||We’re celebrating a major victory in our fight to protect animal welfare and food safety, Filene!
The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho ruled yesterday that Idaho’s “Ag-Gag” law is unconstitutional, overturning the law in a landmark victory for free speech, animal welfare, and food safety!
We are all vulnerable when unjustly stripped of the right to bear witness and expose illegal and unethical behavior going on in industrial animal agriculture, one of the nation’s most powerful industries. This ruling affirms our right to report such abuse in order to protect animals and our health.
While Ag-Gag laws are overwhelmingly opposed by the public, and nationwide thirty-two similar Ag-Gag measures have been successfully stopped, unfortunately, legislatures beholden to Big Agriculture interests have pushed through similar laws in seven additional states beyond Idaho.
This Idaho decision is the first step in defeating similar Ag-Gag laws across the country, and CFS will continue to challenge these laws, too.
While much discussion around Ag-Gag laws focuses on animal welfare, the laws also seriously threaten our food safety, by making unlawful investigative activities that could keep contaminated food off the market. 1 in 6 Americans are sickened each year, and thousands tragically perish annually, from ingesting foodborne pathogens – and beef, poultry, and eggs are some of the worst offenders.
We’re working to change this broken and harmful animal factory system, and we’ve had several successes recently:
- In May 2015, four Washington State mega-dairies agreed to implement sweeping changes in their operations following a series of successful lawsuits brought by CFS and Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) against the dairies alleging that their mismanagement of manure contaminated water supplies in the Lower Yakima Valley, Washington community and violated federal environmental law.
- The settlement followed a January 2015 ruling in the Eastern District of Washington finding that the millions of gallons of manure stored in unlined lagoons and dumped onto crop fields contaminated the soil and aquifer below. Under the terms of the settlement, the dairies will provide clean drinking water to a large number of residents with polluted water and drastically change their operations in ways intended to stop future contamination to the area’s water supply to protect public health and the environment.
- In October 2013, in response to a lawsuit filed by CFS, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, and seven other groups, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for the withdrawal of 98 out of 101 arsenic-based animal drugs. And in April 2015, FDA moved to withdraw the last arsenic-based feed additive approved for use in chicken and turkey.
We’re going up against the biggest food manufacturers in the world, and we’re winning. But we have more work to do and we must remain vigilant.
CFS is also involved in groundbreaking cases yet to be decided:
- CFS is part of a coalition of nonprofits currently challenging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s failure to address air pollution from animal factories that contribute to significant human health problems, including asthma and heart attacks; endanger animal health; intensify the effects of climate change; and cause regional haze and “dead zones” in waterways.
- CFS is also part of a coalition of nonprofits currently challenging EPA’s 2012 withdrawal of the CAFO reporting rule – a provision of the Clean Water Act that allows EPA to gather basic information on an industry. After initially proposing to collect this information from animal factories, EPA flip-flopped and has refused to do so, under industry pressure. We believe the public has a right to basic data on animal factories, such as location, size, and manure storage methods. Without a transparent system, the public is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of these facilities.
- CFS, the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club have also filed a lawsuit against FDA for approving 18 ractopamine-based drugs without examining the environmental and public health risks of their use. Ractopamine is fed to pigs, cattle, and turkeys to cause rapid weight gain. An estimated 60% – 80% of pork sold in U.S. supermarkets comes from pigs treated with this controversial drug.
We still have a long road ahead of us to stop these harmful animal factories, but today we celebrate a hard-fought win!
Thanks for all of your amazing support,
Paige Tomaselli, Senior Attorney
Center for Food Safety
Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar is scheduled to open — finally — on Tuesday, April 7, in Orlando’s North Quarter district.
The two chefs of the name are Larry Sinibaldi (above left), formerly with Palm restaurant at Hard Rock Hotel, and Bernard Carmouche, who for many years was corporate chef with the Emeril Lagasse restaurants.
