Author Archives: fo0drebel

RECALL: Where’s the beef?

Nearly 9 million… yes, MILLION pounds of beef products produced by a Northern California company has been recalled. Rancho Feeding Corporation in Petaluma, California has issued a recall because the products processed are “unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food” without undergoing a full federal inspection, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Saturday.

The products were produced between January 1, 2013 through January 7, 2014.. yes, nearly an entire years worth of meat. Products were shipped to distribution centers and retail establishments in California, Florida, Illiniois and Texas. They include beef carcasses, oxtail, liver, cheeks, tripe, tongue and veal bones. A list of the recalled products can be found here.

Last month the company recalled more than 40,000 pounds of meat products produced on January 8 that also didn’t undergo a full inspection. The problems were discovered as part of an ongoing investigation, the FSIS said.

The FSIS has not received any reports of illness. Because some of the products could still be frozen and in storage, a Class I recall was issued because the meat product could cause serious, adverse health consequences.

Consumers who have questions about the recall can contact the plant’s Quality Control manager, Scott Parks at (707) 762-6651.

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Is Monsanto to Blame For Killing Butterflies?

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate Monsanto.

The monarch butterfly’s life cycle has always been synchronized to the seasonal growth of milkweed, the only plant its larvae will eat. Successive generations of monarchs follow the springtime emergence of milkweed from Mexico to Canada. The hardy plant once flourished in grasslands, roadsides, abandoned lots, and cornfields across much of the continent. It fueled a mass migration that ended each winter with more than 60 million butterflies converging on pine forests in the Sierra Madres.

This week, the World Wildlife Fund announced that last year’s migration from Canada and the United States to Mexico had reached a record low since scientists started to monitor monarch butterfly colonies in 1993. This winter, butterflies were found in 1.7 acres across 11 sanctuaries, down from a high of 45 acres in 1996.

The monarch population began to steadily sink as more than a million of acres of grasslands rapidly are being wiped out in favor of corn and soybean fields, a rate of loss comparable to the deforestation of Brazil and Indonesia. Monsanto’s Roundup Week Killer is largely to blame for the decline, since it kills everything, including milkweed, which is down by 80%. The butterfly population has decreased by the same amount. Some states, such as Iowa, is losing more than 98 percent of their milkweed population. The weed doesn’t even grown on the edges of farmland anymore and the disappearance of the plant poses a huge risk to the insect’s survival.

There are other possible scenarios for the butterfly’s disappearance, including two years of unusual spring weather in the United States. 2012 was hotter than normal and the following year it was colder, disrupting the insects’ northward migration. Illegal logging has dwindled away the butterfly’s winter habitat. But nothing can match the lost milkweed in the Midwest, birthplace of roughly half of all the monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains.

This isn’t new news though. Declines in the population of Monarch butterfly’s have been reported for a number of years. Honeybee populations have been sliding downhill as well. Who are we going to listen to? An evil corporation preparing to take over the world? Or the beautiful living insects on this earth that keep everything else in sync?

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Tyson Foods Recalls 34,000 Pounds of Chicken

Tyson Foods Inc. is recalling nearly 34,000 pounds of mechanically separated chicken products due to possible Salmonella contaminant. The chicken parts were not shipped to supermarkets for customers, but instead it was intended for use in institutions and had been already shipped to California, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Tyson Foods said they were voluntarily recalling the 40-pound cases of chicken. The products were produced on Oct. 11, 2013. The product can be identified by the establishment code P-13556, which is located inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as with the code date 2843SDL1412-18. The product cases can be identified by code 17433-928 which is printed on the exterior label.

The recall was issued after FSIS was made aware of people at a Tennessee correctional facility was infected with the particular strain, Salmonella Heidelberg, on Dec. 12, 2013. After some investigation and working with the Tennessee Department of Health, results show that seven patients at the facility had been sickened by the bacteria between Nov 29, 2013 to Dec 5, 2013, two of them required hospitalization.

This is not the first time Tyson Foods Inc. has issued recalls. In 2012, over 67,000 pounds of their “Honey BBQ Flavored Boneless Chicken Wyngz” were recalled due to mis-branding and allergens that weren’t reported on the label. In 2013, about 127,000 pounds of uncooked breaded chicken tenderloins and uncooked chicken tenderloin fritter products, for the same reason.

