Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

November 30, 2010

Food Safety Modernization Act is Crap

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — paragardener @ 5:01 pm

I checked it out. S. 510 grants the FDA broad authority to make up rules to regulate food packers, shippers, retail outlets
(except restaurants), basically anyone between the farmer and the consumer. And we want these people regulated… I don’t
see how selling people bad food is okay in any decent kind of society.

However, we maybe should agree on those rules in some democratic kind of way instead of handing authority to the Secretary
of the FDA. If the FDA were some magically apolitical body of altruistic experts, okay, but in fact they have a history of
stomping on small farmers by requiring industrial-scale controls on food quality (you must have a room just to wash your
hands attached to the room where you milk, etc.). People handling food in “traditional” ways don’t have the same problems
as industrial producers, and they don’t need to follow the same safety precautions.

I am supporting the Tester amendments, which would make a little zone of exemption for tiny processors and direct farmer-to-consumer
sales, such as farmer’s markets. IMHO, the FDA will still find authority within the bill to harass various forms of
Community Supported Agriculture, and marijuana dispensaries offering “medibles.” Without the Tester amendments,
the bill would make it illegal for you to accept cash for tomatoes, unless you kept the proper records and obeyed whatever regulations the FDA will make up.

Am I playing the politics correctly here? Maybe the amendments just make the bill more likely to pass.

Keep in mind that any version of S. 510 is broadening the authority of an agency with no regard for human rights. Being
sued by raw milk drinkers, the FDA was backed into a corner where they specifically attacked your rights to food and
physical health:

The interest claimed by plaintiffs could be framed more narrowly as a right to “provide themselves and their
families with the foods of their own choice.” But there is no “deeply rooted” historical tradition of unfettered access to
food of all kinds. To the contrary, society’s long history of food regulation stretches back to the dietary laws of biblical times.

If only FDA’s authority were granted directly by God!

Plaintiffs’ assertion of a “fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what
foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families” is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do
not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish. In addition, courts have consistently
refused to extrapolate a generalized right to “bodily and physical health.”

Again, support the Tester amendments. Oppose S. 510!

The vote may be coming today.


November 28, 2010

Yuletide Carols

Filed under: music — paragardener @ 3:53 pm

to those it may concern:

the music I am practicing for Yule this year is listed in the sidebar on the right. if something vital is missing, let me know!

November 13, 2010


Filed under: Vinting — paragardener @ 2:19 am

From time to time I like to create alcohol from the near-garbage ingredients available at the grocery store. It is really cheap, always available and it feels totally subversive to take bland products like “cran-raspberry juice cocktail concentrate (20% juice)” and make them into something psychoactive and non-regulation. I pretty much drink it at home, since it can require some bravery to brave it.

The recipe for hooch came from Roxanne’s Wine Recipes, where it is called “Hillbilly Wine.”  My version runs thus: Take 2 cans of frozen juice concentrate and 3 cups white sugar. Add water to make up one gallon. Pitch in a packet of bread yeast, snap on yer fermentation lock and wait. Siphon the hooch off of the debris after one week, and again at one month. (Note: bottles must be kept really clean). Cap it and refrigerate. Drink over ice, in small glasses.

Two gallon jugs of hooch, a packet of yeast and a bag of sugar

I prefer disused fertilizer jugs for their shock value. The fertilizer contained fewer toxic impurities than a serving of Michigan walleye. Endocrine disruptors used in manufacturing the plastic bottle probably mean that any babies I father will be intersex.

To further mess up a recent batch, I used “fresh” O.J. and lemon juice purchased from Walgreens. I checked the pH a couple of times using an electronic meter; I figured if it dropped below 3.0, that would probably stop fermentation. Initially, I used the whole carton of orange juice and enough lemon juice to lower the mix to about  pH 3.5

checkin' pH

An acidic brew

The batch tasted like the horrible cheap lemon juice I’d used (the little green bottle). I would have been better served by melting lemonheads into the mix, or using straight-up crystalline citric acid. So, I crammed the jug with as much sugar as would fit and the product mellowed to something not unlike the forgotten jug of orange juice in the back of the fridge.

In Roxanne’s recipe, she claims that wine made with bread yeast will never clear properly. It seems to be true, my wine resembles the O.J. with suspended particles of added calcium, despite siphoning twice. But if I were to use wine yeast, it would ruin the delicate irony of the beverage.

rocks glass with rocks and hooch


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