Far from being some benevolent ‘food safety bill’, the new bill HR 2749 represents the wholesale federalization of food production in the US. As Naturalnews.com reports, the bill would allow direct regulation of the means by which food is raised and harvested, it would allow for warrantless, unnanounced audits of the financial records of small-time farmers, and new levies and fines. In short,
It is obvious from investigation that this bill presents incredibly ominous ramifications for small, local farmers, local food producers, and anyone else who grows or sells food. It favors industrial, factory food operators, who are the perpetrators of food contamination, at the expense of small providers who many have come to rely upon for safe and nutritious fare. The bill also shifts a monumental and unprecedented amount of power and control to the federal government to dominate everything from the produce in the grocery store to the peppers a backyard farmer sells to his neighbor.
Doing little to address the food safety issues introduced by industrial farming processes, the bill targets independent producers, just as recent legislation in Ontario has done, and as the Weatherill report into the listeriosis scandal recommends. It seems incredible, but this journal must point out that this is yet another example of near-simultaneous harmonization of legislation in multiple jurisdictions to conform to international treaties – in this case, the UN’s Codex Alimentarius. The next steps to fulfill the agenda are sure to include food irraditation and the announcement of the food tracing system, which by all accounts will incorporate the USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS), mandating RFID tracking tags for livestock which, again, will bankrupt small farmers and deliver their operations into the hands of industrial-scale producers with the ear of the federal government. You can read select provisions of the bill at the Farm to Consumer Legal Defence Fund.
Update (2009/8/5): As it turns out, Obama has just appointed chief Monsanto lobbyist and genetically modified food advocate to the position of FDA ‘food safety czar’. Any questions?
Flashback: Listeriosis report urges cleanliness and – increased federalization of food safety | New Ontario regulations forcing local butchers out of market | Details being withheld of listeria discussion held prior to outbreak | Harper government withholds listeriosis notes | Listeria files withheld due to ’systemic’ problems with access to information | Listeria reporting rule dropped before crisis | Radiation touted to protect meat | Codex Alimentarius Commission adopts more than 50 new food standards
Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post
July 31, 2009
WASHINGTON – The House approved the first major changes to food safety laws in 70 years yesterday, giving sweeping new authority to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the way food is grown, harvested, and processed.
The action follows a wave of foodborne illnesses over the last two years, involving products as varied as spinach and cookie dough, which has shaken consumer confidence and made the issue a priority for congressional leaders and the White House. Food illnesses sicken one in four Americans and kill 5,000 each year, according to government statistics. Tainted food has cost the food industry billions of dollars in recalls, lost sales, and legal costs.
“Americans are dying because the Food and Drug Administration does not have authority to protect them, and American producers and agriculture are being hurt,” said Rep. John D. Dingell (D., Mich.), the bill’s author, who has been pushing food safety reform for more than 20 years. “This will fundamentally change the way in which we ensure the safety of our food supply.”
The measure (H.R. 2749) passed, 283-142. The Senate is expected to take up its version after the August recess. President Obama, who has voiced concerns about the safety of peanut butter consumed by his 8-year-old daughter, endorsed the House bill Wednesday.
The House bill affects every aspect of the U.S. food system, from farmers to manufacturers to importers. It places significant new responsibilities on farmers and food processors to prevent contamination before it occurs – a departure from the country’s reactive tradition that has relied on government inspectors to catch tainted food after the fact.
The 159-page legislation was backed by a raft of consumer groups and trade associations but faced opposition from some farm interests and their House Republican allies, who contended that it gives too much authority to the FDA and will lead to higher costs and burdensome paperwork without necessarily making food safer.
“The federal government will tell our farmers and ranchers how to do something they’ve been doing since the dawn of mankind,” said Rep. Frank Lucas (R., Okla.). “It goes too far in the direction of trying to produce food from a bureaucrat’s chair in Washington, D.C.”
