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A private picnic was raided.  Veggies grown on an organic farm and organic meat certified in Utah, had to be thrown away and covered with bleach to prevent it from being fed to pigs.

Nevada Health District shuts down organic farm picnic

The Southern Nevada Health District has raided an organic farm picnic destroying the organic produce, which was classified by them as bio-hazard material.

The raid at the highly regarded and reputable Quail Hollow Farm, which sits in the picturesque Moapa Valley of Southern Nevada took place place after a tip off of the event because some of the food was not ‘certified’ in the correct state.

Apparently all the natural food served from farm must be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture so the owners had to dispose of all food including vegetables because of their ‘bio-hazard potential‘.

This meant the owners of the farm had to pour bleach on the produce in order to safely render the dangerous organic healthy potatoes safe and prevent them from being eaten by the farm owners as private citizens or by livestock such as the pigs on the farm.

This is just so head spinning it's difficult to respond, so I will quote one of the picnic guests:

One individual who attended the picnic who is identified on the video below said “It’s despicable with the feast that was prepared to have the order [from the Southern Nevada Health District] for not a valid reason for a certified chef to destroy all this food, it’s just an absolute shame not because we are here but because its good quality food that has no reason to be destroyed.”

Here's a video of the event:

UPDATE:  Here's the whole story.

1.  Quail Hollow Farm complied and applied for a "special use permit".  The guests did pay a fee for the event that included live music and a well-known chef.

2.  State official had NO warrants, and was asked to leave after a call to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to find out their rights, but after the prepared food was destroyed.

3.  The picnic crowd rallied after the State official left, and prepared a new meal with all the fresh veggies that were in the cooler, ready for the next days farmers market.  They proceeded to enjoy the evening.

4.  BUT Back to the inspector. She did call the police.

You must remember that we live in a small town. We know these officers. They responded to the call dutifully but were desperately trying to figure out why they had been called. Never in all of their experience had they ever received a call like this.

Mary, the inspector, demanded that they give us a citation. The officer in charge said that she was to give us the citation, she responded that no, they were to give us the citation, which they then asked her for what violation. Even with the help of her superior on the phone she could not give them a reason. They asked her to leave which she did. The police were very kind and apologetic for the intrusion. All of this was done without fanfare and out of sight of our guests. The police officers are commended for their professionalism!

Now that we have come to the last chapter of our novel, I realize that it ends with a cliff-hanger. As happy as the ending was, it isn’t “happily ever after” yet.  This will remain to be seen in the ensuing days, weeks and even years ahead.

Tom Collins, our County Commissioner, furious by the events that took place, having formerly been a board member for the Southern Nevada Health District is putting together a meeting with himself, the current board members and ourselves to make sense of all this mess.

So the police apologized and left.

Cloning meat?  

GMO crops?

Aspartame?

Ecoli permitted in our meats?

Corn syrup in many foods?

Tainted products?

As an aside, possibly bringing this story to the list of Ten Most Ironic Stories of the Year,

So, I did a search for the Southern Nevada Health Department and found this.

Lawsuit Accuses Health District of Mold Poisoning

A lawsuit has been filed against the Southern Nevada Health Department, formally Clark County Health District.

The suit accuses the department of negligence, conspiracy, malicious conduct and intentional acts resulting in mold poisoning from the health district building on Shadow Lane in Las Vegas.

The suit claims a husband of one of the plaintiffs was poisoned by mold in 2007 and died of his injuries while working at the health district. His widow and other plaintiffs claim to be the victims of cross-contamination.

The Southern Nevada Health Department deems organic veggies are a biohazard, but toxic mold IN their offices not so much?  Really?  Just when you think you've heard it all.

I'm sorry, but I can't see how people gathering for a private picnic consisting of locally grown, organic vegetables and organic meat certified by the State of Utah is deemed a biohazard threat by the Southern Nevada Health Department.  

Your thoughts?

Originally posted to War on Error on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 10:51 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rules are rules (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catesby, Remembering Jello

    If the law says it must be USDA certified, then it must be USDA certified. You complain about tainted food products, but question rules designed to protect consumers from tainted food products? Organic does NOT mean healthy or disease free. In fact, improperly run organic farms can be huge health risks.

    The health department did NOT deem organic veggies a health hazard. It deemed improperly inspected veggies a health hazard. Until they are properly inspected, they ARE a potential health hazard, as we've seen with all the e coli and listeria tainted vegetables recently.

    The mold poisoning story is completely unrelated. It seems you are just trying to paint the department as incompetent. But it means nothing without more details, maybe the department was doing its job and pissed someone off, so they sued for no reason. We don't know.

    I suspect that if this department had closed down a badly run pig farm or seized tainted meat, you would be cheering. Organic farms are not immune from malfeasance! Evil men can run farms and call them organic. Not every organic farm is actually organic. Organic farms, like all businesses MUST be policed and held to certain standards.

