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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/13/09

PA Church Ladies Raided by 'Food Safety' Cops

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Message Linn Cohen-Cole

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Beware homemade pie and a glass of milk?

Unless one sees what has been happening already and who is behind it, it is difficult to believe that the bills in Congress can cover EVERYTHING, that "they" would do something so ... totalitarian. It is exactly because it is so monstrous a grab for all control that it is hard to believe. 

So, it matters to see things at a smaller scale and in real life and to realize the ways this is already occurring.  As the article below will show, and without ever "saying" they are "criminalizing church events," the state of Pennsylvania is working for the benefit only of corporations, is not only controlling but terrorizing communities using food in the normal ways they have for generations (and with joy), and in the end, effectively "criminalizing church events," and one might add "religious celebrations, traditional food, ethnic food, charity bazaars, bake sales, ...."

And this is not an isolated happening.

Bill Chirdon, mentioned below, is the same Bill Chirdon responsible for raids against Mark Nolt, a horse and buggy Mennonite dairy farmer, in Pennsylvania.  Chirdon, before he became part of Pennsylvania's Department of Agriculture's new policing power over traditional community food, worked for industry - Dean Foods and Hershey's. 

So, in both this attack on a church and on a Mennonite farmer (3 raids against him so far and tens of thousands of dollars in loss of equipment and food), the government, in concert with people from the corporate food industry, is crushing harmless non-corporate competition. 

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell is a close friend of the Clintons who put Michael Taylor, a Monsanto lawyer and executive, in charge of our FDA, where he approved Monsanto's rBGH, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, over objections by the medical community and even FDA scientists

Pennsylvania, a dairy state, attempted under Governor Rendell to push a Monsanto ban on the labeling of rBGH (which Kansas is fighting now) while simultaneously attacking its own dairy farmers, the ones who sell pure milk and have been doing so for generations.  The issue has nothing to do with "food safety," just as it didn't with the women in the church. The "danger" is that those farmers don't just sell real milk - they sell non-corporate milk. They are doing pure farm to consumer sales, a rare sector of farming that is growing, and without a dime from the government ... or to industry.  All monies are spent locally and used locally. 

The same Michael Taylor from Monsanto is waiting to get a job in the White House over the entire US food supply and this time with the ability to impose up to million dollar a day penalties and 10 years in prison for non-compliance ... no judicial review.  He would have the power to mete out such punishment to farmers, to church ladies, and to you.  At some point, not jut the insanity but the reality of this will percolate through to the public. Farmers know it well already - they have been living in terror of the USDA and FDA for years.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Pennsylvania has criminalized pies, and raided a church that tried to sell them at its annual fundraiser:

ROCHESTER, Pa. -- On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church began unwrapping pies at the church. That's when the trouble started.  A state inspector, there for an annual checkup on the church's kitchen, spied the desserts. After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the inspector decreed they couldn't be sold.

"Everyone was devastated," says Josie Reed, a 69-year-old former teacher known for her pumpkin and berry pies.  Sold for $1 a slice, homemade pies have always been part of the Lenten fish-fry dinners at St. Cecilia's, located in this tiny city near Pittsburgh. Similar dinners are held in church basements and other venues across the country this time of year....  

The problem is the pies are illegal in Pennsylvania. Under the state's food-safety code, facilities that provide food at four or more events in a year require at least a temporary eating and drinking license, and food has to be prepared in a state-inspected kitchen. Many churches have six fish fries a year, on Fridays during Lent. St. Cecilia's has always complied with having its kitchen licensed, so food made there is fine to serve. But homemade goods don't make the cut.  (emphasis added)  

One can see from this article three realities:  real food is being eliminated, processed food is replacing it, and "criminality" is the concern.

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Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
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