The public can contact Tyson Consumer Relations department at 866-886-8456 with any questions or concerns.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), there are about 42,000 cases of salmonellosis that is reported each year in the United States. The CDC also states that the actual number of infections may be 29 or more times greater, as not all cases are diagnosed or reported.

People infected with Salmonella may develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness typically lasts 4 to 7 days.

A recent report from Consumer Reports showed that 97 percent of raw chicken breasts researchers tested had contained potentially harmful bacteria.

People can prevent salmonellosis by cooking poultry, ground beef and eggs thoroughly. When preparing meat, wash hands, kitchen work surfaces and utensils with soap and water after they come in contact with raw meat or poultry. Those in contact with infants should not handle raw poultry and meat at the same time.

The TPP and Your Food


 Will more or less regulations make food our safer? How about knowing where your food comes from and who is producing it?

Since Monsanto controls the government via the Monsanto Protection Act, it appears much of a shoe-in for big agricultural chemical companies (others include Dow Chemical, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and BASF) to control the food supply. Monsanto has a well known track record of intimidating and harassing farmers from replanting their seeds, cross contamination and what ever else their Gestapo employees find to start up lawsuits against small farmers.

So how would the TPP effect the food industry (not that Big-Ag needs any more help at the moment)? Here’s a quick run down.

Small farmers and producers will essentially be put out of business. The TPP could replace small farms and communities with large agribusinesses, more so than they currently are.

Food safety standards would be reduced to a bare minimum. More so than the FDA and USDA uphold today (personally, I wouldn’t trust much of anything these two agencies report even today. Their standards aren’t in our best interests).

The fight for labeling foods would be a thing of the past. Monsanto will use the TPP to pull a few more strings to make it illegal to label products containing GMOs.

Finally, governments would not be able to support local food. Under TPP, public institutions (universities, schools, hospitals, etc.) may not be allowed to use local farms as a source of food, as it would violate free-trade terms by discriminating against foreign farms.

It’s no wonder why these companies (including local, state and federal government agencies) make it hard for citizens to grow their own food and become self sustainable. It’s only a step towards world domination. It’s no accident TPP is being dealt in secret and GMO labeling isn’t being passed by our elected officials. But now is the time to step up and take a stand. Let your voice be heard and contact your representatives to stop Fast Track and vote NO on the TPP.

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.“ –Henry Kissinger

Marigold Graveyard

Picture1000 125It’s been a distracting last few months, I hope to get back into this and entertain and engage you all. I am calling this year’s backyard garden a success!! My tomatoes were nonstop, once I fed the ground with some nutrients. I had to pick all of my tomatoes off the vine before the frost/freeze got to them. I still have quite a few sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to turn color.

I have ignored my little garden plot since I picked the last of the fruit, up until the other day. I took notice that my pretty colorful marigolds had all turned brown and dying. My empty dead vine filled trellis stood bare. The last of the wilted tomato plants hanging by strings tied to the nearby tree. A layer of brown dried leaves covering the garden plot. The only green I could see from the distance was a few snapdragon plants still holding on. Along with some Dusty miller plants that have grown 50x bigger since I planted them.

I decided to take a stroll over to say one last good bye before winter sits in. And to my surprise, I found some green sprouts popping up through the bed of leaves. My long forgotten onions! Not sure what their story is, or what they plan on doing, but seeing their greens gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

I didn’t plan on any fall and winter gardening, which now I am feeling a bit left out. However, for the time being, I do have a pot full of dead marigold heads to de-seed. Would anyone like a packet of seeds? 🙂

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City Girl Farms: The Good & The Bad

It’s the thought that counts right? Apparently city living has been getting the best of me and I start slacking in certain areas. Well, here’s an update nearly 2 months since my garden debut.

Which shall we start with, the good, the bad or the ugly? Let’s mix it up a bit..

I had planted 2 tomato plants, both were doing well. One decided to take it easy and be lazy while the other one ended up being an overachiever and spread out a bit. But as they were both growing into small bushes, no blossoms and no fruit! EEK! I was feeling a bit jealous as my friends were posting pics of their awesome plump veggies, while I was sitting there staring at the tomato plant sending it telepathic thoughts to grow.

After I was done sulking, I decided to do a little research. Epsom salt was my answer! So I sprinkled some Epsom salt around my plants and did a happy dance and sang for them (all in my mind, not literally). Then playing the waiting game, again.

