Monday, March 11, 2013

Hiding Aspartame in Your Dairy

So do you want artificial sweeteners added to your dairy products.....without you even knowing it's in there?  If the dairy and milk industry has it's way, this will be how things are done.

Dairy industry petitions FDA to approve aspartame as a hidden, unlabeled additive in milk, yogurt, eggnog and cream.
The integrity of our food supply is poised for another blow with an FDA petition submitted by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).  These industry groups are asking the FDA to alter the definition of "milk" to include chemical sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose without listing these additives on the label.

While aimed principally at replacing sugar in flavored milks served to school children, the petition also asks for the right to put hidden artificial sweeteners in a host of dairy products including nonfat dried milk(always added to reduced-fat milks), yogurt, cream, half-and-half, sour cream, eggnog and whipping cream. Truly, no conventional dairy product will be safe if the petitioners get their way.
To read the petition, click here:

  1. Please file a comment at
Even if your comment is very short, we need thousands of people letting the government know that granting this petition would be a disaster to our food supply, especially for children.  It’s best to compose your comments before submitting them.  Comments 2000 words or less can be copied and pasted into the comment box.  Longer comments can be attached as a letter.
For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.”
For "Category," you can use "Individual Consumer"

Remember to hit “submit comment” when you are done. You should be taken to another screen that includes a confirmation number for your comment, which is how you know your comment was successfully submitted.

The comment period ends on May 21, 2013
  1. A petition from a consumer group, SumOfUs, has gathered almost 100,000 signers to oppose this move. To sign this petition, go to
  2. Please circulate this Action Alert to other email groups.
  • Adding hidden artificial sweeteners to dairy products would hurt the dairy industry by further reducing the numbers of people who could safely consume dairy products.
  • Adding hidden artificial sweeteners to dairy products would generate severe consumer backlash to all conventional dairy products.
  • The FDA lists more than ninety documented symptoms of aspartame toxicity, including abdominal pain, anxiety attacks, brain cancer, breathing difficulties, chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, migraines, dizziness, marked personality changes, memory loss, panic attacks, rapid heartbeat, vision loss and weight gain
  • Aspartame releases methanol upon digestion, and methanol poisoning causes headaches, behavioral disturbances and inflammation of the nerves. Another breakdown product of aspartame is poisonous formaldehyde..
  • Thousands of adverse reactions to aspartame have been reported to the FDA, mostly concerned with abnormal brain function, brain tumors, epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
  • Children’s brains are four times more susceptible to damage from excitotoxins like aspartame than those of adults and react with ADD ADHD type symptoms, impaired learning, depression and nausea.
  • Sucralose side effects include rashes, panic attacks, dizziness, numbness, diarrhea, swelling, headaches, cramping and stomach pain.
  • People who are sensitive to aspartame can have life-threatening reactions to it.
  • The proposed regulations restrict our freedom of choice. Industry players who oppose consumers' ability to choose raw milk are now trying to force consumers to consume artificial additives without their knowledge or consent.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Go see American Meat

Screenings of the movie American Meat in Ohio 
March 4-12
American Meat, the new documentary that takes a pro-farmer look at chicken, hog and cattle production in America, is hosting a special series of screenings in Ohio from March 4th to March 12th.

Earlier this year, American Meat kicked off a nationwide screening tour called the Young Farmer Screening Series. This tour takes place at universities, colleges, agricultural high-schools and FFA chapters with 3 core goals in mind:
  1. Thank farmers.
  2. Support young farmers.
  3. Food choices matter.
Information on dates of the screenings in Ohio can be found below and online at American Meat Screenings.

More about the film

Beginning with a history of our current industrial system, the feedlots and confinement operations are revealed, not through hidden cameras, but through the eyes of the farmers who live and work there. From there, the story shifts to Polyface Farms, where the Salatin family has developed an alternative agricultural model based on rotational grazing and local distribution. Nationwide, a local-food movement of farmers, chefs, and
everyday people has taken root... But could it ever feed us all?

March 4th at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, OH

Food at 5:30pm in lobby with burritos provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill

Film at 6pm in Telfer Hall Auditorium

Conversation at 7:30pm with Cassandra August a professor of Sustainable Food and Nutrition, Mary Holmes the current President of IFO (Innovative Farmers of Ohio) and co-founder of the North Union Farmers Market, and Graham Meriwether director of American Meat.

March 5th at Case Western University in Cleveland, OH
Food at 5:30 featuring local foods provided by Bon Appetit Management Company

Film at 6:30 in Strosacker Auditorium

Conversation 8:00 with Chef Douglas Katz, Professor Mary Holmes, BA Fellow Sarah Piper; Miller Livestock Farm Owner, Aaron Miller and Graham Meriwether, director of American Meat.

March 6th University of Akron at Wayne College in Orrville, OH

Brown Bag Lunch

Film  at 12pm in SLB 107

Conversation with Graham Meriwether director of American Meat and other panelists at 1:30pm following film

March 6th at the Ohio State University in Columbus, OH

Food at 6pm with burritos provided by Chipotle Mexican Grill

Film at 6:30 in the Gateway Film Center

Conversation at 8pm with Dr. Neal Hooker, professor of food policy at OSU; Jamie Zumach, a second year food science student,  Caitlyn Black, a second year student who grew up on a production hog farm in Canal Winchester and is double majoring in Culinary and Meat Science, and Graham Meriwether, director of American Meat.

