Monday, September 27, 2010

Subsidized New York Dairy CAFO serves up adulterated meat

New York farmer Kenneth Corscadden from Corscadden Family Farm received a warning letter last month from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA investigation of Corscadden's dairy farm in Richville, NY revealed that Corscadden offered up animlas for slaughter that were adulterated under federal law. It seems Corscadden sold bob veal (male calves from dairy farms, usually less than one month old) over a period of weeks and that those calves had Tetracycline residues in excess of federal tolerances in their liver, kidney and muscle tissues, sometimes as high as five times the legal limit.

The investigation also revealed that Corscadden also sold a dairy cow and that an analysis of the kidney tissue showed Penicillin residue almost forty times the legal limit.

Corscadden was also accused of holding animals under conditions where medicated animals bearing potentially harmful drug residues were likely to enter the food supply. Corscadden failed to maintain complete treatment records and used controlled drugs for improper extra-label purposes without proper veterinary supervision.

A review of the USDA farm subsidy database shows that Corscadden received $86,375 last year in federal farm subsidies and $511,833 in subsidies from 1995 through 2009. Coscadden also operates a New York State Registered CAFO with 647 mature dairy cattle and about 100 dairy heifers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation - Brand Marketing In Public Schools

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) has partnered with the Discovery Education to launch a new on-line school curriculum to promote ways to help young people achieve healthy weights. Available at, the curriculum uses a calories in, calories out approach to weight management.

This certainly sounds great. A draft of the federal government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines (to be formally released in December 2010) identified obesity as the nation's greatest public health threat.

So who is the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, and what role does Discovery Education play in the creation and dissemination of lesson plans geared toward healthy eating habits?

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation bills itself as an “Unprecedented CEO-led Partnership to Reduce Obesity.” According to its web site, its members provide funding and support for programs and activities designed to help people achieve a healthy weight. Members include ConAgra Foods, the Food Marketing Institute, General Mills and the Grocery Manufacturer's Association. Kellogg's, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, along with large supermarket companies and restaurant chains, also are members. Are these the folks we want ot learn weight management from?

Discovery Education is a subsidiary of Discovery Communications, those nice people who run the Discovery Channel and Discovery Kids on cable television. Discovery Education is basically a brand marketer. According to its web site, it claims to be a leader in digital video-based learning and it wants to bring its client's “brand and message to life in thousands of school districts nationwide.” It works with, in this case the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, to create a customized curriculum intended to bring its members' brands (Coke, Pepsi, Kraft, General Mills, industry trade groups, and some of the largest food companies and grocery chains in the world) in front of school kids everywhere – your kids, my kids, etc.

Again according to its web site, its program will disseminate brand information to tens of thousand of schools nationwide to enable these brands to “gain entry to the entire education universe.” It also leads pep rallies, PR campaigns, sweepstakes and other “excitement builders.”

Childhood obesity is a serious issue in this country. One cannot help but wonder if we want weight management taught by companies that load their foods with empty calories, high fructose corn sweeteners, excessive amounts of salts, and that serve portion sizes to children meant for Olympic athletes in training.

Should Discovery Communications be leveraging its respected name to push what are sometimes less than healthful brands in our public schools?

Something seems wrong here. What do you think?