The restaurant occupies a space in a three-story office building that was briefly a coffee shop called Uptown Ground. The original space was expanded and now includes a main dining area with an open kitchen and oyster shucking station, an outdoor seating area with picnic tables, a bar with hightop table seating and rooms upstairs for overflow seating and private events that is accessible through a doctor’s reception area. The upstairs dining room overlooks the bar below.
Sinibaldi and Carmouche first announced the restaurant in August and had expected to be open no later than December. However, the expansion, which required a balcony fire escape route for the second floor dining area where none existed and the conversion of an all-electric snack-producing kitchen into a full-service professional one with natural gas, took more time and resources than expected.
The restaurant will offer full table service for lunch and dinner, and a full liquor bar. The menu reflects Carmouche’s New Orleans connections with such things as barbecue shrimp, jumbo lump crab cakes, baked oysters and Southern fried chicken. You can see the full menu at the Two Chefs Seafood Oyster Bar website.
The address is 743 N. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Here are some photos of the place:
The most popular pesticide on the planet is Glyphosate. It is more commonly recognized under its brand name: Roundup. It’s sprayed on our crops, it’s genetically modified into Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” seeds, which are quickly becoming the only seeds that can grow in our ph soils that have been produced by “Chem-trails”, and its manufacturers assure us that it’s “safe.”
However, many experts strongly disagree. One of these is Stephanie Seneff, a Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Reportedly, at a recent panel on the topic of genetically modified organisms, Seneff asserted, “at today’s rate, by 2025, one in two children will be autistic.” Autism has been on the increase and no one seems to match the correlation.
While this sounds like an outrageously bold statement to make, Seneff apparently had some backup for her claim. At the panel, she displayed data which demonstrated a “remarkably consistent correlation” between Roundup and escalating autism rates. She pointed out that the effects of glyphosate toxicity, and those of autism, are very similar.
According to reports, Seneff went on to describe how glyphosate could destroy beneficial gut bacteria in humans, which as we know is essential for proper immune system function. Because of its deleterious effect on healthy gut bacteria, pathogens could be allowed to thrive, and certain nutritional deficiencies could also present themselves. This is also no wonder why scientists and doctors have concluded that yogurt is a daily needed item in our diets.
Roundup has also been linked by research to inflammation, cellular damage and an increased risk of multiple cancers. It has also been associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. I had a distinct absolution that my cancer was caused by toxic exposure to pesticides. Even though my cancer was ER/PR possitive, I believe that the pesticides change your hormonal makeup. Messing with your estrogen’s, progesterone’s and testosterone’s.
A 2014 study published in the journal Chemosphere found that the substance that is created when glyphosate is metabolized by plants and animals – known as AMPA – displayed a, “cytogenetic toxicity which was 1,000 fold higher than that of its parent compound,” in studies.
Additionally, another 2014 study, this one published in the Journal of Biomedical Research International, found that Roundup was 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. Whatever secret ingredients are in that finished, packaged product seem to be just plain poison when combined with glyphosate.
Reports say that Dr. Seneff, upon concluding her presentation, said, “the situation is almost beyond repair. We need to do something drastic.”
Halting the use of these poisons – especially in our food! – would be an appropriately drastic measure.…
For over 50 years, medical researchers in Israel have been doing massive amounts of research in the field of cannabis research, particularly in regards to medical use.
In the early 1960s Raphael Mechoulam, sometimes called the “Father of Marijuana Research,” and his team established the structure of cannabidiol (CBD) and a year later they isolated and synthesized THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
During the 1960s at Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, Mechoulam was interested in the chemistry and actions of natural products. As there was virtually no contemporary research on the topic, Mechoulam sifted through obscure 19th century medical journals in various languages, primarily French, German and Russian, where he found early works by doctors and medical researchers curious about the plant.
However, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, methods to isolate the cannabinoids (a term Mechoulam coined) were very infantry. By the time Mechoulam began his work, liquid-solid chromatography, a chemical separation process method, had undergone significant improvements making it possible to conduct research using much smaller porous particles.