March 7th at Denison University in Granville, OH

Film at 7:15 in Slayter Auditorium

Conversation at 8:45 with Dick Jensen from Flying J farms, Bryn Bird from Birds Haven farms and Graham Meriwether director of American Meat.

March 8th at Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH
Food at 5:30 featuring local meat and produce along with vegan options provided by Bon Appetit Management Company (BAMCO)

Film at 6pm in the Hallock Auditorium in the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies

Conversation 7:30 with John Petersen who is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Oberlin College, Eric Pecherkiewicz who works for Bon Appetit Management Company at Oberlin College as the campus dietitian, Lawry Babitt has been in the cattle business over 40 years, Scott Boehnlein who operates a diversified family farm “New Creations Farm” and Graham Meriwether director of American Meat. S.K. Piper, the Midwest fellow for BAMCO will moderate the screening.

March 11th at Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH

Film at 7pm in Kissell Auditorium in Koch Hall

Conversation at 8:30pm featuring Graham Meriwether, director of American Meat and others.

March 12th at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH

Meet and Greet at 7pm

Film 7:15pm in McDonald 130

Conversation at 8:30pm featuring Graham Meriwether, director of American Meat and others.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You don't always need a doctor, you don't always need a lawyer, 
but 3 times a day, everyday, you will need a farmer!  
Do you know who your farmer is?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Curly Light Bulbs

I have never been a fan of the new curly light bulbs (or any of them for that matter) for a number of reason. Some being they are super expensive and NEVER come close to lasting as long a say.   I have even more reason to not like them now......

Skin Damage With Energy-Efficient Bulbs

The hype of energy efficient, 'curly' fluorescent light bulbs, which fit into an incandescent light bulb socket, is fading.  Once slated to completely replace incandescent bulbs, a planned phase out on old fashioned light bulbs was postponed due to impassioned testimony from individuals highly sensitive to fluorescent lights. 

Now new research funded by the National Science Foundations has scientists warning consumers about the potentially harmful effects these energy-saving bulbs can have on the skin.  Conducted by Stony Brook University and New York State Stem Cell Science, the study found that UV light emitted from the bulbs can cause skin damage.  The researchers found that cracks in the fluorescent bulbs' phosphor coating yeilded significant levels of UVC and UVA in all of the bulbs.  Skin damage from exposure to the bulbs was consistent with harm caused by ultraviolent radiation. 

These bulbs also contain mercury, which can escape if the bulbs are broken.  So much for the argument that these bulbs are enviromentally friendly. 

By the way, skin damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nano particles were introduced  to the skin cell proir to exposure.  TiO2 is a chemical found in sunblock.

(Photochemisrty and Photobiology 20 Jul 2012 DOI: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2012.01192.x)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Proposition 37-- Right to Know Act

If you haven't heard there is a GMO labeling ballot initiative --Proposition 37--(the California Right to Know Act, a.k.a. Label GMO)  in California this fall. 

They want to make it law that it will not only require labels on genetically engineered foods (like what they have in Europe already), but will also ban the fraudulent (and highly profitable) industry practice of marketing GMO-tainted foods as "natural."    

But guess what??  There are a lot of businesses not liking this and are pouring big bucks into the fight to defeat it.  You get 1 guess in who the leading contender is--yep--you guessed right--Monsanto...the king (and a nasty king at that!) of GMOs.   A bit of a surprise though for some, there are a good deal of the parent companies, to those smaller organic companies that we are all familiar with, that are fighting to defeat this too.  And then there are some true organic companies that are just sitting there doing nothing to help out.

Want to know more about this, who those companies are and what you can do?  Check out these links:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Drought 2012

Who knew in the last post that more than the fruit farmers would be using crop insurance this year...that's if they have it.  It's been very hot and dry!  A total turn around from last year when they needed to use it then too but for completely different reasons.  

Things have been a bit rough here as well.  No rain means no grass and when all you do is grass feed your animals you don't want the grass to run out!  There are no grain back ups here.  Hay is hard to find and when you do find it, it's super expensive.

I have heard it's the worse drought in 50 years but then I've also heard it's the worse drought ever (for Ohio).  Not sure which is right but either way, it's pretty serious.

Here's a small glimpse in what has been happening with other farms in Ohio.

While late rains have helped some 
crops recover, for many farmers 
across Ohio, the damage was
 already done. 

Buckeye Farm News
A difficult drought — a clear reminder of the risk involved in farming — continues to trouble Midwestern farmers.

Ohio has been spared from the drought’s most extreme damage, but many of the state’s farmers are expecting losses more severe than in recent memory.

More than 180 Ohio farmers had shared their drought observations and concerns through an informal Ohio Farm Bureau survey in July. Here are quotes and figures they shared as of the end of July.

