A Nashville man told his local news station last week that he received at least three calls from the state about apparently testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
The problem? He was never tested.
According to News4 Investigates, Brock Ballou, a resident of the Nashville suburb of Mount Juliet, said he was anticipating a call from a contact tracer after one of his coworkers tested positive for COVID-19. However, the tracer repeatedly told Mr. Ballou that he was positive for the virus, despite the fact that he was never tested, he says.
“She specifically said – I’m looking at it right here – you tested positive – this is a follow up call to see how your symptoms are,” Ballou told the news station.
Asked if he possibly misheard the woman on the phone, Ballou said she reiterated his supposedly positive test results multiple times.
“I’m 100 percent sure that’s what she said, she was looking right at it,” he recalled, “she told me I’m in the system – looking right at it that you’re showing positive.”
Over the following days, Ballou received more calls from the state about his COVID symptoms.
“(The contact tracer) said I’m still seeing that you’re positive. Courtesy call – checking your symptoms,” he said.
News4 Investigates said all three phone numbers used to reach out to Ballou have been confirmed by the news station to have come from workers with the state health department of Tennessee.
The apparent discrepancy has Ballou questioning the accuracy of the state’s COVID-19 case counts.
“I said I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s wrong. I’m just another number when I’m not.”
The Tennessee health department confirmed through a spokeswoman that they are investigating the discrepancy.
“I can also tell you there is no concern with our count of cases in regard to our reporting of those who test positive,” the spokeswoman said. “Those entries are based on lab results, not on information provided from the monitoring team.”
According to Ballou, he’s been told by the state that the calls made to him were done via a third party contracted by the health department.
As noted by The Daily Wire last week, the Florida State Health Department confirmed that some testing laboratories in the state have not been disclosing their negative novel coronavirus testing results accurately, skewing the positivity rates dramatically. At least two labs were discovered to have inflated their positivity rates of the virus by a factor of ten.
“Countless labs have reported a 100 percent positivity rate, which means every single person tested was positive. Other labs had very high positivity rates,” FOX 35 explained Tuesday.
It was uncovered that Orlando Veteran’s Medical Center’s reported positivity rate of 76% was actually around 6%, a spokesperson for the center revealed. FOX 35 added, “Orlando Health’s positivity rate is only 9.4 percent, not 98 percent as in the report.”
We thought the problem was limited to fraudulent overseas suppliers; but fake organics are also grown in the US, and the USDA is clueless. Action Alert!
A Missouri farmer has been charged with ripping off food companies and consumers by falsely marketing more than $140 million worth of corn, soybeans, and wheat as organic.
Observers have called the scale of this fraud “jaw dropping” and likely the largest case of its kind involving US farmers.
The level of deception in the organic industry has reached epidemic proportions: a USDA study found that 40% of all organic food sold in the US tested positive for prohibited pesticides.
This is an outrage, but the USDA shows no signs of deviating from business as usual.
The long-running scheme started as far back as 2004, when the Missouri man, Randy Constant, allegedly recruited three Nebraska farmers to supply him with crops. The Nebraska farmers turned a blind eye to Constant’s false marketing because of the premium prices their crops were fetching. The Nebraska farmers pleaded guilty last October.
This episode highlights what we’ve been saying for months now: the USDA, who is responsible for ensuring the integrity of the organic label, is absolutely inept.
First, we had fake organics flooding in from overseas. We were told the problem was with foreign certifiers and that more oversight over the supply chain would reduce the fraud.
But now it appears the problem is much deeper, and the USDA simply lacks the will to enforce the law. How else could such large-scale fraud occur on American soil over the course of a decade?
In fact, it wasn’t even the USDA that discovered the fraud; it was reportedly detected by a buyer after the grain he bought tested positive for GMOs.
We don’t know precisely where the oversight process broke down. The USDA does not perform inspections of organic producers; that is supposed to be taken care of by USDA-accredited, third-party organic certifiers.