    The picnic was not following state regulations. They were using fraudulently labeled food. If the law says "you must do this to be certified organic in our state" and you don't do what the law says, you are not serving organic food. You are engaging in fraud.

    Fraud is fraud, whether you like the people or the enterprise engaging in it is irrelevant. If there is some law you think needs to be changed, address that.

    •  Isn't there any way... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, martini

      that the consumer can choose to purchase "raw" products from a farm (basically yanked out of the ground, washed and bagged)?

      "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

      by Shaviv on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 11:20:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't that depend on the state? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Remembering Jello, Shaviv

        Also, while it sounds nice, can the consumer then turn around and sell what they just dug up? If so, that's an end run around regulation.

        Personally, I LOVE government regulations. Love, love, love them. It's a large part of the reason I pay taxes. Police in the marketplace, taking down frauds and criminals, it makes me so happy.

        Might I suggest that if someone has a fundamental problem with regulation, the Democrats might not actually be the party for them? There is at least one other party that is all for people who hate regulation.

        The problem here was that the produce wasn't inspected to the national standard. Remember, states get to say what "organic" means. California I would trust to certify organic produce. Utah, not so much. I mean, they probably believe that if you are wearing your Magic Mormon Underwear when you harvest it, God makes it organic.

        They said "organic picnic" but they could not prove to the state's standards that the food was indeed organic. I'm sure they did not intend to perpetrate fraud on their patrons, but that is what they did.

      •  It's a battle (11+ / 0-)

        The Farm-to-consumer Legal Defense Fund is on this one.

        It's so ironic.  Free markets, less regulation is fine as long as its for mega corporations.

        But if a lot of little guys start to take some of the mega corps business, well, lobbyists are all over that.

        I don't think we have heard the end of this story.

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 11:35:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Quail Farms is a food to fork CSA . (10+ / 0-)

        So you can get great stuff buy joining them Shaviv.

        Community Supported Agriculture is a great way to buy produce milk and meat. You buy a subscription and get a weekly share basket of the harvest.  Meat does not have to be inspected by the USDA if it is food to fork meal, as it was in this case.  If it that was not the case, farmers who kill their livestock for their own meals.

        An investigation has started, apparently because the SNHD didn't know WTF they were doing. The USDA and NevadaGrown can enlighten them.

        My heart goes out to Quail Farms. Not to mention support for their legal defense fund. They have a good case on their hands.

        My guess is no one in the SNHD were farm kids or they'd know this already!

        The status quo sucks. George Carlin

        by Rogneid on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 12:03:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great points. Thank you. To the choir, I say (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Wino, Joieau, martini, mrkvica, Sunspots, chimene, Shaviv

          I would think that the event, on their private property, a private home, would have been protection enough as long as they weren't eating endangered species.

          And even if eating endangered species, the Health Dept would have had to have some proof in order to get a search warrant.

          This was an invasion of private property, in my mind.  Maybe the toxic mold clouded the judgement of the State official, Mary.

          as an aside, and I am sure this applies to others here:

          I have had many dinner parties where my guests chip in for the supplies.  They like my cooking and home grown veggies.  I was trained to cook great veggie dishes by a Hindu woman and Middle Eastern foods by a couple from the Middle east.  They can't come onto my private property without a warrant.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 12:13:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I found the whole story for you here (12+ / 0-)

      (Letter written to our dinner guests and our CSA Shareholders after the "Health Department inspection" incident, October 21, 2011.)

      Because this was a gathering of people invited to our farm for dinner, I had no idea that the Health Department would become involved. I received a phone call from them two days before the event informing me that because this was a “public event” (I would like to know what is the definition of “public” and “private”) we would be required to apply for a “special use permit”. If we did not do so immediately, we would be charged a ridiculous fine. Stunned, we immediately complied.....

      Well, I made the call, told my story and within a short period of time received a phone call back from the (Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF)FTCLDF’s General Counsel, Gary Cox. When told the story, he simply suggested that we apply our fundamental constitutional right to be protected against “unlawful search and seizure.” I simply had to ask Mary two questions. “Do you have a search warrant?” “Do you have an arrest warrant?”

      With the answers being “No”, I politely and very simply asked her to leave our property. As simple as that! She had no alternative, no higher power, no choice whatsoever but to now comply with my desire. She left in a huff making a scene shouting that she was calling the police. She left no paperwork, no Cease and Desist order, no record of any kind that implicated us for one thing, (we had complied to all their orders) only empty threats and a couple of trash cans full of defiled food. I will get back to “the inspector” and her threats shortly.....

      I do have a Producers Certificate from the Nevada Department of Agriculture allowing us to sell our vegetables and other farm products at the Farmers Market. Much of our produce has gone to some of the very finest restaurants in Las Vegas and St. George.

