Archive for May, 2011

CANCER-RED MEAT Connection Stronger

May 29, 2011

The World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (WCRF/AICR) issued a press release on May 23, 2011 reporting on their Continuous Update Project (CUP). Since their 2007 report was published 263 papers on bowel cancer were added to the 749 considered in the 2007 report. For red and processed meat 10 studies were added to the 14 considered in the original report. Based on these new studies the evaluation panel concluded that the evidence had increased that red meat and processed meat are a convincing cause of bowel cancer. Convincing is the highest risk assessment. They also concluded that high fiber plant food is more of a deterrent to colon cancer than their original assessment and the positive risk level was increased from probable to convincing. The recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables and less beef, lamb and pork is the same as their previous recommendation as is their recommendation to eat no processed meat.

If people followed these recommendations contamination of Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico would decline significantly since food animal production including corn feed fertilizer excess and untreated manure are the major sources of water nutrient contamination.

Who Is Pushing Grandma Over the Cliff?

May 27, 2011

Perhaps you have seen the Democrat reelection campaign depiction of someone who has a striking resemblance to Paul Ryan pushing a wheelchair with an elderly women over a cliff. I was appalled by this political trick to portray the only leader who has stepped up with a plan to fix the broken Medicare program this way. After reading Karl Denninger’s opinion on his Capital Markets website, the Market Ticker, I have a more accurate depiction of the full picture. The people who are pushing the elderly women over the cliff should include President Obama representing the do nothing, status quo and the person with the responsibility for a fix at this time. But the pushers should also include the old lady herself depicted in her younger years when she was making choices about food and exercise, which led to her unfortunate position in the wheelchair. Also others responsible for our food system should be pushing the wheelchair including the leaders of the Corn Growers association and Pork Producers Association representing the agribusiness lobby who are responsible for producing our sugar and fat based food. What this proposed revised picture would not portray is the environmental destruction including our soil and our water assets, Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. But adding these people would make a more accurate depiction of those responsible for our Medicare disaster.
Thanks to Thomas Hughes for forwarding Capital Markets excellent critique of Medicare.

Kudos to CBF

May 26, 2011

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) announced that it will file a legal intervention to stop the agribusiness lobby from derailing EPA’s effort to initiate a legal limit on Chesapeake Bay’s major pollution sources, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment. This is in answer to the agribusiness suit challenging the EPA’s right to limit these pollutants. We applaud CBF and their partners for initiating this action. The agribusiness lobby was apparently not satisfied with the watered down response submitted by Maryland and other States allowing agribusiness to substitute failed or untested best management practices in lieu of actual reductions in the application of nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment as the law requires. Hopefully CBF will attempt to correct Maryland’s and other States inadequate response and have the EPA implement the law as written while they support EPA’s right to control water pollution. If this happens it will show this insatiable lobby that it is sometimes better to quit while ahead.

GULF RESTORATION UPDATE-Going Nowhere

May 21, 2011

President Clinton established the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force in 1998 to focus on the sources and reduce the growing size of the oxygen dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It was led by NOAA’s Coastal Estuary group and involved more than 100 scientists from Mississippi Watershed Universities, major government agencies including the Corp of Engineers, USDA, USGS, and EPA. Independent agencies including Woods Hole Oceanographic and The Smithsonian Institution were involved. Chesapeake Bay Institutions including the Marine Science Lab at Wm. and Mary College, and The UM Horn Point Laboratory were involved. The Task Force studied the Mississippi Watershed which includes 41% of the land area if the US. The major recommendations included two specific actions (1) reduce fertilizer application rates by 20% and (2) restore nitrogen reducing fresh water wetlands. Both of these recommendations would have effectively reduced corn yields. The Agribusiness Lobby led by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Fertilizer Institute, The National Corn Growers Association, many Corn State Governors including then Governor Vilsach of Iowa responded by letter in the public review (see ref. #31 under NOAA). Agribusiness captive research departments produced counter reports. The result was that the Task Force dropped their specific call for fertilizer reduction and wetland restoration and reached a much-celebrated best efforts goal to reduce the dead zone by 30% by 2015.

The task force reconvened in 2008 to evaluate progress. The 60 page plus report is full of congratulatory platitudes directed to agriculture and some to other specific industries. But on page 21 they admit that they are unlikely to meet their goal since the dead zone had reached near historic size in 2007. The 2008 report is summarized in the Rabalais interview, our reference #31. Nowhere is there reference to the untreated manure from 4600 hogs and 1700 cattle added every day in the decade between 1997 and 2007. Corn to ethanol production was not mentioned in the report but was mentioned by Ms. Rabalais. Now USDA Secretary Vilsach spoke and promised action. He subsequently mandated increased corn/ ethanol usage in 2011.

GROUNDHOG DAY-Will Americans ever wake up?