As of today, I have had to tie up part of the steroid growing tomato plant, and happy to report that is has many new blossoms and new baby tomatoes growing. Late season tomatoes, but nevertheless.

Next, cucumbers have been doing very well. Again, I was a bit concerned of not seeing any baby cuc’s growing, but just as I was ready to throw in the towel, BAM! Baby cuc’s started to grow. I have enjoyed building up my trellis and directing the vines to grow up it. I cut my first cucumber just the other day and had some of it this evening. I loved it!

My sweet pepper plant pretty much croaked as well. It looked week and all my little blossoms had fallen off. But, I didn’t give up and it seems to be bouncing back a bit. Might just get something from it late in the season.

Onions.. well, I gave up on those. The greens were perky for about a day or so and then began to fall over. I’ve left them alone but looks like now they just are tired and I don’t think they have grown any. I’ll have to dig one up and see what it going on.

Another loser in the backyard garden are the zucchini. These big leafed mammoths were doing great growing and making blossoms. Even being all perked up off of the ground, growing within tomato cages. All blossoms and no zucchini. I hear zucchini blossoms are good to cook and eat. I haven’t been that adventurous yet, so for now, the leafy plants are just taking up space and getting in the squirrels way.

About a month ago I picked up some Habanero plants at a farmers market that were marked down. One got dug up the very next day. Damn squirrels! The other three have survived and two of them are just now starting to produce a pepper!

So, despite my impatient manner, overall things are starting to pick up now. Late season stuff, but I am blaming the weather on this. Summer just hasn’t felt like summer around here.

Check in with us on Facebook where I’ve posted a few of my success photos! And stay tuned here as I am already planning my backyard garden for next year.

EVENING UPDATE: Upon saying goodnight to my babies this evening, I found I do indeed have a baby zucchini growing! However, I believe the plant has been overtaken by powdery mildew. 😦 Any suggestions?? Will the zucchini still be safe/okay to eat or should I continue to chalk this one as a lost crop this year?

City Girl Farms

I’m a wanna-be hippie farmer. If I could live in any sort of time frame, it would be the days of farming, real farming. As well as being the free loving, peace making hippie. I’d like to think that I have a knack for gardening, let alone taking care an entire farm, but in reality, I am highly intimidated by it. I’m a city dweller and never really had much experience to ‘farming’ per se. My dad had houseplants of all kinds, indoors and out. At times he had his little patch in the backyard growing odd veggies (eggplant…. eh, I won’t forget those meals!). But to grow vegetables and plants to live off of, that’s another story altogether.

It’s been some years since I dug into the ground to plant something. My little take of ‘gardening’. I did well with what I had. A group of sunflowers that towered into the sky. A couple tomato plants that produced a few fruit, despite the rocky soil I had. And even a couple little strawberry plants. I wasn’t very prosper on the strawberries, but nevertheless, I was amazed when the plant popped out of the ground in the spring. Who knew?!

Moving and life in general hindered any further gardening. Sure, there are container gardens that people do, but that initial investment (pots, soil, etc.) just kind of deterred me. I didn’t have a proper patch of land to claim as ‘mine’.

So let’s move on to 2013. If I were living in a house that was entirely mine, I would tear up the front yard and pretend that I lived in the great countryside and farmed like my ancestors. I’d have goats, sheep and chickens running around like there is no tomorrow. But with city officials hassling city dwellers (Woman Faces Jail Time For Growing Vegetable Garden in Her Own Front Lawn) and maybe I’m not as much of a rebel as I thought, I decided to turn an area of the backyard into my little sanctuary. Since the moment I moved in, the area was taken over by discarded limbs, sticks and leaves. People too lazy to bundle it up and get rid of it. Including myself for the first couple of years.

Picture1Towards the end of winter each year, I’d tell myself, “that would be a great area for a garden!”. And then the thought and yearning would soon disappear. Except this year. I was determined to turn that ugly overgrown area into a nice pretty backyard garden.

Lots of hard work, breaking in muscles that have not been stretched in who knows how long. Hindered by rains that seemed to last forever and many thoughts of giving up, I finally finished step one. Success!

