Lynn Swearingen (c) copyright 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Today we have two completely different stories. While not connected – the irony in both of these is priceless.

First of all you have the heinous act of producing too much food product in a world where apparently no one ever goes hungry.

Three EU member states have been ordered to pay a total of €19m in fines for exceeding milk quotas in 2009/2010, according to provisional figures published by the Commission.

The total is comparatively low compared to previous years; last year superlevy fines were €99m and in the previous year they added up to €340m.

The three countries to exceed their quotas this time around were Denmark, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

How about Price Controls as a revenue source? What were they supposed to do? Dump the “toxic product” into the environment while Al Gore left his car running over in Sweden while giving a lecture on “saving” the very same environment?

Intriguingly, the Master of World Climate himself arrived in a rental car (with or without driver is unclear), from the airport, and subsequently left the engine running for the entire lecture. That is to say, about one hour. Incidentally, local legislation prohibits – for very good environmental reasons, i e pollution – any car engine running on empty for more than 60 seconds. Fines are severe. As far as I know, he was not fined.

Of course he wasn’t fined. It’s not like he had *gasp* over produced anything but his overblown “The world will end now if you don’t do as I say not as I do” political punditry.

Meanwhile, speaking of lawyers who should just know better, Bill Marler has his robo-bloggers out again on the Left Coast dealing with that oh so deadly Listeria producing dairy whom the FDA just kicked in the pants for not bowing deep enough to TPTB. Wonder if all the cheese will be tested now to see what else can be found besides the “suspect pathogen”?

I am sure that every one of his facts are vetted and covered. This is just my personal opinion (which in no way constitutes any type of legal advice which I can’t give because I’m not a lawyer nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night).

Marler Blog, Marler Blogger over on The Complete Patient, Marler, Marler, Marler on the dangers of Halloween Candy, Marler with a great photo, hey look – it’s Marler again! Marler on the Listeria Blog – oh – that’s his blog!

I especially like the one where he castigated the dairy for standing up against abortion while indicating that they produce a product that induces it – even though he later states that there are no “known cases”. Throw your net enough times and enough places – something litigious will be found.

One could go on and on, but I think one can see that a family with limited resources stands no chance against such a determined individual. Here’s one for you – he hasn’t covered the Celery Listeria issue – oops – a little farmer like me cannot keep ahead of the Marler machine.

It’s a little curious how he travelled on up to Washington (the D.C. type), conveyed the comment “Who needs Al-Queda when we have E-Coli” from an unnamed congressman, and in the next paragraph issues this as part of his outline to save consumers from themselves:

4. Support mandatory regulation of the produce industry at Federal, State and local levels; and,

More food safety through regulation? Lets extend it all the way down to home kitchens why don’t we. After all – we don’t clean our kitchens nearly enough. It would be interesting to see how many of Mr. Marler’s case research studies took samples from the clients own homes to determine the level of pathogen’s contained within, but that doesn’t fit into the “public opinion” part very well.

Why has Mr. Marler not responded to the question posed by John Munsell on the very article above?

Mr. Marler, at the DC meeting in which you and I participated this week, one of the items was Tracebacks to the SOURCE, an idea which the agency has outlawed since USDA-style HACCP was authored. Under Secretary Dr. Elisabeth Hagen concluded that she fully favors Tracebacks, a laudable and courageous statement. Well, why hasn’t the agency implemented Tracebacks during the 12 years since HACCP was implemented by the largest plants? Because forcing the SOURCE to clean up their act is absolutely contrary to what the agency and the big packers had in mind when they partnered in authoring USDA-style HACCP regulations in the mid-90’s.

Everyone should read the Jolley article with John Munsell about his learning experience and interaction with the Regulators which ends with this statement:

A. As long as these ongoing outbreaks and recurring recalls occur, consumer confidence in our product wanes. If we desire to increase consumer confidence in meat, and increase per capita consumption, we need to provide safer meat to consumers. The existence of E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella in meat emanates from sloppy kill floor dressing procedures. Period.

Pressure must be placed on FSIS to aggressively embrace a “hands on” status in the industry, greatly increase microbial testing at the large kill establishments, and then must “Force the Source” to clean up its act. Frankly, existing FSIS management will NEVER succumb to such common sense reasoning, as it prepares for the prospect of lucrative future employment within the industry after retiring from the agency.

I don’t agree with Mr. Munsell about many things, but I’d think that he would deserve an answer.

Back to speaking of Listeria, apparently 30% of the population in Southern Italy should drop over dead any time now since sampling shows that 30% percent of their foodstuffs in Supermarkets are contaminated with Listeria. Well – “everyone knows that pasteurization” will just solve that issue – don’t we?   Uhm, okay, back to the EU folks:

Recent European food safety alerts due to Listeria-contaminated cheeses more often concerned products made from pasteurized or heat-treated milk than from raw milk. The findings should be considered in prevention guidelines addressing vulnerable populations.

In June of this year it was even determined that re-using eco-friendly shopping bags increases the risk of exposure to food borne illnesswhich thankfully Mr. Marler has covered for those of us idiotic enough to use them.

Interestingly enough the new bags that Marler refers us to:

The bags are $1.99 a piece and are safe to use by everyone, including those who are allergic to shellfish, according to the Bellingham Herald.

…are impregnated with a product called AP-360 which originates from Snow Crab shells. It took a bit of searching to find any statement about this “new” product, but I came across this interesting statement:

No antimicrobial registered with the EPA can be designated as “non-toxic” no matter how low the toxicity potential. All goods are labeled as either ”Danger” (highest), ”Warning“ (mid-range), or ”Caution“ (lowest). AP-360™ has a caution (lowest) rating and is safe to use for everyone, including those with shellfish allergies. AP-360™ is non-leaching and fully biodegradable.

See how that works people – throw enough chaff into the air and particulates are bound to be found. Will you use something the EPA designates as to be labeled “Caution”? I did try to find the specific referral to AP-360 (TM) at the EPA website, but as anyone who has ever tried to find a MSDS or specific referral to anything on a .gov website knows – well it’s easier to just refer to some other website and let the court of public opinion develop.

It is a simple fact that “stuff” exists in the environment which is not pleasant – but trying these cases in the court of public opinion, spending a half a million of your own dollars for showmanship is not the way to go.

Donley, who lost a son to E. coli-poisoned beef, said Marler’s commitment to food safety is genuine. However, she acknowledged that the 53-year-old lawyer is “not above a display of showmanship from time to time to prove a point, and that is precisely what he was doing when he spent his own money to prove that … contaminated meat is still making its way into grocery stores.”

Many of his friends and some of those who sat across from him in a negotiating session call him a master performer, likening his antics to those of the “razzle-dazzle” lawyer from the musical “Chicago.” The difference is that Marler rarely goes into a courtroom. Out of the hundreds of E. coli cases he and his firm have handled, only two had to go to trial.

Of course they don’t have to go to trial – they are already tried in the court of public opinion. Just like the Estrella case.

Oh and by the way – could someone please tell me why S 510 is needed if .gov can just swoop in and take what they want anyway? How exactly is that changing the process that currently exists?