      To your other points, I trust local farmers more than I do commercially grown and distributed foods from around the world.

      Seafood for instance.  Stopped eating eat.

      Tainted seafood reaching American tables, experts say 80 percent of seafood in U.S. is imported, some contains banned drugs

      It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

      by War on Error on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 11:31:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, this changes my opinion (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        War on Error, Wino, martini, Praxical

        This additional information changes everything. Now it is seeming more like a shakedown or personal vendetta than legitimate government regulations.

        Little local farmers can be just as unscrupulous as commercial growers, and they need to be regulated just as much as big business. I trust those who have PROVEN they are trustworthy, I do not base my trust on the size of the group. In general and despite certain exceptions, I trust government to regulate businesses, prevent fraud, and ensure food safety.

        •  I trusted USDA and FDA until (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vatexia, platypus60, Joieau, martini

          they were gutted and defunded.  The shear lack of logic on the part of the GOP:  Our population has increased and they decrease budgets for food security.  Crazy people.

          Now, not so much.  Commercially grown foods have proven to be tainted a few too many times for me.  I now pressure cook any meats I buy.  That kills stuff pretty well.  Also, makes great stocks.

          Here's another bit of info

          Tom Collins, our County Commissioner, furious by the events that took place, having formerly been a board member for the Southern Nevada Health District is putting together a meeting with himself, the current board members and ourselves to make sense of all this mess.

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 11:59:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  IMO this is a small part of a larger war on (7+ / 0-)

            those smaller producers who offer perfectly safe, sustainable, organic foods using methods of farming, raising meat, poultry, making dairy products via less processing - and of course THREATENING the stranglehold Big Agra has on this country.

            Have you ever seen the documentary "Farmaggedon: The Unseen War on Family Farms" by Kristin Canty?  It was in New York City for a short run this past summer but it was a real eyeopener.  To think somehow that this is one isolated, off the rails person taking illegal action is naive.  True here it seems that way in this case but the same and worse as is shown in this film is happening all across the country!

            Pretty soon having your own garden in your own backyard will be illegal and you'll find not only your garden bleached or worse - you'll also be paying sky high fines or thrown in prison.  This country is way too sick!

            When everybody talkin' all at once no one can hear the wise one speak, So just be still and silence will provide the wisdom that you seek - by Tori del Allen

            by Dumas EagerSeton on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 01:48:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  This was a picnic, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      martini, War on Error, alizard

      not labeling on food sold at the supermarket. And while you can't label as "Certified Organic" unless you jump the USDA organic certification hoops, you can sell your food as "organically grown" or "naturally grown" without it. You can sell "grass-fed beef" and "free-range eggs" without USDA certification too. You'd see all that at your town's Saturday tailgate farmer's market. And at your regional farmer's market, any time.

      So I don't understand the violation. This was food grown and cooked at the farm, for an event held at the farm. If the NHD doesn't like that the farm calls itself "organic," tough shit. They can call themselves whatever they like, so long as they don't claim USDA Certification if they haven't been certified by the USDA. GMOs cannot be USDA Certified Organic, but they can be organically and/or naturally grown. Various marketing groups maintain their own labels and certifications, most don't allow GMOs. There are all sorts of labels that are not USDA Certified, but serve a purpose for consumers.

      So why was this food destroyed as "biohazard?"

      Any way you slice it, the meat, fruits and veggies at this picnic in no way qualified as "biohazard." That's nuts. Where's the evidence the farm is advertizing USDA organic certification versus merely organically/naturally grown?

      IOW, was it that they prepared the food without a license (or permit, like for your local Kiwanis 4th of July picnic) that was the problem? This makes no sense.

  •  Umm.. You need to use a certified kitchen to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error

    prepare food which will be distributed to the public. I can't find any indication that the kitchen was certified. I once ran a farm that sold some prepared foods- I know for fact this is the case, as i let my paperwork slip once and was fined for it. You absolutely have to destroy the food.

    The farm's certification for anything has nothing to do with it.

    I'm surprised anybody bothered for a one-off event, but , umm...yeah, this is how Health code works.

    •  Isn't there a difference between distributing to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      War on Error, Sunspots

      the public and catering a party?

      I have a friend who is a fabulous cook.  She looked into selling her own canned jams and could not do it because her kitchen was not able to be certified because she has a dog that lives in her home.

      However, the same lady goes to other places and cooks for them.  Sometimes this is in the other person's home, sometimes it is at an outdoor bbq.  One time it was on board a schooner that was floating in the bay nearby.

      I am pretty sure that the schooner, the bbq pit .... were not certified cooking kitchens.

      I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

      by DamselleFly on Wed Nov 09, 2011 at 04:00:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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