During subsequent years Mechoulam and his research team isolated other cannabinoids. His work has served as the foundation for groundbreaking advancements around the world in studying the chemistry of the internal composition of cannabis and how its compounds can be isolated for testing. It was Mechoulam’s early experimentation that first brought to light the benefits of THC in treating nausea from chemotherapy. Other early experiments pointed to the connection of CBD in treating epilepsy, a hypothesis that has been gaining considerable attention in recent years.
Mechoulam’s pioneering efforts have furthered advancements in studying medical marijuana around the world, but Israel continues to be an innovator. A recent study by Dr. Yosefa Avraham and Professor Elliot Berry in Jerusalem show promising results using cannabidiol in the prevention and treatment of liver cirrhosis and hepatic encephalopathy. Results of their extensive studies indicate, “cannabidiol restores liver function, normalizes 5-HT levels and improves brain pathology.”
In a 2007 Journal Interview from The Society for the Study of Addiction Mechoulam stated, “I found research at the borderline of chemistry and biology fascinating. I believed then, and I still believe, that the separation of scientific fields is just an admission of our limited ability to learn and understand several scientific areas. In nature, the border does not exist. If a leaf and tree were able to think, they would not know the difference between chemistry and biology.”
It may be these borderline areas are the future of marijuana research. The early inroads opened up by pioneers like Mechoulam have helped establish marijuana as a viable medical resource, but there is still a long way to go in understanding the full impact it could have on medicine.…
Superior knowledge in the nutrient industry!
Roots are the primary way in which plants acquire nutrients. Plant roots can penetrate to significant depths and are branched so that they can explore large volumes of soil. Some nutrients are only “weakly bound” in the soil, and can flow towards the root surface when a plant uses water. Other nutrients can be tightly bound in some soils, thus, continued uptake by plants relies on growth of roots into new areas of the soil. Root hairs, which greatly increase the volume of soil explored adjacent to the main root and also increase the root’s surface area, may be particularly active in nutrient absorption. The degree of phosphate absorption by soil particles depends on the soil type.
Grasses normally have extensive root systems with many fine branches and sub-branches. These features contribute to good soil exploration for nutrients. Other plants have a thick tap-root and relatively fewer fine roots. Legumes form symbiotic relationships with species of soil bacteria and fungi. The bacteria form root nodules and fix nitrogen gas from the atmosphere and provide it in a form suitable for plants. Mycorrhizal fungi form a network of hyphae extending into the soil to facilitate phosphorus uptake. On the other end of things the host plant supplies the bacteria and fungi with sugars fixed through photosynthesis.
How is selectivity of nutrient uptake achieved?
Mineral nutrients are absorbed by plants from the soil solution as ions. An ion is the charged particle formed by the removal or addition of electrons to any particular atom. The ions have two possible pathways for roots uptake: through the cell walls and intercellular spaces and movement cell-to-cell in the symplasm. The pathway is blocked at the endodermis by casparian bands in the cell walls. These barriers force the water and ions to move through cellular membranes if they are to be absorbed by the root.
The casparian bands that block the apoplasmic movement of ions are essential to selectivity since this is achieved by specific ion transporter proteins embedded in the membranes of plant cells. Membranes are composed of a lipid bilayer which prevents the free movement of substances in and out of cells. The transporter proteins are highly specific for the transfer of different ions across the membrane. So, for any given nutrient ion to be accumulated by a plant it must be transported across root cell membranes. Regulation of these transporters enables control of internal nutrient composition and concentrations.
Ions absorbed by the roots are then loaded into the xylem and transported with water up to the leaves when the plant transpires.
University of Western Australia
- What about cotton – one of the most widely used materials in bedding today?
First, there’s a major difference between regular cotton and organic cotton.