Farmers submit an organic system plan to a certifier, describing the methods used on the farm to produce organic crops. Certifiers review the plan and, if approved, are supposed to perform annual inspections which may include residue testing to ensure organic crops have not come into contact with prohibited substances.
Judging from the fraud coming from overseas from certifiers like ETKO, it seems likely that these third-party organic certifiers are also in on the fraud.
What does the USDA’s organic seal mean anymore if the game can be rigged so easily? How many more farmers or businesses are similarly capitalizing on the premium for organic crops without adhering to organic standards? Does the USDA even care?
Take action below and tell the USDA to take steps to address organic fraud.
Action Alert! Write to the USDA and Congress, telling them that the level of organic fraud going on is an outrage, and major steps must be taken to address it. Please send your message immediately.
The first wave of acquisitions of organic processors was concentrated between December, 1997 and October, 2002. This period coincides with the initial release of the draft USDA organic standards and its full implementation in October, 2002. A second wave of acquisitions in the organic sector has been occurring since 2012. Surprisingly few major corporate agribusinesses note ownership ties on their acquisitions’ product labels.
Dr. Phil Howard, an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State and author of the infographic above, has identified some significant updates to his Who Owns Organic Chart, including:
December 2018: Nestle-Osem divested Tribe (sold to Lakeview Farms)
November 2018: Kraft Heinz acquired Primal Kitchen for $200M
September 2018: Kraft Heinz acquired Ethical Bean Coffee
June 2018: Tyson acquired Tecumseh Poultry/Smart Chicken; ConAgra acquired Pinnacle Foods (Earth Balance/Udi’s/Evol) for $10.9B
May 2018: Pepsi acquired Bare Foods
February 2018: Danone’s venture division invested in Harmless Harvest coconut water; Nestlé acquired majority stake in Terrafertil/Nature’s Heart
December 2017: Campbell Soup Co. acquired Snyder’s-Lance for $4.87B
November 2017: Unilever acquired Tazo Tea (from Starbucks) for $384M; Nestlé acquired Chameleon Cold-Brew
September 2017: Nestlé acquired Sweet Earth and a 68% stake in Blue Bottle Coffee; B&G acquired Back to Nature (from Brynwood Partners and Mondelēz) for $162.5M; Unilever acquired Pukka Herbs
July 2017: Lactalis announced it would acquire Stonyfield from Danone for $875 M; Campbell Soup Co. acquired Pacific Foods for $700 M; AB InBev acquired Hiball
June 2017: Dean Foods acquired Uncle Matt’s Organic
Dean Foods acquired minority stake in Good Karma
April 2017: Unilever acquired Sir Kensington’s
February 2017: Maple Leaf Foods (#43) acquired Lightlife Foods from Brynwood Partners
December 2016: B&G Foods (#95) acquired Victoria Fine Foods
November 2016: Pilgrim’s Pride (#18, but 76% owned by #4 JBS) acquired The GNP Company (Just BARE chicken) for $350 M; Dean Foods and Organic Valley form a 50/50 joint venture; Pepsi acquired KeVita; Dr. Pepper Snapple Group acquired Bai for $1.7 B
July 2016: Danone announced it would acquire WhiteWave for $12.5 B. Deal completed with the condition that Stonyfield be sold in April 2017
June 2016: Coca-Cola acquired minority stake in Aloe Gloe; Kellogg acquired Pure Organic
May 2016: Hormel acquired Justin’s (nut butters) for $286 M
March 2016: Pulmuone acquired Vitasoy/Nasoya for $50 M
General Mills investments via its “301 Inc.” venture capital arm include the following: $1.25 M in Tio Gazpacho in March 2016, $2.1 M in Good Culture in March 2016 (+$3 M in September 2016), $18M in Kite Hill in May 2016, additional $6 M in Rhythm Superfoods in January 2017, $6.5 M in Farmhouse Culture in March 2017, and $3 M in Purely Elizabeth in April 2017
“As far as I'm concerned, it's a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity.” -Hunter Thompson