Seriously, USDA – A Food Safety Mobile?

The USDA has come up with a brilliant plan to help consumers survive the next salmonella outbreak.  It’s called the Food Safety Mobile.  The goal of this roving banana of knowledge is to bring safe food handling skills to the masses.  Because after all, these USDA Food Safety Truckconstant outbreaks aren’t the result of questionable farming practices by Big Ag companies but rather the fault of the American people for recklessly choosing to eat their lettuce raw.

This is yet another sign that USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and his cronies are completely unqualified for the job.  Vilsack is not a farmer, nutritionist, doctor, chef or scientist.  He is a lobbyist, specifically a lobbyist for Monsanto.  That’s why he and his staff continue to miss or ignore the fact that the problem is not with consumers cross contaminating their food but rather with factory-farming that is more factory than farm.  In short, Vilsack doesn’t get it.

The Food Safety Mobile is the heart of the USDA’s $1.37 billion push to teach Americans how to wash fruit.  In addition to the traveling roadshow the program also maintains a toll-free hotline for your food safety questions providing assistance in both English and Spanish and an online chat.  Both are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.  Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention the youtube channel, food handling demos, coloring books and of course the Food Safety Mobile Discovery Game.

This is such a waste of tax payer dollars.  Hey, Mr. Vilsack, here’s a thought – instead of buying a million dollar lunch truckFood Safety Mobile how about not imposing dangerously lax regulations on genetically modified foods in exchange for campaign contributions for your boss?  That way you could save the over-taxed and ignored citizenry a nickle or two.  Not to mention how it would help clean up one of the most corrupt branches of the federal government.

You can take a virtual tour of the USDA’s Food Safety Mobile HERE but be warned – the decor has been known to trigger epileptic seizures.  You’d think a billion dollars could by an interior that doesn’t look like Walt Disney threw up.

The World According to Monsanto

This is part one of eight that are available for you to watch for free on youtube.  This is a very important documentary by independent filmmaker Marie-Monique Robin about the greatest threat to mankind today, Monsanto.  You know how we have all seen movies about some mega powerful company wrought with evil and plummeting the world towards annihilation?  Watching those movies we all had the same thought in the back of our minds, “that makes for great story telling but no company is that insidious.”  Well, Monsanto just may be worse than any of those fictional movie corporations.

Keep in mind as you watch this that President George H. W. Bush appointed a Monsanto lobbyist, Michael Taylor, to head the FDA in the early 1990’s.  Bill Clinton also hired a Monsanto mole for his two terms.  Likewise Bush Jr. hired a Monsanto thug.  President Obama has hired no less than seven Monsanto puppets including USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and former FDA big wig Michael Taylor.  The devastation this unholy union has brought to our food system in the subsequent 20 years trumps anything Hollywood has ever dreamed up.  It begs this question – who actually runs the legislative branch of the government, the President or Monsanto?


Stop Monsanto’s Newest Frankenfood

The Obama Administration is set to approve yet another environment-destroying Monsanto product.  For what was supposed to be an environment-friendly administration this news proves them anything but.  This regime’s record on the environment (see Gulf Oil Spill) makes the Bush Administration look like the Sierra Club.  But there is still time to help avoid this disaster ans save the future of organic food.  I received this very important letter from Food Democracy Now:

Once again, the organic industry is under assault. As we alerted you earlier this year, Monsanto is eager to resume the marketing and sale of their Roundup Ready™ alfalfa.

Tom Vilsack, USDAFortunately, the possibility that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready™ alfalfa may be deregulated by the USDA has caught the attention of two leading members of Congress: Senator Patrick Leahy (D. Vermont) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D. Oregon). We are joining with our partners at Center for Food Safety in encouraging members of Congress who support regulation of GMO alfalfa to sign their “Dear Colleague” letter, addressed to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, asking him to maintain the ban on GMO alfalfa, protecting farmers, the environment and the organic industry.1

If your legislator has not done so already, they have until the end of this week – 48 hours – to sign this letter and join their colleagues in asking Secretary Tom Vilsack to maintain the ban on Monsanto’s genetically-modified (GMO) Roundup Ready™ alfalfa.

This past March we invited you to send in your comments to the USDA asking them to not permit GMO alfalfa to be grown, jeopardizing the organic industry. Your response was overwhelming: in a 48-hour period more than 56,000 Food Democracy Now! members responded telling Secretary Vilsack that you value organics and the livelihood of farmers over corporate profits. We need to do it again.

