ecological, and economic sense for them to wither away as well.

However, the U.S. even with its abysmally low testing rate that the USDA threatens publicly to scale back even further, still has "accidentally" caught 3 mad cows over the past several years.

Ponder on this: Japan tests all its cattle universally at 30 months. They have found 24 mad cows. The U.S. tests 1% or less, and then likely covers up others if the whole media fiasco of "blaming Canada" for a previous one shows anything. All in all, the U.S. has found 3 mad cows. Extrapolate that ratio of testing/mad cow up to 100x, and U.S. mad cow cases would likely be very high--approximately 300 or more cases--though those mad cows are ground up, sliced, diced, and disposed of by consumers out there in the United States and in Japan.

One farm, Creekstone Farms, is going to sue the USDA for denying its right to test its own products more thoroughly for mad cow. Certainly this is in the interest of the consumer to do so, however, since the USDA denies them this right, they are going to court over it. This is yet another clear example of the supply versus demand framework, as mentioned in previous posts.

Tying this back to the bioregional state, since local watersheds would have jurisdictional priority over all commodity production and health issues and their interrelated regulations, within the bioregional state this issue of a federal government attempting to ban someone from protecting the consumer would structurally be out of bounds from the beginning, since the federal government would lack such power. (They fail to have it anyway right now, showing how rogue it is.)

Thus in the bioregional state the federal level would be unable to "trump" local levels desires to protect the consumer more securely than the federal level wishes. In this case, using the terms of a previous post related to labelling and pollution which are basically the same issue here, the USDA defends a "glass ceiling" approach to regulation instead of a mere base line approach. The federal government in the United States is systemically institutionalizing a risky context and forcing it on the people of the United States, Japan, as well as the world. How this works out in practice is discussed already previously so I quote:

Within the bioregional state...the federal government would be without any form of priority of jurisdiction over health or environmental issues per se. Certainly they could set standards, and be a citizen's recourse to police against corruption on a state level standard, though the issue is one of priority. It is mistaken for a federal government to utilize "standards" as an interpretation of a glass ceiling instead of a foundation. Using "standards" as a glass ceiling is only aimed at demoting local desires for making their own states more sustainable, when standards should only be lower level foundational instead of a form of enforced upper bounded uniformity. From a previous post on a similar issue of labelling:

"Consumer rights shall always trump supply side rights of organizations and sellers when it comes to any of the issues of (a) basic knowledge about the commodity; (b) the capacity for discriminative choice from the point of view of the consumer which shall be maintained; (c) when it comes to issues of individual and public health, (d) of ecological interactive effects, and (e) of economic sustainability.

In issues of human health, ecological issues, and economic sustainability, the smaller jurisdictional level has more awareness, knowledge, and interest in these endeavors; therefore jurisdictional sovereignty of smaller jurisdiction over the larger state should be the uniform principle in these issues of material commodity regulation."

Of course one of the theoretical dangers of this is that states will force on their populations lower standards than the federal government in health or environmental laws. However, this has hardly been the case. Typically, first, states have always been at the forefront of aiding human health and environmental concerns against an unresponsive larger federal level. Thus states with jurisdictional priority within federal foundational standards (instead of glass ceiling standards) I think is a better principle to bring about toward sustainbility, in the bioregional state. [pollution post] [labelling post]

This same principle of federal "base line" regulations instead of "glass ceiling" regulations for commodity production in the bioregional state I think you can see covers multiple issues from labelling, testing, health, ecology, and economy. The state itself requires changing because it is enforcing unsustainability as a political movement presently worldwide: the whole framework of the state is enforcing ill health, destroying ecologies, and destroying economies by attempting to repress local groups and consumers desires to ameliorate such frameworks. Current forms of states are illegitimate for sustainability because they are for the most part repressing the consumer and the local watershed interest. Toward a Bioregional State works toward starting a conversation on all the additional checks and balances required to move us toward formal sustainability, i.e., how the state could be "made over". At last count, there were over 60 different additional checks and balances required to make democracy more competitive. This interacts with bringing about sustainabilty innately because the main issue is the one discussed above: how a gatekept framework of power is both undemocratic as well as a source of only enforcing risk upon everyone.

Feds REFUSE To Let Private Kansas Meatpacker Test For Mad Cow; Creekstone Farms to Sue Feds

Japan and Europe require testing for ***all cows at slaughter*** (all cows 24 months and older in Japan, all cows 30 months and older in EU).

The U.S. has been testing around 1 percent of the 35 million head of cattle slaughtered each year, although officials have been planning to scale back that level of testing [in the wake of finding mad cow in this small sample.].

"There isn't any nation in the world that requires 100 percent testing," Agricultural department spokesman Ed Loyd said [as a bold faced lie on] Wednesday. [He's lying to the entire American people, as per his job. The Japanese and Europeans do it already. People who pay Ed Loyd to lie are the people "protecting you."]