I have never really had that ‘green thumb’. I seem to have a hard time growing things from seeds. “Sunflowers are the easiest things to grow!” I was told. Leave it to me to kill them. Yes, I killed off all of my sunflower seedlings this spring. After that, I was really apprehensive to starting any sort of vegetable, fruit or herb by seed. Imagine all of that hard work: soil preparation, sprouting, fertilizing, watering, etc. And then poof! All I would have left is wilted dying seedlings. Oh the tragedy! I really am a city girl to the core.

So after the sunflower massacre, and with planting season about to commence, I decided to make a list of plants I would plant, continuing someone else’s hard work put forth during the winter months. I’ll continue their little plants and prosper that way! This city girl will be able to farm! Or rather, garden.

Picking plants from the local farmer’s market, I have ended up with 2 tomato plants, a pepper plant, cucumbers, zucchini and a bunch of onions. I’m nervous about half of the onions, I had started those in pots and then transplanted them. They looked good for a while, now I’m not so sure. The others I planted directly into the ground are looking okay. I’ll have to give them some time. The tomato plants are really taking off and fruit has already growing. I am patiently waiting for them to be ready to be picked! The cucumber and zucchini, I’m really nervous about. I built a trellis out of some limbs from the hideous debris pile and plan on training the cucumbers to climb up it. The zucchini.. yeah, I’ve seen how big those plants get! I plan on trying out someone’s idea of using tomato cages to keep those leaves up off of the ground. Now I’m hoping I didn’t plant them too close together.

“You act like they’re your babies.” It’s been a week since the last plant has been planted and I am now feeling a bit more confident. A lot of rain has deterred me from watering (a dreaded task) and they started to look a bit weepy, but have since bounced back and actually grew quite a bit. I had some sort of critter, squirrels or birds, that actually dug up a cucumber plant and a zucchini plant. How dare they! I have since barricaded the plants with bamboo stakes and a netting that I had kept from my last little garden.

I have to say, I am excited. I can’t wait for that accomplishment, to be able to pick the vegetable myself and eat it. My biggest fear are the bugs that may find my plants and destroy my babies. I must protect them!

Stay tuned, I’ll update my journey this summer. Follow us on Facebook where I’ll share photos of my babies!

McDonald’s anyone?

Today at lunch I decided to stake claim in a shady area across the way from a place with golden arches. My intention was to relax, read a bit (Detroit: An American Autopsy) and enjoy the warmth and of the sun. Instead I was entranced by all the attention the small crowded in/out drive of the burger joint. Okay, not really a place I would call a “burger joint”. If I were to choose to indulge (a big IF) it certainly would not be at this establishment or any other 1-2 worded heart attack joints. Anyways, I was mesmerized by how quickly the cars pulled in, around the building and then back out. Hence, fast food. Next, what caught my attention was how quickly the line backed up, about quarter after noon. Most typical time for lunch anywhere. BUT the line of cars was so backed up, it was blocking the main drive to the neighboring grocery store as well as the main drive from the road. People honked their horns, impatiently waiting to get by those wanting their quick cheap fix. As they say, grease is cheap. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it’s suppose to satisfy that hunger, at least until the pizza is ready to be picked up on the way home.

Without getting into the labor practices, the effects on the environment, animal welfare of the cows & chickens, and the influence on children, I’ll keep this post strictly to a few brief points regarding their food. There are numerous articles and stories that elaborate in detail, as well as lot of opinion and speculation. But maybe this will get you to think twice before eating out, and not only at the Arches, but really anywhere.

  • How about some duck feathers or human hair (disguised as L-cysteine) in your fruit pie? Or how about sand (silicon dioxide) and wood (cellulose) in your burger? And don’t forget the soil fertilizer (ammonium sulfate) in the buns. And don’t get me started on the ‘pink slime’…
  • Many individuals have done their own experiments to see how long it takes for a burger to decay. Long story short… a McDonald’s burger will take a long long long long long time to show any signs of rot or mold. How is this classified as REAL food?
  • Don’t be fooled by the ordering the chicken. There’s a lot that goes into making and forming the ‘nuggets’. Synthetic chemicals and modified food starch (MSG!) to say the least.
  • Salad may sound the best bet if you absolutely HAVE to stop and grab something quick… but I’ll save the calorie, fat and sodium talk for another time.

So, what did you have for lunch today?

