There You Go Again
I wanted to share this commentary by our rancher friend Glen Boudreaux of Jolie Vue Farms. His comments on the approval of meat and dairy from cloned animals are very insightful. Glen's family produces drug-free 100% grass-fed beef serving the Houston area. Glen is also an attorney and very dedicated to the local food movement in Texas, he is one of the few that are really doing it!
- Farmer Brad
"There You Go Again"
Jolie Vue Farms
Remember the 1980 presidential debates when Ronald Reagan responded to an apparent misstatement by Carter of his position on Medicare with the now famous line: "There you go again". Well, there goes the FDA and USDA again. The "again" is the non-disclosure policy recently adopted by our government designed to keep us in the dark about what we are eating. First, with genetically-modified vegetables, now with cloned beef.
Orwell or Heller?
If you missed it, the Food and Drug Administration has approved cloned beef for sale to us, the "eaters", so long as we aren't told that we are eating cloned beef. I can't tell if I'm reliving Orwell's 1984 or Heller's Catch 22. Or is this the logical extension of Clinton's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. We can't ask and they can't tell.
Goodness gracious, what has happened to the democratic principle of an educated and informed populace? And how in the world does our government square this fake-food favoritism against the multitude of food labeling mandates of the past? Why has the FDA decided to go back to a policy of caveat emptor when disclosure has worked so well? I find myself in a state of perpetual anomie with all of the government double-speak.
When the FDA announced its intention to study the safety of cloned beef, its Director of the Center For Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Sundloff, promised us this, and I quote in relevant part: "We want to make sure the public is clearly informed [about the safety of cloned beef]". Who brain-washed him in the meantime?
How close is "pretty close"?
Do we need to worry about whether cloned beef is safe, even while being assured by our government agency that it is? Well, we just finished reviewing Seeds of Deception, which spells out the risks associated with introducing genetically-modified produce. The risk to humans and the animal environment are the same, because predictability of result encounters the same risks when trying to duplicate an animal as when we are trying to modify then reproduce a tomato. That long DNA string has a lot of ways to re-route the original prescription that we send it. If you doubt that, just reflect on this model of equivocation announced by one of Sundloff's lead investigators of cloned beef progeny: "In theory, they're pretty close to identical twins" (emphasis mine). In "theory", not in fact? And how close is "pretty close"?
The unannounced policy:Caveat Emptor
Let's review where the federal agencies have taken us so far as they protect the Fake Food industry against the onslaught of the small family farmer.
-Free Range means that a chicken has "access" to the out of doors, even though we know from Michael Pollan that by the time the door is opened, no self-respecting, cage-raised, over-fed and over-doped chicken would even consider going outside.
-Natural means "minimally processed". Whatever that means, it has no relationship to the common understanding of the word.
-Organic now allows 60+ synthetic materials to be used in the "organic" process.
-And genetically-modified tomatoes and cloned ribeyes are so safe that it is better that we don't know that.
What you can do
I would suggest that you write the FDA and the USDA except I have many times. They never respond. Never. Not even a form letter. Ditto Senator Cornyn, or my Congressman. The popular Senator Bailey-Hutchinson does, even if it's just a form response (and it is sometimes more than that), which probably explains her overwhelming popularity in our state. Otherwise, I can only suggest that you put a face on your food by shopping at the Houston Farmer's Market. That's where you'll find full-disclosure. We stake our livelihood on it.