Here are some facts you may not know about conventionally grown cotton:
- Cotton farming takes up only about 3 percent of the world’s total farmland, but uses 25 percent of the world’s chemical pesticides and fertilizers
- Each acre of cotton harvested every year in the U S is sprayed with an average of 13 pounds of pesticides, herbicides, and defoliants
- The World Health Organization classifies half of cotton crop chemicals each year as “hazardous”
- Toxic defoliating chemicals are used to harvest the cotton
And this long list doesn’t even include the billions of pounds of synthetic fertilizers used for cultivating cotton. The runoff from these fertilizers can create aquatic “dead zones” in waterways, killing off species of aquatic life.
The U.S. and the European Union are right now negotiating a free-trade agreement with the potential to impact the health and environment of hundreds of millions of people. Of particular concern is the risk that this new trade partnership will lower protections from toxic pesticides. New analysis exposes how the pesticide industry is lobbying negotiators to lower standards on both sides of the Atlantic. If adopted, industry’s proposal would reverse the EU’s ban on the use of carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals as pesticides, increase the amount of pesticide allowed on food sold to consumers, and interfere with efforts to protect bees and other pollinators to safeguard food supplies for future generations.
The public has a right to know where U.S. and EU negotiators stand on issues pertaining to pesticides, climate change, toxic chemicals, and other urgent health and environmental issues before they are presented to lawmakers. Join the Center for International Environmental Law in urging the United States trade representative and the European Union trade commissioner to practice transparency in their discussions and protect individuals and communities from toxic pesticides and chemicals. …
Lets look at the similarities and differences.
Humans have used drugs that have been derived from plants for many thousands of years to decrease and cope with pain.
In 1964 THC was discovered at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. In the year 1973, scientists discovered the first opiate receptors in the human brain.
Humans have used opiates for pain since the time of Ancient Greece.
Opioid receptors are distributed widely in the brain and can be found in the digestive tract and spinal cord. Opium is found in the seedpod of poppy plants.
In 1975 scientists discovered that the human brain had what are known as “endogenous opiates”, commonly known today as “endorphins”.
American researcher Allyn Howlett and her graduate student William Devane discovered the first cannabinoid receptors in the brain in 1988.
They named them cannabinoid 1 receptors (CB1).
In 1992 researchers in Israel found an endogenous cannabinoid and proceeded to name it N-arachidonoyl ethanolamine or anandamide.
In 1993 scientists found cannabinoid receptors in the immune system (CB2), and subsequently discovered a second endocannabinoid called 2-arachidonoyl glycerol.
So far there have been five endocannabinoids discovered, although as far as medicinal value, the first two found, anandamide and 2-AG appear to have the most importance.
Scientists have since realized that CB1 receptors are found mostly on neurons in the spinal cord, brain, and peripheral nervous system. This very reason explains the role of cannabinoids in pain modulation, memory processing, and motor control.
CB2 receptors are located mainly in immune cells such as the spleen and tonsils.
An amazingly extraordinary fact is that in the human body there are more receptors for cannabinoids than for any other substance.
In the middle area of the human brain there are systems that are critical to keep humans alive, such as heartbeat and breathing.
Cannabinoid receptors are almost completely missing in this area of the brain, whereas opioids have a profound affect on the midbrain.
This explains why cannabis is so safe and does not cause overdoses and deaths like opioid-based medicines so commonly do.…
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) determined that some of the American Licorice Company’s black licorice candy manufactured in 2012 contained quantities of lead significantly in excess of permissible levels, and ordered a recall. American Licorice Company later performed an investigation into the adulterations of its candy, and concluded that the excess lead originated in molasses purchased from Total Sweetness, Inc; it then moved to sue Total Sweetness. American Licorice Company is the candy company that manufactures the popular Red Vines®.
