November 29, 2010

Imminent Threat

"In friendship false, implacable in hate
Resolved to ruin or to rule the state."
~ Dryden

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?

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