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Farm Woo And Our Food

Google is an amazing thing — it occasionally tosses you a link that lands you in an alternate universe of folks you’d never encounter in real life.

Like cattle ranchers. I’ve just spent the good part of an hour wandering their world — reading about their concerns (water, wolves, the economy), seeing how cattle breeding has changed (you pick a sire at, then do genomic profiling on your stock — did you know that cows bred for docility have more tender meat ?), and learning that ranchers are not immune to marketing from the world of scientific woo.

Check this out — it’s called SOP Life Vibration or “Serio Bio-Hygienization.” They’re selling it to farmers and ranchers in Europe and the U.S. as the latest and greatest answer to bacterial growth and odors in farm feed and bedding:

SOP products are formulated with the innovative Sirio Operating Process technology to improve the environment of the farm in a more effective and longer lasting way than current available means.

SOP® products are natural and scientifically tested. They are not enzymes, bacteria nor disinfectants. Using a process of “frequential bio-conditioning” they selectively favor the activity of the “beneficial” micro-organisms and create unfavorable conditions to inhibit the development of the “pathogenic” ones.

A 100% natural product. Through a bio-frequency method, SOP® is created with strategic wavelength and harmony. This same technology is comparable to the electronic systems used for radio broadcasting.

SOP Bio-Hygienization“100% natural,” “Bio-hygeinization,”  ”Frequential bio-conditioning”…

I smell a woo. And that makes me nervous.

After all, I’m a meat eater. If someone’s putting something wacky into and around my food source, I want to know about it. So I decided it was worth my while to find out what the heck was in this SOP® stuff.

What’s in SOP’s products?

Just try to find that out. I read this huge SOP brochure targeting organic farmers in the UK — nada. Googled every possible permutation of the name SOP — nothing but woo. Poured over a batch of scientific papers from some university in Italy — nothing but brand name without product description. Even the farmers using the stuff have no idea what they are sprinkling around their cattle stalls.

Okay, so now I was really nervous. And then I stumbled across this little tidbit that someone from the SOP marketing branch accidentally let slip through:

SOP® products are made with calcium sulphate as a carrier agent which has undergone the SIRIO OPERATING PROCESS treatment. This technology is capable of transferring specific bio-frequencies from the carrier to the environment, starting up, in this way, the process of bio-hygienization. The correct and constant distribution of a very small quantity of SOP® gives great results which are fully evident within only 5 months from the beginning of treatment.

Calcium sulphate. Bingo.

It’s also known as gypsum. And it’s been safely used for generations on farms as fertilizer and as a drying agent. You mix gypsum with straw bedding, and the straw stays drier. So it grows less bacteria and fungi. And smells better. Gypsum is also an organically-approved fertilizer.

So, of course SOP products work. They’re nothing but gypsum. And since calcium sulphate comes from rocks, they can legitimately call the stuff natural. (Unless they’re recycling it from used drywall, in which case they should tell us that.) Heck, I’ll even grant that they might have worked out the ideal amounts and concentrations of calcium sulphate to be used for optimal results.

So why all the smoke and mirrors? I can only guess: Money. You can pick up agricultural-grade gypsum for 5 to 8 bucks per 100 lbs. Something tells me the SOP folks are charging more than that — but I can’t prove it, since they don’t post prices anywhere.

Bottom line

SOP® products appears to be nothing more than re-packaged calcium sulphate, a chemical safely used for years on ranches and farms to control moisture and optimize soil composition. Assuming that’s the only chemical in this product, no harm is being done — except perhaps to rancher’s wallets.

And while I don’t have the time to find our about the rest of the SOPGroup’s products (I’ve wasted enough time on this post so far), I suspect their entire operation is just a smoke screen for a farm chemical company that figured out a new way to sell the same old stuff at a higher price.

And that alternate universe of cattle ranchers?

Turns out it’s not much different than mine. We’ve got medical woo, they’ve got farm woo. Both use similar tactics: Fancy marketing, smoke and mirrors, and patented trademarks for ridiculous unexplainable technology — to grab our dollars.

In the end, we’ve all got to be skeptical about what’s being marketed to us and demand transparency from those selling us products that ultimately may end up in our bodies — either directly or through the food chain.

*This blog post was originally published at tbtam*

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