Friends of Toppenish Creek is dedicated to protecting the rights of rural communities and improving oversight of industrial agriculture. FOTC operates under the simple principle that all people deserve clean air, clean water and protection from abuse that results when profit is favored over people. FOTC works through public education, citizen investigations, research, legislation, special events, and direct action.
Mandated Treatment of Tree Nuts? Por Que?
The FDA is gathering information concerning the Salmonella risk associated with the eating of "tree nuts." According to the FDA notice
"… outbreaks, published reports of Salmonella in tree nuts destined for human consumption, and recalls emphasize the need to assess the risk of salmonellosis associated with tree nuts intended for human consumption, and to evaluate the appropriate risk-based preventive controls needed to reduce the risk of human salmonellosis…."
The FDA says that almonds, desiccated coconut and pine nuts have been associated with Salmonella outbreaks. And they point to cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamias, pistachios, shelled hazelnuts and walnuts as other nuts associated with Salmonella.
The FDA is accepting public comments on the risk and its evaluation through Monday, December 16. You can comment electronically at:
When the USDA mandated a post-harvest treatment for California raw almonds in 2007, the impact was severe for many raw nut growers and distributors. They were required to treat their nuts with a toxic fumigant (propylene oxide) or steam heat the nuts before they could be sold raw to American consumers. Illogically, imports were not subject to this mandate nor were domestic producers outside of California — this competitively handicapped many growers.
Many producers lost sales (at least one reporting millions of dollars lost) to untreated imports as consumers rebelled against the controversial treatment of a nutritious raw product for a variety of reasons, including a reported change (by some) in the texture, the nutritive value of the treated nut, and potential use of a toxic gas on their food.
In addition, smaller growers, who could not reach the economy of scale necessary to justify the investment in treatment equipment, were forced to go to the expense of transporting their crop to, in many cases, their larger competitors and then transport the treated nuts back prior to final distribution.
The USDA almond mandate slipped through almost unnoticed, although it created a rather large uproar following its implementation. This information gathering effort by the FDA could very well be the first step towards mandating a similar treatment scheme, or even one including irradiation, for all consumable raw nuts.
The Cornucopia Institute is following this issue as we don't want a repeat of the raw almond treatment fiasco. You, as a producer, are well advised to consider commenting on this process while the public comment period is still open and your voice can be heard.
If you prefer, you may mail written comments, postmarked by December 16, to:
Division of Dockets
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Make sure you reference Docket No. FDA–2013–N–0747 with any comments sent by mail.
What the FDA seems willing to ignore, in its zest to squelch potential contamination of foods by infectious human pathogens like salmonella, are the primary sources of many of the fecal associated pathogens found on food. The massive amounts of manure stored at the nation's industrial-scale livestock facilities are one such source. The escape of the highly infectious pathogens via air-blown dust, water, and run-off that contaminates neighboring lands and our rural countryside. Responsibility for control of these disease causing pathogens should be undertaken at the source.
The FDA has also been unwilling to look at issues of scale. In the case of mandatory almond pasteurization the only trace-back of a salmonella outbreak implicated Paramount Farms, the nation's largest almond and pistachio producer. In order to bring massive operations into compliance regulators are willing to promulgate "one-size-fits-all" rulemaking that create onerous requirements and costs damaging family-scale producers.
The Friends of Toppenish Creek thank the Cornucopia Institute for this information. To learn more please visit www.cornucopia.org
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
What is meant by fair treatment and meaningful involvement?
- Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
- Meaningful Involvement means that:
- people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
- the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
- their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
- the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
EPA and Environmental Justice
EPA's goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
EPA's environmental justice mandate extends to all of the Agency's work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses and regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies. EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) coordinates the Agency's efforts to integrate environmental justice into all policies, programs, and activities. OEJ's mission is to facilitate Agency efforts to protect environment and public health in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all programs, policies, and activities.
Chief Sealth's Words
August 06, 2012 - Chief Sealth's Words - 1854
Yonder sky that has wept tears of compassion upon my people for centuries untold, and which to us appears changeless and eternal, may change. Today is fair. Tomorrow it may be overcast with clouds.
My words are like the stars that never change. Whatever Seattle says, the great chief at Washington can rely upon with as much certainty as he can upon the return of the sun or the seasons.
The white chief says that Big Chief at Washington sends us greetings of friendship ... Read More »