The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 appears on its face to be a good bill in that it will supposedly protect the food supply. Is serves as a response to the recent outbreaks in salmonella in peanut butter and the likes. This type of problem certainly needs to be addressed, however this bill is not the appropriate way to do so.
This bill is essentially a one size fits all bill and that size is large food producers. This bill should not apply to small farmers and organic producers but the language of the bill doesn't exclude them. It would appear that the bill does not face debate in the Congress and that without some outcry it will likely pass. This bill could potentially put an end to farmers markets and organic food production. The bill is being sponsored by some giant agricultural industries including Monsanto.
We must always be cognizant of the unintended consequences of even the most benign appearing legislation. Under HR 875 all participants in farmers' markets will be forced to register, otherwise the market will be shut down as an illegal operation. Failure to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would result in a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation. Specifically, the law would apply to any food establishment including farmers' markets. The term food establishment is defined in the bill as follows:
(A) IN GENERAL: The term 'food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.
The extra requirements and inspections required of small family farms under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 would be a burden. Interestingly enough this bill was introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.
This act could potentially criminalize seed banking. It establishes prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, requires 24 hour GPS tracking of animals, easements onto farm property to allow for warrantless government entry, and it could strip away property rights. This Act is a corporate ag-business dream come true.
The full text of the Act can be read here.
I have posted a couple videos from several different sources about the farm bill. I have also included a video about how food production has changed over time. I have included material from the left and the right in order to show that generally speaking this bill is a nightmare.
I'm angry about this Act that is disguised as a consumer protection. I'm getting deje vu as I recall how upset I was by the Patriot Act before it was passed. At that time people often told me that I was wrong, and that the Patriot Act wouldn't limit citizen's civil liberties,but rather only those of terrorists. Well, we all know how that turned out. Once again in HR 875 we are about to lose our rights to food production. It is time to stand up for our local family farms. Please contact your congress person now! You can contact Congressman Tim Ryan here. You can also sign a petition in opposition to this bill at Leave My Food Alone
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