Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro Seeks Total Governmental Regulation Of All Food Production In This Country

House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was recently introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn. It is worth noting that DeLauro's husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto – the world's leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

This legislation looks like a government grab to regulate smaller agri-business at the behest of larger more powerful agri-business interests.

According to this proposed legislation, Government inspectors would be required to visit and examine food production facilities, which is defined as "any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation". Government would review food safety records and conduct surveillance of animals, plants, products or the environment.

The Government would also "provide technical assistance to farmers and food establishments that are small business concerns (meeting the requirements of section 3(a) of the Small Business Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder) to assist with compliance with the requirements of this Act."

Michael Olson, author of "Metro Farm, said, "What the government will do is bring in industry experts to tell them how to manage all this stuff, It's industry that's telling government how to set these things up. What it always boils down to is who can afford to have the most influence over the government. It would be those companies that have sufficient economies of scale to be able to afford the influence – which is, of course, industrial agriculture."

According to the provisions of this bill, farms and other food producers would be forced to submit copies of all records to federal inspectors upon request, and refusal to register, permit inspector access or testing of food or equipment would be prohibited by law and a punishable offense.

So basically our local agricultural business, family farms and especially organic farmers and perhaps even small weekend farm-stand farmers will suffer under the weight of more government control and have to adhere to burdensome and onerous rules and regulations that are designed for bigger agri-business. In essence it is a means by which large industrial agriculture along with government will manage local agriculture.

Under this act, every food producer must have a written food safety plan and must adhere to standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water. And guess who sets those standards?

The government is going to bring in big industry to establish the protocols which could very well help to eliminate their competition by establishing expensive reporting and other expensive associated guidelines for growing food. This could cripple small American farms.

The penalties are also stiff and each offense is considered a separate offense - "Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law … may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act."

Another "food safety" bill that has organic and small farmers worried is Senate Bill 425, or the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The government wants to establish a "food database" and to track everything grown, prepared, handled, manufactured, processed, distributed, shipped, warehoused, imported, and conveyed under the premise that they want to ensure the safety of the food. Never mind the poisonous additives and crap that the FDA already allows in most food products in American grocery stores. Now it seems more important for government to hassle organic farmers and small food growers.

As this seems to be a knee jerk reaction to recent salmonella outbreak among consumers of peanut products, and since of course no crisis should go to waste - it is a great opportunity for more government control with the help of companies like Monsanto.

Really all that is necessary to ensure food safety is to update a few outdated regulations and add some more inspectors. The peanut debacle would not have happened if inspectors would have done their job properly and saw the filth in that peanut plant to begin with.

"Every day more and more legislation is being introduced to "protect" us. The Act cited in this article will give the government effective control of production of food" - Howard M.

Farm To Consumer says this:
The burdensome requirements the bill imposes on small farms and the intrusive federal control it creates over small farm operations threaten the future viability of sustainable agriculture and the local food movement. HR 875 has been assigned to both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Agriculture. It needs to be stopped. Anyone who values freedom of food choice and the rights and independence of small farmers should contact their elected representatives and the members of the two committees to ask that they oppose HR 875. Updates on the status of this bill will be provided on this site.
CSA Days blogger says this:
"Basically what the Bill aims to do (at least my understanding I am an farmer not a lawyer) is to create a new Agency "the Food Safety Amininistration" and give it control of regulating and policing our nations food supply.
My reading of the bill seems to lead me to believe that it will make the "Home Produced" items allowed under Ohio law illegal. So say goodbye to breads, cookies, jams, jellies, and honey at your farmers market. In fact, you may have to say goodbye to the farmer's market itself.
and Metro Farm also has interesting comments on the bill. It is worth checking out.