Feds REFUSE To Let KS Meatpacker Test For Mad Cow!!

Government Refusal to Let Kansas Meatpacker Test Cows for Mad Cow Disease Spurs Lawsuit

Web Note: The USDA obviously doesn't want the private sector to start testing for Mad Cow Disease in the USA, because they know the disease is here, and it is spreading. Japan and Europe require testing for all cows at slaughter (all cows 24 months and older in Japan, all cows 30 months and older in EU).

CBS News - USA

Meatpacker Sparks Mad Cow Testing Fight

WASHINGTON, Mar. 22, 2006
By Libby Quaid
Associated Press

(AP) A Kansas meatpacker has sparked an industry fight by proposing testing all the company's cattle for mad cow disease.

Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to look for the disease in every animal it processes. The Agriculture Department has said no. Creekstone says it intends to sue the department.

"Our customers, particularly our Asian customers, have requested it over and over again," chief executive John Stewart said in an interview Wednesday. "We feel strongly that if customers are asking for tested beef, we should be allowed to provide that."

Creekstone planned a news conference Thursday in Washington to discuss the lawsuit.

The department and larger meat companies oppose comprehensive testing, saying [more like claiming] it cannot assure food safety. [actually because the larger they are the less profits they can make, because such large operations are going to be the very ones that are spreading mad cow and diseases because of innate ecological difficulties with scaled commodities.] Testing rarely detects the disease in younger animals, the source of most meat.

"There isn't any nation in the world that requires 100 percent testing," department spokesman Ed Loyd said Wednesday. [lie]

Larger companies worry that Japanese buyers would insist on costly testing and that a suspect result might scare consumers away from eating beef. [as they should be scared- out of their wits as soon as possible].

Japan was the most lucrative foreign market for American beef until the first U.S. case of mad cow disease prompted a ban in 2003. The ban cost Creekstone nearly one-third of its sales and led the company to slash production and lay off about 150 people, Stewart said.

When Japan reopened its market late last year, Creekstone resumed shipments. Japan has halted shipments again, after finding American veal cuts with backbone. These cuts are eaten in the U.S. but are banned in Japan.

Stewart said that when trade resumes with Japan, Creekstone is in a position to rehire the laid-off workers and then some.

Creekstone would need government certification for its plan to test each animal at its Arkansas City, Kan., plant. The department refused the license request in 2004.

The U.S. has been testing around 1 percent of the 35 million head of cattle slaughtered each year, although officials have been planning to scale back that level of testing.

While individual companies in Japan may want comprehensive testing, Japan's government is not asking for it.

Japan does have lingering questions about the shipment of prohibited veal, even after the U.S. sent a lengthy report to Tokyo explaining the mistake was an isolated incident. The report blamed the company, Brooklyn-based Atlantic Veal & Lamb, and a government inspector for misunderstanding new rules for selling beef to Japan.

Japan's agriculture minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, said Wednesday that further talks are needed.

"We do want to keep going back and forth with the U.S. over this issue," he said. "We want the U.S. side to squarely answer our questions."

The U.S. has had three cases of mad cow disease. The first appeared in December 2003 in a Washington state cow that had been imported from Canada. The second was confirmed last June in a Texas-born cow, and the third was confirmed last week in an Alabama cow.

Japan has had two dozen cases of BSE.

Mad cow disease is a brain-wasting ailment known medically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. In people, eating meat products contaminated with BSE is linked to more than 150 deaths worldwide, mostly in Britain, from a deadly human nerve disorder, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.


On the Net:
Creekstone Farms:
Agriculture Department:



Blogger Mark said...

The interesting point is that it little ol "Creekstone Farms" is owned by a corporate multinational financial conglomerate itself, Sun Capital Partners.

Below is how Creekstone Farms views the USDA ban on their private testing of cattle and the USDA 'glass ceiling' enforcement of low scale testing for mad cow.


Creekstone is co-owned by Sun Capital Partners, one of America’s largest private investment companies and John Stewart, CEO and Founder of the company.

Sun Capital Partners, Inc. is a leading private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies that can benefit from its in-house operating professionals and experience. Sun Capital affiliates have invested in and managed more than 110 companies worldwide with combined sales in excess of $27.0 billion since Sun Capital’s inception in 1995. Sun Capital has offices in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Shenzhen.


