American Elephants

Paying More to Save Your Family’s Health and Nutrition? by The Elephant's Child

I’m sure your grocery store features Organic food. It costs about 30% more than the identical items in the regular displays. A program alleged to serve the well-being of the public has received a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General.

Henry I. Miller, a physician and molecular biologist who was the founding director of the FDA’s Office of Biotechnology, and a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He notes, writing at American Greatness, that Milton Friedman used to say that “only in government, when a program or project fails dismally, the instinctive response is to make it bigger.”

The USDA”s Inspector General details fraud, mismanagement and negligence throughout the global organic agriculture/food supply chain, Congress wants to throw more money at the problem.

Obviously, if things are not working, it’s because they need better funding?

When the organic designation was established in 2000. then-Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman emphasized its fundamental meaninglessness.”Let me be clear about one thing, the organic label is a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is ‘organic’ a value judgment about nutrition or quality.” The Faso-Grisham legislation is yet another special interest bonanza designed to further subsidize domestic organic farmers and enrich the bottom line of already hugely-profitable organic businesses.

The entire industry is built on the hazy idea of some consumers that “chemicals” are poisonous and bad, therefore food that had never been contaminated with chemicals (like nitrogen fertilizer) or sprays to ward off insects somehow made that food dangerous. So organic growers use natural fertilizer like manure to supply the needed nitrogen, although that carries a risk of e-coli.

Your grocery store is a warehouse full of competing brands and products, and the competition is intense, so they use whatever selling points they can find. A good many of which are absolutely meaningless, and you are being fooled by them. Free-Range Chicken, All Natural Ingredients, Verified, non GMO, Gluten Free, No MSG,  O Trans Fat, No Artificial Flavoring and so on, and so on. The Organic label is essentially meaningless, but allows the organic farmers to charge you about 30% more. It is not a value judgment about nutrition or quality. Imported agricultural products, whether organic of conventional are sometimes fumigated at the port of entry to keep alien pests out. USDA inspectors found pesticides that are prohibited under organic protocols were being sprayed on organic shipments.

The USDA reported in 2012 that 43 percent of the 571 samples of “organic” produce tested were in violation of the government’s organic regulations. Some of the samples were mislabeled conventional products, and others had not been protected from prohibited pesticides. Dr. Miller adds:

Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized fraud-riddled marketing gimmick that misleads and rips off consumers. That is important because free markets don’t function efficiently when consumers are misinformed.

If you’re worried about pesticides, wash your produce carefully before you put it in the refrigerator. Genetic engineering is safe, and state-of the-art  agricultural chemicals ensure the integrity of their own sector.


It ‘s All Falling Apart. Chapter Seven by The Elephant's Child
June 5, 2015, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy | Tags: , ,

The Modernize and Innovate the Delivery of Agricultural Systems Program (MIDAS) of the Department of Agriculture was intended to act as a more efficient IT system that streamlined USDA programs for farmers. Two years past its deadline and $140 million over budget, the Department has only completed 1.5 percent of its goal to update its IT system.

MIDAS was supposed to replace the “Web Farm.” the centralized computer server that keeps track of information about the farmers who are receiving aid from the USDA’s 31 programs that was antiquated and beginning to fail. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) reported to Congress that $305 million would allow them to consolidate their 32 farm programs into MIDAS by the end of fiscal year 2012. So far they are $140 million over budget and have completed only one of the 66 applications. By 2022, the program is projected to have a total cost of nearly $824 million.

Last July, the USDA was ordered to stop the development of MIDAS by an order of Secretary Tom Vilsak. Congress said the USDA’s mismanagement of the program is of “greatest concern” when drafting an appropriations bill for FY 2015. The planning for MIDAS began over 10 years ago, and after spending over $400 million USDA stopped the program. At a projected annual operational and maintenance cost of over $50 million a year, the department must determine whether the benefits of the program warrant that level of resource commitment.

The federal government seems to be having a continuing problem with internet technology. The computerization of the Affordable Care Act was a disaster. The White House system was hacked. Then the IRS was hacked, and now the latest cyber attack has breached the computers of the US government agency that collects personnel information for federal workers that compromises the data of about 4 million current and former federal employees.

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