Hats Off to Sedgwick, Maine’s “Food Sovereignty” Law

Unnoticed by many, the tiny town of Sedgwick, Maine in 2011 passed a “Food Sovereignty Law” that is simultaneously cause for sadness and celebration.

First, the celebration: This law, passed unanimously, states “Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.

Furthermore, the ordinance states “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.

In other words, consenting adults may purchase whatever food items they want from any local provider, free from government restriction or bureaucracy.

What a concept. Grownups buying food from other grownups without government control. That’s heresy!

But what about risk? After all, only the government can ensure that the foods we eat are perfectly safe, right? (Like they’ve done such a good job so far, after all, with stories of food contamination from major producers making headlines on a near daily basis.)

Here’s what the Sedgwick, Maine ordinance says about risk:

Patrons purchasing food for home consumption may enter into private agreements with those producers or processors of local foods to waive any liability for the consumption of that food. Producers or processors of local foods shall be exempt from licensure and inspection requirements for that food as long as those agreements are in effect.

In a country where armed SWAT teams routinely descend upon independent farms and private buying clubs, it’s joyous to see to see the citizens of Sedgwick formally recognize that consenting adults have the right to consume whatever foods they want to consume, freely accepting the risk and consequences of doing so.

Oh, and the sadness part? What could possibly make me sad about such an ordinance?

Simple: It truly saddens me that in the “land of the free,” it takes an ordinance like Sedgwick’s to remind us that the citizens of this country have the right to consume the foods of our choosing.

Promoting Honesty Through Subterfuge

If the dairy industry has its way, we’re about to see even more options for feeding our children ultra-sweet tasting, low-fat dairy products, under the guise of providing “more healthful eating practices” so we can “reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products.”

According to an announcement in the Federal Register, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have filed a petition requesting that the FDA amend the standard of identity for milk (and 17 other dairy products) to provide for the “use of any safe and suitable sweetener as an optional ingredient.”

“Safe and suitable” according to the petition, includes “non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame.”

Aspartame? Ick.

And the best part is, this petition would allow the dairy industry to add such non-nutritive sweeteners to milk without indicating this in any way on the label, arguing that “…the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace…”

Only in today’s insane world of food politics does hiding food ingredients promote honesty.

If you’re confused about how secretly adding artificial sweeteners to our milk could possibly promote “honesty and fair dealing,” the petitioners kindly explain:

“…IDFA and NMPF argue that nutrient content claims such as “reduced calorie” are not attractive to children, and maintain that consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners if the labels do not include such claims.”

 Currently, you see, non-nutritive sweeteners may only be included in an unlabeled product if a the product packaging bears a nutrient content claim (e.g., “low-calorie). So, by removing the “low-calorie” label that drive the kids away, we can ensure that they drink more aspartame-enriched, low-fat milk.

And remember, it’s all about the consumer.

As the dairy industry states:

“Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”

 I don’t know about you, but I can more easily identify a food’s nutritional value when the &*#$@*! label reveals everything that’s in the product!

Thanks to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and the FDA (who will undoubtedly bend over for the milk industry), our kids will suffer even further damage from a lack of healthy fat and will be further bombarded with aspartame (a substance the neurologist Russel Blaylock refers to as an “excitotoxin”), all while cultivating a further desire for heavily sweetened foods.