Creekstone Farms Premium Beef Files Lawsuit Challenging USDA’s Ban on
Voluntary BSE Testing

Washington - Creekstone Farms ® Premium Beef, LLC, an innovative market leader producing award winning Black Angus Beef, filed a lawsuit today against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Creekstone has sued USDA for refusing to allow the company to voluntarily test cattle for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) at its Arkansas City, Kansas facility. Creekstone’s complaint was filed this morning in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Creekstone is challenging USDA’s claim that it has the legal authority to control access to and the use of the “test kits” needed to perform BSE testing. Over the past two years, USDA has repeatedly denied Creekstone’s requests to conduct voluntary BSE testing. Creekstone Farms has publicly stated that it believes U.S. beef is safe. Nevertheless, Creekstone’s customers, as well as other beef consumers around the world, want beef from BSE tested cattle. For example, a December 2005 poll by the Kyodo News Service found that more than half of Japanese consumers want U.S. beef to be tested for BSE. Creekstone simply wants to satisfy its customers.

“We produce the highest quality beef available in America in our state-of-the art processing facility. Our customers support our brand for the many points of difference we provide. If BSE testing is an additional attribute that our customers want, free enterprise should allow us to provide this additional element. In a country where free enterprise, satisfying consumers, and building businesses through thoughtful marketing and innovation are encouraged, I find it very difficult to understand why our government would not be supportive of this important effort,” said John Stewart, CEO and Founder of Creekstone Farms.

Creekstone Farms® Premium Beef, LLC was founded more than a decade ago with the goal of providing superior quality food products to satisfy the most discerning of palates. Today, the Creekstone Farms Premium Black Angus Beef program is one of a few branded programs certified by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). Creekstone supplies many of the nation’s top grocers and restaurants with quality Black Angus Beef products, ranging from high quality Prime grade beef to premium value added consumer Heat & Serve entrees. Additionally, the company exports its premium quality products to Europe, Latin America and Asia. Creekstone is co-owned by Sun Capital Partners, one of America’s largest private investment companies and John Stewart, CEO and Founder of the company.

Sun Capital Partners, Inc. is a leading private investment firm focused on leveraged buyouts, equity, debt, and other investments in market-leading companies that can benefit from its in-house operating professionals and experience. Sun Capital affiliates have invested in and managed more than 110 companies worldwide with combined sales in excess of $27.0 billion since Sun Capital’s inception in 1995. Sun Capital has offices in Boca Raton, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Shenzhen.

4/14/2006 12:54 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

["We're finding more Mad Cow! Cut back testing." More supply interests versus demand interests going on here, as well as the intentional popularization of risky meat by the USDA. Instead of cutting back testing, the proper health response for the cosumer would be tighter regulations until MadCow is reduced. Cutting back the testing, fails to reduce Mad Cow, and only allows for its increasingly silent "see no evil, hear no evil" expansion.]

USDA Cutting Back Mad Cow Testing By 90%!

USDA Scales Back Mad-Cow Testing
By Libby Quaid
AP Food and Farm Writer

WASHINGTON - The Agriculture Department is cutting its tests for mad cow disease by about 90 percent, drawing protests from consumer groups.

The current testing level "1,000 each day" reflects the heightened concern that followed the discovery in December 2003 of mad cow disease in the United States.

Since then, tests have turned up two more cases of the disease, known medically as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. The government says there may be a handful of undetected cases.

"It's time that our surveillance efforts reflect what we now know is a very, very low level of BSE in the United States," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Thursday. "There is no significant BSE problem in the United States, and after all of this surveillance, I am able to say there never was."

Critics say now is not the time to scale back on the testing, which has cost the government an estimated $1 million per week.

"It surely will not encourage consumers in the U.S. or Japan to rush to the store to buy more beef," said Carol Tucker-Foreman, food policy director for Consumer Federation.

A second group, Consumers Union, advocates testing every animal slaughtered in the United States.

The current level of 1,000 tests each day represents [only] about 1 percent of the 35 million cattle slaughtered annually in this country.

[That's wrong. 1000/35000000 is around 2.86 x10^5 or only 0.0000286 testing per day. If they were really testing 1% as they said they would be testing 350,000 cows per day.]

Beginning around late August, the new level will be about 110 tests per day.

[That would be around 3.14 x 10^6 or 0.00000314! ]

[Other places in the world test all cows, all the time. The U.S. is going to test .00000314. ]

"If you do testing of 100 percent of your animals, any ones that test positive never go into the food chain," said Michael Hansen of Consumers Union. "That's in part why they do it in Europe because they've seen animals that look perfectly fine and they catch them just before they go to slaughter."

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said testing has nothing to do with the safety of U.S. beef for consumers in the U.S. and abroad. [Then why do it, Mike?] From a food safety standpoint, the real key is removing at slaughter those cattle parts known to carry mad cow disease, Johanns said. [How are you going to do that find grain "removing at slaughter" if you only test .0000314 of the herd?]

"Those who are trying to convince their consumers that universal testing or 100 percent testing somehow solves the problem really are misleading you," he said.

"Consumers should feel better than ever about the meat that they are buying," Johanns said.

