Eau Claire Farmer's Market, Wheatfield Hill Organics peppers
Kiss your fresh and local, farmer’s market bread, jam, peas and carrots, goodbye?
The push is on for the “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009.” Also known as HR 875 and SB 425.
As an avid consumer of local and organic foods- and a lover of freedom- this really sets off the alarms for me.
Our representatives in Washington don’t see fit to stop at politicizing our health care decisions, the level of our thermostats, and the cars we drive. Now some want to control even the food we eat.
Building on the Salmonella outbreak linked to nine deaths from peanut products late last year, a study released last week by the Trust for America’s Health (in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) called food safety in the U.S. “plagued with problems.” The study found that the American economy lost $44 billion in medical care and lost productivity because of unsafe food and called on the Obama administration to create a new Food Safety Administration and double (from $542 million in FY 2009) federal funding to insure food safety.
Not coincidentally, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., introduced HR 875 to establish a new Food Safety Administration
to “protect the public health” and “ensure the safety of food.” Rep. DeLauro believes that the FDA is not effective enough with the current laws governing food safety, so HR 875 grants broad new powers to the new FSA. DeLauro is a former chief of staff to Sen. Chris Dodd. Her husband, Stan Greenberg, is a leftist consultant whose corporate clients include (food giant) Monsanto.
This bill – if passed – would give FSA inspectors the right to enter, anywhere in the world, any premises of any food establishment to inspect and determine whether the product of that food establishment should be sold to American consumers.
HR 875 defines “food establishment” (among other things) as any “facility … that processes food or a facility that hold, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.” The bill also defines “food production facility” as “any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding facility.” The bill empowers the new FSA to promulgate regulations further defining what “food” is, and regulating the manner of its growth, processing and delivery to the consumer.
The companion Senate Bill (SB 425) introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sheds more light on the true goal of all this. Her bill requires “traceability” in these words:
The traceability system shall require each article of food … to be identified in a manner that enables the Secretary to retrieve the history, use, and location of the article through a recordkeeping and audit system…
Small farmers and food processors (jams and jelly folks, for example) would be out of business if these bills are passed into law. Ditto farmers’ markets, and, potentially any individual who sells or even shares the bounty of a home garden.
If these bills pass into law, Big Ag Biz would increase its stranglehold on the food business, and big government would expand its swarm of officers bedeviling every private pursuit of happiness.
I aked Jenny Dubiel, a local small farmer who supplies my family with delicious organic and free-range eggs, how this would affect her.
“…this would essentially just take me out. There is no way I would set myself up for these regulations and inspections.
I have always told my customers, that THEY are the inspectors and are welcome at my farm any time to even gather their own eggs, and to see how the chickens are raised.
We don’t need the government in here telling me how to run our farm. Who would you trust? Your neighbor or Uncle Sam, to ensure the safety of your food?
I don’t raise these chickens for eggs or meat to get rich, I do it to create a product I’m proud of and because I don’t want MY family eating anything less either.”
If you’re like me, and rely on local farmers for your eggs, meat, and organic produce, or you simply care about the freedom of these farmers to stay in business, now’s the time to call your representatives. Contact info here and here.
To sign an online petition to stop HR 875 go here.