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David E. Gumpert

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FDA Wants to Jail Sam Girod for 48 Years, for Making Salves People Love


Sam Girod is a Kentucky farmer who runs a small business selling natural skin salves made from herbs such as chickweed, which seem to help relieve a host of skin conditions, including allergic rashes, psoriasis, poison oak and even skin cancers.

If you look up chickweed on Amazon, you will find pages of chickweed products, dozens and dozens of products, in some cases followed by glowing testimonials from users about how this or that chickweed provided relief from terrible itching, and even cured their skin cancers.

So why has the US Food and Drug Administration picked Girod out from all those producers, and had him indicted by a federal grand jury on a dozen criminal charges that could jail Sam Girod for 48 years? Neither Girod, who is 56 years old and the father of twelve, nor his lawyer, Chuck McFarland, can explain it.

According to McFarland, Girod, who is Amish and has no criminal record, has been selling chickweed for the last 15 years, from his farm in Owingsville, Kentucky and from some convenience stores in Missouri.
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Should You Be Able to Buy Food Directly From Farmers? The Government Doesn’t Think So


This would seem to embody the USDA’s advisory, “Know your farmer, know your food,” right? Not exactly.

For the USDA and its sister food regulator, the FDA, there’s a problem: many of the farmers are distributing the food via private contracts like herd shares and leasing arrangements, which fall outside the regulatory system of state and local retail licenses and inspections that govern public food sales.

In response, federal and state regulators are seeking legal sanctions against farmers in Maine, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California, among others. These sanctions include injunctions, fines, and even prison sentences. Food sold by unlicensed and uninspected farmers is potentially dangerous say the regulators, since it can carry pathogens like salmonella, campylobacter, and E.coli O157:H7, leading to mild or even serious illness.
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