We have 48 hours: Can you sign a letter to your congressman telling them that you want them to tell Secretary Vilsack to stop the approval of GMO alfalfa?


GMO Alfalfa and Organics

As you may already know, in April of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the deregulation of Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa.2 If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Monsanto, it could spell ruin for the organic industry. While we’re still waiting for a ruling from the Supreme Court, this is no time to be passive. If remarks from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia are any indication, we need to keep fighting. Justice Scalia’s words, regarding contamination of organic alfalfa were: “This isn’t contamination of the New York City water supply…This is not the end of the world.”

It may not be the end of the world, but it could spell the end of the organic dairy industry as well as end the export market of U.S. organic and natural alfalfa.3 Studies have shown, that if approved, contamination of organic alfalfa is certain.4 Once contaminated, the organic dairy sector, the cornerstone of organic agriculture, stands to lose billions of dollars, while thousands of other American farmers will lose a vital market in Europe and Japan where GMO-free alfalfa is widely sought.

Will you please take a moment to sign a letter to your representative asking them to sign this letter to Secretary Vilsack. And if you really want to take part in food democracy today, take another moment to call their office, showing your strong opposition to GMO alfalfa.


This is essentially the first time that a member of Congress has shown interest in championing an issue related to anti-GMO.  This is a crucial moment and it’s vital that we make our voices heard to our representatives and senators. We are counting on you today to sign your name and make the call.

Several senators and representatives have already signed, along with numerous non-profit organizations, businesses and companies to send a clear message to Congress saying “NO” to GMO alfalfa. We need your voice today – please join us. There may never be a better opportunity.

Thank you for participating in food democracy –

Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team

If you’d like to see Food Democracy Now!’s grassroots work continue, please consider donating. Every bit helps, whether it’s $5 or $50. We rely on the generosity of folks like you to keep us going. Thanks for all that YOU do!. We appreciate your support!



1. “Dear Colleague Letter, Join Bicameral Letter Asking USDA to Maintain Ban on Genetically Engineered Alfalfa”, Senator Pat Leahy, Representative Peter DeFazio, The National Organic Coalition.

2. “Alfalfa, from Monsanto’s Lab to the Supreme Court” The American Prospect, April 26, 2010.

3. “Roundup Ready alfalfa already impacting organic growers” Organic Seed Alliance website, May 25, 2010.

4. “GE Alfalfa Before the Supreme Court” Organic Seed Alliance website, April 27, 2010.

Poultry Farmers Give Feds a Deaf Earful

Last week the campus of Alabama A&M hosted what many are calling the “chicken summit.”  USAG Eric Holder and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack were joined by a gaggle of local politicians to hear the complaints of poultry farmers who labor under the iron thumb of poultry conglomerates like Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson.

The purpose of the summit was to reach out to farmers as part of the 2008 Farm Bill signed into law by President George W. Bush that requires USDA investigations into unfair practices.  To date the USDA has yet to launch a formal investigation despite obvious anti-trust violations.

No wonder.  Secretary Vilsack has had a three-decade relationship with one of the corporations the Farm Bill was designed to reconnoiter, Monsanto.  Likewise, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has had a nefarious public relationship with Tyson that included allegations of insider trading, conflict of interest, and bribery.  Then US Attorney General Janet Reno refused to investigate her boss’s wife despite overwhelming evidence.  Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks, who was also in attendance, is embroiled in accusations of taking money from lobbyists to finance his election for governor.

Tom Vilsack, USDASecretary Vilsack and AG Holder both acted surprised at the revelations of one-sided contracts and mafia-like transactions with poultry corporations.  Somehow they are the only two people that haven’t seen Food Inc. Remember Carole Morrison?  She was the chicken farmer who allowed the film makers to document the substandard practices of modern factory farming.  Her reward for her heroism was having her contract pulled out from under her.

Many poultry farmers have reported similar heavy-handed dealings with poultry companies including recent threats for attending the “chicken summit.”  One who ignored the extortion attempts, Alabama poultry farmer Garry Staples, stated he expected, “retaliation,” from his contractor.

Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney told Staples, “I fully expect you will not experience retaliation,” then handing him a piece of paper added, “But if you do, call me at that number.”  Her boss, AG Holder, was strangely quite throughout the proceedings saying that the issue was “a top priority.”  We’ll see, this administration has proven less than trustworthy.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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