His comments were applauded by [psychopathic] industry groups such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. It noted that the new level of testing, about 110 per day, is significantly higher than what is called for by the World Organization for Animal Health. Many countries follow the organization's guidelines on testing, trade and other policies.

"In addition, our food supply remains safe from BSE thanks to extensive protective measures already in place," said Gary Weber, executive director of regulatory affairs for the association.

Johanns said he hopes the reduction will not affect negotiations on resuming beef trade with Japan, which has pushed for the same number of tests or more. Japan was a huge consumer of U.S. beef before the first American case of mad cow disease.

Johanns said Japan, which has found 27 cases of mad cow disease, definitely has a problem with mad cow disease.

In contrast, the United States has a much larger herd of cattle and has found three cases of the disease: In December 2003, in a Washington state cow imported from Canada; last June, in a Texas-born cow; and in March, in an Alabama cow. [It would assuredly find more if it expands that testing. He is being intellectually dishonest, they only found that low level at low levels of .0000286 of the herd being tested. Therefore, the U.S. instances of Mad Cow would be much larger than Japan, since the U.S. found three even at this ridiculously miniscule amount of testing!]

Johanns said Japan should "recognize that what we've done here exceeds all the international standards, and the markets should be open to our beef." [However, that fails to explain why Japan and Korea and Europe have banned, on health issues, imports of U.S. meat.]

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (news, bio, voting record) said he hoped Johanns was right but that "the Japanese appear ready to take advantage of any gap as an excuse to drag out this trade dispute further."

Harkin, senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, has questioned the accuracy of the department's testing data.

In April, Johanns released a department analysis of testing data, saying the prevalence of mad cow disease "is extraordinarily low." There are probably four to seven undetected cases of the disease in the U.S., according to the analysis.

A panel of three independent scientists finished reviewing the department's analysis this month. Two of the scientists agreed that the new level of testing is sufficient. The third said the level may be sufficient but that the department needs to do a better job of getting accurate ages for cows that are tested.

The brain-wasting disorder infected more than 180,000 cows and was blamed for more than 150 human deaths during a European outbreak that peaked in 1993.

Humans can get a related disease, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, by eating meat contaminated with mad cow.

Agriculture Department:

7/21/2006 10:05 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

It's all in the definition, eh?

I am unversed to comment further, than simply noting that these fail to seem particuarly harmful to cows or to humans on the surface. Who knows though.

I will say that this starts the slippery slope toward more and more allowances for larger and larger consolidated factory farms, the "brave new organic world" mentioned at that more recent post that consumers are boycotting already.

USDA Wants To Allow More Toxins In "Organic" Meat

By Pete Hisey

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would expand by eight the number of allowable substances used in treating livestock under the National Organic Program.

Among the additions:

* Atropine: Used as an antidote for organophosphate poisoning, usually the result of exposure to pesticides. Atropine is an extract from the plant atropa belladonna. The NOP consulted with both EPA and FDA about the appropriateness of use of atropine and received approval.

* Bismuth subsalicyate: Used as an absorbant, anti-diarrhea drug, as well as for relief from stomach ulcers. FDA advised NOP that bismuth is approved for use in humans and could be approved for use in livestock.

* Butorphanol: Used as painkiller prior to surgery. This is in a class called opiate agonists, and is similar to morphine or fentanyl. It is a significant aid in pain relief, but wears off quickly. The National Organic Standards Board recommended use in organic livestock production, but specified that the period between last use and either slaughter or sale of milk be twice as long as recommended by FDA. USDA does not believe that extension of the withdrawal period is necessary.

* Flunixin: Used in the treatment of inflammation or pyrexia. Flunixin is non-narcotic and non-steroidal. It is a synthetic drug which breaks down quickly and is removed from the body in urine. Again, NOSB recommended a withdrawal period twice the length required by FDA, and USDA disagreed.

* Furosemide: Used for treatment of udder and pulmonary edema. It is a diuretic. Again, NOSB accepted the drug but requested an extended withdrawal period. USDA, again, disagreed on the necessity for such an extension.

* Magnesium hydroxide: For use as an antacid and laxative for use in treatment of upset stomach and constipation. This is a naturally occurring mineral.

* Peroxyacetic/paracetic acid: Used for facility and processing equipment sanitation and as a topical disinfectant on animals and meat and dairy products. Approved by FDA as an indirect food additive.

* Poloxalene: For treatment of bloat in cattle, it is a stool softener, and can be used in emergency situations or as a preventative as an addition to feed. It is synthetic. NOSB recommended that it be approved only for emergency treatments; USDA wants it to be used for preventative care as well.

Comments must be submitted by Sept. 15, 2006.

They may be mailed to Arthur Neal, Director of Program Administration
National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Room4008-So., Ag Stop 0268
Washington, DC 20250
Fax 202-205-7808

7/23/2006 2:22 AM  

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