The Most Evil Corporation in the World

A quick guide to MONSANTO


A few fast facts:

  • Established in 1901 by John Francis Queeney
  • First product was saccharin, a sugar substitute (aka Sweet ‘N Low)
  • 1982 – Monsanto became the first to genetically modify a plant cell.
  • 1985 – Monsanto acquires GD Searle, which discovered and manufactured aspartame artificial sweetener. Creates subsidiary NutraSweet Company.
  • 1996 – GE soybeans, canola and cotton, as well as corn and soybeans are introduced.
  • 1998 – Roundup Ready corn is commercialized.
  • 2011 – Drought-tolerant GE corn and GE soybean are approved by USDA.
  • 2012 – Opposes Proposition 37 in California that would require labeling of foods with GE ingredients. Contributed $8.1 million as top donor in a $45 million campaign.


  • Used by US military as chemical warfare during the Vietnam War from 1961-1971.
  • Almost 19 million gallons of defoliant were sprayed to clear vegetation around military bases and to obliterate hiding places used by the Viet Cong.
  • Estimates from Vietnam reported 400,000 people were killed or maimed and 500,000 children were born with birth defects.
  • Veterans who served in the war have increased rates of at least 50 illnesses and diseases, including various cancers and nerve, digestive, skin and respiratory disorders. This does not include the children born to Vietnam Veterans.


  • Approximately 99 percent of the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) used by U.S. industry were produced by Monsanto until it was banned by Congress in 1976.
  • PCBs were found to be carcinogenic, and to cause detrimental effects to the liver, endocrine system, immune system, reproductive system, developmental system, skin, eye and brain.
  • They continue to be illegally leaked or dumped and do not break down easily in the environment and continue to cycle through air, water and soil.


  • Genetic engineering modifies the genetic material of crops to display specific traits. Most commercial biotech crops are developed to be either herbicide tolerant, allowing herbicides to kill weeds without harming crops, or insect resistant, which protects plants from destructive pests. Monsanto creates many of both types.
  • They also use licensing agreements with other companies and distributors to spread its traits throughout the seed supply.
  • Roughly 382 million acres in the United States are used for crop production, that means that Monsanto’s products constitute approximately 40 percent of all crop acres in the country.
  • Throughout the 1990s, Monsanto rapidly acquired multiple seed and agricultural companies, shifting its identity from a chemical company to one that produced GE (genetically engineered) crops and linked agrochemicals.


  • Monsanto’s most popular herbicide accounted for 27% of their total net sales in 2011.
  • Monsanto engineers its GE seeds to resist Roundup and Roundup alone, so that the sale of the herbicide is absolutely necessary for those who buy Roundup Ready seeds.

Influence on Government

  • Monsanto has a long history with former and current employees of the U.S. government, public universities and industry and trade groups.
  • U.S. Government – EPA, Supreme Court, White House (Deputy Assistant), Social Security Administration, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Department of Commerce, U.S. Trade Representative, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of State, Food and Drug Administration.
  • Companies – Procter & Gamble, DuPont, Microsoft, Cisco, Morgan Stanley, Sara Lee, McDonalds, amongst others.
  • Universities – Arizona State U, U of Missouri, St. Louis U, Cornell U, South Dakota State U, Washington U in St. Louis


  • Recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), also called recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST), is a drug that is injected into cows to increase milk production.
  • In 1993, the FDA approved the first genetically engineered product.
  • Studies have shown rBGH has caused reproductive problems in cows, including lower birth weight, infertility and an increased risk of cystic ovaries.

Monsanto vs. Farmer

  • Monsanto is known for litigation against individual farmers for patent violation claims on GE seeds.
  • Any farmer who buys Monsanto’s seed is bound to it (licensing agreement on every bag of GE seed), either by signing a contract or simply opening the bag, and it stipulates that farmers must not save any seed (a thousands-year-old tradition) and are responsible for following all procedures included in Monsanto’s Technology Use Guide.
  • Monsanto goes to all lengths to defend its patent rights and stands behind the claim that it should be able to collect damages from anyone who violates them (thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees).

The Monsanto Protection Act

  • Bill written by Monsanto and signed into law by President Obama, gives companies that deal with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) seeds immunity to the federal courts.
  • The bill states that even if future research shows that GMOs or GE seeds cause significant health problems, cancer, etc, anything, that the federal courts no longer have any power to stop their spread, use, or sales.

Videos to watch:
Food, Inc.
The Future of Food
The World According to Monsanto

Read more in depth:
Monsanto: A Corporate Profile
Monsanto’s Dark History

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