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Press Releases: Factory FarmsPress Releases Found: 20
July 31, 2014
Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final rule that will transfer most poultry inspection from government inspectors to the companies so they can police themselves. With the poultry industry standing to gain financially due to increased production and fewer regulatory requirements, the plan is a gift from the Obama administration to the industry, one that will undermine consumer and worker safety, as well as animal welfare.
October 11, 2013
Statement: In just three days, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) went from threatening to shut down Foster Farms due to serious food safety lapses to declaring last night that the company had made a remarkable recovery. The agency is allowing Foster Farms to continue operations at three of its plants that appear to be implicated in producing salmonella-contaminated poultry that have sickened at least 278 consumers. While company officials have expressed their regret over the illnesses that its products have caused, it still refuses to recall its products and FSIS seems to be fine with that.
September 13, 2013
“It is widely known that phosphorous pollution from manure applied to farmland is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Phosphorous pollution creates algae blooms that consume oxygen and create “dead zones” where fish and shellfish cannot survive, block sunlight that is needed for underwater Bay grasses and smother aquatic life on the floor of the Bay.
“EPA statistics reveal that agriculture alone contributes 42 percent of the phosphorous pollution in the Bay; manure accounts for 37 percent of the loads of phosphorus to the waterway. This isn’t surprising since there are over 304 million chickens raised in Maryland that produce 1.3 billion pounds of waste annually, much of which gets dumped untreated onto fields, where it can leach into groundwater or run-off into the Bay.
“Farmland in the Lower Eastern Shore, where the chicken industry is most active, is already saturated with phosphorus. According to researchers, up to 80 percent of the fields sampled on the Lower Eastern Shore contain so much phosphorus that they simply can’t absorb anymore. Worse yet, a recent study suggests that even if phosphorous application were stopped today, it would take decades to reduce phosphorous levels in soils sufficient to protect our waterways.
August 30, 2013
Statement from Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter Washington, D.C.—“It’s common practice for government agencies to release information they hope to sneak past consumers on Friday afternoons before a holiday weekend. So it’s not surprising that this afternoon the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) gave the green light to certain chicken […]
July 9, 2013
Press Release: A coalition of farm, rural and consumer organizations delivered a letter to the members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States urging them to recommend that the Obama administration reject the proposed Shuanghui International Holdings, Ltd. acquisition of Smithfield Foods.
January 29, 2013
Press Release: “Governor O’Malley’s announcement last week that Maryland is investing in a controversial manure to energy scheme is good for factory farms, but bad for the Chesapeake Bay. Manure to energy projects are no solution for managing the estimated 300,384 tons of excess poultry litter in the Bay region.
“The state, in partnership with the University System of Maryland, will enter into a power purchase agreement with Green Planet Power Solutions to purchase a minimum of 10 MW of electricity produced from animal waste in Caroline County. But converting poultry litter into energy is not a sustainable solution for the problems created by concentrating too many animals in one place. These projects, funded by government subsidies and tax credits, often create new waste streams, such as toxic air emissions that introduce harmful air pollutants into communities, and do not eliminate many pollutants of concern in animal waste such as nitrogen and phosphorous that choke the Bay.
“While the details of the Green Planet Power Solutions project are not yet publicly known, we call upon Maryland’s political leaders to stop asking citizens to bail the industrial ag interests out of their massive waste problem by financing projects that only perpetuate unsustainable farming practices.”
December 7, 2012
Press Release: A coalition of local and national public interest organizations have asked a federal court for permission to participate in a legal action that will decide when Clean Water Act restrictions apply to the release of pollutants in animal manure into local waterways used for recreation, drinking and to support nearby communities. In the lawsuit, American Farm Bureau Federation and West Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (Farm Bureau) claim that a Clean Water Act permit is not required for discharges of animal waste from a large Hardy County poultry concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO). The organizations, including Potomac Riverkeeper, West Virginia Rivers Coalition, Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, and Waterkeeper Alliance, are seeking to ensure that the Farm Bureau-backed poultry CAFO cannot sidestep Clean Water Act standards. Today’s filing asks the Court to give the public interest organizations the same right to participate already given to the Farm Bureau.
The motion to intervene in the case was prompted by the CAFO’s refusal to comply with an EPA order directing it to obtain a Clean Water Act permit for its discharges of pollutants from animal manure generated at the facility. The CAFO houses 200,000 chickens and contains ditches that direct animal waste from the operation into a tributary of the South Branch of the Potomac River which is listed by the state as “impaired” because of algal blooms and the presence of fecal bacteria. Although the CAFO is not disputing that its waste is discharged into these waters, it sued the agency claiming that the discharges to local waterways are exempt from the Clean Water Act, rather than obtaining a permit. The motion to intervene seeks confirmation that no exemption applies here.
“The issue here is about more than one CAFO polluting one waterway,” said Brent Walls, Upper Potomac River Manager for Potomac Riverkeeper. “It’s about defining a way to preserve and protect the right of everyone to have clean rivers and streams, even when they’re near industrial agriculture.”
November 2, 2012
Organic food has become big business and the largest food manufacturers have rapidly taken over the organic food sector, sweeping formerly independent businesses into large food conglomerates. An analysis released today by the national consumer group Food & Water Watch found that the farmers who grow organic crops and raise organic livestock now face the same forces of corporate consolidation that dominate the conventional food industry, with a declining number of buyers putting downward pressure on the prices farmers receive.
Iowa produces more pigs than any other state in the country. In years past, hog farming and pork processing boosted Iowa’s rural economies. But as the pork packing industry consolidated, the economic benefits of the hog sector shifted from rural Iowa to Wall Street. Today, growth in the consolidated hog industry has become a mechanism for draining value from, not adding to, Iowa’s rural economies.
September 26, 2012
Press Release: There is more to our meat than meets the eye: overuse of antibiotics in factory farm animals is leading to the spread of antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria, a trend that deteriorates the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs needed to save human lives. A new report released by the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick, provides an overview of the growing threat to public health and examines the pervasiveness of AR bacteria in the U.S. meat supply.