May 12, 2011

Could it possibly be true that every American’s dream of excellence, a nice house surrounded by a perfect weed free lawn, bacon and eggs for breakfast, processed meat on refined bread sandwich for lunch and steak every night is also America’s worst nightmare? Since the Gulf Hypoxia report was published in 2000 and the continual frustration in efforts to restore Chesapeake Bay the connection between fertilizer used on America’s lawns and more importantly that used to produce corn fed meat and the manure generated as a result have been recognized as the primary environmental problem.

But what is new is the recognition by medical science that obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and America’s health care cost disaster are also an unintended result of our corn based meat and high sugar, high fat processed food diet. Until Americans realize that the cause of our environmental disaster and health disaster are identical we are destined to live and relive the health and environmental disaster, which starts anew in the first week of May each year. Unless we as individuals recognize this and change our lifestyles we are destined to live the life portrayed by Bill Murray in the film Groundhog Day. But this is not a dream. It is the reality of our disastrous food production system. Bill Murray finally woke up. Will the majority of Americans?

MEAT-The problem finally acknowledged

May 10, 2011

This Baltimore Sun reported on a study released last week by the National Research Council, a nine member panel from the National Academies of Science. The study was commissioned 2 years ago by the Bay Program initiated by the Governors of Bay States who wanted to know the reason for the failure of the Bay Program to meet its goals. The reports understandingly questioned whether farming Best Management Practices (BMPs) were effective. This now becomes of renewed importance because Maryland’s response to the new EPA mandated TMDL rather than directly reducing fertilizer, manure, and sediment is again depending on the effectiveness of buffers, cover crops and a dozen other untested BMPs.

This report reinforced previously expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of BMPs by USGS and others and therefore the viability of Maryland’s response and EPA’s acceptance of the Maryland Plan. This report is also important because for the first time a major scientific study hinted at the primary cause of Chesapeake Bay pollution and suggested a remedy. It calls for states and the federal government to promote greater individual responsibility for reducing bay pollution, including encouraging people to reduce their consumption of meat.

Why? Between 1997 and 2007 we increased the number of red meat and dairy producing animals by 6300 per day and increased the number of CAFO sites by a factor of 3. Each one of the animals requires corn feed and each bushel of corn is over fertilized. Two pounds of unused fertilizer is applied for each pound used by the crop, more in drought years. Each animal increases the amount of untreated manure which along with the fertilizer is the primary contaminate of aquifers and surface water. Epidemiology studies have increasingly pointed to red meat and dairy as the primary factors in increased risk of heart disease and cancer, which is now at epidemic stage. Corn based sugar and fat used in processed food is the major cause of our obesity and diabetes epidemics. Until Americans break their addiction to high fat and sugar based food these epidemics will continue along with the loss of the Nations most important natural resources. Finally the National Academies of Science are publically acknowledging the true problem. 

SAVE THE BAY-and prevent heart disease,cancer

May 6, 2011

I just viewed a taped interview of Cardiologist/ anthropologist Dr. Chauncey Crandall. He has studied heart disease in other cultures as well as providing treatment to patients in South Florida. He points out that heart disease does not exist in some cultures but is rampant in the U.S. and is totally curable. The two culprits are fat and sugar.

What is the source of the fat and sugar in the American diet? He like others mentions red meat. The meat we find in the supermarket today while it looks the same as several decades ago is totally different. Between 1997 and 2007 we added 6300 corn fed cattle and hogs every day to America’s CAFO food animal herd. Corn fed CAFO raised animals are now the only source of red meat and dairy in the supermarket. This meat is raised using corn feed, growth hormones, sedentary conditions and antibiotics to fatten the animal quickly. This produces an animal up to seven times higher in total fat than the pasture raised animal of just a few decades ago. This has also produced the dominance of field corn which is over fertilized by a factor of 3 to increase yields and has become, along with animal manure, the major source for the nutrient contamination of our Rivers and Estuaries.

Also those boxes, cans, jars and packages that dominate the center aisles of today’s supermarkets are totally different than a few decades ago. It’s not just a can of beans or a box of cereal. Each one of these products is designed using fat and sugar in just the right proportion to enhance sale of the product. Again all of this fat and sugar comes from corn. In addition to corn oil and high fructose corn syrup 12 other ingredients are added to addict consumers to these products. The best explanation of how this food is designed in the food laboratory is David Kessler’s Book “the end of overeating”

So it is not surprising that a group of scientists from the National Resource Council of the National Academies of Science assembled to make recommendations on Chesapeake Bay restoration conclude that Governments should encourage reduction in meat consumption. They might have concluded that people not buy the bulk of supermarket food.