In another case, this past spring, a decision came down through the Northern District Court of San Francisco* against the Safeway grocery chain that posed the question of whether Safeway had a duty to issue a post-sale warning to its “Club Card” loyalty members when the Food and Drug Administration issued Class I Recalls. Class I recalls are implemented when there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death. The question for Safeway was whether failing to issue a post-sale warning constituted negligence—where California law imposes a general duty of care.
Cases like these cause me deep concern for what I see as a significant problem when it comes to the manufacturing and retail distribution of marijuana-infused products and edibles sold in medical marijuana dispensaries (in California called “collectives” or “cooperatives”).
If a product is found to be “abnormally dangerous” or “unsafe,” there are a number of legal theories potential plaintiffs could use as grounds to sue infused-products manufacturers and dispensary retailers, I will refer to these theories as “product liability.” Product liability is where the manufacturer or the retailer can be found legally liable if a product is found to be unsafe. Potential plaintiffs include customers, patients, and any foreseeable third party who consumes the product. The focus of this article is the duty to test and to give post-sale warnings in the event flowers, products, or edibles are tested and found to be unsafe.
An unsafe product in the cannabis industry can, among other things, be a product that has a substance in it or on it that is unsafe for human consumption. For example, in a conversation I had with Dr. Jeffrey C. Raber, CEO of Werc Shop testing laboratory, I learned that it is not uncommon to find cannabis flowers or edible products contaminated after doing lab tests. According to Dr. Raber, flowers and concentrates can be tested for cannabinoids, terpenes, pesticides and microbiologic growth, and edibles and infused products can be tested for cannabinoids and microbiologic growth. Dr. Raber believes that some dispensaries and edible manufacturers do not test the flowers they use because of the added cost, but contaminated products can be unsafe.
According to the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency website, the health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and carbamates, affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogenic. Others may affect the body’s hormonal or endocrine systems. Unscrupulous growers may have only one goal in mind—harvest at any cost. We cannot allow folks to come to our dispensaries and sell us untested product!
An unsafe infused product could be one where the flowers were treated with dangerous pesticides in the garden. This is why I believe a best business practice is to ensure that flowers sold in a dispensary be tested before being sold to medical marijuana patients. As a Lawyer in this industry, I believe the dispensary owner has a duty to ensure products being sold in the dispensary are properly tested. Most of us know that this is an unregulated area in most states, and, for the most part, products are not tested. Said another way, without regulation or a law that says one has to test, people don’t test. Notwithstanding a law printed in black and white, one could be found negligent by failing to test. This is because it is foreseeable that flowers could have been treated with dangerous pesticides in the garden.
The next issue is the “standard in the industry” for testing. The standard in most states is not to require testing, because the lawmakers are not necessarily privy to what can happen in a grow room or garden. However, in the event one was sued for product liability (and both the product manufacturer and the retailer could be), the standard unquestionably would be the new high mark of testing regulations and requirements posed by Colorado and Washington’s cannabis industries. Experts from these states would be called to testify to what the understood standard for safety is in the industry. Therefore, a duty to test flowers is the standard for flowers, and any infused product should be tested for microbials. Additionally, where appropriate, the THC levels also should be tested and placed on the label of the product.
Duty to Recall
Next, is there a duty to recall products and give notice to dispensary member patients if it is learned that flowers or an infused product failed testing? Most medical marijuana dispensaries have contact information or a patient database. A jury could very well find a manufacturer or a dispensary retailer is negligent for failing to recall or failing to send a post-sale recall notice to patients they reasonably knew could have ingested (or may ingest) an unsafe product. Most people would say that if a manufacturer’s product is found to be unsafe, that manufacturer should contact every dispensary to whom it has sold a defective batch of product and inform them of the problem. In the same way, many would say a dispensary owner who has contact information for its customers should contact them in the event a product is found to be unsafe.
Therefore, I urge edible manufacturers and dispensary owners to insist on properly tested products by a reputable testing laboratory. Insist on the testing of every batch of flowers, concentrates or any infused product. Let the day of purchasing or distributing untested product be …