Losses Forecasted
“The corn is beyond help at this point. Hay fields are browned out.... 18 bales from a 2nd cutting field.”
Survey respondents said they expect yield losses around 48 percent for corn, 35 percent for soybeans, 7 percent for wheat and 42 percent for hay compared to average.

“We farmers must find a way to make our reduced income stretch for a whole year, then be able to afford to plant a new crop next year, and finally pray that this kind of thing doesn’t happen 2 years in a row.”

Respondents predict they will lose about 39 percent of their farm income this year.

“There are the four major crops in Ohio but the specialty crops are also hurting, these crops are those that feed our food banks.”

Other yield loss estimates ranged from 35 to 50 percent for most fruits and vegetables, with possible higher amounts for pumpkins, and some total losses at fruit farms also affected by freezing weather this spring.

Feeding Livestock
“Livestock producers are in jeopardy because feed costs are higher and there is less of our own feed for use.”

Sixty-five percent of livestock farmers said feed supplies will not be sufficient. 

Seventy-two percent will purchase more feed than normal.

Livestock farmers expect to pay 38 percent more than their annual budget for feed. Thirty-six percent are concerned water supplies may run short, while 19 percent said they will “definitely run short.”

Emergency Haying and Grazing
“The drought is serious now but the real impact on our type of farming will be the shortage of hay for the fall, winter and spring months.”

Twenty-four percent of farmers said they would benefit from Emergency Haying and Grazing provisions for acreage enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, which USDA authorized for all of Ohio in late July.

Crop Insurance
“Farming today is completely different than our fathers’ era. We have crop insurance and marketing tools available today that our younger generation will use to run a successful operation. Again, it’s all about managing risk. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though.”

While 62 percent of survey respondents said they find non-insured crop disaster assistance programs useful, many indicated increased interest in crop insurance programs.

Farmers with crop insurance said about 41 percent of their production losses and 38 percent of their income losses this year will be covered by crop insurance.

“Our farm has always strived to produce a little more than we need. Most years this is a headache but this year we will be using this surplus. Farmers should be responsible enough to plan ahead and insure their crop to sustain themselves.”

Forty-five percent with crop insurance said their agents have been “very helpful” during this drought period, while 39 percent of respondents had yet to talk with a crop insurance agent.

 full article -

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blooming Worries

Last year it was the grain farmers using crop insurance...this year it will be fruit tree farmers.

While I was thoroughly enjoying the warmer temps in March (boy what a difference a year makes), I was also thinking about the fruit tree farmer and the potential problems this could cause as it meant early blooming....which they already can have issues with blooms death in a normal year.

Some of our blueberries are in bloom and I don't know how well they survived the cold nights as I'm not good enough yet to know if a blossom is dead or not b/c of the cold... I usually don't have to worry too much about that. I've have had it frost on them a few times in the past and they did OK but freezing is another matter.

The strawberries seem to be doing OK for now as John has kept them covered to slow their growth down so they wouldn't bloom too early. We, at times, have to drag out the big frost cover mat to protect the blossoms from frost in a normal year so adding extra work is not something we are fans of.

We wish the fruit tree farmers all the best in that the damage wasn't as bad as first thought!
I really hope that is the case or I will miss my apple cider.

Snow Adds to Farmers Worries
The Chronicle Telegram -Elyria

BROWNHELM TWP. — Every time he goes out to check his trees, Roger Miller sees more signs of frost damage interrupting a profitable fruit-growing season.

Buds that burst into bloom after record-breaking heat in March are dying by the thousands, and it isn’t pretty. “You look inside the bloom, and it’s black,” Miller said. “Once they freeze, it’s gone for good for the season.”

If frost warnings weren’t enough, snow fell this week. According to meteorologist Martin Thompson of the National Weather Service, 0.1 inch was recorded Wednesday and 0.3 inch fell on Tuesday.

Temperatures overnight Wednesday were expected to drop below freezing again, according to Thompson. To make matters worse, it was expected to be clear, and “any moisture will turn to frost,” Thompson said.

Miller, who operates Miller Orchards with his brother Dave, said he estimates 50 percent of the apple crop is gone. Miller said fruit farmers may have to turn to crop insurance to make up their losses this year.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Spiegelberg of Spiegelberg Orchards in Lorain said he is staying calm and hoping for the best after 50 years of operating the orchard founded by his father in 1920. If just 4 percent of the blossoms turn into apples, that will still be enough to bring in a crop, he said.
“You’ll get a better size,” Spiegelberg said.

He said 16 hives of bees were delivered to his orchard this week by his “beeman,” who said things are even worse in Traverse City, Mich.
“They took a heck of a beating,” Spiegelberg said of Traverse City, which is known for its spring cherry blossom festival.

So far in April, the lowest temperature was 27 degrees, recorded Saturday at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Thompson said.

Average temperatures in March were 51.4, or 13 degrees above normal, according to Thompson, who said the average high temperature was 61.3 degrees, or 14.7 degrees above normal.

For the month of March, Hopkins airport recorded 10 consecutive days where the temperature went over 70 and four consecutive days when it went over 80.