Baltimore Sun-Panel-An Innovative Idea

May 5, 2011

The Baltimore Sun reported on results of a 9 member Scientific panel which noted that the proposed best management practices (BMPs) being adopted by Maryland for Chesapeake Bay cleanup have not proven to be long lasting nor effective. Some of us who have followed the long term failed effort to restore Chesapeake Bay agree. The Maryland response to the EPA mandated Total Maximum Daily Load Program was a missed opportunity to directly reduce fertilizer application rates to corn and to treat farm animal manure which total to 94% of Delmarva’s nitrogen pollution. Instead the State is proposing to implement a number of BMPs which have been implemented to some degree for several decades without recordable result. USGS recently reanalyzed the farm dominant Choptank Watershed which showed a 53% increase in nitrogen pollution over the last decade. This watershed has extensively implemented the BMPs. The USGS scientist commented that we should have seen some pollution reduction by now.

One action suggested by this report “urge citizens to eat less meat”, could be effective in reducing pollution by reducing the consumption of corn based products. The other dominant product is corn based processed food. Both of these products are currently under attack as the cause of America’s obesity epidemic and health care cost disaster.

To AG Committee Chairman-Failed Farm Policy

May 2, 2011

2012 FARM BILL

It is now well documented that the United States is the unhealthiest society in the World. We now have epidemics of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The evidence is overwhelming that over consumption of corn fed fatty meat and corn based hi- sugar, high- fat content process food is the cause. Even more importantly long term is the destruction of our topsoil and the nutrient contamination of every river and estuary Nationwide caused by corn overproduction and overlooked short cuts in production methods.

US. Farm policy has encouraged corn over-production since the end of World War II, resulting in a glut of cheap unhealthy corn based products which dominate supermarkets. Its time to reverse this flawed agricultural policy and make these products more expensive and therefore less dominant in the American diet.

Three actions required to do this should be enacted now:

  1. Reduce fertilizer applications rates by half
  2. Require minimum soil management criteria specifically minimum crop rotations and cover crops as recommended by soil scientists.
  3. Require treatment of CAFO manure.

Suggest that you call the following expert witnesses:

1.Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health ask him to brief you on the 2010 World Cancer Study and Harvard’s Nurses Health Study.

2. Authors Magdoff of The University of Vermont and van Es of Cornell University to testify about minimal soil management criteria. Also Iowa organic Dairy Farmer, soil scientist, and author Francis Thicke PhD.

3. EPA’s Benjamin Grumbles who chaired the 2008 Gulf Task Force Action Plan, which reported the continuing failure to restore the great Mississippi Watershed.

4. Current Chairman of the USGS National NAWGA assessment, which monitors water quality Nationwide including the Chesapeake Bay and other estuaries.

Nothing could be more urgent than changing the declining direction of the nations health and Natural Resources.

BACON or Repair Bills-How to Use Corn

May 1, 2011

There is increasing conflict over where the corn production in America should go. The attached from the Wall Street Journal is the opinion of the CEO Larry Pope of the Smithfield Company. As you know if you have read our posts, corn is overfertilized by a factor of 3 and is the major cause of nutrient pollution of our rivers and estuaries and it requires denuding vast areas of our Country, which along with short cuts in soil management has destroyed half our topsoil. Certainly after paying this terrible price we should use corn in the most effective way possible. Just a few years ago the amount of corn used for ethanol was insignificant today it may be as much as 40% of the crop.

So where should the corn be used to be most useful? No that’s the wrong question. Where should it go to do the least further damage?

First lets look at corn as a food or as a raw material to produce food.

It is the primary raw material in the production of processed food. These are the bottles, cans, boxes and bags found in the middle of the supermarket that according to former FDA head David Kessler are produced using high fructose corn sugar, corn oil fat, and salt in just the right proportion to make them addictive and a major cause of our obesity epidemic.

The primary use is still as feed for food animals and most goes to feed cattle and hogs. In 2009 and 2010 studies were published which looked at the long term risk factors for various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. These studies all reached the same conclusion. Corn fed Cattle and Hog based meat including processed meat is the leading risk factor in the initiation and development of these diseases.  These studies are all archived on our site.

But since this post is prompted by Smithfield. Lets look again at writer Mathew Scully’s experience at a Smithfield farrowing facility in North Carolina as described in his book “Dominion”. “ they lie there in iron crates covered in their own urine and excrement with broken legs from trying to escape or just to turn, covered with festering sores, tumors, ulcers, and lesions. They chew maniacally on their bars and chains or lie there like broken beings. When they are due they are dragged to other crates to have their piglets. Then its back to the gestation crate for another four months and so back and forth for seven or eight pregnancies until they finally expire from the punishment”.

Given the poor choices between cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity and equipment repair. I would prefer to continue to pay the cost of our small equipment repair. But a much more appropriate choice would be to see Mr. Pope behind bars where he belongs for animal abuse and killing people who eat his bacon. Of course we no longer do.