Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FOOD SAFETY Bill 2010

By Dean A. Ayers

As an Independent Lead Investigative Reporter, I did my fair share of research on this food safety legislation that would affect back yard gardeners, animal owners and their families so they could make educated decisions with food safety legislation affecting all backyard gardeners, animal owners and small organic farms and food processing.

I recently became acquainted with all the hype surrounding S 510: Food Safety Modernization Act, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] One web site group actually says, "We need to speak up against Bill S 510. An outcome of this act is that organic farming will be outlawed, causing sickness and poverty for many citizens of this great nation. It will outlaw Organic Farming by banning all foods that are not treated with the pesticide."

Many of the groups claim that Rosa DeLauro, (the original sponsor of the previous bill attempt on 4 Feb 2009), that her husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. That's enough to get me tied into knots, but I figure I ought to check this one out for myself. Turns out, Stanley Greenberg does not work for Monsanto. He is chairman and CEO of Greenberg-Quinlan Research Inc., a public issues research and polling firm that does surveys and PR work. Monsanto was one of the firm's clients. So, I guess in a way he did work for Monsanto...?

Basically, the bill proposes "to establish an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services to be known as the 'Food Safety Administration,'" which would oversee food safety and labeling in
the U.S., creating a single government entity in charge of preventing food-borne illnesses. This is due to all the food safety problems caused by the industrial AG giants, like having bovine growth hormones in dairy, mad cow disease, the Salmonella peanut butter scandal, and lack of thorough meat inspection due to seriously fast line speeds in high volume slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants.

After reading through the bill, I realize how people could (and should) interpret it in many different ways - especially if one is not used to reading this stuff on a regular basis. These bills are long-winded, requires patience, and is just plain legally confusing sometimes.

So, for those concerned that this bill could stop them from having a backyard garden, or require GPS tracking of their animals, or criminalize organic farming, or "require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to 'make sure there is no danger to the public food supply,'" as one internet posting claimed;

I'm here to tell you that the bill's complicated interpretation structure and legal term "vagueness" can easily be interpreted by the government to enforce tyranny actions on anyone they please, to include backyard gardeners, animal owners, small hobby farmers, or anyone the government pleases to go against growing food in any amount or raising animals for personal use such as cows for raw milk, or chickens in your backyard for eggs, or even possibly regulating your rabbits for eating.

However, there are also two other previous bills that eventually could give small gardeners and small independent farmers reason for concern, S 425: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act and HR 814: TRACE Act of 2009, the latter being sponsored by Colorado's own, Diana DeGette. Oh, almost forgot about HR 759: Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act, which overhauls the entire structure of FDA and, according to Food & Water Watch, is more likely to move through Congress than S 510. The problem with these bills lie with the fact that small farmers & food processors could be forced to bear the cost of expensive tracking technology and recordkeeping- things that the large industrialized operations can financially handle. I'm concerned with the uneven playing field this could create.

Here are some provisions contained in S 510 that could cause problems for small farmers & food processors:

It extends traceability recordkeeping requirements that currently apply only to food processors, to farm and restaurants as well - and requires that recordkeeping be done electronically.

It calls for standard lot numbers to be used in food
production.

It requires food processing plants to pay a registration fee to FDA to fund the agency inspection efforts.

It instructs FDA to establish production standards for fruits and vegetables and to establish Good Agricultural Practices for produce. (This is the REALLY scary one)

So, this is just what I've found. Please check this stuff out for yourself. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves and make our own judgments on these things. And if you've done all the reading and you still don't get it, maybe it's time to complain to Congress about these TYRANNY FOOD Bills, that allegedly give large scale food processors a pass, while requiring tyranny on small farmers, animal owners, and backyard gardeners.

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