The legislation requires food producers and importers to pay an annual $500 registration fee, which would help pay for stepped-up FDA inspections, enforcement, and related activities such as food safety research. An estimated 360,000 facilities in the United States and abroad would be subject to the fees. The Congressional Budget Office reported that the fees would not cover the cost of the new system, leaving the FDA to incur a net cost of $2.2 billion over five years.
If passed into law, the bill would be the first major overhaul of food laws since 1938.
Source | See Also under Food: Organic food no more nutritious, study finds | Listeriosis report urges cleanliness and – increased federalization of food safety | Ottawa considers culling 20% of pork industry | New Ontario regulations forcing local butchers out of market | Bisphenol A traces found in baby food: Health Canada | Bee population feels sting of cold, parasites as N.B. population drops | Elevated BPA levels in people drinking out of plastic bottles, study finds | Meet – and eat – the modified Atlantic salmon | Bee expert takes issue with dated UN data minimizing honeybee deaths | Researchers working on swine flu ‘vaccine corn’ | Will recession spark global food crisis? | High-fructose sweeteners linked to obesity, diabetes | Most Canadian producers excluded as new ‘Product of Canada’ label rules set | Tests find Bisphenol A in majority of soft drinks | Details being withheld of listeria discussion held prior to outbreak | Harper government withholds listeriosis notes | Doomsday seed vault’s stores are growing | Genetically Modified Seeds: Monsanto is Putting Normal Seeds Out of Reach | Milk trial defence: Raw milk is safe and food choice a right | Milk trial prosecution: Cow share contracts ‘a preferred customer list’ | Study Finds High-Fructose Corn Syrup Contains Mercury | Farmer turns to Constitution as defence at raw-milk trial | UK Hospitals will take meat off menus in bid to cut carbon | Raw milk crusader returns to court to fight charges | Listeria files withheld due to ’systemic’ problems with access to information | UK Environment minister calls for international food treaty, GM foods at Fabian Society address | SWAT Teams raiding Amish, Food Co-ops in Rural US | GM Crops Climb to Nearly One-Tenth of Global Crop Production | Raw milk producer fined $55,000 | “Trace amounts” of Melamine found in Canadian infant formula | FDA finds traces of melamine in U.S. infant formula | Rich countries, corporations launch great land grab | Genetically engineered meal close to your table | The GM genocide: Thousands of Indian farmers are committing suicide after using genetically modified crops | Ottawa to revive bill restricting natural health products | Europe’s secret plan to boost GM crop production | Ontario farmer found guilty of contempt in raw-milk trial | Health Canada adds bisphenol A to list of toxic substances | Listeria reporting rule dropped before crisis | Tests find melamine in candies, milk, infant formula from China | New study raises concerns Bisphenol-A could be related to heart disease | Govt. Report: Fluoride in Water Supply Harms Thyroid Function | Raw milk fans rally at court for dairy farmer | Bayer on defensive in bee deaths | Hunger in Africa blamed on western rejection of GM food | Shun meat, says UN climate chief | Are we already dining on clones? | Bisphenol tied to lower brain function | Radiation touted to protect meat | GM crops could lead to ‘disaster’: Prince Charles | Chemical Industry Source of Hyped FDA Study ‘Exonerating’ Plastic Bottles | You can’t stop the raw milk, activist says | Small Farmers Pushed to Plant GM Seed | American thinktanks sowed seeds of food crisis | Sludge biosolids decried as ‘toxic stew’, used as fertilizer | Home-grown veg ruined by toxic fertiliser | Agribusiness positions GM crops as panacea to predicted global food shortage | Monsanto Plans to Save World with its Biotech Crops | Naturopaths Fear Proposed Bill C-51 | Farmer Surveilled, Raided for Natural Milk Operation has Trial Delayed | High-level UN task force to tackle global food crisis | Farmers to kill off 150,000 pigs | Head of IMF says if food prices remain high, consequences are dire | Canada’s C-51 Law May Outlaw 60% Of Natural Health Products | Codex Alimentarius – An Emerging Threat | Codex Alimentarius Commission adopts more than 50 new food standards