Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.


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Monday, February 6, 2012

Monsanto Lobbyist Is FDA Food Safety Czar?

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A message from CREDO Action:  Why is a former Monsanto lobbyist currently serving as the FDA's food safety czar waging war on small dairy farms that produce fresh milk?
While factory farm operators are getting away with serious food safety violations, raw milk dairy farmers and distributors across the country have been subjected to armed raids and hauled away in handcuffs.
The Food and Drug Administration is running sting operations followed by "guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords" as part of a crackdown on unpasteurized milk.1 Meanwhile, the FDA is letting the highly consolidated industrial meat and factory farm industry off the hook despite growing problems.
Not surprisingly, the person responsible for prioritizing armed raids on small dairies over holding agribusiness accountable is a former Monsanto attorney and chief super lobbyist.Monsanto's Michael Taylor is the second highest-ranking official at the FDA, and as Food Safety Czar is responsible for implementing the day-to-day policies that govern the food safety laws for the U.S. 2
Whether or not you think unpasteurized milk is a good idea, it's clear that the FDA under Michael Taylor has its priorities wrong. When industrial agribusiness sickens thousands of people, it's absurd for the FDA to target Amish farmers producing fresh milk, much less to engage in "guns drawn" enforcement raids.
But this shouldn't be a surprise coming from Taylor, who worked at Monsanto to prevent the labeling of the rBST growth hormone in milk. And now that he's been appointed to the Obama Administration it should come as no surprise that President Obama hasn't honored his promise to label GMO foods, and has moved forward with approvals of GMO foods like alfalfa, sugar bets and sweet corn.
Michael Taylor seems focused on entirely the wrong aspects of food safety enforcement. Rather than making sure that food safety inspections are done properly at our nation's largest factory farms, where antibiotic resistance has run amuck, Taylor has been leading a departmental crusade against small raw milk dairy producers. So far several dairy farmers have been subject to a year-long undercover sting operation from the East Coast to California.
Incredibly, Michael Taylor and FDA inspectors have not arrested or fined the Iowa agribusinessman — Jack DeCoster — who was wholly responsible for the half-a-billion eggs that were recalled in 2010 salmonella-tainted egg recall.3 Though this industrial agribusinessman endangered the health of millions, Michael Taylor thinks Amish farmers producing fresh milk are more deserving targets of his FDA enforcement raids with guns drawn.
While CREDO recognizes the inherent risks that are involved in food production, it's time that the U.S. government start responsibly looking into the real origins of our nation's largest food safety recalls and stop harassing family farmers trying to survive in the excessively consolidated food and agricultural sectors.
Thanks for standing up for small farmers and taking our government back from Monsanto.
Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S.: CREDO supports the regulation of raw milk dairies. However, we believe that prioritizing raids on Amish dairies above holding agribusiness accountable for endangering the health of millions, is just plain wrong.
1 "Food safety chief defends raw milk raids", San Francisco Chronicle, June 7, 2011
2 "Monsanto's man Taylor returns to FDA in food-czar role", Grist, July 8, 2009.
3 "DeCoster Gets Warning, Hillandale Sales OK'd", Food Safety News, October 19, 2010.

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