"In friendship false, implacable in hate
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state."
Why does the federal government want to take over the food industry? S. 510 Food Safety Modernization Act has been called one of the most dangerous pieces of food legislation in the history of the U.S. This bill is now coming to a vote the evening of Monday, November 29, 2010.
Listen to this brief presentation from Natural News: Urgent call to action on Senate Bill 510 Food Safety Modernization Act
Also, GovTrack Insider reporter Patrick Tutwiler interviews Liz Reitzig, the Secretary of the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, about S. 510. Transcript:
Congress is likely to pick up S. 510, a sweeping overhaul of food safety regulation, in the lame duck session starting in November 2010. Many small farming groups and organic food enthusiasts are worried about the effect the bill could have on the local and small farm production chain.
Liz Reitzig is Secretary of the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association.
Reitzig: Senate bill S. 510 is completely flawed.
Question from GovTrack.us Users: Will this bill prevent me from having a home garden, sharing produce with my friends, or disrupt in any way my local farmer’s market?
Reitzig: What Senate bill S. 510 does it is creates statutory authority for the FDA to come up with regulations governing all aspects of food production and processing. So whether or not it will affect a home garden or a farmer’s market, we probably won’t see anything immediately affecting those, but once they come up with the regulations and start enforcing we could see a disruption in anything, anything from a farmer’s market to a child’s lemonade stand.
Because nothing is explicitly exempted, so they are all implicitly included. So the regulations could very easily include regulations such that they impose overburdensome restrictions on farmers going to market.
GovTrack Insider: But surely it wasn’t the intent of the lawmakers to disrupt gardens or lemonade stands.
Reitzig: Well I think the intent of the legislation is to give much broader authority to the FDA, and then when you look at the language of the bill, when it gives the authority to the FDA to act on “reason to believe”, that’s giving a lot of power, a lot of control, to one person.
An example of that is there is a thriving and booming fresh milk movement, people who want fresh milk directly from farmers they know and trust. Well the FDA, CDC, and other organizations have clearly said they don’t think anybody should drink fresh milk. If you go by that, they would have reason to believe fresh milk might make somebody sick, and on that basis they could just shut down every fresh milk farmer, everybody who is supplying fresh milk to a consumer because they have that reason to believe.
Even if the intent is not explicitly stated as control over all farms, that is what is this legislation and they can use that to impose their world view on everyone.
S. 510 does exempt small farmers and restaurants from some of the FDA’s proposed new regulatory authority. However, the scope of the final regulations will not be known until the law is enacted and the FDA completes the rule-making process.
Reitzig: It’s like writing a blank check to the FDA and saying now come up with the regulations. Once the bill is passed they can come up with whatever regulations they want. Again for them to say we’re going to have regulations specifically for smaller producers, they don’t yet have the regulations so how do we know what they are going to come up with? How do we know if it actually is going to benefit small producers or not? We don’t know, it’s this big unknown. And it’s this big blank check to the FDA who has already been stepping on small farms a lot.
See also A PATRIOT Act for Food?