By Andrew Gunther
| February 17, 2010
It was two years ago today that the U.S. saw its largest meat recall in history. The USDA recalled 143 million pounds of beef distributed by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company and said that the meat had been used in school lunches and food assistance programs.
On January 18 of this year, Huntington Meat Packing Inc. of Montebello, CA recalled 864,000 lbs of beef because it may have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. This past weekend the recall was expanded to more than 5 million lbs of meat. Some of the products made from this meat appear to have been distributed through the USDA National School Lunch Program.
Happy anniversary of the Hallmark recall, America! You were expecting flowers?
On President’s Day, the National Black Farmers Association concluded its cross country rally in Washington, D.C. and Animal Welfare Approved’s legislative partner, Animal Welfare Institute, attended in support. NBFA members have spent the past month mobilizing support for the distribution of payments owed to black farmers as a part of a 1999 discrimination settlement, which awarded one billion dollars to them; President Obama has allocated the funds in his FY 2010 budget. The last Farm Bill seconded this verdict by allocating funds and opening doors for 80,000 farmers locked out of the original suit to have their cases heard in court.
By Andrew Gunther
| February 16, 2010
Some of you will hopefully have read my previous blogs on the benefits of grassfed beef. In particular, the fact that grassfed beef is not only good for animal welfare and the environment, but that it is also better for our health.
While scientists have now shown that cattle from feedlots are much more likely to carry the deadly E. coli O157:H7 (along with other unsavory food poisoning bugs), they have also conducted studies which found that cattle fed forage and grass diets did not carry E. coli pathogens that are known to be harmful to humans. So supporting grassfed beef operations – as championed by Animal Welfare Approved – is a great way to help ensure that America’s beef supply is better for the environment, as well as safer and healthier for you.
But here at AWA we are often asked if other naturally farmed products, such as pasture-raised eggs, are also better for our health. The good news is that scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports our argument that pasture-raised is better for you.
By Andrew Gunther
| February 12, 2010
RESPONSE TO KATIE COURIC’S RECENT CBS NEWS STORIES
Scientists have known for many years that bacteria can mutate to become resistant to antibiotics or pick up genetic material from other bacteria that have survived the antibiotic use, and then further spread this within the bacterial population. And this is exactly what has been happening on intensive farms across the U.S. over the last few decades.
Part of the problem with this overuse of low-dose antibiotics is the fact that while the low dose kills off the more susceptible bacteria first, it leaves behind those bacteria that aren’t susceptible – in other words, the ones that show resistance. And because the farmers generally use the same antibiotics over and over again, in the end the only bacteria left are those that are resistant. Without anything to control them, these resistant bacteria can multiply and easily spread from animal to animal, and then from farm to farm.
Animal Welfare Approved seeking AWA pasture-based farm(s) to supply eggs in Washington, DC area. If not currently certified, must be willing to pursue free certification. Immediate need. Please contact Julie Munk at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202.546.5292.
Animal Welfare Approved ranchers in southeast US looking for Animal Welfare Approved/American Grassfed Association certified farms to supply calves for grass fed operations. Immediate need. Please contact Julie Munk at email@example.com or at 202.546.5292.
By Andrew Gunther
| February 3, 2010
Most people have heard the old saying “a bit of dirt never hurt anyone.” When my kids were little and they dropped a piece of apple on the floor, I would run it under the tap for a second or two before passing it back to them for a (usually unsuccessful) second attempt to eat it. I did it almost without thinking–instinctively perhaps. And I remember my parents doing the same for me–and no doubt my grandparents did exactly the same for my parents when they were young.
Of course, the underlying principle here arguably has its roots in basic human biology: the more germs we are exposed to when we are younger, the stronger our immune systems are in later life. And this very same principle extends to the way many of us choose to farm.
Jonas and Judy Stoltzfus raise Animal Welfare Approved Limousin cattle on JuJo Acres Farm in Loysville, Pennsylvania. Located in the lush hills of Perry County, JuJo Acres Farms has been raising premium quality beef for over 35 years. JuJo Acres raises Limousin cattle because of their “leanness and high meat-to-bone ratio,” explain the Stoltzfuses.
We were thrilled to hear from Dan Gibson this weekend about his farm being featured on WMHT. Take a look! A farm visit is featured at first, followed by a cooking segment. And nice cap there Dan!
Animal Welfare Approved, the nationally recognized certification program and food label, is pleased to announce the selected projects for the 2010 Good Husbandry Grants cycle. This cycle’s funding priorities include genetics, outdoor access, and welfare improvements in the slaughter process. Twenty-eight projects in 14 states were awarded funding.
Selected projects include mobile housing for pigs, sheep and poultry, and stunning equipment for humane slaughter. A number of proposals were funded to incorporate breeding stock that is better suited to pasture-based management. “Choosing from among the many worthy proposals was a difficult task,” remarked Program Director Andrew Gunther. “But we are confident that the projects that have been selected for funding will contribute to positive developments in high-welfare pasture-based farming.”